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´╗┐Title: The Seven Great Monarchies Of The Ancient Eastern World, Vol 1. (of 7): Chaldaea - The History, Geography, And Antiquities Of Chaldaea, - Assyria, Babylon, Media, Persia, Parthia, And Sassanian - or New Persian Empire; With Maps and Illustrations.
Author: Rawlinson, George, 1812-1902
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Seven Great Monarchies Of The Ancient Eastern World, Vol 1. (of 7): Chaldaea - The History, Geography, And Antiquities Of Chaldaea, - Assyria, Babylon, Media, Persia, Parthia, And Sassanian - or New Persian Empire; With Maps and Illustrations." ***

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With Maps and Illustrations













The history of Antiquity requires from time to time to be rewritten.
Historical knowledge continually extends, in part from the advance of
critical science, which teaches us little by little the true value of
ancient authors, but also, and more especially, from the new discoveries
which the enterprise of travellers and the patient toil of students are
continually bringing to light, whereby the stock of our information as to
the condition of the ancient world receives constant augmentation.  The
extremest scepticism cannot deny that recent researches in Mesopotamia
and the adjacent countries have recovered a series of "monuments"
belonging to very early times, capable of throwing considerable light on
the Antiquities of the nations which produced them.  The author of these
volumes believes that, together with these remains, the languages of the
ancient nations have been to a large extent recovered, and that a vast
mass of written historical matter of a very high value is thereby added
to the materials at the Historian's disposal.  This is, clearly, not the
place where so difficult and complicated a subject can be properly
argued.  The author is himself content with the judgment of "experts,"
and believes it would be as difficult to impose a fabricated language on
Professor Lassen of Bonn and Professor Max Miller of Oxford, as to palm
off a fictitious for a real animal form on Professor Owen of London.  The
best linguists in Europe have accepted the decipherment of the cuneiform
inscriptions as a thing actually accomplished.  Until some good linguist,
having carefully examined into the matter, declares himself of contrary
opinion, the author cannot think that any serious doubt rests on the

     [Some writers allow that the Persian cuneiform inscriptions have
     been successfully deciphered and interpreted, but appear to doubt
     the interpretation of the Assyrian records.  (See Edinburgh Review
     for July, 1862, Art Ill., p.  108.) Are they aware that the Persian
     inscriptions are accompanied in almost every instance by an Assyrian
     transcript, and that Assyrian interpretation thus follows upon
     Persian, without involving any additional "guess-work"]

The present volumes aim at accomplishing for the Five Nations of which
they treat what Movers and Kenrick have accomplished for Phoenicia, or
(still more exactly) what Wilkinson has accomplished for Ancient Egypt.
Assuming the interpretation of the historical inscriptions as, in
general, sufficiently ascertained, and the various ancient remains as
assigned on sufficient grounds to certain peoples and epochs, they seek
to unite with our previous knowledge of the five nations, whether derived
from Biblical or classical sources, the new information obtained from
modern discovery.  They address themselves in a great measure to the eye;
and it is hoped that even those who doubt the certainty of the linguistic
discoveries in which the author believes, will admit the advantage of
illustrating the life of the ancient peoples by representations of their
productions.  Unfortunately, the materials of this kind which recent
explorations have brought to light are very unequally spread among the
several nations of which it is proposed to treat, and even where they are
most copious, fall short of the abundance of Egypt.  Still in every case
there is some illustration possible; and in one--Assyria--both the
"Arts" and the  "Manners" of the people admit of being illustrated very
largely from the remains still extant.--[See Chapters VI. and VII. of the
Second Monarchy]

The Author is bound to express his obligations to the following writers,
from whose published works he has drawn freely: MM. Botta and Flandin,
Mr. Layard, Mr. James Fergusson, Mr. Loftus, Mr. Cullimore, and Mr.
Birch.  He is glad to take this occasion of acknowledging himself also
greatly beholden to the constant help of his brother, Sir Henry
Rawlinson, and to the liberality of Mr. Faux, of the British Museum.  The
latter gentleman kindly placed at his disposal, for the purposes of the
present work, the entire series of unpublished drawings made by the
artists who accompanied Mr. Loftus in the last Mesopotamian Expedition,
besides securing him undisturbed access to the Museum sculptures, thus
enabling him to enrich the present volume with a large number of most
interesting illustrations never previously given to the public.  In the
subjoined list these illustrations are carefully distinguished from such
as, in one shape or another, have appeared previously.

Oxford, September, 1862.


In preparing for the press, after an interval of seven years, a second
edition of this work, the author has found it unnecessary to make,
excepting in two chapters, any important or exensive alterations.  The
exceptions are the chapters on the History and Chronology of Chaldaea and
Assyria.  So much fresh light has been thrown on these two subjects by
additional discoveries, made partly by Sir Henry Rawlinson, partly by his
assistant, Mr. George Smith, through the laborious study of fragmentary
inscriptions now in the British Museum, that many pages of the two
chapters in question required to be written afresh, and the Chronological
Schemes required, in the one case a complete, and in the other a partial,
revision.  In making this revision, both of the Chronology and the
History, the author has received the most valuable assistance both from
the published papers and from the private communications of Mr.
Smith--an assistance for which he desires to make in this place the
warmest and most hearty acknowledgment.  He is also beholden to a recent
Eastern traveller, Mr. A. D. Berrington, for some valuable notes on the
physical geography and productions of Mesopotamia, which have been
embodied in the accounts given of those subjects.  A few corrections
have likewise been made of errors pointed out by anonymous critics.
Substantially, however, the work continues such as it was on its first
appearance, the author having found that time only deepened his
conviction of the reality of cuneiform decipherment, and of the
authenticity of the history obtained by means of it.

OXFORD, November, 1870.


