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Title: Chaldea - From the Earliest Times to the Rise of Assyria
Author: Ragozin, Zénaïde A. (Zénaïde Alexeïevna), 1835-1924
Language: English
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From the Earliest Times to the Rise of Assyria

(Treated As a General Introduction to the Study of Ancient History)



Member of the "Société Ethnologique" of Paris; of the "American
Oriental Society"; Corresponding Member of the "Athénée
Oriental" of Paris; Author of "Assyria," "Media," Etc.

"He (Carlyle) says it is part of his creed that history is
poetry, could we tell it right."--EMERSON.

Fourth Edition

[Illustration: SHAMASH THE SUN-GOD. (From the Sun Temple at Sippar.)]

T. Fisher Unwin
Paternoster Square

New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons


                          TO THE MEMBERS OF

                              THE CLASS,

                      INSCRIBED BY THEIR FRIEND.

                                                     THE AUTHOR.

         SAN ANTONIO,

                        CLASSIFIED CONTENTS.



     § 1. Complete destruction of Nineveh.--§§ 2-4. Xenophon and the
     "Retreat of the Ten Thousand." The Greeks pass the ruins of
     Calah and Nineveh, and know them not.--§ 5. Alexander's passage
     through Mesopotamia.--§ 6. The Arab invasion and rule.--§ 7.
     Turkish rule and mismanagement.--§ 8. Peculiar natural
     conditions of Mesopotamia.--§ 9. Actual desolate state of the
     country.--§ 10. The plains studded with Mounds. Their curious
     aspect.--§ 11. Fragments of works of art amidst the
     rubbish.--§ 12. Indifference and superstition of the Turks and
     Arabs.--§ 13. Exclusive absorption of European scholars in
     Classical Antiquity.--§ 14. Forbidding aspect of the Mounds,
     compared with other ruins.--§ 15. Rich, the first explorer.--§ 16.
     Botta's work and want of success.--§ 17. Botta's great
     discovery.--§ 18. Great sensation created by it.--§ 19.
     Layard's first expedition.


LAYARD AND HIS WORK                                         19-35

     § 1. Layard's arrival at Nimrud. His excitement and
     dreams.--§ 2. Beginning of difficulties. The Ogre-like Pasha of
     Mossul.--§ 3. Opposition from the Pasha. His malice and
     cunning.--§ 4. Discovery of the gigantic head. Fright of the Arabs,
     who declare it to be Nimrod.--§ 5. Strange ideas of the Arabs about
     the sculptures.--§ 6. Layard's life in the desert.--§ 7.
     Terrible heat of summer.--§ 8. Sand-storms and hot
     hurricanes.--§ 9. Layard's wretched dwelling.--§ 10.
     Unsuccessful attempts at improvement.--§ 11. In what the task
     of the explorer consists.--§ 12. Different modes of carrying on
     the work of excavation.


THE RUINS                                                   36-93

     § 1. Every country's culture and art determined by its
     geographical conditions.--§ 2. Chaldea's absolute deficiency in
     wood and stone.--§ 3. Great abundance of mud fit for the
     fabrication of bricks; hence the peculiar architecture of
     Mesopotamia. Ancient ruins still used as quarries of bricks for
     building. Trade of ancient bricks at Hillah.--§ 4. Various
     cements used.--§ 5. Construction of artificial platforms.--§ 6.
     Ruins of Ziggurats; peculiar shape, and uses of this sort of
     buildings.--§ 7. Figures showing the immense amount of labor
     used on these constructions.--§ 8. Chaldean architecture
     adopted unchanged by the Assyrians.--§ 9. Stone used for
     ornament and casing of walls. Water transport in old and modern
     times.--§ 10. Imposing aspect of the palaces.--§ 11.
     Restoration of Sennacherib's palace by Fergusson.--§ 12.
     Pavements of palace halls.--§ 13. Gateways and sculptured slabs
     along the walls. Friezes in painted tiles.--§ 14. Proportions
     of palace halls and roofing.--§ 15. Lighting of halls.--§ 16.
     Causes of the kings' passion for building.--§ 17. Drainage of
     palaces and platforms.--§ 18. Modes of destruction.--§ 19. The
     Mounds a protection to the ruins they contain. Refilling the
     excavations.--§ 20. Absence of ancient tombs in Assyria.--§ 21.
     Abundance and vastness of cemeteries in Chaldea.--§ 22. Warka
     (Erech) the great Necropolis. Loftus' description.--§ 23.
     "Jar-coffins."--§ 24. "Dish-cover" coffins.--§ 25. Sepulchral
     vaults.--§ 26. "Slipper-shaped" coffins.--§ 27. Drainage of
     sepulchral mounds.--§ 28. Decoration of walls in painted
     clay-cones.--§ 29. De Sarzec's discoveries at Tell-Loh.



     § 1. Object of making books.--§ 2. Books not always of
     paper.--§ 3. Universal craving for an immortal name.--§ 4.
     Insufficiency of records on various writing materials.
     Universal longing for knowledge of the remotest past.--§ 5.
     Monumental records.--§ 6. Ruins of palaces and temples, tombs
     and caves--the Book of the Past.--§§ 7-8. Discovery by Layard
     of the Royal Library at Nineveh.--§ 9. George Smith's work at
     the British Museum.--§ 10. His expeditions to Nineveh, his
     success and death.--§ 11. Value of the Library.--§§ 12-13.
     Contents of the Library.--§ 14. The Tablets.--§ 15. The
     cylinders and foundation-tablets.




     § 1. Nomads.--§ 2. First migrations.--§ 3. Pastoral life--the
     second stage.--§ 4. Agricultural life; beginnings of the
     State.--§ 5. City-building; royalty.--§ 6. Successive
     migrations and their causes.--§ 7. Formation of nations.


THE GREAT RACES.--CHAPTER X. OF GENESIS                   127-142

     § 1. Shinar.--§ 2. Berosus.--§ 3. Who were the settlers in
     Shinar?--§ 4. The Flood probably not universal.--§§ 5-6. The
     blessed race and the accursed, according to Genesis.--§ 7.
     Genealogical form of Chap. X. of Genesis.--§ 8. Eponyms.--§ 9.
     Omission of some white races from Chap. X.--§ 10. Omission of
     the Black Race.--§ 11. Omission of the Yellow Race.
     Characteristics of the Turanians.--§ 12. The Chinese.--§ 13.
     Who were the Turanians? What became of the Cainites?--§ 14.
     Possible identity of both.--§ 15. The settlers in


RELIGION                                                  146-181

     § 1. Shumir and Accad.--§ 2. Language and name.--§ 3. Turanian
     migrations and traditions.--§ 4. Collection of sacred
     texts.--§ 5. "Religiosity"--a distinctively human characteristic.
     Its first promptings and manifestations.--§ 6. The Magic Collection
     and the work of Fr. Lenormant.--§ 7. The Shumiro-Accads' theory
     of the world, and their elementary spirits.--§ 8. The
     incantation of the Seven Maskim.--§ 9. The evil spirits.--§ 10.
     The Arali.--§ 11. The sorcerers.--§ 12. Conjuring and
     conjurers.--§ 13. The beneficent Spirits, Êa.--§ 14.
     Meridug.--§ 15. A charm against an evil spell.--§ 16. Diseases
     considered as evil demons.--§ 17. Talismans. _The
     Kerubim._--§ 18. More talismans.--§ 19. The demon of the South-West
     Wind.--§ 20. The first gods.--§ 21. _Ud_, the Sun.--§ 22.
     _Nin dar_, the nightly Sun.--§ 23. _Gibil_, Fire.--§ 24. Dawn of
     moral consciousness.--§ 25. Man's Conscience divinized.--§§ 26-28.
     Penitential Psalms.--§ 29. General character of Turanian

APPENDIX TO CHAPTER III.                                  181-183

     Professor L. Dyer's poetical version of the Incantation against
     the Seven Maskim.



     § 1. Oannes.--§ 2. Were the second settlers Cushites or
     Semites?--§ 3. Cushite hypothesis. Earliest migrations.--§ 4.
     The Ethiopians and the Egyptians.--§ 5. The Canaanites.--§ 6.
     Possible Cushite station on the islets of the Persian
     Gulf.--§ 7. Colonization of Chaldea possibly by Cushites.--§ 8.
     Vagueness of very ancient chronology.--§ 9. Early dates.--§ 10.
     Exorbitant figures of Berosus.--§ 11. Early Chaldea--a nursery
     of nations.--§ 12. Nomadic Semitic tribes.--§ 13. The tribe of
     Arphaxad.--§ 14. Ur of the Chaldees.--§ 15. Scholars divided
     between the Cushite and Semitic theories.--§ 16. History
     commences with Semitic culture.--§ 17. Priestly rule. The
     _patesis_.--§§ 18-19. Sharrukin I. (Sargon I) of Agadê.--§§
     20-21. The second Sargon's literary labors.--§§ 22-23. Chaldean
     folk-lore, maxims and songs.--§ 24. Discovery of the elder
     Sargon's date--3800 B.C.--§ 25. Gudêa of Sir-gulla and Ur-êa of
     Ur.--§ 26. Predominance of Shumir. Ur-êa and his son Dungi
     first kings of "Shumir and Accad."--§ 27. Their inscriptions
     and buildings. The Elamite invasion.--§ 28. Elam.--§§ 29-31.
     Khudur-Lagamar and Abraham.--§ 32. Hardness of the Elamite
     rule.--§ 33. Rise of Babylon.--§ 34. Hammurabi.--§ 35. Invasion
     of the Kasshi.


BABYLONIAN RELIGION                                       229-257

     § 1. Babylonian calendar.--§ 2. Astronomy conducive to
     religious feeling.--§ 3. Sabeism.--§ 4. Priestcraft and
     astrology.--§ 5. Transformation of the old religion.--§ 6.
     Vague dawning of the monotheistic idea. Divine emanations.--§ 7.
     The Supreme Triad.--§ 8. The Second Triad.--§ 9. The five
     Planetary deities.--§§ 10-11. Duality of nature. Masculine and
     feminine principles. The goddesses.--§ 12. The twelve Great
     Gods and their Temples.--§ 13. The temple of Shamash at Sippar
     and Mr. Rassam's discovery.--§ 14. Survival of the old Turanian
     superstitions.--§ 15. Divination, a branch of Chaldean
     "Science."--§§ 16-17. Collection of one hundred tablets on
     divination. Specimens.--§ 18. The three classes of "wise men."
     "Chaldeans," in later times, a by-word for "magician," and
     "astrologer."--§ 19. Our inheritance from the Chaldeans: the
     sun-dial, the week, the calendar, the Sabbath.


LEGENDS AND STORIES                                       258-293

     § 1. The Cosmogonies of different nations.--§ 2. The antiquity
     of the Sacred Books of Babylonia.--§ 3. The legend of Oannes,
     told by Berosus. Discovery, by Geo. Smith, of the Creation
     Tablets and the Deluge Tablet.--§§ 4-5. Chaldean account of the
     Creation.--§ 6. The Cylinder with the human couple, tree and
     serpent.--§ 7. Berosus' account of the creation.--§ 8. The
     Sacred Tree. Sacredness of the Symbol.--§ 9. Signification of
     the Tree-Symbol. The Cosmic Tree.--§ 10. Connection of the
     Tree-Symbol and of Ziggurats with the legend of Paradise.--§ 11.
     The Ziggurat of Borsippa.--§ 12. It is identified with the
     Tower of Babel.--§§ 13-14. Peculiar Orientation of the
     Ziggurats.--§ 15. Traces of legends about a sacred grove or
     garden.--§ 16. Mummu-Tiamat, the enemy of the gods. Battle of
     Bel and Tiamat.--§ 17. The Rebellion of the seven evil spirits,
     originally messengers of the gods.--§ 18. The great Tower and
     the Confusion of Tongues.


MYTHS.--HEROES AND THE MYTHICAL EPOS                      294-330

     § 1. Definition of the word Myth.--§ 2. The Heroes.--§ 3. The
     Heroic Ages and Heroic Myths. The National Epos.--§ 4. The
     oldest known Epic.--§ 5. Berosus' account of the Flood.--§ 6.
     Geo. Smith's discovery of the original Chaldean narrative.--§ 7.
     The Epic divided into books or Tablets.--§ 8. Izdubar the
     Hero of the Epic.--§ 9. Erech's humiliation under the Elamite
     Conquest. Izdubar's dream.--§ 10. Êabâni the Seer. Izdubar's
     invitation and promises to him.--§ 11. Message sent to Êabâni
     by Ishtar's handmaidens. His arrival at Erech.--§ 12. Izdubar
     and Êabâni's victory over the tyrant Khumbaba.--§ 13. Ishtar's
     love message. Her rejection and wrath. The two friends' victory
     over the Bull sent by her.--§ 14. Ishtar's vengeance. Izdubar's
     journey to the Mouth of the Rivers.--§ 15. Izdubar sails the
     Waters of Death and is healed by his immortal ancestor
     Hâsisadra.--§ 16. Izdubar's return to Erech and lament over
     Êabâni. The seer is translated among the gods.--§ 17. The
     Deluge narrative in the Eleventh Tablet of the Izdubar
     Epic.--§§ 18-21. Mythic and solar character of the Epic
     analyzed.--§ 22. Sun-Myth of the Beautiful Youth, his early
     death and resurrection.--§§ 23-24. Dumuzi-Tammuz, the husband
     of Ishtar. The festival of Dumuzi in June.--§ 25. Ishtar's
     Descent to the Land of the Dead.--§ 26. Universality of the
     Solar and Chthonic Myths.



     § 1. Definition of Mythology and Religion, as distinct from
     each other.--§§ 2-3. Instances of pure religious feeling in the
     poetry of Shumir and Accad.--§ 4. Religion often stifled by
     Mythology.--§§ 5-6. The conception of the immortality of the
     soul suggested by the sun's career.--§ 7. This expressed in the
     Solar and Chthonic Myths.--§ 8. Idolatry.--§ 9. The Hebrews,
     originally polytheists and idolators, reclaimed by their
     leaders to Monotheism.--§ 10. Their intercourse with the tribes
     of Canaan conducive to relapses.--§ 11. Intermarriage severely
     forbidden for this reason.--§ 12. Striking similarity between
     the Book of Genesis and the ancient Chaldean legends.--§ 13.
     Parallel between the two accounts of the creation.--§ 14.
     Anthropomorphism, different from polytheism and idolatry, but
     conducive to both.--§§ 15-17. Parallel continued.--§§ 18-19.


BAER, Wilhelm. DER VORGESCHICHTLICHE MENSCH. 1 vol., Leipzig: 1874.


BUDGE, E. A. Wallis. BABYLONIAN LIFE AND HISTORY. ("Bypaths of Bible
Knowledge" Series, V.) 1884. London: The Religious Tract Society. 1 vol.


BUNSEN, Chr. Carl Jos. GOTT IN DER GESCHICHTE, oder Der Fortschritt des
Glaubens an eine sittliche Weltordnung. 3 vols. Leipzig: 1857.

CASTREN, Alexander. KLEINERE SCHRIFTEN. St. Petersburg: 1862. 1 vol.

CORY. ANCIENT FRAGMENTS. London: 1876. 1 vol.

Biblisch-Assyriologische Studie. Leipzig: 1881. 1 vol.

---- DIE SPRACHE DER KOSSÄER. Leipzig: 1885 (or 1884?). 1 vol.



Vergleichenden Religionsgeschichte. 46 pages, Leipzig: 1882.

Babylonischen Nimrodepos. 36 pages. Göttingen: 1881.

instalment, 160 pp., 1885; and second instalment, 160 pp., 1886).
(Allgemeine Geschichte in einzelnen Darstellungen, Abtheilung 95 und

1882 and 1883.

(American Edition.) New York: 1853. 1 vol.

---- NINEVEH AND ITS REMAINS. London: 1849. 2 vols.

d'Archéologie. 1874. Paris: Maisonneuve et Cie. 2 vols.

---- LES ORIGINES DE L'HISTOIRE, d'après la Bible et les Traditions des
Peuples Orientaux. Paris: Maisonneuve et Cie. 3 vol. 1er vol. 1880; 2e
vol. 1882; 3e vol. 1884.

---- LA GENÈSE. Traduction d'après l'Hébreu. Paris: 1883. 1 vol.


---- IL MITO DI ADONE-TAMMUZ nei Documenti cuneiformi. 32 pages.
Firenze: 1879.

---- SUR LE NOM DE TAMMOUZ. (Extrait des Mémoires du Congrès
international des Orientalistes.) 17 pages. Paris: 1873.

Chevallier. American Edition. Philadelphia: 1871. 2 vols.

LOFTUS. CHALDEA AND SUSIANA. 1 vol. London: 1857.


MAURY, Alfred L. F. LA MAGIE ET L'ASTROLOGIE dans l'antiquité et en
Moyen Age. Paris: 1877. 1 vol. Quatrième édition.

Paris: Hachette & Cie. 1 vol.

(Bibliothèque Orientale Elzévirienne.) Paris: 1880.

MEYER, Eduard. GESCHICHTE DES ALTERTHUMS. Stuttgart: 1884. Vol. 1st.

edition. New York: 1875.

besonderer Berücksichtigung des Alten Testaments. Mit Vorwort und
Beigaben von Friedrich Delitzsch. Stuttgart: 1882. 1 vol.

(Extrait des Annales de Philosophie Chrètienne, 1874.) Perrot et

QUATREFAGES, A. de. L'ESPÈCE HUMAINE. Sixième edition. 1 vol. Paris:

WORLD. London: 1865. 1st and 2d vols.

RECORDS OF THE PAST. Published under the sanction of the Society of
Biblical Archæology. Volumes I. III. V. VII. IX. XI.

Knowledge" Series, II.) 3d edition, 1885. London: 1 vol.

---- THE ANCIENT EMPIRES OF THE EAST. 1 vol. London, 1884.

---- BABYLONIAN LITERATURE. 1 vol. London, 1884.

SCHRADER, Eberhard. KEILINSCHRIFTEN und Geschichtsforschung. Giessen:
1878. 1 vol.

---- DIE KEILINSCHRIFTEN und das Alte Testament. Giessen: 1883. 1 vol.

---- ISTAR'S HÖLLENFAHRT. 1 vol. Giessen: 1874.


SMITH, George. ASSYRIA from the Earliest Times to the Fall of Nineveh.
("Ancient History from the Monuments" Series.) London: 1 vol.

TYLOR, Edward B. PRIMITIVE CULTURE. Second American Edition. 2 vols. New
York: 1877.

ZIMMERN, Heinrich. BABYLONISCHE BUSSPSALMEN, umschrieben, übersetzt und
erklärt. 17 pages, 4to. Leipzig: 1885.

Numerous Essays by Sir Henry Rawlinson, Friedr. Delitzsch, E. Schrader
and others, in Mr. Geo. Rawlinson's translation of Herodotus, in the
Calwer Bibellexikon, and in various periodicals, such as "Proceedings"
and "Transactions" of the "Society of Biblical Archæology," "Jahrbücher
für Protestantische Theologie," "Zeitschrift für Keilschriftforschung,"
"Gazette Archéologique," and others.

                       LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

      _From a tablet in the British Museum._            _Frontispiece._
1. CUNEIFORM CHARACTERS                      _Ménant._              10
2. TEMPLE OF ÊA AT ERIDHU                    _Hommel._              23
3. VIEW OF EUPHRATES NEAR BABYLON            _Babelon._             31
4. MOUND OF BABIL                            _Oppert._              33
5. BRONZE DISH                               _Perrot and Chipiez._  35
6. BRONZE DISH (RUG PATTERN)                 _Perrot and Chipiez._  37
7. SECTION OF BRONZE DISH                    _Perrot and Chipiez._  39
8. VIEW OF NEBBI-YUNUS                       _Babelon._             41
9. BUILDING IN BAKED BRICK.                  _Perrot and Chipiez._  43
10. MOUND OF NINEVEH                         _Hommel._              45
11. MOUND OF MUGHEIR (ANCIENT UR)            _Taylor._              47
12. TERRACE WALL AT KHORSABAD                _Perrot and Chipiez._  49
13. RAFT BUOYED BY INFLATED SKINS (ANCIENT)  _Kaulen._              51
14. RAFT BUOYED BY INFLATED SKINS (MODERN)   _Kaulen._              51
15. EXCAVATIONS AT MUGHEIR (UR)              _Hommel._              53
16. WARRIORS SWIMMING ON INFLATED SKINS      _Babelon._             55
17. VIEW OF KOYUNJIK                         _Hommel._              57
18. STONE LION AT ENTRANCE OF A TEMPLE       _Perrot and Chipiez._  59
19. COURT OF HAREM AT KHORSABAD. RESTORED    _Perrot and Chipiez._  61
20. CIRCULAR PILLAR BASE                     _Perrot and Chipiez._  63
21. INTERIOR VIEW OF HAREM CHAMBER           _Perrot and Chipiez._  65
22, 23. COLORED FRIEZE IN ENAMELLED TILES    _Perrot and Chipiez._  67
24. PAVEMENT SLAB                            _Perrot and Chipiez._  69
26. WINGED LION WITH HUMAN HEAD              _Perrot and Chipiez._  73
27. WINGED BULL                              _Perrot and Chipiez._  75
28. MAN-LION                                 _Perrot and Chipiez._  77
29. FRAGMENT OF ENAMELLED BRICK              _Perrot and Chipiez._  79
30. RAM'S HEAD IN ALABASTER                  _British Museum._      81
31. EBONY COMB                               _Perrot and Chipiez._  81
32. BRONZE FORK AND SPOON                    _Perrot and Chipiez._  81
33. ARMENIAN LOUVRE                          _Botta._               83
34, 35. VAULTED DRAINS                       _Perrot and Chipiez._  84
36. CHALDEAN JAR-COFFIN                      _Taylor._              85
37. "DISH-COVER" TOMB AT MUGHEIR             _Taylor._              87
38. "DISH-COVER" TOMB                        _Taylor._              87
39. SEPULCHRAL VAULT AT MUGHEIR              _Taylor._              89
40. STONE JARS FROM GRAVES                   _Hommel._              89
41. DRAIN IN MOUND                           _Perrot and Chipiez._  90
42. WALL WITH DESIGNS IN TERRA-COTTA         _Loftus._              91
43. TERRA-COTTA CONE                         _Loftus._              91
44. HEAD OF ANCIENT CHALDEAN                 _Perrot and Chipiez._ 101
45. SAME, PROFILE VIEW                       _Perrot and Chipiez._ 101
46. CUNEIFORM INSCRIPTION                    _Perrot and Chipiez._ 107
47. INSCRIBED CLAY TABLET                    _Smith's Chald. Gen._ 109
48. CLAY TABLET IN ITS CASE                  _Hommel._             111
49. ANTIQUE BRONZE SETTING OF CYLINDER       _Perrot and Chipiez._ 112
50. CHALDEAN CYLINDER AND IMPRESSION         _Perrot and Chipiez._ 113
51. ASSYRIAN CYLINDER                                              113
52. PRISM OF SENNACHERIB                     _British Museum._     115
53. INSCRIBED CYLINDER FROM BORSIP           _Ménant._             117
54. DEMONS FIGHTING                          _British Museum._     165
55. DEMON OF THE SOUTH-WEST WIND             _Perrot and Chipiez._ 169
56. HEAD OF DEMON                            _British Museum._     170
57. OANNES                                   _Smith's Chald. Gen._ 187
58. CYLINDER OF SARGON FROM AGADÊ            _Hommel._             207
59. STATUE OF GUDÊA                          _Hommel._             217
60. BUST INSCRIBED WITH NAME OF NEBO         _British Museum._     243
61. BACK OF TABLET WITH ACCOUNT OF FLOOD     _Smith's Chald. Gen._ 262
62. BABYLONIAN CYLINDER                      _Smith's Chald. Gen._ 266
63. FEMALE WINGED FIGURES AND SACRED TREES   _British Museum._     269
64. WINGED SPIRITS BEFORE SACRED TREE        _Smith's Chald. Gen._ 270
65. SARGON OF ASSYRIA BEFORE SACRED TREE     _Perrot and Chipiez._ 271
66. EAGLE-HEADED FIGURE BEFORE SACRED TREE   _Perrot and Chipiez._ 273
                        BEFORE SACRED TREE   _Perrot and Chipiez._ 275
68. TEMPLE AND HANGING GARDENS AT KOYUNJIK   _British Museum._     277
69. PLAN OF A ZIGGURAT                       _Perrot and Chipiez._ 278
70. "ZIGGURAT" RESTORED                      _Perrot and Chipiez._ 279
71. BIRS-NIMRUD                              _Perrot and Chipiez._ 281
72, 73. BEL FIGHTS DRAGON                    _Perrot and Chipiez._ 289
74. BATTLE BETWEEN BEL AND DRAGON            _Smith's Chald. Gen._ 291
75. IZDUBAR AND LION                         _Smith's Chald. Gen._ 306
76. IZDUBAR AND LION                         _British Museum._     307
77. IZDUBAR AND ÊABÂNI                       _Smith's Chald. Gen._ 309
78. IZDUBAR AND LION                         _Perrot and Chipiez._ 310
79. SCORPION-MAN                             _Smith's Chald. Gen._ 311
80. STONE OBJECT FOUND AT ABU-HABBA                                312





1. In or about the year before Christ 606, Nineveh, the great city, was
destroyed. For many hundred years had she stood in arrogant splendor,
her palaces towering above the Tigris and mirrored in its swift waters;
army after army had gone forth from her gates and returned laden with
the spoils of conquered countries; her monarchs had ridden to the high
place of sacrifice in chariots drawn by captive kings. But her time came
at last. The nations assembled and encompassed her around. Popular
tradition tells how over two years lasted the siege; how the very river
rose and battered her walls; till one day a vast flame rose up to
heaven; how the last of a mighty line of kings, too proud to surrender,
thus saved himself, his treasures and his capital from the shame of
bondage. Never was city to rise again where Nineveh had been.

2. Two hundred years went by. Great changes had passed over the land.
The Persian kings now held the rule of Asia. But their greatness also
was leaning towards its decline and family discords undermined their
power. A young prince had rebelled against his elder brother and
resolved to tear the crown from him by main force. To accomplish this,
he had raised an army and called in the help of Grecian hirelings. They
came, 13,000 in number, led by brave and renowned generals, and did
their duty by him; but their valor could not save him from defeat and
death. Their own leader fell into an ambush, and they commenced their
retreat under the most disastrous circumstances and with little hope of

3. Yet they accomplished it. Surrounded by open enemies and false
friends, tracked and pursued, through sandy wastes and pathless
mountains, now parched with heat, now numbed with cold, they at last
reached the sunny and friendly Hellespont. It was a long and weary march
from Babylon on the Euphrates, near which city the great battle had been
fought. They might not have succeeded had they not chosen a great and
brave commander, Xenophon, a noble Athenian, whose fame as scholar and
writer equals his renown as soldier and general. Few books are more
interesting than the lively relation he has left of his and his
companions' toils and sufferings in this expedition, known in history as
"The Retreat of the Ten Thousand"--for to that number had the original
13,000 been reduced by battles, privations and disease. So cultivated a
man could not fail, even in the midst of danger and weighed down by
care, to observe whatever was noteworthy in the strange lands which he
traversed. So he tells us how one day his little army, after a forced
march in the early morning hours and an engagement with some light
troops of pursuers, having repelled the attack and thereby secured a
short interval of safety, travelled on till they came to the banks of
the Tigris. On that spot, he goes on, there was a vast desert city. Its
wall was twenty-five feet wide, one hundred feet high and nearly seven
miles in circuit. It was built of brick with a basement, twenty feet
high, of stone. Close by the city there stood a stone pyramid, one
hundred feet in width, and two hundred in height. Xenophon adds that
this city's name was Larissa and that it had anciently been inhabited by
Medes; that the king of Persia, when he took the sovereignty away from
the Medes, besieged it, but could not in any way get possession of it,
until, a cloud having obscured the sun, the inhabitants forsook the city
and thus it was taken.

4. Some eighteen miles further on (a day's march) the Greeks came to
another great deserted city, which Xenophon calls Mespila. It had a
similar but still higher wall. This city, he tells us, had also been
inhabited by Medes, and taken by the king of Persia. Now these curious
ruins were all that was left of Kalah and Nineveh, the two Assyrian
capitals. In the short space of two hundred years, men had surely not
yet lost the memory of Nineveh's existence and rule, yet they trod the
very site where it had stood and knew it not, and called its ruins by a
meaningless Greek name, handing down concerning it a tradition absurdly
made up of true and fictitious details, jumbled into inextricable
confusion. For Nineveh had been the capital of the Assyrian Empire,
while the Medes were one of the nations who attacked and destroyed it.
And though an eclipse of the sun--(the obscuring cloud could mean
nothing else)--did occur, created great confusion and produced important
results, it was at a later period and on an entirely different occasion.
As to "the king of Persia," no such personage had anything whatever to
do with the catastrophe of Nineveh, since the Persians had not yet been
heard of at that time as a powerful people, and their country was only a
small and insignificant principality, tributary to Media. So effectually
had the haughty city been swept from the face of the earth!

5. Another hundred years brought on other and even greater changes. The
Persian monarchy had followed in the wake of the empires that had gone
before it and fallen before Alexander, the youthful hero of Macedon. As
the conqueror's fleet of light-built Grecian ships descended the
Euphrates towards Babylon, they were often hindered in their progress by
huge dams of stone built across the river. The Greeks, with great labor,
removed several, to make navigation more easy. They did the same on
several other rivers,--nor knew that they were destroying the last
remaining vestige of a great people's civilization,--for these dams had
been used to save the water and distribute it into the numerous canals,
which covered the arid country with their fertilizing network. They may
have been told what travellers are told in our own days by the
Arabs--that these dams had been constructed once upon a time by Nimrod,
the Hunter-King. For some of them remain even still, showing their huge,
square stones, strongly united by iron cramps, above the water before
the river is swollen with the winter rains.

6. More than one-and-twenty centuries have rolled since then over the
immense valley so well named Mesopotamia--"the Land between the
Rivers,"--and each brought to it more changes, more wars, more
disasters, with rare intervals of rest and prosperity. Its position
between the East and the West, on the very high-road of marching armies
and wandering tribes, has always made it one of the great battle grounds
of the world. About one thousand years after Alexander's rapid invasion
and short-lived conquest, the Arabs overran the country, and settled
there, bringing with them a new civilization and the new religion given
them by their prophet Mohammed, which they thought it their mission to
carry, by force of word or sword, to the bounds of the earth. They even
founded there one of the principal seats of their sovereignty, and
Baghdad yielded not greatly in magnificence and power to Babylon of old.

7. Order, laws, and learning now flourished for a few hundred years,
when new hordes of barbarous people came pouring in from the East, and
one of them, the Turks, at last established itself in the land and
stayed. They rule there now. The valley of the Tigris and Euphrates is
a province of the Ottoman or Turkish Empire, which has its capital in
Constantinople; it is governed by pashas, officials sent by the Turkish
government, or the "Sublime Porte," as it is usually called, and the
ignorant, oppressive, grinding treatment to which it has now been
subjected for several hundred years has reduced it to the lowest depth
of desolation. Its wealth is exhausted, its industry destroyed, its
prosperous cities have disappeared or dwindled into insignificance. Even
Mossul, built by the Arabs on the right bank of the Tigris, opposite the
spot where Nineveh once stood, one of their finest cities, famous for
the manufacturing of the delicate cotton tissue to which it gave its
name--(_muslin_, _mousseline_)--would have lost all importance, had it
not the honor to be the chief town of a Turkish district and to harbor a
pasha. And Baghdad, although still the capital of the whole province, is
scarcely more than the shadow of her former glorious self; and her looms
no longer supply the markets of the world with wonderful shawls and
carpets, and gold and silver tissues of marvellous designs.

8. Mesopotamia is a region which must suffer under neglect and
misgovernment even more than others; for, though richly endowed by
nature, it is of a peculiar formation, requiring constant care and
intelligent management to yield all the return of which it is capable.
That care must chiefly consist in distributing the waters of the two
great rivers and their affluents over all the land by means of an
intricate system of canals, regulated by a complete and well-kept set
of dams and sluices, with other simpler arrangements for the remoter and
smaller branches. The yearly inundations caused by the Tigris and
Euphrates, which overflow their banks in spring, are not sufficient;
only a narrow strip of land on each side is benefited by them. In the
lowlands towards the Persian Gulf there is another inconvenience: the
country there being perfectly flat, the waters accumulate and stagnate,
forming vast pestilential swamps where rich pastures and wheat-fields
should be--and have been in ancient times. In short, if left to itself,
Upper Mesopotamia, (ancient Assyria), is unproductive from the
barrenness of its soil, and Lower Mesopotamia, (ancient Chaldea and
Babylonia), runs to waste, notwithstanding its extraordinary fertility,
from want of drainage.

9. Such is actually the condition of the once populous and flourishing
valley, owing to the principles on which the Turkish rulers carry on
their government. They look on their remoter provinces as mere sources
of revenue for the state and its officials. But even admitting this as
their avowed and chief object, they pursue it in an altogether
wrong-headed and short-sighted way. The people are simply and openly
plundered, and no portion of what is taken from them is applied to any
uses of local public utility, as roads, irrigation, encouragement of
commerce and industry and the like; what is not sent home to the Sultan
goes into the private pouches of the pasha and his many subaltern
officials. This is like taking the milk and omitting to feed the cow.
The consequence is, the people lose their interest in work of any kind,
leave off striving for an increase of property which they will not be
permitted to enjoy, and resign themselves to utter destitution with a
stolid apathy most painful to witness. The land has been brought to such
a degree of impoverishment that it is actually no longer capable of
producing crops sufficient for a settled population. It is cultivated
only in patches along the rivers, where the soil is rendered so fertile
by the yearly inundations as to yield moderate returns almost unasked,
and that mostly by wandering tribes of Arabs or of Kurds from the
mountains to the north, who raise their tents and leave the spot the
moment they have gathered in their little harvest--if it has not been
appropriated first by some of the pasha's tax-collectors or by roving
parties of Bedouins--robber-tribes from the adjoining Syrian and Arabian
deserts, who, mounted on their own matchless horses, are carried across
the open border with as much facility as the drifts of desert sand so
much dreaded by travellers. The rest of the country is left to nature's
own devices and, wherever it is not cut up by mountains or rocky ranges,
offers the well-known twofold character of steppe-land: luxuriant grassy
vegetation during one-third of the year and a parched, arid waste the
rest of the time, except during the winter rains and spring floods.

10. A wild and desolate scene! Imposing too in its sorrowful grandeur,
and well suited to a land which may be called a graveyard of empires and
nations. The monotony of the landscape would be unbroken, but for
certain elevations and hillocks of strange and varied shapes, which
spring up, as it were, from the plain in every direction; some are high
and conical or pyramidal in form, others are quite extensive and rather
flat on the summit, others again long and low, and all curiously
unconnected with each other or any ridge of hills or mountains. This is
doubly striking in Lower Mesopotamia or Babylonia, proverbial for its
excessive flatness. The few permanent villages, composed of mud-huts or
plaited reed-cabins, are generally built on these eminences, others are
used as burying-grounds, and a mosque, the Mohammedan house of prayer,
sometimes rises on one or the other. They are pleasing objects in the
beautiful spring season, when corn-fields wave on their summits, and
their slopes, as well as all the surrounding plains, are clothed with
the densest and greenest of herbage, enlivened with countless flowers of
every hue, till the surface of the earth looks, from a distance or from
a height, as gorgeous as the richest Persian carpet. But, on approaching
nearer to these hillocks or mounds, an unprepared traveller would be
struck by some peculiar features. Their substance being rather soft and
yielding, and the winter rains pouring down with exceeding violence,
their sides are furrowed in many places with ravines, dug by the rushing
streams of rain-water. These streams of course wash down much of the
substance itself and carry it far into the plain, where it lies
scattered on the surface quite distinct from the soil. These washings
are found to consist not of earth or sand, but of rubbish, something
like that which lies in heaps wherever a house is being built or
demolished, and to contain innumerable fragments of bricks, pottery,
stone evidently worked by the hand and chisel; many of these fragments
moreover bearing inscriptions in complicated characters composed of one
curious figure shaped like the head of an arrow, and used in every
possible position and combination,--like this:

[Illustration: 1.--CUNEIFORM CHARACTERS.]

11. In the crevices or ravines themselves, the waters having cleared
away masses of this loose rubbish, have laid bare whole sides of walls
of solid brick-work, sometimes even a piece of a human head or limb, or
a corner of sculptured stone-slab, always of colossal size and bold,
striking execution. All this tells its own tale and the conclusion is
self-apparent: that these elevations are not natural hillocks or knolls,
but artificial mounds, heaps of earth and building materials which have
been at some time placed there by men, then, collapsing and crumbling to
rubbish from neglect, have concealed within their ample sides all that
remains of those ancient structures and works of art, clothed themselves
in verdure, and deceitfully assumed all the outward signs of natural

12. The Arabs never thought of exploring these curious heaps. Mohammedan
nations, as a rule, take little interest in relics of antiquity;
moreover they are very superstitious, and, as their religious law
strictly forbids them to represent the human form either in painting or
sculpture lest such reproduction might lead ignorant and misguided
people back to the abominations of idolatry, so they look on relics of
ancient statuary with suspicion amounting to fear and connect them with
magic and witchcraft. It is, therefore, with awe not devoid of horror
that they tell travellers that the mounds contain underground passages
which are haunted not only by wild beasts, but by evil spirits--for have
not sometimes strange figures carved in stone been dimly perceived in
the crevices? Better instructed foreigners have long ago assumed that
within these mounds must be entombed whatever ruins may be preserved of
the great cities of yore. Their number formed no objection, for it was
well known how populous the valley had been in the days of its splendor,
and that, besides several famous cities, it could boast no end of
smaller ones, often separated from each other by a distance of only a
few miles. The long low mounds were rightly supposed to represent the
ancient walls, and the higher and vaster ones to have been the site of
the palaces and temples. The Arabs, though utterly ignorant of history
of any kind, have preserved in their religion some traditions from the
Bible, and so it happens that out of these wrecks of ages some biblical
names still survive. Almost everything of which they do not know the
origin, they ascribe to Nimrod; and the smaller of the two mounds
opposite Mosul, which mark the spot where Nineveh itself once stood,
they call "Jonah's Mound," and stoutly believe the mosque which crowns
it, surrounded by a comparatively prosperous village, to contain the
tomb of Jonah himself, the prophet who was sent to rebuke and warn the
wicked city. As the Mohammedans honor the Hebrew prophets, the whole
mound is sacred in their eyes in consequence.

13. If travellers had for some time been aware of these general facts
concerning the Mounds, it was many years before their curiosity and
interest were so far aroused as to make them go to the trouble and
expense of digging into them, in order to find out what they really
contained. Until within the last hundred years or so, not only the
general public, but even highly cultivated men and distinguished
scholars, under the words "study of antiquity," understood no more than
the study of so-called "_Classical_ Antiquity," i.e., of the language,
history and literature of the Greeks and Romans, together with the
ruins, works of art, and remains of all sorts left by these two nations.
Their knowledge of other empires and people they took from the Greek and
Roman historians and writers, without doubting or questioning their
statements, or--as we say now--without subjecting their statements to
any criticism. Moreover, European students in their absorption in and
devotion to classical studies, were too apt to follow the example of
their favorite authors and to class the entire rest of the world, as far
as it was known in ancient times, under the sweeping and somewhat
contemptuous by-name of "Barbarians," thus allowing them but a secondary
importance and an inferior claim to attention.

14. Things began greatly to change towards the end of the last century.
Yet the mounds of Assyria and Babylonia were still suffered to keep
their secret unrevealed. This want of interest may be in part explained
by their peculiar nature. They are so different from other ruins. A row
of massive pillars or of stately columns cut out on the clear blue sky,
with the desert around or the sea at their feet,--a broken arch or
battered tombstone clothed with ivy and hanging creepers, with the blue
and purple mountains for a background, are striking objects which first
take the eye by their beauty, then invite inspection by the easy
approach they offer. But these huge, shapeless heaps! What labor to
remove even a small portion of them! And when that is done, who knows
whether their contents will at all repay the effort and expense?

15. The first European whose love of learning was strong enough to make
him disregard all such doubts and difficulties, was Mr. Rich, an
Englishman. He was not particularly successful, nor were his researches
very extensive, being carried on entirely with his private means; yet
his name will always be honorably remembered, for he was _the first_ who
went to work with pickaxe and shovel, who hired men to dig, who measured
and described some of the principal mounds on the Euphrates, thus laying
down the groundwork of all later and more fruitful explorations in that
region. It was in 1820 and Mr. Rich was then political resident or
representative of the East India Company at Baghdad. He also tried the
larger of the two mounds opposite Mosul, encouraged by the report that,
a short time before he arrived there, a sculpture representing men and
animals had been disclosed to view. Unfortunately he could not procure
even a fragment of this treasure, for the people of Mosul, influenced by
their _ulema_--(doctor of the law)--who had declared these sculptures to
be "idols of the infidels," had walked across the river from the city in
a body and piously shattered them to atoms. Mr. Rich had not the good
luck to come across any such find himself, and after some further
efforts, left the place rather disheartened. He carried home to England
the few relics he had been able to obtain. In the absence of more
important ones, they were very interesting, consisting in fragments of
inscriptions, of pottery, in engraved stone, bricks and pieces of
bricks. After his death all these articles were placed in the British
Museum, where they formed the foundation of the present noble
Chaldea-Assyrian collection of that great institution. Nothing more was
undertaken for years, so that it could be said with literal truth that,
up to 1842, "a case three feet square inclosed all that remained, not
only of the great city Nineveh, but of Babylon itself!"[A]

16. The next in the field was Mr. Botta, appointed French Consul at
Mosul in 1842. He began to dig at the end of the same year, and
naturally attached himself specially to the larger of the two mounds
opposite Mosul, named KOYUNJIK, after a small village at its base. This
mound is the Mespila of Xenophon. He began enthusiastically, and worked
on for over three months, but repeated disappointments were beginning to
produce discouragement, when one day a peasant from a distant village
happened to be looking on at the small party of workmen. He was much
amused on observing that every--to him utterly worthless--fragment of
alabaster, brick or pottery, was carefully picked out of the rubbish,
most tenderly handled and laid aside, and laughingly remarked that they
might be better repaid for their trouble, if they would try the mound on
which his village was built, for that lots of such rubbish had kept
continually turning up, when they were digging the foundations of their

17. Mr. Botta had by this time fallen into a rather hopeless mood; yet
he did not dare to neglect the hint, and sent a few men to the mound
which had been pointed out to him, and which, as well as the village on
the top of it, bore the name of KHORSABAD. His agent began operations
from the top. A well was sunk into the mound, and very soon brought the
workmen to the top of a wall, which, on further digging, was found to be
lined along its base with sculptured slabs of some soft substance much
like gypsum or limestone. This discovery quickly brought Mr. Botta to
the spot, in a fever of excitement. He now took the direction of the
works himself, had a trench dug from the outside straight into the
mound, wide and deep, towards the place already laid open from above.
What was his astonishment on finding that he had entered a hall entirely
lined all round, except where interruptions indicated the place of
doorways leading into other rooms, with sculptured slabs similar to the
one first discovered, and representing scenes of battles, sieges and the
like. He walked as in a dream. It was a new and wonderful world suddenly
opened. For these sculptures evidently recorded the deeds of the
builder, some powerful conqueror and king. And those long and close
lines engraved in the stone, all along the slabs, in the same peculiar
character as the short inscriptions on the bricks that lay scattered on
the plain--they must surely contain the text to these sculptured
illustrations. But who is to read them? They are not like any known
writing in the world and may remain a sealed book forever. Who, then,
was the builder? To what age belong these structures? Which of the wars
we read about are here portrayed? None of these questions, which must
have strangely agitated him, could Mr. Botta have answered at the time.
But not the less to him remains the glory of having, first of living
men, entered the palace of an Assyrian king.

18. Mr. Botta henceforth devoted himself exclusively to the mound of
Khorsabad. His discovery created an immense sensation in Europe.
Scholarly indifference was not proof against so unlooked-for a shock;
the revulsion was complete and the spirit of research and enterprise was
effectually aroused, not to slumber again. The French consul was
supplied by his government with ample means to carry on excavations on a
large scale. If the first success may be considered as merely a great
piece of good fortune, the following ones were certainly due to
intelligent, untiring labor and ingenuous scholarship. We see the
results in Botta's voluminous work "Monuments de Ninive"[B] and in the
fine Assyrian collection of the Louvre, in the first room of which is
placed, as is but just, the portrait of the man to whose efforts and
devotion it is due.

19. The great English investigator Layard, then a young and enthusiastic
scholar on his Eastern travels, passing through Mosul in 1842, found Mr.
Botta engaged on his first and unpromising attempts at Koyunjik, and
subsequently wrote to him from Constantinople exhorting him to persist
and not give up his hopes of success. He was one of the first to hear of
the astounding news from Khorsabad, and immediately determined to carry
out a long-cherished project of his own, that of exploring a large mound
known among the Arabs under the name of NIMRUD, and situated somewhat
lower on the Tigris, near that river's junction with one of its chief
tributaries, the Zab. The difficulty lay in procuring the necessary
funds. Neither the trustees of the British Museum nor the English
Government were at first willing to incur such considerable expense on
what was still looked upon as very uncertain chances. It was a private
gentleman, Sir Stratford Canning, then English minister at
Constantinople, who generously came forward, and announced himself
willing to meet the outlay within certain limits, while authorities at
home were to be solicited and worked upon. So Mr. Layard was enabled to
begin operations on the mound which he had specially selected for
himself in the autumn of 1845, the year after that in which the building
of Khorsabad was finally laid open by Botta. The results of his
expedition were so startlingly vast and important, and the particulars
of his work on the Assyrian plains are so interesting and picturesque,
that they will furnish ample materials for a separate chapter.


[A] Layard's "Discoveries at Nineveh," Introduction.

[B] In five huge folio volumes, one of text, two of inscriptions, and
two of illustrations. The title shows that Botta erroneously imagined
the ruins he had discovered to be those of Nineveh itself.


                      LAYARD AND HIS WORK.

1. In the first part of November, 1845, we find the enthusiastic and
enterprising young scholar on the scene of his future exertions and
triumphs. His first night in the wilderness, in a ruinous Arab village
amidst the smaller mounds of Nimrud, is vividly described by him:--"I
slept little during the night. The hovel in which we had taken shelter,
and its inmates, did not invite slumber; but such scenes and companions
were not new to me; they could have been forgotten, had my brain been
less excited. Hopes, long-cherished, were now to be realized, or were to
end in disappointment. Visions of palaces underground, of gigantic
monsters, of sculptured figures, and endless inscriptions floated before
me. After forming plan after plan for removing the earth, and
extricating these treasures, I fancied myself wandering in a maze of
chambers from which I could find no outlet. Then again, all was
reburied, and I was standing on the grass-covered mound."

2. Although not doomed to disappointment in the end, these hopes were
yet to be thwarted in many ways before the visions of that night became
reality. For many and various were the difficulties which Layard had to
contend with during the following months as well as during his second
expedition in 1848. The material hardships of perpetual camping out in
an uncongenial climate, without any of the simplest conveniences of
life, and the fevers and sickness repeatedly brought on by exposure to
winter rains and summer heat, should perhaps be counted among the least
of them, for they had their compensations. Not so the ignorant and
ill-natured opposition, open or covert, of the Turkish authorities. That
was an evil to which no amount of philosophy could ever fully reconcile
him. His experiences in that line form an amusing collection. Luckily,
the first was also the worst. The pasha whom he found installed at Mosul
was, in appearance and temper, more like an ogre than a man. He was the
terror of the country. His cruelty and rapacity knew no bounds. When he
sent his tax-collectors on their dreaded round, he used to dismiss them
with this short and pithy instruction: "Go, destroy, eat!" (i.e.
"plunder"), and for his own profit had revived several kinds of
contributions which had been suffered to fall into disuse, especially
one called "tooth-money,"--"a compensation in money, levied upon all
villages in which a man of such rank is entertained, for the wear and
tear of his teeth in masticating the food he condescends to receive from
the inhabitants."

3. The letters with which Layard was provided secured him a gracious
reception from this amiable personage, who allowed him to begin
operations on the great mound of Nimrud with the party of Arab workmen
whom he had hired for the purpose. Some time after, it came to the
Pasha's knowledge that a few fragments of gold leaf had been found in
the rubbish and he even procured a small particle as sample. He
immediately concluded, as the Arab chief had done, that the English
traveller was digging for hidden treasure--an object far more
intelligible to them than that of disinterring and carrying home a
quantity of old broken stones. This incident, by arousing the great
man's rapacity, might have caused him to put a stop to all further
search, had not Layard, who well knew that treasure of this kind was not
likely to be plentiful in the ruins, immediately proposed that his
Excellency should keep an agent at the mound, to take charge of all the
precious metals which might be discovered there in the course of the
excavations. The Pasha raised no objections at the moment, but a few
days later announced to Layard that, to his great regret, he felt it his
duty to forbid the continuation of the work, since he had just learned
that the diggers were disturbing a Mussulman burying-ground. As the
tombs of true believers are held very sacred and inviolable by
Mohammedans, this would have been a fatal obstacle, had not one of the
Pasha's own officers confidentially disclosed to Layard that the tombs
were _sham ones_, that he and his men had been secretly employed to
fabricate them, and for two nights had been bringing stones for the
purpose from the surrounding villages. "We have destroyed more tombs of
true believers," said the Aga,--(officer)--"in making sham ones, than
ever you could have defiled. We have killed our horses and ourselves in
carrying those accursed stones." Fortunately the Pasha, whose misdeeds
could not be tolerated even by a Turkish government, was recalled about
Christmas, and succeeded by an official of an entirely different stamp,
a man whose reputation for justice and mildness had preceded him, and
whose arrival was accordingly greeted with public rejoicings. Operations
at the mound now proceeded for some time rapidly and successfully. But
this very success at one time raised new difficulties for our explorers.

4. One day, as Layard was returning to the mound from an excursion, he
was met on the way by two Arabs who had ridden out to meet him at full
speed, and from a distance shouted to him in the wildest excitement:
"Hasten, O Bey! hasten to the diggers! for they have found Nimrod
himself. It is wonderful, but it is true! we have seen him with our
eyes. There is no God but God!" Greatly puzzled, he hurried on and,
descending into the trench, found that the workmen had uncovered a
gigantic head, the body to which was still imbedded in earth and
rubbish. This head, beautifully sculptured in the alabaster furnished by
the neighboring hills, surpassed in height the tallest man present. The
great shapely features, in their majestic repose, seemed to guard some
mighty secret and to defy the bustling curiosity of those who gazed on
them in wonder and fear. "One of the workmen, on catching the first
glimpse of the monster, had thrown down his basket and run off toward
Mossul as fast as his legs could carry him."


5. The Arabs came in crowds from the surrounding encampments; they could
scarcely be persuaded that the image was of stone, and contended that it
was not the work of men's hands, but of infidel giants of olden times.
The commotion soon spread to Mosul, where the terrified workman,
"entering breathless into the bazars, announced to every one he met
that Nimrod had appeared." The authorities of the town were alarmed, put
their heads together and decided that such idolatrous proceedings were
an outrage to religion. The consequence was that Layard was requested by
his friend Ismail-Pasha to suspend operations for awhile, until the
excitement should have subsided, a request with which he thought it
wisest to comply without remonstrance, lest the people of Mosul might
come out in force and deal with his precious find as they had done with
the sculptured figure at Koyunjik in Rich's time. The alarm, however,
did not last long. Both Arabs and Turks soon became familiar with the
strange creations which kept emerging out of the earth, and learned to
discuss them with great calm and gravity. The colossal bulls and lions
with wings and human heads, of which several pairs were discovered, some
of them in a state of perfect preservation, were especially the objects
of wonder and conjectures, which generally ended in a curse "on all
infidels and their works," the conclusion arrived at being that "the
idols" were to be sent to England, to form gateways to the palace of the
Queen. And when some of these giants, now in the British Museum, were
actually removed, with infinite pains and labor, to be dragged down to
the Tigris, and floated down the river on rafts, there was no end to the
astonishment of Layard's simple friends. On one such occasion an Arab
Sheikh, or chieftain, whose tribe had engaged to assist in moving one of
the winged bulls, opened his heart to him. "In the name of the Most
High," said he, "tell me, O Bey, what you are going to do with these
stones. So many thousands of purses spent on such things! Can it be, as
you say, that your people learn wisdom from them? or is it as his
reverence the Cadi declares, that they are to go to the palace of your
Queen, who, with the rest of the unbelievers, worships these idols? As
for wisdom, these figures will not teach you to make any better knives,
or scissors, or chintzes, and it is in the making of these things that
the English show their wisdom."

6. Such was the view very generally taken of Layard's work by both Turks
and Arabs, from the Pasha down to the humblest digger in his band of
laborers, and he seldom felt called upon to play the missionary of
science, knowing as he did that all such efforts would be but wasted
breath. This want of intellectual sympathy did not prevent the best
understanding from existing between himself and these rangers of the
desert. The primitive life which he led amongst them for so many months,
the kindly hospitality which he invariably experienced at their hands
during the excursions made and the visits he paid to different Bedouin
tribes in the intervals of recreation which he was compelled to allow
himself from time to time--these are among the most pleasurable memories
of those wonderful, dreamlike years. He lingers on them lovingly and
retraces them through many a page of both his books[C]--pages which, for
their picturesque vividness, must be perused with delight even by such
as are but slightly interested in the discovery of buried palaces and
winged bulls. One longs to have been with him through some of those
peerless evenings when, after a long day's work, he sat before his cabin
in the cool starlight, watching the dances with which those
indefatigable Arabs, men and women, solaced themselves deep into the
night, while the encampment was lively with the hum of voices, and the
fires lit to prepare the simple meal. One longs to have shared in some
of those brisk rides across plains so thickly enamelled with flowers,
that it seemed a patchwork of many colors, and "the dogs, as they
returned from hunting, issued from the long grass dyed red, yellow, or
blue, according to the flowers through which they had last forced their
way,"--the joy of the Arab's soul, which made the chief, Layard's
friend, continually exclaim, "rioting in the luxuriant herbage and
scented air, as his mare waded through the flowers:--'What delight has
God given us equal to this? It is the only thing worth living for. What
do the dwellers in cities know of true happiness? They never have seen
grass or flowers! May God have pity on them!'" How glorious to watch the
face of the desert changing its colors almost from day to day, white
succeeding to pale straw color, red to white, blue to red, lilac to
blue, and bright gold to that, according to the flowers with which it
decked itself! Out of sight stretches the gorgeous carpet, dotted with
the black camel's-hair tents of the Arabs, enlivened with flocks of
sheep and camels, and whole studs of horses of noble breed which are
brought out from Mosul and left to graze at liberty, in the days of
healthy breezes and fragrant pastures.

7. So much for spring. A beautiful, a perfect season, but unfortunately
as brief as it is lovely, and too soon succeeded by the terrible heat
and long drought of summer, which sometimes set in so suddenly as hardly
to give the few villagers time to gather in their crops. Chaldea or
Lower Mesopotamia is in this respect even worse off than the higher
plains of Assyria. A temperature of 120° in the shade is no unusual
occurrence in Baghdad; true, it can be reduced to 100° in the cellars of
the houses by carefully excluding the faintest ray of light, and it is
there that the inhabitants mostly spend their days in summer. The
oppression is such that Europeans are entirely unmanned and unfitted for
any kind of activity. "Camels sicken, and birds are so distressed by the
high temperature, that they sit in the date-trees about Baghdad, with
their mouths open, panting for fresh air."[D]

8. But the most frightful feature of a Mesopotamian summer is the
frequent and violent sand-storms, during which travellers, in addition
to all the dangers offered by snow-storms--being buried alive and losing
their way--are exposed to that of suffocation not only from the
furnace-like heat of the desert-wind, but from the impalpable sand,
which is whirled and driven before it, and fills the eyes, mouth and
nostrils of horse and rider. The three miles' ride from Layard's
encampment to the mound of Nimrud must have been something more than
pleasant morning exercise in such a season, and though the deep trenches
and wells afforded a comparatively cool and delightful retreat, he soon
found that fever was the price to be paid for the indulgence, and was
repeatedly laid up with it. "The verdure of the plain," he says in one
place, "had perished almost in a day. Hot winds, coming from the desert,
had burnt up and carried away the shrubs; flights of locusts, darkening
the air, had destroyed the few patches of cultivation, and had completed
the havoc commenced by the heat of the sun.... Violent whirlwinds
occasionally swept over the face of the country. They could be seen as
they advanced from the desert, carrying along with them clouds of dust
and sand. Almost utter darkness prevailed during their passage, which
lasted generally about an hour, and nothing could resist their fury. On
returning home one afternoon after a tempest of the kind, I found no
traces of my dwellings; they had been completely carried away. Ponderous
wooden frame-works had been borne over the bank and hurled some hundred
yards distant; the tents had disappeared, and my furniture was scattered
over the plain."