The following work is intended, in part, as a continuation of the ancient
History of the East, already treated by the Author at some length in his
"Five Great Monarchies"; but it is also, and more expressly, intended as
a supplement to the ancient History of the West, as that history is
ordinarily presented to moderns under its two recognized divisions of
"Histories of Greece" and  "Histories of Rome."  Especially, it seemed to
the writer that the picture of the world during the Roman period,
commonly put before students in  "Histories of Rome," was defective, not
to say false, in its omission to recognize the real position of Parthia
during the three most interesting centuries of that period, as a
counterpoise to the power of Rome, a second figure in the picture not
much inferior to the first, a rival state dividing with Rome the
attention of mankind and the sovereignty of the known earth.  Writers of
Roman history have been too much in the habit of representing the later
Republic and early Empire as, practically, a Universal Monarchy, a Power
unchecked, unbalanced, having no other limits than those of the civilized
world, engrossing consequently the whole attention of all thinking men,
and free to act exactly as it pleased without any regard to opinion
beyond its own borders.  One of the most popular enlarges on the idea--an
idea quite inconsistent with the fact--that for the man who provoked the
hostility of the ruler of Rome there was no refuge upon the whole face of
the earth but some wild and barbarous region, where refinement was
unknown, and life would not have been worth having.  To the present
writer the truth seems to be that Rome never was in the position
supposed--that from first to last, from the time of Pompey's Eastern
Conquests to the Fall of the Empire, there was always in the world a
Second Power, civilized or semi-civilized, which in a true sense balanced
Rome, acted as a counterpoise and a check, had to be consulted or
considered, held a place in all men's thoughts, and finally furnished a
not intolerable refuge to such as had provoked Rome's master beyond

This Power for nearly three centuries (B.C. 64 - A.D. 225) was Parthia,
after which it was Persia under the Sassanian kings.  In the hope of
gradually vindicating to Parthia her true place in the world's history,
the Author has in his  "Manual of Ancient History" (published by the
Delegates of the Clarendon Press) placed the Parthians alongside of the
Romans, and treated of their history at a moderate length.  But it has
seemed to him that something more was requisite.  He could not expect
that students would be able to give Parthia her proper place in their
thoughts unless her history were collected and put forth in a readable
form with some fulness.  He has, therefore, employed most of his leisure
during the last two years in writing the present work, which he commends
to students of the later Greek and Roman periods as supplemental to the
modern Greek and Roman histories in which those periods are commonly

The Parthian Chronology depends very much upon coins.  In preparing this
portion of his work the Author has been greatly indebted to aid kindly
rendered him by M. R. Stuart Poole and Mr. Gardiner of the British
Museum.  The representations of coins in the work have been, with one
exception, taken by the Author from the originals in the National
Collection.  For the illustrations of Parthian architecture and art he is
indebted to the published works of Mr. Ainsworth, Mr. Ross, the late Mr.
Loftus, and MM. Flandin and Coste.  He feels also bound to express his
obligations to the late Mr. Lindsay, the numismatic portion of whose work
on Parthia he has found of much service.

CANTERBURY, December, 1872.


This work completes the Ancient History of the East, to which the author
has devoted his main attention during the last eighteen years.  It is a
sequel to his  "Parthians," published in 1873; and carries down the
History of Western Asia from the third century of our era to the middle
of the seventh.  So far as the present writer is aware, no European
author has previously treated this period from the Oriental stand-point,
in any work aspiring to be more than a mere sketch or outline.  Very many
such sketches have been published; but they have been scanty in the
extreme, and the greater number of them have been based on the authority
of a single class of writers.  It has been the present author's aim to
combine the various classes of authorities which are now accessible to
the historical student, and to give their due weight to each of them.
The labors of M. C. Muller, of the Abbe Gregoire Kabaragy Garabed, and of
M. J. St. Martin have opened to us the stores of ancient Armenian
literature, which were previously a sealed volume to all but a small
class of students.  The early Arab historians have been translated or
analyzed by Kosegarten, Zotenberg, M. Jules Mohl, and others.
The coinage of the Sassanians has been elaborately--almost
exhaustively--treated by Mordtmann and Thomas.  Mr. Fergusson has
applied his acute and practised powers to the elucidation of the
Sassanian architecture.  By combining the results thus obtained with the
old sources of information--the classical, especially the Byzantine
writers--it has become possible to compose a history of the Sassanian
Empire which is at once consecutive, and not absolutely meagre.  How the
author has performed his task, he must leave it to the public to judge;
he will only venture to say that he has spared no labor, but has gone
carefully through the entire series of the Byzantine writers who treat
of the time, besides availing himself of the various modern works to
which reference has been made above.  If he has been sometimes obliged
to draw conclusions from his authorities other than those drawn by
Gibbon, and has deemed it right, in the interests of historic truth, to
express occasionally his dissent from that writer's views, he must not
be thought blind to the many and great excellencies which render the
"Decline and Fall" one of the best, if not the best, of our histories.
The mistakes of a writer less eminent and less popular might have been
left unnoticed without ill results.  Those of an historian generally
regarded as an authority from whom there is no appeal could not be so
lightly treated.

The author begs to acknowledge his great obligations, especially, to the
following living writers: M. Patkanian, M. Jules Mohl, Dr. Haug, Herr
Spiegel, Herr Windischmann, Herr Mordtmann, Canon Tristram, Mr. James
Fergusson, and Mr. E. Thomas.  He is also largely beholden to the works
of M. Texier and of MM. Flandin and Coste for the illustrations, which he
has been able to give, of Sassanian sculpture and architecture.  The
photographic illustrations of the newly-discovered palace at Mashita are
due to the liberality of Mr. R. C. Johnson (the amateur artist who
accompanied Canon Tristram in his exploration of the  "Land of Moab"),
who, with Canon Tristram's kind consent, has allowed them to appear in
the present volume.  The numismatic illustrations are chiefly derived
from Longperier; but one or two have been borrowed from other sources.
For his frontispiece the author is indebted to his brother, Sir Henry
Rawlinson, who has permitted it to be taken from an original drawing in
his possession, which he believed to be a truthful representation of the
great Sassanian building.