9. Fortunately it would not require much labor to restore the wooden
frames to their proper place and reconstruct the reed-plaited,
mud-plastered walls as well as the roof composed of reeds and
boughs--such being the sumptuous residences of which Layard shared the
largest with various domestic animals, from whose immediate
companionship he was saved by a thin partition, the other hovels being
devoted to the wives, children and poultry of his host, to his own
servants and different household uses. But the time came when not even
this accommodation, poor as it was, could be enjoyed with any degree of
comfort. When the summer heat set in in earnest, the huts became
uninhabitable from their closeness and the vermin with which they
swarmed, while a canvas tent, though far preferable in the way of
airiness and cleanliness, did not afford sufficient shelter.

10. "In this dilemma," says Layard, "I ordered a recess to be cut into
the bank of the river where it rose perpendicularly from the water's
edge. By screening the front with reeds and boughs of trees, and
covering the whole with similar materials, a small room was formed. I
was much troubled, however, with scorpions and other reptiles, which
issued from the earth forming the walls of my apartment; and later in
the summer by the gnats and sandflies which hovered on a calm night over
the river." It is difficult to decide between the respective merits of
this novel summer retreat and of the winter dwelling, ambitiously
constructed of mud bricks dried in the sun, and roofed with solid wooden
beams. This imposing residence, in which Layard spent the last months of
his first winter in Assyria, would have been sufficient protection
against wind and weather, after it had been duly coated with mud.
Unfortunately a heavy shower fell before it was quite completed, and so
saturated the bricks that they did not dry again before the following
spring. "The consequence was," he pleasantly remarks, "that the only
verdure on which my eyes were permitted to feast before my return to
Europe, was furnished by my own property--the walls in the interior of
the rooms being continually clothed with a crop of grass."


11. These few indications are sufficient to give a tolerably clear idea
of what might be called "Pleasures and hardships of an explorer's life
in the desert." As for the work itself, it is simple enough in the
telling, although it must have been extremely wearisome and laborious in
the performance. The simplest way to get at the contents of a mound,
would be to remove all the earth and rubbish by carting it away,--a
piece of work which our searchers might no doubt have accomplished with
great facility, had they had at their disposal a few scores of thousands
of slaves and captives, as had the ancient kings who built the huge
constructions the ruins of which had now to be disinterred. With a
hundred or two of hired workmen and very limited funds, the case was
slightly different. The task really amounted to this: to achieve the
greatest possible results at the least possible expense of labor and
time, and this is how such excavations are carried out on a plan
uniformly followed everywhere as the most practical and direct:

12. Trenches, more or less wide, are conducted from different sides
towards the centre of the mound. This is obviously the surest and
shortest way to arrive at whatever remains of walls may be imbedded in
it. But even this preliminary operation has to be carried out with some
judgment and discernment. It is known that the Chaldeans and Assyrians
constructed their palaces and temples not upon the level, natural soil,
but upon an artificial platform of brick and earth, at least thirty feet
high. This platform was faced on all sides with a strong wall of solid
burned brick, often moreover cased with stone. A trench dug straight
from the plain into the lower part of the mound would consequently be
wasted labor, since it could never bring to anything but that same blind
wall, behind which there is only the solid mass of the platform. Digging
therefore begins in the slope of the mound, at a height corresponding to
the supposed height of the platform, and is carried on straight across
its surface until a wall is reached,--a wall belonging to one of the
palaces or temples. This wall has then to be followed, till a break in
it is found, indicating an entrance or doorway.[E] The burrowing process
becomes more and more complicated, and sometimes dangerous. Shafts have
to be sunk from above at frequent intervals to introduce air and light
into the long and narrow corridor; the sides and vault have to be
propped by beams to prevent the soft earthy mass from falling in and
crushing the diggers. Every shovelful of earth cleared away is removed
in baskets which are passed from hand to hand till they are emptied
outside the trench, or else lowered empty and sent up full, through the
shafts by means of ropes and pulleys, to be emptied on the top. When a
doorway is reached, it is cleared all through the thickness of the
wall, which is very great; then a similar tunnel is conducted all along
the inside of the wall, the greatest care being needed not to damage the
sculptures which generally line it, and which, as it is, are more or
less injured and cracked, their upper parts sometimes entirely destroyed
by the action of fire. When the tunnel has been carried along the four
sides, every doorway or portal carefully noted and cleared, it is seen
from the measurements,--especially the width--whether the space explored
be an inner court, a hall or a chamber. If the latter, it is sometimes
entirely cleared from above, when the rubbish frequently yields valuable
finds in the shape of various small articles. One such chamber,
uncovered by Layard, at Koyunjik, proved a perfect mine of treasures.
The most curious relics were brought to light in it: quantities of studs
and small rosettes in mother-of-pearl, ivory and metal, (such as were
used to ornament the harness of the war-horses), bowls, cups and dishes
of bronze,[F] besides caldrons, shields and other items of armor, even
glass bowls, lastly fragments of a royal throne--possibly the very
throne on which King Sennacherib sat to give audience or pronounce
judgments, for the palace at Koyunjik where these objects were found was
built by that monarch so long familiar to us only from the Bible, and
the sculptures and inscriptions which cover its walls are the annals of
his conquests abroad and his rule at home.

[Illustration: 4.--MOUND OF BABIL. (RUINS OF BABYLON.) (Oppert.)]

A description of the removal of the colossal bulls and lions which were
shipped to England and now are safely housed in the British Museum,
ought by rights to form the close of a chapter devoted to "Layard and
his work." But the reference must suffice; the vivid and entertaining
narrative should be read in the original, as the passages are too long
for transcription, and would be marred by quoting.

[Illustration 5.--BRONZE DISH.]


[C] "Nineveh and its Remains," and "Discoveries in Nineveh and Babylon."

[D] Rawlinson's "Five Great Monarchies of the Ancient World," Vol. I.,
Chap. II.

[E] See Figure 15, on p. 53.

[F] See Figures 5, 6, and 7.


                            THE RUINS.

     "And they said to one another, Go to, let us make brick, and
     burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone and slime
     for mortar."--_Gen._ xi. 3.

1. It is a principle, long ago laid down and universally recognized,
that every country _makes_ its own people. That is, the mode of life and
the intellectual culture of a people are shaped by the characteristic
features of the land in which it dwells; or, in other words, men can
live only in a manner suited to the peculiarities of their native
country. Men settled along the sea-shore will lead a different life,
will develop different qualities of mind and body from the owners of
vast inland pasture-grounds or the holders of rugged mountain
fastnesses. They will all dress differently, eat different food, follow
different pursuits. Their very dwellings and public buildings will
present an entirely different aspect, according to the material which
they will have at hand in the greatest abundance, be it stone, wood or
any other substance suitable for the purpose. Thus every country will
create its own peculiar style of art, determined chiefly by its own
natural productions. On these, architecture, the art of the builder,
will be even more dependent than any other.

[Illustration: 6.--BRONZE DISH (RUG-PATTERN).]

2. It would seem as though Chaldea or Lower Mesopotamia, regarded from
this point of view, could never have originated any architecture at all,
for it is, at first sight, absolutely deficient in building materials of
any sort. The whole land is alluvial, that is, formed, gradually,
through thousands of years, of the rich mud deposited by the two
rivers, as they spread into vast marshy flats towards the end of their
course. Such soil, when hardened into sufficient consistency, is the
finest of all for cultivation, and a greater source of wealth than mines
of the most precious ore; but it bears no trees and contains no stone.
The people who were first tempted to settle in the lowlands towards the
Persian Gulf by the extraordinary fertility of that region, found
nothing at all available to construct their simple dwellings--nothing
but reeds of enormous size, which grew there, as they do now, in the
greatest profusion. These reeds "cover the marshes in the summer-time,
rising often to the height of fourteen or fifteen feet. The Arabs of the
marsh region form their houses of this material, binding the stems
together and bending them into arches, to make the skeletons of their
buildings; while, to form the walls, they stretch across from arch to
arch mats made of the leaves."[G]

[Illustration: 7.--SECTION OF BRONZE DISH.]

3. There can be no doubt that of such habitations consisted the villages
and towns of those first settlers. They gave quite sufficient shelter in
the very mild winters of that region, and, when coated with a layer of
mud which soon dried and hardened in the sun, could exclude even the
violent rains of that season. But they were in no way fitted for more
ambitious and dignified purposes. Neither the palaces of the kings nor
the temples of the gods could be constructed out of bent reeds.
Something more durable must be found, some material that would lend
itself to constructions of any size or shape. The mud coating of the
cabins naturally suggested such a material. Could not this same mud or
clay, of which an inexhaustible supply was always on hand, be moulded
into cakes of even size, and after being left to dry in the sun, be
piled into walls of the required height and thickness? And so men began
to make bricks. It was found that the clay gained much in consistency
when mixed with finely chopped straw--another article of which the
country, abounding in wheat and other grains, yielded unlimited
quantities. But even with this improvement the sun-dried bricks could
not withstand the continued action of many rainy seasons, or many
torrid summers, but had a tendency to crumble away when parched too dry,
or to soak and dissolve back into mud, when too long exposed to rain.
All these defects were removed by the simple expedient of baking the
bricks in kilns or ovens, a process which gives them the hardness and
solidity of stone. But as the cost of kiln-dried bricks is naturally
very much greater than that of the original crude article, so the latter
continued to be used in far greater quantities; the walls were made
entirely of them and only protected by an outward casing of the hard
baked bricks. These being so much more expensive, and calculated to last
forever, great care was bestowed on their preparation; the best clay was
selected and they were stamped with the names and titles of the king by
whose order the palace or temple was built, for which they were to be
used. This has been of great service in identifying the various ruins
and assigning them dates, at least approximately. As is to be expected,
there is a notable difference in the specimens of different periods.
While on some bricks bearing the name of a king who lived about 3000
B.C. the inscription is uncouth and scarcely legible, and even their
shape is rude and the material very inferior, those of the later
Babylonian period (600 B.C.) are handsome and neatly made. As to the
quality, all explorers agree in saying it is fully equal to that of the
best modern English bricks. The excellence of these bricks for building
purposes is a fact so well known that for now two thousand years--ever
since the destruction of Babylon--its walls, temples and palaces have
been used as quarries for the construction of cities and villages. The
little town of HILLAH, situated nearest to the site of the ancient
capital, is built almost entirely with bricks from one single mound,
that of KASR--once the gorgeous and far-famed palace of Nebuchadnezzar,
whose name and titles thus grace the walls of the most lowly Arab and
Turkish dwellings. All the other mounds are similarly used, and so far
is the valuable mine from being exhausted, that it furnishes forth, to
this day, a brisk and flourishing trade. While a party of workmen is
continually employed in digging for the available bricks, another is
busy conveying them to Hillah; there they are shipped on the Euphrates
and carried to any place where building materials are in demand, often
even loaded on donkeys at this or that landing-place and sent miles away
inland; some are taken as far as Baghdad, where they have been used for
ages. The same thing is done wherever there are mounds and ruins. Both
Layard and his successors had to allow their Arab workmen to build their
own temporary houses out of ancient bricks, only watching them narrowly,
lest they should break some valuable relic in the process or use some of
the handsomest and best-preserved specimens.

[Illustration: 8.--VIEW OF NEBBI YUNUS]

4. No construction of bricks, either crude or kiln-dried, could have
sufficient solidity without the help of some kind of cement, to make
them adhere firmly together. This also the lowlands of Chaldea and
Babylonia yield in sufficient quantity and of various qualities. While
in the early structures a kind of sticky red clay or loam is used, mixed
with chopped straw, bitumen or pitch is substituted at a later period,
which substance, being applied hot, adheres so firmly to the bricks,
that pieces of these are broken off when an attempt is made to procure a
fragment of the cement. This valuable article was brought down by water
from IS on the Euphrates (now called HIT), where abundant springs of
bitumen are to this day in activity. Calcareous earth--i.e., earth
strongly mixed with lime--being very plentiful to the west of the lower
Euphrates, towards the Arabian frontier, the Babylonians of the latest
times learned to make of it a white mortar which, for lightness and
strength, has never been surpassed.

[Illustration: 9.--BUILDING IN BAKED BRICK (MODERN). (Perrot and

5. All the essential materials for plain but durable constructions being
thus procurable on the spot or in the immediate neighborhood, the next
important point was the selection of proper sites for raising these
constructions, which were to serve purposes of defence as well as of
worship and royal majesty. A rocky eminence, inaccessible on one or
several sides, or at least a hill, a knoll somewhat elevated above the
surrounding plain, have usually been chosen wherever such existed. But
this was not the case in Chaldea. There, as far as eye can see, not the
slightest undulation breaks the dead flatness of the land. Yet there,
more than anywhere else, an elevated position was desirable, if only as
a protection from the unhealthy exhalations of a vast tract of swamps,
and from the intolerable nuisance of swarms of aggressive and venomous
insects, which infest the entire river region during the long summer
season. Safety from the attacks of the numerous roaming tribes which
ranged the country in every direction before it was definitely settled
and organized, was also not among the last considerations. So, what
nature had refused, the cunning and labor of man had to supply.
Artificial hills or platforms were constructed, of enormous size and
great height--from thirty to fifty, even sixty feet, and on their flat
summits the buildings were raised. These platforms sometimes supported
only one palace, sometimes, as in the case of the immense mounds of
Koyunjik and Nimrud in Assyria, their surface had room for several,
built by successive kings. Of course such huge piles could not be
entirely executed in solid masonry, even of crude bricks. These were
generally mixed with earth and rubbish of all kinds, in more or less
regular, alternate layers, the bricks being laid in clay. But the
outward facing was in all cases of baked brick. The platform of the
principal mound which marks the place of ancient UR, (now called
MUGHEIR),[H] is faced with a wall ten feet thick, of red kiln-dried
bricks, cemented with bitumen. In Assyria, where stone was not scarce,
the sides of the platform were even more frequently "protected by
massive stone-masonry, carried perpendicularly from the natural ground
to a height somewhat exceeding that of the platform, and either made
plain at the top, or else crowned into stone battlements cut into

[Illustration: 10.--MOUND OF NIMRUD. (Hommel.)]

6. Some mounds are considerably higher than the others and of a peculiar
shape, almost like a pyramid, that is, ending in a point from which it
slopes down rapidly on all sides. Such is the pyramidal mound of Nimrud,
which Layard describes as being so striking and picturesque an object as
you approach the ruins from any point of the plain.[J] Such also is the
still more picturesque mound of BORSIP (now BIRS NIMRUD) near Babylon,
the largest of this kind.[K] These mounds are the remains of peculiar
constructions, called ZIGGURATS, composed of several platforms piled one
on the other, each square in shape and somewhat smaller than the
preceding one; the topmost platform supported a temple or sanctuary,
which by these means was raised far above the dwellings of men, a
constant reminder not less eloquent than the exhortation in some of our
religious services: "Lift up your hearts!" Of these heavenward pointing
towers, which were also used as observatories by the Chaldeans, great
lovers of the starry heavens, that of Borsip, once composed of seven
stages, is the loftiest; it measures over 150 feet in perpendicular

[Illustration: 11.--MOUND OF MUGHEIR (ANCIENT UR).]

7. It is evident that these artificial hills could have been erected
only at an incredible cost of labor. The careful measurements which have
been taken of several of the principal mounds have enabled explorers to
make an accurate calculation of the exact amount of labor employed on
each. The result is startling, even though one is prepared for something
enormous. The great mound of Koyunjik--which represents the palaces of
Nineveh itself--covers an area of one hundred acres, and reaches an
elevation of 95 feet at its highest point. To heap up such a pile of
brick and earth "would require the united exertions of 10,000 men for
twelve years, or of 20,000 men for six years."[L] Then only could the
construction of the palaces begin. The mound of Nebbi-Yunus, which has
not yet been excavated, covers an area of forty acres and is loftier and
steeper than its neighbor: "its erection would have given full
employment to 10,000 men for the space of five years and a half."
Clearly, none but conquering monarchs, who yearly took thousands of
prisoners in battles and drove home into captivity a part of the
population of every country they subdued, could have employed such hosts
of workmen on their buildings--not once, but continually, for it seems
to have been a point of honor with the Assyrian kings that each should
build a new palace for himself.

[Illustration: 12.--TERRACE WALL AT KHORSABAD. (Perrot and Chipiez.)]

8. When one considers the character of the land along the upper course
of the Tigris, where the Assyrians dwelt, one cannot help wondering why
they went on building mounds and using nothing but bricks in their
constructions. There is no reason for it in the nature of the country.
The cities of Assyria--NINEVEH (Koyunjik), KALAH (Nimrud), ARBELA,
DUR-SHARRUKIN (Khorsabad) were built in the midst of a hilly region
abounding in many varieties of stone, from soft limestone to hard
basalt; some of them actually stood on rocky ground, their moats being
in part cut through the rock. Had they wanted stone of better quality,
they had only to get it from the Zagros range of mountains, which skirts
all Assyria to the East, separating it from Media. Yet they never
availed themselves of these resources, which must have led to great
improvements in their architecture, and almost entirely reserved the use
of stone for ornamental purposes. This would tend to show, at all
events, that the Assyrians were not distinguished for inventive genius.
They had wandered northward from the lowlands, where they had dwelt for
centuries as a portion of the Chaldean nation. When they separated from
it and went off to found cities for themselves, they took with them
certain arts and tricks of handicraft learned in the old home, and never
thought of making any change in them. It does not even seem to have
occurred to them that by selecting a natural rocky elevation for their
buildings they would avoid the necessity of an artificial platform and
save vast amount of labor and time.

[Illustration: 13.--RAFT BUOYED BY INFLATED SKINS. (ANCIENT.) (Kaulen.)]

[Illustration: 14.--RAFT BUOYED BY INFLATED SKINS. (MODERN.) (Kaulen.)]

9. That they did put stone to one practical use--the outward casing of
their walls and platforms--we have already seen. The blocks must have
been cut in the Zagros mountains and brought by water--rafted down the
Zab, or some other of the rivers which, springing from those mountains,
flow into the Tigris. The process is represented with perfect clearness
on some of the sculptures. That reproduced in Fig. 13 is of great
interest, as showing a peculiar mode of transport,--rafts floated on
inflated skins--which is at the present moment in as general and
constant use as it appears to have been in the same parts three thousand
years ago and probably more. When Layard wished to send off the bulls
and lions which he had moved from Nimrud and Koyunjik down the Tigris to
Baghdad and Busrah, (or Bassorah), there to be embarked for Europe, he
had recourse to this conveyance, as no other is known for similar
purposes. This is how he describes the primitive, but ingenious
contrivance: "The skins of full-grown sheep and goats, taken off with as
few incisions as possible, are dried and prepared, one aperture being
left, through which the air is forced by the lungs. A framework of
poplar beams, branches of trees, and reeds, having been constructed of
the size of the intended raft, the inflated skins are tied to it by
osier twigs. The raft is then complete and is moved to the water and
launched. Care is taken to place the skins with their mouths upward,
that, in case any should burst or require refilling, they can be easily
reached. Upon the framework are piled bales of goods, and property
belonging to merchants and travellers.... The raftmen impel these rude
vessels by long poles, to the ends of which are fastened a few pieces of
split cane. (See Fig. 14.) ... During the floods in spring, or after
heavy rains, small rafts may float from Mosul to Baghdad in about
eighty-four hours; but the larger are generally six or seven days in
performing the voyage. In summer, and when the river is low, they are
frequently nearly a month in reaching their destination. When they have
been unloaded, they are broken up, and the beams, wood and twigs, sold
at considerable profit. The skins are washed and afterward rubbed with a
preparation, to keep them from cracking and rotting. They are then
brought back, either on the shoulders of the raftmen or upon donkeys, to
Mossul and Tekrit, where the men engaged in the navigation of the Tigris
usually reside." Numerous sculptures show us that similar skins were
also used by swimmers, who rode upon them in the water, probably when
they intended to swim a greater distance than they could have
accomplished by their unassisted efforts. (See Figure 16.)

[Illustration: 15.--EXCAVATIONS AT MUGHEIR (UR).]

10. Our imagination longs to reconstruct those gigantic piles as they
must have struck the beholder in their towering hugeness, approached
from the plain probably by several stairways and by at least one ascent
of a slope gentle enough to offer a convenient access to horses and
chariots. What an imposing object must have been, for instance, the
palace of Sennacherib, on the edge of its battlemented platform (mound
of Koyunjik), rising directly above the waters of the Tigris,--named in
the ancient language "the Arrow" from the swiftness of its current--into
the golden and crimson glory of an Eastern sunset! Although the sameness
and unwieldy nature of the material used must have put architectural
beauty of outline out of the question, the general effect must have been
one of massive grandeur and majesty, aided as it was by the elaborate
ornamentation lavished on every portion of the building. Unfortunately
the work of reconstruction is left almost entirely to imagination, which
derives but little help from the shapeless heaps into which time has
converted those ancient, mighty halls.

[Illustration: 16.--WARRIORS SWIMMING ON INFLATED SKINS. (Babelon.)]

11. Fergusson, an English explorer and scholar whose works on subjects
connected with art and especially architecture hold a high place, has
attempted to restore the palace of Sennacherib such as he imagines it to
have been, from the hints furnished by the excavations. He has produced
a striking and most effective picture, of which, however, an entire half
is simply guesswork. The whole nether part--the stone-cased,
battlemented platform wall, the broad stairs, the esplanade handsomely
paved with patterned slabs, and the lower part of the palace with its
casing of sculptured slabs and portals guarded by winged bulls--is
strictly according to the positive facts supplied by the excavations.
For the rest, there is no authority whatever. We do not even positively
know whether there was any second story to Assyrian palaces at all. At
all events, no traces of inside staircases have been found, and the
upper part of the walls of even the ground-floor has regularly been
either demolished or destroyed by fire. As to columns, it is impossible
to ascertain how far they may have been used and in what way. Such as
were used could have been, as a rule, only of wood--trunks of great
trees hewn and smoothed--and consequently every vestige of them has
disappeared, though some round column bases in stone have been found.[M]
The same remarks apply to the restoration of an Assyrian palace court,
also after Fergusson, while that of a palace hall, after Layard, is not
open to the same reproach and gives simply the result of actual
discoveries. Without, therefore, stopping long to consider conjectures
more or less unsupported, let us rather try to reproduce in our minds a
clear perception of what the audience hall of an Assyrian king looked
like from what we may term positive knowledge. We shall find that our
materials will go far towards creating for us a vivid and authentic

[Illustration: 17.--VIEW OF KOYUNJIK. (Hommel.)]

12. On entering such a hall the first thing to strike us would probably
be the pavement, either of large alabaster slabs delicately carved in
graceful patterns, as also the arched doorways leading into the adjacent
rooms (see Figs. 24 and 25, pp. 69 and 71), or else covered with rows of
inscriptions, the characters being deeply engraven and afterwards filled
with a molten metallic substance, like brass or bronze, which would give
the entire floor the appearance of being covered with inscriptions in
gilt characters, the strange forms of cuneiform writing making the whole
look like an intricate and fanciful design.

(Perrot and Chipiez.)]

13. Our gaze would next be fascinated by the colossal human-headed
winged bulls and lions keeping their silent watch in pairs at each of
the portals, and we should notice with astonishment that the artists had
allowed them each an extra leg, making the entire number five instead of
four. This was not done at random, but with a very well-calculated
artistic object--that of giving the monster the right number of legs,
whether the spectator beheld it in front or in profile, as in both cases
one of the three front legs is concealed by the others. The front view
shows the animal standing, while it appears to be striding when viewed
from the side. (See Figures 18 and 27, pp. 59 and 75.) The walls were
worthy of these majestic door-keepers. The crude brick masonry
disappeared up to a height of twelve to fifteen feet from the ground
under the sculptured slabs of soft grayish alabaster which were solidly
applied to the wall, and held together by strong iron cramps. Sometimes
one subject or one gigantic figure of king or deity was represented on
one slab; often the same subject occupied several slabs, and not
unfrequently was carried on along an entire wall. In this case the lines
begun on one slab were continued on the next with such perfect
smoothness, so absolutely without a break, as to warrant the conclusion
that the slabs were sculptured _after_ they had been put in their
places, not before. Traces of paint show that color was to a certain
extent employed to enliven these representations, probably not over
plentifully and with some discrimination. Thus color is found in many
places on the eyes, brows, hair, sandals, the draperies, the mitre or
high headdress of the kings, on the harness of horses and portions of
the chariots, on the flowers carried by attendants, and sometimes on
trees. Where a siege is portrayed, the flames which issue out of windows
and roofs seem always to have been painted red. There is reason to
believe, however, that color was but sparingly bestowed on the
sculptures, and therefore they must have presented a pleasing contrast
with the richness of the ornamentation which ran along the walls
immediately above, and which consisted of hard baked bricks of large
size, painted and glazed in the fire, forming a continuous frieze from
three to five feet wide. Sometimes the painting represented human
figures and various scenes, sometimes also winged figures of deities or
fantastic animals,--in which case it was usually confined above and
below by a simple but graceful running pattern; or it would consist
wholly of a more or less elaborate continuous pattern like Fig. 22,
23, or 25, these last symbolical compositions with a religious
signification. (See also Fig. 21, "Interior view," etc.) Curiously
enough the remains--mostly very trifling fragments--which have been
discovered in various ruins, show that these handsomely finished glazed
tiles exhibited the very same colors which are nowadays in such high
favor with ourselves for all sorts of decorative purposes: those used
most frequently were a dark and a pale yellow, white and cream-color, a
delicate pale green, occasionally orange and a pale lilac, very little
blue and red; olive-green and brown are favorite colors for grounds.
"Now and then an intense blue and a bright red occur, generally
together; but these positive hues are rare, and the taste of the
Assyrians seems to have led them to prefer, for their patterned walls,
pale and dull hues.... The general tone of their coloring is quiet, not
to say sombre. There is no striving after brilliant effects. The
Assyrian artist seeks to please by the elegance of his forms and the
harmony of his hues, not to startle by a display of bright and strongly
contrasted colors.[N]"

[Illustration: 19.--COURT OF HAREM AT KHORSABAD. (RESTORED.) (Perrot and

[Illustration: 20.--CIRCULAR PILLAR-BASE.]

14. It has been asked: how were those halls roofed and how were they
lighted? questions which have given rise to much discussion and which
can scarcely ever be answered in a positive way, since in no single
instance has the upper part of the walls or any part whatever of the
roofing been preserved. Still, the peculiar shape and dimensions of the
principal palace halls goes far towards establishing a sort of
circumstantial evidence in the case. They are invariably long and
narrow, the proportions in some being so striking as to have made them
more like corridors than apartments--a feature, by the by, which must
have greatly impaired their architectural beauty: they were three or
four times as long as they were wide, and even more. The great hall of
the palace of Asshur-nazir-pal on the platform of the Nimrud mound
(excavated by Layard, who calls it, from its position, "the North-West
palace") is 160 feet long by not quite 40 wide. Of the five halls in the
Khorsabad palace the largest measures 116 ft. by 33, the smallest 87 by
25, while the most imposing in size of all yet laid open, the great hall
of Sennacherib at Koyunjik, shows a length of fully 180 ft. with a width
of 40. It is scarcely probable that the old builders, who in other
points have shown so much artistic taste, should have selected this
uniform and unsatisfactory shape for their state apartments, unless they
were forcibly held to it by some insuperable imperfection in the means
at their disposal. That they knew how to use proportions more pleasing
in their general effect, we see from the inner open courts, of which
there were several in every palace, and which, in shape and dimensions
are very much like those in our own castles and palaces,--nearly square,
(about 180 ft. or 120 ft. each way) or slightly oblong: 93 ft. by 84,
124 ft. by 90, 150 ft. by 125. Only two courts have been found to lean
towards the long-and-narrow shape, one being 250 ft. by 150, and the
other 220 by 100. But even this is very different from those
passage-like galleries. The only thing which entirely explains this
awkward feature of all the royal halls, is the difficulty of providing
them with a roof. It is impossible to make a flat roof of nothing but
bricks, and although the Assyrians knew how to construct arches, they
used them only for very narrow vaults or over gateways and doors, and
could not have carried out the principle on any very extensive scale.
The only obvious expedient consisted in simply spanning the width of the
hall with wooden beams or rafters. Now no tree, not even the lofty cedar
of Lebanon or the tall cypress of the East, will give a rafter, of equal
thickness from end to end, more than 40 ft. in length, few even that.
There was no getting over or around this necessity, and so the matter
was settled for the artists quite aside from their own wishes. This
also explains the great value which was attached by all the Assyrian
conquerors to fine timber. It was often demanded as tribute, nothing
could be more acceptable as a gift, and expeditions were frequently
undertaken into the distant mountainous regions of the Lebanon on
purpose to cut some. The difficulty about roofing would naturally fall
away in the smaller rooms, used probably as sleeping and dwelling
apartments, and accordingly they vary freely from oblong to square; the
latter being generally about 25 ft. each way, sometimes less, but never
more. There were a great many such chambers in a palace; as many as
sixty-eight have been discovered in Sennacherib's palace at Koyunjik,
and a large portion of the building, be it remembered, is not yet fully
explored. Some were as highly decorated as the great halls, some faced
with plain slabs or plastered, and some had no ornaments at all and
showed the crude brick. These differences probably indicate the
difference of rank in the royal household of the persons to whom the
apartments were assigned.

KHORSABAD. (RESTORED.) (Perrot and Chipiez.)]

15. The question of light has been discussed by eminent
explorers--Layard, Botta, Fergusson--at even greater length and with a
greater display of ingenuity than that of roofing. The results of the
learned discussion may be shortly summed up as follows: We may take it
for granted that the halls were sufficiently lighted, for the builders
would not have bestowed on them such lavish artistic labor had they not
meant their work to be seen in all its details and to the best
advantage. This could be effected only in one of three ways, or in two
combined: either by means of numerous small windows pierced at regular
intervals above the frieze of enamelled bricks, between that and the
roof,--or by means of one large opening in the roof of woodwork, as
proposed by Layard in his own restoration, or by smaller openings placed
at more frequent intervals. This latter contrivance is in general use
now in Armenian houses, and Botta, who calls it a _louvre_, gives a
drawing of it.[O] It is very ingenious, and would have the advantage of
not admitting too great a mass of sunlight and heat, and of being easily
covered with carpets or thick felt rugs to exclude the rain. The second
method, though much the grandest in point of effect, would present none
of these advantages and would be objectionable chiefly on account of the
rain, which, pouring down in torrents--as it does, for weeks at a time,
in those countries--must very soon damage the flooring where it is of
brick, and eventually convert it into mud, not to speak of the
inconvenience of making the state apartments unfit for use for an
indefinite period. The small side windows just below the roof would
scarcely give sufficient light by themselves. Who knows but they may
have been combined with the _louvre_ system, and thus something very
satisfactory finally obtained.



16. The kings of Chaldea, Babylonia and Assyria seem to have been
absolutely possessed with a mania for building. Scarcely one of them but
left inscriptions telling how he raised this or that palace, this or
that temple in one or other city, often in many cities. Few contented
themselves with repairing the buildings left by their predecessors. This
is easy to be ascertained, for they always mention all they did in that
line. Vanity, which seems to have been, together with the love of booty,
almost their ruling passion, of course accounts for this in a great
measure. But there are also other causes, of which the principal one was
the very perishable nature of the constructions, all their heavy
massiveness notwithstanding. Being made of comparatively soft and
yielding material, their very weight would cause the mounds to settle
and bulge out at the sides in some places, producing crevices in others,
and of course disturbing the balance of the thick but loose masonry of
the walls constructed on top of them. These accidents could not be
guarded against by the outer casing of stone or burnt brick, or even by
the strong buttresses which were used from a very early period to prop
up the unwieldy piles: the pressure from within was too great to be

[Illustration: 24.--PAVEMENT SLAB.]

17. An outer agent, too, was at work, surely and steadily destructive:
the long, heavy winter rains. Crude brick, when exposed to moisture,
easily dissolves into its original element--mud; even burned brick is
not proof against very long exposure to violent wettings; and we know
that the mounds were half composed of loose rubbish. Once thoroughly
permeated with moisture, nothing could keep these huge masses from
dissolution. The builders were well aware of the danger and struggled
against it to the best of their ability by a very artfully contrived and
admirably executed system of drainage, carried through the mounds in all
directions and pouring the accumulated waters into the plain out of
mouths beautifully constructed in the shape of arched vaults.[P] Under
the flooring of most of the halls have been found drains, running along
the centre, then bending off towards a conduit in one of the corners,
which carried the contents down into one of the principal channels.

TILES). KHORSABAD. (Perrot and Chipiez.)]

18. But all these precautions were, in the long run, of little avail, so
that it was frequently a simpler and less expensive proceeding for a
king to build a new palace, than to keep repairing and propping up an
old one which crumbled to pieces, so to speak, under the workmen's
hands. It is not astonishing that sometimes, when they had to give up an
old mansion as hopeless, they proceeded to demolish it, in order to
carry away the stone and use it in structures of their own, probably not
so much as a matter of thrift, as with a view to quickening the work,
stone-cutting in the quarries and transport down the river always being
a lengthy operation. This explains why, in some later palaces, slabs
were found with their sculptured face turned to the crude brick wall,
and the other smoothed and prepared for the artist, or with the
sculptures half erased, or piled up against the wall, ready to be put in
place. The nature of the injuries which caused the ancient buildings to
decay and lose all shape, is very faithfully described in an inscription
of the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar, in which he relates how he
constructed the Ziggurat of Borsip on the site of an ancient
construction, which he repaired, as far as it went. This is what he
says: "The temple of the Seven Spheres, the Tower of Borsip which a
former king had built ... but had not finished its upper part, from
remote days had fallen into decay. The channels for drawing off the
water had not been properly provided; rain and tempest had washed away
its bricks; the bricks of the roof were cracked; the bricks of the
building were washed away into heaps of rubbish." All this sufficiently
accounts for the peculiar aspect offered by the Mesopotamian ruins.
Whatever process of destruction the buildings underwent, whether natural
or violent, by conquerors' hands, whether through exposure to fire or to
stress of weather, the upper part would be the first to suffer, but it
would not disappear, from the nature of the material, which is not
combustible. The crude bricks all through the enormous thickness of the
walls, once thoroughly loosened, dislodged, dried up or soaked
through, would lose their consistency and tumble down into the courts
and halls, choking them up with the soft rubbish into which they
crumbled, the surplus rolling down the sides and forming those even
slopes which, from a distance, so deceivingly imitate natural hills.
Time, accumulating the drift-sand from the desert and particles of
fertile earth, does the rest, and clothes the mounds with the verdant
and flowery garment which is the delight of the Arab's eyes.

[Illustration: 26.--WINGED LION WITH HUMAN HEAD. (Perrot and Chipiez.)]

19. It is to this mode of destruction the Assyrian kings allude in their
annals by the continually recurring phrase: "I destroyed their cities, I
overwhelmed them, I burned them in the fire, _I made heaps of them_."
However difficult it is to get at the treasures imbedded in these
"heaps," we ought not to repine at the labor, since they owe their
preservation entirely to the soft masses of earth, sand and loose
rubbish which have protected them on all sides from the contact with
air, rain and ignorant plunderers, keeping them as safely--if not as
transparently--housed as a walnut in its lump of candied sugar. The
explorers know this so well, that when they leave the ruins, after
completing their work for the time, they make it a point to fill all the
excavated spaces with the very rubbish that has been taken out of them
at the cost of so much labor and time. There is something impressive and
reverent in thus re-burying the relics of those dead ages and nations,
whom the mysterious gloom of their self-erected tombs becomes better
than the glare of the broad, curious daylight. When Layard, before his
departure, after once more wandering with some friends through all the
trenches, tunnels and passages of the Nimrud mound, to gaze for the last
time on the wonders on which no man had looked before him, found himself
once more on the naked platform and ordered the workmen to cover them up
again, he was strongly moved by the contrast: "We look around in vain,"
says he, "for any traces of the wonderful remains we have just seen, and
are half inclined to believe that we have dreamed a dream, or have been
listening to some tale of Eastern romance. Some, who may hereafter
tread on the spot when the grass again grows over the Assyrian palaces,
may indeed suspect that I have been relating a vision."

[Illustration: 27.--WINGED BULL. (Perrot and Chipiez.)]

20. It is a curious fact that in Assyria the ruins speak to us only of
the living, and that of the dead there are no traces whatever. One might
think people never died there at all. Yet it is well known that all
nations have bestowed as much care on the interment of their dead and
the adornment of their last resting-place as on the construction of
their dwellings--nay, some even more, for instance, the Egyptians. To
this loving veneration for the dead history owes half its discoveries;
indeed we should have almost no reliable information at all on the very
oldest races, who lived before the invention of writing, were it not for
their tombs and the things we find in them. It is very strange,
therefore, that nothing of the kind should be found in Assyria, a
country which stood so high in culture. For the sepulchres which are
found in such numbers in some mounds down to a certain depth, belong, as
is shown by their very position, to later races, mostly even to the
modern Turks and Arabs. This peculiarity is so puzzling that scholars
almost incline to suppose that the Assyrians either made away with their
dead in some manner unknown to us, or else took them somewhere to bury.
The latter conjecture, though not entirely devoid of foundation, as we
shall see, is unsupported by any positive facts, and therefore was never
seriously discussed. The question is simply left open, until something
happens to shed light on it.

[Illustration: 28.--MAN-LION. (Perrot and Chipiez.)]

21. It is just the contrary in Babylonia. It can boast few handsome
ruins or sculptures. The platforms and main walls of many palaces and
temples have been known from the names stamped on the bricks and the
cylinders found in the foundations, but they present only shapeless
masses, from which all traces of artistic work have disappeared. In
compensation, there is no country in the world where so many and such
vast cemeteries have been discovered. It appears that the land of
Chaldea,--perhaps because it was the cradle of nations which afterwards
grew to greatness, as the Assyrians and the Hebrews--was regarded as a
place of peculiar holiness by its own inhabitants, and probably also by
neighboring countries, which would explain the mania that seems to have
prevailed through so many ages, for burying the dead there in unheard of
numbers. Strangely enough, some portions of it even now are held sacred
in the same sense. There are shrines in Kerbela and Nedjif (somewhat to
the west of Babylon) where every caravan of pilgrims brings from Persia
hundreds of dead bodies in their felt-covered coffins, for burial. They
are brought on camels and horses. On each side of the animal swings a
coffin, unceremoniously thumped by the rider's bare heels. These coffins
are, like merchandise, unladen for the night--and sometimes for days
too--in the khans or caravanseries (the enclosed halting-places), where
men and beasts take their rest together. Under that tropical clime, it
is easy to imagine the results. It is in part to this disgusting custom
that the great mortality in the caravans is to be attributed, one fifth
of which leave their bones in the desert in _healthy_ seasons. However
that may be, the gigantic proportions of the Chaldean burying-grounds
struck even the ancient Greek travellers with astonishment, and some of
them positively asserted that the Assyrian kings used to be buried in
Chaldea. If the kings, why not the nobler and wealthier of their
subjects? The transport down the rivers presented no difficulties.
Still, as already remarked, all this is mere conjecture.

[Illustration: 29.--FRAGMENT OF ENAMELLED BRICK. (Perrot and Chipiez.)]

22. Among the Chaldeans cities ERECH (now WARKA) was considered from
very old times one of the holiest. It had many extremely ancient temples
and a college of learned priests, and around it gradually formed an
immense "city of the dead" or Necropolis. The English explorer, Loftus,
in 1854-5, specially turned his attention to it and his account is
astounding. First of all, he was struck by the majestic desolation of
the place. Warka and a few other mounds are raised on a slightly
elevated tract of the desert, above the level of the yearly inundations,
and accessible only from November to March, as all the rest of the time
the surrounding plain is either a lake or a swamp. "The desolation and
solitude of Warka," says Loftus, "are even more striking than the scene
which is presented at Babylon itself. There is no life for miles around.
No river glides in grandeur at the base of its mounds; no green date
groves flourish near its ruins. The jackal and the hyæna appear to shun
the dull aspect of its tombs. The king of birds never hovers over the
deserted waste. A blade of grass or an insect finds no existence there.
The shrivelled lichen alone, clinging to the weathered surface of the
broken brick, seems to glory in its universal dominion over those barren
walls. Of all the desolate pictures I have ever seen that of Warka
incomparably surpasses all." Surely in this case it cannot be said that
appearances are deceitful; for all that space, and much more, is a
cemetery, and what a cemetery! "It is difficult," again says Loftus, "to
convey anything like a correct idea of the piles upon piles of human
remains which there utterly astound the beholder. Excepting only the
triangular space between the three principal ruins, the whole remainder
of the platform, the whole space between the walls and an unknown extent
of desert beyond them, are everywhere filled with the bones and
sepulchres of the dead. There is probably no other site in the world
which can compare with Warka in this respect." It must be added that the
coffins do not simply lie one next to the other, but in layers, down to
a depth of 30-60 feet. Different epochs show different modes of burial,
among which the following four are the most remarkable.

[Illustration: 30.--RAM'S HEAD IN ALABASTER. (British Museum.)]

[Illustration: 31.--EBONY COMB. (Perrot and Chipiez.)]

[Illustration: 32.--BRONZE FORK AND SPOON. (Perrot and Chipiez.)]

23. Perhaps the queerest coffin shape of all is that composed of two
earthen jars (_a_ and _b_), which accurately fit together, or one
slightly fits into the other, the juncture being made air-tight by a
coating of bitumen (_d_, _d_). The body can be placed in such a coffin
only with slightly bent knees. At one end (_c_) there is an air-hole,
left for the escape of the gases which form during the decomposition of
the body and which might otherwise burst the jars--a precaution probably
suggested by experience (fig. 36). Sometimes there is only one jar of
much larger size, but of the same shape, with a similar cover, also made
fast with bitumen, or else the mouth is closed with bricks. This is an
essentially national mode of burial, perhaps the most ancient of all,
yet it remained in use to a very late period. It is to be noted that
this is the exact shape of the water jars now carried about the streets
of Baghdad and familiar to every traveller.

[Illustration: 33.--ARMENIAN LOUVRE. (Botta.)]

24. Not much less original is the so-called "dish-cover coffin," also
very ancient and national. The illustrations sufficiently show its shape
and arrangement.[Q] In these coffins two skeletons are sometimes found,
showing that when a widow or widower died, it was opened, to lay the
newly dead by the side of the one who had gone before. The cover is all
of one piece--a very respectable achievement of the potter's art. In
Mugheir (ancient Ur), a mound was found, entirely filled with this kind
of coffins.

[Illustration: 34.--VAULTED DRAINS. (KHORSABAD.) (Perrot and Chipiez.)]

[Illustration: 35.--VAULTED DRAIN. (KHORSABAD.) (Perrot and Chipiez.)]

25. Much more elaborate, and consequently, probably reserved for the
noble and wealthy, is the sepulchral vault in brick, of nearly a man's
height.[R] In these sepulchres, as in the preceding ones, the skeleton
is always found lying in the same position, evidently dictated by some
religious ideas. The head is pillowed on a large brick, commonly covered
with a piece of stuff or a rug. In the tattered rags which sometimes
still exist, costly embroideries and fringed golden tissue have more
than once been recognized, while some female skeletons still showed
handsome heads of hair gathered into fine nets. The body lies on a reed
mat, on its left side, the right hand stretched out so as to reach with
the tips of the fingers a bowl, generally of copper or bronze, and
sometimes of fine workmanship, usually placed on the palm of the left
hand. Around are placed various articles--dishes, in some of which
remnants of food are found, such as date stones,--jars for water, lamps,
etc. Some skeletons wear gold and silver bangles on their wrists and
ankles. These vaults were evidently family sepulchres, for several
skeletons are generally found in them; in one there were no less than
eleven. (Fig. 39, p. 89.)

[Illustration: 36.--CHALDEAN JAR-COFFIN. (Taylor.)]

26. All these modes of burial are very old and peculiarly Chaldean. But
there is still another, which belongs to more recent times, even as late
as the first centuries after Christ, and was used by a different and
foreign race, the Parthians, one of those who came in turns and
conquered the country, stayed there awhile, then disappeared. These
coffins are, from their curious form, known under the name of
"slipper-shaped." They are glazed, green on the outside and blue on the
inside, but of very inferior make: poor clay, mixed with straw, and only
half baked, therefore very brittle. It is thought that they were put in
their place empty, then the body was laid in, the lid put down, and the
care of covering them with sand left to the winds. The lid is fastened
with the same mortar which is used in the brick masonry surrounding the
coffin, where such a receptacle has been made for it; but they more
usually lie pell-mell, separated only by thin layers of loose sand.
There are mounds which are, as one may say, larded with them: wherever
you begin to dig a trench, the narrow ends stick out from both sides. In
these coffins also various articles were buried with the dead, sometimes
valuable ones. The Arabs know this; they dig in the sand with their
hands, break the coffins open with their spears, and grope in them for
booty. The consequence is that it is extremely difficult to procure an
entire coffin. Loftus succeeded, however, in sending some to the British
Museum, having first pasted around them several layers of thick paper,
without which precaution they could not have borne the transport.

[Illustration: 37.--"DISH-COVER" TOMB AT MUGHEIR. (Taylor.)]

[Illustration: 38.--"DISH-COVER" TOMB. (Taylor.)]

27. On the whole, the ancient Chaldean sepulchres of the three first
kinds are distinguished by greater care and tidiness. They are not only
separated by brick partitions on the sides, and also above and below
by a thin layer of brick masonry, but the greatest care was taken to
protect them against dampness. The sepulchral mounds are pierced through
and through, from top to bottom, by drainage pipes or shafts, consisting
of a series of rings, solidly joined together with bitumen, about one
foot in diameter. These rings are made of baked clay. The top one is
shaped somewhat like a funnel, of which the end is inserted in
perforated bricks, and which is provided with small holes, to receive
any infiltration of moisture. Besides all this the shafts, which are
sunk in pairs, are surrounded with broken pottery. How ingenious and
practical this system was, we see from the fact that both the coffins
and their contents are found in a state of perfect dryness and
preservation. (Fig. 41, p. 90.)

[Illustration: 39.--SEPULCHRAL VAULT AT MUGHEIR. (Taylor.)]

[Illustration: 40.--STONE JARS FROM GRAVES. (LARSAM.) (Hommel.)]

28. In fact the Chaldeans, if they could not reach such perfection as
the Assyrians in slab-sculpture, on account of not having stone either
at home or within easy reach, seem to have derived a greater variety of
architectural ornaments from that inexhaustible material of
theirs--baked clay or terra-cotta. We see an instance of it in
remnants--unfortunately very small ones, of some walls belonging to that
same city of Erech. On one of the mounds Loftus was puzzled by the large
quantity of small terra-cotta cones, whole and in fragments, lying about
on the ground. The thick flat end of them was painted red, black or
white. What was his amazement when he stumbled on a piece of wall (some
seven feet in height and not more than thirty in length), which showed
him what their use had been. They were grouped into a variety of
patterns to decorate the entire wall, being stuck with their thin end
into a layer of soft clay with which it was coated for the purpose.
Still more original and even rather incomprehensible is a wall
decoration consisting of several bands, composed each of three rows of
small pots or cups--about four inches in diameter--stuck into the soft
clay coating in the same manner, with the mouth turned outward of
course! Loftus found such a wall, but unfortunately has given no design
of it. (Figures 43 and 44.)

[Illustration: 41.--DRAIN IN MOUND. (Perrot and Chipiez.)]

29. As to the ancient Babylonian, or rather Chaldean, art in sculpture,
the last word has by no means been said on that subject. Discoveries
crowd in every year, constantly leading to the most unexpected
conclusions. Thus, it was long an accepted fact that Assyria had very
few statues and Babylonia none at all, when a few years ago (1881),
what should a French explorer, Mr. E. De Sarzec, French consul in Basra,
bring home but nine magnificent statues made of a dark, nearly black
stone as hard as granite, called diorite.[S] Unfortunately they are all
headless; but, as though to make up for this mutilation, one head was
found separate,--a shaved and turbaned head beautifully preserved and of
remarkable workmanship, the very pattern of the turban being plain
enough to be reproduced by any modern loom.[T] These large prizes were
accompanied by a quantity of small works of art representing both men
and animals, of a highly artistic design and some of them of exquisite
finish of execution. This astounding find, the result of several years'
indefatigable work, now gracing the Assyrian rooms of the Louvre in
Paris, comes from one of the Babylonian mounds which had not been opened
before, the ruins of a mighty temple at a place now called TELL-LOH, and
supposed to be the site of SIR-BURLA, or SIR-GULLA, one of the most
ancient cities of Chaldea. This "Sarzec-collection," as it has come to
be generally called, not only entirely upsets the ideas which had been
formed on Old-Chaldean art, but is of immense historical importance from
the inscriptions which cover the back of every statue, (not to speak of
the cylinders and other small objects,) and which, in connection with
the monuments of other ruins, enable scholars to fix, at least
approximately, the date at which flourished the city and rulers who have
left such extraordinary memorials of their artistic gifts. Some place
them at about 4500 B.C., others about 4000. However overwhelming such a
valuation may be at first sight, it is not an unsupported fancy, but
proofs concur from many sides to show that the builders and sculptors of
Sir-gulla could in no case have lived and worked much later than 4000
B.C. It is impossible to indicate in a few lines all the points, the
conjectures, the vexed questions, on which this discovery sheds light
more or less directly, more or less decisively; they come up continually
as the study of those remote ages proceeds, and it will be years before
the materials supplied by the Sarzec-Collection are exhausted in all
their bearings.

(ERECH). (Loftus.)]

[Illustration: 43.--TERRA-COTTA CONE, NATURAL SIZE. (Loftus.)]


[G] Rawlinson's "Five Monarchies," Vol. I., p. 46.

[H] Ur of the Chaldees, from which Abraham went forth.

[I] Rawlinson's "Five Monarchies," Vol. I., p. 349.

[J] Figure 10.

[K] Figure 71, p. 281.

[L] Rawlinson's "Five Monarchies," Vol. I., pp. 317 and 318.

[M] See Fig. 20, p. 63. There is but one exception, in the case of a
recent exploration, during which one solitary broken column-shaft was

[N] G. Rawlinson's "Five Monarchies," Vol. I., pp. 467, 468.

[O] See Fig. 33, p. 83.

[P] Figures 34 and 35, p. 84.

[Q] Figs. 37 and 38, p. 87.

[R] Fig. 39, p. 89.

[S] See Fig. 59, p. 217.

[T] See Figs. 44 and 45, p. 101.



1. When we wish to learn the great deeds of past ages, and of mighty men
long dead, we open a book and read. When we wish to leave to the
generations who will come long after us a record of the things that were
done by ourselves or in our own times, we take pen, ink and paper, and
write a book. What we have written is then printed, published in several
hundreds--or thousands--of copies, as the case may be, and quickly finds
its way to all the countries of the world inhabited by people who are
trained from childhood to thought and study. So that we have the
satisfaction of knowing that the information which we have labored to
preserve will be obtainable any number of years or centuries after we
shall have ceased to exist, at no greater trouble than procuring the
book from the shelves of a bookstore, a public or a private library. It
is all very simple. And there is not a small child who does not
perfectly know a book by its looks, and even has not a pretty correct
idea of how a book is made and what it is good for.

2. But books are not always of the shape and material so familiar to us.
Metal, stone, brick, walls and pillars, nay, the very rocks of nature's
own making, can be books, conveying information as plainly as our
volumes of paper sheets covered with written or printed lines. It only
needs to know how to read them, and the necessary knowledge and skill
may be acquired by processes as simple as the art of ordinary reading
and writing, though at the cost of a somewhat greater amount of time and

3. There are two natural cravings, which assert themselves strongly in
every mind not entirely absorbed by the daily work for bread and by the
anxious care how to procure that work: these are the wish, on the one
hand, to learn how the people who came before us lived and what they
did, on the other--to transmit our own names and the memory of our deeds
to those who will come after us. We are not content with our present
life; we want to stretch it both backward and forward--to live both in
the past and the future, as it were. This curiosity and this ambition
are but parts of the longing for immortality which was never absent from
any human soul. In our own age they are satisfied mainly by books;
indeed they were originally the principal causes why books began to be
made at all. And how easy to satisfy these cravings in our time, when
writing materials have become as common as food and far cheaper, and
reading may be had for nothing or next to nothing! For, a very few
dollars will supply a writer with as much paper as he can possibly use
up in a year, while the public libraries, the circulating and college
libraries and the reading-rooms make study a matter more of love and
perseverance than of money.

4. Yet if the papermill and the printing press were the only material
aid to our researches into the past, these researches would stop
short very soon, seeing that printing was invented in Europe scarce
four hundred years ago, and paper has not been manufactured for more
than six hundred years at the outside. True, other materials have
been used to write on before paper: bark of trees, skins of
animals--(parchment)--cunningly worked fibres of plants--(papyrus,
byblos)--even wooden tablets covered with a thin layer of wax, on
which characters were engraved with a pointed instrument or
"style,"--and these contrivances have preserved for us records which
reach back many hundreds of years beyond the introduction of paper.
But our curiosity, when once aroused, is insatiable, and an area of
some twenty, or thirty, or forty centuries seems to it but a narrow
field. Looking back as far as that--and no kind of manuscript
information takes us much further--we behold the world wondrously
like what it is now. With some differences in garb, in manners, and a
much greater one in the range of knowledge, we find men living very
nearly as we do and enacting very nearly the same scenes: nations
live in families clustered within cities, are governed by laws, or
ruled by monarchs, carry on commerce and wars, extend their limits by
conquest, excel in all sorts of useful and ornamental arts. Only we
notice that larger regions are unknown, vaster portions of the
earth, with their populations, are unexplored, than in our days. The
conclusion is clearly forced on us, that so complicated and perfect
an organization of public and private life, a condition of society
implying so many discoveries and so long a practice in thought and
handicraft, could not have been an early stage of existence. Long
vistas are dimly visible into a past far vaster than the span as yet
laid open to our view, and we long to pierce the tantalizing gloom.
There, in that gloom, lurk the beginnings of the races whose high
achievements we admire, emulate, and in many ways surpass; there, if
we could but send a ray of light into the darkness of ages, we must
find the solution of numberless questions which suggest themselves as
we go: Whence come those races? What was the earlier history of other
races with which we find them contending, treating, trading? When did
they learn their arts, their songs, their forms of worship? But here
our faithful guide, manuscript literature, forsakes us; we enter on a
period when none of the ancient substitutes for paper were yet
invented. But then, there were the stones. _They_ did not need to be
invented--only hewn and smoothed for the chisel.

5. Fortunately for us, men, twenty-five, and forty, and fifty centuries
ago, were actuated by the same feelings, the same aspirations as they
are now, and of these aspirations, the passionate wish of perpetuating
their names and the memory of their deeds has always been one of the
most powerful. This wish they connected with and made subservient to
the two things which were great and holy in their eyes: their religion
and the power of their kings. So they built, in brick and stone, at an
almost incalculable expense of time, human labor and human life, palaces
and temples. On these huge piles they lavished treasures untold, as also
all the resources of their invention and their skill in art and
ornament; they looked on them with exulting pride, not only because they
thought them, by their vastness and gorgeousness, fit places for public
worship and dwellings worthy of their kings, but because these
constructions, in their towering grandeur, their massive solidity, bid
fair to defy time and outlast the nations which raised them, and which
thus felt assured of leaving behind them traces of their existence,
memorials of their greatness. That a few defaced, dismantled, moss-grown
or sand-choked fragments of these mighty buildings would one day be the
_only_ trace, the sole memorial of a rule and of nations that would then
have past away forever, even into nothingness and oblivion, scarcely was
anticipated by the haughty conquerors who filled those halls with their
despotic presence, and entered those consecrated gates in the pomp of
triumph to render thanks for bloody victories and warlike exploits which
elated their souls in pride till they felt themselves half divine.
Nothing doubting but that those walls, those pillars, those gateways
would stand down to the latest ages, they confided to them that which
was most precious to their ambition, the record of their deeds, the
praises of their names, thus using those stony surfaces as so many
blank pages, which they covered with row after row of wondrous
characters, carefully engraved or chiselled, and even with painted or
sculptured representations of their own persons and of the scenes, in
war or peace, in which they had been leaders and actors.

6. Thus it is that on all the points of the globe where sometime great
and flourishing nations have held their place, then yielded to other
nations or to absolute devastation--in Egypt, in India, in Persia, in
the valley of the Tigris and Euphrates, in the sandy, now desert plains
of Syria, in the once more populous haunts of ancient Rome and
Greece--the traveller meets clusters of great ruins, lofty still in
their utter abandonment, with a strange, stern beauty hovering around
their weather-beaten, gigantic shafts and cornices, wrapt in the
pathetic silence of desolation, and yet not dumb--for their pictured
faces eloquently proclaim the tale of buoyant life and action entrusted
to them many thousands of years ago. Sometimes, it is a natural rock,
cut and smoothed down at a height sufficient to protect it from the
wantonly destructive hand of scoffing invaders, on which a king of a
deeper turn of thought, more mindful than others of the law which dooms
all the works of men to decay, has caused a relation of the principal
events of his reign to be engraved in those curious characters which
have for centuries been a puzzle and an enigma. Many tombs also, besides
the remains of the renowned or wealthy dead, for whom they have been
erected at a cost as extravagant and with art as elaborate as the
abodes of the living, contain the full description of their inmate's
lineage, his life, his habits and pursuits, with prayers and invocations
to the divinities of his race and descriptions or portrayed
representations of religious ceremonies. Or, the walls of caves, either
natural, or cut in the rock for purposes of shelter or concealment,
yield to the explorer some more chapters out of the old, old story, in
which our interest never slackens. This story man has himself been
writing, patiently, laboriously, on every surface on which he could
trace words and lines, ever since he has been familiar with the art of
expressing his thoughts in visible signs,--and so each such surviving
memorial may truly be called a stray leaf, half miraculously preserved
to us, out of the great Book of the Past, which it has been the task of
scholars through ages, and especially during the last eighty years, to
decipher and teach others how to read.

SARZEC COLLECTION. (Perrot and Chipiez.)]

[Illustration: 45.--SAME, PROFILE VIEW.]

7. Of this venerable book the walls of the Assyrian palaces, with their
endless rows of inscriptions, telling year for year through centuries
the history of the kings who built them, are so many invaluable pages,
while the sculptures which accompany these annals are the illustrations,
lending life and reality to what would otherwise be a string of dry and
unattractive records. But a greater wonder has been brought to light
from amidst the rubbish and dust of twenty-five centuries: a collection
of literary and scientific works, of religious treatises, of private and
public documents, deposited in rooms constructed on purpose to contain
them, arranged in admirable order, in short--a LIBRARY. Truly and
literally a library, in the sense in which we use the word. Not the only
one either, nor the first by many hundred years, although the volumes
are of singular make and little like those we are used to.

8. When Layard was at work for the second time amidst the ruins along
the Tigris, he devoted much of his labor to the great mound of Koyunjik,
in which the remains of two sumptuous palaces were distinctly discerned,
one of them the royal residence of Sennacherib, the other that of his
grandson Asshurbanipal, who lived some 650 years before Christ--two of
the mightiest conquerors and most magnificent sovereigns of the Eastern
world. In the latter palace he came upon two comparatively small
chambers, the floor of which was entirely littered with fragments--some
of considerable size, some very small--of bricks, or rather baked-clay
tablets, covered on both sides with cuneiform writing. It was a layer
more than a foot in height which must have been formed by the falling in
of the upper part of the edifice. The tablets, piled in good order along
the walls, perhaps in an upper story--if, as many think, there was
one--must have been precipitated promiscuously into the apartment and
shattered by the fall. Yet, incredible as it may appear, several were
found entire. Layard filled many cases with the fragments and sent them
off to the British Museum, fully aware of their probable historical

9. There they lay for years, heaped up at random, a mine of treasures
which made the mouths of scholars water, but appalled them by the
amount of labor, nay, actual drudgery, needful only to sift and sort
them, even before any study of their contents could be begun. At length
a young and ambitious archæologist, attached to the British Museum,
George Smith, undertook the long and wearisome task. He was not
originally a scholar, but an engraver, and was employed to engrave on
wood cuneiform texts for the magnificent atlas edited by the British
Museum under the title of "Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia."
Being endowed with a quick and enquiring mind, Smith did not content
himself, like most of his colleagues, with a conscientious and artistic,
but merely technical reproduction; he wished to know _what_ he was doing
and he learned the language of the inscriptions. When he took on himself
the sorting of the fragments, it was in the hope of distinguishing
himself in this new field, and of rendering a substantial service to the
science which had fascinated him. Nor was he deceived in this hope. He
succeeded in finding and uniting a large quantity of fragments belonging
together, and thus restoring pages of writing, with here and there a
damaged line, a word effaced, a broken corner, often a larger portion
missing, but still enough left to form continuous and readable texts. In
some cases it was found that there was more than one copy of this or
that work or document, and then sometimes the parts which were
hopelessly injured in one copy, would be found whole or nearly so in

10. The results accomplished by this patient mechanical process were
something astonishing. And when he at length restored in this manner a
series of twelve tablets containing an entire poem of the greatest
antiquity and highest interest, the occasion seemed important enough to
warrant the enterprising owners of the London _Daily Telegraph_ in
sending the young student to resume excavations and try to complete some
missing links. For of some of the tablets restored by him only portions
could be found among the fragments of the British Museum. Of course he
made his way straight to the Archive Chambers at Koyunjik, had them
opened again and cleared them of another large instalment of their
valuable contents, among which he had the inconceivable good fortune to
find some of the very pieces which were missing in his collection.
Joyfully he returned to England twice with his treasures, and hopefully
set out on a third expedition of the same kind. He had reason to feel
buoyant; he had already made his name famous by several works which
greatly enriched the science he loved, and had he not half a lifetime
before him to continue the work which few could do as well? Alas, he
little knew that his career was to be cut short suddenly by a loathsome
and brutal foe: he died of the plague in Syria, in 1876--just thirty-six
years old. He was faithful to the end. His diary, in which he made some
entries even within a very few days before his death, shows that at the
last, when he knew his danger and was fast losing hope, his mind was
equally divided between thoughts of his family and of his work. The
following lines, almost the last intelligible ones he wrote, are deeply
touching in their simple, single-minded earnestness:--"Not so well. If
Doctor present, I should recover, but he has not come, very doubtful
case; if fatal farewell to ... _My work has been entirely for the
science I study...._ There is a large field of study in my collection. I
intended to work it out, but desire now that my antiquities and notes
may be thrown open to all students. I have done my duty thoroughly. I do
not fear the change but desire to live for my family. Perhaps all may be
well yet."--George Smith's death was a great loss, which his
brother-scholars of all countries have not ceased to deplore. But the
work now proceeds vigorously and skilfully. The precious texts are
sorted, pieced, and classified, and a collection of them, carefully
selected, is reproduced by the aid of the photographer and the engraver,
so that, should the originals ever be lost or destroyed, (not a very
probable event), the Museum indeed would lose one of its most precious
rarities, but science would lose nothing.

11. An eminent French scholar and assyriologist, Joachim Ménant, has the
following picturesque lines in his charming little book "_La
Bibliothèque du Palais de Ninive_": "When we reflect that these records
have been traced on a substance which neither fire nor water could
destroy, we can easily comprehend how those who wrote them thus thirty
or forty centuries ago, believed the monuments of their history to be
safe for all future times,--much safer than the frail sheets which
printing scatters with such prodigious fertility.... Of all the nations
who have bequeathed to us written records of their past life, we may
assert that none has left monuments more imperishable than Assyria and
Chaldea. Their number is already considerable; it is daily increased by
new discoveries. It is not possible to foresee what the future has in
store for us in this respect; but we can even now make a valuation of
the entire material which we possess.... The number of the tablets from
the Nineveh Library alone passes ten thousand.... If we compare these
texts with those left us by other nations, we can easily become
convinced that the history of the Assyro-Chaldean civilization will soon
be one of the best known of antiquity. It has a powerful attraction for
us, for we know that the life of the Jewish people is mixed up with the
history of Nineveh and Babylon...."

and Chipiez.)]

12. It will be seen from this that throughout the following pages we
shall continually have to refer to the contents of Asshurbanipal's royal
library. We must therefore dispense in this place with any details
concerning the books, more than a general survey of the subjects they
treated. Of these, religion and science were the chief. Under "science"
we must understand principally mathematics and astronomy, two branches
in which the old Chaldeans reached great perfection and left us many of
our own most fundamental notions and practices, as we shall see later
on. Among the scientific works must also be counted those on astrology,
i.e., on the influence which the heavenly bodies were supposed to
exert on the fate of men, according to their positions and combinations,
for astrology was considered a real science, not only by the Chaldeans,
but by much later nations too; also hand-books of geography, really only
lists of the seas, mountains and rivers, nations and cities then known,
lastly lists of plants and animals with a very rude and defective
attempt at some sort of classification. History is but scantily
represented; it appears to have been mostly confined to the great wall
inscriptions and some other objects, of which more hereafter. But--what
we should least expect--grammars, dictionaries, school reading-books,
occupy a prominent place. The reason is that, when this library was
founded, the language in which the venerable books of ancient sages were
written not only was not spoken any longer, but had for centuries been
forgotten by all but the priests and those who made scholarship their
chief pursuit, so that it had to be taught in the same way that the
so-called "dead languages," Latin and Greek, are taught at our colleges.
This was the more necessary as the prayers had to be recited in the old
language called the Accadian, that being considered more holy--just as,
in Catholic countries, the common people are even now made to learn and
say their prayers in Latin, though they understand not a word of the
language. The ancient Accadian texts were mostly copied with a modern
Assyrian translation, either interlinear or facing it, which has been of
immense service to those who now decipher the tablets.

[Illustration: 47.--INSCRIBED CLAY TABLET. (Smith's "Assyria.")]

13. So much for what may be called the classical and reference
department of the library. Important as it is, it is scarcely more so
than the documentary department or Archive proper, where documents and
deeds of all kinds, both public and private, were deposited for safe
keeping. Here by the side of treatises, royal decrees and despatches,
lists of tribute, reports from generals and governors, also those daily
sent in by the superintendents of the royal observatories,--we find
innumerable private documents: deeds of sale duly signed, witnessed and
sealed, for land, houses, slaves--any kind of property,--of money lent,
of mortgages, with the rate of interest, contracts of all sorts. The
most remarkable of private documents is one which has been called the
"will of King Sennacherib," by which he entrusts some valuable personal
property to the priests of the temple of Nebo, to be kept for his
favorite son,--whether to be delivered after his (the king's) death or
at another time is not stated.

[Illustration: 48.--CLAY TABLET IN ITS CASE. (Hommel.)]

14. It requires some effort to bear in mind the nature and looks of the
things which we must represent to ourselves when we talk of Assyrian
"_books_." The above (Fig. 47) is the portrait of a "_volume_" in
perfect condition. But it is seldom indeed that one such is found.
Layard, in his first description of his startling "find," says: "They
(the tablets) were of different sizes; the largest were flat, and
measured nine inches by six and a half; the smaller were slightly
convex, and some were not more than an inch long, with but one or two
lines of writing. The cuneiform characters on most of them were
singularly sharp and well-defined, but so minute in some instances as to
be illegible without a magnifying glass." Most curiously, glass lenses
have been found among the ruins; which may have been used for the
purpose. Specimens have also been found of the very instruments which
were employed to trace the cuneiform characters, and their form
sufficiently accounts for the peculiar shape of these characters which
was imitated by the engravers on stone. It is a little iron rod--(or
_style_, as the ancients used to call such implements)--not sharp, but
_triangular_ at the end: [open triangle]. By slightly pressing this end
on the cake of soft moist clay held in the left hand no other shape of
sign could be obtained than a wedge, [closed triangle], the direction
being determined by a turn of the wrist, presenting the instrument in
different positions. When one side of the tablet was full, the other was
to be filled. If it was small, it was sufficient to turn it over,
continuing to hold the edges between the thumb and third finger of the
left hand. But if the tablet was large and had to be laid on a table to
be written on, the face that was finished would be pressed to the hard
surface, and the clay being soft, the writing would be effaced. This was
guarded against by a contrivance as ingenious as it was simple. Empty
places were left here and there in the lines, in which were stuck small
pegs, like matches. On these the tablet was supported when turned over,
and also while baking in the oven. On many of the tablets that have
been preserved are to be seen little holes or dints, where the pegs have
been stuck. Still, it should be mentioned that these holes are not
confined to the large tablets and not found on all large tablets. When
the tablet was full, it was allowed to dry, then generally, but not
always, baked. Within the last few years several thousands unbaked
tablets have been found in Babylonia; they crumbled into dust under the
finders' fingers. It was then proposed to bake such of them as could at
all bear handling. The experiment was successful, and numbers of
valuable documents were thus preserved and transported to the great
repository of the British Museum. The tablets are covered with writing
on both sides and most accurately classed and numbered, when they form
part of a series, in which case they are all of the same shape and size.
The poem discovered by George Smith is written out on twelve tablets,
each of which is a separate book or chapter of the whole. There is an
astronomical work in over seventy tablets. The first of them begins with
the words: "_When the gods Anu and ..._" These words are taken as the
title of the entire series. Each tablet bears the notice: First, second,
third tablet of "_When the gods Anu and ..._" To guard against all
chance of confusion, the last line of one tablet is repeated as the
first line of the following one--a fashion which we still see in old
books, where the last word or two at the bottom of a page is repeated at
the top of the next.

[Illustration: 49.--ANTIQUE BRONZE SETTING OF CYLINDER. (Perrot and

[Illustration: 50.--CHALDEAN CYLINDER AND IMPRESSION.(Perrot and Chipiez.)]

[Illustration: 51.--ASSYRIAN CYLINDER. (Perrot and Chipiez.)]

15. The clay tablets of the ancient Chaldeans are distinguished from the
Assyrian ones by a curious peculiarity: they are sometimes enclosed in a
case of the same material, with exactly the same inscription and seals
as on the inner tablet, even more carefully executed.[U] It is evidently
a sort of duplicate document, made in the prevision that the outer one
might be injured, when the inner record would remain. Rows of figures
across the tablet are impressed on it with seals called from their shape
cylinders, which were rolled over the soft moist clay. These cylinders
were generally of some valuable, hard stone--jasper, amethyst,
cornelian, onyx, agate, etc.,--and were used as signet rings were later
and are still. They are found in great numbers, being from their
hardness well-nigh indestructible. They were generally bored through,
and through the hole was passed either a string to wear them on, or a
metal axis, to roll them more easily.[V] There is a large and most
valuable collection of seal cylinders at the British Museum. Their size
ranges from a quarter of an inch to two inches or a little more. But
cylinders were also made of baked clay and larger size, and then served
a different purpose, that of historical documents. These are found in
the foundations of palaces and temples, mostly in the four corners, in
small niches or chambers, generally produced by leaving out one or more
bricks. These tiny monuments range from a couple of inches to half a
foot in height, seldom more; they are sometimes shaped like a prism with
several faces (mostly six), sometimes like a barrel, and covered with
that compact and minute writing which it often requires a magnifying
glass to make out. Owing to their sheltered position, these singular
records are generally very well preserved. Although their original
destination is only to tell by whom and for what purpose the building
has been erected, they frequently proceed to give a full though
condensed account of the respective kings' reigns, so that, should the
upper structure with its engraved annals be destroyed by the
vicissitudes of war or in the course of natural decay, some memorial of
their deeds should still be preserved--a prevision which, in several
cases, has been literally fulfilled. Sometimes the manner and material
of these records were still more fanciful. At Khorsabad, at the very
interior part of the construction, was found a large stone chest, which
enclosed several inscribed plates in various materials. "... In this only
extant specimen of an Assyrian foundation stone were found one little
golden tablet, one of silver, others of copper, lead and tin; a sixth
text was engraved on alabaster, and the seventh document was written on
the chest itself."[W] Unfortunately the heavier portion of this
remarkable find was sent with a collection which foundered on the Tigris
and was lost. Only the small plates,--gold, silver, copper and tin
(antimonium scholars now think it to be)--survived, and the inscriptions
on them have been read and translated. They all commemorate, in very
nearly the same terms, the foundation and erection of a new city and
palace by a very famous king and conqueror, generally (though not
correctly) called Sargon, and three of them end with a request to the
kings his successors to keep the building in good repair, with a prayer
for their welfare if they do and a heavy curse if they fail in this
duty: "Whoever alters the works of my hand, destroys my constructions,
pulls down the walls which I have raised,--may Asshur, Ninêb, Ramân and
the great gods who dwell there, pluck his name and seed from the land
and let him sit bound at the feet of his foe." Most inscriptions end
with invocations of the same kind, for, in the words of Ménant: "it was
not mere whim which impelled the kings of Assyria to build so
assiduously. Palaces had in those times a destination which they have no
longer in ours. Not only was the palace indeed _the dwelling of
royalty_, as the inscriptions have it,--it was also the BOOK, which each
sovereign began at his accession to the throne and in which he was to
record the history of his reign."[X]



And each such book of brick and stone we can with perfect truth call a
chapter--or a volume--of the great Book of the Past whose leaves are
scattered over the face of the earth.


[U] See Fig. 48, p. 111.

[V] See above, Figs. 49 and 50.

[W] Dr. Julius Oppert, "Records of the Past," Vol. XI., p. 31.

[X] "Les Écritures Cunéiformes," of Joachim Ménant: page 198 (2d
edition, 1864).


                       THE STORY OF CHALDEA.



1. Men, whatever their pursuit or business, can live only in one of two
ways: they can stay where they are, or they can go from one place to
another. In the present state of the world, we generally do a little of
both. There is some place--city, village, or farm--where we have our
home and our work. But from time to time we go to other places, on
visits or on business, or travel for a certain length of time to great
distances and many places, for instruction and pleasure. Still, there is
usually some place which we think of as home and to which we return.
Wandering or roving is not our natural or permanent condition. But there
are races for whom it is. The Bedouin Arabs are the principal and best
known of such races. Who has not read with delight accounts of their
wild life in the deserts of Arabia and Northern Africa, so full of
adventure and romance,--of their wonderful, priceless horses who are to
them as their own children,--of their noble qualities, bravery,
hospitality, generosity, so strangely blended with love of booty and a
passion for robbing expeditions? They are indeed a noble race, and it is
not their choice, but their country which has made them robbers and
rovers--Nomads, as such wandering races are called in history and
geography. They cannot build cities on the sand of the desert, and the
small patches of pasture and palm groves, kept fresh and green by
solitary springs and called "oases," are too far apart, too distant from
permanently peopled regions to admit of comfortable settlement. In the
south of Arabia and along the sea-shore, where the land is fertile and
inviting, they live much as other nations do, and when, a thousand years
ago, Arabs conquered vast and wealthy countries both in Europe and Asia,
and in Africa too, they not only became model husbandmen, but built some
of the finest cities in the world, had wise and strictly enforced laws
and took the lead in literature and science. Very different are the
scattered nomadic tribes which still roam the steppes of Eastern Russia,
of Siberia and Central Asia. They are not as gifted by far as the Arabs,
yet would probably quickly settle down to farming, were it not that
their wealth consists in flocks of sheep and studs of horses, which
require the pasture yielded so abundantly by the grassy steppes, and
with which they have to move from one place, when it is browsed bare, to
another, and still another, carrying their felt-tents and simple
utensils with them, living on the milk of their mares and the meat of
their sheep. The Red Indian tribes of the far West present still another
aspect of nomadic life--that of the hunter, fierce and entirely untamed,
the simplest and wildest of all.

2. On the whole, however, nomadic life is at the present day the
exception. Most of the nations that are not savages live in houses, not
in portable tents, in cities, not encampments, and form compact, solidly
bound communities, not loose sets of tribes, now friendly, now hostile
to one another. But it has not always been so. There have been times
when settled life was the exception and nomadic life the rule. And the
older the times, the fewer were the permanent communities, the more
numerous the roving tribes. For wandering in search of better places
must have been among the first impulses of intelligent humanity. Even
when men had no shelter but caves, no pursuit but hunting the animals,
whose flesh was their food and in whose skins they clothed themselves,
they must frequently have gone forth, in families or detachments, either
to escape from a neighborhood too much infested with the gigantic wild
beasts which at one time peopled the earth more thickly than men, or
simply because the numbers of the original cave-dwellers had become too
great for the cave to hold them. The latter must have been a very usual
occurrence: families stayed together until they had no longer room
enough, or quarrelled, when they separated. Those who went never saw
again the place and kindred they left, although they carried with them
memories of both, the few simple arts they had learned there and the
customs in which they had been trained. They would stop at some
congenial halting-place, when, after a time, the same process would be
repeated--and so again and again.

3. How was the first horse conquered, the first wild-dog tamed and
conciliated? How were cattle first enticed to give man their milk, to
depend on his care and follow his movements? Who shall tell? However
that may have happened, it is certain that the transition from a
hunter's wild, irregular and almost necessarily lawless existence to the
gentler pursuits of pastoral life must have been attended by a great
change in manners and character. The feeling of ownership too, one of
the principal promoters of a well-regulated state of society, must have
quickly developed with the possession of rapidly increasing wealth in
sheep and horses,--the principal property of nomadic races. But it was
not a kind of property which encouraged to settling, or uniting in close
communities; quite the contrary. Large flocks need vast pasture-grounds.
Besides, it is desirable to keep them apart in order to avoid confusion
and disputes about wells and springs, those rare treasures of the
steppes, which are liable to exhaustion or drying up, and which,
therefore, one flock-owner is not likely to share with another, though
that other were of his own race and kin. The Book of Genesis, which
gives us so faithful and lively a picture of this nomadic pastoral life
of ancient nations, in the account of the wanderings of Abraham and the
other Hebrew patriarchs, has preserved such an incident in the quarrel
between the herdsmen of Abraham and his nephew Lot, which led to their
separation. This is what Abraham said to Lot: "Is not the whole land
before thee? Separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take
the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the
right hand, then I will go to the left."[Y] So also it is said of Esau
that he "went into the country from the face of his brother Jacob: for
their riches were more than they might dwell together, and the land
wherein they were strangers could not bear them because of their
cattle."[Z] This was a facility offered by those immense plains,
unclaimed as yet by any one people in particular, and which must
oft-times have averted strife and bloodshed, but which ceased from the
moment that some one tribe, tired of wandering or tempted by some more
than usually engaging spot, settled down on it, marking that and the
country around it, as far as its power reached, for its own. There is
even now in the East something very similar to this mode of occupation.
In the Turkish Empire, which is, in many places, thinly peopled, there
are large tracts of waste land, sometimes very fertile, accounted as
nobody's property, and acknowledged to belong, legally and forever, to
the first man who takes possession of them, provided he cultivates them.
The government asks no purchase price for the land, but demands taxes
from it as soon as it has found an owner and begins to yield crops.

4. The pastoral nomad's life is, like the hunter's, a singularly free
one,--free both from restraint, and, comparatively, from toil. For
watching and tending flocks is not a laborious occupation, and no
authority can always reach or weigh very heavily on people who are here
to-day and elsewhere to-morrow. Therefore, it is only with the third
stage of human existence, the agricultural one, that civilization, which
cannot subsist without permanent homes and authority, really commences.
The farmer's homestead is the beginning of the State, as the hearth or
fireplace was the beginning of the family. The different labors of the
fields, the house, and the dairy require a great number of hands and a
well-regulated distribution of the work, and so keep several generations
of the settler's family together, on the same farm. Life in common makes
it absolutely necessary to have a set of simple rules for home
government, to prevent disputes, keep up order and harmony, and settle
questions of mutual rights and duties. Who should set down and enforce
these rules but the head of the family, the founder of the race--the
patriarch? And when the family has become too numerous for the original
homestead to hold it, and part of it has to leave it, to found a new
home for itself, it does not, as in the primitive nomadic times, wander
off at random and break all ties, but settles close by on a portion of
the family land, or takes possession of a new piece of ground somewhat
further off, but still within easy reach. In the first case the land
which had been common property gets broken up into lots, which, though
belonging more particularly to the members who separate from the old
stock, are not for that withdrawn from the authority of the patriarch.
There are several homesteads now, which form a village, and, later on,
several villages; but the bond of kindred, of tradition and custom is
religiously preserved, as well as subordination to the common head of
the race, whose power keeps increasing as the community grows in numbers
and extent of land, as the greater complications of relationships,
property, inheritance, demand more laws and a stricter rule,--until he
becomes not so much Father as King. Then naturally come collisions with
neighboring similar settlements, friendly or hostile, which result in
alliances or quarrels, trade or war, and herewith we have the State
complete, with inner organization and foreign policy.

5. This stage of culture, in its higher development, combines with the
fourth and last--city-building, and city-life, when men of the same
race, and conscious of a common origin, but practically strangers to
each other, form settlements on a large scale, which, being enclosed in
walls, become places of refuge and defence, centres of commerce,
industry and government. For, when a community has become very numerous,
with wants multiplied by continual improvements and increasing culture,
each family can no longer make all the things it needs, and a portion of
the population devotes itself to manufacture and arts, occupations best
pursued in cities, while the other goes on cultivating the land and
raising cattle, the two sets of produces--those of nature and those of
the cunning hand and brain--being bartered one for the other, or, when
coin is invented, exchanged through that more convenient medium. In the
same manner, the task of government having become too manifold and
complicated for one man, the former Patriarch, now King, is obliged to
surround himself with assistants--either the elders of the race, or
persons of his own choice,--and send others to different places, to rule
in his name and under his authority. The city in which the King and his
immediate ministers and officers reside, naturally becomes the most
important one--the Capital of the State.

6. It does not follow by any means that a people, once settled, never
stirred from its adopted country. The migratory or wandering instinct
never quite died out--our own love of travelling sufficiently proves
that--and it was no unfrequent occurrence in very ancient times for
large tribes, even portions of nations, to start off again in search of
new homes and to found new cities, compelled thereto either by the
gradual overcrowding of the old country, or by intestine discords, or by
the invasion of new nomadic tribes of a different race who drove the old
settlers before them to take possession of their settlements, massacred
them if they resisted and reduced those who remained to an irksome
subjection. Such invasions, of course, might also be perpetrated with
the same results by regular armies, led by kings and generals from some
other settled and organized country. The alternative between bondage
and emigration must have been frequently offered, and the choice in
favor of the latter was helped not a little by the spirit of adventure
inborn in man, tempted by so many unexplored regions as there were in
those remote ages.

7. Such have been the beginnings of all nations. There can be no other.
And there is one more observation which will scarcely ever prove wrong.
It is that, however far we may go back into the past, the people whom we
find inhabiting any country at the very dawn of tradition, can always be
shown to have come from somewhere else, and not to have been the first
either. Every swarm of nomads or adventurers who either pass through a
country or stop and settle there, always find it occupied already. Now
the older population was hardly ever entirely destroyed or dislodged by
the newcomers. A portion at least remained, as an inferior or subject
race, but in time came to mix with them, mostly in the way of
intermarriage. Then again, if the newcomers were peaceable and there was
room enough--which there generally was in very early times--they would
frequently be suffered to form separate settlements, and dwell in the
land; when they would either remain in a subordinate condition, or, if
they were the finer and better gifted race, they would quickly take the
upper hand, teach the old settlers their own arts and ideas, their
manners and their laws. If the new settlement was effected by conquest,
the arrangement was short and simple: the conquerors, though less
numerous, at once established themselves as masters and formed a ruling
nobility, an aristocracy, while the old owners of the land, those at
least that did not choose to emigrate, became what may be called "the
common people," bound to do service and pay tribute or taxes to their
self-instituted masters. Every country has generally experienced, at
various times, all these modes of invasion, so that each nation may be
said to have been formed gradually, in successive layers, as it were,
and often of very different elements, which either finally amalgamated
or kept apart, according to circumstances.

The early history of Chaldea is a particularly good illustration of all
that has just been said.


[Y] Genesis, xiii. 7-11.

[Z] Genesis, xxxvi. 6-7.



1. The Bible says (Genesis xi. 2): "And it came to pass, as they
journeyed in the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar;
and they dwelt there."

Shinar--or, more correctly, Shineâr--is what may be called Babylonia
proper, that part of Mesopotamia where Babylon was, and south of it,
almost to the Gulf. "They" are descendants of Noah, long after the
Flood. They found the plain and dwelt there, but they did not find the
whole land desert; it had been occupied long before them. How long? For
such remote ages an exact valuation of time in years is not to be
thought of.

2. What people were those whom the descendants of Noah found in the land
to which they came from the East? It seems a simple question, yet no
answer could have been given to it even as lately as fifteen or sixteen
years ago, and when the answer was first suggested by unexpected
discoveries made in the Royal Library at Nineveh, it startled the
discoverers extremely. The only indication on the subject then known was
this, from a Chaldean writer of a late period: "There was originally at
Babylon" (i.e., in the land of Babylon, not the city alone) "a multitude
of men of foreign race who had settled in Chaldea." This is told by
Berosus, a learned priest of Babylon, who lived immediately after
Alexander the Great had conquered the country, and when the Greeks ruled
it (somewhat after 300 B.C.). He wrote a history of it from the most
ancient times, in which he gave an account of the oldest traditions
concerning its beginnings. As he wrote his book in Greek, it is probable
that his object was to acquaint the new masters with the history and
religion of the land and people whom they had come to rule.
Unfortunately the work was lost--as so many valuable works have been, as
long as there was no printing, and books existed only in a few
manuscript copies--and we know of it only some short fragments, quoted
by later writers, in whose time Berosus' history was still accessible.
The above lines are contained in one such fragment, and naturally led to
the question: who were these men of foreign race who came from somewhere
else and settled in Chaldea in immemorial times?

3. One thing appears clear: they belonged to none of the races classed
in the Bible as descended from Noah, but probably to one far older,
which had not been included in the Flood.

4. For it begins to be pretty generally understood nowadays that the
Flood may not have been absolutely universal, but have extended over the
countries _which the Hebrews knew_, which made _their_ world, and that
not literally all living beings except those who are reported to have
been in the Ark may have perished in it. From a negligent habit of
reading Chap. VI.-IX. of Genesis without reference to the texts of other
chapters of the same Book, it has become a general habit to understand
it in this literal manner. Yet the evidence is by no means so positive.
The question was considered an open one by profounder students even in
antiquity, and freely discussed both among the Jews themselves and the
Fathers of the early Christian Church. The following are the statements
given in the Book of Genesis; we have only to take them out of their
several places and connect them.

5. When Cain had killed his brother Abel, God banished him from the
_earth_ which had received his brother's blood and laid a curse on him:
"a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the _earth_"--using another
word than the first time, one which means earth in general (_éréç_), in
opposition to _the_ earth (_adâmâh_), or fruitful land to the east of
Eden, in which Adam and Eve dwelt after their expulsion. Then Cain went
forth, still further East, and dwelt in a land which was called "the
land of Nod," _i.e._, "of wandering" or "exile." He had a son, Enoch,
after whom he named the city which he built,--the first city,--and
descendants. Of these the fifth, Lamech, a fierce and lawless man, had
three sons, two of whom, Jabal and Jubal, led a pastoral and nomadic
life; but the third, Tubalcain, invented the use of metals: he was "the
forger of every cutting instrument of brass and iron." This is what the
Chap. IV. of Genesis tells of Cain, his crime, his exile and immediate
posterity. After that they are heard of no more. Adam, meanwhile, has a
third son, born after he had lost the first two and whom he calls Seth
(more correctly _Sheth_). The descendants of this son are enumerated in
Chap. V.; the list ends with Noah. These are the parallel races: the
accursed and the blest, the proscribed of God and the loved of God, the
one that "goes out of the presence of the Lord" and the one that "calls
on the name of the Lord," and "walks with God." Of the latter race the
last-named, Noah, is "a just man, perfect in his generation," and "finds
grace in the eyes of the Lord."

6. Then comes the narrative of the Flood (Chap. VI.-VIII.), the covenant
of God with Noah and re-peopling of the earth by his posterity (Chap.
IX.). Lastly Chap. X. gives us the list of the generations of Noah's
three sons, Shem, Ham and Japhet;--"of these were the nations divided in
the earth after the flood."

7. Now this tenth chapter of Genesis is the oldest and most important
document in existence concerning the origins of races and nations, and
comprises all those with whom the Jews, in the course of their early
history, have had any dealings, at least all those who belonged to the
great white division of mankind. But in order properly to understand it
and appreciate its value and bearing, it must not be forgotten that EACH
MAN. It was a common fashion among the Orientals--a fashion adopted also
by ancient European nations--to express in this manner the kindred
connections of nations among themselves and their differences. Both for
brevity and clearness, such historical genealogies are very convenient.
They must have been suggested by a proceeding most natural in ages of
ignorance, and which consists in a tribe's explaining its own name by
taking it for granted that it was that of its founder. Thus the name of
the Assyrians is really Asshur. Why? Clearly, they would answer, if
asked the question, because their kingdom was founded by one whose name
was Asshur. Another famous nation, the Aramæans, are supposed to be so
called because the name of their founder was Aram; the Hebrews name
themselves from a similarly supposed ancestor, Heber. These three
nations,--and several more, the Arabs among others--spoke languages so
much alike that they could easily understand each other, and had
generally many common features in looks and character. How account for
that? By making their founders, Asshur, and Aram, and Heber, etc., sons
or descendants of one great head or progenitor, Shem, a son of Noah. It
is a kind of parable which is extremely clear once one has the key to
it, when nothing is easier than to translate it into our own sober,
positive forms of speech. The above bit of genealogy would read thus: A
large portion of humanity is distinguished by certain features more or
less peculiar to itself; it is one of several great races, and has been
called for more than a hundred years the Semitic, (better Shemitic)
race, the race of Shem. This race is composed of many different tribes
and nations, who have gone each its own way, have each its own name and
history, speak dialects of the same original language, and have
preserved many common ideas, customs and traits of character,--which all
shows that the race was once united and dwelt together, then, as it
increased in numbers, broke up into fractions, of which some rose to be
great and famous nations and some remained comparatively insignificant
tribes. The same applies to the subdivisions of the great white race
(the whitest of all) to which nearly all the European nations belong,
and which is personified in the Bible under the name of Japhet, third
son of Noah,--and to those of a third great race, also originally white,
which is broken up into very many fractions, both great nations and
scattered tribes, all exhibiting a decided likeness to each other. The
Bible gives the names of all these most carefully, and sums up the whole
of them under the name of the second son of Noah, Ham, whom it calls
their common progenitor.

8. That the genealogies of Chap. X. of Genesis should be understood in
this sense, has long been admitted by scientists and churchmen. St.
Augustine, one of the greatest among the Fathers of the early church,
pointedly says that the names in it represent "nations, not men."[AA] On
the other hand there is also literal truth in them, in this way, that,
if all mankind is descended from one human couple, every fraction of it
must necessarily have had some one particular father or ancestor, only
in so remote a past that his individuality or actual name cannot
possibly have been remembered, when every people, as has been remarked
above, naturally gave him its own name. Of these names many show by
their very nature that they could not have belonged to individuals. Some
are plural, like MIZRAIM, "the Egyptians;" some have the article: "_the_
AMORITE, _the_ HIVITE;" one even is the name of a city: SIDON is called
"the first-born of Canaan;" now Sidon was long the greatest maritime
city of the Canaanites, who held an undisputed supremacy over the rest,
and therefore "the first-born." The name means "fisheries"--an
appropriate one for a city on the sea, which must of course have been at
first a settlement of fishermen. "CANAAN" really is the name of a vast
region, inhabited by a great many nations and tribes, all differing from
each other in many ways, yet manifestly of one race, wherefore they are
called "the sons of Canaan," Canaan being personified in a common
ancestor, given as one of the four sons of Ham. Modern science has, for
convenience' sake, adopted a special word for such imaginary personages,
invented to account for a nation's, tribe's, or city's name, while
summing up, so to speak, its individuality: they are called EPONYMS. The
word is Greek, and means "one from whom or for whom somebody or
something is named," a "namesake." It is not too much to say that, while
popular tradition always claims that the eponymous ancestor or
city-founder gave his name to his family, race, or city, the contrary is
in reality invariably the case, the name of the race or city being
transferred to him. Or, in other words, the eponym is really only that
name, transformed into a traditional person by a bold and vivid poetical
figure of speech, which, if taken for what it is, makes the beginnings
of political history wonderfully plain and easy to grasp and classify.

9. Yet, complete and correct as is the list of Chap. X., within the
limits which the writer has set to himself, it by no means exhausts the
nations of the earth. The reason of the omissions, however, is easily
seen. Among the posterity of Japhet the Greeks indeed are mentioned,
(under the name of JAVAN, which should be pronounced _Yawan_, and some
of his sons), but not a single one of the other ancient peoples of
Europe,--Germans, Italians, Celts, etc.,--who also belonged to that
race, as we, their descendants, do. But then, at the time Chap. X. was
written, these countries, from their remoteness, were outside of the
world in which the Hebrews moved, beyond their horizon, so to speak.
They either did not know them at all, or, having nothing to do with
them, did not take them into consideration. In neither case would they
have been given a place in the great list. The same may be said of
another large portion of the same race, which dwelt to the far East and
South of the Hebrews--the Hindoos, (the white conquerors of India), and
the Persians. There came a time indeed, when the latter not only came
into contact with the Jews, but were their masters; but either that was
after Chap. X. was written or the Persians were identified by the
writers with a kindred nation, the Persians' near neighbor, who had
flourished much earlier and reacted in many ways on the countries
westward of it; this nation was the MEDES, who, under the name of MADAI,
are mentioned as one of the sons of Japhet, with Javan the Greek.

10. More noticeable and more significant than these partial omissions is
the determination with which the authors of Chap. X. consistently ignore
all those divisions of mankind which do not belong to one of the three
great _white_ races. Neither the Black nor the Yellow races are
mentioned at all; they are left without the pale of the Hebrew
brotherhood of nations. Yet the Jews, who staid three or four hundred
years in Egypt, surely learned there to know the real negro, for the
Egyptians were continually fighting with pure-blood black tribes in the
south and south-west, and bringing in thousands of black captives, who
were made to work at their great buildings and in their stone-quarries.
But these people were too utterly barbarous and devoid of all culture or
political importance to be taken into account. Besides, the Jews could
not be aware of the vast extent of the earth occupied by the black race,
since the greater part of Africa was then unknown to the world, and so
were the islands to the south of India, also Australia and its
islands--all seats of different sections of that race.

11. The same could not be said of the Yellow Race. True, its principal
representatives, the nations of the far East of Asia--the Chinese, the
Mongols and the Mandchous,--could not be known to the Hebrews at any
time of antiquity, but there were more than enough representatives of
it who could not be _un_known to them.[AB] For it was both a very old
and extremely numerous race, which early spread over the greater part of
the earth and at one time probably equalled in numbers the rest of
mankind. It seems always to have been broken up into a great many tribes
and peoples, whom it has been found convenient to gather under the
general designation of TURANIANS, from a very ancient name,--TUR or
TURA--which was given them by the white population of Persia and Central
Asia, and which is still preserved in that of one of their principal
surviving branches, the TURKS. All the different members of this great
family have had very striking features in common,--the most
extraordinary being an incapability of reaching the highest culture, of
progressing indefinitely, improving continually. A strange law of their
being seems to have condemned them to stop short, when they had attained
a certain, not very advanced, stage. Thus their speech has remained
extremely imperfect. They spoke, and such Turanian nations as now exist
still speak, languages, which, however they may differ, all have this
peculiarity, that they are composed either entirely of monosyllables,
(the most rudimentary form of speech), or of monosyllables pieced into
words in the stiffest, most unwieldy manner, stuck together, as it
were, with nothing to join them, wherefore this kind of language has
been called _agglutinative_. Chinese belongs to the former class of
languages, the "monosyllabic," Turkish to the latter, the
"agglutinative." Further, the Turanians were probably the first to
invent writing, but never went in that art beyond having one particular
sign for every single word--(such is Chinese writing with its forty
thousand signs or thereabouts, as many as words in the language)--or at
most a sign for every syllable. They had beautiful beginnings of poetry,
but in that also never went beyond beginnings. They were also probably
the first who built cities, but were wanting in the qualities necessary
to organize a society, establish a state on solid and lasting
foundations. At one time they covered the whole of Western Asia, dwelt
there for ages before any other race occupied it,--fifteen hundred
years, according to a very trustworthy tradition,--and were called by
the ancients "the oldest of men;" but they vanish and are not heard of
any more the moment that white invaders come into the land; these drive
the Turanians before them, or bring them into complete subjection, or
mix with them, but, by force of their own superiorly gifted nature,
retain the dominant position, so that the others lose all separate
existence. Thus it was everywhere. For wherever tribes of the three
Biblical races came, they mostly found Turanian populations who had
preceded them. There are now a great number of Turanian tribes, more or
less numerous--Kirghizes, Bashkirs, Ostiaks, Tunguzes, etc.,
etc.--scattered over the vast expanse of Siberia and Eastern Russia,
where they roam at will with their flocks and herds of horses,
occasionally settling down,--fragmentary remnants of a race which, to
this latest time, has preserved its original peculiarities and
imperfections, whose day is done, which has long ceased to improve,
unless it assimilates with the higher white race and adopts their
culture, when all that it lacked is supplied by the nobler element which
mixes with it, as in the case of the Hungarians, one of the most
high-spirited and talented nations of Europe, originally of Turanian
stock. The same may be said, in a lesser degree, of the Finns--the
native inhabitants of the Russian principality of Finland.

12. All this by no means goes to show that the Yellow Race has ever been
devoid of fine faculties and original genius. Quite the contrary; for,
if white races everywhere stepped in, took the work of civilization out
of their hands and carried it on to a perfection of which they were
incapable, still they, the Turanians, had everywhere _begun_ that work,
it was their inventions which the others took up and improved: and we
must remember that it is very much easier to improve than to invent.
Only there is that strange limitation to their power of progress and
that want of natural refinement, which are as a wall that encloses them
around. Even the Chinese, who, at first sight, are a brilliant
exception, are not so on a closer inspection. True, they have founded
and organized a great empire which still endures; they have a vast
literature, they have made most important inventions--printing,
manufacturing paper out of rags, the use of the compass,
gunpowder--centuries before European nations made them in their turn.
Yet the latter do all those things far better; they have improved these,
to them, new inventions more in a couple of hundred years than the
Chinese in a thousand. In fact it is a good many centuries since the
Chinese have ceased to improve anything at all. Their language and
writing are childishly imperfect, though the oldest in existence. In
government, in the forms of social life, in their ideas generally, they
follow rules laid down for them three thousand years ago or more and
from which to swerve a hair's breadth were blasphemy. As they have
always stubbornly resisted foreign influences, and gone the length of
trying actually to erect material walls between themselves and the rest
of the world, their empire is a perfectly fair specimen of what the
Yellow Race can do, if left entirely to itself, and quite as much of
what it can_not_ do, and now they have for centuries presented that
unique phenomenon--a great nation at a standstill.

13. All this obviously leads us to a very interesting and suggestive
question: what is this great race which we find everywhere at the very
roots of history, so that not only ancient tradition calls them "the
oldest of men," but modern science more and more inclines to the same
opinion? Whence came it? How is it not included in the great family of
nations, of which Chap. X. of Genesis gives so clear and comprehensive a
scheme? Parallel to this question arises another: what became of Cain's
posterity? What, above all, of the descendants of those three sons of
Lamech, whom the writer of Genesis clearly places before us as heads of
nations and thinks of sufficient importance to specify what their
occupations were? (See Genesis iv. 19-22.) Why do we never hear any more
of this entire half of humanity, severed in the very beginning from the
other half--the lineage of the accursed son from that of the blest and
favored son? And may not the answer to this series of questions be the
answer to the first series also?

14. With regard to the second series this answer is plain and decisive.
The descendants of Cain were necessarily out of the pale of the Hebrew
world. The curse of God, in consequence of which their forefather is
said to have gone "out of the presence of the Lord," at once and forever
separated them from the posterity of the pious son, from those who
"walked with God." The writer of Genesis tells us that they lived in the
"Land of Exile" and multiplied, then dismisses them. For what could the
elect, the people of God, or even those other nations who went astray,
who were repeatedly chastised, but whose family bond with the righteous
race was never entirely severed--what could they have in common with the
banished, the castaway, the irretrievably accursed? These did not count,
they were not of humanity. What more probable, therefore, than that,
being excluded from all the other narratives, they should not be
included in that of the Flood? And in that case, who should they be but
that most ancient race, set apart by its color and several striking
peculiarities, which everywhere preceded their white brethren, but were
invariably supplanted by them and not destined to supremacy on the
earth? This supposition has been hazarded by men of great genius, and if
bold, still has much to support it; if confirmed it would solve many
puzzles, throw strong and unexpected light on many obscure points. The
very antiquity of the Yellow Race tallies admirably with the Biblical
narrative, for of the two Biblical brothers Cain was the eldest. And the
doom laid on the race, "a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be on the
earth," has not been revoked through all ages. Wherever pure Turanians
are--they are nomads. And when, fifteen hundred years ago and later,
countless swarms of barbarous people flooded Europe, coming from the
east, and swept all before them, the Turanian hordes could be known
chiefly by this, that they destroyed, burned, laid waste--and passed,
vanished: whereas the others, after treating a country quite as
savagely, usually settled in it and founded states, most of which exist
even now--for, French, German, English, Russian, we are all descended
from some of those barbarous invaders. And this also would fully explain
how it came to pass that, although the Hebrews and their
forefathers--let us say the Semites generally--everywhere found
Turanians on their way, nay, dwelt in the same lands with them, the
sacred historian ignores them completely, as in Gen. xi. 2.

15. For they were Turanians, arrived at a, for them, really high state
of culture, who peopled the land of Shinar, when "_they_"--descendants
of Noah,--journeying in the East, found that plain where they dwelt for
many years.


[AA] "_Gentes non homines._" (_De Civitate Dei_, XVII., 3.)

[AB] If, as has been suggested, the "land of Sinim" in Isaiah xlix., 12,
is meant for China, such a solitary, incidental and unspecified mention
of a country the name of which may have been vaguely used to express the
remotest East, cannot invalidate the scheme so evidently and
persistently pursued in the composition of Chap. X.



1. It is not Berosus alone who speaks of the "multitudes of men of
foreign race" who colonized Chaldea "in the beginning." It was a
universally admitted fact throughout antiquity that the population of
the country had always been a mixed one, but a fact known vaguely,
without particulars. On this subject, as on so many others, the
discoveries made in the royal library of Nineveh shed an unexpected and
most welcome light. The very first, so to speak preliminary, study of
the tablets showed that there were amongst them documents in two
entirely different languages, of which one evidently was that of an
older population of Chaldea. The other and later language, usually
called Assyrian, because it was spoken also by the Assyrians, being very
like Hebrew, an understanding of it was arrived at with comparative
ease. As to the older language there was absolutely no clue. The only
conjecture which could be made with any certainty was, that it must have
been spoken by a double people, called the people of Shumir and Accad,
because later kings of Babylon, in their inscriptions, always gave
themselves the title of "Kings of Shumir and Accad," a title which the
Assyrian sovereigns, who at times conquered Chaldea, did not fail to
take also. But who and what were these people might never have been
cleared up, but for the most fortunate discovery of dictionaries and
grammars, which, the texts being supplied with Assyrian translations,
served our modern scholars, just as they did Assyrian students 3000
years ago, to decipher and learn to understand the oldest language of
Chaldea. Of course, it was a colossal piece of work, beset with
difficulties which it required an almost fierce determination and
superhuman patience to master. But every step made was so amply repaid
by the results obtained, that the zeal of the laborers was never
suffered to flag, and the effected reconstruction, though far from
complete even now, already enables us to conjure a very suggestive and
life-like picture of those first settlers of the Mesopotamian Lowlands,
their character, religion and pursuits.

2. The language thus strangely brought to light was very soon perceived
to be distinctly of that peculiar and primitive type--partly
monosyllables, partly words rudely pieced together,--which has been
described in a preceding chapter as characteristic of the Turanian race,
and which is known in science by the general name of _agglutinative_,
i.e., "glued or stuck together," without change in the words, either by
declension or conjugation. The people of Shumir and Accad, therefore,
were one and the same Turanian nation, the difference in the name being
merely a geographical one. SHUMIR is Southern or Lower Chaldea, the
country towards and around the Persian Gulf,--that very land of Shinar
which is mentioned in Genesis xi. 2. Indeed "Shinar" is only the way in
which the Hebrews pronounced and spelt the ancient name of Lower
Chaldea. ACCAD is Northern or Upper Chaldea. The most correct way, and
the safest from all misunderstanding, is to name the people the
Shumiro-Accads and their language, the Shumiro-Accadian; but for
brevity's sake, the first name is frequently dropped, and many say
simply "the Accads" and "the Accadian language." It is clear, however,
that the royal title must needs unite both names, which together
represented the entire country of Chaldea. Of late it has been
discovered that the Shumiro-Accads spoke two slightly differing dialects
of the same language, that of Shumir being most probably the older of
the two, as culture and conquest seem to have been carried steadily
northward from the Gulf.

3. That the Accads themselves came from somewhere else, is plain from
several circumstances, although there is not the faintest symptom or
trace of any people whom they may have found in the country. They
brought into it the very first and most essential rudiments of
civilization, the art of writing, and that of working metals; it was
probably also they who began to dig those canals without which the land,
notwithstanding its fabulous fertility, must always be a marshy waste,
and who began to make bricks and construct buildings out of them. There
is ground to conclude that they came down from mountains in the fact
that the name "Accad" means "Mountains" or "Highlands," a name which
they could not possibly have taken in the dead flats of Lower Chaldea,
but must have retained as a relic of an older home. It is quite possible
that this home may have been in the neighboring wild and mountainous
land of SHUSHAN (Susiana on the maps), whose first known population was
also Turanian. These guesses take us into a past, where not a speck of
positive fact can be discerned. Yet even that must have been only a
station in this race's migration from a far more northern centre. Their
written language, even after they had lived for centuries in an almost
tropical country, where palms grew in vast groves, almost forests, and
lions were common game, as plentiful as tigers in the jungles of Bengal,
contained no sign to designate either the one or the other, while it was
well stocked with the signs of metals,--of which there is no vestige, of
course, in Chaldea,--and all that belongs to the working thereof. As the
ALTAÏ range, the great Siberian chain, has always been famous for its
rich mines of every possible metal ore, and as the valleys of the Altaï
are known to be the nests from which innumerable Turanian tribes
scattered to the north and south, and in which many dwell to this day
after their own nomadic fashion, there is no extravagance in supposing
that _there_ may have been our Accads' original point of departure.
Indeed the Altaï is so indissolubly connected with the origin of most
Turanian nations, that many scientists prefer to call the entire Yellow
Race, with all its gradations of color, "the Altaïc." Their own
traditions point the same way. Several of them have a pretty legend of a
sort of paradise, a secluded valley somewhere in the Altaï, pleasant and
watered by many streams, where their forefathers either dwelt in the
first place or whither they were providentially conducted to be saved
from a general massacre. The valley was entirely enclosed with high
rocks, steep and pathless, so that when, after several hundred years, it
could no longer hold the number of its inhabitants, these began to
search for an issue and found none. Then one among them, who was a
smith, discovered that the rocks were almost entirely of iron. By his
advice, a huge fire was made and a great many mighty bellows were
brought into play, by which means a path was _melted_ through the rocks.
A tradition, by the by, which, while confirming the remark that the
invention of metallurgy belongs originally to the Yellow Race in its
earliest stages of development, is strangely in accordance with the name
of the Biblical Tubalcain, "the forger of every cutting instrument of
brass and iron." That the Accads were possessed of this distinctive
accomplishment of their race is moreover made very probable by the
various articles and ornaments in gold, brass and iron which are
continually found in the very oldest tombs.

4. But infinitely the most precious acquisition secured to us by the
unexpected revelation of this stage of remotest antiquity is a
wonderfully extensive collection of prayers, invocations and other
sacred texts, from which we can reconstruct, with much probability, the
most primitive religion in the world--for such undoubtedly was that of
the Accads. As a clear and authentic insight into the first
manifestation of the religious instinct in man was just what was wanting
until now, in order to enable us to follow its development from the
first, crudest attempts at expression to the highest aspirations and
noblest forms of worship, the value of this discovery can never be
overrated. It introduces us moreover into so strange and fantastical a
world as not the most imaginative of fictions can surpass.

5. The instinct of religion--"religiosity," as it has been called--is
inborn to man; like the faculty of speech, it belongs to man, and to man
only, of all living beings. So much so, that modern science is coming to
acknowledge these two faculties as _the_ distinctive characteristics
which mark man as a being apart from and above the rest of creation.
Whereas the division of all that exists upon the earth has of old been
into three great classes or realms--the "mineral realm," the "vegetable
realm" and the "animal realm," in which latter man was included--it is
now proposed to erect the human race with all its varieties into a
separate "realm," for this very reason: that man has all that animals
have, and two things more which they have not--speech and religiosity,
which assume a faculty of abstract thinking, observing and drawing
general conclusions, solely and distinctively human. Now the very first
observations of man in the most primitive stage of his existence must
necessarily have awakened in him a twofold consciousness--that of power
and that of helplessness. He could do many things. Small in size, weak
in strength, destitute of natural clothing and weapons, acutely
sensitive to pain and atmospheric changes as all higher natures are, he
could kill and tame the huge and powerful animals which had the
advantage of him in all these things, whose numbers and fierceness
threatened him at every turn with destruction, from which his only
escape would seem to have been constant cowering and hiding. He could
compel the earth to bear for him choicer food than for the other beings
who lived on her gifts. He could command the service of fire, the dread
visitor from heaven. Stepping victoriously from one achievement to
another, ever widening his sphere of action, of invention, man could not
but be filled with legitimate pride. But on the other hand, he saw
himself surrounded with things which he could neither account for nor
subdue, which had the greatest influence on his well-being, either
favorable or hostile, but which were utterly beyond his comprehension or
control. The same sun which ripened his crop sometimes scorched it; the
rain which cooled and fertilized his field, sometimes swamped it; the
hot winds parched him and his cattle; in the marshes lurked disease and
death. All these and many, many more, were evidently POWERS, and could
do him great good or work him great harm, while he was unable to do
either to them. These things existed, he felt their action every day of
his life, consequently they were to him living Beings, alive in the same
way that he was, possessed of will, for good or for evil. In short, to
primitive man everything in nature was alive with an individual life, as
it is to the very young child, who would not beat the chair against
which he has knocked himself, and then kiss it to make friends, did he
not think that it is a living and feeling being like himself. The
feeling of dependence and absolute helplessness thus created must have
more than balanced that of pride and self-reliance. Man felt himself
placed in a world where he was suffered to live and have his share of
what good things he could get, but which was not ruled by him,--in a
spirit-world. Spirits around him, above him, below him,--what could he
do but humble himself, confess his dependence, and pray to be spared?
For surely, if those spirits existed and took enough interest in him to
do him good or evil, they could hear him and might be moved by
supplication. To establish a distinction between such spirits which did
only harm, were evil in themselves, and those whose action was generally
beneficial and only on rare occasions destructive, was the next natural
step, which led as naturally to a perception of divine displeasure as
the cause of such terrible manifestations and a seeking of means to
avert or propitiate it. While fear and loathing were the portion of the
former spirits, the essentially evil ones, love and gratitude, were the
predominant feelings inspired by the latter,--feelings which, together
with the ever present consciousness of dependence, are the very essence
of religion, just as praise and worship are the attempts to express them
in a tangible form.

6. It is this most primitive, material and unquestioning stage in the
growth of religious feeling, which a large portion of the
Shumiro-Accadian documents from the Royal Library at Nineveh brings
before us with a force and completeness which, however much room there
may still be for uncertainty in details, on the whole really amounts to
more than conjecture. Much will, doubtless, be discovered yet, much will
be done, but it will only serve to fill in a sketch, of which the
outlines are already now tolerably fixed and authentic. The materials
for this most important reconstruction are almost entirely contained in
a vast collection of two hundred tablets, forming one consecutive work
in three books, over fifty of which have been sifted out of the heap of
rubbish at the British Museum and first deciphered by Sir Henry
Rawlinson, one of the greatest, as he was the first discoverer in this
field, and George Smith, whose achievements and too early death have
been mentioned in a former chapter. Of the three books into which the
collection is divided, one treats "of evil spirits," another of
diseases, and the third contains hymns and prayers--the latter
collection showing signs of a later and higher development. Out of these
materials the lately deceased French scholar, Mr. François Lenormant,
whose name has for the last fifteen years or so of his life stood in the
very front of this branch of Oriental research, has been the first to
reconstruct an entire picture in a book not very voluminous indeed, but
which must always remain a corner-stone in the history of human culture.
This book shall be our guide in the strange world we now enter.[AC]

7. To the people of Shumir and Accad, then, the universe was peopled
with Spirits, whom they distributed according to its different spheres
and regions. For they had formed a very elaborate and clever, if
peculiar idea of what they supposed the world to be like. According to
the ingenious expression of a Greek writer of the 1st century A.D. they
imagined it to have the shape of an inverted round boat or bowl, the
thickness of which would represent the mixture of land and water
(_kî-a_) which we call the crust of the earth, while the hollow beneath
this inhabitable crust was fancied as a bottomless pit or abyss (_ge_),
in which dwelt many powers. Above the convex surface of the earth
(_kî-a_) spread the sky (_ana_), itself divided into two regions:--the
highest heaven or firmament, which, with the fixed stars immovably
attached to it, revolved, as round an axis or pivot, around an immensely
high mountain, which joined it to the earth as a pillar, and was
situated somewhere in the far North-East--some say North--and the lower
heaven, where the planets--a sort of resplendent animals, seven in
number, of beneficent nature--wandered forever on their appointed path.
To these were opposed seven evil demons, sometimes called "the Seven
Fiery Phantoms." But above all these, higher in rank and greater in
power, is the Spirit (_Zi_) of heaven (_ana_), ZI-ANA, or, as often,
simply ANA--"Heaven." Between the lower heaven and the surface of the
earth is the atmospheric region, the realm of IM or MERMER, the Wind,
where he drives the clouds, rouses the storms, and whence he pours down
the rain, which is stored in the great reservoir of Ana, in the heavenly
Ocean. As to the earthly Ocean, it is fancied as a broad river, or
watery rim, flowing all round the edge of the imaginary inverted bowl;
in its waters dwells ÊA (whose name means "the House of Waters"), the
great Spirit of the Earth and Waters (_Zi-kî-a_), either in the form of
a fish, whence he is frequently called "Êa the fish," or "the Exalted
Fish," or on a magnificent ship, with which he travels round the earth,
guarding and protecting it. The minor spirits of earth (_Anunnaki_) are
not much spoken of except in a body, as a sort of host or legion. All
the more terrible are the seven spirits of the abyss, the MASKIM, of
whom it is said that, although their seat is in the depths of the earth,
yet their voice resounds on the heights also: they reside at will in the
immensity of space, "not enjoying a good name either in heaven or on
earth." Their greatest delight is to subvert the orderly course of
nature, to cause earthquakes, inundations, ravaging tempests. Although
the Abyss is their birth-place and proper sphere, they are not
submissive to its lord and ruler MUL-GE ("Lord of the Abyss"). In that
they are like their brethren of the lower heaven who do not acknowledge
Ana's supremacy, in fact are called "spirits of rebellion," because,
being originally Ana's messengers, they once "secretly plotted a wicked
deed," rose against the heavenly powers, obscured the Moon, and all but
hurled him from his seat. But the Maskim are ever more feared and
hated, as appears from the following description, which has become
celebrated for its real poetical force:

8. "They are seven! they are seven!--Seven they are in the depths of
Ocean,--seven they are, disturbers of the face of Heaven.--They arise
from the depths of Ocean, from hidden lurking-places.--They spread like
snares.--Male they are not, female they are not.--Wives they have not,
children are not born to them.--Order they know not, nor
beneficence;--prayers and supplication they hear not.--Vermin grown in
the bowels of the mountains--foes of Êa--they are the throne-bearers of
the gods--they sit in the roads and make them unsafe.--The fiends! the
fiends!--They are seven, they are seven, seven they are!