CANTERBURY: December 1875.





"Behold the land of the Chaldaeans."--ISAIAH xxiii.  13.

The broad belt of desert which traverses the eastern hemisphere, in a
general direction from west to east (or, speaking more exactly, of
W. S. W.  to N. E. E.), reaching from the Atlantic on the one hand nearly
to the Yellow Sea on the other, is interrupted about its centre by a
strip of rich vegetation, which at once breaks the continuity of the arid
region, and serves also to mark the point where the desert changes its
character from that of a plain at a low level to that of an elevated
plateau or table-land.  West of the favored district, the Arabian and
African wastes are seas of sand, seldom raised much above, often sinking
below, the level of the ocean; while east of the same, in Persia, Kerman,
Seistan, Chinese Tartary, and Mongolia, the desert consists of a series
of plateaus, having from 3000 to nearly 10,000 feet of elevation.  The
green and fertile region, which is thus interposed between the "highland"
and the "lowland" deserts, participates, curiously enough, in both
characters.  Where the belt of sand is intersected by the valley of the
Nile, no marked change of elevation occurs; and the continuous low desert
is merely interrupted by a few miles of green and cultivable surface, the
whole of which is just as smooth and as flat as the waste on either side
of it.  But it is otherwise at the more eastern interruption.  There the
verdant and productive country divides itself into two tracts, running
parallel to each other, of which the western presents features not unlike
those that characterize the Nile valley, but on a far larger scale; while
the eastern is a lofty mountain region, consisting for the most part of
five or six parallel ranges, and mounting in many places far above the
level of perpetual snow.

It is with the western or plain tract that we are here concerned.
Between the outer limits of the Syro-Arabian desert and the foot of the
great mountain range of Kurdistan and Luristan intervenes a territory
long famous in the world's history, and the chief site of three out of
the five empires of whose history, geography, and antiquities it is
proposed to treat in the present volumes.  Known to the Jews as
Aram-Naharaim, or "Syria of the two rivers;" to the Greeks and Romans as
Mesopotamia, or "the between-river country;" to the Arabs as Al-Jezireh,
or "the island," this district has always taken its name from the
streams, which constitute its most striking feature, and to which, in
fact, it owes its existence.  If it were not for the two great
rivers--the Tigris and Euphrates--with their tributaries, the more
northern part of the Mesopotamian lowland would in no respect differ
from the Syro-Arabian desert on which it adjoins, and which in latitude,
elevation, and general geological character it exactly resembles.
Towards the south, the importance of the rivers is still greater; for of
Lower Mesopotamia it may be said, with more truth than of Egypt, that it
is "an acquired land," the actual "gift" of the two streams which wash
it on either side; being, as it is, entirely a recent formation--a
deposit which the streams have made in the shallow waters of a gulf into
which they have flowed for many ages.

The division, which has here forced itself upon our notice, between the
Upper and the Lower Mesopotamian country, is one very necessary to engage
our attention in connection with the ancient Chaldaea.  There is no
reason to think that the terns Chaldaea had at anytime the extensive
signification of Mesopotamia, much less that it applied to the entire
flat country between the desert and the mountains.  Chaldaea was not the
whole, but a part of, the great Mesopotamian plain; which was ample
enough to contain within it three or four considerable monarchies.
According to the combined testimony of geographers and historians,
Chaldaea lay towards the south, for it bordered upon the Persian Gulf;
and towards the west, for it adjoined Arabia.  If we are called upon
to fix more accurately its boundaries, which, like those of most
countries without strong natural frontiers, suffered many fluctuations,
we are perhaps entitled to say that the Persian Gulf on the south, the
Tigris on the east, the Arabian desert on the west, and the limit between
Upper and Lower Mesopotamia on the north, formed the natural bounds,
which were never greatly exceeded and never much infringed upon.  These
boundaries are for the most part tolerably clear, though the northern
only is invariable.  Natural causes, hereafter to be mentioned more
particularly, are perpetually varying the course of the Tigris, the shore
of the Persian Gulf, and the line of demarcation between the sands of
Arabia and the verdure of the Euphrates valley.  But nature has set a
permanent mark, half way down the Mesopotamian lowland, by a difference
of geological structure, which is very conspicuous.  Near Hit on the
Euphrates, and a little below Samarah on the Tigris, the traveller who
descends the streams, bids adieu to a somewhat waving and slightly
elevated plain of secondary formation, and enters on the dead flat and
low level of the mere alluvium.  The line thus formed is marked and
invariable; it constitutes the only natural division between the upper
and lower portions of the valley; and both probability and history point
to it as the actual boundary between Chaldaea and her northern neighbor.

The extent of ancient Chaldaea is, even after we have fixed its
boundaries, a question of some difficulty.  From the edge of the alluvium
a little below Hit, to the present coast of the Persian Gulf at the mouth
of the Shat-el-Arab, is a distance of above 430 miles; while from the
western shore of the Bahr-i-Nedjif to the Tigris at Serut is a direct
distance of 185 miles.  The present area of the alluvium west of the
Tigris and the Shat-el-Arab maybe estimated at about 30,000 square miles.
But the extent of ancient Chaldaea can scarcely have been so great.  It
is certain that the alluvium at the head of the Persian Gulf now grows
with extraordinary rapidity, and not improbable that the growth may in
ancient times have been even more rapid than it is at present.  Accurate
observations have shown that the present rate of increase amounts to as
much as a mile each seventy years, while it is the opinion of those best
qualified to judge that the average progress during the historic period
has been as much as a mile in every thirty years!  Traces of
post-tertiary deposits have been found as far up the country as Tel
Ede and Hammam, 10 or more than 200 miles from the embouchure of the
Shat-el-Arab; and there is ample reason for believing that at the time
when the first Chaldaean monarchy was established, the Persian Gulf
reached inland, 120 or 130 miles further than at present.  We must
deduct therefore from the estimate of extent grounded upon the existing
state of things, a tract of land 130 miles long and some 60 or 70 broad,
which has been gained from the sea in the course of about forty
centuries.  This deduction will reduce Chaldaea to a kingdom of somewhat
narrow limits; for it will contain no more than about 23,000 square
miles.  This, it is true, exceeds the area of all ancient Greece,
including Thessaly, Acarnania, and the islands; it nearly equals that of
the Low Countries, to which Chaldaea presents some analogy; it is almost
exactly that of the modern kingdom of Denmark; but it is less than
Scotland, or Ireland, or Portugal, or Bavaria; it is more than doubled
by England, more than quadrupled by Prussia, and more than octupled by
Spain, France, and European Turkey.  Certainly, therefore, it was not in
consequence of its size that Chaldaea became so important a country in
the early ages, but rather in consequence of certain advantages of the
soil, climate, and position, which will be considered in the next