"Spirit of Heaven (_Zi-ana, Ana_), be they conjured!

"Spirit of Earth (_Zi-kî-a, Êa_), be they conjured!"

9. Besides these regular sets of evil spirits in sevens--seven being a
mysterious and consecrated number--there are the hosts untold of demons
which assail man in every possible form, which are always on the watch
to do him harm, not only bodily, but moral in the way of civil broils
and family dissensions; confusion is their work; it is they who "steal
the child from the father's knee," who "drive the son from his father's
house," who withhold from the wife the blessing of children; they have
stolen days from heaven, which they have made evil days, that bring
nothing but ill-luck and misfortune,--and nothing can keep them out:
"They fall as rain from the sky, they spring from the earth,--they steal
from house to house,--doors do not stop them,--bolts do not shut them
out,--they creep in at the doors like serpents,--they blow in at the
roof like winds." Various are their haunts: the tops of mountains, the
pestilential marshes by the sea, but especially the desert. Diseases are
among the most dreaded of this terrible band, and first among these
NAMTAR or DIBBARA, the demon of Pestilence, IDPA (Fever), and a certain
mysterious disease of the head, which must be insanity, of which it is
said that it oppresses the head and holds it tight like a tiara (a heavy
headdress) or "like a dark prison," and makes it confused, that "it is
like a violent tempest; no one knows whence it comes, nor what is its

10. All these evil beings are very properly classed together under the
general name of "creations of the Abyss," births of the nether world,
the world of the dead. For the unseen world below the habitable earth
was naturally conceived as the dwelling place of the departed spirits
after death. It is very remarkable as characteristic of the low standard
of moral conception which the Shumiro-Accads had attained at this stage
of their development, that, although they never admitted that those who
died ceased to exist altogether, there is very little to show that they
imagined any happy state for them after death, not even as a reward for
a righteous life, nor, on the other hand, looked to a future state for
punishment of wrongs committed in this world, but promiscuously
consigned their dead to the ARALI, a most dismal region which is called
the "support of chaos," or, in phrase no less vague and full of
mysterious awe, "the Great Land" (_Kî-gal_), "the Great City"
(_Urugal_), "the spacious dwelling," "where they wander in the dark,"--a
region ruled by a female divinity called by different names, but most
frequently "Lady of the Great Land" (_Nin-kî-gal_), or "Lady of the
Abyss" (_Nin-ge_), who may then rather be understood as Death
personified, that Namtar (Pestilence) is her chief minister. The
Shumiro-Accads seem to have dimly fancied that association with so many
evil beings whose proper home the Arali was, must convert even the human
spirits into beings almost as noxious, for one or two passages appear to
imply that they were afraid of ghosts, at least on one occasion it is
threatened to send the dead back into the upper world, as the direst
calamity that can be inflicted.

11. As if all these terrors were not sufficient to make life a burden,
the Shumiro-Accads believed in sorcerers, wicked men who knew how to
compel the powers of evil to do their bidding and thus could inflict
death, sickness or disasters at their pleasure. This could be done in
many ways--by a look, by uttering certain words, by drinks made of herbs
prepared under certain conditions and ceremonies. Nay, the power of
doing harm sometimes fatally belonged even to innocent persons, who
inflicted it unintentionally by their look--for the effect of "the evil
eye" did not always depend on a person's own will.

12. Existence under such conditions must have been as unendurable as
that of poor children who have been terrified by silly nurses into a
belief in ogres and a fear of dark rooms, had there not existed real or
imaginary defences against this array of horrible beings always ready to
fall on unfortunate humanity in all sorts of inexplicable ways and for
no other reason but their own detestable delight in doing evil. These
defences could not consist in rational measures dictated by a knowledge
of the laws of physical nature, since they had no notion of such laws;
nor in prayers and propitiatory offerings, since one of the demons' most
execrable qualities was, as we have seen, that they "knew not
beneficence" and "heard not prayer and supplication." Then, if they
cannot be coaxed, they must be compelled. This seems a very presumptuous
assumption, but it is strictly in accordance with human instinct. It has
been very truly said[AD] that "man was so conscious of being called to
exercise empire over the powers of nature, that, the moment he entered
into any relations with them, it was to try and subject them to his
will. Only instead of studying the phenomena, in order to grasp their
laws and apply them to his needs, he fancied he could, by means of
peculiar practices and consecrated forms, compel the physical agents of
nature to serve his wishes and purposes.... This pretension had its root
in the notion which antiquity had formed of the natural phenomena. It
did not see in them the consequence of unchangeable and necessary laws,
always active and always to be calculated upon, but fancied them to
depend on the arbitrary and varying will of the spirits and deities it
had put in the place of physical agents." It follows that in a religion
which peoples the universe with spirits of which the greater part are
evil, magic--i.e., conjuring with words and rites, incantations,
spells--must take the place of worship, and the ministers of such a
religion are not priests, but conjurers and enchanters. This is exactly
the state of things revealed by the great collection of texts discovered
by Sir H. Rawlinson and G. Smith. They contain forms for conjuring all
the different kinds of demons, even to evil dreams and nightmares, the
object of most such invocations being to drive them away from the
habitations of men and back to where they properly belong--the depth of
the desert, the inaccessible mountain tops, and all remote, waste and
uninhabited places generally, where they can range at will, and find
nobody to harm.

13. Yet there are also prayers for protection and help addressed to
beings conceived as essentially good and beneficent--a step marking a
great advance in the moral feeling and religious consciousness of the
people. Such beings--gods, in fact--were, above all, Ana and Êa, whom
we saw invoked in the incantation of the Seven Maskim as "Spirit of
Heaven," and "Spirit of Earth." The latter especially is appealed to as
an unfailing refuge to ill-used and terrified mortals. He is imagined as
possessed of all knowledge and wisdom, which he uses only to befriend
and protect. His usual residence is the deep,--(hence his name, _Ê-a_,
"the House of Waters")--but he sometimes travels round the earth in a
magnificent ship. His very name is a terror to the evil ones. He knows
the words, the spells that will break their power and compel their
obedience. To him, therefore, the people looked in their need with
infinite trust. Unable to cope with the mysterious dangers and snares
which, as they fancied, beset them on all sides, ignorant of the means
of defeating the wicked beings who, they thought, pursued them with
abominable malice and gratuitous hatred, they turned to Êa. _He_ would
know. _He_ must be asked, and he would tell.

14. But, as though bethinking themselves that Êa was a being too mighty
and exalted to be lightly addressed and often disturbed, the
Shumiro-Accads imagined a beneficent spirit, MERIDUG (more correctly
MIRRI-DUGGA), called son of Êa and DAMKINA, (a name of Earth). Meridug's
only office is to act as mediator between his father and suffering
mankind. It is he who bears to Êa the suppliant's request, exposes his
need sometimes in very moving words, and requests to know the remedy--if
illness be the trouble--or the counter-spell, if the victim be held in
the toils of witchcraft. Êa tells his son, who is then supposed to
reveal the secret to the chosen instrument of assistance--of course the
conjuring priest, or better, soothsayer. As most incantations are
conceived on this principle, they are very monotonous in form, though
frequently enlivened by the supposed dialogue between the father and
son. Here is one of the more entertaining specimens. It occupies an
entire tablet, but unfortunately many lines have been hopelessly
injured, and have to be omitted. The text begins:

     "The Disease of the Head has issued from the Abyss, from the
     dwelling of the Lord of the Abyss."

Then follow the symptoms and the description of the sufferer's inability
to help himself. Then "Meridug has looked on his misery. He has entered
the dwelling of his father Êa, and has spoken unto him:

     "'My father, the Disease of the Head has issued from the

"A second time he has spoken unto him:

     "'What he must do against it the man knows not. How shall he
     find healing?'

"Êa has replied to his son Meridug:

     "'My son, how dost thou not know? What should I teach thee?
     What I know, thou also knowest. But come hither, my son
     Meridug. Take a bucket, fill it with water from the mouth of
     the rivers; impart to this water thy exalted magic power;
     sprinkle with it the man, son of his god, ... wrap up his head,
     ... and on the highway pour it out. May insanity be dispelled!
     that the disease of his head vanish like a phantom of the
     night. May Êa's word drive it out! May Damkina heal him.'"

15. Another dialogue of the same sort, in which Êa is consulted as to
the means of breaking the power of the Maskim, ends by his revealing

     "The white cedar is the tree which breaks the Maskim's noxious

In fact the white cedar was considered an infallible defence against all
spells and evil powers. Any action or ceremony described in the
conjuration must of course be performed even as the words are spoken.
Then there is a long one, perhaps the best preserved of all, to be
recited by the sufferer, who is supposed to be under the effects of an
evil spell, and from which it is evident that the words are to accompany
actions performed by the conjurer. It is divided into parallel verses,
of which the first runs thus:

     "As this onion is being peeled of its skins, thus shall it be
     of the spell. The burning fire shall consume it; it shall no
     more be planted in a row, ... the ground shall not receive its
     root, its head shall contain no seed and the sun shall not take
     care of it;--it shall not be offered at the feast of a god or a
     king.--The man who has cast the evil spell, his eldest son, his
     wife,--the spell, the lamentations, the transgressions, the
     written spells, the blasphemies, the sins,--the evil which is
     in my body, in my flesh, in my sores,--may they all be
     destroyed as this onion, and may the burning fire consume them
     this day! May the evil spell go far away, and may I see the
     light again!"

Then the destruction of a date is similarly described:

     "It shall not return to the bough from which it has been

The untying of a knot:

     "Its threads shall not return to the stem which has produced

The tearing up of some wool:

     "It shall not return to the back of its sheep."

The tearing of some stuff, and after each act the second verse:

     "The man who has cast the spell," etc.

is repeated.

16. It is devoutly to be hoped, for the patients' sake, that treatments
like these took effect on the disease, for they got no other. Diseases
being conceived as personal demons who entered a man's body of their own
accord or under compulsion from powerful sorcerers, and illness being
consequently considered as a kind of possession, clearly the only thing
to do was to drive out the demon or break the spell with the aid of the
beneficent Êa and his son. If this intervention was of no avail, nothing
remained for the patient but to get well as he could, or to die. This is
why there never was a science of medicine in the proper sense in
Chaldea, even as late as three or four hundred years B.C., and the Greek
travellers who then visited Babylon must have been not a little shocked
at the custom they found there of bringing desperately sick persons out
of the houses with their beds and exposing them in the streets, when any
passer-by could approach them, inquire into the disease and suggest some
remedy--which was sure to be tried as a last chance. This extraordinary
experiment was of course not resorted to until all known forms of
conjuration had been gone through and had proved inefficient.

17. The belief that certain words and imprecations could break the
power of demons or sorcerers must have naturally led to the notion that
to wear such imprecations, written on some substance or article, always
about one's person must be a continual defence against them; while on
the other hand, words of invocation to the beneficent spirits and images
representing them, worn in the same way, must draw down on the wearer
those spirits' protection and blessing. Hence the passion for talismans.
They were of various kinds: strips of stuff, with the magic words
written on them, to be fastened to the body, or the clothes, or articles
of household furniture, were much used; but small articles of clay or
hard stone were in greater favor on account of their durability. As
houses could be possessed by evil spirits just as well as individuals,
talismans were placed in different parts of them for protection, and
this belief was so enduring that small clay figures of gods were found
in Assyrian palaces under thresholds--as in the palace of Khorsabad, by
Botta--placed there "to keep from it fiends and enemies." It has been
discovered in this manner that many of the sculptures which adorned the
Assyrian palaces and temples were of talismanic nature. Thus the winged
bulls placed at the gateways were nothing but representations of an
Accadian class of guardian spirits,--the _Kirûbu_, Hebrew _Kerubim_, of
which we have made _Cherub_, _Cherubim_--who were supposed to keep watch
at entrances, even at that of the Arali, while some sculptures on which
demons, in the shape of hideous monsters, are seen fighting each
other, are, so to speak, imprecations in stone, which, if translated
into words, would mean: "May the evil demons stay outside, may they
assail and fight each other,"--as, in that case, they would clearly have
no leisure to assail the inhabitants of the dwelling. That these
sculptures really were regarded as talismans and expected to guard the
inmates from harm, is abundantly shown by the manner in which they are
mentioned in several inscriptions, down to a very late date. Thus
Esarhaddon, one of the last kings of Assyria (about 700 B.C.), says,
after describing a very sumptuous palace which he had built:--"I placed
in its gates bulls and colossi, who, according to their fixed command,
against the wicked turn themselves; they protect the footsteps, making
peace to be upon the path of the king their creator."

[Illustration: 54.--DEMONS FIGHTING. (From the British Museum.)]

18. The cylinder seals with their inscriptions and engraved figures were
mostly also talismans of like nature; which must be the reason why so
many are found in graves, tied to the dead person's wrist by a
string--evidently as a protection against the fiends which the departed
spirit was expected to meet. The magic power was of course conferred on
all talismans by the words which the conjurer spoke over them with the
necessary ceremonies. One such long incantation is preserved entire. It
is designed to impart to the talisman the power of keeping the demons
from all parts of the dwelling, which are singly enumerated, with the
consequences to the demons who would dare to trespass: those who steal
into gutters, remove bolts or hinges, shall be broken like an earthen
jug, crushed like clay; those who overstep the wooden frame of the house
shall be clipped of their wings; those who stretch their neck in at the
window, the window shall descend and cut their throat. The most original
in this class of superstitions was that which, according to Lenormant,
consisted in the notion that all these demons were of so unutterably
ugly a form and countenance, that they must fly away terrified if they
only beheld their own likeness. As an illustration of this principle he
gives an incantation against "the wicked Namtar." It begins with a
highly graphic description of the terrible demon, who is said to "take
man captive like an enemy," to "burn him like a flame," to "double him
up like a bundle," to "assail man, although having neither hand nor
foot, like a noose." Then follows the usual dialogue between Êa and
Meridug, (in the identical words given above), and Êa at length reveals
the prescription: "Come hither, my son Meridug. Take mud of the Ocean
and knead out of it a likeness of him, (the Namtar.) Lay down the man,
after thou hast purified him; lay the image on his bare abdomen, impart
to it my magic power and turn its face westward, that the wicked Namtar,
who dwells in his body, may take up some other abode. Amen." The idea is
that the Namtar, on beholding his own likeness, will flee from it in

[Illustration: 55.--DEMON OF THE SOUTH-WEST WIND. (Perrot and Chipiez.)]

19. To this same class belongs a small bronze statuette, which is to be
seen in the Louvre. Mr. Lenormant thus describes it: "It is the image of
a horrible demon, standing, with the body of a dog, the talons of an
eagle, arms ending in a lion's paws, the tail of a scorpion, the head of
a skeleton, but with eyes, and a goat's horns, and with four large wings
at the back, unfolded. A ring placed at the back of the head served to
hang the figure up. Along the back is an inscription in the Accadian
language, informing us that this pretty creature is the Demon of the
South-west Wind, and is to be placed at the door or window. For in
Chaldea the South-west Wind comes from the deserts of Arabia, its
burning breath consumes everything and produces the same ravages as the
Simoon in Africa. Therefore this particular talisman is most frequently
met with. Our museums contain many other figures of demons, used as
talismans to frighten away the evil spirits they were supposed to
represent. One has the head of a goat on a disproportionately long neck;
another shows a hyena's head, with huge open mouth, on a bear's body
with lion's paws." On the principle that possession is best guarded
against by the presence of beneficent spirits, the exorcisms--i.e.,
forms of conjuring designed to drive the evil demons out of a man or
dwelling--are usually accompanied with a request to good spirits to
enter the one or the other, instead of the wicked ones who have been
ejected. The supreme power which breaks that of all incantations,
talismans, conjuring rites whatever, is, it would appear, supposed to
reside in a great, divine name,--possibly a name of Êa himself. At all
events, it is Êa's own secret. For even in his dialogues with Meridug,
when entreated for this supreme aid in desperate cases, he is only
supposed to impart it to his son to use against the obdurate demons and
thereby crush their power, but it is not given, so that the demons are
only threatened with it, but it is not actually uttered in the course of
the incantations.

[Illustration: 56.--HEAD OF DEMON]

20. Not entirely unassisted did Êa pursue his gigantic task of
protection and healing. Along with him invocations are often addressed
to several other spirits conceived as essentially good divine beings,
whose beneficent influence is felt in many ways. Such was Im, the
Storm-Wind, with its accompanying vivifying showers; such are the
purifying and wholesome Waters, the Rivers and Springs which feed the
earth; above all, such were the Sun and Fire, also the Moon, objects of
double reverence and gratitude because they dispel the darkness of
night, which the Shumiro-Accads loathed and feared excessively, as the
time when the wicked demons are strongest and the power of bad men for
weaving deadly spells is greatest. The third Book of the Collection of
Magic Texts is composed almost entirely of hymns to these deities--as
well as to Êa and Meridug--which betray a somewhat later stage in the
nation's religious development, by the poetical beauty of some of the
fragments, and especially by a purer feeling of adoration and a higher
perception of moral goodness, which are absent from the oldest

21. At noon, when the sun has reached the highest point in its heavenly
course, the earth lies before it without a shadow; all things, good or
bad, are manifest; its beams, after dispelling the unfriendly gloom,
pierce into every nook and cranny, bringing into light all ugly things
that hide and lurk; the evil-doer cowers and shuns its all-revealing
splendor, and, to perform his accursed deeds, waits the return of his
dark accomplice, night. What wonder then that to the Shumiro-Accads UD,
the Sun in all its midday glory, was a very hero of protection, the
source of truth and justice, the "supreme judge in Heaven and on earth,"
who "knows lie from truth," who knows the truth that is in the soul of
man. The hymns to Ud that have been deciphered are full of beautiful
images. Take for instance the following:--

     "O Sun,[AE] I have called unto thee in the bright heavens. In
     the shadow of the cedar art thou;" (i.e., it is thou who makest
     the cedar to cast its shadow, holy and auspicious as the tree
     itself.) "Thy feet are on the summits.... The countries have
     wished for thee, they have longed for thy coming, O Lord! Thy
     radiant light illumines all countries.... Thou makest lies to
     vanish, thou destroyest the noxious influence of portents,
     omens, spells, dreams and evil apparitions; thou turnest wicked
     plots to a happy issue...."

This is both true and finely expressed. For what most inveterate
believer in ghosts and apparitions ever feared them by daylight? and the
last touch shows much moral sense and observation of the mysterious
workings of a beneficent power which often not merely defeats evil but
even turns it into good. There is splendid poetry in the following
fragment describing the glory of sunrise:--

     "O Sun! thou hast stepped forth from the background of heaven,
     thou hast pushed back the bolts of the brilliant heaven,--yea,
     the gate of heaven. O Sun! above the land thou hast raised thy
     head! O Sun! thou hast covered the immeasurable space of heaven
     and countries!"

Another hymn describes how, at the Sun's appearance in the brilliant
portals of the heavens, and during his progress to their highest point,
all the great gods turn to his light, all the good spirits of heaven and
earth gaze up to his face, surround him joyfully and reverently, and
escort him in solemn procession. It needs only to put all these
fragments into fine verse to make out of them a poem which will be held
beautiful even in our day, when from our very childhood we learn to know
the difference between good and poor poetry, growing up, as we do, on
the best of all ages and all countries.

22. When the sun disappeared in the West, sinking rapidly, and diving,
as it were, into the very midst of darkness, the Shumiro-Accads did not
fancy him as either asleep or inactive, but on the contrary as still
engaged in his everlasting work. Under the name of NIN-DAR, he travels
through the dreary regions ruled by Mul-ge and, his essence being
_light_, he combats the powers of darkness in their own home, till He
comes out of it, a triumphant hero, in the morning. Nin-dar is also the
keeper of the hidden treasures of the earth--its metals and precious
stones, because, according to Mr. Lenormant's ingenious remark, "they
only wait, like him, the moment of emerging out of the earth, to emit a
bright radiancy." This radiancy of precious stones, which is like a
concentration of light in its purest form, was probably the reason why
they were in such general use as talismans, quite as much as their
hardness and durability.

23. But while the Sun accomplishes his nightly underground journey, men
would be left a prey to mortal terrors in the upper world, deprived of
light, their chief defence against the evil brood of darkness, were it
not for his substitute, Fire, who is by nature also a being of light,
and, as such, the friend of men, from whose paths and dwellings he
scares not only wild beasts and foes armed with open violence, but the
far more dangerous hosts of unseen enemies, both demons and spells cast
by wicked sorcerers. It is in this capacity of protector that the god
GIBIL (Fire) is chiefly invoked. In one very complete hymn he is
addressed thus:--

     "Thou who drivest away the evil Maskim, who furtherest the
     well-being of life, who strikest the breast of the wicked with
     terror,--Fire, the destroyer of foes, dread weapon which
     drivest away Pestilence."

This last attribute would show that the Shumiro-Accads had noticed the
hygienic properties of fire, which does indeed help to dispel miasmas
on account of the strong ventilation which a great blaze sets going.
Thus at a comparatively late epoch, some 400 years B.C., a terrible
plague broke out at Athens, the Greek city, and Hippocrates, a physician
of great genius and renown, who has been called "the Father of
Medicine," tried to diminish the contagion by keeping huge fires
continually blazing at different points of the city. It is the same very
correct idea which made men invoke Gibil as he who purifies the works of
man. He is also frequently called "the protector of the dwelling, of the
family," and praised for "creating light in the house of darkness," and
for bringing peace to all creation. Over and above these claims to
gratitude, Gibil had a special importance in the life of a people given
to the works of metallurgy, of which fire is the chief agent: "It is
thou," says one hymn, "who mixest tin and copper, it is thou who
purifiest silver and gold." Now the mixture of tin and copper produces
bronze, the first metal which has been used to make weapons and tools
of, in most cases long before iron, which is much more difficult to
work, and as the quality of the metal depends on the proper mixture of
the two ingredients, it is but natural that the aid of the god Fire
should have been specially invoked for the operation. But Fire is not
only a great power on earth, it is also, in the shape of Lightning, one
of the dreadest and most mysterious powers of the skies, and as such
sometimes called son of Ana (Heaven), or, in a more roundabout way, "the
Hero, son of the Ocean"--meaning the celestial Ocean, the great
reservoir of rains, from which the lightning seems to spring, as it
flashes through the heavy showers of a Southern thunder storm. In
whatever shape he appear, and whatever his functions, Gibil is hailed as
an invariably beneficent and friendly being.

24. When the feeling of helplessness forced on man by his position in
the midst of nature takes the form of a reverence for and dependence on
beings whom he conceives of as essentially good, a far nobler religion
and far higher moral tone are the immediate consequence. This conception
of absolute goodness sprang from the observation that certain beings or
spirits--like the Sun, Fire, the Thunderstorm--though possessing the
power of doing both good and harm, used it almost exclusively for the
benefit of men. This position once firmly established, the conclusion
naturally followed, that if these good beings once in awhile sent down a
catastrophe or calamity,--if the Sun scorched the fields or the
Thunderstorm swamped them, if the wholesome North Wind swept away the
huts and broke down the trees--it must be in anger, as a mark of
displeasure--in punishment. By what could man provoke the displeasure of
kind and beneficent beings? Clearly by not being like them, by doing not
good, but evil. And what is evil? That which is contrary to the nature
of the good spirits: doing wrong and harm to men; committing sins and
wicked actions. To avoid, therefore, provoking the anger of those good
but powerful spirits, so terrible in its manifestations, it is
necessary to try to please them, and that can be done only by being
like them,--good, or at least striving to be so, and, when temptation,
ignorance, passion or weakness of will have betrayed man into a
transgression, to confess it, express regret for the offence and an
intention not to offend again, in order to obtain forgiveness and be
spared. A righteous life, then, prayer and repentance are the proper
means of securing divine favor or mercy. It is evident that a religion
from which such lessons naturally spring is a great improvement on a
belief in beings who do good or evil indiscriminately, indeed prefer
doing evil, a belief which cannot teach a distinction between moral
right and wrong, or a rational distribution of rewards or punishment,
nor consequently inculcate the feeling of duty and responsibility,
without which goodness as a matter of principle is impossible and a
reliable state of society unattainable.

25. This higher and therefore later stage of moral and religious
development is very perceptible in the third book of the Magic
Collection. With the appreciation of absolute goodness, conscience has
awakened, and speaks with such insistence and authority that the
Shumiro-Accad, in the simplicity of his mind, has earnestly imagined it
to be the voice of a personal and separate deity, a guardian spirit
belonging to each man, dwelling within him and living his life. It is a
god--sometimes even a divine couple, both "god and goddess, pure
spirits"--who protects him from his birth, yet is not proof against the
spells of sorcerers and the attacks of the demons, and even can be
compelled to work evil in the person committed to its care, and
frequently called therefore "the son of his god," as we saw above, in
the incantation against the Disease of the Head. The conjuration or
exorcism which drives out the demon, of course restores the guardian
spirit to its own beneficent nature, and the patient not only to bodily
well-being, but also to peace of mind. That is what is desired, when a
prayer for the cure of a sick or possessed person ends with the words:
"May he be placed again in the gracious hands of his god!" When
therefore a man is represented as speaking to "his god" and confessing
to him his sin and distress, it is only a way of expressing that silent
self-communing of the soul, in which it reviews its own deficiencies,
forms good resolutions and prays to be released from the intolerable
burden of sin. There are some most beautiful prayers of this sort in the
collection. They have been called "the Penitential Psalms," from their
striking likeness to some of those psalms in which King David confesses
his iniquities and humbles himself before the Lord. The likeness extends
to both spirit and form, almost to words. If the older poet, in his
spiritual groping, addresses "his god and goddess," the higher, better
self which he feels within him and feels to be divine--his Conscience,
instead of the One God and Lord, his feeling is not less earnest, his
appeal not less pure and confiding. He confesses his transgression, but
pleads ignorance and sues for mercy. Here are some of the principal
verses, of which each is repeated twice, once addressed to "my god,"
and the second time to "my goddess." The title of the Psalm is: "The
complaints of the repentant heart. Sixty-five verses in all."

     26. "My Lord, may the anger of his heart be allayed! May the
     fool attain understanding! The god who knows the unknown, may
     he be conciliated! The goddess who knows the unknown, may she
     be conciliated!--I eat the food of wrath and drink the waters
     of anguish.... O my god, my transgressions are very great, very
     great my sins.... I transgress, and know it not. I sin, and
     know it not. I feed on transgressions, and know it not. I
     wander on wrong paths, and know it not.--The Lord, in the wrath
     of his heart, has overwhelmed me with confusion.... I lie on
     the ground, and none reaches a hand to me. I am silent and in
     tears, and none takes me by the hand. I cry out, and there is
     none that hears me. I am exhausted, oppressed, and none
     releases me.... My god, who knowest the unknown, be
     merciful!... My goddess, who knowest the unknown, be
     merciful!... How long, O my god?... How long, O my goddess?...
     Lord, thou wilt not repulse thy servant. In the midst of the
     stormy waters, come to my assistance, take me by the hand! I
     commit sins--turn them into blessedness! I commit
     transgressions--let the wind sweep them away! My blasphemies
     are very many--rend them like a garment!... God who knowest the
     unknown,[AF] my sins are seven times seven,--forgive my

27. The religious feeling once roused to this extent, it is not to be
wondered at that in some invocations the distress or disease which had
formerly been taken as a gratuitous visitation, begins to be considered
in the light of a divine punishment, even though the afflicted person be
the king himself. This is very evident from the concluding passage of a
hymn to the Sun, in which it is the conjurer who speaks on behalf of the
patient, while presenting an offering:--

     "O Sun, leave not my uplifted hands unregarded!--Eat his food,
     refuse not his sacrifice, bring back his god to him, to be a
     support unto his hand!--May his sin, at thy behest, be forgiven
     him, his misdeed be forgotten!--May his trouble leave him! May
     he recover from his illness!--Give to the king new vital
     strength.... Escort the king, who lies at thy feet!--Also me,
     the conjurer, thy respectful servant!"

28. There is another hymn of the same kind, not less remarkable for its
artistic and regular construction than for its beauty of feeling and
diction. The penitent speaks five double lines, and the priest adds two
more, as though endorsing the prayer and supporting it with the weight
of his own sacred character. This gives very regular strophes, of which,
unfortunately, only two have been well preserved:--

     _Penitent._--"I, thy servant, full of sighs, I call to thee.
     Whoever is beset with sin, his ardent supplication thou
     acceptest. If thou lookest on a man with pity, that man liveth.
     Ruler of all, mistress of mankind! Merciful one, to whom it is
     good to turn, who dost receive sighs!" _Priest._--"While his
     god and his goddess are wroth with him he calls on thee. Thy
     countenance turn on him, take hold of his hand."

     _Penitent._--"Besides thee there is no deity to lead in
     righteousness. Kindly look on me, accept my sighs. Speak: how
     long? and let thine heart be appeased. When, O Lady, will thy
     countenance turn on me? Even like doves I moan, I feed on
     sighs." _Priest._--"His heart is full of woe and trouble, and
     full of sighs. Tears he sheds and breaks out into

29. Such is a not incomplete outline of this strange and primitive
religion, the religion of a people whose existence was not suspected
twenty-five years ago, yet which claims, with the Egyptians and the
Chinese, the distinction of being one of the oldest on earth, and in all
probability was older than both. This discovery is one of the most
important conquests of modern science, not only from its being highly
interesting in itself, but from the light it throws on innumerable
hitherto obscure points in the history of the ancient world, nay, on
many curious facts which reach down to our own time. Thus, the numerous
Turanian tribes which exist in a wholly or half nomadic condition in the
immense plains of Eastern and South-eastern Russia, in the forests and
wastes of Siberia, on the steppes and highlands of Central Asia, have no
other religion now than this of the old Shumiro-Accads, in its earliest
and most material shape. Everything to them is a spirit or has a spirit
of its own; they have no worship, no moral teaching, but only conjuring,
sorcerers, not priests. These men are called _Shamans_ and have great
influence among the tribes. The more advanced and cultivated Turanians,
like the Mongols and Mandchous, accord to one great Spirit the supremacy
over all others and call that Spirit which they conceive as absolutely
good, merciful and just, "Heaven," just as the Shumiro-Accads invoked
"Ana." This has been and still is the oldest national religion of the
Chinese. They say "Heaven" wherever we would say "God," and with the
same idea of loving adoration and reverent dread, which does not prevent
them from invoking the spirit of every hill, river, wind or forest, and
numbering among this host also the souls of the deceased. This clearly
corresponds to the second and higher stage of the Accadian religion, and
marks the utmost limit which the Yellow Race have been able to attain in
spiritual life. True, the greater part of the Chinese now have another
religion; they are Buddhists; while the Turks and the great majority of
the Tatars, Mongols and Mandchous, not to speak of other less important
divisions, are Mussulmans. But both Buddhism and Mahometanism are
foreign religions, which they have borrowed, adopted, not worked out for
themselves. Here then we are also met by that fatal law of limitation,
which through all ages seems to have said to the men of yellow skin and
high cheek-bones, "Thus far shalt thou go, and no further." Thus it was
in Chaldea. The work of civilization and spiritual development begun by
the people of Shumir and Accad was soon taken out of their hands and
carried on by newcomers from the east, those descendants of Noah, who
"found a plain in the land of Shinar and dwelt there."

                     APPENDIX TO CHAPTER III.

Professor Louis Dyer, of Harvard University, has attempted a rendering
into English verse of the famous incantation of the Seven Maskim. The
result of the experiment is a translation most faithful in the spirit
and main features, if not always literal; and which, by his kind
permission, we here offer to our readers.

                             A CHARM.


              Seven are they, they are seven;
                In the caverns of ocean they dwell,
              They are clothed in the lightnings of heaven,
                Of their growth the deep waters can tell;
              Seven are they, they are seven.


              Broad is their way and their course is wide,
                Where the seeds of destruction they sow,
              O'er the tops of the hills where they stride,
                To lay waste the smooth highways below,--
              Broad is their way and their course is wide.


              Man they are not, nor womankind,
                For in fury they sweep from the main,
              And have wedded no wife but the wind,
                And no child have begotten but pain,--
              Man they are not, nor womankind.


              Fear is not in them, not awe;
                Supplication they heed not, nor prayer,
              For they know no compassion nor law,
                And are deaf to the cries of despair,--
              Fear is not in them, not awe.


              Curséd they are, they are curséd,
                They are foes to wise Êa's great name;
              By the whirlwind are all things disperséd
                On the paths of the flash of their flame,--
              Curséd they are, they are curséd.


              Spirit of Heaven, oh, help! Help, oh, Spirit of Earth!
                They are seven, thrice said they are seven;
                  For the gods they are Bearers of Thrones,
              But for men they are Breeders of Dearth
                And the authors of sorrows and moans.
                  They are seven, thrice said they are seven.
              Spirit of Heaven, oh, help! Help, oh, Spirit of Earth!


[AC] "La Magie et la Divination chez les Chaldéens," 1874-5. German
translation of it, 1878.

[AD] Alfred Maury, "La Magie et l'Astrologie dans l'Antiquité et au
Moyen-âge." Introduction, p. 1.

[AE] "UD" not being a proper name, but the name of the sun in the
language of Shumir and Accad, it can be rendered in translation by
"Sun," with a capital.

[AF] Another and more recent translator renders this line: "God who
knowest I knew not." Whichever rendering is right, the thought is
beautiful and profound.

[AG] This hymn is given by H. Zimmern, as the text to a dissertation on
the language and grammar.



1. We have just seen that the hymns and prayers which compose the third
part of the great Magic Collection really mark a later and higher stage
in the religious conceptions of the Turanian settlers of Chaldea, the
people of Shumir and Accad. This improvement was not entirely due to a
process of natural development, but in a great measure to the influence
of that other and nobler race, who came from the East. When the priestly
historian of Babylon, Berosus, calls the older population "men of
foreign race," it is because he belonged himself to that second race,
who remained in the land, introduced their own superior culture, and
asserted their supremacy to the end of Babylon. The national legends
have preserved the memory of this important event, which they represent
as a direct divine revelation. Êa, the all-wise himself, it was
believed, had appeared to men and taught them things human and divine.
Berosus faithfully reports the legend, but seems to have given the God's
name "Êa-Han" ("Êa the Fish") under the corrupted Greek form of OANNES.
This is the narrative, of which we already know the first line:

"There was originally at Babylon a multitude of men of foreign race who
had colonized Chaldea, and they lived without order, like animals. But
in the first year" (meaning the first year of the new order of things,
the new dispensation) "there appeared, from out of the Erythrean Sea
(the ancient Greek name for the Persian Gulf) where it borders upon
Babylonia, an animal endowed with reason, who was called OANNES. The
whole body of the animal was that of a fish, but under the fish's head
he had another head, and also feet below, growing out of his fish's
tail, similar to those of a man; also human speech, and his image is
preserved to this day. This being used to spend the whole day amidst
men, without taking any food, and he gave them an insight into letters,
and sciences, and every kind of art; he taught them how to found cities,
to construct temples, to introduce laws and to measure land; he showed
them how to sow seeds and gather in crops; in short, he instructed them
in everything that softens manners and makes up civilization, so that
from that time no one has invented anything new. Then, when the sun went
down, this monstrous Oannes used to plunge back into the sea and spend
the night in the midst of the boundless waves, for he was amphibious."

2. The question, _Who_ were the bringers of this advanced civilization?
has caused much division among the most eminent scholars. Two solutions
are offered. Both being based on many and serious grounds and supported
by illustrious names, and the point being far from settled yet, it is
but fair to state them both. The two greatest of German assyriologists,
Professors Eberhard Schrader and Friedrich Delitzsch, and the German
school which acknowledges them as leaders, hold that the bringers of the
new and more perfect civilization were Semites--descendants of Shem,
i.e., people of the same race as the Hebrews--while the late François
Lenormant and his followers contend that they were Cushites in the first
instance,--i.e., belonged to that important family of nations which we
find grouped, in Chapter X. of Genesis, under the name of Cush, himself
a son of Ham--and that the Semitic immigration came second. As the
latter hypothesis puts forward, among other arguments, the authority of
the Biblical historians, and moreover involves the destinies of a very
numerous and vastly important branch of ancient humanity, we will yield
to it the right of precedence.

[Illustration: 57.--OANNES. (Smith's "Chaldean Genesis.")]

3. The name "HAM" signifies "brown, dark" (not "black"). Therefore, to
speak of certain nations as "sons of Ham," is to say that they belonged
to "the Dark Race." Yet, originally, this great section of Noah's
posterity was as white of color as the other two. It seems to have first
existed as a separate race in a region not very distant from the high
table-land of Central Asia, the probable first cradle of mankind. That
division of this great section which again separated and became the race
of Cush, appears to have been drawn southwards by reasons which it is,
of course, impossible to ascertain. It is easier to guess at the route
they must have taken along the HINDU CUSH,[AH] a range of mountains
which must have been to it a barrier in the west, and which joins the
western end of the Himâlaya, the mightiest mountain-chain in the world.
The break between the Hindu-Cush and the Himâlaya forms a mountain pass,
just at the spot where the river INDUS (most probably the PISCHON of
Gen., Ch. II.) turns abruptly to the south, to water the rich plains of
India. Through this pass, and following the course of the river, further
Cushite detachments must have penetrated into that vast and attractive
peninsula, even to the south of it, where they found a population mostly
belonging to the Black branch of humanity, so persistently ignored by
the writer of Chap. X. Hundreds of years spent under a tropical clime
and intermarriage with the Negro natives altered not only the color of
their skin, but also the shape of their features. So that when Cushite
tribes, with the restless migratory spirit so characteristic of all
early ages, began to work their way back again to the north, then to the
west, along the shores of the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf, they
were both dark-skinned and thick-lipped, with a decided tendency towards
the Negro type, lesser or greater according to the degree of mixture
with the inferior race. That this type was foreign to them is proved by
the facility with which their features resumed the nobler cast of the
white races wherever they stayed long enough among these, as was the
case in Chaldea, in Arabia, in the countries of Canaan, whither many of
these tribes wandered at various times.

4. Some Cushite detachments, who reached the straits of Bab-el-Mandeb,
crossed over into Africa, and settling there amidst the barbarous native
negro tribes, formed a nation which became known to its northern
neighbors, the Egyptians, to the Hebrews, and throughout the ancient
East under its own proper name of CUSH, and whose outward
characteristics came, in the course of time, so near to the pure Negro
type as to be scarcely recognizable from it. This is the same nation
which, to us moderns, is better known under the name of ETHIOPIANS,
given to it by the Greeks, as well as to the eastern division of the
same race. The Egyptians themselves were another branch of the same
great section of humanity, represented in the genealogy of Chap. X. by
the name of MIZRAIM, second son of Ham. These must have come from the
east along the Persian Gulf, then across Northern Arabia and the Isthmus
of Suez. In the color and features of the Egyptians the mixture with
black races is also noticeable, but not enough to destroy the beauty and
expressiveness of the original type, at all events far less than in
their southern neighbors, the Ethiopians, with whom, moreover, they were
throughout on the worst of terms, whom they loathed and invariably
designated under the name of "vile Cush."

5. A third and very important branch of the Hamite family, the
CANAANITES, after reaching the Persian Gulf, and probably sojourning
there some time, spread, not to the south, but to the west, across the
plains of Syria, across the mountain chain of LEBANON and to the very
edge of the Mediterranean Sea, occupying all the land which later became
Palestine, also to the north-west, as far as the mountain chain of
TAURUS. This group was very numerous, and broken up into a great many
peoples, as we can judge from the list of nations given in Chap. X. (v.
15-18) as "sons of Canaan." In its migrations over this comparatively
northern region, Canaan found and displaced not black natives, but
Turanian nomadic tribes, who roamed at large over grassy wildernesses
and sandy wastes and are possibly to be accounted as the representatives
of that portion of the race which the biblical historian embodies in the
pastoral names of Jabal and Jubal--(Gen. iv., 20-22)--"The father of
such as dwell in tents and have cattle," and "the father of all such as
handle the harp and pipe." In which case the Turanian settlers and
builders of cities would answer to Tubalcain, the smith and artificer.
The Canaanites, therefore, are those among the Hamites who, in point of
color and features, have least differed from their kindred white races,
though still sufficiently bronzed to be entitled to the name of "sons of
Ham," i.e., "belonging to the dark-skinned race."

6. Migrating races do not traverse continents with the same rapidity as
marching armies. The progress is slow, the stations are many. Every
station becomes a settlement, sometimes the beginning of a new
nation--so many landmarks along the way. And the distance between the
starting-point and the furthest point reached by the race is measured
not only by thousands of miles, but also by hundreds and hundreds of
years; only the space can be actually measured; while the time can be
computed merely by conjecture. The route from the south of India, along
the shore of Malabar, the Persian Gulf, across the Arabian deserts, then
down along the Red Sea and across the straits into Africa, is of such
tremendous length that the settlements which the Cushite race left
scattered along it must have been more than usually numerous. According
to the upholders of a Cushite colonization of Chaldea, one important
detachment appears to have taken possession of the small islands along
the eastern shore of the Persian Gulf and to have stayed there for
several centuries, probably choosing these island homes on account of
their seclusion and safety from invasion. There, unmolested and
undisturbed, they could develop a certain spirit of abstract speculation
to which their natural bent inclined them. They were great star-gazers
and calculators--two tastes which go well together, for Astronomy cannot
exist without Mathematics. But star-gazing is also favorable to
dreaming, and the Cushite islanders had time for dreams. Thoughts of
heavenly things occupied them much; they worked out a religion beautiful
in many ways and full of deep sense; their priests dwelt in communities
or colleges, probably one on every island, and spent their time not only
in scientific study and religious contemplation, but also in the more
practical art of government, for there do not appear as yet to have
been any kings among them.

7. But there came a time when the small islands were overcrowded with
the increased population, and detachments began to cross the water and
land at the furthest point of the Gulf, in the land of the great rivers.
Here they found a people not unpractised in several primitive arts, and
possessed of some important fundamental inventions--writing, irrigation
by means of canals--but deplorably deficient in spiritual development,
and positively barbarous in the presence of an altogether higher
culture. The Cushites rapidly spread through the land of Shumir and
Accad, and taught the people with whom they afterwards, as usual,
intermarried, until both formed but one nation--with this difference,
that towards the north of Chaldea the Cushite element became
predominant, while in the south numbers remained on the side of the
Turanians. Whether this result was attained altogether peacefully or was
preceded by a period of resistance and fighting, we have no means of
ascertaining. If there was such a period, it cannot have lasted long,
for intellect was on the side of the newcomers, and that is a power
which soon wins the day. At all events the final fusion must have been
complete and friendly, since the old national legend reported by Berosus
cleverly combines the two elements, by attributing the part of teacher
and revealer to the Shumiro-Accad's own favorite divine being Êa, while
it is not impossible that it alludes to the coming of the Cushites in
making the amphibious Oannes rise out of the Persian Gulf, "where it
borders on Chaldea." The legend goes on to say that Oannes set down his
revelations in books which he consigned into the keeping of men, and
that several more divine animals of the same kind continued to appear at
long intervals. Who knows but the latter strange detail may have been
meant to allude fantastically to the arrival of successive Cushite
colonies? In the long run of time, of course all such meaning would be
forgotten and the legend remain as a miraculous and inexplicable

8. It would be vain to attempt to fix any dates for events which took
place in such remote antiquity, in the absence of any evidence or
document that might be grasped. Yet, by close study of facts, by
laborious and ingenious comparing of later texts, of every scrap of
evidence furnished by monuments, of information contained in the
fragments of Berosus and of other writers, mostly Greek, it has been
possible, with due caution, to arrive at some approximative dates,
which, after all, are all that is needed to classify things in an order
intelligible and correct in the main. Even should further discoveries
and researches arrive at more exact results, the gain will be
comparatively small. At such a distance, differences of a couple of
centuries do not matter much. When we look down a long line of houses or
trees, the more distant ones appear to run together, and we do not
always see where it ends--yet we can perfectly well pursue its
direction. The same with the so-called double stars in astronomy: they
are stars which, though really separated by thousands of miles, appear
as one on account of the immense distance between them and our eye, and
only the strongest telescope lenses show them to be separate bodies,
though still close together. Yet this is sufficient to assign them their
place so correctly on the map of the heavens, that they do not disturb
the calculations in which they are included. The same kind of
perspective applies to the history of remote antiquity. As the gloom
which has covered it so long slowly rolls back before the light of
scientific research, we begin to discern outlines and landmarks, at
first so dim and wavering as rather to mislead than to instruct; but
soon the searcher's eye, sharpened by practice, fixes them sufficiently
to bring them into connection with the later and more fully illumined
portions of the eternally unrolling picture. Chance, to which all
discoverers are so much indebted, frequently supplies such a landmark,
and now and then one so firm and distinct as to become a trustworthy
centre for a whole group.

9. The annals of the Assyrian king Asshurbanipal (the founder of the
great Library at Nineveh) have established beyond a doubt the first
positive date that has been secured for the History of Chaldea. That
king was for a long time at war with the neighboring kingdom of ELAM,
and ended by conquering and destroying its capital, SHUSHAN (Susa),
after carrying away all the riches from the royal palace and all the
statues from the great temple. This happened in the year 645 B.C. In the
inscriptions in which he records this event, the king informs us that in
that temple he found a statue of the Chaldean goddess NANA, which had
been carried away from her own temple in the city of URUKH (Erech, now
Warka) by a king of Elam of the name of KHUDUR-NANKHUNDI, who invaded
the land of Accad 1635 years before, and that he, Asshurbanipal, by the
goddess's own express command, took her from where she had dwelt in
Elam, "a place not appointed her," and reinstated her in her own
sanctuary "which she had delighted in." 1635 added to 645 make 2280, a
date not to be disputed. Now if a successful Elamite invasion in 2280
found in Chaldea famous sanctuaries to desecrate, the religion to which
these sanctuaries belonged, that of the Cushite, or Semitic colonists,
must have been established in the country already for several, if not
many, centuries. Indeed, quite recent discoveries show that it had been
so considerably over a thousand years, so that we cannot possibly accept
a date later than 4000 B.C. for the foreign immigration. The
Shumiro-Accadian culture was too firmly rooted then and too completely
worked out--as far as it went--to allow less than about 1000 years for
its establishment. This takes us as far back as 5000 B.C.--a pretty
respectable figure, especially when we think of the vista of time which
opens behind it, and for which calculation fairly fails us. For if the
Turanian settlers brought the rudiments of that culture from the
highlands of Elam, how long had they sojourned there before they
descended into the plains? And how long had it taken them to reach that
station on their way from the race's mountain home in the far
Northeast, in the Altaï valleys?

10. However that may be, 5000 B.C. is a moderate and probable date. But
ancient nations were not content with such, when they tried to locate
and classify their own beginnings. These being necessarily obscure and
only vaguely shadowed out in traditions which gained in fancifulness and
lost in probability with every succeeding generation that received them
and handed them down to the next, they loved to magnify them by
enshrouding them in the mystery of innumerable ages. The more appalling
the figures, the greater the glory. Thus we gather from some fragments
of Berosus that, according to the national Chaldean tradition, there was
an interval of over 259,000 years between the first appearance of Oannes
and the first king. Then come ten successive kings, each of whom reigns
a no less extravagant number of years (one 36,000, another 43,000, even
64,000; 10,800 being the most modest figure), till the aggregate of all
these different periods makes up the pretty sum total of 691,200 years,
supposed to have elapsed from the first appearance of Oannes to the
Deluge. It is so impossible to imagine so prodigious a number of years
or couple with it anything at all real, that we might just as well
substitute for such a figure the simpler "very, very long ago," or still
better, the approved fairy tale beginning, "There was once upon a time,
..." It conveys quite as definite a notion, and would, in such a case,
be the more appropriate, that all a nation's most marvellous
traditions, most fabulous legends, are naturally placed in those
stupendously remote ages which no record could reach, no experience
control. Although these traditions and legends generally had a certain
body of actual truth and dimly remembered fact in them, which might
still be apparent to the learned and the cultivated few, the ignorant
masses of the people swallowed the thing whole, as real history, and
found things acknowledged as impossible easy to believe, for the simple
reason that "it was so very long ago!" A Chaldean of Alexander's time
certainly did not expect to meet a divine Man-Fish in his walks along
the sea-shore, but--there was no knowing what might or might not have
happened seven hundred thousand years ago! In the legend of the six
successive apparitions under the first ten long-lived kings, he would
not have descried the simple sense so lucidly set forth by Mr. Maspero,
one of the most distinguished of French Orientalists:--"The times
preceding the Deluge represented an experimental period, during which
mankind, being as yet barbarous, had need of divine assistance to
overcome the difficulties with which it was surrounded. Those times were
filled up with six manifestations of the deity, doubtless answering to
the number of sacred books in which the priests saw the most complete
expression of revealed law."[AI] This presents another and more probable
explanation of the legend than the one suggested above, (end of § 7);
but there is no more actual _proof_ of the one than of the other being
the correct one.

11. If Chaldea was in after times a battle-ground of nations, it was in
the beginning a very nursery and hive of peoples. The various races in
their migrations must necessarily have been attracted and arrested by
the exceeding fertility of its soil, which it is said, in the times of
its highest prosperity and under proper conditions of irrigation,
yielded two hundredfold return for the grain it received. Settlement
must have followed settlement in rapid succession. But the nomadic
element was for a long time still very prevalent, and side by side with
the builders of cities and tillers of fields, shepherd tribes roamed
peacefully over the face of the land, tolerated and unmolested by the
permanent population, with which they mixed but warily, occasionally
settling down temporarily, and shifting their settlements as safety or
advantage required it,--or wandering off altogether from that common
halting-place, to the north, and west, and south-west. This makes it
very plain why Chaldea is given as the land where the tongues became
confused and the second separation of races took place.

12. Of those principally nomadic tribes the greatest part did not
belong, like the Cushites or Canaanites, to the descendants of Ham, "the
Dark," but to those of SHEM, whose name, signifying "Glory, Renown,"
stamps him as the eponymous ancestor of that race which has always
firmly believed itself to be the chosen one of God. They were Semites.
When they arrived on the plains of Chaldea, they were inferior in
civilization to the people among whom they came to dwell. They knew
nothing of city arts and had all to learn. They did learn, for superior
culture always asserts its power,--even to the language of the Cushite
settlers, which the latter were rapidly substituting for the rude and
poor Turanian idiom of Shumir and Accad. This language, or rather
various dialects of it, were common to most Hamitic and Semitic tribes,
among whom that from which the Hebrews sprang brought it to its greatest
perfection. The others worked it into different kindred dialects--the
Assyrian, the Aramaic or Syrian, the Arabic--according to their several
peculiarities. The Phoenicians of the sea-shore, and all the Canaanite
nations, also spoke languages belonging to the same family, and
therefore classed among the so-called Semitic tongues. Thus it has come
to pass that philology,--or the Science of Languages,--adopted a wrong
name for that entire group, calling the languages belonging to it,
"Semitic," while, in reality, they are originally "Hamitic." The reason
is that the Hamitic origin of those important languages which have been
called Semitic these hundred years had not been discovered until very
lately, and to change the name now would produce considerable confusion.

13. Most of the Semitic tribes who dwelt in Chaldea adopted not only the
Cushite language, but the Cushite culture and religion. Asshur carried
all three northward, where the Assyrian kingdom arose out of a few
Babylonian colonies, and Aram westward to the land which was afterwards
called Southern Syria, and where the great city of Damascus long
flourished and still exists. But there was one tribe of higher spiritual
gifts than the others. It was not numerous, for through many generations
it consisted of only one great family governed by its own eldest chief
or patriarch. It is true that such a family, with the patriarch's own
children and children's children, its wealth of horses, camels, flocks
of sheep, its host of servants and slaves, male and female, represented
quite a respectable force; Abraham could muster three hundred eighteen
armed and _trained_ servants who had been born in his own household.
This particular tribe seems to have wandered for some time on the
outskirts of Chaldea and in the land itself, as indicated by the name
given to its eponym in Chap. X.: ARPHAXAD (more correctly ARPHAKSHAD),
corrupted from AREPH-KASDÎM, which means, "bordering on the Chaldeans,"
or perhaps "boundaries"--in the sense of "land"--of the Chaldeans.
Generation after generation pushed further westward, traversed the land
of Shinar, crossed the Euphrates and reached the city of Ur, in or near
which the tribe dwelt many years.

14. Ur was then the greatest city of Southern Chaldea. The earliest
known kings of Shumir resided in it, and besides that, it was the
principal commercial mart of the country. For, strange as it may appear
when we look on a modern map, Ur, the ruins of which are now 150 miles
from the sea, was then a maritime city, with harbor and ship docks. The
waters of the Gulf reached much further inland than they do now. There
was then a distance of many miles between the mouths of the Tigris and
Euphrates, and Ur lay very near the mouth of the latter river. Like all
commercial and maritime cities, it was the resort not only of all the
different races which dwelt in the land itself, but also of foreign
traders. The active intellectual life of a capital, too, which was at
the same time a great religious centre and the seat of a powerful
priesthood, must of necessity have favored interchange of ideas, and
have exerted an influence on that Semitic tribe of whom the Bible tells
us that it "went forth from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of
Canaan," led by the patriarch Terah and his son Abraham (Genesis xi.
31). The historian of Genesis here, as throughout the narrative, does
not mention any date whatever for the event he relates; nor does he hint
at the cause of this removal. On the first of these points the study of
Chaldean cuneiform monuments throws considerable light, while the latter
does not admit of more than guesses--of which something hereafter.

15. Such is a broad and cursory outline of the theory according to which
Cushite immigrations preceded the arrival of the Semites in the land of
Shumir and Accad. Those who uphold it give several reasons for their
opinion, such as that the Bible several times mentions a Cush located in
the East and evidently different from the Cush which has been identified
as Ethiopia; that, in Chap. X. of Genesis (8-12), Nimrod, the legendary
hero, whose empire at first was in "the land of Shinar," and who is
said to have "gone forth out of that land into Assyria," is called a son
of Cush; that the most ancient Greek poets knew of "Ethiopians" in the
far East as opposed to those of the South--and several more. Those
scholars who oppose this theory dismiss it wholesale. They will not
admit the existence of a Cushite element or migration in the East at
all, and put down the expressions in the Bible as simple mistakes,
either of the writers or copyists. According to them, there was only one
immigration in the land of Shumir and Accad, that of the Semites,
achieved through many ages and in numerous instalments. The language
which superseded the ancient Shumiro-Accadian idiom is to them a Semitic
one in the directest and most exclusive sense; the culture grafted on
that of the earlier population is by them called purely "Semitic;" while
their opponents frequently use the compound designation of
"Cushito-Semitic," to indicate the two distinct elements of which, to
them, it appears composed. It must be owned that the anti-Cushite
opinion is gaining ground. Yet the Cushite theory cannot be considered
as disposed of, only "not proven,"--or not sufficiently so, and
therefore in abeyance and fallen into some disfavor. With this proviso
we shall adopt the word "Semitic," as the simpler and more generally

16. It is only with the rise of Semitic culture in Southern Mesopotamia
that we enter on a period which, however remote, misty, and full of
blanks, may still be called, in a measure, "historical," because there
is a certain number of facts, of which contemporary monuments give
positive evidence. True, the connection between those facts is often not
apparent; their causes and effects are frequently not to be made out
save by more or less daring conjectures; still there are numerous
landmarks of proven fact, and with these real history begins. No matter
if broad gaps have to be left open or temporarily filled with guesses.
New discoveries are almost daily turning up, inscriptions, texts, which
unexpectedly here supply a missing link, there confirm or demolish a
conjecture, establish or correct dates which had long been puzzles or
suggested on insufficient foundations. In short, details may be supplied
as yet brokenly and sparingly, but the general outline of the condition
of Chaldea may be made out as far back as forty centuries before Christ.

17. Of one thing there can be no doubt: that our earliest glimpse of the
political condition of Chaldea shows us the country divided into
numerous small states, each headed by a great city, made famous and
powerful by the sanctuary or temple of some particular deity, and ruled
by a _patesi_, a title which is now thought to mean _priest-king_, i.e.,
priest and king in one. There can be little doubt that the beginning of
the city was everywhere the temple, with its college of ministering
priests, and that the surrounding settlement was gradually formed by
pilgrims and worshippers. That royalty developed out of the priesthood
is also more than probable, and consequently must have been, in its
first stage, a form of priestly rule, and, in a great measure,
subordinate to priestly influence. There comes a time when for the title
of _patesi_ is substituted that of "king" simply--a change which very
possibly indicates the assumption by the kings of a more independent
attitude towards the class from which their power originally sprang. It
is noticeable that the distinction between the Semitic newcomers and the
indigenous Shumiro-Accadians continues long to be traceable in the names
of the royal temple-builders, even after the new Semitic idiom, which we
call the Assyrian, had entirely ousted the old language--a process which
must have taken considerable time, for it appears, and indeed stands to
reason, that the newcomers, in order to secure the wished for influence
and propagate their own culture, at first not only learned to understand
but actually used themselves the language of the people among whom they
came, at least in their public documents. This it is that explains the
fact that so many inscriptions and tablets, while written in the dialect
of Shumir or Accad, are Semitic in spirit and in the grade of culture
they betray. Furthermore, even superficial observation shows that the
old language and the old names survive longest in Shumir,--the South.
From this fact it is to be inferred with little chance of mistake that
the North,--the land of Accad,--was earlier Semitized, that the Semitic
immigrants established their first headquarters in that part of the
country, that their power and influence thence spread to the South.

18. Fully in accordance with these indications, the first grand
historical figure that meets us at the threshold of Chaldean history,
dim with the mists of ages and fabulous traditions, yet unmistakably
real, is that of the Semite SHARRUKIN, king of Accad--or AGADÊ, as the
great Northern city came to be called--more generally known in history
under the corrupt modern reading of SARGON, and called Sargon I., "the
First," to distinguish him from another monarch of the same name who was
found to have reigned many centuries later. As to the city of Agadê, it
is no other than the city of Accad mentioned in Genesis x., 10. It was
situated close to the Euphrates on a wide canal just opposite Sippar, so
that in time the two cities came to be considered as one double city,
and the Hebrews always called it "the two Sippars"--SEPHARVAIM, which is
often spoken of in the Bible. It was there that Sharrukin established
his rule, and a statue was afterwards raised to him there, the
inscription on which, making him speak, as usual, in the first person,
begins with the proud declaration: "Sharrukin, the mighty king, the king
of Agadê, am I." Yet, although his reforms and conquests were of lasting
importance, and himself remained one of the favorite heroes of Chaldean
tradition, he appears to have been an adventurer and usurper. Perhaps he
was, for this very reason, all the dearer to the popular fancy, which,
in the absence of positive facts concerning his birth and origin, wove
around them a halo of romance, and told of him a story which must be
nearly as old as mankind, for it has been told over and over again, in
different countries and ages, of a great many famous kings and heroes.
This of Sharrukin is the oldest known version of it, and the inscription
on his statue puts it into the king's own mouth. It makes him say that
he knew not his father, and that his mother, a princess, gave him birth
in a hiding-place, (or "an inaccessible place"), near the Euphrates, but
that his family were the rulers of the land. "She placed me in a basket
of rushes," the king is further made to say; "with bitumen the door of
my ark she closed. She launched me on the river, which drowned me not.
The river bore me along; to Akki, the water-carrier, it brought me.
Akki, the water-carrier, in the tenderness of his heart lifted me up.
Akki, the water-carrier, as his own child brought me up. Akki, the
water-carrier, made me his gardener. And in my gardenership the goddess
Ishtar loved me...."

19. Whatever his origin and however he came by the royal power, Sargon
was a great monarch. It is said that he undertook successful expeditions
into Syria, and a campaign into Elam; that with captives of the
conquered races he partly peopled his new capital, Agadê, where he built
a palace and a magnificent temple; that on one occasion he was absent
three years, during which time he advanced to the very shores of the
Mediterranean, which he calls "the sea of the setting sun," and where he
left memorial records of his deeds, and returned home in triumph,
bringing with him immense spoils. The inscription contains only the
following very moderate mention of his military career: "For forty-five
years the kingdom I have ruled. And the black-head race (Accadian) I
have governed. In multitudes of bronze chariots I rode over rugged
lands. I governed the upper countries. Three times to the coast of the
(Persian) sea I advanced...."[AJ]

[Illustration: 58.--CYLINDER OF SARGON, FROM AGADÊ. (Hommel, "Gesch.
Babyloniens u. Assyriens.")]

20. This Sharrukin must not be confounded with another king of the same
name, who reigned also in Agadê, some 1800 years later (about 2000
B.C.), and in whose time was completed and brought into definite shape a
vast religious reform which had been slowly working itself out ever
since the Semitic and Accadian elements began to mix in matters of
spiritual speculation and worship. What was the result of the
amalgamation will form the subject of the next chapter. Suffice it here
to say that the religion of Chaldea in the form which it assumed under
the second Sharrukin remained fixed forever, and when Babylonian
religion is spoken of, it is that which is understood by that name. The
great theological work demanded a literary undertaking no less great.
The incantations and magic forms of the first, purely Turanian, period
had to be collected and put in order, as well as the hymns and prayers
of the second period, composed under the influence of a higher and more
spiritual religious feeling. But all this literature was in the language
of the older population, while the ruling class--the royal houses and
the priesthood--were becoming almost exclusively Semitic. It was
necessary, therefore, that they should study the old language and learn
it so thoroughly as not only to understand and read it, but to be able
to use it, in speaking and writing. For that purpose Sargon not only
ordered the ancient texts, when collected and sorted, to be copied on
clay tablets with the translation--either between the lines, or on
opposite columns--into the now generally used modern Semitic language,
which we may as well begin to call by its usual name, Assyrian, but gave
directions for the compilation of grammars and vocabularies,--the very
works which have enabled the scholars of the present day to arrive at
the understanding of that prodigiously ancient tongue which, without
such assistance, must have remained a sealed book forever.

21. Such is the origin of the great collection in three books and two
hundred tablets, the contents of which made the subject of the preceding
chapter. To this must be added another great work, in seventy tablets,
in Assyrian, on astrology, i.e., the supposed influence of the heavenly
bodies, according to their positions and conjunctions, on the fate of
nations and individuals and on the course of things on earth
generally--an influence which was firmly believed in; and probably yet a
third work, on omens, prodigies and divination. To carry out these
extensive literary labors, to treasure the results worthily and safely,
Sargon II. either founded or greatly enlarged the library of the
priestly college at Urukh (Erech), so that this city came to be called
"the City of Books." This repository became the most important one in
all Chaldea, and when, fourteen centuries later, the Assyrian
Asshurbanipal sent his scribes all over the country, to collect copies
of the ancient, sacred and scientific texts for his own royal library at
Nineveh, it was at Erech that they gathered their most abundant harvest,
being specially favored there by the priests, who were on excellent
terms with the king after he had brought back from Shushan and restored
to them the statue of their goddess Nana. Agadê thus became the
headquarters, as it were, of the Semitic influence and reform, which
spread thence towards the South, forming a counter-current to the
culture of Shumir, which had steadily progressed from the Gulf

22. It is just possible that Sargon's collection may have also comprised
literature of a lighter nature than those ponderous works on magic and
astrology. At least, a work on agriculture has been found, which is
thought to have been compiled for the same king's library,[AK] and which
contains bits of popular poetry (maxims, riddles, short peasant songs)
of the kind that is now called "folk-lore." Of the correctness of the
supposition there is, as yet, no absolute proof, but as some of these
fragments, of which unfortunately but few could be recovered, are very
interesting and pretty in their way, this is perhaps the best place to
insert them. The following four may be called "Maxims," and the first is
singularly pithy and powerfully expressed.

    1. Like an oven that is old
       Against thy foes be hard and strong.

    2. May he suffer vengeance,
       May it be returned to him,
       Who gives the provocation.

    3. If evil thou doest,
       To the everlasting sea
       Thou shalt surely go.

    4. Thou wentest, thou spoiledst
       The land of the foe,
       For the foe came and spoiled
       Thy land, even thine.

23. It will be noticed that No. 3 alone expresses moral feeling of a
high standard, and is distinctively Semitic in spirit, the same spirit
which is expressed in a loftier and purely religious vein, and a more
poetical form in one of the "Penitential Psalms," where it says:

    Whoso fears not his god--will be cut off even like a reed.
    Whoso honors not the goddess--his bodily strength shall waste away;
    Like a star of heaven, his light shall wane; like waters of the night
        he shall disappear.

Some fragments can be well imagined as being sung by the peasant at work
to his ploughing team, in whose person he sometimes speaks:

    5. A heifer am I,--to the cow I am yoked;
       The plough handle is strong--lift it up! lift it up!

    6. My knees are marching--my feet are not resting;
       With no wealth of thy own--grain thou makest for me.[AL]

24. A great deal of additional interest in the elder Sargon of Agadê has
lately been excited by an extraordinary discovery connected with him,
which produced a startling revolution in the hitherto accepted Chaldean
chronology. This question of dates is always a most intricate and
puzzling one in dealing with ancient Oriental nations, because they did
not date their years from some particular event, as we do, and as did
the Mohammedans, the Greeks and the Romans. In the inscriptions things
are said to have happened in the year so-and-so of such a king's reign.
Where to place that king is the next question--unanswerable, unless, as
fortunately is mostly the case, some clue is supplied, to borrow a legal
term, by circumstantial evidence. Thus, if an eclipse is mentioned, the
time can easily be determined by the help of astronomy, which can
calculate backward as well as forward. Or else, an event or a person
belonging to another country is alluded to, and if they are known to us
from other sources, that is a great help. Such a coincidence (which is
called a SYNCHRONISM) is most valuable, and dates established by
synchronisms are generally reliable. Then, luckily for us, Assyrian and
Babylonian kings of a late period, whose dates are fixed and proved
beyond a doubt, were much in the habit, in their historical
inscriptions, of mentioning events that had taken place before their
time and specifying the number of years elapsed, often also the king
under whose reign the event, whatever it was, had taken place. This is
the most precious clue of all, as it is infallible, and besides
ascertaining one point, gives a firm foothold, whereby to arrive at many
others. The famous memorandum of Asshurbanipal, already so often
referred to, about the carrying away of the goddess Nana, (i.e., her
statue) from her temple at Erech is evidence of this kind. Any dates
suggested without any of these clues as basis are of necessity
untrustworthy, and no true scholar dreams of offering any such date,
except as a temporary suggestion, awaiting confirmation or abolition
from subsequent researches. So it was with Sargon I. of Agadê. There was
no positive indication of the time at which he lived, except that he
could not possibly have lived later than 2000 B.C. Scholars therefore
agreed to assign that date to him, approximatively--a little more or
less--thinking they could not go very far wrong in so doing. Great
therefore was the commotion produced by the discovery of a cylinder of
Nabonidus, the last king of Babylon (whose date is 550 B.C.), wherein he
speaks of repairs he made in the great Sun-temple at Sippar, and
declares having dug deep in its foundations for the cylinders of the
founder, thus describing his success: "Shamash (the Sun-god), the great
lord ... suffered me to behold the foundation-cylinder of NARAM-SIN, the
son of Sharrukin, which for thrice thousand and twice hundred years none
of the kings that lived before me had seen." The simple addition 3200 +
550 gives 3750 B.C. as the date of Naram-Sin, and 3800 as that of his
father Sargon, allowing for the latter's long reign! A scene-shifting of
1800 years at one slide seemed something so startling that there was
much hesitation in accepting the evidence, unanswerable as it seemed,
and the possibility of an error of the engraver was seriously
considered. Some other documents, however, were found independently of
each other and in different places, corroborating the statement on
Nabonidus' cylinder, and the tremendously ancient date of 3800 B.C. is
now generally accepted the elder Sargon of Agadê--perhaps the remotest
_authentic_ date yet arrived at in history.

25. When we survey and attempt to grasp and classify the materials we
have for an early "History of Chaldea," it appears almost presumptuous
to grace so necessarily lame an attempt with so ambitious a name. The
landmarks are so few and far between, so unconnected as yet, and there
is so much uncertainty about them, especially about placing them. The
experience with Sargon of Agadê has not been encouraging to conjectural
chronology; yet with such we must in many cases be content until more
lucky finds turn up to set us right. What, for instance, is the proper
place of GUDÊA, the _patesi_ of SIR-BURLA (also read SIR-GULLA or
SIRTILLA, and, lately, ZIRLABA), whose magnificent statues Mr. de Sarzec
found in the principal hall of the temple of which the bricks bear his
stamp? (See p. 217.) The title of _patesi_, (not "king"), points to
great antiquity, and he is pretty generally understood to have lived
somewhere between 4000 and 3000 B.C. That he was not a Semite, but an
Accadian prince, is to be concluded not only from the language of his
inscriptions and the writing, which is of the most archaic--i.e.,
ancient and old-fashioned--character, but from the fact that the head,
which was found with the statues, is strikingly Turanian in form and
features, shaved, too, and turbaned after a fashion still used in
Central Asia. Altogether it might easily be taken for that of a modern
Mongolian or Tatar.[AM] The discovery of this builder and patron of art
has greatly eclipsed the glory of a somewhat later ruler, UR-ÊA, King
of Ur,[AN] who had long enjoyed the reputation of being the earliest
known temple-builder. He remains at all events the first powerful
monarch we read of in Southern Chaldea, of which Ur appears to have been
in some measure the capital, at least in so far as to have a certain
supremacy over the other great cities of Shumir.

26. Of these Shumir had many, even more venerable for their age and
holiness than those of Accad. For the South was the home of the old race
and most ancient culture, and thence both had advanced northward. Hence
it was that the old stock was hardier there and endured longer in its
language, religion and nationality, and was slower in yielding to the
Semitic counter-current of race and culture, which, as a natural
consequence, obtained an earlier and stronger hold in the North, and
from there radiated over the whole of Mesopotamia. There was ERIDHU, by
the sea "at the mouth of the Rivers," the immemorial sanctuary of Êa;
there was SIR-GULLA, so lately unknown, now the most promising mine for
research; there was LARSAM, famous with the glories of its "House of the
Sun" (_Ê-Babbara_ in the old language), the rival of Ur, the city of the
Moon-god, whose kings UR-ÊA and his son DUNGI were, it appears, the
first to take the ambitious title of "Kings of Shumir and Accad" and
"Kings of the Four Regions." As for Babylon, proud Babylon, which we
have so long been accustomed to think of as the very beginning of state
life and political rule in Chaldea, it was perhaps not yet built at all,
or only modestly beginning its existence under its Accadian name of
TIN-TIR-KI ("the Place of Life"), or, somewhat later, KA-DIMIRRA ("Gate
of God"), when already the above named cities, and several more, had
each its famous temple with ministering college of priests, and,
probably, library, and each its king. But political power was for a long
time centred at Ur. The first kings of Ur authentically known to us are
Ur-êa and his son Dungi, who have left abundant traces of their
existence in the numerous temples they built, not in Ur alone, but in
most other cities too. Their bricks have been identified at Larsam
(Senkereh), and, it appears, at Sir-burla (Tel-Loh), at Nipur (Niffer)
and at Urukh (Erech, Warka), and as the two latter cities belonged to
Accad, they seem to have ruled at least part of that country and thus to
have been justified in assuming their high-sounding title.


27. It has been noticed that the bricks bearing the name of Ur-êa "are
found in a lower position than any others, at the very foundation of
buildings;" that "they are of a rude and coarse make, of many sizes and
ill-fitted together;" that baked bricks are rare among them; that they
are held together by the oldest substitutes for mortar--mud and
bitumen--and that the writing upon them is curiously rude and
imperfect.[AO] But whatever King Ur-êa's architectural efforts may lack
in perfection, they certainly make up in size and number. Those that he
did not complete, his son Dungi continued after him. It is remarkable
that these great builders seem to have devoted their energies
exclusively to religious purposes; also that, while their names are
Shumiro-Accadian, and their inscriptions are often in that language, the
temples they constructed were dedicated to various deities of the new,
or rather reformed religion. When we see the princes of the South,
according to an ingenious remark of Mr. Lenormant, thus begin a sort of
practical preaching of the Semitized religion, we may take it as a sign
of the times, as an unmistakable proof of the influence of the North,
political as well as religious. A very curious relic of King Ur-êa was
found--his own signet cylinder--which was lost by an accident, then
turned up again and is now in the British Museum. It represents the
Moon-god seated on a throne,--as is but meet for the king of the
Moon-god's special city--with priests presenting worshippers. No
definite date is of course assignable to Ur-êa and the important epoch
of Chaldean history which he represents. But a very probable
approximative one can be arrived at, thanks to a clue supplied by the
same Nabonidus, last King of Babylon, who settled the Sargon question
for us so unexpectedly. That monarch was as zealous a repairer of
temples as his predecessors had been zealous builders. He had reasons of
his own to court popularity, and could think of nothing better than to
restore the time-honored sanctuaries of the land. Among others he
repaired the Sun-temple (Ê-Babbara) at Larsam, whereof we are duly
informed by a special cylinder. In it he tells posterity that he found a
cylinder of King Hammurabi intact in its chamber under the
corner-stone, which cylinder states that the temple was founded 700
years before Hammurabi's time; as Ur-êa was the founder, it only remains
to determine the latter king's date in order to know that of the earlier
one.[AP] Here unfortunately scholars differ, not having as yet any
decisive authority to build upon. Some place Hammurabi _before_ 2000
B.C., others a little later. It is perhaps safest, therefore, to assume
that Ur-êa can scarcely have lived much earlier than 2800 or much later
than 2500 B.C. At all events, he must necessarily have lived somewhat
before 2300 B.C., for about this latter year took place the Elamite
invasion recorded by Asshurbanipal, an invasion which, as this King
expressly mentions, laid waste the land of Accad and desecrated its
temples--evidently the same ones which Ur-êa and Dungi so piously
constructed. Nor was this a passing inroad or raid of booty-seeking
mountaineers. It was a real conquest. Khudur-Nankhundi and his
successors remained in Southern Chaldea, called themselves kings of the
country, and reigned, several of them in succession, so that this series
of foreign rulers has become known in history as "the Elamite dynasty."
There was no room then for a powerful and temple-building national
dynasty like that of the kings of Ur.

28. This is the first time we meet authentic monumental records of a
country which was destined through the next sixteen centuries to be in
continual contact, mostly hostile, with both Babylonia and her northern
rival Assyria, until its final annihilation by the latter. Its capital
was SHUSHAN, (afterwards pronounced by foreigners "Susa"), and its own
original name SHUSHINAK. Its people were of Turanian stock, its language
was nearly akin to that of Shumir and Accad. But at some time or other
Semites came and settled in Shushinak. Though too few in number to
change the country's language or customs, the superiority of their race
asserted itself. They became the nobility of the land, the ruling
aristocracy from which the kings were taken, the generals and the high
functionaries. That the Turanian mass of the population was kept in
subjection and looked down upon, and that the Semitic nobility avoided
intermarrying with them is highly probable; and it would be difficult
otherwise to explain the difference of type between the two classes, as
shown in the representations of captives and warriors belonging to both
on the Assyrian sculptures. The common herd of prisoners employed on
public labor and driven by overseers brandishing sticks have an
unmistakably Turanian type of features--high cheek-bones, broad,
flattened face, etc., while the generals, ministers and nobles have all
the dignity and beauty of the handsomest Jewish type. "Elam," the name
under which the country is best known both from the Bible and later
monuments, is a Turanian word, which means, like "Accad," "Highlands."
It is the only name under which the historian of Chap. X. of Genesis
admits it into his list of nations, and, consistently following out his
system of ignoring all members of the great yellow race, he takes into
consideration only the Semitic aristocracy, and makes of Elam a son of
Shem, a brother of Asshur and Arphakhshad. (Gen. x. 22.)

29. One of Khudur-Nankhundi's next successors, KHUDUR-LAGAMAR, was not
content with the addition of Chaldea to his kingdom of Elam. He had the
ambition of a born conqueror and the generalship of one. The Chap. XIV.
of Genesis--which calls him Chedorlaomer--is the only document we have
descriptive of this king's warlike career, and a very striking picture
it gives of it, sufficient to show us that we have to do with a very
remarkable character. Supported by three allied and probably tributary
kings, that of Shumir (Shineâr), of Larsam, (Ellassar) and of the GOÏM,
(in the unrevised translation of the Bible "king of nations") i.e., the
nomadic tribes which roamed on the outskirts and in the yet unsettled,
more distant portions of Chaldea, Khudur-Lagamar marched an army 1200
miles across the desert into the fertile, wealthy and populous valleys
of the Jordan and the lake or sea of Siddim, afterwards called the Dead
Sea, where five great cities--Sodom, Gomorrah, and three others--were
governed by as many kings. Not only did he subdue these kings and impose
his rule on them, but contrived, even after he returned to the Persian
Gulf, to keep on them so firm a hand, that for twelve years they
"served" him, i.e., paid him tribute regularly, and only in the
thirteenth year, encouraged by his prolonged absence, ventured to
rebel. But they had underrated Khudur-Lagamar's vigilance and activity.
The very next year he was among them again, together with his three
faithful allies, encountered them in the vale of Siddim and beat them,
so that they all fled. This was the battle of the "four kings with
five." As to the treatment to which the victor subjected the conquered
country it is very briefly but clearly described: "And they took all the
goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their

30. Now there dwelt in Sodom a man of foreign race and great wealth,
Lot, the nephew of Abraham. For Abraham and his tribe no longer lived at
Chaldean Ur. The change of masters, and very probably the harsher rule,
if not positive oppression, consequent on the Elamite conquest, had
driven them thence. It was then they went forth into the land of Canaan,
led by Terah and his son Abraham, and when Terah died, Abraham became
the patriarch and chief of the tribe, which from this time begins to be
called in the Bible "Hebrews," from an eponymous ancestor, Heber or
Eber, whose name alludes to the passing of the Euphrates, or, perhaps,
in a wider sense, to the passage of the tribe through the land of
Chaldea.[AQ] For years the tribe travelled without dividing, from
pasture to pasture, over the vast land where dwelt the Canaanites, well
seen and even favored of them, into Egypt and out of it again, until the
quarrel occurred between Abraham's herdsmen and Lot's, (see Genesis,
Chap. XIII.), and the separation, when Lot chose the plain of the Jordan
and pitched his tent toward Sodom, while Abraham dwelt in the land of
Canaan as heretofore, with his family, servants and cattle, in the plain
of Mamre. It was while dwelling there, in friendship and close alliance
with the princes of the land, that one who had escaped from the battle
in the vale of Siddim, came to Abraham and told him how that among the
captives whom Khudur-Lagamar had taken from Sodom, was Lot, his
brother's son, with all his goods. Then Abraham armed his trained
servants, born in his own household, three hundred and eighteen, took
with him his friends, Mamre and his brothers, with their young men, and
starting in hot pursuit of the victorious army, which was now carelessly
marching home towards the desert with its long train of captives and
booty, overtook it near Damascus in the night, when his own small
numbers could not be detected, and produced such a panic by a sudden and
vigorous onslaught that he put it to flight, and not only rescued his
nephew Lot with his goods and women, but brought back all the captured
goods and the people too. And the King of Sodom came out to meet him on
his return, and thanked him, and wanted him to keep all the goods for
himself, only restoring the persons. Abraham consented that a proper
share of the rescued goods should be given to his friends and their
young men, but refused all presents offered to himself, with the haughty
words: "I have lift up mine hand unto the Lord, the most high God, the
possessor of heaven and earth, that I will not take a thread, even to a
shoe-latchet, and that I will not take anything that is thine, lest thou
shouldest say, I have made Abraham rich."

31. Khudur-Lagamar, of whom the spirited Biblical narrative gives us so
life-like a sketch, lived, according to the most probable calculations,
about 2200 B.C. Among the few vague forms whose blurred outlines loom
out of the twilight of those dim and doubtful ages, he is the second
with any flesh-and-blood reality about him, probably the first conqueror
of whom the world has any authentic record. For Egypt, the only country
which rivals in antiquity the primitive states of Mesopotamia, although
it had at this time already reached the height of its culture and
prosperity, was as yet confined by its rulers strictly to the valley of
the Nile, and had not entered on that career of foreign wars and
conquests which, some thousand years later, made it a terror from the
Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf.

32. The Elamitic invasion was not a passing raid. It was a real
conquest, and established a heavy foreign rule in a highly prosperous
and flourishing land--a rule which endured, it would appear, about three
hundred years. That the people chafed under it, and were either gloomily
despondent or angrily rebellious as long as it lasted, there is plenty
of evidence in their later literature. It is even thought, and with
great moral probability, that the special branch of religious poetry
which has been called "Penitential Psalms" has arisen out of the
sufferings of this long period of national bondage and humiliation, and
if, as seems to be proved by some lately discovered interesting
fragments of texts, these psalms were sung centuries later in Assyrian
temples on mournful or very solemn public occasions, they must have
perpetuated the memory of the great national calamity that fell on the
mother-country as indelibly as the Hebrew psalms, of which they were the
models, have perpetuated that of King David's wanderings and Israel's

33. But there seems to have been one Semitic royal house which preserved
a certain independence and quietly gathered power against better days.
To do this they must have dissembled and done as much homage to the
victorious barbarians as would ensure their safety and serve as a blind
while they strengthened their home rule. This dynasty, destined to the
glorious task of restoring the country's independence and founding a new
national monarchy, was that of Tin-tir-ki, or Ka-dimirra--a name now
already translated into the Semitic BAB-ILU, ("the Gate of God"); they
reigned over the large and important district of KARDUNYASH, important
from its central position, and from the fact that it seems to have
belonged neither to Accad, nor to Shumir, but to have been politically
independent, since it is always mentioned by itself. Still, to the
Hebrews, Babylon lay in the land of Shinar, and it is strongly supposed
that the "Amraphel king of Shinar" who marched with Khudur-Lagamar, as
his ally, against the five kings of the Jordan and the Dead Sea, was no
other than a king of Babylon, one of whose names has been read AMARPAL,
while "Ariokh of Ellassar" was an Elamite, ERI-AKU, brother or cousin of
Khudur-Lagamar, and King of Larsam, where the conquerors had established
a powerful dynasty, closely allied by blood to the principal one, which
had made the venerable Ur its headquarters. This Amarpal, more
frequently mentioned under his other name of SIN-MUBALLIT, is thought to
have been the father of HAMMURABI, the deliverer of Chaldea and the
founder of the new empire.

34. The inscriptions which Hammurabi left are numerous, and afford us
ample means of judging of his greatness as warrior, statesman and
administrator. In his long reign of fifty-five years he had, indeed,
time to achieve much, but what he did achieve _was_ much even for so
long a reign. In what manner he drove out the foreigners we are not
told, but so much is clear that the decisive victory was that which he
gained over the Elamite king of Larsam. It was probably by expelling the
hated race by turns from every district they occupied, that Hammurabi
gathered the entire land into his own hands and was enabled to keep it
together and weld it into one united empire, including both Accad and
Shumir, with all their time-honored cities and sanctuaries, making his
own ancestral city, Babylon, the head and capital of them all. This king
was in every respect a great and wise ruler, for, after freeing and
uniting the country, he was very careful of its good and watchful of its
agricultural interests. Like all the other kings, he restored many
temples and built several new ones. But he also devoted much energy to
public works of a more generally useful kind. During the first part of
his reign inundations seem to have been frequent and disastrous,
possibly in consequence of the canals and waterworks having been
neglected under the oppressive foreign rule. The inscriptions speak of a
city having been destroyed "by a great flood," and mention "a great wall
along the Tigris"--probably an embankment, as having been built by
Hammurabi for protection against the river. But probably finding the
remedy inadequate, he undertook and completed one of the greatest public
works that have ever been carried out in any country: the excavation of
a gigantic canal, which he called by his own name, but which was
afterwards famous under that of "Royal Canal of Babylon." From this
canal innumerable branches carried the fertilizing waters through the
country. It was and remained the greatest work of the kind, and was,
fifteen centuries later, the wonder of the foreigners who visited
Babylon. Its constructor did not overrate the benefit he had conferred
when he wrote in an inscription which can scarcely be called boastful:
"I have caused to be dug the Nahr-Hammurabi, a benediction for the
people of Shumir and Accad. I have directed the waters of its branches
over the desert plains; I have caused them to run in the dry channels
and thus given unfailing waters to the people.... I have changed desert
plains into well-watered lands. I have given them fertility and plenty,
and made them the abode of happiness."

35. There are inscriptions of Hammurabi's son. But after him a new
catastrophe seems to have overtaken Chaldea. He is succeeded by a line
of foreign kings, who must have obtained possession of the country by
conquest. They were princes of a fierce and warlike mountain race, the
KASSHI, who lived in the highlands that occupy the whole north-western
portion of Elam, where they probably began to feel cramped for room.
This same people has been called by the later Greek geographers COSSÆANS
or CISSIANS, and is better known under either of these names. Their
language, of which very few specimens have survived, is not yet
understood; but so much is plain, that it is very different both from
the Semitic language of Babylon and that of Shumir and Accad, so that
the names of the Kasshi princes are easily distinguishable from all
others. No dismemberment of the empire followed this conquest, however,
if conquest there was. The kings of the new dynasty seem to have
succeeded each other peacefully enough in Babylon. But the conquering
days of Chaldea were over. We read no more of expeditions into the
plains of Syria and to the "Sea of the Setting Sun." For a power was
rising in the North-West, which quickly grew into a formidable rival:
through many centuries Assyria kept the rulers of the Southern kingdom
too busy guarding their frontiers and repelling inroads to allow them to
think of foreign conquests.


[AH] Names are often deceptive. That of the Hindu-Cush is now thought to
mean "Killers of Hindus," probably in allusion to robber tribes of the
mountains, and to have nothing to do with the Cushite race.

[AI] "Histoire Ancienne des Peuples de l'Orient," 1878, p. 160.

[AJ] Translation of Professor A. H. Sayce.

[AK] A. H. Sayce.

[AL] Translated by A. H. Sayce, in his paper "Babylonian Folk-lore" in
the "Folk-lore Journal," Vol. I., Jan., 1883.

[AM] See Figs. 44 and 45, p. 101.

[AN] This name was at first read Urukh, then Likbabi, then Likbagash,
then Urbagash, then Urba'u, and now Professor Friedr. Delitzsch
announces that the final and correct reading is in all probability
either Ur-ea or Arad-ea.

[AO] Geo. Rawlinson, "Five Great Monarchies of the Ancient Eastern
World" (1862), Vol. I., pp. 198 and ff.

[AP] Geo. Smith, in "Records of the Past," Vol. V., p. 75. Fritz Hommel,
"Die Semiten," p. 210 and note 101.

[AQ] It should be mentioned, however, that scholars have of late been
inclined to see in this name an allusion to the passage of the Jordan at
the time of the conquest of Canaan by Israel, after the Egyptian


                       BABYLONIAN RELIGION.

1. In relating the legend of the Divine Man-Fish, who came out of the
Gulf, and was followed, at intervals, by several more similar beings,
Berosus assures us, that he "taught the people all the things that make
up civilization," so that "nothing new was invented after that any
more." But if, as is suggested, "this monstrous Oannes" is really a
personification of the strangers who came into the land, and, being
possessed of a higher culture, began to teach the Turanian population,
the first part of this statement is as manifestly an exaggeration as the
second. A people who had invented writing, who knew how to build, to
make canals, to work metals, and who had passed out of the first and
grossest stage of religious conceptions, might have much to learn, but
certainly not _everything_. What the newcomers--whether Cushites or
Semites--did teach them, was a more orderly way of organizing society
and ruling it by means of laws and an established government, and, above
all, astronomy and mathematics--sciences in which the Shumiro-Accads
were little proficient, while the later and mixed nation, the Chaldeans,
attained in them a very high perfection, so that many of their
discoveries and the first principles laid down by them have come down to
us as finally adopted facts, confirmed by later science. Thus, the
division of the year into twelve months corresponding to as many
constellations, known as "the twelve signs of the Zodiac," was familiar
to them. They had also found out the division of the year into twelve
months, only all their months had thirty days. So they were obliged to
add an extra month--an intercalary month, as the scientific term
is--every six years, to start even with the sun again, for they knew
where the error in their reckoning lay. These things the strangers
probably taught the Shumiro-Accads, but at the same time borrowed from
them their way of counting. The Turanian races to this day have this
peculiarity, that they do not care for the decimal system in arithmetic,
but count by dozens and sixties, preferring numbers that can be divided
by twelve and sixty. The Chinese even now do not measure time by
centuries or periods of a hundred years, but by a cycle or period of
sixty years. This was probably the origin of the division, adopted in
Babylonia, of the sun's course into 360 equal parts or degrees, and of
the day into twelve "_kasbus_" or double hours, since the kasbu answered
to two of our hours, and was divided into sixty parts, which we might
thus call "double minutes," while these again were composed of sixty
"double seconds." The natural division of the year into twelve months
made this so-called "docenal" and "sexagesimal" system of calculation
particularly convenient, and it was applied to everything--measures of
weight, distance, capacity and size as well as time.

2. Astronomy is a strangely fascinating science, with two widely
different and seemingly contradictory aspects, equally apt to develop
habits of hard thinking and of dreamy speculation. For, if on one hand
the study of mathematics, without which astronomy cannot subsist,
disciplines the mind and trains it to exact and complicated operations,
on the other hand, star-gazing, in the solitude and silence of a
southern night, irresistibly draws it into a higher world, where
poetical aspirations, guesses and dreams take the place of figures with
their demonstrations and proofs. It is probably to these habitual
contemplations that the later Chaldeans owed the higher tone of
religious thought which distinguished them from their Turanian
predecessors. They looked for the deity in heaven, not on earth. They
did not cower and tremble before a host of wicked goblins, the creation
of a terrified fancy. The spirits whom they worshipped inhabited and
ruled those beautiful bright worlds, whose harmonious, concerted
movements they watched admiringly, reverently, and could calculate
correctly, but without understanding them. The stars generally became to
them the visible manifestations and agents of divine power, especially
the seven most conspicuous heavenly bodies: the Moon, whom they
particularly honored, as the ruler of night and the measurer of time,
the Sun and the five planets then known, those which we call Saturn,
Jupiter, Mars, Venus and Mercury. It is but just to the Shumiro-Accads
to say that the perception of the divine in the beauty of the stars was
not foreign to them. This is amply proved by the fact that in their
oldest writing the sign of a star is used to express the idea not of any
particular god or goddess, but of the divine principle, the deity
generally. The name of every divinity is preceded by the star, meaning
"the god so-and-so." When used in this manner, the sign was read in the
old language "Dingir"--"god, deity." The Semitic language of Babylonia
which we call "Assyrian," while adapting the ancient writing to its own
needs, retained this use of the sign "star," and read it _îlu_, "god."
This word--ILU or EL--we find in all Semitic languages, either ancient
or modern, in the names they give to God, in the Arabic ALLAH as well as
in the Hebrew ELOHIM.

3. This religion, based and centred on the worship of the heavenly
bodies, has been called _Sabeism_, and was common to most Semitic races,
whose primitive nomadic life in the desert and wide, flat
pasture-tracts, with the nightly watches required by the tending of vast
flocks, inclined them to contemplation and star-gazing. It is to be
noticed that the Semites gave the first place to the Sun, and not, like
the Shumiro-Accads, to the Moon, possibly from a feeling akin to terror,
experiencing as they did his destructive power, in the frequent droughts
and consuming heat of the desert.[AR]

4. A very prominent feature of the new order of things was the great
power and importance of the priesthood. A successful pursuit of science
requires two things: intellectual superiority and leisure to study,
i.e., freedom from the daily care how to procure the necessaries of
life. In very ancient times people in general were quite willing to
acknowledge the superiority of those men who knew more than they did,
who could teach them and help them with wise advice; they were willing
also to support such men by voluntary contributions, in order to give
them the necessary leisure. That a race with whom science and religion
were one should honor the men thus set apart and learned in heavenly
things and allow them great influence in private and public affairs,
believing them, as they did, to stand in direct communion with the
divine powers, was but natural; and from this to letting them take to
themselves the entire government of the country as the established
rulers thereof, was but one step. There was another circumstance which
helped to bring about this result. The Chaldeans were devout believers
in astrology, a form of superstition into which an astronomical religion
like Sabeism is very apt to degenerate. For once it is taken for granted
that the stars are divine beings, possessed of intelligence, and will,
and power, what more natural than to imagine that they can rule and
shape the destinies of men by a mysterious influence? This influence was
supposed to depend on their movements, their position in the sky, their
ever changing combinations and relations to each other; under this
supposition every movement of a star--its rising, its setting, or
crossing the path of another--every slightest change in the aspect of
the heavens, every unusual phenomenon--an eclipse, for instance--must be
possessed of some weighty sense, boding good or evil to men, whose
destiny must constantly be as clearly written in the blue sky as in a
book. If only one could learn the language, read the characters! Such
knowledge was thought to be within the reach of men, but only to be
acquired by the exceptionally gifted and learned few, and those whom
they might think worthy of having it imparted to them. That these few
must be priests was self-evident. They were themselves fervent believers
in astrology, which they considered quite as much a real science as
astronomy, and to which they devoted themselves as assiduously. They
thus became the acknowledged interpreters of the divine will, partakers,
so to speak, of the secret councils of heaven. Of course such a position
added greatly to their power, and that they should never abuse it to
strengthen their hold on the public mind and to favor their own
ambitious views, was not in human nature. Moreover, being the clever and
learned ones of the nation, they really were at the time the fittest to
rule it--and rule it they did. When the Semitic culture spread over
Shumir, whither it gradually extended from the North, i.e., the land
of Accad, there arose in each great city--Ur, Eridhu, Larsam, Erech,--a
mighty temple, with its priests, its library, its _Ziggurat_ or
observatory. The cities and the tracts of country belonging to them
were governed by their respective colleges. And when in progress of
time, the power became centred in the hands of single men, they still
were priest-kings, _patesis_, whose royalty must have been greatly
hampered and limited by the authority of their priestly colleagues. Such
a form of government is known under the name of _theocracy_, composed of
two Greek words and meaning "divine government."

5. This religious reform represents a complete though probably peaceable
revolution in the condition of the "Land between the Rivers." The new
and higher culture had thoroughly asserted itself as predominant in both
its great provinces, and in nothing as much as in the national religion,
which, coming in contact with the conceptions of the Semites, was
affected by a certain nobler spiritual strain, a purer moral feeling,
which seems to have been more peculiarly Semitic, though destined to be
carried to its highest perfection only in the Hebrew branch of the race.
Moral tone is a subtle influence, and will work its way into men's
hearts and thoughts far more surely and irresistibly than any amount of
preaching and commanding, for men are naturally drawn to what is good
and beautiful when it is placed before them. Thus the old settlers of
the land, the Shumiro-Accads, to whom their gross and dismal goblin
creed could not be of much comfort, were not slow in feeling this
ennobling and beneficent influence, and it is assuredly to that we owe
the beautiful prayers and hymns which mark the higher stage of their
religion. The consciousness of sin, the feeling of contrition, of
dependence on an offended yet merciful divine power, so strikingly
conspicuous in the so-called "Penitential Psalms" (see p. 178), the fine
poetry in some of the later hymns, for instance those to the Sun (see p.
171), are features so distinctively Semitic, that they startle us by
their resemblance to certain portions of the Bible. On the other hand, a
nation never forgets or quite gives up its own native creed and
religious practices. The wise priestly rulers of Shumir and Accad did
not attempt to compel the people to do so, but even while introducing
and propagating the new religion, suffered them to go on believing in
their hosts of evil spirits and their few beneficent ones, in their
conjuring, soothsaying, casting and breaking of spells and charms. Nay,
more. As time went on and the learned priests studied more closely the
older creed and ideas, they were struck with the beauty of some few of
their conceptions--especially that of the ever benevolent, ever watchful
Spirit of Earth, Êa, and his son Meridug, the mediator, the friend of
men. These conceptions, these and some other favorite national
divinities, they thought worthy of being adopted by them and worked into
their own religious system, which was growing more complicated, more
elaborate every day, while the large bulk of spirits and demons they
also allowed a place in it, in the rank of inferior "Spirits of heaven"
and "Spirits of earth," which were lightly classed together and counted
by hundreds. By the time a thousand years had passed, the fusion had
become so complete that there really was both a new religion and a new
nation, the result of a long work of amalgamation. The Shumiro-Accads of
pure yet low race were no longer, nor did the Semites preserve a
separate existence; they had become merged into one nation of mixed
races, which at a later period became known under the general name of
Chaldeans, whose religion, regarded with awe for its prodigious
antiquity, yet was comparatively recent, being the outcome of the
combination of two infinitely older creeds, as we have just seen. When
Hammurabi established his residence at Babel, a city which had but
lately risen to importance, he made it the capital of the empire first
completely united under his rule (see p. 226), hence the name of
Babylonia is given by ancient writers to the old land of Shumir and
Accad, even more frequently than that of Chaldea, and the state religion
is called indifferently the Babylonian or Chaldean, and not unfrequently

6. This religion, as it was definitely established and handed down
unchanged through a succession of twenty centuries and more, had a
twofold character, which must be well grasped in order to understand its
general drift and sense. On the one hand, as it admitted the existence
of many divine powers, who shared between them the government of the
world, it was decidedly POLYTHEISTIC--"a religion of many gods." On the
other hand, a dim perception had already been arrived at, perhaps
through observation of the strictly regulated movements of the stars, of
the presence of One supreme ruling and directing Power. For a class of
men given to the study of astronomy could not but perceive that all
those bright Beings which they thought so divine and powerful, were not
absolutely independent; that their movements and combinations were too
regular, too strictly timed, too identical in their ever recurring
repetition, to be entirely voluntary; that, consequently, they
_obeyed_--obeyed a Law, a Power above and beyond them, beyond heaven
itself, invisible, unfathomable, unattainable by human thought or eyes.
Such a perception was, of course, a step in the right direction, towards
MONOTHEISM, i.e., the belief in only one God. But the perception was too
vague and remote to be fully realized and consistently carried out. The
priests who, from long training in abstract thought and contemplation,
probably could look deeper and come nearer the truth than other people,
strove to express their meaning in language and images which, in the
end, obscured the original idea and almost hid it out of sight, instead
of making it clearer. Besides, they did not imagine the world as
_created_ by God, made by an act of his will, but as being a form of
him, a manifestation, part of himself, of his own substance. Therefore,
in the great all of the universe, and in each of its portions, in the
mysterious forces at work in it--light and heat and life and
growth--they admired and adored not the power of God, but his very
presence; one of the innumerable and infinitely varied forms in which he
makes himself known and visible to men, manifests himself to them--in
short, _an emanation of God_. The word "emanation" has been adopted as
the only one which to a certain extent conveys this very subtle and
complicated idea. An emanation is not quite a thing itself, but it is a
portion of it, which comes out of it and separates itself from it, yet
cannot exist without it. So the fragrance of a flower is not the flower,
nor is it a growth or development of it, yet the flower gives it forth
and it cannot exist by itself without the flower--it is an emanation of
the flower. The same can be said of the mist which visibly rises from
the warm earth in low and moist places on a summer evening--it is an
emanation of the earth.

7. The Chaldeo-Babylonian priests knew of many such divine emanations,
which, by giving them names and attributing to them definite functions,
they made into so many separate divine persons. Of these some ranked
higher and some lower, a relation which was sometimes expressed by the
human one of "father and son." They were ordered in groups, very
scientifically arranged. Above the rest were placed two TRIADS or
"groups of three." The first triad comprised ANU, ÊA and BEL, the
supreme gods of all--all three retained from the old Shumiro-Accadian
list of divinities. ANU is ANA, "Heaven," and the surnames or epithets,
which are given him in different texts, sufficiently show what
conception had been formed of him: he is called "the Lord of the starry
heavens," "the Lord of Darkness," "the first-born, the oldest, the
Father of the Gods." ÊA, retaining his ancient attributions as "Lord of
the Deep," the pre-eminently wise and beneficent spirit, represents the
Divine Intelligence, the founder and maintainer of order and harmony,
while the actual task of separating the elements of chaos and shaping
them into the forms which make up the world as we know it, as well as
that of ordering the heavenly bodies, appointing them their path and
directing them thereon, was devolved on the third person of the triad,
BEL, the son of ÊA. Bel is a Semitic name, which means simply "the

8. From its nature and attributions, it is clear that to this triad must
have attached a certain vagueness and remoteness. Not so the second
triad, in which the Deity manifested itself as standing in the nearest
and most direct relation to man as most immediately influencing him in
his daily life. The persons of this triad were the Moon, the Sun, and
the Power of the Atmosphere,--SIN, SHAMASH, and RAMÂN, the Semitic names
for the Shumiro-Accadian URU-KI or NANNAR, UD or BABBAR, and IM or
MERMER. Very characteristically, Sin is frequently called "the god
Thirty," in allusion to his functions as the measurer of time presiding
over the month. Of the feelings with which the Sun was regarded and the
beneficent and splendid qualities attributed to him, we know enough from
the beautiful hymns quoted in Chap. III. (see p. 172). As to the god
RAMÂN, frequently represented on tablets and cylinders by his
characteristic sign, the double or triple-forked lightning-bolt--his
importance as the dispenser of rain, the lord of the whirlwind and
tempest, made him very popular, an object as much of dread as of
gratitude; and as the crops depended on the supply of water from the
canals, and these again could not be full without abundant rains, it is
not astonishing that he should have been particularly entitled
"protector or lord of canals," giver of abundance and "lord of
fruitfulness." In his more terrible capacity, he is thus described: "His
standard titles are the minister of heaven and earth," "the lord of the
air," "he who makes the tempest to rage." He is regarded as the
destroyer of crops, the rooter-up of trees, the scatterer of the
harvest. Famine, scarcity, and even their consequence, pestilence, are
assigned to him. He is said to have in his hand a "flaming sword" with
which he effects his works of destruction, and this "flaming sword,
which probably represents lightning, becomes his emblem upon the tablets
and cylinders."[AS]

9. The astronomical tendencies of the new religion fully assert
themselves in the third group of divinities. They are simply the five
planets then known and identified with various deities of the old creed,
to whom they are, so to speak, assigned as their own particular
provinces. Thus NIN-DAR (also called NINIP or NINÊB), originally another
name or form of the Sun (see p. 172), becomes the ruler of the most
distant planet, the one we now call Saturn; the old favorite, Meridug,
under the Semitized name of MARDUK, rules the planet Jupiter. It is he
whom later Hebrew writers have called MERODACH, the name we find in the
Bible. The planet Mars belongs to NERGAL, the warrior-god, and Mercury
to NEBO, more properly NABU, the "messenger of the gods" and the special
patron of astronomy, while the planet Venus is under the sway of a
feminine deity, the goddess ISHTAR, one of the most important and
popular on the list. But of her more anon. She leads us to the
consideration of a very essential and characteristic feature of the
Chaldeo-Babylonian religion, common, moreover, to all Oriental heathen
religions, especially the Semitic ones.

10. There is a distinction--the distinction of sex--which runs through
the whole of animated nature, dividing all things that have life into
two separate halves--male and female--halves most different in their
qualities, often opposite, almost hostile, yet eternally dependent on
each other, neither being complete or perfect, or indeed able to exist
without the other. Separated by contrast, yet drawn together by an
irresistible sympathy which results in the closest union, that of love
and affection, the two sexes still go through life together, together do
the work of the world. What the one has not or has in an insufficient
degree it finds in its counterpart, and it is only their union which
makes of the world a whole thing, full, rounded, harmonious. The
masculine nature, active, strong, and somewhat stern, even when merciful
and bounteous, inclined to boisterousness and violence and often to
cruelty, is well set off, or rather completed and moderated, by the
feminine nature, not less active, but more quietly so, dispensing
gentle influences, open to milder moods, more uniformly soft in feeling
and manner.

[Illustration: 60.--A BUST INSCRIBED WITH THE NAME OF NEBO. (British

11. In no relation of life is the difference, yet harmony, of masculine
and feminine action so plain as in that between husband and wife, father
and mother. It requires no very great effort of imagination to carry the
distinction beyond the bounds of animated nature, into the world at
large. To men for whom every portion or force of the universe was
endowed with a particle of the divine nature and power, many were the
things which seemed to be paired in a contrasting, yet joint action
similar to that of the sexes. If the great and distant Heaven appeared
to them as the universal ruler and lord, the source of all things--the
Father of the Gods, as they put it--surely the beautiful Earth, kind
nurse, nourisher and preserver of all things that have life, could be
called the universal Mother. If the fierce summer and noonday sun could
be looked on as the resistless conqueror, the dread King of the world,
holding death and disease in his hand, was not the quiet, lovely moon,
of mild and soothing light, bringing the rest of coolness and healing
dews, its gentle Queen? In short, there is not a power or a phenomenon
of nature which does not present to a poetical imagination a twofold
aspect, answering to the standard masculine and feminine qualities and
peculiarities. The ancient thinkers--priests--who framed the vague
guesses of the groping, dreaming mind into schemes and systems of
profound meaning, expressed this sense of the twofold nature of things
by worshipping a double divine being or principle, masculine and
feminine. Thus every god was supplied with a wife, through the entire
series of divine emanations and manifestations. And as all the gods were
in reality only different names and forms of the Supreme and
Unfathomable ONE, so all the goddesses represent only BELIT, the great
feminine principle of nature--productiveness, maternity,
tenderness--also contained, like everything else, in that ONE, and
emanating from it in endless succession. Hence it comes that the
goddesses of the Chaldeo-Babylonian religion, though different in name
and apparently in attributions, become wonderfully alike when looked at
closer. They are all more or less repetitions of BELIT, the wife of BEL.
Her name--which is only the feminine form of the god's, meaning "the
Lady," as Bel means "the Lord,"--sufficiently shows that the two are
really one. Of the other goddesses the most conspicuous are ANAT or NANA
(Earth), the wife of Anu (Heaven), ANUNIT (the Moon), wife of Shamash
(the Sun), and lastly ISHTAR, the ruler of the planet Venus in her own
right, and by far the most attractive and interesting of the list. She
was a great favorite, worshipped as the Queen of Love and Beauty, and
also as the Warrior-Queen, who rouses men to deeds of bravery, inspirits
and protects them in battle--perhaps because men have often fought and
made war for the love of women, and also probably because the planet
Venus, her own star, appears not only in the evening, close after
sunset, but also immediately before daybreak, and so seems to summon the
human race to renewed efforts and activity. Ishtar could not be an
exception to the general principle and remain unmated. But her husband,
DUMUZ (a name for the Sun), stands to her in an entirely subordinate
position, and, indeed, would be but little known were it not for a
beautiful story that was told of them in a very old poem, and which will
find its place among many more in one of the next chapters.

12. It would be tedious and unnecessary to recite here more names of gods
and goddesses, though there are quite a number, and more come to light
all the time as new tablets are discovered and read. Most of them are in
reality only different names for the same conceptions, and the
Chaldeo-Babylonian pantheon--or assembly of divine persons--is very
sufficiently represented by the so-called "twelve great gods," who were
universally acknowledged to be at its head, and of whom we will here
repeat the names: ANU, ÊA and BEL, SIN, SHAMASH and RAMÂN, NIN-DAR,
MARUDUK, NERGAL, NEBO, BELIT and ISHTAR. Each had numerous temples all
over the country. But every great city had its favorite whose temple was
the oldest, largest and most sumptuous, to whose worship it was
especially devoted from immemorial times. Êa, the most beloved god of old
Shumir, had his chief sanctuary, which he shared with his son Meridug, at
ERIDHU (now Abu-Shahrein), the most southern and almost the most ancient
city of Shumir, situated near the mouth of the Euphrates, since the
Persian Gulf reached quite as far inland in the year 4000 B.C., and this
was assuredly an appropriate station for the great "lord of the deep,"
the Fish-god Oannes, who emerged from the waters to instruct mankind. UR,
as we have seen, was the time-honored seat of the Moon-god. At ERECH Anu
and Anat or Nana--Heaven and Earth--were specially honored from the
remotest antiquity, being jointly worshipped in the temple called "the
House of Heaven." This may have been the reason of the particular
sacredness attributed to the ground all around Erech, as witnessed by the
exceeding persistency with which people strove for ages to bury their
dead in it, as though under the immediate protection of the goddess of
Earth[AT] (see Ch. III. of Introduction). Larsam paid especial homage to
Shamash and was famous for its very ancient "House of the Sun." The Sun
and Moon--Shamash and Anunit--had their rival sanctuaries at SIPPAR on
the "Royal Canal," which ran nearly parallel to the Euphrates, and AGADÊ,
the city of Sargon, situated just opposite on the other bank of the
canal. The name of Agadê was lost in the lapse of time, and both cities
became one, the two portions being distinguished only by the addition
"Sippar of the Sun" and "Sippar of Anunit." The Hebrews called the united
city "The two Sippars"--SEPHARVAIM, the name we find in the Bible.

13. The site of this important city was long doubtful; but in 1881 one
of the most skilful and indefatigable searchers, Mr. Hormuzd Rassam, a
gentleman who began his career as assistant to Layard, made a discovery
which set the question at rest. He was digging in a mound known to the
Arabs by the name of Abu-Habba, and had made his way into the apartments
of a vast structure which he knew to be a temple. From room to room he
passed until he came to a smaller chamber, paved with asphalt, which he
at once surmised to be the archive-room of the temple. "Heretofore,"
says Mr. Rassam in his report, "all Assyrian and Babylonian structures
were found to be paved generally either with stone or brick,
consequently this novel discovery led me to have the asphalt broken into
and examined. On doing so we found, buried in a corner of the chamber,
about three feet below the surface, an inscribed earthenware coffer,
inside which was deposited a stone tablet...." Rassam had indeed
stumbled on the archive of the famous Sun-temple, as was proved not only
by the tablet, but by the numerous documents which accompanied it, and
which gave the names of the builders and restorers of the temple. As to
the tablet, it is the finest and best preserved work of art of the kind
which has yet been found. It was deposited about the year 880 B.C. on
occasion of a restoration and represents the god himself, seated on a
throne, receiving the homage of worshippers, while above him the
sun-disc is held suspended from heaven on two strong cords, like a
gigantic lamp, by two ministering beings, who may very probably belong
to the host of Igigi or spirits of heaven. The inscription, in
beautifully clear and perfectly preserved characters, informs us that
this is "The image of Shamash, the great lord, who dwells in the 'House
of the Sun,' (_Ê-Babbara_) which is within the city of Sippar."[AU] (See
Frontispiece.) This was a truly magnificent find, and who knows but
something as unexpected and as conclusive may turn up to fix for us the
exact place of the temple of Anunit, and consequently of the venerable
city of Agadê. As to BABYLON, it was originally placed under divine
protection generally, as shown by its proper Semitic name, BAB-ILU,
which means, as we have already seen, "the Gate of God," and exactly
answers to the Shumiro-Accadian name of the city (KA-DINGIRRA, or
KA-DIMIRRA); but later on it elected a special protector in the person
of MARUDUK, the old favorite, Meridug. When Babylon became the capital
of the united monarchy of Shumir and Accad, its patron divinity, under
the name of BEL-MARUDUK, ("the Lord Maruduk") rose to a higher rank than
he had before occupied; his temple outshone all others and became a
wonder of the world for its wealth and splendor. He had another,
scarcely less splendid, and founded by Hammurabi himself in Borsip. In
this way religion was closely allied to politics. For in the days before
the reunion of the great cities under the rule of Hammurabi, whichever
of them was the most powerful at the time, its priests naturally claimed
the pre-eminence for their local deity even beyond their own boundaries.
So that the fact of the old Kings of Ur, Ur-êa and his descendants, not
limiting themselves to the worship of their national Moon-god, but
building temples in many places and to many gods, was perhaps a sign of
a conciliating general policy as much as of liberal religious feeling.