It has been already noticed that in the ancient Chaldaea, the
chief--almost the sole-geographical features, were the rivers.  Nothing
is more remarkable even now than the featureless character of the region,
although in the course of ages it has received from man some
interruptions of the original uniformity.  On all sides a dead level
extends itself, broken only by single solitary mounds, the remains of
ancient temples or cities, by long lines of slightly elevated embankment
marking the course of canals, ancient or recent, and towards the
south--by a few sand-hills.  The only further variety is that of color; for
while the banks of the streams, the marsh-grounds, and the country for a
short distance on each side of the canals in actual operation, present to
the eye a pleasing, and in some cases a luxuriant verdure; the rest,
except in early spring, is parched and arid, having little to distinguish
it from the most desolate districts of Arabia.  Anciently, except for
this difference, the tract must have possessed all the wearisome
uniformity of the steppe region; the level horizon must have shown itself
on all sides unbroken by a single irregularity; all places must have
appeared alike, and the traveller can scarcely have perceived his
progress, or have known whither or how to direct his steps.  The rivers
alone, with their broad sweeps and bold reaches, their periodical changes
of swell and fall, their strength, motion, and life-giving power, can
have been objects of thought and interest to the first inhabitants; and
it is still to these that the modern must turn who wishes to represent,
to himself or others, the general aspect and chief geographical divisions
of the country.

The Tigris and Euphrates rise from opposite sides of the same
mountain-chain.  This is the ancient range of Niphates (a prolongation
of Taurus), the loftiest of the many parallel ridges which intervene
between the Euxine and the Mesopotamian plain, and the only one which
transcends in many places the limits of perpetual snow.  Hence its
ancient appellation, and hence its power to sustain unfailingly the two
magnificent streams which flow from it.  The line of the Niphates is
from east to west, with a very slight deflection to the south of west;
and the streams thrown off from its opposite flanks, run at first in
valleys parallel to the chain itself, but in opposite directions, the
Euphrates flowing westward from its source near Ararat to Malatiyeh,
while the Tigris from Diarbekr "goes eastward to Assyria."  The rivers
thus appear as if never about to meet; but at Malatiyeh, the course of
the Euphrates is changed.  Sweeping suddenly to the south-east, this
stream passes within a few miles of the source of the Tigris below Lake
Goljik, and forces a way through the mountains towards the south,
pursuing a tortuous course, but still seeming as if it intended
ultimately to mingle its waters with those of the Mediterranean.  It is
not till about Balis, in lat. 36 deg., that this intention appears to be
finally relinquished, and the convergence of the two streams begins. The
Euphrates at first flows nearly due east, but soon takes a course which
is, with few and unimportant deflections, about south-east, as far as
Suk-es-Sheioukh, after which it runs a little north of east to Kurnah.
The Tigris from Til to Mosul pursues also a south-easterly course, and
draws but a very little nearer to the Euphrates.  From Mosul, however,
to Samarah, its course is only a point east of south; and though, after
that, for some miles it flows off to the east, yet resuming, a little
below the thirty-fourth parallel, its southerly direction, it is brought
about Baghdad within twenty miles of the sister stream.  From this point
there is again a divergence.  The course of the Euphrates, which from
Hit to the mounds of Mohammed (long. 44 deg.) had been E.S.E., becomes
much more southerly, while that of the Tigris--which, as we have seen,
was for awhile due south--becomes once more only slightly south of east,
till near Serut, where the distance between the rivers has increased
from twenty to a hundred miles.  After passing respectively Serut and El
Khitr, the two streams converge rapidly.  The flow of the Euphrates is
at first E. S. E., and then a little north of east to Kurnah, while that
of the Tigris is S.S.E.  to the same point. The lines of the streams in
this last portion of their course, together with that which may be drawn
across from stream to stream, form nearly an equilateral triangle, the
distance being respectively 104, 110, and 115 miles.  So rapid is the
final convergence of the two great rivers.

The Tigris and Euphrates are both streams of the first order.  The
estimated length of the former, including main windings, is 1146 miles;
that of the latter is 1780 miles.  Like most rivers that have their
sources in high mountain regions, they are strong from the first, and,
receiving in their early course a vast number of important tributaries,
become broad and deep streams before they issue upon the plains.  The
Euphrates is navigable from Sumeisat (the ancient Samosata), 1200 miles
above its embouchure; and even 180 miles higher up, is a river "of
imposing appearance," 120 yards wide and very deep.  The Tigris is often
250 yards wide at Diarbekr, which is not a hundred miles from its
source, and is navigable in the flood time from the bridge of Diarbekr
to Mosul, from which place it is descended at all seasons to Baghdad,
and thence to the sea.  Its average width below Mosul is 200 yards, with
a depth which allows the ascent of light steamers, unless when there is
an artificial obstruction.  Above Mosul the width rarely exceeds 150
yards, and the depth is not more in places than three or four feet.  The
Euphrates is 250 yards wide at Balbi, and averages 350 yards from its
junction with the Khabour to Hit: its depth is commonly from fifteen to
twenty feet. Small steamers have descended its entire course from Bir to
the sea.  The volume of the Euphrates in places is, however, somewhat
less than that of the Tigris, which is a swifter and in its latter
course a deeper stream. It has been calculated that the quantity of
water discharged every second by the Tigris at Baghdad is 164,103 cubic
feet, while that discharged by the Euphrates at Hit is 72,804 feet.