14. One would think that so very perfect a system of religion, based too
on so high and noble an order of ideas, should have entirely superseded
the coarse materialism and conjuring practices of the goblin-creed of
the primitive Turanian settlers. Such, however, was far from being the
case. We saw that the new religion made room, somewhat contemptuously
perhaps, for the spirits of the old creed, carelessly massing them
wholesale into a sort of regiment, composed of the three hundred IGIGI,
or spirits of heaven, and the six hundred ANUNNAKI, or spirits of earth.
The conjurers and sorcerers of old were even admitted into the
priesthood in an inferior capacity, as a sort of lower order, probably
more tolerated than encouraged--tolerated from necessity, because the
people clung to their ancient beliefs and practices. But if their
official position as a priestly class were subordinate, their real power
was not the less great, for the public favor and credulity were on their
side, and they were assuredly more generally popular than the learned
and solemn priests, the counsellors and almost the equals of the kings,
whose thoughts dwelt among the stars, who reverently searched the
heavens for revelations of the divine will and wisdom, and who, by
pursuing accurate observation and mathematical calculation together with
the wildest dreams, made astronomy and astrology the inextricable tangle
of scientific truth and fantastic speculation that we see it in the
great work (in seventy tablets) prepared for the library of Sargon II.
at Agadê. That the ancient system of conjuring and incantations remained
in full force and general use, is sufficiently proved by the contents of
the first two parts of the great collection in two hundred tablets
compiled in the reign of the same king, and from the care with which
the work was copied and recopied, commented on and translated in later
ages, as we see from the copy made for the Royal Library at Nineveh, the
one which has reached us.

15. There was still a third branch of so-called "science," which greatly
occupied the minds of the Chaldeo-Babylonians from their earliest times
down to the latest days of their existence: it was the art of
Divination, i.e., of divining and foretelling future events from signs
and omens, a superstition born of the old belief in every object of
inanimate nature being possessed or inhabited by a spirit, and the later
belief in a higher power ruling the world and human affairs to the
smallest detail, and constantly manifesting itself through all things in
nature as through secondary agents, so that nothing whatever could occur
without some deeper significance, which might be discovered and
expounded by specially trained and favored individuals. In the case of
atmospheric prophecies concerning weather and crops, as connected with
the appearance of clouds, sky and moon, the force and direction of
winds, etc., there may have been some real observation to found them on.
But it is very clear that such a conception, if carried out consistently
to extreme lengths and applied indiscriminately to _everything_, must
result in arrant folly. Such was assuredly the case with the
Chaldeo-Babylonians, who not only carefully noted and explained dreams,
drew lots in doubtful cases by means of inscribed arrows, interpreted
the rustle of trees, the plashing of fountains and murmur of streams,
the direction and form of lightnings, not only fancied that they could
see things in bowls of water and in the shifting forms assumed by the
flame which consumed sacrifices, and the smoke which rose therefrom, and
that they could raise and question the spirits of the dead, but drew
presages and omens, for good or evil, from the flight of birds, the
appearance of the liver, lungs, heart and bowels of the animals offered
in sacrifice and opened for inspection, from the natural defects or
monstrosities of babies or the young of animals--in short, from any and
everything that they could possibly subject to observation.

16. This idlest of all kinds of speculation was reduced to a most minute
and apparently scientific system quite as early as astrology and
incantation, and forms the subject of a third collection, in about one
hundred tablets, and probably compiled by those same indefatigable
priests of Agadê for Sargon, who was evidently of a most methodical turn
of mind, and determined to have all the traditions and the results of
centuries of observation and practical experiences connected with any
branch of religious science fixed forever in the shape of thoroughly
classified rules, for the guidance of priests for all coming ages. This
collection has come to us in an even more incomplete and mutilated
condition than the others; but enough has been preserved to show us that
a right-thinking and religiously-given Chaldeo-Babylonian must have
spent his life taking notes of the absurdest trifles, and questioning
the diviners and priests about them, in order not to get into scrapes by
misinterpreting the signs and taking that to be a favorable omen which
boded dire calamity--or the other way, and thus doing things or leaving
them undone at the wrong moment and in the wrong way. What excites,
perhaps, even greater wonder, is the utter absurdity of some of the
incidents gravely set down as affecting the welfare, not only of
individuals, but of the whole country. What shall we say, for instance,
of the importance attached to the proceedings of stray dogs? Here are
some of the items as given by Mr. Fr. Lenormant in his most valuable and
entertaining book on Chaldean Divination:--

"If a gray dog enter the palace, the latter will be consumed by
flames.--If a yellow dog enter the palace, the latter will perish in a
violent catastrophe.--If a tawny dog enter the palace, peace will be
concluded with the enemies.--If a dog enter the palace and be not
killed, the peace of the palace will be disturbed.--If a dog enter the
temple, the gods will have no mercy on the land.--If a white dog enter
the temple, its foundations will subsist.--If a black dog enter the
temple, its foundations will be shaken.--If a gray dog enter the temple,
the latter will lose its possessions.... If dogs assemble in troops and
enter the temple, no one will remain in authority.... If a dog vomits in
a house, the master of that house will die."

17. The chapter on monstrous births is extensive. Not only is every
possible anomaly registered, from an extra finger or toe to an ear
smaller than the other, with its corresponding presage of good or evil
to the country, the king, the army, but the most impossible
monstrosities are seriously enumerated, with the political conditions of
which they are supposed to be the signs. For instance:--"If a woman give
birth to a child with lion's ears, a mighty king will rule the land ...
with a bird's beak, there will be peace in the land.... If a queen give
birth to a child with a lion's face, the king will have no rival ... if
to a snake, the king will be mighty.... If a mare give birth to a foal
with a lion's mane, the lord of the land will annihilate his enemies ...
with a dog's paws, the land will be diminished ... with a lion's paws,
the land will be increased.... If a sheep give birth to a lion, there
will be war, the king will have no rival.... If a mare give birth to a
dog, there will be disaster and famine."

18. The three great branches of religious science--astrology,
incantation and divination--were represented by three corresponding
classes of "wise men," all belonging, in different degrees, to the
priesthood: the star-gazers or astrologers, the magicians or sorcerers,
and the soothsayers or fortune-tellers. The latter, again, were divided
into many smaller classes according to the particular kind of divination
which they practised. Some specially devoted themselves to the
interpretation of dreams, others to that of the flight of birds, or of
the signs of the atmosphere, or of casual signs and omens generally. All
were in continual demand, consulted alike by kings and private persons,
and all proceeded in strict accordance with the rules and principles
laid down in the three great works of King Sargon's time. When the
Babylonian empire ceased to exist and the Chaldeans were no longer a
nation, these secret arts continued to be practised by them, and the
name "Chaldean" became a by-word, a synonym for "a wise man of the
East,"--astrologer, magician or soothsayer. They dispersed all over the
world, carrying their delusive science with them, practising and
teaching it, welcomed everywhere by the credulous and superstitious,
often highly honored and always richly paid. Thus it is from the
Chaldeans and their predecessors the Shumiro-Accads that the belief in
astrology, witchcraft and every kind of fortune-telling has been handed
down to the nations of Europe, together with the practices belonging
thereto, many of which we find lingering even to our day among the less
educated classes. The very words "magic" and "magician" are probably an
inheritance of that remotest of antiquities. One of the words for
"priest" in the old Turanian tongue of Shumir was _imga_, which, in the
later Semitic language, became _mag_. The _Rab-mag_--"great priest," or
perhaps "chief conjurer," was a high functionary at the court of the
Assyrian kings. Hence "magus," "magic," "magician," in all the European
languages, from Latin downward.

19. There can be no doubt that we have little reason to be grateful for
such an heirloom as this mass of superstitions, which have produced so
much evil in the world and still occasionally do mischief enough. But we
must not forget to set off against it the many excellent things, most
important discoveries in the province of astronomy and mathematics
which have come to us from the same distant source. To the ancient
Chaldeo-Babylonians we owe not only our division of time, but the
invention of the sun-dial, and the week of seven days, dedicated in
succession to the Sun, the Moon, and the five planets--an arrangement
which is still maintained, the names of our days being merely
translations of the Chaldean ones. And more than that; there were days
set apart and kept holy, as days of rest, as far back as the time of
Sargon of Agadê; it was from the Semites of Babylonia--perhaps the
Chaldeans of Ur--that both the name and the observance passed to the
Hebrew branch of the race, the tribe of Abraham. George Smith found an
Assyrian calendar where the day called _Sabattu_ or _Sabattuv_ is
explained to mean "completion of work, a day of rest for the soul." On
this day, it appears it was not lawful to cook food, to change one's
dress, to offer a sacrifice; the king was forbidden to speak in public,
to ride in a chariot, to perform any kind of military or civil duty,
even to take medicine.[AV] This, surely, is a keeping of the Sabbath as
strict as the most orthodox Jew could well desire. There are, however,
essential differences between the two. In the first place, the
Babylonians kept _five_ Sabbath days every month, which made more than
one a week; in the second place, they came round on certain dates of
each month, independently of the day of the week: on the 7th, 14th,
19th, 21st and 28th. The custom appears to have passed to the Assyrians,
and there are indications which encourage the supposition that it was
shared by other nations connected with the Jews, the Babylonians and
Assyrians, for instance, by the Phoenicians.


[AR] See A. H. Sayce, "The Ancient Empires of the East" (1883), p. 389.

[AS] Rawlinson's "Five Monarchies," Vol. I., p. 164.

[AT] It was the statue of this very goddess Nana which was carried away
by the Elamite conqueror, Khudur-Nankhundi in 2280 B.C. and restored to
its place by Asshurbanipal in 645 B.C.

[AU] The three circles above the god represent the Moon-god, the
Sun-god, and Ishtar. So we are informed by the two lines of writing
which ran above the roof.

[AV] Friedrich Delitzsch, "Beigaben" to the German translat. of Smith's
"Chaldean Genesis" (1876), p. 300. A. H. Sayce, "The Ancient Empires of
the East" (1883), p. 402. W. Lotz, "Quæstiones de Historia Sabbati."


                       LEGENDS AND STORIES.

1. In every child's life there comes a moment when it ceases to take the
world and all it holds as a matter of course, when it begins to wonder
and to question. The first, the great question naturally is--"Who made
it all? The sun, the stars, the sea, the rivers, the flowers, and the
trees--whence come they? who made them?" And to this question we are
very ready with our answer:--"God made it all. The One, the Almighty God
created the world, and all that is in it, by His own sovereign will."
When the child further asks: "_How_ did He do it?" we read to it the
story of the Creation which is the beginning of the Bible, our Sacred
Book, either without any remarks upon it, or with the warning, that, for
a full and proper understanding of it, years are needed and knowledge of
many kinds. Now, these same questions have been asked, by children and
men, in all ages. Ever since man has existed upon the earth, ever since
he began, in the intervals of rest, in the hard labor and struggle for
life and limb, for food and warmth, to raise his head and look abroad,
and take in the wonders that surrounded him, he has thus pondered and
questioned. And to this questioning, each nation, after its own lights,
has framed very much the same answer; the same in substance and spirit
(because the only possible one), acknowledging the agency of a Divine
Power, in filling the world with life, and ordaining the laws of
nature,--but often very different in form, since, almost every creed
having stopped short of the higher religious conception, that of One
Deity, indivisible and all-powerful, the great act was attributed to
many gods--"the gods,"--not to God. This of course opened the way to
innumerable, more or less ingenious, fancies and vagaries as to the part
played in it by this or that particular divinity. Thus all races,
nations, even tribes have worked out for themselves their own COSMOGONY,
i.e., their own ideas on the Origin of the World. The greatest number,
not having reached a very high stage of culture or attained literary
skill, preserved the teachings of their priests in their memory, and
transmitted them orally from father to son; such is the case even now
with many more peoples than we think of--with all the native tribes of
Africa, the islanders of Australia and the Pacific, and several others.
But the nations who advanced intellectually to the front of mankind and
influenced the long series of coming races by their thoughts and
teachings, recorded in books the conclusions they had arrived at on the
great questions which have always stirred the heart and mind of man;
these were carefully preserved and recopied from time to time, for the
instruction of each rising generation. Thus many great nations of olden
times have possessed Sacred Books, which, having been written in remote
antiquity by their best and wisest men, were reverenced as something not
only holy, but, beyond the unassisted powers of the human intellect,
something imparted, revealed directly by the deity itself, and therefore
to be accepted, undisputed, as absolute truth. It is clear that it was
in the interest of the priests, the keepers and teachers of all
religious knowledge, to encourage and maintain in the people at large
this unquestioning belief.

2. Of all such books that have become known to us, there are none of
greater interest and importance than the sacred books of Ancient
Babylonia. Not merely because they are the oldest known, having been
treasured in the priestly libraries of Agadê, Sippar, Cutha, etc., at an
incredibly early date, but principally because the ancestors of the
Hebrews, during their long station in the land of Shinar, learned the
legends and stories they contained, and working them over after their
own superior religious lights, remodelled them into the narrative which
was written down many centuries later as part of the Book of Genesis.

3. The original sacred books were attributed to the god Êa himself, the
impersonation of the Divine Intelligence, and the teacher of mankind in
the shape of the first Man-Fish, Oannes--(the name being only a Greek
corruption of the Accadian ÊA-HAN, "Êa the Fish")[AW] So Berosus informs
us. After describing Oannes and his proceedings (see p. 185), he adds
that "he wrote a Book on the Origin of things and the beginnings of
civilization, and gave it to men." The "origin of things" is the history
of the Creation of the world, Cosmogony. Accordingly, this is what
Berosus proceeds to expound, quoting directly from the Book, for he
begins:--"There was a time, _says he_, (meaning Oannes) when all was
darkness and water." Then follows a very valuable fragment, but
unfortunately only a fragment, one of the few preserved by later Greek
writers who quoted the old priest of Babylon for their own purposes,
while the work itself was, in some way, destroyed and lost. True, these
fragments contain short sketches of several of the most important
legends; still, precious as they are, they convey only second-hand
information, compiled, indeed, from original sources by a learned and
conscientious writer, but for the use of a foreign race, extremely
compressed, and, besides, with the names all altered to suit that race's
language. So long as the "original sources" were missing, there was a
gap in the study both of the Bible and the religion of Babylon, which no
ingenuity could fill. Great, therefore, were the delight and excitement,
both of Assyriologists and Bible scholars, when George Smith, while
sorting the thousands of tablet-fragments which for years had littered
the floor of certain remote chambers of the British Museum, accidentally
stumbled on some which were evidently portions of the original sacred
legends partly rendered by Berosus. To search for all available
fragments of the precious documents and piece them together became the
task of Smith's life. And as nearly all that he found belonged to copies
from the Royal Library at Nineveh, it was chiefly in order to enlarge
the collection that he undertook his first expedition to the Assyrian
mounds, from which he had the good fortune to bring back many missing
fragments, belonging also to different copies, so that one frequently
completes the other. Thus the oldest Chaldean legends were in a great
measure restored to us, though unfortunately very few tablets are in a
sufficiently well preserved condition to allow of making out an entirely
intelligible and uninterrupted narrative. Not only are many parts still
missing altogether, but of those which have been found, pieced and
collected, there is not one of which one or more columns have not been
injured in such a way that either the beginning or the end of all the
lines are gone, or whole lines broken out or erased, with only a few
words left here and there. How hopeless the task must sometimes have
seemed to the patient workers may be judged from the foregoing specimen
pieced together of sixteen bits, which Geo. Smith gives in his book.
This is one of the so-called "Deluge-tablets," i.e., of those which
contain the Chaldean version of the story of the Deluge. Luckily more
copies have been found of this story than of any of the others, or we
should have had to be content still with the short sketch of it given by

[Illustration: 61.--BACK OF TABLET WITH ACCOUNT OF FLOOD. (Smith's
"Chaldean Genesis.")]

4. If, therefore, the ancient Babylonian legends of the beginnings of
the world will be given here in a connected form, for the sake of
convenience and plainness, it must be clearly understood that they were
not preserved for us in such a form, but are the result of a long and
patient work of research and restoration, a work which still continues;
and every year, almost every month, brings to light some new materials,
some addition, some correction to the old ones. Yet even as the work now
stands, it justifies us in asserting that our knowledge of this
marvellous antiquity is fuller and more authentic than that we have of
many a period and people not half so remote from us in point of place
and distance.

5. The cosmogonic narrative which forms the first part of what Geo.
Smith has very aptly called "the Chaldean Genesis" is contained in a
number of tablets. As it begins by the words "_When above_," they are
all numbered as No. 1, or 3, or 5 "of the series WHEN ABOVE. _The
property of Asshurbanipal, king of nations, king of Assyria._" The first
lines are intact:--"When the heaven above and the earth below were as
yet unnamed,"--(i.e., according to Semitic ideas, _did not exist_)--APSU
(the "Abyss") and MUMMU-TIAMAT (the "billowy Sea") were the beginning of
all things; their waters mingled and flowed together; that was the
Primeval Chaos; it contained the germs of life but "the darkness was not
lifted" from the waters, and therefore nothing sprouted or grew--(for no
growth or life is possible without light). The gods also were not; "they
were as yet unnamed and did not rule the destinies." Then the great gods
came into being, and the divine hosts of heaven and earth (the Spirits
of Heaven and Earth). "And the days stretched themselves out, and the
god Anu (Heaven.) ..." Here the text breaks off abruptly; it is
probable, however, that it told how, after a long lapse of time, the
gods Anu, Êa and Bel, the first and supreme triad, came into being. The
next fragment, which is sufficiently well preserved to allow of a
connected translation, tells of the establishment of the heavenly
bodies: "He" (Anu, whose particular dominion the highest heavens were,
hence frequently called "the heaven of Anu") "he appointed the mansions
of the great gods" (signs of the Zodiac), established the stars, ordered
the months and the year, and limited the beginning and end thereof;
established the planets, so that none should swerve from its allotted
track; "he appointed the mansions of Bel and Êa with his own; he also
opened the great gates of heaven, fastening their bolts firmly to the
right and to the left" (east and west); he made Nannar (the Moon) to
shine and allotted the night to him, determining the time of his
quarters which measure the days, and saying to him "rise and set, and be
subject to this law." Another tablet, of which only the beginning is
intelligible, tells how the gods (in the plural this time) created the
living beings which people the earth, the cattle of the field and the
city, and the wild beasts of the field, and the things that creep in the
field and in the city, in short all the living creatures.


6. There are some tablets which have been supposed to treat of the
creation of man and perhaps to give a story of his disobedience and
fall, answering to that in Genesis; but unfortunately they are in too
mutilated a condition to admit of certainty, and no other copies have as
yet come to light. However, the probability that such was really the
case is very great, and is much enhanced by a cylinder of very ancient
Babylonian workmanship, now in the British Museum, and too important not
to be reproduced here. The tree in the middle, the human couple
stretching out their hands for the fruit, the serpent standing _behind
the woman_ in--one might almost say--a whispering attitude, all this
tells its own tale. And the authority of this artistic presentation,
which so strangely fits in to fill the blank in the written narrative,
is doubled by the fact that the engravings on the cylinders are
invariably taken from subjects connected with religion, or at least
religious beliefs and traditions. As to the creation of man, we may
partly eke out the missing details from the fragment of Berosus already
quoted. He there tells us--and so well-informed a writer must have
spoken on good authority--that Bel gave his own blood to be kneaded with
the clay out of which men were formed, and that is why they are endowed
with reason and have a share of the divine nature in them--certainly a
most ingenious way of expressing the blending of the earthly and the
divine elements which has made human nature so deep and puzzling a
problem to the profounder thinkers of all ages.

7. For the rest of the creation, Berosus' account (quoted from the book
said to have been given men by the fabulous Oannes), agrees with what we
find in the original texts, even imperfect as we have them. He says that
in the midst of Chaos--at the time when all was darkness and water--the
principle of life which it contained, restlessly working, but without
order, took shape in numberless monstrous formations: there were beings
like men, some winged, with two heads, some with the legs and horns of
goats, others with the hind part of horses; also bulls with human heads,
dogs with four bodies and a fish's tail, horses with the heads of dogs,
in short, every hideous and fantastical combination of animal forms,
before the Divine Will had separated them, and sorted them into harmony
and order. All these monstrous beings perished the moment Bel separated
the heavens from the earth creating light,--for they were births of
darkness and lawlessness and could not stand the new reign of light and
law and divine reason. In memory of this destruction of the old chaotic
world and production of the new, harmonious and beautiful one, the walls
of the famous temple of Bel-Mardouk at Babylon were covered with
paintings representing the infinite variety of monstrous and mixed
shapes with which an exuberant fancy had peopled the primeval chaos;
Berosus was a priest of this temple and he speaks of those paintings as
still existing. Though nothing has remained of them in the ruins of the
temple, we have representations of the same kind on many of the
cylinders which, used as seals, did duty both as personal badges--(one
is almost tempted to say "coats of arms")--and as talismans, as proved
by the fact of such cylinders being so frequently found on the wrists of
the dead in the sepulchres.

a photograph in the British Museum.)]

8. The remarkable cylinder with the human couple and the serpent leads
us to the consideration of a most important object in the ancient
Babylonian or Chaldean religion--the Sacred Tree, the Tree of Life. That
it was a very holy symbol is clear from its being so continually
reproduced on cylinders and on sculptures. In this particular cylinder,
rude as the design is, it bears an unmistakable likeness to a real
tree--of some coniferous species, cypress or fir. But art soon took hold
of it and began to load it with symmetrical embellishments, until it
produced a tree of entirely conventional design, as shown by the
following specimens, of which the first leans more to the palm, while
the second seems rather of the coniferous type. (Figs. No. 63 and 65.)
It is probable that such artificial trees, made up of boughs--perhaps of
the palm and cypress--tied together and intertwined with ribbons
(something like our Maypoles of old), were set up in the temples as
reminders of the sacred symbol, and thus gave rise to the fixed type
which remains invariable both in such Babylonian works of art as we
possess and on the Assyrian sculptures, where the tree, or a portion of
it, appears not only in the running ornaments on the walls but on seal
cylinders and even in the embroidery on the robes of kings. In the
latter case indeed, it is almost certain, from the belief in talismans
which the Assyrians had inherited, along with the whole of their
religion from the Chaldean mother country, that this ornament was
selected not only as appropriate to the sacredness of the royal person,
but as a consecration and protection. The holiness of the symbol is
further evidenced by the kneeling posture of the animals which sometimes
accompany it (see Fig. 22, page 67), and the attitude of adoration of
the human figures, or winged spirits attending it, by the prevalence of
the sacred number seven in its component parts, and by the fact that it
is reproduced on a great many of those glazed earthenware coffins which
are so plentiful at Warka (ancient Erech). This latter fact clearly
shows that the tree-symbol not only meant life in general, life on
earth, but a hope of life eternal, beyond the grave, or why should it
have been given to the dead? These coffins at Warka belong, it is true,
to a late period, some as late as a couple of hundred years after
Christ, but the ancient traditions and their meaning had, beyond a
doubt, been preserved. Another significant detail is that the cone is
frequently seen in the hands of men or spirits, and always in a way
connected with worship or auspicious protection; sometimes it is held to
the king's nostrils by his attendant protecting spirits, (known by their
wings); a gesture of unmistakable significancy, since in ancient
languages "the breath of the nostrils" is synonymous with "the breath of


and Chipiez.)]

9. There can be no association of ideas more natural than that of
vegetation, as represented by a tree, with life. By its perpetual growth
and development, its wealth of branches and foliage, its blossoming and
fruit-bearing, it is a noble and striking illustration of the world in
the widest sense--the Universe, the Cosmos, while the sap which courses
equally through the trunk and through the veins of the smallest leaflet,
drawn by an incomprehensible process through invisible roots from the
nourishing earth, still more forcibly suggests that mysterious
principle, Life, which we _think_ we understand because we see its
effects and feel it in ourselves, but the sources of which will never be
reached, as the problem of it will never be solved, either by the prying
of experimental science or the musings of contemplative speculation;
life eternal, also,--for the workings of nature _are_ eternal,--and the
tree that is black and lifeless to-day, we know from long experience is
not dead, but will revive in the fulness of time, and bud, and grow and
bear again. All these things _we_ know are the effects of laws; but the
ancients attributed them to living Powers,--the CHTHONIC POWERS (from
the Greek word CHTHON, "earth, soil"), which have by some later and
dreamy thinkers been called weirdly but not unaptly, "the Mothers,"
mysteriously at work in the depths of silence and darkness, unseen,
unreachable, and inexhaustibly productive. Of these powers again, what
more perfect symbol or representative than the Tree, as standing for
vegetation, one for all, the part for the whole? It lies so near that,
in later times, it was enlarged, so as to embrace the whole universe, in
the majestic conception of the Cosmic Tree which has its roots on earth
and heaven for its crown, while its fruit are the golden apples--the
stars, and Fire,--the red lightning.


(Perrot and Chipiez.)]

10. All these suggestive and poetical fancies would in themselves
suffice to make the tree-symbol a favorite one among so thoughtful and
profound a people as the old Chaldeans. But there is something more. It
is intimately connected with another tradition, common, in some form or
other, to all nations who have attained a sufficiently high grade of
culture to make their mark in the world--that of an original ancestral
abode, beautiful, happy, and remote, a Paradise. It is usually imagined
as a great mountain, watered by springs which become great rivers,
bearing one or more trees of wonderful properties and sacred character,
and is considered as the principal residence of the gods. Each nation
locates it according to its own knowledge of geography and vague,
half-obliterated memories. Many texts, both in the old Accadian and the
Assyrian languages, abundantly prove that the Chaldean religion
preserved a distinct and reverent conception of such a mountain, and
placed it in the far north or north-east, calling it the "Father of
Countries," plainly an allusion to the original abode of man--the
"Mountain of Countries," (i.e., "Chief Mountain of the World") and also
ARALLU, because there, where the gods dwelt, they also imagined the
entrance to the Arali to be the Land of the Dead. There, too, the heroes
and great men were to dwell forever after their death. There is the land
with a sky of silver, a soil which produces crops without being
cultivated, where blessings are for food and rejoicing, which it is
hoped the king will obtain as a reward for his piety after having
enjoyed all earthly goods during his life.[AX] In an old Accadian hymn,
the sacred mount, which is identical with that imagined as the pillar
joining heaven and earth, the pillar around which the heavenly spheres
revolve, (see page 153)--is called "the mountain of Bel, in the east,
whose double head reaches unto the skies; which is like to a mighty
buffalo at rest, whose double horn sparkles as a sunbeam, as a star." So
vivid was the conception in the popular mind, and so great the reverence
entertained for it, that it was attempted to reproduce the type of the
holy mountain in the palaces of their kings and the temples of their
gods. That is one of the reasons why they built both on artificial
hills. There is in the British Museum a sculpture from Koyunjik,
representing such a temple, or perhaps palace, on the summit of a mound,
converted into a garden and watered by a stream which issues from the
"hanging garden" on the right, the latter being laid out on a platform
of masonry raised on arches; the water was brought up by machinery. It
is a perfect specimen of a "Paradise," as these artificial parks were
called by the Greeks, who took the word (meaning "park" or "garden")
from the Persians, who, in their turn, had borrowed the thing from the
Assyrians and Babylonians, when they conquered the latter's empire. The
_Ziggurat_, or pyramidal construction in stages, with the temple or
shrine on the top, also owed its peculiar shape to the same original
conception: as the gods dwelt on the summit of the Mountain of the
World, so their shrines should occupy a position as much like their
residence as the feeble means of man would permit. That this is no idle
fancy is proved by the very name of "Ziggurat," which means "_mountain
peak_," and also by the names of some of these temples: one of the
oldest and most famous indeed, in the city of Asshur, was named "the
House of the Mountain of Countries." An excellent representation of a
Ziggurat, as it must have looked with its surrounding palm grove by a
river, is given us on a sculptured slab, also from Koyunjik. The
original is evidently a small one, of probably five stages besides the
platform on which it is built, with its two symmetrical paths up the
ascent. Some, like the great temple at Ur, had only three stages, others
again seven--always one of the three sacred numbers: three,
corresponding to the divine Triad; five, to the five planets; seven, to
the planets, sun and moon. The famous Temple of the Seven Spheres at
Borsip (the Birs-Nimrud), often mentioned already, and rebuilt by
Nebuchadnezzar about 600 B.C. from a far older structure, as he explains
in his inscription (see p. 72), was probably the most gorgeous, as it
was the largest; besides, it is the only one of which we have detailed
and reliable descriptions and measurements, which may best be given in
this place, almost entirely in the words of George Rawlinson:[AY]


[Illustration: 69.--PLAN OF A ZIGGURAT. (Perrot and Chipiez.)]

11. The temple is raised on a platform exceptionally low--only a few
feet above the level of the plain; the entire height, including the
platform, was 156 feet in a perpendicular line. The stages--of which the
four upper were lower than the first three--receded equally on three
sides, but doubly as much on the fourth, probably in order to present a
more imposing front from the plain, and an easier ascent. "The
ornamentation of the edifice was chiefly by means of color. The seven
Stages represented the Seven Spheres, in which moved, according to
ancient Chaldean astronomy, the seven planets. To each planet fancy,
partly grounding itself upon fact, had from of old assigned a peculiar
tint or hue. The Sun (Shamash) was golden; the Moon (Sin or Nannar),
silver; the distant Saturn (Adar), almost beyond the region of light,
was black; Jupiter (Marduk) was orange; the fiery Mars (Nergal) was red;
Venus (Ishtar) was a pale yellow; Mercury (Nebo or Nabu, whose shrine
stood on the top stage), a deep blue. The seven stages of the tower gave
a visible embodiment to these fancies. The basement stage, assigned to
Saturn, was blackened by means of a coating of bitumen spread over the
face of the masonry; the second stage, assigned to Jupiter, obtained the
appropriate orange color by means of a facing of burnt bricks of that
hue; the third stage, that of Mars, was made blood-red by the use of
half-burnt bricks formed of a bright-red clay; the fourth stage,
assigned to the Sun, appears to have been actually covered with thin
plates of gold; the fifth, the stage of Venus, received a pale yellow
tint from the employment of bricks of that hue; the sixth, the sphere of
Mercury, was given an azure tint by vitrifaction, the whole stage having
been subjected to an intense heat after it was erected, whereby the
bricks composing it were converted into a mass of blue slag; the seventh
stage, that of the moon, was probably, like the fourth, coated with
actual plates of metal. Thus the building rose up in stripes of varied
color, arranged almost as nature's cunning hand arranges hues in the
rainbow, tones of red coming first, succeeded by a broad stripe of
yellow, the yellow being followed by blue. Above this the glowing
silvery summit melted into the bright sheen of the sky.... The Tower is
to be regarded as fronting the north-east, the coolest side, and that
least exposed to the sun's rays from the time that they become
oppressive in Babylonia. On this side was the ascent, which consisted
probably of a broad staircase extending along the whole front of the
building. The side platforms, at any rate of the first and second
stages, probably of all, were occupied by a series of chambers.... In
these were doubtless lodged the priests and other attendants upon the
temple service...."

(Perrot and Chipiez.)]

12. The interest attaching to this temple, wonderful as it is in itself,
is greatly enhanced by the circumstance that its ruins have through many
centuries been considered as those of the identical Tower of Babel of
the Bible. Jewish literary men who travelled over the country in the
Middle Ages started this idea, which quickly spread to the West. It is
conjectured that it was suggested by the vitrified fragments of the
outer coating of the sixth, blue, stage, (that of Mercury or Nebo), the
condition of which was attributed to lightning having struck the

[Illustration: 71.--BIRS-NIMRUD. (ANCIENT BORSIP.) (Perrot and

13. That the Ziggurats of Chaldea should have been used not only as
pedestals to uphold shrines, but as observatories by the priestly
astronomers and astrologers, was quite in accordance with the strong
mixture of star-worship grafted on the older religion, and with the
power ascribed to the heavenly bodies over the acts and destinies of
men. These constructions, therefore, were fitted for astronomical uses
by being very carefully placed with their corners pointing exactly to
the four cardinal points--North, South, East and West. Only two
exceptions have been found to this rule, one in Babylon, and the
Assyrian Ziggurat at Kalah, (Nimrud) explored by Layard, of which the
sides, not the corners, face the cardinal points. For the Assyrians, who
carried their entire culture and religion northward from their ancient
home, also retained this consecrated form of architecture, with the
difference that with them the Ziggurats were not temple and observatory
in one, but only observatories attached to the temples, which were built
on more independent principles and a larger scale, often covering as
much ground as a palace.

14. The singular orientation of the Chaldean Ziggurats (subsequently
retained by the Assyrians),--i.e., the manner in which they are placed,
turned to the cardinal points with their angles, and not with their
faces, as are the Egyptian pyramids, with only one exception,--has long
been a puzzle which no astronomical considerations were sufficient to
solve. But quite lately, in 1883, Mr. Pinches, Geo. Smith's successor in
the British Museum, found a small tablet, giving lists of signs,
eclipses, etc., affecting the various countries, and containing the
following short geographical notice, in illustration of the position
assigned to the cardinal points: "The South is Elam, the North is Accad,
the East is Suedin and Gutium, the West is Phoenicia. On the right is
Accad, on the left is Elam, in front is Phoenicia, behind are Suedin
and Gutium." In order to appreciate the bearing of this bit of
topography on the question in hand, we must examine an ancient map, when
we shall at once perceive that the direction given by the tablet to the
_South_ (Elam) answers to our _South-East;_ that given to the _North_
(Accad) answers to our _North-West;_ while _West_ (Phoenicia, i.e.,
the coast-land of the Mediterranean, down almost to Egypt) stands for
our _South-West_, and _East_ (Gutium, the highlands where the Armenian
mountains join the Zagros, now Kurdish Mountains,) for our _North-East_.
If we turn the map so that the Persian Gulf shall come in a
perpendicular line under Babylon, we shall produce the desired effect,
and then it will strike us that the Ziggurats _did_ face the cardinal
points, according to Chaldean geography, _with their sides_, and that
the discovery of the small tablet, as was remarked on the production of
it, "settles the difficult question of the difference in orientation
between the Assyrian and Egyptian monuments." It was further suggested
that "the two systems of cardinal points originated no doubt from two
different races, and their determination was due probably _to the
geographical position of the primitive home of each race._" Now the
South-West is called "the front," "and the migrations of the people
_therefore_ must have been from North-East to South-West."[AZ] This
beautifully tallies with the hypothesis, or conjecture, concerning the
direction from which the Shumiro-Accads descended into the lowlands by
the Gulf (see pp. 146-8), and, moreover, leads us to the question
whether the fact of the great Ziggurat of the Seven Spheres at Borsip
facing the North-East with its front may not have some connection with
the holiness ascribed to that region as the original home of the race
and the seat of that sacred mountain so often mentioned as "the Great
Mountain of Countries" (see p. 280), doubly sacred, as the meeting-place
of the gods and the place of entrance to the "Arallu" or Lower

15. It is to be noted that the conception of the divine grove or garden
with its sacred tree of life was sometimes separated from that of the
holy primeval mountain and transferred by tradition to a more immediate
and accessible neighborhood. That the city and district of Babylon may
have been the centre of such a tradition is possibly shown by the most
ancient Accadian name of the former--TIN-TIR-KI meaning "the Place of
Life," while the latter was called GAN-DUNYASH or KAR-DUNYASH--"the
garden of the god Dunyash," (probably one of the names of the god
Êa)--an appellation which this district, although situated in the land
of Accad or Upper Chaldea, preserved to the latest times as
distinctively its own. Another sacred grove is spoken of as situated in
Eridhu. This city, altogether the most ancient we have any mention of,
was situated at the then mouth of the Euphrates, in the deepest and
flattest of lowlands, a sort of borderland between earth and sea, and
therefore very appropriately consecrated to the great spirit of both,
the god Êa, the amphibious Oannes. It was so much identified with him,
that in the Shumirian hymns and conjurings his son Meridug is often
simply invoked as "Son of Eridhu." It must have been the oldest seat of
that spirit-worship and sorcerer-priesthood which we find crystallized
in the earliest Shumiro-Accadian sacred books. This prodigious antiquity
carries us to something like 5000 years B.C., which explains the fact
that the ruins of the place, near the modern Arab village of
Abu-Shahrein, are now so far removed from the sea, being a considerable
distance even from the junction of the two rivers where they form the
Shat-el-arab. The sacred grove of Eridhu is frequently referred to, and
that it was connected with the tradition of the tree of life we see from
a fragment of a most ancient hymn, which tells of "a black pine, growing
at Eridhu, sprung up in a pure place, with roots of lustrous crystal
extending downwards, even into the deep, marking the centre of the
earth, in the dark forest into the heart whereof man hath not
penetrated." Might not this be the reason why the wood of the pine was
so much used in charms and conjuring, as the surest safeguard against
evil influences, and its very shadow was held wholesome and sacred? But
we return to the legends of the Creation and primeval world.

(Perrot and Chipiez.)]

16. Mummu-Tiamat, the impersonation of chaos, the power of darkness and
lawlessness, does not vanish from the scene when Bel puts an end to her
reign, destroys, by the sheer force of light and order, her hideous
progeny of monsters and frees from her confusion the germs and
rudimental forms of life, which, under the new and divine dispensation,
are to expand and combine into the beautifully varied, yet harmonious
world we live in. Tiamat becomes the sworn enemy of the gods and their
creation, the great principle of opposition and destruction. When the
missing texts come to light,--if ever they do--it will probably be found
that the serpent who tempts the woman in the famous cylinder, is none
other than a form of the rebellious and vindictive Tiamat, who is called
now a "Dragon," now "the Great Serpent." At last the hostility cannot be
ignored, and things come to a deadly issue. It is determined in the
council of the gods that one of them must fight the wicked dragon; a
complete suit of armor is made and exhibited by Anu himself, of which
the sickle-shaped sword and the beautifully bent bow are the principal
features. It is Bel who dares the venture and goes forth on a matchless
war chariot, armed with the sword, and the bow, and his great weapon,
the thunderbolt, sending the lightning before him and scattering arrows
around. Tiamat, the Dragon of the Sea, came out to meet him, stretching
her immense body along, bearing death and destruction, and attended by
her followers. The god rushed on the monster with such violence that he
threw her down and was already fastening fetters on her limbs, when she
uttered a great shout and started up and attacked the righteous leader
of the gods, while banners were raised on both sides as at a pitched
battle. Meridug drew his sword and wounded her; at the same time a
violent wind struck against her face. She opened her jaws to swallow up
Meridug, but before she could close them he bade the wind to enter into
her body. It entered and filled her with its violence, shook her heart
and tore her entrails and subdued her courage. Then the god bound her,
and put an end to her works, while her followers stood amazed, then
broke their lines and fled, full of fear, seeing that Tiamat, their
leader, was conquered. There she lay, her weapons broken, herself like a
sword thrown down on the ground, in the dark and bound, conscious of her
bondage and in great grief, her might suddenly broken by fear.


17. The battle of Bel-Marduk and the Dragon was a favorite incident in
the cycle of Chaldean tradition, if we judge from the number of
representations we have of it on Babylonian cylinders, and even on
Assyrian wall-sculptures. The texts which relate to it are, however, in
a frightful state of mutilation, and only the last fragment, describing
the final combat, can be read and translated with anything like
completeness. With it ends the series treating of the Cosmogony or
Beginnings of the World. But it may be completed by a few more legends
of the same primitive character and preserved on detached tablets, in
double text, as usual--Accadian and Assyrian. To these belongs a poem
narrating the rebellion, already alluded to, (see p. 182,) of the seven
evil spirits, originally the messengers and throne-bearers of the gods,
and their war against the moon, the whole being evidently a fanciful
rendering of an eclipse. "Those wicked gods, the rebel spirits," of
whom one is likened to a leopard, and one to a serpent, and the rest to
other animals--suggesting the fanciful shapes of storm-clouds--while one
is said to be the raging south wind, began the attack "with evil
tempest, baleful wind," and "from the foundations of the heavens like
the lightning they darted." The lower region of the sky was reduced to
its primeval chaos, and the gods sat in anxious council. The moon-god
(Sin), the sun-god (Shamash), and the goddess Ishtar had been appointed
to sway in close harmony the lower sky and to command the hosts of
heaven; but when the moon-god was attacked by the seven spirits of evil,
his companions basely forsook him, the sun-god retreating to his place
and Ishtar taking refuge in the highest heaven (the heaven of Anu). Nebo
is despatched to Êa, who sends his son Meridug with this
instruction:--"Go, my son Meridug! The light of the sky, my son, even
the moon-god, is grievously darkened in heaven, and in eclipse from
heaven is vanishing. Those seven wicked gods, the serpents of death who
fear not, are waging unequal war with the laboring moon." Meridug obeys
his father's bidding, and overthrows the seven powers of darkness.[BB]

[Illustration: 74.--BATTLE BETWEEN BEL AND THE DRAGON (TIAMAT). (Smith's

18. There is one more detached legend known from the surviving fragments
of Berosus, also supposed to be derived from ancient Accadian texts: it
is that of the great tower and the confusion of tongues. One such text
has indeed been found by the indefatigable George Smith, but there is
just enough left of it to be very tantalizing and very unsatisfactory.
The narrative in Berosus amounts to this: that men having grown beyond
measure proud and arrogant, so as to deem themselves superior even to
the gods, undertook to build an immense tower, to scale the sky; that
the gods, offended with this presumption, sent violent winds to
overthrow the construction when it had already reached a great height,
and at the same time caused men to speak different languages,--probably
to sow dissension among them, and prevent their ever again uniting in a
common enterprise so daring and impious. The site was identified with
that of Babylon itself, and so strong was the belief attaching to the
legend that the Jews later on adopted it unchanged, and centuries
afterwards, as we saw above, fixed on the ruins of the hugest of all
Ziggurats, that of Borsip, as those of the great Tower of the Confusion
of Tongues. Certain it is, that the tradition, under all its fanciful
apparel, contains a very evident vein of historical fact, since it was
indeed from the plains of Chaldea that many of the principal nations of
the ancient East, various in race and speech, dispersed to the north,
the west, and the south, after having dwelt there for centuries as in a
common cradle, side by side, and indeed to a great extent as one


[AW] See Fr. Lenormant, "Die Magie und Wahrsagekunst der Chaldäer," p.

[AX] François Lenormant, "Origines de l'Histoire," Vol. II., p. 130.

[AY] "Five Monarchies," Vol. III., pp. 380-387.

[AZ] See "Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archæology," Feb.,
1883, pp. 74-76, and "Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society," Vol. XVI.,
1884, p. 302.

[BA] The one exception to the above rule of orientation among the
Ziggurats of Chaldea is that of the temple of Bel, in Babylon,
(E-SAGGILA in the old language,) which is oriented in the usual way--its
sides facing the _real_ North, South, East and West.

[BB] See A. H. Sayce, "Babylonian Literature," p. 35.



1. The stories by which a nation attempts to account for the mysteries
of creation, to explain the Origin of the World, are called, in
scientific language, COSMOGONIC MYTHS. The word Myth is constantly used
in conversation, but so loosely and incorrectly, that it is most
important once for all to define its proper meaning. It means simply _a
phenomenon of nature presented not as the result of a law but as the act
of divine or at least superhuman persons, good or evil powers_--(for
instance, the eclipse of the Moon described as the war against the gods
of the seven rebellious spirits). Further reading and practice will show
that there are many kinds of myths, of various origins; but there is
none, which, if properly taken to pieces, thoroughly traced and
cornered, will not be covered by this definition. A Myth has also been
defined as a legend connected more or less closely with some religious
belief, and, in its main outlines, handed down from prehistoric times.
There are only two things which can prevent the contemplation of nature
and speculation on its mysteries from running into mythology: a
knowledge of the physical laws of nature, as supplied by modern
experimental science, and a strict, unswerving belief in the unity of
God, absolute and undivided, as affirmed and defined by the Hebrews in
so many places of their sacred books: "The Lord he is God, there is none
else beside him." "The Lord he is God, in Heaven above and upon the
earth beneath there is none else." "I am the Lord, and there is none
else, there is no God beside me." "I am God and there is none else." But
experimental science is a very modern thing indeed, scarcely a few
hundred years old, and Monotheism, until the propagation of
Christianity, was professed by only one small nation, the Jews, though
the chosen thinkers of other nations have risen to the same conception
in many lands and many ages. The great mass of mankind has always
believed in the personal individuality of all the forces of nature,
i.e., in many gods; everything that went on in the world was to them the
manifestation of the feelings, the will, the acts of these gods--hence
the myths. The earlier the times, the more unquestioning the belief and,
as a necessary consequence, the more exuberant the creation of myths.

2. But gods and spirits are not the only actors in myths. Side by side
with its sacred traditions on the Origin of things, every nation
treasures fond but vague memories of its own beginnings--vague, both
from their remoteness and from their not being fixed in writing, and
being therefore liable to the alterations and enlargements which a story
invariably undergoes when told many times to and by different people,
i.e., when it is transmitted from generation to generation by oral
tradition. These memories generally centre around a few great names, the
names of the oldest national heroes, of the first rulers, lawgivers and
conquerors of the nation, the men who by their genius _made_ it a nation
out of a loose collection of tribes or large families, who gave it
social order and useful arts, and safety from its neighbors, or,
perhaps, freed it from foreign oppressors. In their grateful admiration
for these heroes, whose doings naturally became more and more marvellous
with each generation that told of them, men could not believe that they
should have been mere imperfect mortals like themselves, but insisted on
considering them as directly inspired by the deity in some one of the
thousand shapes they invested it with, or as half-divine of their own
nature. The consciousness of the imperfection inherent to ordinary
humanity, and the limited powers awarded to it, has always prompted this
explanation of the achievements of extraordinarily gifted individuals,
in whatever line of action their exceptional gifts displayed themselves.
Besides, if there is something repugnant to human vanity in having to
submit to the dictates of superior reason and the rule of superior power
as embodied in mere men of flesh and blood, there is on the contrary
something very flattering and soothing to that same vanity in the idea
of having been specially singled out as the object of the protection and
solicitude of the divine powers; this idea at all events takes the
galling sting from the constraint of obedience. Hence every nation has
very jealously insisted on and devoutly believed in the divine origin of
its rulers and the divine institution of its laws and customs. Once it
was implicitly admitted that the world teemed with spirits and gods,
who, not content with attending to their particular spheres and
departments, came and went at their pleasure, had walked the earth and
directly interfered with human affairs, there was no reason to
disbelieve _any_ occurrence, however marvellous--provided it had
happened very, very long ago. (See p. 197.)

3. Thus, in the traditions of every ancient nation, there is a vast and
misty tract of time, expressed, if at all, in figures of appalling
magnitude--hundreds of thousands, nay, millions of years--between the
unpierceable gloom of an eternal past and the broad daylight of
remembered, recorded history. There, all is shadowy, gigantic,
superhuman. There, gods move, dim yet visible, shrouded in a golden
cloud of mystery and awe; there, by their side, loom other shapes, as
dim but more familiar, human yet more than human--the Heroes, Fathers of
races, founders of nations, the companions, the beloved of gods and
goddesses, nay, their own children, mortal themselves, yet doing deeds
of daring and might such as only the immortals could inspire and favor,
the connecting link between these and ordinary humanity--as that
gloaming, uncertain, shifting, but not altogether unreal streak of time
is the borderland between Heaven and Earth, the very hot-bed of myth,
fiction and romance. For of their favorite heroes, people began to tell
the same stories as of their gods, in modified forms, transferred to
their own surroundings and familiar scenes. To take one of the most
common transformations: if the Sun-god waged war against the demons of
darkness and destroyed them in heaven (see p. 171), the hero hunted wild
beasts and monsters on earth, of course always victoriously. This one
theme could be varied by the national poets in a thousand ways and woven
into a thousand different stories, which come with full right under the
head of "myths." Thus arose a number of so-called HEROIC MYTHS, which,
by dint of being repeated, settled into a certain defined traditional
shape, like the well-known fairy-tales of our nurseries, which are the
same everywhere and told in every country with scarcely any changes. As
soon as the art of writing came into general use, these favorite and
time-honored stories, which the mass of the people probably still
received as literal truth, were taken down, and, as the work naturally
devolved on priests and clerks, i.e., men of education and more or less
literary skill, often themselves poets, they were worked over in the
process, connected, and remodelled into a continuous whole. The separate
myths, or adventures of one or more particular heroes, formerly recited
severally, somewhat after the manner of the old songs and ballads,
frequently became so many chapters or books in a long, well-ordered
poem, in which they were introduced and distributed, often with
consummate art, and told with great poetical beauty. Such poems, of
which several have come down to us, are called EPIC POEMS, or simply
EPICS. The entire mass of fragmentary materials out of which they are
composed in the course of time, blending almost inextricably historical
reality with mythical fiction, is the NATIONAL EPOS of a race, its
greatest intellectual treasure, from which all its late poetry and much
of its political and religious feeling draws its food ever after. A race
that has no national epos is one devoid of great memories, incapable of
high culture and political development, and no such has taken a place
among the leading races of the world. All those that have occupied such
a place at any period of the world's history, have had their Mythic and
Heroic Ages, brimful of wonders and fanciful creations.

4. From these remarks it will be clear that the preceding two or three
chapters have been treating of what may properly be called the Religious
and Cosmogonic Myths of the Shumiro-Accads and the Babylonians. The
present chapter will be devoted to their Heroic Myths or Mythic Epos, as
embodied in an Epic which has been in great part preserved, and which is
the oldest known in the world, dating certainly from 2000 years B.C.,
and probably more.

5. Of this poem the few fragments we have of Berosus contain no
indication. They only tell of a great deluge which took place under the
last of that fabulous line of ten kings which is said to have begun
259,000 years after the apparition of the divine Man-Fish, Oannes, and
to have reigned in the aggregate a period of 432,000 years. The
description has always excited great interest from its extraordinary
resemblance to that given by the Bible. Berosus tells how XISUTHROS, the
last of the ten fabulous kings, had a dream in which the deity announced
to him that on a certain day all men should perish in a deluge of
waters, and ordered him to take all the sacred writings and bury them at
Sippar, the City of the Sun, then to build a ship, provide it with ample
stores of food and drink and enter it with his family and his dearest
friends, also animals, both birds and quadrupeds of every kind.
Xisuthros did as he had been bidden. When the flood began to abate, on
the third day after the rain had ceased to fall, he sent out some birds,
to see whether they would find any land, but the birds, having found
neither food nor place to rest upon, returned to the ship. A few days
later, Xisuthros once more sent the birds out; but they again came back
to him, this time with muddy feet. On being sent out a third time, they
did not return at all. Xisuthros then knew that the land was uncovered;
made an opening in the roof of the ship and saw that it was stranded on
the top of a mountain. He came out of the ship with his wife, daughter
and pilot, built an altar and sacrificed to the gods, after which he
disappeared together with these. When his companions came out to seek
him they did not see him, but a voice from heaven informed them that he
had been translated among the gods to live forever, as a reward for his
piety and righteousness. The voice went on to command the survivors to
return to Babylonia, unearth the sacred writings and make them known to
men. They obeyed and, moreover, built many cities and restored Babylon.

6. However interesting this account, it was received at second-hand and
therefore felt to need confirmation and ampler development. Besides which,
as it stood, it lacked all indication that could throw light on the
important question which of the two traditions--that reproduced by Berosus
or the Biblical one--was to be considered as the oldest. Here again it was
George Smith who had the good fortune to discover the original narrative
(in 1872), while engaged in sifting and sorting the tablet-fragments at
the British Museum. This is how it happened:[BC]--"Smith found one-half of
a whitish-yellow clay tablet, which, to all appearance, had been divided
on each face into three columns. In the third column of the obverse or
front side he read the words: 'On the mount Nizir the ship stood still.
Then I took a dove and let her fly. The dove flew hither and thither, but
finding no resting-place, returned to the ship.' Smith at once knew that
he had discovered a fragment of the cuneiform narrative of the Deluge.
With indefatigable perseverance he set to work to search the thousands of
Assyrian tablet-fragments heaped up in the British Museum, for more
pieces. His efforts were crowned with success. He did not indeed find a
piece completing the half of the tablet first discovered, but he found
instead fragments of two more copies of the narrative, which completed the
text in the most felicitous manner and supplied several very important
variations of it. One of these duplicates, which has been pieced out of
sixteen little bits (see illustration on p. 262), bore the usual
inscription at the bottom: 'The property of Asshurbanipal, King of hosts,
King of the land of Asshur,' and contained the information that the
Deluge-narrative was the eleventh tablet of a series, several fragments of
which, Smith had already come across. With infinite pains he put all these
fragments together and found that the story of the Deluge was only an
incident in a great Heroic Epic, a poem written in twelve books, making in
all about three thousand lines, which celebrated the deeds of an ancient
king of Erech."

7. Each book or chapter naturally occupied a separate tablet. All are by
no means equally well preserved. Some parts, indeed, are missing, while
several are so mutilated as to cause serious gaps and breaks in the
narrative, and the first tablet has not yet been found at all. Yet, with
all these drawbacks it is quite possible to build up a very intelligible
outline of the whole story, while the eleventh tablet, owing to various
fortunate additions that came to light from time to time, has been
restored almost completely.

8. The epic carries us back to the time when Erech was the capital of
Shumir, and when the land was under the dominion of the Elamite
conquerors, not passive or content, but striving manfully for
deliverance. We may imagine the struggle to have been shared and headed
by the native kings, whose memory would be gratefully treasured by later
generations, and whose exploits would naturally become the theme of
household tradition and poets' recitations. So much for the bare
historical groundwork of the poem. It is easily to be distinguished from
the rich by-play of fiction and wonderful adventure gradually woven into
it from the ample fund of national myths and legends, which have
gathered around the name of one hero-king, GISDHUBAR or IZDUBAR,[BD]
said to be a native of the ancient city of MARAD and a direct descendant
of the last antediluvian king HÂSISADRA, the same whom Berosus calls

9. It is unfortunate that the first tablet and the top part of the
second are missing, for thus we lose the opening of the poem, which
would probably give us valuable historical indications. What there is of
the second tablet shows the city of Erech groaning under the tyranny of
the Elamite conquerors. Erech had been governed by the divine Dumuzi,
the husband of the goddess Ishtar. He had met an untimely and tragic
death, and been succeeded by Ishtar, who had not been able, however, to
make a stand against the foreign invaders, or, as the text picturesquely
expresses it, "to hold up her head against the foe." Izdubar, as yet
known to fame only as a powerful and indefatigable huntsman, then dwelt
at Erech, where he had a singular dream. It seemed to him that the stars
of heaven fell down and struck him on the back in their fall, while over
him stood a terrible being, with fierce, threatening countenance and
claws like a lion's, the sight of whom paralyzed him with fear.

10. Deeply impressed with this dream, which appeared to him to portend
strange things, Izdubar sent forth to all the most famous seers and wise
men, promising the most princely rewards to whoever would interpret it
for him: he should be ennobled with his family; he should take the high
seat of honor at the royal feasts; he should be clothed in jewels and
gold; he should have seven beautiful wives and enjoy every kind of
distinction. But there was none found of wisdom equal to the task of
reading the vision. At length he heard of a wonderful sage, named
ÊABÂNI, far-famed for "his wisdom in all things and his knowledge of all
that is either visible or concealed," but who dwelt apart from mankind,
in a distant wilderness, in a cave, amidst the beasts of the forest.

     "With the gazelles he ate his food at night, with the beasts of
     the field he associated in the daytime, with the living things
     of the waters his heart rejoiced."

This strange being is always represented on the Babylonian cylinders as
a Man-Bull, with horns on his head and a bull's feet and tail. He was
not easily accessible, nor to be persuaded to come to Erech, even
though the Sun-god, Shamash, himself "opened his lips and spoke to him
from heaven," making great promises on Izdubar's behalf:--

     "They shall clothe thee in royal robes, they shall make thee
     great; and Izdubar shall become thy friend, and he shall place
     thee in a luxurious seat at his left hand; the kings of the
     earth shall kiss thy feet; he shall enrich thee and make the
     men of Erech keep silence before thee."

The hermit was proof against ambition and refused to leave his
wilderness. Then a follower of Izdubar, ZAIDU, the huntsman, was sent to
bring him; but he returned alone and reported that, when he had
approached the seer's cave, he had been seized with fear and had not
entered it, but had crawled back, climbing the steep bank on his hands
and feet.

(Smith's "Chaldea.")]

11. At last Izdubar bethought him to send out Ishtar's handmaidens,
SHAMHATU ("Grace") and HARIMTU ("Persuasion"), and they started for the
wilderness under the escort of Zaidu. Shamhatu was the first to approach
the hermit, but he heeded her little; he turned to her companion, and
sat down at her feet; and when Harimtu ("Persuasion") spoke, bending her
face towards him, he listened and was attentive. And she said to him:

     "Famous art thou, Êabâni, even like a god; why then associate
     with the wild things of the desert? Thy place is in the midst
     of Erech, the great city, in the temple, the seat of Anu and
     Ishtar, in the palace of Izdubar, the man of might, who towers
     amidst the leaders as a bull." "She spoke to him, and before
     her words the wisdom of his heart fled and vanished."

He answered:

     "I will go to Erech, to the temple, the seat of Anu and Ishtar,
     to the palace of Izdubar, the man of might, who towers amidst
     the leaders as a bull. I will meet him and see his might. But I
     shall bring to Erech a lion--let Izdubar destroy him if he can.
     He is bred in the wilderness and of great strength."