The Tigris and Euphrates are very differently circumstanced with respect
to tributaries.  So long as it runs among the Armenian mountains, the
Euphrates has indeed no lack of affluents; but these, except the Kara
Su, or northern Euphrates, are streams of no great volume, being chiefly
mountain-torrents which collect the drainage of very limited basins.
After it leaves the mountains and enters upon a low country at Sumefsat,
the affluents almost entirely cease; one, the river of Sajur, is
received from the right, in about lat.  36 deg. 40'; and two of more
importance flow in from the left-the Belik (ancient Bilichus), which
joins it in long.  39 deg. 9'; and the Khabour (ancient Habor or
Chaboras), which effects a junction in long. 40 deg. 30', lat.  35 deg.
7'.  The Belik and Khabour collect the waters which flow from the
southern flank of the mountain range above Orfa, Mardin, and Nisibin,
best known as the "Mons Masius" of Strabo.  They are not, however,
streams of equal importance. The Belik has a course which is nearly
straight, and does not much exceed 120 miles.  The Khabour, on the
contrary, is sufficiently sinuous, and its course may be reckoned at
fully 200 miles.  It is navigable by rafts from the junction of its two
main branches near the volcanic cone of Koukab, and adds a considerable
body of water to the Euphrates.  Below its confluence with this stream,
or during the last 800 miles of its course, the Euphrates does not
receive a single tributary.  On the contrary, it soon begins to give off
its waters right and left, throwing out branches, which either terminate
in marshes, or else empty themselves into the Tigris.  After awhile,
indeed, it receives compensation, by means of the Shat-el-Hie and other
branch streams, which bring back to it from the Tigris, between Mugheir
and Kurnah, the greater portion of the borrowed fluid.  The Tigris, on
the contrary, is largely enriched throughout the whole of its course by
the waters of tributary streams. It is formed originally of three main
branches: the Diarbekr stream, or true Tigris, the Myafarekin River, and
the Bitlis Chai, or Centrites of Xenophon, which carries a greater body
than either of the other two. From its entry on the low country near
Jezireh to the termination of its course at Kurnah, it is continually
receiving from the left a series of most important additions.  The chain
of Zagros, which, running parallel to the two main springs, shuts in the
Mesopotamian plain upon the east, abounds with springs, which are well
supplied during the whole summer from its snows, and these when
collected form rivers of large size and most refreshing coolness.  The
principal are, the eastern Khabour, which joins the Tigris in lat. 37
deg. 12': the Upper Zabo which falls in by the ruins of Nimrud: the
Lower Zab, which joins some way below Kileh Sherghat: the Adhem, which
unites its waters half way between Samarah and Baghdad: and the Diyaleh
(ancient Gyndes), which is received between Baghdad and the ruins of

By the influx of these streams the Tigris continues to grow in depth and
strength as it nears the sea, and becomes at last (as we have seen) a
greater river than the Euphrates, which shrinks during the latter part
of its course, and is reduced to a volume very inferior to that which it
once boasted.  The Euphrates at its junction with the Khabour, 700 miles
above Kurnah, is 400 yards wide and 18 feet deep; at Irzah or Verdi, 75
miles lower down, it is 350 yards wide and of the same depth; at
Hadiseh, 140 miles below Werdi, it is 300 yards wide, and still of the
same depth; at Hit, 50 miles below Hadiseh, its width has increased to
350 yards, but its depth has diminished to 16 feet; at Felujiah, 75
miles from Hit, the depth is 20 feet, but the width has diminished to
250 yards.  From this point the contraction is very rapid and striking.
The Saklawiyeh canal is given out upon the left, and some way further
down the Hindiyeh branches off upon the right, each carrying, when the
Euphrates is full, a large body of water.  The consequence is that at
Hillah, 90 miles-below Felujiah, the stream is no more than 200 yards
wide and 15 feet deep; at Diwaniyeh, 65 miles further down, it is only
160 yards wide; and at Lamlun, 20 miles below Diwaniyeh, it is reduced
to 120 yards wide, with a depth of no more than 12 feet!  Soon after,
however, it begins to recover itself.  The water, which left it by the
Hindiyeh, returns to it upon the one side, while the Shat-el-Hie and
numerous other branch streams from the Tigris flow in upon the other;
but still the Euphrates never recovers itself entirely, nor even
approaches in its later course to the standard of its earlier greatness.
The channel from Kurnah to El Khitr was found by Colonel Chesney to have
an average width of only 200 yards, and a depth of about 18 or 19 feet,
which implies a body of water far inferior to that carried between the
junction with the Khabour and Hit.  More recently, the decline of the
stream in its latter course has been found to be even greater.  Neglect
of the banks has allowed the river to spread itself more and more widely
over the land: and it is said that, except in the flood time, very
little of the Euphrates water reaches the sea.  Nor is this an
unprecedented or very unusual state of things.  From the circumstance
(probably) that it has been formed by the deposits of streams flowing
from the east as well as from the north, the lower Mesopotamian plain
slopes not only to the south, but to the west.  The Euphrates, which has
low banks, is hence at all times inclined to leave its bed, and to flow
off to the right, where large tracts are below its ordinary level.  Over
these it spreads itself, forming the well-known "Chaldaean marshes,"
which absorb the chief proportion of the water that flows into them, and
in which the "great river" seems at various times to have wholly, or
almost wholly, lost itself.  No such misfortune can befall the Tigris,
which runs in a deep bed, and seldom varies its channel, offering a
strong contrast to the sister stream.

Frequent allusion has been made, in the course of this description of
the Tigris and Euphrates, to the fact of their having each a flood
season. Herodotus is scarcely correct when he says that in Babylonia
"the river does not, as in Egypt, overflow the corn-lands of its own
accord, but is spread over them by the help of engines."   Both the
Tigris and Euphrates rise many feet each spring, and overflow their
banks in various places. The rise is caused by the melting of the snows
in the mountain regions from which the two rivers and their affluents
spring.  As the Tigris drains the southern, and the Euphrates the
northern side of the same mountain range, the flood of the former stream
is earlier and briefer than that of the latter.  The Tigris commonly
begins to rise early in March, and reaches its greatest height in the
first or second week of May, after which it rapidly declines, and
returns to its natural level by the middle of June.  The Euphrates first
swells about the middle of March, and is not in full flood till quite
the end of May or the beginning of June; it then continues high for
above a month, and does not sink much till the middle of July, after
which it gradually falls till September.  The country inundated by the
Tigris is chiefly that on its lower course, between the 32d and 31st
parallels, the territory of the Beni Lam Arabs.  The territory which the
Euphrates floods is far more extensive.  As high up as its junction with
the Khabour, that stream is described as, in the month of April,
"spreading over the surrounding country like a sea."  From Hit
downwards, it inundates both its banks, more especially the country
above Baghdad (to which it is carried by the Saklawiyeh canal), the
tract west of the Birs Nimrud and extending thence by way of Nedjif to
Samava and the territory of the Affej Arabs, between the rivers above
and below the 32d parallel.  Its flood is, however, very irregular,
owing to the nature of its banks, and the general inclination of the
plain, whereof mention was made above.  If care is taken, the inundation
may be pretty equally distrib uted on either side of the stream; but if
the river banks are neglected, it is sure to flow mainly to the west,
rendering the whole country on that side the river a swamp, and leaving
the territory on the left bank almost without water.  This state of
things may be traced historically from the age of Alexander to the
present day, and has probably prevailed more or less since the time when
Chaldaea received its first inhabitants.

The floods of the Tigris and Euphrates combine with the ordinary action
of their streams upon their banks to produce a constant variation in
their courses, which in a long period of time might amount to something
very considerable.  It is impossible to say, with respect to any portion
of the alluvial plain, that it may not at some former period have been
the bed of one or the other river.  Still it would seem that, on the
whole, a law of compensation prevails, with the result that the general
position of the streams in the valley is not very different now from what
it was 4000 years ago.  Certainly between the present condition of things
and that in the time of Alexander, or even of Herodotus, no great
difference can be pointed out, except in the region immediately adjoining
on the gulf, where the alluvium has grown, and the streams, which were
formerly separate, have united their waters.  The Euphrates still flows
by Hit and through Babylon; the Tigris passes near Opis, and at Baghdad
runs at the foot of an embankment made to confine it by Nebuchadnezzar.
The changes traceable are less in the main courses than in the branch
streams, which perpetually vary, being sometimes left dry within a few
years of the time that they have been navigable channels.

The most important variations of this kind are on the side of Arabia.
Here the desert is always ready to encroach; and the limits of Chaldaea
itself depend upon the distance from the main river, to which some branch
stream conveys the Euphrates water.  In the most flourishing times of the
country, a wide and deep channel, branching off near Hit, at the very
commencement of the alluvium, has skirted the Arabian rock and gravel for
a distance of several hundred miles, and has entered the Persian Gulf by
a mouth of its own.  In this way the extent of Chaldaea has been at times
largely increased, a vast tract being rendered cultivable, which is
otherwise either swamp or desert.

Such are the chief points of interest connected with the two great
Mesopotamian rivers.  These form, as has been already observed, the only
marked and striking characteristics of the country, which, except for
them, and for one further feature, which now requires notice, would be
absolutely unvaried and uniform.  On the Arabian side of the Euphrates,
50 miles south of the ruins of Babylon, and 25 or 30 miles from the
river, is a fresh-water lake of very considerable dimensions--the
Bahr-i-Nedjif, the "Assyrium stagnum" of Justin.  This is a natural
basin, 40 miles long, and from 10 to 20 miles broad, enclosed on three
sides by sandstone cliffs, varying from 20 to 200 feet in height, and
shut in on the fourth side--the north-east--by a rocky ridge, which
intervenes between the valley of the Euphrates and this inland sea.  The
cliffs are water-worn, presenting distinct indications of more than one
level at which the water has rested in former times.  At the season of
the inundation this lake is liable to be confounded with the extensive
floods and marshes which extend continuously from the country west of
the Birs Nimrud to Samava.  But at other tines the distinction between
the Bahr and the marshes is very evident, the former remaining when the
latter disappear altogether, and not diminishing very greatly in size
even in the driest season.  The water of the lake is fresh and sweet, so
long as it communicates with the Euphrates; when the communication is
cut off it becomes very unpalatable, and those who dwell in the vicinity
are no longer able to drink it.  This result is attributed to the
connection of the lake with rocks of the gypsiferous series.