[Illustration: 76.--IZDUBAR AND THE LION. (British Museum.)]

So Zaidu and the two women went back to Erech, and Êabâni went with
them, leading his lion. The chiefs of the city received him with great
honors and gave a splendid entertainment in sign of rejoicing.

12. It is evidently on this occasion that Izdubar conquers the seer's
esteem by fighting and killing the lion, after which the hero and the
sage enter into a solemn covenant of friendship. But the third tablet,
which contains this part of the story, is so much mutilated as to leave
much of the substance to conjecture, while all the details, and the
interpretation of the dream which is probably given, are lost. The same
is unfortunately the case with the fourth and fifth tablets, from which
we can only gather that Izdubar and Êabâni, who have become inseparable,
start on an expedition against the Elamite tyrant, KHUMBABA, who holds
his court in a gloomy forest of cedars and cypresses, enter his palace,
fall upon him unawares and kill him, leaving his body to be torn and
devoured by the birds of prey, after which exploit Izdubar, as his
friend had predicted to him, is proclaimed king in Erech. The sixth
tablet is far better preserved, and gives us one of the most interesting
incidents almost complete.

13. After Izdubar's victory, his glory and power were great, and the
goddess Ishtar looked on him with favor and wished for his love.

     "Izdubar," she said, "be my husband and I will be thy wife:
     pledge thy troth to me. Thou shalt drive a chariot of gold and
     precious stones, thy days shall be marked with conquests;
     kings, princes and lords shall be subject to thee and kiss thy
     feet; they shall bring thee tribute from mountain and valley,
     thy herds and flocks shall multiply doubly, thy mules shall be
     fleet, and thy oxen strong under the yoke. Thou shalt have no

But Izdubar, in his pride, rejected the love of the goddess; he insulted
her and taunted her with having loved Dumuzi and others before him.
Great was the wrath of Ishtar; she ascended to heaven and stood before
her father Anu:

     "My father, Izdubar has insulted me. Izdubar scorns my beauty
     and spurns my love."


She demanded satisfaction, and Anu, at her request, created a monstrous
bull, which he sent against the city of Erech. But Izdubar and his
friend went out to fight the bull, and killed him. Êabâni took hold of
his tail and horns, and Izdubar gave him his deathblow. They drew the
heart out of his body and offered it to Shamash. Then Ishtar ascended
the wall of the city, and standing there cursed Izdubar. She gathered
her handmaidens around her and they raised loud lamentations over the
death of the divine bull. But Izdubar called together his people and
bade them lift up the body and carry it to the altar of Shamash and lay
it before the god. Then they washed their hands in the Euphrates and
returned to the city, where they made a feast of rejoicing and revelled
deep into the night, while in the streets a proclamation to the people
of Erech was called out, which began with the triumphant words:

     "Who is skilled among leaders? Who is great among men? Izdubar
     is skilled among leaders; Izdubar is great among men."

and Chipiez.)]

14. But the vengeance of the offended goddess was not to be so easily
defeated. It now fell on the hero in a more direct and personal way.
Ishtar's mother, the goddess Anatu, smote Êabâni with sudden death and
Izdubar with a dire disease, a sort of leprosy, it would appear.
Mourning for his friend, deprived of strength and tortured with
intolerable pains, he saw visions and dreams which oppressed and
terrified him, and there was now no wise, familiar voice to soothe and
counsel him. At length he decided to consult his ancestor, Hâsisadra,
who dwelt far away, "at the mouth of the rivers," and was immortal, and
to ask of him how he might find healing and strength. He started on his
way alone and came to a strange country, where he met gigantic,
monstrous beings, half men, half scorpions: their feet were below the
earth, while their heads touched the gates of heaven; they were the
warders of the sun and kept their watch over its rising and setting.
They said one to another: "Who is this that comes to us with the mark of
the divine wrath on his body?" Izdubar made his person and errand known
to them; then they gave him directions how to reach the land of the
blessed at the mouth of the rivers, but warned him that the way was long
and full of hardships. He set out again and crossed a vast tract of
country, where there was nothing but sand, not one cultivated field; and
he walked on and on, never looking behind him, until he came to a
beautiful grove by the seaside, where the trees bore fruits of emerald
and other precious stones; this grove was guarded by two beautiful
maidens, SIDURI and SABITU, but they looked with mistrust on the
stranger with the mark of the gods on his body, and closed their
dwelling against him.

[Illustration: 79.--SCORPION-MEN. (Smith's "Chaldea.")]

15. And now Izdubar stood by the shore of the Waters of Death, which are
wide and deep, and separate the land of the living from that of the
blessed and immortal dead. Here he encountered the ferryman URUBÊL; to
him he opened his heart and spoke of the friend whom he had loved and
lost, and Urubêl took him into his ship. For one month and fifteen days
they sailed on the Waters of Death, until they reached that distant land
by the mouth of the rivers, where Izdubar at length met his renowned
ancestor face to face, and, even while he prayed for his advice and
assistance, a very natural feeling of curiosity prompted him to ask "how
he came to be translated alive into the assembly of the gods."
Hâsisadra, with great complaisance, answered his descendant's question
and gave him a full account of the Deluge and his own share in that
event, after which he informed him in what way he could be freed from
the curse laid on him by the gods. Then turning to the ferryman:

     "Urubêl, the man whom thou hast brought hither, behold, disease
     has covered his body, sickness has destroyed the strength of
     his limbs. Take him with thee, Urubêl, and purify him in the
     waters, that his disease may be changed into beauty, that he
     may throw off his sickness and the waters carry it away, that
     health may cover his skin, and the hair of his head be restored
     and descend in flowing locks down to his garment, that he may
     go his way and return to his own country."


16. When all had been done according to Hâsisadra's instruction,
Izdubar, restored to health and vigor, took leave of his ancestor, and
entering the ship once more was carried back to the shore of the living
by the friendly Urubêl, who accompanied him all the way to Erech. But as
they approached the city tears flowed down the hero's face and his heart
was heavy within him for his lost friend, and he once more raised his
voice in lamentation for him:

     "Thou takest no part in the noble feast; to the assembly they
     call thee not; thou liftest not the bow from the ground; what
     is hit by the bow is not for thee; thy hand grasps not the
     club and strikes not the prey, nor stretches thy foeman dead on
     the earth. The wife thou lovest thou kissest not; the wife thou
     hatest thou strikest not. The child thou lovest thou kissest
     not; the child thou hatest thou strikest not. The might of the
     earth has swallowed thee. O Darkness, Darkness, Mother
     Darkness! thou enfoldest him like a mantle; like a deep well
     thou enclosest him!"

Thus Izdubar mourned for his friend, and went into the temple of Bel,
and ceased not from lamenting and crying to the gods, till Êa mercifully
inclined to his prayer and sent his son Meridug to bring Êabâni's spirit
out of the dark world of shades into the land of the blessed, there to
live forever among the heroes of old, reclining on luxurious couches and
drinking the pure water of eternal springs. The poem ends with a vivid
description of a warrior's funeral:

     "I see him who has been slain in battle. His father and mother
     hold his head; his wife weeps over him; his friends stand
     around; his prey lies on the ground uncovered and unheeded. The
     vanquished captives follow; the food provided in the tents is

17. The incident of the Deluge, which has been merely mentioned above,
not to interrupt the narrative by its disproportionate length, (the
eleventh tablet being the best preserved of all), is too important not
to be given in full.[BE]

     "I will tell thee, Izdubar, how I was saved from the flood,"
     begins Hâsisadra, in answer to his descendant's question, "also
     will I impart to thee the decree of the great gods. Thou
     knowest Surippak, the city that is by the Euphrates. This city
     was already very ancient when the gods were moved in their
     hearts to ordain a great deluge, all of them, their father
     Anu, their councillor the warlike Bel, their throne-bearer
     Ninîb, their leader Ennugi. The lord of inscrutable wisdom, the
     god Êa, was with them and imparted to me their decision.
     'Listen,' he said, 'and attend! Man of Surippak, son of
     Ubaratutu,[BF] go out of thy house and build thee a ship. They
     are willed to destroy the seed of life; but thou preserve it
     and bring into the ship seed of every kind of life. The ship
     which thou shalt build let it be ... in length, and ... in
     width and height,[BG] and cover it also with a deck.' When I
     heard this I spoke to Êa, my lord: 'If I construct the ship as
     thou biddest me, O lord, the people and their elders will laugh
     at me.' But Êa opened his lips once more and spoke to me his
     servant: 'Men have rebelled against me, and I will do judgment
     on them, high and low. But do thou close the door of the ship
     when the time comes and I tell thee of it. Then enter the ship
     and bring into it thy store of grain, all thy property, thy
     family, thy men-servants and thy women-servants, and also thy
     next of kin. The cattle of the fields, the wild beasts of the
     fields, I shall send to thee myself, that they may be safe
     behind thy door.'--Then I built the ship and provided it with
     stores of food and drink; I divided the interior into ...
     compartments.[BG] I saw to the chinks and filled them; I poured
     bitumen over its outer side and over its inner side. All that I
     possessed I brought together and stowed it in the ship; all
     that I had of gold, of silver, of the seed of life of every
     kind; all my men-servants and my women-servants, the cattle of
     the field, the wild beasts of the field, and also my nearest
     friends. Then, when Shamash brought round the appointed time, a
     voice spoke to me:--'This evening the heavens will rain
     destruction, wherefore go thou into the ship and close thy
     door. The appointed time has come,' spoke the voice, 'this
     evening the heavens will rain destruction.' And greatly I
     feared the sunset of that day, the day on which I was to begin
     my voyage. I was sore afraid. Yet I entered into the ship and
     closed the door behind me, to shut off the ship. And I confided
     the great ship to the pilot, with all its freight.--Then a
     great black cloud rises from the depths of the heavens, and
     Ramân thunders in the midst of it, while Nebo and Nergal
     encounter each other, and the Throne-bearers walk over
     mountains and vales. The mighty god of Pestilence lets loose
     the whirlwinds; Ninîb unceasingly makes the canals to
     overflow; the Anunnaki bring up floods from the depths of the
     earth, which quakes at their violence. Ramân's mass of waters
     rises even to heaven; light is changed into darkness. Confusion
     and devastation fills the earth. Brother looks not after
     brother, men have no thought for one another. In the heavens
     the very gods are afraid; they seek a refuge in the highest
     heaven of Anu; as a dog in its lair, the gods crouch by the
     railing of heaven. Ishtar cries aloud with sorrow: 'Behold, all
     is turned into mud, as I foretold to the gods! I prophesied
     this disaster and the extermination of my creatures--men. But I
     do not give them birth that they may fill the sea like the
     brood of fishes.' Then the gods wept with her and sat lamenting
     on one spot. For six days and seven nights wind, flood and
     storm reigned supreme; but at dawn of the seventh day the
     tempest decreased, the waters, which had battled like a mighty
     host, abated their violence; the sea retired, and storm and
     flood both ceased. I steered about the sea, lamenting that the
     homesteads of men were changed into mud. The corpses drifted
     about like logs. I opened a port-hole, and when the light of
     day fell on my face I shivered and sat down and wept. I steered
     over the countries which now were a terrible sea. Then a piece
     of land rose out of the waters. The ship steered towards the
     land Nizir. The mountain of the land Nizir held fast the ship
     and did not let it go. Thus it was on the first and on the
     second day, on the third and the fourth, also on the fifth and
     sixth days. At dawn of the seventh day I took out a dove and
     sent it forth. The dove went forth to and fro, but found no
     resting-place and returned. Then I took out a swallow and sent
     it forth. The swallow went forth, to and fro, but found no
     resting-place and returned. Then I took out a raven and sent it
     forth. The raven went forth, and when it saw that the waters
     had abated, it came near again, cautiously wading through the
     water, but did not return. Then I let out all the animals, to
     the four winds of heaven, and offered a sacrifice. I raised an
     altar on the highest summit of the mountain, placed the sacred
     vessels on it seven by seven, and spread reeds, cedar-wood and
     sweet herbs under them. The gods smelled a savor; the gods
     smelled a sweet savor; like flies they swarmed around the
     sacrifice. And when the goddess Ishtar came, she spread out on
     high the great bows of her father Anu:--'By the necklace of my
     neck,' she said, 'I shall be mindful of these days, never shall
     I lose the memory of them! May all the gods come to the altar;
     Bel alone shall not come, for that he controlled not his wrath,
     and brought on the deluge, and gave up my men to destruction.'
     When after that Bel came nigh and saw the ship, he was
     perplexed, and his heart was filled with anger against the gods
     and against the spirits of Heaven:--'Not a soul shall escape,'
     he cried; 'not one man shall come alive out of destruction!'
     Then the god Ninîb opened his lips and spoke, addressing the
     warlike Bel:--'Who but Êa can have done this? Êa knew, and
     informed him of everything.' Then Êa opened his lips and spoke,
     addressing the warlike Bel:--'Thou art the mighty leader of the
     gods: but why hast thou acted thus recklessly and brought on
     this deluge? Let the sinner suffer for his sin and the
     evil-doer for his misdeeds; but to this man be gracious that he
     may not be destroyed, and incline towards him favorably, that
     he may be preserved. And instead of bringing on another deluge,
     let lions and hyenas come and take from the number of men; send
     a famine to unpeople the earth; let the god of Pestilence lay
     men low. I have not imparted to Hâsisadra the decision of the
     great gods: I only sent him a dream, and he understood the
     warning.'--Then Bel came to his senses. He entered the ship,
     took hold of my hand and lifted me up; he also lifted up my
     wife and laid her hand in mine. Then he turned towards us,
     stood between us and spoke this blessing on us:--'Until now
     Hâsisadra was only human: but now he shall be raised to be
     equal with the gods, together with his wife. He shall dwell in
     the distant land, by the mouth of the rivers.' Then they took
     me and translated me to the distant land by the mouth of the

18. Such is the great Chaldean Epic, the discovery of which produced so
profound a sensation, not to say excitement, not only among special
scholars, but in the reading world generally, while the full importance
of it in the history of human culture cannot yet be realized at this
early stage of our historical studies, but will appear more and more
clearly as their course takes us to later nations and other lands. We
will here linger over the poem only long enough to justify and explain
the name given to it in the title of this chapter, of "Mythical Epos."

19. Were the hero Izdubar a purely human person, it would be a matter of
much wonder how the small nucleus of historical fact which the story of
his adventures contains should have become entwined and overgrown with
such a disproportionate quantity of the most extravagant fiction,
oftentimes downright monstrous in its fancifulness. But the story is one
far older than that of any mere human hero and relates to one far
mightier: it is the story of the Sun in his progress through the year,
retracing his career of increasing splendor as the spring advances to
midsummer, the height of his power when he reaches the month represented
in the Zodiac by the sign of the Lion, then the decay of his strength as
he pales and sickens in the autumn, and at last his restoration to youth
and vigor after he has passed the Waters of Death--Winter, the death of
the year, the season of nature's deathlike torpor, out of which the sun
has not strength sufficient to rouse her, until spring comes back and
the circle begins again. An examination of the Accadian calendar,
adopted by the more scientifically inclined Semites, shows that the
names of most of the months and the signs by which they were represented
on the maps of the corresponding constellations of the Zodiac, directly
answer to various incidents of the poem, following, too, in the same
order, which is that of the respective seasons of the year,--which, be
it noted, began with the spring, in the middle of our month of March. If
we compare the calendar months with the tablets of the poem we will find
that they, in almost every case, correspond. As the first tablet is
unfortunately still missing, we cannot judge how far it may have
answered to the name of the first month--"the Altar of Bel." But the
second month, called that of "the Propitious Bull," or the "Friendly
Bull," very well corresponds to the second tablet which ends with
Izdubar's sending for the seer Êabâni, half bull half man, while the
name and sign of the third, "the Twins," clearly alludes to the bond of
friendship concluded between the two heroes, who became inseparable.
Their victory over the tyrant Khumbaba in the fifth tablet is symbolized
by the sign representing the victory of the Lion over the Bull, often
abbreviated into that of the Lion alone, a sign plainly enough
interpreted by the name "Month of Fire," so appropriate to the hottest
and driest of seasons even in moderate climes--July-August. What makes
this interpretation absolutely conclusive is the fact that in the
symbolical imagery of all the poetry of the East, the Lion represents
the principle of heat, of fire. The seventh tablet, containing the
wooing of the hero by the goddess Ishtar, is too plainly reproduced in
the name of the corresponding month, "the Month of the Message of
Ishtar," to need explanation. The sign, too, is that of a woman with a
bow, the usual mode of representing the goddess. The sign of the eighth
month, "the Scorpion," commemorates the gigantic Warders of the Sun,
half men half scorpions, whom Izdubar encounters when he starts on his
journey to the land of the dead. The ninth month is called "the Cloudy,"
surely a meet name for November-December, and in no way inconsistent
with the contents of the ninth tablet, which shows Izdubar navigating
the "Waters of Death." In the tenth month (December-January), the sun
reaches his very lowest point, that of the winter solstice with its
shortest days, whence the name "Month of the Cavern of the Setting Sun,"
and the tenth tablet tells how Izdubar reached the goal of his journey,
the land of the illustrious dead, to which his great ancestor has been
translated. To the eleventh month, "the Month of the Curse of Rain,"
with the sign of the Waterman,--(January-February being in the low lands
of the two rivers the time of the most violent and continuous
rains)--answers the eleventh tablet with the account of the Deluge. The
"Fishes of Êa" accompany the sun in the twelfth month, the last of the
dark season, as he emerges, purified and invigorated, to resume his
triumphant career with the beginning of the new year. From the context
and sequence of the myth, it would appear that the name of the first
month, "the Altar of Bel," must have had something to do with the
reconciliation of the god after the Deluge, from which humanity may be
said to take a new beginning, which would make the name a most
auspicious one for the new year, while the sign--a Ram--might allude to
the animal sacrificed on the altar. Each month being placed under the
protection of some particular deity it is worthy of notice that Anu and
Bel are the patrons of the first month, Êa of the second, (in connection
with the wisdom of Êabâni, who is called "the creature of Êa,") while
Ishtar presides over the sixth, ("Message of Ishtar,") and Ramân, the
god of the atmosphere, of rain and storm and thunder, over the eleventh,
("the Curse of Rain").

20. The solar nature of the adventurous career attributed to the
favorite national hero of Chaldea, now universally admitted, was first
pointed out by Sir Henry Rawlinson: but it was François Lenormant who
followed it out and established it in its details. His conclusions on
the subject are given in such clear and forcible language, that it is a
pleasure to reproduce them:[BH]--"1st. The Chaldeans and Babylonians
had, concerning the twelve months of the year, myths for the most part
belonging to the series of traditions anterior to the separation of the
great races of mankind which descended from the highlands of Pamir,
since we find analogous myths among the pure Semites and other nations.
As early as the time when they dwelt on the plains of the Tigris and
Euphrates, they connected these myths with the different epochs of the
year, not with a view to agricultural occupations, but in connection
with the great periodical phenomena of the atmosphere and the different
stations in the sun's yearly course, as they occurred in that particular
region; hence the signs characterizing the twelve solar mansions in the
Zodiac and the symbolical names given to the months by the Accads.--2d.
It was those myths, strung together in their successive order, which
served as foundation to the epic story of Izdubar, the fiery and solar
hero, and in the poem which was copied at Erech by Asshurbanipal's order
each of them formed the subject of one of the twelve tablets, making up
the number of twelve separate books or chapters answering the twelve
months of the year."--Even though the evidence is apparently so complete
as not to need further confirmation, it is curious to note that the
signs which compose the name of Izdubar convey the meaning "mass of
fire," while Hâsisadra's Accadian name means "the sun of life," "the
morning sun," and his father's name, Ubaratutu, is translated "the glow
of sunset."

21. George Smith indignantly repudiated this mythic interpretation of
the hero's exploits, and claimed for them a strictly historical
character. But we have seen that the two are by no means incompatible,
since history, when handed down through centuries by mere oral
tradition, is liable to many vicissitudes in the telling and retelling,
and people are sure to arrange their favorite and most familiar stories,
the mythical signification of which has long been forgotten, around the
central figure of the heroes they love best, around the most important
but vaguely recollected events in their national life. Hence it came to
pass that identically the same stories, with but slight local
variations, were told of heroes in different nations and countries; for
the stock of original, or, as one may say, primary myths is
comparatively small and the same for all, dating back to a time when
mankind was not yet divided. In the course of ages and migrations it
has been altered, like a rich hereditary robe, to fit and adorn many and
very different persons.

22. One of the prettiest, oldest, and most universally favorite solar
myths is the one which represents the Sun as a divine being, youthful
and of surpassing beauty, beloved by or wedded to an equally powerful
goddess, but meeting a premature death by accident and descending into
the dark land of shades, from which, however, after a time he returns as
glorious and beautiful as before. In this poetical fancy, the land of
shades symbolizes the numb and lifeless period of winter as aptly as the
Waters of Death in the Izdubar Epic, while the seeming death of the
young god answers to the sickening of the hero at that declining season
of the year when the sun's rays lose their vigor and are overcome by the
powers of darkness and cold. The goddess who loves the fair young god,
and mourns him with passionate grief, until her wailings and prayers
recall him from his deathlike trance, is Nature herself, loving,
bountiful, ever productive, but pale, and bare, and powerless in her
widowhood, while the sun-god, the spring of life whence she draws her
very being, lies captive in the bonds of their common foe, grim Winter,
which is but a form of Death itself. Their reunion at the god's
resurrection in spring is the great wedding-feast, the revel and
holiday-time of the world.

23. This simple and perfectly transparent myth has been worked out more
or less elaborately in all the countries of the East, and has found its
way in some form or other into all the nations of the three great white
races--of Japhet, Shem, and Ham--yet here again the precedence in point
of time seems due to the older and more primitive--the Yellow or
Turanian race; for the most ancient, and probably original form of it is
the one which was inherited by the Semitic settlers of Chaldea from
their Shumiro-Accadian predecessors, as shown by the Accadian name of
the young solar god, DUMUZI, "the unfortunate husband of the goddess
Ishtar," as he is called in the sixth tablet of the Izdubar epic. The
name has been translated "Divine Offspring," but in later times lost all
signification, being corrupted into TAMMUZ. In some Accadian hymns he is
invoked as "the Shepherd, the lord Dumuzi, the lover of Ishtar." Well
could a nomadic and pastoral people poetically liken the sun to a
shepherd, whose flocks were the fleecy clouds as they speed across the
vast plains of heaven or the bright, innumerable stars. This comparison,
as pretty as it is natural, kept its hold in all ages and nations on the
popular fancy, which played on it an infinite variety of ingenious
changes, but it is only cuneiform science which has proved that it could
be traced back to the very earliest race whose culture has left its mark
on the world.

24. Of Dumuzi's tragic death no text deciphered until now unfortunately
gives the details. Only the remarkable fragment about the black pine of
Eridhu, "marking the centre of the earth, in the dark forest, into the
heart whereof man hath not penetrated," (see p. 287) tantalizingly ends
with these suggestive words: "Within it Dumuzi...." Scholars have found
reason for conjecturing that this fragment was the beginning of a
mythical narrative recounting Dumuzi's death, which must have been
represented as taking place in that dark and sacred forest of
Eridhu,--probably through the agency of a wild beast sent against him by
a jealous and hostile power, just as the bull created by Anu was sent
against Izdubar.[BI] One thing, however, is sure, that both in the
earlier (Turanian) and in the later (Semitic) calendary of Chaldea,
there was a month set apart in honor and for the festival of Dumuzi. It
was the month of June-July, beginning at the summer solstice, when the
days begin to shorten, and the sun to decline towards its lower winter
point--a retrograde movement, ingeniously indicated by the Zodiacal sign
of that month, the Cancer or Crab. The festival of Dumuzi lasted during
the six first days of the month, with processions and ceremonies bearing
two distinct characters. The worshippers at first assembled in the guise
of mourners, with lamentations and loud wailings, tearing of clothes and
of hair, as though celebrating the young god's funeral, while on the
sixth day his resurrection and reunion to Ishtar was commemorated with
the noisiest, most extravagant demonstrations of rejoicing. This custom
is alluded to in Izdubar's scornful answer to Ishtar's love-message,
when he says to her: "Thou lovedst Dumuzi, _for whom they mourn year
after year_," and was witnessed by the Jews when they were carried
prisoners to Babylon as late as 600 B.C., as expressly mentioned by
Ezekiel, the prophet of the Captivity:--"Then he brought me to the door
of the Lord's house which was towards the north; _and behold, there sat
the women weeping for Tammuz_." (Ezekiel, iii. 14.)

25. A favorite version of Dumuzi's resurrection was that which told how
Ishtar herself followed him into the Lower World, to claim him from
their common foe, and thus yielded herself for a time into the power of
her rival, the dread Queen of the Dead, who held her captive, and would
not have released her but for the direct interference of the great gods.
This was a rich mine of epic material, from which songs and stories must
have flowed plentifully. We are lucky enough to possess a short epic on
the subject, in one tablet, one of the chief gems of the indefatigable
George Smith's discoveries,--a poem of great literary beauty, and nearly
complete to within a few lines of the end, which are badly injured and
scarcely legible. It is known under the name of "THE DESCENT OF ISHTAR,"
as it relates only this one incident of the myth. The opening lines are
unsurpassed for splendid poetry and sombre grandeur in any, even the
most advanced literature.

     26. "Towards the land whence there is no return, towards the
     house of corruption, Ishtar, the daughter of Sin, has turned
     her mind ... towards the dwelling that has an entrance but no
     exit, towards the road that may be travelled but not retraced,
     towards the hall from which the light of day is shut out,
     where hunger feeds on dust and mud, where light is never seen,
     where the shades of the dead dwell in the dark, clothed with
     wings like birds. On the lintel of the gate and in the lock
     dust lies accumulated.--Ishtar, when she reached the land
     whence there is no return, to the keeper of the gate signified
     her command: 'Keeper, open thy gate that I may pass. If thou
     openest not and I may not enter, I will smite the gate, and
     break the lock, I will demolish the threshold and enter by
     force; then will I let loose the dead to return to the earth,
     that they may live and eat again; I will make the risen dead
     more numerous than the living.' The gate-keeper opened his lips
     and spoke:--'Be appeased, O Lady, and let me go and report thy
     name to Allat the Queen.'"

Here follow a few much injured lines, the sense of which could not be
restored in its entirety. The substance is that the gate-keeper
announces to Allat that her sister Ishtar has come for the Water of
Life, which is kept concealed in a distant nook of her dominions, and
Allat is greatly disturbed at the news. But Ishtar announces that she
comes in sorrow, not enmity:--

     "I wish to weep over the heroes who have left their wives. I
     wish to weep over the wives who have been taken from their
     husbands' arms. I wish to weep over the Only Son--(a name of
     Dumuzi)--who has been taken away before his time."

Then Allat commands the keeper to open the gates and take Ishtar through
the sevenfold enclosure, dealing by her as by all who come to those
gates, that is, stripping her of her garments according to ancient

     "The keeper went and opened the gate: 'Enter, O Lady, and may
     the halls of the Land whence there is no return be gladdened by
     thy presence.' At the first gate he bade her enter and laid his
     hand on her; he took the high headdress from her head: 'Why, O
     keeper, takest thou the high headdress from my head?'--'Enter,
     O Lady; such is Allat's command.'"

The same scene is repeated at each of the seven gates; the keeper at
each strips Ishtar of some article of her attire--her earrings, her
necklace, her jewelled girdle, the bracelets on her arms and the bangles
at her ankles, and lastly her long flowing garment. On each occasion the
same words are repeated by both. When Ishtar entered the presence of
Allat, the queen looked at her and taunted her to her face: then Ishtar
could not control her anger and cursed her. Allat turned to her chief
minister Namtar, the god of Pestilence--meet servant of the queen of the
dead!--who is also the god of Fate, and ordered him to lead Ishtar away
and afflict her with sixty dire diseases,--to strike her head and her
heart, and her eyes, her hands and her feet, and all her limbs. So the
goddess was led away and kept in durance and in misery. Meanwhile her
absence was attended with most disastrous consequences to the upper
world. With her, life and love had gone out of it; there were no
marriages any more, no births, either among men or animals; nature was
at a standstill. Great was the commotion among the gods. They sent a
messenger to Êa to expose the state of affairs to him, and, as usual, to
invoke his advice and assistance. Êa, in his fathomless wisdom, revolved
a scheme. He created a phantom, Uddusunamir.

     "'Go,' he said to him; 'towards the Land whence there is no
     return direct thy face; the seven gates of the Arallu will open
     before thee. Allat shall see thee and rejoice at thy coming,
     her heart shall grow calm and her wrath shall vanish. Conjure
     her with the name of the great gods, stiffen thy neck and keep
     thy mind on the Spring of Life. Let the Lady (Ishtar) gain
     access to the Spring of Life and drink of its waters.'--Allat,
     when she heard these things, beat her breast and bit her
     fingers with rage. Consenting, sore against her will, she
     spoke:--'Go, Uddusunamir! May the great jailer place thee in
     durance! May the foulness of the city ditches be thy food, the
     waters of the city sewers thy drink! A dark dungeon be thy
     dwelling, a sharp pole thy seat!'"

Then she ordered Namtar to let Ishtar drink of the Spring of Life and to
bear her from her sight. Namtar fulfilled her command and took the
goddess through the seven enclosures, at each gate restoring to her the
article of her attire that had been taken at her entrance. At the last
gate he said to her:

     "Thou hast paid no ransom to Allat for thy deliverance; so now
     return to Dumuzi, the lover of thy youth; sprinkle over him the
     sacred waters, clothe him in splendid garments, adorn him with

26. The last lines are so badly mutilated that no efforts have as yet
availed to make their sense anything but obscure, and so it must remain,
unless new copies come to light. Yet so much is, at all events, evident,
that they bore on the reunion of Ishtar and her young lover. The poem is
thus complete in itself; but some think that it was introduced into the
Izdubar epic as an independent episode, after the fashion of the Deluge
narrative, and, if so, it is supposed to have been part of the seventh
tablet. Whether such were really the case or no, matters little in
comparison with the great importance these two poems possess as being
the most ancient presentations, in a finished literary form, of the two
most significant and universal nature-myths--the Solar and the Chthonic
(see p. 272), the poetical fancies in which primitive mankind clothed
the wonders of the heavens and the mystery of the earth, being content
to admire and imagine where it could not comprehend and explain. We
shall be led back continually to these, in very truth, _primary_ myths,
for they not only served as groundwork to much of the most beautiful
poetry of the world but suggested some of its loftiest and most
cherished religious conceptions.

[For a metrical version by Prof. Dyer of the story of
"Ishtar's Descent," see Appendix, p. 367.]


[BC] Paul Haupt, "Der Keilinschriftliche Sündfluthbericht," 1881.

[BD] There are difficulties in the way of reading this name, and
scholars are not sure that this is the right pronunciation of it; but
they retain it, until some new discovery helps to settle the question.

[BE] Translated from the German version of Paul Haupt, "Der
Keilinschriftliche Sündfluthbericht."

[BF] The ninth king in the fabulous list of ten.

[BG] The figures unfortunately obliterated.

[BH] "Les Premières Civilisations," Vol. II., pp. 78 ff.

[BI] A. H. Sayce, "Babylonian Literature," p. 39; Fr. Lenormant, "Il
Mito di Adone-Tammuz," pp. 12-13.



1. In speaking of ancient nations, the words "Religion" and "Mythology"
are generally used indiscriminately and convertibly. Yet the conceptions
they express are essentially and radically different. The broadest
difference, and the one from which all others flow, is that the
one--Religion--is a thing of the feelings, while the other--Mythology--is
a thing of the imagination. In other words, Religion comes from
WITHIN--from that consciousness of limited power, that inborn need of
superior help and guidance, forbearance and forgiveness, from that
longing for absolute goodness and perfection, which make up the
distinctively human attribute of "religiosity," that attribute which,
together with the faculty of articulate speech, sets Man apart from and
above all the rest of animated creation. (See p. 149.) Mythology, on the
other hand, comes wholly from WITHOUT. It embodies impressions received
by the senses from the outer world and transformed by the poetical
faculty into images and stories. (See definition of "Myth" on p. 294.)
Professor Max Müller of Oxford has been the first, in his standard work
"The Science of Language," clearly to define this radical difference
between the two conceptions, which he has never since ceased to sound as
a keynote through the long series of his works devoted to the study of
the religions and mythologies of various nations. A few illustrations
from the one nation with which we have as yet become familiar will help
once for all to establish a thorough understanding on this point, most
essential as it is to the comprehension of the workings of the human mind
and soul throughout the long roll of struggles, errors and triumphs,
achievements and failures which we call the history of mankind.

2. There is no need to repeat here instances of the Shumiro-Accadian and
Chaldean myths; the last three or four chapters have been filled with
them. But the instances of religious feeling, though scattered in the
same field, have to be carefully gleaned out and exhibited, for they
belong to that undercurrent of the soul which pursues its way
unobtrusively and is often apparently lost beneath the brilliant play of
poetical fancies. But it is there nevertheless, and every now and then
forces its way to the surface shining forth with a startling purity and
beauty. When the Accadian poet invokes the Lord "who knows lie from
truth," "who knows the truth that is in the soul of man," who "maketh
lies to vanish," who "turneth wicked plots to a happy issue"--this is
religion, not mythology, for this is not _a story_, it is the expression
of _a feeling_. That "the Lord" whose divine omniscience and goodness
is thus glorified is really the Sun, makes no difference; _that_ is an
error of judgment, a want of knowledge, but the religious feeling is
splendidly manifest in the invocation. But when, in the same hymn, the
Sun is described as "stepping forth from the background of the skies,
pushing back the bolts and opening the gate of the brilliant heaven, and
raising his head above the land," etc., (see p. 172) that is only a very
beautiful, imaginative description of a glorious natural
phenomenon--sunrise; it is magnificent poetry, religious in so far as
the sun is considered as a Being, a Divine Person, the object of an
intensely devout and grateful feeling; still this is not religion, it is
mythology, for it presents a material image to the mind, and one that
can be easily turned into narrative, into _a story_,--which, in fact,
_suggests_ a hero, a king, and a story. Take, again, the so-called
"Penitential Psalms." To the specimen given on p. 178, let us add, for
greater completeness, the following three remarkable fragments:

     I. "God, my creator, take hold of my arms! Direct the breath of
     my mouth, my hands direct, O lord of light."

     II. "Lord, let not thy servant sink! Amidst the tumultuous
     waters take hold of his hand!"

     III. "He who fears not his God, will be cut off even like a
     reed. He who honors not his goddess, his bodily strength will
     waste away; like to a star of heaven, his splendor will pale;
     he will vanish like to the waters of the night."

3. All this is religion, of the purest, loftiest kind; fruitful, too, of
good, the only real test of true religion. The deep humility, the
trustful appeal, the feeling of dependence, the consciousness of
weakness, of sin, and the longing for deliverance from them--these are
all very different from the pompous phrases of empty praise and sterile
admiration; they are things which flow from the heart, not the fancy,
which lighten its weight of sorrow and self-reproach, brighten it with
hope and good resolutions, in short, make it happier and better--what no
mere imaginative poetry, however fine, can do.

4. The radical distinction, then, between religious feeling and the
poetical faculty of mythical creation, is easy to establish and follow
out. On the other hand, the two are so constantly blended, so almost
inextricably interwoven in the sacred poetry of the ancients, in their
views of life and the world, and in their worship, that it is no wonder
they should be so generally confused. The most correct way of putting
the case would be, perhaps, to say that the ancient Religions--meaning
by the word the whole body of sacred poetry and legends as well as the
national forms of worship--were made up originally in about equal parts
of religious feeling and of mythology. In many cases the exuberance of
the imagination gained the upper hand, and there was such a riotous
growth of mythical imagery and stories that the religious feeling was
almost stifled under them. In others, again, the myths themselves
suggested religious ideas of the deepest import and loftiest sublimity.
Such was particularly the case with the solar and Chthonic Myths--the
poetical presentation of the career of the Sun and the Earth--as
connected with the doctrine of the soul's immortality.

5. A curious and significant observation has been made in excavating the
most ancient graves in the world, those of the so-called Mound-builders.
This name is not that of any particular race or nation, but is given
indiscriminately to all those peoples who lived, on any part of the
globe, long before the earliest beginnings of even the remotest times
which have been made historical by preserved monuments or inscriptions
of any kind. All we know of those peoples is that they used to bury
their dead--at least those of special renown or high rank--in deep and
spacious stone-lined chambers dug in the ground, with a similar gallery
leading to them, and covered by a mound of earth, sometimes of gigantic
dimensions--a very hill. Hence the name. Of their life, their degree of
civilization, what they thought and believed, we have no idea except in
so far as the contents of the graves give us some indications. For, like
the later, historical races, of which we find the graves in Chaldea and
every other country of the ancient world, they used to bury along with
the dead a multitude of things: vessels, containing food and drink;
weapons, ornaments, household implements. The greater the power or
renown of the dead man, the fuller and more luxurious his funeral
outfit. It is indeed by no means rare to find the skeleton of a great
chief surrounded by those of several women, and, at a respectful
distance, more skeletons--evidently those of slaves--whose fractured
skulls more than suggest the ghastly custom of killing wives and
servants to do honor to an illustrious dead and to keep him company in
his narrow underground mansion. Nothing but a belief in the continuation
of existence after death could have prompted these practices. For what
was the sense of giving him wives and slaves, and domestic articles of
all kinds, food and weapons, unless it were for his service and use on
his journey to the unknown land where he was to enter on a new stage of
existence, which the survivors could not but imagine to be a
reproduction, in its simple conditions and needs, of the one he was
leaving? There is no race of men, however primitive, however untutored,
in which this belief in immortality is not found deeply rooted,
positive, unquestioning. The _belief_ is implanted in man by the _wish_;
it answers one of the most imperative, unsilenceable longings of human
nature. For, in proportion as life is pleasant and precious, death is
hideous and repellent. The idea of utter destruction, of ceasing to be,
is intolerable to the mind; indeed, the senses revolt against it, the
mind refuses to grasp and admit it. Yet death is very real, and it is
inevitable; and all human beings that come into the world have to learn
to face the thought of it, and the reality too, in others, before they
lie down and accept it for themselves. But what if death be _not_
destruction? If it be but a passage from this into another
world,--distant, unknown and perforce mysterious, but certain
nevertheless, a world on the threshold of which the earthly body is
dropped as an unnecessary garment? Then were death shorn of half its
terrors. Indeed, the only unpleasantness about it would be, for him who
goes, the momentary pang and the uncertainty as to what he is going to;
and, for those who remain, the separation and the loathsome details--the
disfigurement, the corruption. But these are soon gotten over, while the
separation is only for a time; for all must go the same way, and the
late-comers will find, will join their lost ones gone before. Surely it
must be so! It were too horrible if it were not; it _must be_--it _is_!
The process of feeling which arrived at this conclusion and hardened it
into absolute faith, is very plain, and we can easily, each of us,
reproduce it in our own souls, independently of the teachings we receive
from childhood. But the mind is naturally inquiring, and involuntarily
the question presents itself: this solution, so beautiful, so
acceptable, so universal,--but so abstract--what suggested it? What
analogy first led up to it from the material world of the senses? To
this question we find no reply in so many words, for it is one of those
that go to the very roots of our being, and such generally remain
unanswered. But the graves dug by those old Mound-Builders present a
singular feature, which almost seems to point to the answer. The tenant
of the funereal chamber is most frequently found deposited in a
crouching attitude, his back leaning against the stone-lined wall, and
_with his face turned towards the West, in the direction of the setting
sun_.... Here, then, is the suggestion, the analogy! The career of the
sun is very like that of man. His rising in the east is like the birth
of man. During the hours of his power, which we call the Day, he does
his allotted work, of giving light and warmth to the world, now riding
radiant and triumphant across an azure sky, now obscured by clouds,
struggling through mists, or overwhelmed by tempests. How like the
vicissitudes that checker the somewhat greater number of hours--or
days--of which the sum makes up a human life! Then when his appointed
time expires, he sinks down,--lower, lower--and disappears into
darkness,--dies. So does man. What is this night, death? Is it
destruction, or only a rest, or an absence? It is at all events _not_
destruction. For as surely as we see the sun vanish in the west this
evening, feeble and beamless, so surely shall we behold him to-morrow
morning rise again in the east, glorious, vigorous and young. What
happens to him in the interval? Who knows? Perhaps he sleeps, perhaps he
travels through countries we know not of and does other work there; but
one thing is sure: that he is not dead, for he will be up again
to-morrow. Why should not man, whose career so much resembles the sun's
in other respects, resemble him in this? Let the dead, then, be placed
with their faces to the west, in token that theirs is but a setting like
the sun's, to be followed by another rising, a renewed existence, though
in another and unknown world.

6. All this is sheer poetry and mythology. But how great its beauty, how
obvious its hopeful suggestiveness, if it could appeal to the groping
minds of those primitive men, the old Mound-Builders, and there lay the
seed of a faith which has been more and more clung to, as mankind
progressed in spiritual culture! For all the noblest races have
cherished and worked out the myth of the setting sun in the most
manifold ways, as the symbol of the soul's immortality. The poets of
ancient India, some three thousand years ago, made the Sun the leader
and king of the dead, who, as they said, followed where he had gone
first, "showing the way to many." The Egyptians, perhaps the wisest and
most spiritual of all ancient nations, came to make this myth the
keystone of their entire religion, and placed all their burying-places
in the west, amidst or beyond the Libyan ridge of hills behind which the
sun vanished from the eyes of those who dwelt in the valley of the Nile.
The Greeks imagined a happy residence for their bravest and wisest,
which they called the Islands of the Blest, and placed in the furthest
West, amidst the waters of the ocean into which the sun descends for his
nightly rest.

7. But the sun's course is twofold. If it is complete--beginning and
ending--within the given number of hours which makes the day, it is
repeated on a larger scale through the cycle of months which makes the
year. The alternations of youth and age, triumph and decline, power and
feebleness, are there represented and are regularly brought around by
the different seasons. But the moral, the symbol, is still the same as
regards final immortality. For if summer answers to the heyday of noon,
autumn to the milder glow and the extinction of evening, and winter to
the joyless dreariness of night, spring, like the morning, ever brings
back the god, the hero, in the perfect splendor of a glorious
resurrection. It was the solar-year myth with its magnificent
accompaniment of astronomical pageantry, which took the greater hold on
the fancy of the scientifically inclined Chaldeans, and which we find
embodied with such admirable completeness in their great epic. We shall
see, later on, more exclusively imaginative and poetical races showing a
marked preference for the career of the sun as the hero of a day, and
making the several incidents of the solar-day myth the subject of an
infinite variety of stories, brilliant or pathetic, tender or heroic.
But there is in nature another order of phenomena, intimately connected
with and dependent on the phases of the sun, that is, the seasons, yet
very different in their individual character, though pointing the same
way as regards the suggestion of resurrection and immortality--the
phenomena of the Earth and the Seed. These may in a more general way be
described as Nature's productive power paralyzed during the numbed
trance of winter, which is as the sleep of death, when the seed lies in
the ground hid from sight and cold, even as a dead thing, but awaking to
new life in the good time of spring, when the seed, in which life was
never extinct but only dormant, bursts its bonds and breaks into verdant
loveliness and bountiful crops. This is the essence and meaning of the
Chthonic or Earth-myth, as universal as the Sun-myth, but of which
different features have also been unequally developed by different
races according to their individual tendencies. In the Chaldean version,
the "Descent of Ishtar," the particular incident of the seed is quite
wanting, unless the name of Dumuzi's month, "The Boon of the Seed" ("_Le
Bienfait de la Semence._" Lenormant), may be considered as alluding to
it. It is her fair young bridegroom, the beautiful Sun-god, whom the
widowed goddess of Nature mourns and descends to seek among the dead.
This aspect of the myth is almost exclusively developed in the religions
of most Canaanitic and Semitic nations of the East, where we shall meet
with it often and often. And here it may be remarked, without digressing
or anticipating too far, that throughout the ancient world, the Solar
and Chthonic cycles of myths have been the most universal and important,
the very centre and groundwork of many of the ancient mythic religions,
and used as vehicles for more or less sublime religious conceptions,
according to the higher or lower spiritual level of the worshipping

8. It must be confessed that, amidst the nations of Western Asia, this
level was, on the whole, not a very lofty one. Both the Hamitic and
Semitic races were, as a rule, of a naturally sensuous disposition; the
former being, moreover, distinguished by a very decidedly material turn
of mind. The Kushites, of whom a branch perhaps formed an important
portion of the mixed population of Lower Mesopotamia, and especially the
Canaanites, who spread themselves over all the country between the
great rivers and the Western Sea--the Mediterranean--were no exception
to this rule. If their priests--their professed thinkers, the men
trained through generations for intellectual pursuits--had groped their
way to the perception of One Divine Power ruling the world, they kept it
to themselves, or, at least, out of sight, behind a complicated array of
cosmogonic myths, nature-myths, symbols and parables, resulting in
Chaldea in the highly artificial system which has been sketched
above--(see Chapters V. and VI.)--a system singularly beautiful and
deeply significant, but of which the mass of the people did not care to
unravel the subtle intricacies, being quite content to accept it entire,
in the most literal spirit, elementary nature-gods, astronomical
abstractions, cosmogonical fables and all--questioning nothing, at peace
in their mind and righteously self-conscious if they sacrificed at the
various time-honored local shrines, and conformed to the prescribed
forms and ceremonies. To these they privately added those innumerable
practices of conjuring and rites of witchcraft, the heirloom of the
older lords of the soil, which we saw the colleges of learned priests
compelled, as strangers and comparative newcomers, to tolerate and even
sanction by giving them a place, though an inferior one, in their own
nobler system (see p. 250). Thus it was that, if a glimmer of Truth did
feebly illumine the sanctuary and its immediate ministers, the people at
large dwelt in the outer darkness of hopeless polytheism and, worse
still, of idolatry. For, in bowing before the altars of their temples
and the images in wood, stone or metal in which art strove to express
what the sacred writings taught, the unlearned worshippers did not stop
to consider that these were but pieces of human workmanship, deriving
their sacredness solely from the subjects they treated and the place
they adorned, nor did they strive to keep their thoughts intent on the
invisible Beings represented by the images. It was so much simpler,
easier and more comfortable to address their adoration to what was
visible and near, to the shapes that were so closely within reach of
their senses, that seemed so directly to receive their offerings and
prayers, that became so dearly familiar from long associations. The bulk
of the Chaldean nation for a long time remained Turanian, and the
materialistic grossness of the original Shumiro-Accadian religion
greatly fostered its idolatrous tendencies. The old belief in the
talismanic virtues of all images (see p. 162) continued to assert
itself, and was easily transferred to those representing the divinities
of the later and more elaborate worship. Some portion of the divine
substance or spirit was supposed somehow to pass into the material
representation and reside therein. This is very clear from the way in
which the inscriptions speak of the statues of gods, as though they were
persons. Thus the famous cylinder of the Assyrian conqueror
Asshurbanipal tells how he brought back "the goddess Nana," (i.e., her
statue) who at the time of the great Elamite invasion, "had gone and
dwelt in Elam, a place not appointed for her," and now spoke to him the
king, saying: "From the midst of Elam bring me out and cause me to
enter into Bitanna"--her own old sanctuary at Erech, "which she had
delighted in." Then again the Assyrian conquerors take especial pride in
carrying off with them the statues of the gods of the nations they
subdue, and never fail to record the fact in these words: "I carried
away _their gods_," beyond a doubt with the idea that, in so doing, they
put it out of their enemies' power to procure the assistance of their
divine protectors.

9. In the population of Chaldea the Semitic element was strongly
represented. It is probable that tribes of Semites came into the country
at intervals, in successive bands, and for a long time wandered
unhindered with their flocks, then gradually amalgamated with the
settlers they found in possession, and whose culture they adopted, or
else formed separate settlements of their own, not even then, however,
quite losing their pastoral habits. Thus the Hebrew tribe, when it left
Ur under Terah and Abraham (see page 121), seems to have resumed its
nomadic life with the greatest willingness and ease, after dwelling a
long time in or near that popular city, the principal capital of Shumir,
the then dominant South. Whether this tribe were driven out of Ur, as
some will have it,[BJ] or left of their own accord, it is perhaps not
too bold to conjecture that the causes of their departure were partly
connected with religious motives. For, alone among the Chaldeans and all
the surrounding nations, this handful of Semites had disentangled the
conception of monotheism from the obscuring wealth of Chaldean
mythology, and had grasped it firmly. At least their leaders and elders,
the patriarchs, had arrived at the conviction that the One living God
was He whom they called "the Lord," and they strove to inspire their
people with the same faith, and to detach them from the mythical
beliefs, the idolatrous practices which they had adopted from those
among whom they lived, and to which they clung with the tenacity of
spiritual blindness and long habit. The later Hebrews themselves kept a
clear remembrance of their ancestors having been heathen polytheists,
and their own historians, writing more than a thousand years after
Abraham's times, distinctly state the fact. In a long exhortation to the
assembled tribes of Israel, which they put in the mouth of Joshua, the
successor of Moses, they make him say:--"Your fathers dwelt on the other
side of the flood" (i.e., the Euphrates, or perhaps the Jordan) "in old
time, even Terah, the father of Abraham and the father of Nachor, _and
they served other gods_." And further on: "... Put away _the gods which
your fathers served on the other side of the flood_ and in Egypt, and
serve ye the Lord.... Choose you this day whom you will serve, whether
the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the
flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell; as for me
and my house, we will serve the Lord." (Joshua, xxiv. 2, 14, 15.) What
more probable than that the patriarchs, Terah and Abraham, should have
led their people out of the midst of the Chaldeans, away from their
great capital Ur, which held some of the oldest and most renowned
Chaldean sanctuaries, and forth into the wilderness, partly with the
object of removing them from corrupting associations. At all events that
branch of the Hebrew tribe which remained in Mesopotamia with Nahor,
Abraham's brother (see Gen. xxiv. xxix. and ff.), continued heathen and
idolatrous, as we see from the detailed narrative in Genesis xxxi., of
how Rachel "had stolen _the images that were her father's_" (xxxi. 19),
when Jacob fled from Laban's house with his family, his cattle and all
his goods. No doubt as to the value and meaning attached to these
"images" is left when we see Laban, after having overtaken the
fugitives, reprove Jacob in these words:--"And now, though thou wouldst
needs be gone, because thou sore longedst for thy father's house, yet
wherefore hast thou stolen _my gods_?" (xxxi. 30), to which Jacob, who
knows nothing of Rachel's theft, replies:--"With whomsoever _thou
findest thy gods_, let him not live" (xxxi. 32). But "Rachel had taken
the images and put them in the camel's furniture, and sat upon them. And
Laban searched all the tent, but found them not" (xxxi. 34). Now what
could have induced Rachel to commit so dishonorable and, moreover,
dangerous an action, but the idea that, in carrying away these images,
her family's household "gods," she would insure a blessing and
prosperity to herself and her house? That by so doing, she would,
according to the heathens' notion, rob her father and old home of what
she wished to secure herself (see page 344), does not seem to have
disturbed her. It is clear from this that, even after she was wedded to
Jacob the monotheist, she remained a heathen and idolater, though she
concealed the fact from him.

10. On the other hand, wholesale emigration was not sufficient to remove
the evil. Had it indeed been a wilderness, unsettled in all its extent,
into which the patriarchs led forth their people, they might have
succeeded in weaning them completely from the old influences. But,
scattered over it and already in possession, were numerous Canaanite
tribes, wealthy and powerful under their chiefs--Amorites, and Hivites,
and Hittites, and many more. In the pithy and picturesque Biblical
language, "the Canaanite was in the land" (Genesis, xii. 6), and the
Hebrews constantly came into contact with them, indeed were dependent on
their tolerance and large hospitality for the freedom with which they
were suffered to enjoy the pastures of "the land wherein they were
strangers," as the vast region over which they ranged is frequently and
pointedly called. Being but a handful of men, they had to be cautious in
their dealings and to keep on good terms with the people among whom they
were brought. "I am a stranger and a sojourner with you," admits
Abraham, "bowing himself down before the people of the land," (a tribe
of Hittites near Hebron, west of the Dead Sea), when he offers to buy of
them a field, there to institute a family burying-place for himself and
his race; for he had no legal right to any of the land, not so much as
would yield a sepulchre to his dead, even though the "children of Heth"
treat him with high honor, and, in speaking to him, say, "My lord," and
"thou art a mighty prince among us" (Genesis, xxiii.). This transaction,
conducted on both sides in a spirit of great courtesy and liberality, is
not the only instance of the friendliness with which the Canaanite
owners of the soil regarded the strangers, both in Abraham's lifetime
and long after his death. His grandson, the patriarch Jacob, and his
sons find the same tolerance among the Hivites of Shalem, who thus
commune among themselves concerning them:--"These men are peaceable with
us; therefore let them dwell in the land and trade therein; for the
land, behold it is large enough for them; let us take their daughters
for wives, and let us give them our daughters." And the Hivite prince
speaks in this sense to the Hebrew chief:--"The soul of my son longeth
for your daughter: I pray you, give her him to wife. And make ye
marriages with us, and give your daughters unto us and take our
daughters unto you. And ye shall dwell with us, and the land shall be
before you; dwell and trade ye therein, and get you possessions

11. But this question of intermarriage was always a most grievous one;
the question of all others at which the Hebrew leaders strictly drew the
line of intercourse and good-fellowship; the more stubbornly that their
people were naturally much inclined to such unions, since they came and
went freely among their hosts, and their daughters went out, unhindered,
"to see the daughters of the land." Now all the race of Canaan followed
religions very similar to that of Chaldea, only grosser still in their
details and forms of worship. Therefore, that the old idolatrous habits
might not return strongly upon them under the influence of a heathen
household, the patriarchs forbade marriage with the women of the
countries through which they passed and repassed with their tents and
flocks, and themselves abstained from it. Thus we see Abraham sending
his steward all the way back to Mesopotamia to seek a wife for his son
Isaac from among his own kinsfolk who had stayed there with his brother
Nahor, and makes the old servant solemnly swear "by the Lord, the God of
heaven and the God of earth": "Thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of
the daughters of the Canaanites among whom I dwell." And when Esau,
Isaac's son, took two wives from among the Hittite women, it is
expressly said that they were "a grief of mind unto Isaac and Rebekah;"
and Isaac's most solemn charge to his other son, Jacob, as he sends him
from him with his blessing, is: "Thou shalt not take a wife of the
daughters of Canaan." Whithersoever the Hebrews came in the course of
their long wanderings, which lasted many centuries, the same twofold
prohibition was laid on them: of marrying with native women--"for
surely," they are told, "they will turn away your heart after their
gods," and of following idolatrous religions, a prohibition enforced by
the severest penalties, even to that of death. But nothing could keep
them long from breaking the law in both respects. The very frequency
and emphasis with which the command is repeated, the violence of the
denunciations against offenders, the terrible punishments threatened and
often actually inflicted, sufficiently show how imperfectly and
unwillingly it was obeyed. Indeed the entire Old Testament is one
continuous illustration of the unslackening zeal with which the wise and
enlightened men of Israel--its lawgivers, leaders, priests and
prophets--pursued their arduous and often almost hopeless task, of
keeping their people pure from worships and practices which to them, who
had realized the fallacy of a belief in many gods, were the most
pernicious abominations. In this spirit and to this end they preached,
they fought, they promised, threatened, punished, and in this spirit, in
later ages, they wrote.

12. It is not until a nation is well established and enjoys a certain
measure of prosperity, security and the leisure which accompanies them,
that it begins to collect its own traditions and memories and set them
down in order, into a continuous narrative. So it was with the Hebrews.
The small tribe became a nation, which ceased from its wanderings and
conquered for itself a permanent place on the face of the earth. But to
do this took many hundred years, years of memorable adventures and
vicissitudes, so that the materials which accumulated for the future
historians, in stories, traditions, songs, were ample and varied. Much,
too, must have been written down at a comparatively early period. _How_
early must remain uncertain, since there is unfortunately nothing to
show at what time the Hebrews learned the art of writing and their
characters thought, like other alphabets, to be borrowed from those of
the Phoenicians. However that may be, one thing is sure: that the
different books which compose the body of the Hebrew Sacred Scriptures,
which we call "the Old Testament," were collected from several and
different sources, and put into the shape in which they have descended
to us at a very late period, some almost as late as the birth of Christ.
The first book of all, that of Genesis, describing the beginnings of the
Jewish people,--("_Genesis_" is a Greek word, which means
"Origin")--belongs at all events to a somewhat earlier date. It is put
together mainly of two narratives, distinct and often different in point
of spirit and even fact. The later compiler who had both sources before
him to work into a final form, looked on both with too much respect to
alter either, and generally contented himself with giving them side by
side, (as in the story of Hagar, which is told twice and differently, in
Chap. XVI. and Chap. XXI.), or intermixing them throughout, so that it
takes much attention and pains to separate them, (as in the story of the
Flood, Chap. VI.-VIII.). This latter story is almost identical with the
Chaldean Deluge-legend included in the great Izdubar epic, of which it
forms the eleventh tablet. (See Chap. VII.) Indeed, every child can see,
by comparing the Chaldean cosmogonic and mythical legends with the first
chapters of the Book of Genesis, those which relate to the beginnings
not so much of the Hebrew people as of the human race and the world in
general, that both must originally have flowed from one and the same
spring of tradition and priestly lore. The resemblances are too staring,
close, continuous, not to exclude all rational surmises as to casual
coincidences. The differences are such as most strikingly illustrate the
transformation which the same material can undergo when treated by two
races of different moral standards and spiritual tendencies. Let us
briefly examine both, side by side.