It is obvious that the only natural divisions of Chaldaea a proper are
those made by the river-courses.  The principal tract must always have
been that which intervenes between the two streams.  This was anciently a
district some 300 miles in length, varying from 20 to 100 miles in
breadth, and perhaps averaging 50 miles, which must thus have contained
an area of about 15,000 square miles.  The tract between the Euphrates
and Arabia was at all times smaller than this, and in the most
flourishing period of Chaldaea must have fallen short of 10,000 square

We have no evidence that the natural division of Chaldaea here indicated
was ever employed in ancient times for political purposes.  The division
which appears to have been so employed was one into northern and southern
Chaldaea, the first extending from Hit to a little below Babylon, the
second from Niffer to the shores of the Persian Gulf.  In each of these
districts we have a sort of tetrarchy, or special pre-eminence of four
cities, such as appears to be indicated by the words--"The beginning of
his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad and Calneh, in the land of
Shinar."  The southern tetrarchy is composed of the four cities, Ur or
Hur, Huruk, Nipur, and Larsa or Larancha, which are probably identified
with the Scriptural "Ur of the Chaldees," Erech, Calneh, and Ellasar.
The northern consists of Babel or Babylon, Borsippa, Cutha, and Sippara,
of which all except Borsippa are mentioned in Scripture.  Besides these
cities the country contained many others,--as Chilmad, Dur-Kurri-galzu,
Ihi or Ahava, Rubesi, Duran, Tel-Humba, etc.  It is not possible at
present to locate with accuracy all these places.  We may, however, in
the more important instances, fix either certainly, or with a very high
degree of probability, their position.

Hur or Ur, the most important of the early capitals, was situated on the
Euphrates, probably at no great distance from its mouth.  It was probably
the chief commercial emporium in the early times; as in the bilingual
vocabularies its ships are mentioned in connection with those of
Ethiopia.  The name is found to have attached to the extensive ruins (now
about six miles from the river, on its right bank, and nearly opposite
its junction with the Shat-el-Hie) which are known by the name of
Mugheir, or "the bitumened."  Hereon a dead flat, broken only by a few
sand-hills, are traces of a considerable town, consisting chiefly of a
series of low mounds, disposed in an oval shape, the largest diameter of
which runs from north to south, and measures somewhat more than half a
mile.  The chief building is a temple, hereafter to be more particularly
described, which is a very conspicuous object even at a considerable
distance, its greatest height above the plain being about seventy feet.
It is built in a very rude fashion, of large bricks, cemented with
bitumen, whence the name by which the Arabs designate the ruins.

[Illustration: PLATE 1]

About thirty miles from Hur, in a north-westerly direction, and on the
other side of the Euphrates, from which it is distant eight or nine
miles, are the ruins of a town, called in the inscriptions Larrak, or
Larsa, in which some of the best Orientalists have recognized at once the
Biblical Ellasar, the Laranchue of Berosus, and the Larissa of
Apollodorus, where the king held his court who sent Memnon to the siege
of Troy.  The identification is perhaps doubtful; but, at any rate, we
have here the remains of a second Chaldaean capital, dating from the very
earliest times.  The ruins, which bear now the name of Senkereh or
Sinkara, consist of a low circular platform, about four and a half miles
in circumference, rising gradually from the level of the plain to a
central mound, the highest point of which attains an elevation of seventy
feet above the plain itself, and is distinctly visible from a distance of
fifteen miles.  The material used consists of the ordinary sun-dried and
baked bricks; and the basement platforms bear the inscriptions of the
same king who appears to have been the original founder of the chief
buildings at Ur or Mugheir.

[Illustration: PLATE 2]

Fifteen miles from Larsa, in a direction a little north of west, and on
the same side of the river, are ruins considerably more extensive than
those of either Ur or Larsa, to which the natives apply the name of
Warka, which is no doubt a corruption of the original appellation.  The
Erech, or Orech, of the Hebrews, which appears as Huruk in the cuneiform
geographical lists, became known to the Greeks as Orchoe; and this
appellation, probably continuing in use to the time of the Arab conquest,
was then corrupted into Urka or Warka, in which shape the name given by
Nimrod still attaches to the second of his cities.  The ruins stand in
lat. 31 deg. 19', long. 45 deg. 40', about four miles from the nearest
bend of the Euphrates, on its left or east bank.  They form an irregular
circle, nearly six miles in circumference, which is defined by the traces
of an earthen rampart, in some places forty feet high.  A vast mass of
undulating mounds, intersected by innumerable channels and ravines,
extends almost entirely across the circular space, in a direction, which
is nearly north and south, abutting at either end upon the rampart.  East
and west of this mass is a comparatively open space, where the mounds are
scattered and infrequent; while outside the rampart are not only a number
of detached hillocks marking the site of ancient buildings, but in one
direction--towards the east--the city may be traced continuously by means
of ruined edifices, mounds, and pottery, fully three miles beyond the
rampart into the desert.  The greatest height of the ruins is about 100
feet; their construction is very rude and primitive, the date of some
buildings being evidently as early as that of the most ancient structures
of either Mugheir or Senkereh.

Sixty miles to the north-west of these ruins, still on the left or
eastern bank of the Euphrates, but at the distance of thirty miles from
its present course, are the remains of another city, the only Chaldaean
ruins which can dispute, with those already described, the palm of
antiquity.  They consist of a number of separate and distinct heaps,
which seem to be the remains of different buildings, and are divided into
two nearly equal groups by a deep ravine or channel 120 feet wide,
apparently the dry bed of a river which once ran through the town.
Conspicuous among the other hillocks is a conical heap, occupying a
central position on the eastern side of the river-bed, and rising to the
height of about seventy feet above the general level of the plain.
Further on in this direction is a low continuous mound, which seems to be
a portion of the outer wall of the city.  The ruins are of considerable
extent, but scarcely so large as those at either Senkereh or Warka.  The
name which now attaches to them is Niffer: and it appears, from the
inscriptions at the place, that the ancient Semitic appellation was but
slightly different.  This name, as read on the bilingual tablets, was
Nipur; and as there can be little doubt that it is this word which
appears in the Talmud as Nopher, we are perhaps entitled, on the
authority of that treasure-house of Hebrew traditions, to identify these
ruins with the Calneh of Moses, and the Calno of Isaiah.