13. To begin with the Creation. The description of the primeval chaos--a
waste of waters, from which "the darkness was not lifted," (see p.
261)--answers very well to that in Genesis, i. 2: "And the earth was
without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep." The
establishment of the heavenly bodies and the creation of the animals
also correspond remarkably in both accounts, and even come in the same
order (see p. 264, and Genesis, i. 14-22). The famous cylinder of the
British Museum (see No. 62, p. 266) is strong presumption in favor of
the identity of the Chaldean version of the first couple's disobedience
with the Biblical one. We have seen the important position occupied in
the Chaldean religion by the symbol of the Sacred Tree, which surely
corresponds to the Tree of Life in Eden (see p. 268), and probably also
to that of Knowledge, and the different passages and names ingeniously
collected and confronted by scholars leave no doubt as to the Chaldeans
having had the legend of an Eden, a garden of God (see p. 274). A better
preserved copy of the Creation tablets with the now missing passages may
be recovered any day, and there is no reason to doubt that they will be
found as closely parallel to the Biblical narrative as those that have
been recovered until now. But even as we have them at present it is very
evident that the groundwork, the material, is the same in both. It is
the manner, the spirit, which differs. In the Chaldean account,
polytheism runs riot. Every element, every power of nature--Heaven,
Earth, the Abyss, Atmosphere, etc.--has been personified into an
individual divine being actively and severely engaged in the great work.
The Hebrew narrative is severely monotheistic. In it GOD does all that
"the gods" between them do in the other. Every poetical or allegorical
turn of phrase is carefully avoided, lest it lead into the evil errors
of the sister-nation. The symbolical myths--such as that of Bel's mixing
his own blood with the clay out of which he fashions man,(see p.
266)--are sternly discarded, for the same reason. One only is retained:
the temptation by the Serpent. But the Serpent being manifestly the
personification of the Evil Principle which is forever busy in the soul
of man, there was no danger of its being deified and worshipped; and as,
moreover, the tale told in this manner very picturesquely and strikingly
points a great moral lesson, the Oriental love of parable and allegory
could in this instance be allowed free scope. Besides, the Hebrew
writers of the sacred books were not beyond or above the superstitions
of their country and age; indeed they retained all of these that did not
appear to them incompatible with monotheism. Thus throughout the Books
of the Old Testament the Chaldean belief in witchcraft, divination from
dreams and other signs is retained and openly professed, and astrology
itself is not condemned, since among the destinations of the stars is
mentioned that of serving to men "for signs": "And God said, let there
be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the
night; and let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and
years" (Genesis, i. 14). Even more explicit is the passage in the
triumphal song of Deborah the prophetess, where celebrating the victory
of Israel over Sisera, she says: "They fought from heaven: the stars in
their courses fought against Sisera" (Judges, v. 20). But a belief in
astrology by no means implies the admission of several gods. In one or
two passages, indeed, we do find an expression which seems to have
slipped in unawares, as an involuntary reminiscence of an original
polytheism; it is where God, communing with himself on Adam's trespass,
says: "Behold, the man is become _as one of us_, to know good and evil"
(Gen. iii. 22). An even clearer trace confronts us in one of the two
names that are given to God. These names are "Jehovah," (more correctly
"Yahveh") and "Elohim." Now the latter name is the plural of _El_,
"god," and so really means "the gods." If the sacred writers retained
it, it was certainly not from carelessness or inadvertence. As they use
it, it becomes in itself almost a profession of faith. It seems to
proclaim the God of their religion as "the One God who is all the
gods," in whom all the forces of the universe are contained and merged.

14. There is one feature in the Biblical narrative, which, at first
sight, wears the appearance of mythical treatment: it is the familiar
way in which God is represented as coming and going, speaking and
acting, after the manner of men, especially in such passages as these:
"And they heard the voice of the Lord God _walking in the garden in the
cool of the day_" (Gen. iii. 8); or, "Unto Adam also and to his wife did
the Lord God _make coats of skins and he clothed them_" (Gen. iii. 21).
But such a judgment would be a serious error. There is nothing mythical
in this; only the tendency, common to all mankind, of endowing the Deity
with human attributes of form, speech and action, whenever the attempt
was made to bring it very closely within the reach of their imagination.
This tendency is so universal, that it has been classed, under a special
name, among the distinctive features of the human mind. It has been
called ANTHROPOMORPHISM, (from two Greek words _Anthropos_, "man," and
_morphê_, "form,") and can never be got rid of, because it is part and
parcel of our very nature. Man's spiritual longings are infinite, his
perceptive faculties are limited. His spirit has wings of flame that
would lift him up and bear him even beyond the endlessness of space into
pure abstraction; his senses have soles of lead that ever weigh him
down, back to the earth, of which he is and to which he must needs
cling, to exist at all. He can _conceive_, by a great effort, an
abstract idea, eluding the grasp of senses, unclothed in matter; but he
can _realize_, _imagine_, only by using such appliances as the senses
supply him with. Therefore, the more fervently he grasps an idea, the
more closely he assimilates it, the more it becomes materialized in his
grasp, and when he attempts to reproduce it out of himself--behold! it
has assumed the likeness of himself or something he has seen, heard,
touched--the spirituality of it has become weighted with flesh, even as
it is in himself. It is as it were a reproduction, in the intellectual
world, of the eternal strife, in physical nature, between the two
opposed forces of attraction and repulsion, the centrifugal and
centripetal, of which the final result is to keep each body in its
place, with a well-defined and limited range of motion allotted to it.
Thus, however pure and spiritual the conception of the Deity may be,
man, in making it real to himself, in bringing it down within his reach
and ken, within the shrine of his heart, _will_, and _must_ perforce
make of it a Being, human not only in shape, but also in thought and
feeling. How otherwise could he grasp it at all? And the accessories
with which he will surround it will necessarily be suggested by his own
experience, copied from those among which he moves habitually himself.
"Walking in the garden in the cool of the day" is an essentially
Oriental and Southern recreation, and came quite naturally to the mind
of a writer living in a land steeped in sunshine and sultriness. Had the
writer been a Northerner, a denizen of snow-clad plains and ice-bound
rivers, the Lord might probably have been represented as coming in a
swift, fur-lined sleigh. Anthropomorphism, then, is in itself neither
mythology nor idolatry; but it is very clear that it can with the utmost
ease glide into either or both, with just a little help from poetry and,
especially, from art, in its innocent endeavor to fix in tangible form
the vague imaginings and gropings, of which words often are but a
fleeting and feeble rendering. Hence the banishment of all material
symbols, the absolute prohibition of any images whatever as an accessory
of religious worship, which, next to the recognition of One only God, is
the keystone of the Hebrew law:--"Thou shalt have no other gods before
me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of
anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or
that is in the water under the earth.--Thou shalt not bow down thyself
to them, nor serve them" (Exodus, xx. 3-5).

But, to continue our parallel.

15. The ten antediluvian kings of Berosus, who succeed the apparition of
the divine Man-Fish, Êa-Oannes (see p. 196), have their exact
counterpart in the ten antediluvian patriarchs of Genesis, v. Like the
Chaldean kings, the patriarchs live an unnatural number of years. Only
the extravagant figures of the Chaldean tradition are considerably
reduced in the Hebrew version. While the former allots to its kings
reigns of tens of thousands of years (see p. 196); the latter cuts them
down to hundreds, and the utmost that it allows to any of its
patriarchs is nine hundred and sixty-nine years of life (Methuselah).

16. The resemblances between the two Deluge narratives are so obvious
and continuous, that it is not these, but the differences that need
pointing out. Here again the sober, severely monotheistic character of
the Hebrew narrative contrasts most strikingly with the exuberant
polytheism of the Chaldean one, in which Heaven, Sun, Storm, Sea, even
Rain are personified, deified, and consistently act their several
appropriate and most dramatic parts in the great cataclysm, while Nature
herself, as the Great Mother of beings and fosterer of life, is
represented, in the person of Ishtar, lamenting the slaughter of men
(see p. 327). Apart from this fundamental difference in spirit, the
identity in all the essential points of fact is amazing, and variations
occur only in lesser details. The most characteristic one is that, while
the Chaldean version describes the building and furnishing of a _ship_,
with all the accuracy of much seafaring knowledge, and does not forget
even to name the pilot, the Hebrew writer, with the clumsiness and
ignorance of nautical matters natural to an inland people unfamiliar
with the sea or the appearance of ships, speaks only of an _ark_ or
_chest_. The greatest discrepancy is in the duration of the flood, which
is much shorter in the Chaldean text than in the Hebrew. On the seventh
day already, Hâsisadra sends out the dove (see p. 316). But then in the
Biblical narrative itself, made up, as was remarked above, of two
parallel texts joined together, this same point is given differently in
different places. According to Genesis, vii. 12, "the rain was upon the
earth forty days and forty nights," while verse 24 of the same chapter
tells us that "the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty
days." Again, the number of the saved is far larger in the Chaldean
account: Hâsisadra takes with him into the ship all his men-servants,
his women-servants, and even his "nearest friends," while Noah is
allowed to save only his own immediate family, "his sons, and his wife,
and his sons' wives" (Genesis, vi. 18). Then, the incident of the birds
is differently told: Hâsisadra sends out three birds, the dove, the
swallow, and the raven; Noah only two--first the raven, then three times
in succession the dove. But it is startling to find both narratives more
than once using the same words. Thus the Hebrew writer tells how Noah
"sent forth a raven, which went to and fro," and how "the dove found no
rest for the sole of her foot and returned." Hâsisadra relates: "I took
out a dove and sent it forth. The dove went forth, to and fro, but found
no resting-place and returned." And further, when Hâsisadra describes
the sacrifice he offered on the top of Mount Nizir, after he came forth
from the ship, he says: "The gods smelled a savor; the gods smelled a
sweet savor." "And the Lord smelled a sweet savor," says Genesis,--viii.
21--of Noah's burnt-offering. These few hints must suffice to show how
instructive and entertaining is a parallel study of the two narratives;
it can be best done by attentively reading both alternately, and
comparing them together, paragraph by paragraph.

17. The legend of the Tower of Languages (see above, p. 293, and
Genesis, xi. 3-9), is the last in the series of parallel Chaldean and
Hebrew traditions. In the Bible it is immediately followed by the
detailed genealogy of the Hebrews from Shem to Abraham. Therewith
evidently ends the connection between the two people, who are severed
for all time from the moment that Abraham goes forth with his tribe from
Ur of the Chaldees, probably in the reign of Amarpal (father of
Hammurabi), whom the Bible calls Amraphel, king of Shineâr. The reign of
Hammurabi was, as we have already seen (see p. 219), a prosperous and
brilliant one. He was originally king of Tintir (the oldest name of
Babylon), and when he united all the cities and local rulers of Chaldea
under his supremacy, he assorted the pre-eminence among them for his own
city, which he began to call by its new name, KA-DIMIRRA (Accadian for
"Gate of God," which was translated into the Semitic BAB-IL). This king
in every respect opens a new chapter in the history of Chaldea.
Moreover, a great movement was taking place in all the region between
the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf; nations were forming and
growing, and Chaldea's most formidable rival and future conqueror,
Assyria, was gradually gathering strength in the north, a fierce young
lion-cub. By this newcomer among nations our attention will henceforth
mainly be claimed. Let us, therefore, pause on the high place to which
we have now arrived, and, casting a glance backward, take a rapid survey
of the ground we have covered.

18. Looking with strained eyes into a past dim and gray with the
scarce-lifting mists of unnumbered ages, we behold our starting-point,
the low land by the Gulf, Shumir, taking shape and color under the rule
of Turanian settlers, the oldest known nation in the world. They drain
and till the land, they make bricks and build cities, and prosper
materially. But the spirit in them is dark and lives in cowering terror
of self-created demons and evil things, which they yet believe they can
control and compel. So their religion is one, not of worship and
thanksgiving, but of dire conjuring and incantation, inconceivable
superstition and witchcraft, an unutterable dreariness hardly lightened
by the glimmering of a nobler faith, in the conception of the wise and
beneficent Êa and his ever benevolently busy son, Meridug. But gradually
there comes a change. Shumir lifts its gaze upward, and as it takes in
more the beauty and the goodness of the world--in Sun and Moon and
Stars, in the wholesome Waters and the purifying serviceable Fire, the
good and divine Powers--the Gods multiply and the host of elementary
spirits, mostly evil, becomes secondary. This change is greatly helped
by the arrival of the meditative, star-gazing strangers, who take hold
of the nature-worship and the nature-myths they find among the people to
which they have come--a higher and more advanced race--and weave these,
with their own star-worship and astrological lore, into a new faith, a
religious system most ingeniously combined, elaborately harmonized, and
full of profoundest meaning. The new religion is preached not only in
words, but in brick and stone: temples arise all over the land, erected
by the _patesis_--the priest-kings of the different cities--and
libraries in which the priestly colleges reverently treasure both their
own works and the older religious lore of the country. The ancient
Turanian names of the gods are gradually translated into the new
Cushito-Semitic language; yet the prayers and hymns, as well as the
incantations, are still preserved in the original tongue, for the people
of Turanian Shumir are the more numerous, and must be ruled and
conciliated, not alienated. The more northern region, Accad, is, indeed,
more thinly peopled; there the tribes of Semites, who now arrive in
frequent instalments, spread rapidly and unhindered. The cities of Accad
with their temples soon rival those of Shumir and strive to eclipse
them, and their _patesis_ labor to predominate politically over those of
the South. And it is with the North that the victory at first remains;
its pre-eminence is asserted in the time of Sharrukin of Agadê, about
3800 B.C., but is resumed by the South some thousand years later, when a
powerful dynasty (that to which belong Ur-êa and his son Dungi)
establishes itself in Ur, while Tintir, the future head and centre of
the united land of Chaldea, the great Babylon, if existing at all, is
not yet heard of. It is these kings of Ur who first take the
significant title "kings of Shumir and Accad." Meanwhile new and higher
moral influences have been at work; the Semitic immigration has
quickened the half mythical, half astronomical religion with a more
spiritual element--of fervent adoration, of prayerful trust, of
passionate contrition and self-humiliation in the bitter consciousness
of sin, hitherto foreign to it, and has produced a new and beautiful
religious literature, which marks its third and last stage. To this
stage belong the often mentioned "Penitential Psalms," Semitic, nay,
rather Hebrew in spirit, although still written in the old Turanian
language (but in the northern dialect of Accad, a fact that in itself
bears witness to their comparative lateness and the locality in which
they sprang up), and too strikingly identical with similar songs of the
golden age of Hebrew poetry in substance and form, not to have been the
models from which the latter, by a sort of unconscious heredity, drew
its inspirations. Then comes the great Elamitic invasion, with its
plundering of cities, desecration of temples and sanctuaries, followed
probably by several more through a period of at least three hundred
years. The last, that of Khudur Lagamar, since it brings prominently
forward the founder of the Hebrew nation, deserves to be particularly
mentioned by that nation's historians, and, inasmuch as it coincides
with the reign of Amarpal, king of Tintir and father of Hammurabi,
serves to establish an important landmark in the history both of the
Jews and of Chaldea. When we reach this comparatively recent date the
mists have in great part rolled aside, and as we turn from the ages we
have just surveyed to those that still lie before us, history guides us
with a bolder step and shows us the landscape in a twilight which,
though still dim and sometimes misleading, is yet that of breaking day,
not of descending night.

19. When we attempt to realize the prodigious vastness and remoteness of
the horizon thus opened before us, a feeling akin to awe overcomes us.
Until within a very few years, Egypt gloried in the undisputed boast of
being the oldest country in the world, i.e., of reaching back, by its
annals and monuments, to an earlier date than any other. But the
discoveries that are continually being made in the valley of the two
great rivers have forever silenced that boast. Chaldea points to a
monumentally recorded date nearly 4000 B.C. This is more than Egypt can
do. Her oldest authentic monuments,--her great Pyramids, are
considerably later. Mr. F. Hommel, one of the leaders of Assyriology,
forcibly expresses this feeling of wonder in a recent publication:[BK]
"If," he says, "the Semites were already settled in Northern Babylonia
(Accad) in the beginning of the fourth thousand B.C., in possession of
the fully developed Shumiro-Accadian culture adopted by them,--a
culture, moreover, which appears to have sprouted in Accad as a cutting
from Shumir--then the latter must naturally be far, far older still,
and have existed in its completed form IN THE FIFTH THOUSAND B.C.--an
age to which I now unhesitatingly ascribe the South-Babylonian
incantations." This would give our mental vision a sweep of full six
thousand years, a pretty respectable figure! But when we remember that
these first known settlers of Shumir came from somewhere else, and that
they brought with them more than the rudiments of civilization, we are
at once thrown back at least a couple of thousands of years more. For it
must have taken all of that and more for men to pass from a life spent
in caves and hunting the wild beasts to a stage of culture comprising
the invention of a complete system of writing, the knowledge and working
of metals, even to the mixing of copper and tin into bronze, and an
expertness in agriculture equal not only to tilling, but to draining
land. If we further pursue humanity--losing at last all count of time in
years or even centuries--back to its original separation, to its first
appearance on the earth,--if we go further still and try to think of the
ages upon ages during which man existed not at all, yet the earth did,
and was beautiful to look upon--(_had_ there been any to look on it),
and good for the creatures who had it all to themselves--a dizziness
comes over our senses, before the infinity of time, and we draw back,
faint and awed, as we do when astronomy launches us, on a slender thread
of figures, into the infinity of space. The six ages of a thousand years
each which are all that our mind can firmly grasp then come to seem to
us a very poor and puny fraction of eternity, to which we are tempted
to apply almost scornfully the words spoken by the poet of as many
years: "Six ages! six little ages! six drops of time!"[BL]


[BJ] Maspero, "Histoire Ancienne," p. 173.

[BK] Ztschr. für Keilschriftforschung, "Zur altbabylonischen
Chronologie," Heft I.

[BL] Matthew Arnold, in "Mycerinus":

        "Six years! six little years! six drops of time!"


Professor Louis Dyer has devoted some time to preparing a free metrical
translation of "Ishtar's Descent." Unfortunately, owing to his many
occupations, only the first part of the poem is as yet finished. This he
most kindly has placed at our disposal, authorizing us to present it to
our readers.


    Along the gloomy avenue of death
    To seek the dread abysm of Urugal,
    In everlasting Dark whence none returns,
    Ishtar, the Moon-god's daughter, made resolve,
    And that way, sick with sorrow, turned her face.
      A road leads downward, but no road leads back
    From Darkness' realm. There is Irkalla queen,
    Named also Ninkigal, mother of pains.
    Her portals close forever on her guests
    And exit there is none, but all who enter,
    To daylight strangers, and of joy unknown,
    Within her sunless gates restrained must stay.
    And there the only food vouchsafed is dust,
    For slime they live on, who on earth have died.
    Day's golden beam greets none and darkness reigns
    Where hurtling bat-like forms of feathered men
    Or human-fashioned birds imprisoned flit.
    Close and with dust o'erstrewn, the dungeon doors
    Are held by bolts with gathering mould o'ersealed.
      By love distracted, though the queen of love,
    Pale Ishtar downward flashed toward death's domain,
    And swift approached these gates of Urugal,
    Then paused impatient at its portals grim;
    For love, whose strength no earthly bars restrain,
    Gives not the key to open Darkness' Doors.
    By service from all living men made proud,
    Ishtar brooked not resistance from the dead.
    She called the jailer, then to anger changed
    The love that sped her on her breathless way,
    And from her parted lips incontinent
    Swept speech that made the unyielding warder quail.
      "Quick, turnkey of the pit! swing wide these doors,
    And fling them swiftly open. Tarry not!
    For I will pass, even I will enter in.
    Dare no denial, thou, bar not my way,
    Else will I burst thy bolts and rend thy gates,
    This lintel shatter else and wreck these doors.
    The pent-up dead I else will loose, and lead
    Back the departed to the lands they left,
    Else bid the famished dwellers in the pit
    Rise up to live and eat their fill once more.
    Dead myriads then shall burden groaning earth,
    Sore tasked without them by her living throngs."
      Love's mistress, mastered by strong hate,
    The warder heard, and wondered first, then feared
    The angered goddess Ishtar what she spake,
    Then answering said to Ishtar's wrathful might:
    "O princess, stay thy hand; rend not the door,
    But tarry here, while unto Ninkigal
    I go, and tell thy glorious name to her."


    "All love from earthly life with me departed,
      With me to tarry in the gates of death;
    In heaven's sun no warmth is longer hearted,
      And chilled shall cheerless men now draw slow breath.

    "I left in sadness life which I had given,
      I turned from gladness and I walked with woe,
    Toward living death by grief untimely driven,
      I search for Thammuz whom harsh fate laid low

    "The darkling pathway o'er the restless waters
      Of seven seas that circle Death's domain
    I trod, and followed after earth's sad daughters
      Torn from their loved ones and ne'er seen again.

    "Here must I enter in, here make my dwelling
      With Thammuz in the mansion of the dead,
    Driven to Famine's house by love compelling
      And hunger for the sight of that dear head.

    "O'er husbands will I weep, whom death has taken,
      Whom fate in manhood's strength from life has swept,
    Leaving on earth their living wives forsaken,--
      O'er them with groans shall bitter tears be wept.

    "And I will weep o'er wives, whose short day ended
      Ere in glad offspring joyed their husbands' eyes;
    Snatched from loved arms they left their lords untended,--
      O'er them shall tearful lamentations rise.

    "And I will weep o'er babes who left no brothers,
      Young lives to the ills of age by hope opposed,
    The sons of saddened sires and tearful mothers,
      One moment's life by death eternal closed."


    "Leave thou this presence, slave, open the gate;
    Since power is hers to force an entrance here,
    Let her come in as come from life the dead,
    Submissive to the laws of Death's domain.
    Do unto her what unto all thou doest."

Want of space bids us limit ourselves to these few fragments--surely
sufficient to make our readers wish that Professor Dyer might spare some
time to the completion of his task.



    Abel, killed by Cain, 129.

    Abraham, wealthy and powerful chief, 200;
      goes forth from Ur, 201;
      his victory over Khudur-Lagamar, 222-224.

    Abu-Habba, see Sippar.

    Abu-Shahrein, see Eridhu.

    Accad, Northern or Upper Chaldea, 145;
      meaning of the word, ib.;
      headquarters of Semitism, 204-205.

    Accads, see Shumiro-Accads.

    Accadian language, see Shumiro-Accadian.

    Agadê, capital of Accad, 205.

    Agglutinative languages, meaning of the word, 136-137;
      characteristic of Turanian nations, ib.;
      spoken by the people of Shumir and Accad, 144.

    Agricultural life, third stage of culture, first beginning of real
          civilization, 122.

    Akki, the water-carrier, see Sharrukin of Agadê.

    Alexander of Macedon conquers Babylon, 4;
      his soldiers destroy the dams of the Euphrates, 5.

    Allah, Arabic for "God," see Ilu.

    Allat, queen of the Dead, 327-329.

    Altaï, the great Siberian mountain chain, 146;
      probable cradle of the Turanian race, 147.

    Altaïc, another name for the Turanian or Yellow Race, 147.

    Amarpal, also Sin-Muballit, king of Babylon, perhaps Amraphel, King of
          Shinar, 226.

    Amorite, the, a tribe of Canaan, 133.

    Amraphel, see Amarpal.

    Ana, or Zi-ana--"Heaven," or "Spirit of Heaven," p. 154.

    Anatu, goddess, mother of Ishtar, smites Êabâni with death and Izdubar
          with leprosy, 310.

    Anthropomorphism, meaning of the word, 355;
      definition and causes of, 355-357.

    Anu, first god of the first Babylonian Triad, same as Ana, 240;
      one of the "twelve great gods," 246.

    Anunnaki, minor spirits of earth, 154, 250.

    Anunit (the Moon), wife of Shamash, 245.

    Apsu (the Abyss), 264.

    Arali, or Arallu, the Land of the Dead, 157;
      its connection with the Sacred Mountain, 276.

    Arallu, see Arali.

    Aram, a son of Shem, eponymous ancestor of the Aramæans in Gen.
          x., 131.

    Arabs, their conquest and prosperous rule in Mesopotamia, 5;
      Baghdad, their capital, 5;
      nomads in Mesopotamia, 8;
      their superstitious horror of the ruins and sculptures, 11;
      they take the gigantic head for Nimrod, 22-24;
      their strange ideas about the colossal winged bulls and lions and
            their destination, 24-25;
      their habit of plundering ancient tombs at Warka, 86;
      their conquests and high culture in Asia and Africa, 118.

    Arbela, city of Assyria, built in hilly region, 50.

    Architecture, Chaldean, created by local conditions, 37-39;
      Assyrian, borrowed from Chaldea, 50.

    Areph-Kasdîm, see Arphaxad, meaning of the word, 200.

    Arphaxad, eldest son of Shem, 200.

    Arphakshad, see Arphaxad.

    Asshur, a son of Shem, eponymous ancestor of the Assyrians in Genesis
          x., 131.

    Asshurbanipal, King of Assyria, his Library, 100-112;
      conquers Elam, destroys Shushan, and restores the statue of the
            goddess Nana to Erech, 194-195.

    Asshur-nazir-pal, King of Assyria, size of hall in his palace at Calah
          (Nimrud), 63.

    Assyria, the same as Upper Mesopotamia, 7;
      rise of, 228.

    Astrology, meaning of the word, 106;
      a corruption of astronomy, 234;
      the special study of priests, ib.

    Astronomy, the ancient Chaldeans' proficiency in, 230;
      fascination of, 231;
      conducive to religious speculation, 232;
      degenerates into astrology, 234;
      the god Nebo, the patron of, 242.


    Babbar, see Ud.

    Babel, same as Babylon, 237.

    Bab-el-Mandeb, Straits of, 189.

    Bab-ilu, Semitic name of Babylon; meaning of the name, 225, 249.

    Babylonia, a part of Lower Mesopotamia, 7;
      excessive flatness of, 9;
      later name for "Shumir and Accad" and for "Chaldea," 237.

    Baghdad, capital of the Arabs' empire in Mesopotamia, 5;
      its decay, 6.

    Bassorah, see Busrah.

    Bedouins, robber tribes of, 8;
      distinctively a nomadic people, 116-118.

    Bel, third god of the first Babylonian Triad, 239;
      meaning of the name, 240;
      one of the "twelve great gods," 246;
      his battle with Tiamat, 288-290.

    Belit, the wife of Bel, the feminine principle of nature, 244-245;
      one of the "twelve great gods," 246.

    Bel-Maruduk, see Marduk.

    Berosus, Babylonian priest; his History of Chaldea, 128;
      his version of the legend of Oannes, 184-185;
      his account of the Chaldean Cosmogony, 260-261, 267;
      his account of the great tower and the confusion of tongues, 292-293;
      his account of the Deluge, 299-301.

    Birs-Nimrud or Birs-i-Nimrud, see Borsippa.

    Books, not always of paper, 93;
      stones and bricks used as books, 97;
      walls and rocks, ib., 97-99.

    Borsippa (Mound of Birs-Nimrud), its peculiar shape, 47;
      Nebuchadnezzar's inscription found at, 72;
      identified with the Tower of Babel, 293.

    Botta begins excavations at Koyunjik, 14;
      his disappointment, 15;
      his great discovery at Khorsabad, 15-16.

    Bricks, how men came to make, 39;
      sun-dried or raw, and kiln-dried or baked, 40;
      ancient bricks from the ruins used for modern constructions; trade
            with ancient bricks at Hillah, 42.

    British Museum, Rich's collection presented to, 14.

    Busrah, or Bassorah, bulls and lions shipped to, down the Tigris, 52.

    Byblos, ancient writing material, 94.


    Ca-Dimirra (or Ka-Dimirra), second name of Babylon; meaning of the
          name, 216, 249.

    Cain, his crime, banishment, and posterity, 129.

    Calah, or Kalah, one of the Assyrian capitals, the Larissa of
          Xenophon, 3.

    Calendar, Chaldean, 230, 318-321, 325.

    Canaan, son of Ham, eponymous ancestor of many nations, 134.

    Canaanites, migrations of, 190.

    Cement, various qualities of, 44.

    Chaldea, the same as Lower Mesopotamia, 7;
      alluvial formation of, 37-38;
      its extraordinary abundance in cemeteries, 78;
      a nursery of nations, 198;
      more often called by the ancients "Babylonia," 237.

    Chaldeans, in the sense of "wise men of the East," astrologer,
          magician, soothsayer,--a separate class of the priesthood,

    Charm against evil spells, 162.

    Cherub, Cherubim, see Kirûbu.

    China, possibly mentioned in Isaiah, 136, note.

    Chinese speak a monosyllabic language, 137;
      their genius and its limitations, 138, 139;
      oldest national religion of, 180, 181;
      their "docenal" and "sexagesimal" system of counting, 230-231.

    Chronology, vagueness of ancient, 193-194;
      extravagant figures of, 196-197;
      difficulty of establishing, 211-212.

    Chthon, meaning of the word, 272.

    Chthonic Powers, 272, 273.

    Chthonic Myths, see Myths.

    Cissians, see Kasshi.

    Cities, building of, fourth stage of culture, 123, 124.

    Classical Antiquity, meaning of the term; too exclusive study of, 12.

    Coffins, ancient Chaldean, found at Warka: "jar-coffins," 82;
      "dish-cover" coffins, 84;
      "slipper-shaped" coffin (comparatively modern), 84-86.

    Conjuring, against demons and sorcerers, 158-159;
      admitted into the later reformed religion, 236.

    Conjurors, admitted into the Babylonian priesthood, 250.

    Cossæans, see Kasshi.

    Cosmogonic Myths, see Myths.

    Cosmogony, meaning of the word, 259;
      Chaldean, imparted by Berosus, 260-261;
      original tablets discovered by Geo. Smith, 261-263;
      their contents, 264 and ff.;
      Berosus again, 267.

    Cosmos, meaning of the word, 272.

    Cuneiform writing, shape and specimen of, 10;
      introduced into Chaldea by the Shumiro-Accads, 145.

    Cush, or Kush, eldest son of Ham, 186;
      probable early migrations of, 188;
      ancient name of Ethiopia, 189.

    Cushites, colonization of Turanian Chaldea by, 192.

    Cylinders: seal cylinders in hard stones, 113-114;
      foundation-cylinders, 114;
      seal-cylinders worn as talismans, 166;
      Babylonian cylinder, supposed to represent the Temptation and
            Fall, 266.


    Damkina, goddess, wife of Êa, mother of Meridug, 160.

    Decoration: of palaces, 58-62;
      of walls at Warka, 87-88.

    Delitzsch, Friedrich, eminent Assyriologist, favors the Semitic
          theory, 186.

    Deluge, Berosus' account of, 299-301;
      cuneiform account, in the 11th tablet of the Izdubar Epic, 314-317.

    Demon of the South-West Wind, 168.

    Diseases conceived as demons, 163.

    Divination, a branch of Chaldean "science," in what it
            consists, 251-252;
      collection of texts on, in one hundred tablets, 252-253;
      specimens of, 253-254.

    Draining of palace mounds, 70;
      of sepulchral mounds at Warka, 86-87.

    Dumuzi, the husband of the goddess Ishtar, 303;
      the hero of a solar Myth, 323-326.

    Dur-Sharrukin, (see Khorsabad),
      built in hilly region, 50.


    Êa, sometimes Zi-kî-a, the Spirit of the Earth and Waters, 154;
      protector against evil spirits and men, 160;
      his chief sanctuary at Eridhu, 215;
      second god of the first Babylonian Triad, 239;
      his attributions, 240;
      one of the "twelve great gods," 246.

    Êabâni, the seer, 304;
      invited by Izdubar, 304-305;
      becomes Izdubar's friend, 307;
      vanquishes with him the Elamite tyrant Khumbaba, 308;
      smitten by Ishtar and Anatu, 310;
      restored to life by the gods, 314.

    Ê-Babbara, "House of the Sun," 215, 248.

    Eber, see Heber.

    El, see Ilu.

    Elam, kingdom of, conquered by Asshurbanipal, 194;
      meaning of the name, 220.

    Elamite conquest of Chaldea, 219-221, 224-225.

    Elohim, one of the Hebrew names for God, a plural of El, 354.
      See Ilu.

    Emanations, theory of divine, 238-239;
      meaning of the word, 239.

    Enoch, son of Cain, 129.

    Enoch, the first city, built by Cain, 129.

    Epic Poems, or Epics, 298-299.

    Epic-Chaldæan, oldest known in the world, 299;
      its division into tablets, 302.

    Eponym, meaning of the word, 133.

    Eponymous genealogies in Genesis X., 132-134.

    Epos, national, meaning of the word, 299.

    Erech (now Mound of Warka), oldest name Urukh, immense burying-grounds
            around, 80-82;
      plundered by Khudur-Nankhundi, king of Elam, 195;
      library of, 209.

    Eri-Aku (Ariokh of Ellassar), Elamite king of Larsam, 226.

    Eridhu (modern Abu-Shahrein), the most ancient city of Shumir, 215;
      specially sacred to Êa, 215, 246, 287.

    Ethiopians, see Cush.

    Excavations, how carried on, 30-34.


    Fergusson, Jas., English explorer and writer on art subjects, 56.

    Finns, a nation of Turanian stock, 138.

    Flood, or Deluge, possibly not universal, 128-129.


    Gan-Dunyash, or Kar-Dunyash, most ancient name of Babylonia
          proper, 225, 286.

    Genesis, first book of the Pentateuch, 127-129;
      Chapter X. of, 130-142;
      meaning of the word, 353.

    Gibil, Fire, 173;
      hymn to, 16;
      his friendliness, 174;
      invoked to prosper the fabrication of bronze, 16.

    Gisdhubar, see Izdubar.

    Gudêa, _patesi_ of Sir-burla, 214.


    Ham, second son of Noah, 130;
      meaning of the name, 186.

    Hammurabi, king of Babylon and all Chaldea, 226;
      his long and glorious reign, ib.;
      his public works and the "Royal Canal," 227.

    Harimtu ("Persuasion"), one of the handmaidens of Ishtar, 305.

    Hâsisadra, same as Xisuthros, 303;
      gives Izdubar an account of the great Flood, 314-317.

    Heber, a descendant of Shem, eponymous ancestor of the Hebrews in
          Genesis X., 131, 222.

    Heroes, 296-298.

    Heroic Ages, 299.

    Heroic Myths, see Myths.

    Hillah, built of bricks from the palace of Nebuchadnezzar, carries on
          trade with ancient bricks, 42.

    Himâlaya Mountains, 188.

    Hindu-Cush (or Kush) Mountains, 188.

    Hit, ancient Is, on the Euphrates, springs of bitumen at, 44.

    Hivite, the, a tribe of Canaan, 133.

    Hungarians, a nation of Turanian stock, 138.


    Idpa, the Demon of Fever, 156.

    Igigi, three hundred, spirits of heaven, 250.

    Ilu, or El, Semitic name for "god," 232.

    Im, or Mermer, "Wind," 154.

    India, 188.

    Indus, the great river of India, 188.

    Intercalary months, introduced by the Chaldeans to correct the
          reckoning of their year, 230.

    Is, see Hit.

    Ishtar, the goddess of the planet Venus, 242;
      the Warrior-Queen and Queen of Love, 245;
      one of the "twelve great gods," 246;
      offers her love to Izdubar, 308;
      is rejected and sends a monstrous bull against him, 309;
      causes Êabâni's death and Izdubar's illness, 310;
      descent of, into the land of shades, 326-330.

    Izdubar, the hero of the great Chaldean Epic, 303;
      his dream at Erech, 304;
      invites Êabâni, 304-305;
      vanquishes with his help Khumbaba, the Elamite tyrant of Erech, 308;
      offends Ishtar, 308;
      vanquishes the divine Bull, with Êabâni's help, 309;
      is smitten with leprosy, 310;
      travels to "the mouth of the great rivers" to consult his immortal
            ancestor Hâsisadra, 310-313;
      is purified and healed, 313;
      returns to Erech; his lament over Êabâni's death, 313-314;
      solar character of the Epic, 318-322.


    Jabal and Jubal, sons of Lamech, descendants of Cain, 129.

    Japhet, third son of Noah, 130.

    Javan, a son of Japhet, eponymous ancestor of the Ionian Greeks, 134.

    "Jonah's Mound," see Nebbi-Yunus.

    Jubal, see Jabal and Jubal.


    Ka-Dingirra, see Ca-Dimirra.

    Kar-Dunyash, see Gan-Dunyash.

    Kasbu, the Chaldean double hour, 230.

    Kasr, Mound of, ruins of the palace of Nebuchadnezzar, 42.

    Kasshi (Cossæans or Cissians), conquer Chaldea, 228.

    Kerbela and Nedjif, goal of pilgrim-caravans from Persia, 78.

    Kerubim, see Kirûbu.

    Khorsabad, Mound of, Botta's excavations and brilliant discovery
          at, 15-16.

    Khudur-Lagamar (Chedorlaomer), king of Elam and Chaldea, his
            conquests, 221;
      plunders Sodom and Gomorrah with his allies, 222;
      is overtaken by Abraham and routed, 223;
      his probable date, 224.

    Khudur-Nankhundi, king of Elam, invades Chaldea and carries the statue
          of the goddess Nana away from Erech, 195.

    Khumbaba, the Elamite tyrant of Erech vanquished by Izdubar and
          Êabâni, 308.

    Kirûbu, name of the Winged Bulls, 164.

    Koyunjik, Mound of Xenophon's Mespila, 14;
      Botta's unsuccessful exploration of, 15;
      valuable find of small articles in a chamber at, in the palace of
            Sennacherib, 34.

    Kurds, nomadic tribes of, 8.


    Lamech, fifth descendant of Cain, 129.

    Larissa, ruins of ancient Calah, seen by Xenophon, 3.

    Larsam (now Senkereh), city of Shumir, 215.

    Layard meets Botta at Mossul in 1842, 17;
      undertakes the exploration of Nimrud, 17-18;
      his work and life in the East, 19-32;
      discovers the Royal Library at Nineveh (Koyunjik), 100.

    Lebanon Mountains, 190.

    Lenormant, François, eminent French Orientalist; his work on the
            religion of the Shumiro-Accads, 152-3;
      favors the Cushite theory, 186.

    Library of Asshurbanipal in his palace at Nineveh (Koyunjik);
            discovered by Layard, 100;
      re-opened by George Smith, 103;
      contents and importance of, for modern scholarship, 106-109;
      of Erech, 209.

    Loftus, English explorer; his visit to Warka in 1854-5, 80-82;
      procures slipper-shaped coffins for the British Museum, 36.

    Louvre, Assyrian Collection at the, 17;
      "Sarzec collection" added, 89.

    Louvre, Armenian contrivance for lighting houses, 68.


    Madai, a son of Japhet, eponymous ancestor of the Medes, 135.

    Magician, derivation of the word, 255.

    Marad, ancient city of Chaldea, 303.

    Marduk, or Maruduk (Hebrew Merodach), god of the planet Jupiter, 241;
      one of the "twelve great gods," 246;
      special patron of Babylon, 249.

    Maskim, the seven, evil spirits, 154;
      incantation against the, 155;
      the same, poetical version, 182.

    Maspero, G., eminent French Orientalist, 197.

    Medes, Xenophon's erroneous account of, 3-4;
      mentioned under the name of Madai in Genesis X., 135.

    Media, divided from Assyria by the Zagros chain, 50.

    Ménant, Joachim, French Assyriologist; his little book on the Royal
          Library at Nineveh, 105.

    Meridug, son of Êa, the Mediator, 160;
      his dialogues with Êa, 161-162.

    Mermer, see Im.

    Merodach, see Marduk.

    Mesopotamia, meaning of the name, 5;
      peculiar formation of, 6;
      division of, into Upper and Lower, 7.

    Mespila, ruins of Nineveh; seen by Xenophon, 3;
      now Mound of Koyunjik, 14.

    Migrations of tribes, nations, races; probable first causes of
            prehistoric migrations, 119;
      caused by invasions and conquests, 125;
      of the Turanian races, 146-147;
      of the Cushites, 188;
      of the Canaanites, 190.

    Mizraim ("the Egyptians"), a son of Ham, eponymous ancestor of the
            Egyptians, 133;
      opposed to Cush, 189.

    Monosyllabic languages--Chinese, 136-137.

    Monotheism, meaning of the word, 238;
      as conceived by the Hebrews, 344-345.

    Mosul, the residence of a Turkish Pasha; origin of the name, 6;
      the wicked Pasha of, 20-23.

    Mound-Builders, their tombs, 335-338.

    Mounds, their appearance, 9-10;
      their contents, 11;
      formation of, 72;
      their usefulness in protecting the ruins and works of art, 74;
      sepulchral mounds at Warka, 79-87.

    Mugheir, see Ur.

    Mul-ge, "Lord of the Abyss," 154.

    Mummu-Tiamat (the "Billowy Sea"), 264;
      her hostility to the gods, 288;
      her fight with Bel, 288-290.

    Mythology, definition of, 331;
      distinction from Religion, 331-334.

    Myths, meaning of the word, 294;
      Cosmogonic, 294;
      Heroic, 297-298;
      Solar, 322, 339-340;
      Chthonic, 330, 340-341.


    Nabonidus, last king of Babylon, discovers Naram-sin's cylinder, 213;
      discovers Hammurabi's cylinder at Larsam, 218-219.

    Namtar, the Demon of Pestilence, 156, 157;
      incantation against, 167;
      Minister of Allat, Queen of the Dead, 328, 329.

    Nana, Chaldean goddess, her statue restored by Asshurbanipal,
            195, 343-344;
      wife of Anu, 245.

    Nannar, see Uru-Ki.

    Naram-Sin, son of Sargon I. of Agadê;
      his cylinder discovered by Nabonidus, 213.

    Nations, gradual formation of, 125-126.

    Nebbi-Yunus, Mound of, its sacredness, 11;
      its size, 49.

    Nebo, or Nabu, the god of the planet Mercury, 242;
      one of the "twelve great gods," 246.

    Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon;
      his palace, now Mound of Kasr, 42;
      his inscription of Borsippa, 72.

    Nedjif, see Kerbela.

    Nergal, the god of the planet Mars, and of War, 242;
      one of the "twelve great gods," 246.

    Niffer, see Nippur.

    Nimrod, dams on the Euphrates attributed to, by the Arabs, 5;
      his name preserved, and many ruins called by it, 11;
      gigantic head declared by the Arabs to be the head of, 22-24.

    Nimrud, Mound of, Layard undertakes the exploration of, 17.

    Nin-dar, the nightly sun, 175.

    Nineveh, greatness and utter destruction of, 1;
      ruins of, seen by Xenophon, called by him Mespila, 3;
      site of, opposite Mossul, 11.

    Nin-ge, see Nin-kî-gal.

    Ninîb, or Ninêb, the god of the planet Saturn, 241;
      one of the "twelve great gods," 246.

    Nin-kî-gal, or Nin-ge, "the Lady of the Abyss," 157.

    Nippur (now Niffer), city of Accad, 216.

    Nizir, Mount, the mountain on which Hâsisadra's ship stood still, 301;
      land and Mount, 316

    Noah and his three sons, 130.

    Nod, land of ("Land of Exile," or "of Wanderings"), 129.

    Nomads, meaning of the word, and causes of nomadic life in modern
          times, 118.


    Oannes, legend of, told by Berosus, 185.

    Oasis, meaning of the word, 118.


    Palaces, their imposing aspect, 54;
      palace of Sennacherib restored by Fergusson, 56;
      ornamentation of palaces, 58;
      winged Bulls and Lions at gateways of, 58;
      sculptured slabs along the walls of, 58-60;
      painted tiles used for the friezes of, 60-62;
      proportions of halls, 63;
      roofing of, 62-66;
      lighting of, 66-68.

    Papyrus, ancient writing material, 94.

    Paradise, Chaldean legend of, see Sacred Tree and Ziggurat.
      Meaning of the word, 277.

    Parallel between the Book of Genesis and the Chaldean legends, 350-360.

    Pastoral life, second stage of culture, 120;
      necessarily nomadic, 121.

    Patesis, meaning of the word, 203;
      first form of royalty in Chaldean cities, ib., 235.

    Patriarchal authority, first form of government, 123;
      the tribe, or enlarged family, first form of the State, 123.

    Penitential Psalms, Chaldean, 177-179.

    Persian Gulf, flatness and marshiness of the region around, 7;
      reached further inland than now, 201.

    Persians, rule in Asia, 2;
      the war between two royal brothers, 2;
      Persian monarchy conquered by Alexander, 4;
      not named in Genesis X., 134.

    Platforms, artificial, 46-49.

    Polytheism, meaning of the word, 237;
      tendency to, of the Hebrews, combated by their leaders, 345-350.

    Priesthood, Chaldean, causes of its power and influence, 233-234.


    Races, Nations, and Tribes represented in antiquity under the name of a
            man, an ancestor, 130-134;
      black race and yellow race omitted from the list in Genesis X.,
      probable reasons for the omission, 135, 140.

    Ramân, third god of the second Babylonian Triad, his attributions,
      one of the "twelve great gods," 246.

    Rassam, Hormuzd, explorer, 247, 248.

    Rawlinson, Sir Henry, his work at the British Museum, 152.

    Religion of the Shumiro-Accads the most primitive in the world, 148;
      characteristics of Turanian religions, 180, 181;
      definition of, as distinguished from Mythology, 331-334.

    Religiosity, distinctively human characteristic, 148;
      its awakening and development, 149-152.

    Rich, the first explorer, 13;
      his disappointment at Mossul, 14.


    Sabattuv, the Babylonian and Assyrian "Sabbath," 256.

    Sabeism, the worship of the heavenly bodies,
      a Semitic form of religion, 232;
      fostered by a pastoral and nomadic life, ib.

    Sabitu, one of the maidens in the magic grove, 311.

    Sacred Tree, sacredness of the Symbol, 268;
      its conventional appearance on sculptures and cylinders, 268-270;
      its signification, 272-274;
      its connection with the legend of Paradise, 274-276.

    Sargon of Agadê, see Sharrukin.

    Sarzec, E. de, French explorer;
      his great find at Tell-Loh, 88-90;
      statues found by him, 214.

    Scorpion-men, the Warders of the Sun, 311.

    Schrader, Eberhard, eminent Assyriologist,
      favors the Semitic theory, 186.

    Semites (more correctly Shemites),
      one of the three great races given in Genesis X.;
      named from its eponymous ancestor, Shem, 131.

    Semitic language, 199;
      culture, the beginning of historical times in Chaldea, 202, 203.

    Sennacherib, king of Assyria, his palace at Koyunjik, 34;
      Fergusson's restoration of his palace, 56;
      his "Will" in the library of Nineveh, 109.

    Senkereh, see Larsam.

    Sepharvaim, see Sippar.

    Seth (more correctly Sheth), third son of Adam, 131.

    Shamash, the Sun-god,
      second god of the Second Babylonian Triad, 240;
      one of the "twelve great gods," 246;
      his temple at Sippar discovered by H. Rassam, 247, 248.

    Shamhatu ("Grace"), one of the handmaidens of Ishtar, 305.

    Sharrukin I. of Agadê (Sargon I.), 205;
      legend about his birth, 206;
      his glorious reign, 206;
      Sharrukin II. of Agadê (Sargon II.), 205;
      his religious reform and literary labors, 207, 208;
      probable founder of the library at Erech, 209;
      date of, lately discovered, 213.

    Shem, eldest son of Noah, 130;
      meaning of the name, 198.

    Shinar, or Shineâr, geographical position of, 127.

    Shumir, Southern or Lower Chaldea, 145.

    Shumir and Accad, oldest name for Chaldea, 143, 144.

    Shumiro-Accadian, oldest language of Chaldea, 108;
      Agglutinative, 145.

    Shumiro-Accads, oldest population of Chaldea,
      of Turanian race, 144;
      their language agglutinative, 145;
      introduce into Chaldea cuneiform writing, metallurgy and
            irrigation, ib.;
      their probable migration, 146;
      their theory of the world, 153.

    Shushan (Susa), capital of Elam, destroyed by Asshurbanipal, 194.

    Siddim, battle in the veil of, 221, 222.

    Sidon, a Phoenician city, meaning of the name, 133;
      the "first-born" son of Canaan, eponymous ancestor of the city in
            Genesis X., ib.

    Siduri, one of the maidens in the magic grove, 311.

    Sin, the Moon-god, first god of the Second Babylonian Triad, 240;
      one of the "twelve great gods," 246;
      attacked by the seven rebellious spirits, 291.

    Sin-Muballit, see Amarpal.

    Sippar, sister city of Agadê, 205;
      Temple of Shamash at, excavated by H. Rassam, 247, 248.

    Sir-burla (also Sir-gulla, or Sir-tella, or Zirbab), ancient city of
          Chaldea, now Mound of Tell-Loh; discoveries at, by Sarzec, 88-90.

    Sir-gulla, see Sir-burla.

    Smith, George, English explorer;
      his work at the British Museum, 102;
      his expeditions to Nineveh, 103;
      his success, and his death, 104;
      his discovery of the Deluge Tablets, 301.

    Sorcerers believed in, 157.

    Spirits, belief in good and evil, the first beginning of religion, 150;
      elementary, in the primitive Shumiro-Accadian religion, 153-155;
      evil, 155-157;
      allowed an inferior place in the later reformed religion, 236, 250;
      rebellion of the seven evil, their attack against the Moon-god,
            290, 291.

    Statues found at Tell-Loh, 88, 214.

    Style, ancient writing instrument, 94, 109.

    Synchronism, meaning of the word, 212.


    Tablets, in baked or unbaked clay, used as books, 109;
      their shapes and sizes, 109;
      mode of writing on, 109-110;
      baking of, 110;
      great numbers of, deposited in the British Museum, 110-112;
      Chaldean tablets in clay cases, 112;
      tablets found under the foundation stone at Khorsabad, 113, 114;
      "Shamash tablet," 248.

    Talismans, worn on the person or placed in buildings, 164.

    Tammuz, see Dumuzi.

    Taurus Mountains, 190.

    Tell-Loh (also Tello), see Sir-burla.

    Temples of Êa and Meridug at Eridhu, 246;
      of the Moon-god at Ur, ib.;
      of Anu and Nana at Erech, ib.;
      of Shamash and Anunit at Sippar and Agadê, 247;
      of Bel Maruduk at Babylon and Borsippa, 249.

    Theocracy, meaning of the word, 235.

    Tiamat, see Mummu-Tiamat.

    Tin-tir-ki, oldest name of Babylon, meaning of the name, 216.

    Triads in Babylonian religion, and meaning of the word, 239-240.

    Tubalcain, son of Lamech, descendant of Cain, the inventor of
          metallurgy, 129.

    Turanians, collective name for the whole Yellow Race, 136;
      origin of the name, ib.;
      the limitations of their genius, 136-139;
      their imperfect forms of speech, monosyllabic and agglutinative,
            136, 137;
      "the oldest of men," 137;
      everywhere precede the white races, 138;
      omitted in Genesis X., 135, 139;
      possibly represent the discarded Cainites or posterity of Cain,
      their tradition of a Paradise in the Altaï, 147;
      characteristics of Turanian religions, 180-181.

    Turks, their misrule in Mesopotamia, 5-6;
      greed and oppressiveness of their officials, 7-8;
      one of the principal modern representatives of the Turanian
            race, 136.


    Ubaratutu, father of Hâsisadra, 322.

    Ud, or Babbar, the midday Sun, 171;
      hymns to, 171, 172;
      temple of, at Sippar, 247-248.

    Uddusunamir, phantom created by Êa, and sent to Allat, to rescue
          Ishtar, 328, 329.

    Ur (Mound of Mugheir),
      construction of its platform, 46;
      earliest known capital of Shumir, maritime and commercial, 200;
      Terah and Abraham go forth from, 201.

    Ur-êa, king of Ur, 215;
      his buildings, 216-218;
      his signet cylinder, 218.

    Urubêl, the ferryman on the Waters of Death, 311;
      purifies Izdubar and returns with him to Erech, 313.

    Urukh, see Erech.

    Uru-ki, or Nannar, the Shumiro-Accadian Moon-god, 240.


    Vaults, of drains, 70;
      sepulchral, at Warka, 83, 85.


    Warka, see Erech.


    Xenophon leads the Retreat of the Ten Thousand, 2;
      passes by the runs of Calah and Nineveh, which he calls Larissa and
            Mespila, 3.

    Xisuthros, the king of, Berosus' Deluge-narrative, 300.
      See Hâsisadra.


    Yahveh, the correct form of "Jehovah," one of the Hebrew names for
          God, 354.


    Zab, river, tributary of the Tigris, 17.

    Zagros, mountain range of, divides Assyria from Media, 50;
      stone quarried in, and transported down the Zab, 50, 51.

    Zaidu, the huntsman, sent to Êabâni, 305.

    Zi-ana, see Ana.

    Ziggurats, their peculiar shape and uses, 48;
      used as observatories attached to temples, 234;
      meaning of the word, 278;
      their connection with the legend of Paradise, 278-280;
      their singular orientation and its causes, 284-286;
      Ziggurat of Birs-Nimrud (Borsippa), 280-283;
      identified with the Tower of Babel, 293.

    Zi-kî-a, see Êa.

    Zirlab, see Sir-burla.

    Zodiac, twelve signs of, familiar to the Chaldeans, 230;
      signs of, established by Anu, 265;
      represented in the twelve books of the Izdubar Epic, 318-321.

      *      *      *      *      *      *


Page vii Introduction Chapter 4: Corrected to start at page 94

Pages ix, 92, 93, 214, 215, Illustrations 44, 59:
    Sirgulla standardised to Sir-gulla

Page xi: Contents Chapter VIII: Added § marker for section 12

Page xiii: Full-stop (period) added after sittliche Weltordnung

Pages xiii-xv Principal works: Normalised small caps in author names

Page xiv: Menant standardised to Ménant

Page 36: Throughly corrected to thoroughly

Illustration 9: Chippiez standardised to Chipiez

Page 60: head-dress standardised to headdress

Page 64: gate-ways standardised to gateways

Page 68: Sufficent corrected to sufficient

Illustration 33: Full stop (period) added to caption after louvre

Page 104: life-time standardised to lifetime

Page 105: Bibliothéque standardised to Bibliothèque

Page 116: Double-quote added before ... In this

Page 126: new-comers standardised to newcomers

Pages 131, 375: Japheth standardised to Japhet

Pages 147, 196, 371: Altai standardised as Altaï

Pages 154, 397, 404: Zi-ki-a standardised as Zi-kî-a

Page 154: Anunna-ki standardised to Anunnaki

Page 157: Uru-gal standardised as Urugal

Page 157: 'who may the rather' rendered as 'who may then rather'

Page 160: Meri-dug standardised to Meridug

Page 163: Apostrophe added to patients

Page 172: Mulge standardised to Mul-ge

Page 210: Hyphen added to countercurrent

Pages 214, 215, 375 Illustration 59: Sirburla standardised as Sir-burla

Page 218: Dovoted corrected to devoted

Pages 221, 360, 379: Shinear standardised to Shineâr

Page 225: Kadimirra standardised to Ka-dimirra

Page 228: Cossaeans standardised to Cossæans

Footnote AN: Ur-ea as in original (not standardised to Ur-êa)

Page 234: Full-stop (period) removed after "from the North"

Page 234: Italics removed from i.e. to conform with other usages

Pages 241, 246: Nindar standardised to Nin-dar

Page 249: Babilu standardised to Bab-ilu

Page 254: Double quote added after For instance:--

Footnote AT: Asshurbanipal standardised to Assurbanipal

Illustration 70: Illustration number added to illustration.

Page 297: border-land standardised to borderland

Page 302: Double quote added at the end of paragraph 6

Illustration 77: EABANI'S replaced with ÊABÂNI'S.

Page 323: death-like standardised to deathlike

Footnote BE: Sündflutbericht standardised to Sündfluthbericht. Note that
    the correct modern form is Der keilinschriftliche Sintfluthbericht

Page 372: Asshurnazirpal standardised to Asshur-nazir-pal

Page 372: Bab-el-Mander standardised to Bab-el-Mandeb

Page 374: Arioch standardised to Ariokh

Page 374: Abu-Shahreiin standardised to Abu-Shahrein

Page 375: Himalaya standardised to Himâlaya

Page 376: Page number 42 added for index entry Kasr

Page 379: Page number 131 added for index entry Seth

General: Inconsistent spelling of Mosul/Mossul retained

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