About sixty-five miles from Niffer, on the opposite side of the
Euphrates, and in a direction only slightly north of west, are the
remains of the ancient Borsippa.  These consist of little more than the
ruins of a single building--the great temple of Merodach--which was
entirely rebuilt by Nebuchadnezzar.  They have been sometimes regarded as
really a portion of the ancient Babylon; but this view is wholly
incompatible with the cuneiform records, which distinctly assign to the
ruins in question the name of Borsip or Borsippa, a place known with
certainty to have been distinct from, though in the neighborhood of, the
capital.  A remnant of the ancient name appears to be contained in the
modern appellation, Birs-Nimrud or Birsi-Nimrud, which does not admit of
any explanation from the existing language of the country.

Fifteen miles from thence, to the north-east, chiefly but not entirely on
the left or east bank of the Euphrates, are the remains of "Babylon the
Great," which have been so frequently described by travellers, that
little need be said of them in this place.  The chief ruins cover a space
about three miles long, and from one to two broad, and consist mainly of
three great masses: the first a square mound, called "Babil" by the
Arabs, lying towards the north at some distance from the other remains;
the second or central mound, a pile called the "Kasr" or Palace; and the
third, a great irregular heap lying towards the south, known as the
"mound of Amram," from a tomb which crowns its summit.  The "Kasr" and
"Amram" mounds are enclosed within two lines of rampart, lying at right
angles to each other, and forming, with the river, a sort of triangle,
within which all the principal ruins are comprised, except the mound
called "Babil".  Beyond the rampart, towards the north, south, and east,
and also across the river to the west, are various smaller detached
ruins, while the whole ground, in every direction, is covered with
fragments of brick and with nitre, the sure marks of former habitations.

[Illustration: PLATE 3]

The other cities of ancient Chaldaea which may be located with an
approach to certainty, are Cutha, now Ibrahim, fifteen miles north-east
by north of Hymar; Sippara or Sepharvaim, which was at Sura, near Mosaib
on the Euphrates, about twenty miles above Babylon by the direct route;
and Dur-Kurri-galzu, now Akkerkuf, on the Saklawiyeh canal, six miles
from Baghdad, and thirty from Mosaib, in a direction a little west of
north.  [PLATE III., Fig.  1.] Ihi, or Ahava, is probably Hit, ninety
miles above Mosaib, on the right bank of the river; Chilmad may be
Kalwadha, near Baghdad; and Rubesi is perhaps Zerghul, near the left bank
of the Shat-el-Hie, a little above its confluence with the Euphrates.
Chaldaean cities appear likewise to have existed at Hymar, ten miles from
Babylon towards the east; at Sherifeh and Im Khithr, south and south-east
of Hymar; at Zibbliyeh, on the line of the Nil canal, fifteen miles
north-west of Niffer; at Delayhim and Bisrniya, in the Affej marshes,
beyond Niffer, to the south-east; at Phara and Jidr, in the same region,
to the south-west and south-east of Bismiya; at Hammam [PLATE III., Fig.
2], sixteen miles south-east of Phara, between the Affej and the Shatra
marshes; at Tel-Ede, six miles from Hammam, to the south-south-west
[PLATE IV., Fig. 2]; at Tel-Medineh and Tel-Sifr, in the Shatra marshes,
to the south-east of Tel-Ede and the north-east of Senkereh; at Yokha,
east of Hammam, and Nuffdyji, north of Warka; at Lethami, near Niffer; at
Iskhuriyeh, north of Zibbliyeh, near the Tigris; at Tel-Kheir and
Tel-Dhalab, in the upper part of the alluvium, to the north of Akkerkuf;
at Duair, on the right bank of the Euphrates, south of Hilleh and
south-east of the Birs-Nimrud; at Jeb Mehari, south of the
Bahr-i-Nedjif; at Mal Battush, near Swaje; at Tel-el-Lahm, nine or ten
miles south of Suk-es-Sheioukh, and at Abu Shahrein, in the same
neighborhood, on the very border of the Arabian Desert.  Further
investigation will probably add largely to this catalogue, for many
parts of Babylonia are still to some extent unexplored.  This is
especially true of the tract between the Shat-el-Hie and the lower
Tigris, a district which, according to the geographers, abounds with
ruins.  No doubt the most extensive and most striking of the old cities
have been visited; for of these Europeans are sure to hear through the
reports of natives.  But it is more than probable that a number of the
most interesting sites remain unexplored, and even unvisited; for these
are not always either very extensive or very conspicuous.  The process
of gradual disintegration is continually lowering the height of the
Chaldaean ruins; and depressed mounds are commonly the sign of an
ancient and long-deserted city.  Such remains give us an insight into
the character of the early people, which it is impossible to obtain from
ruins where various populations have raised their fabrics in succession
upon the same spot.

[Illustration: PLATE 4]

The cities here enumerated may not perhaps, in all cases, have existed in
the Chaldaean period.  The evidence hitherto obtained connects distinctly
with that period only the following--Babylon, Ur or Hur, Larrak or Larsa,
Erech or Huruk, Calneh or Nopher, Sippara, Dur-Kurri-galzu, Chilmad, and
the places now called Abu Shahrein and Tel-Sifr.  These sites, it will be
observed, were scattered over the whole territory from the extreme south
almost to the extreme north, and show the extent of the kingdom to have
been that above assigned to it.  They are connected together by a
similarity in building arrangements and materials, in language, in form
of type and writing, and sometimes in actual names of monarchs.  The most
ancient, apparently, are those towards the south, at Warka, Senkereh,
Mugheir, and Niffer; and here, in the neighborhood of the sea, which then
probably reached inland as far as Suk-es-Sheioukh, there is sufficient
reason to place the primitive seat of Chaldaean power.  The capital of
the whole region was at first Ur or Hur, but afterwards became Nipur, and
finally Babel or Babylon.

The geography of Chaldaea is scarcely complete without a glance at the
countries which adjoin upon it.  On the west, approaching generally
within twenty or thirty miles of the present course of the Euphrates, is
the Arabian Desert, consisting in this place of tertiary sand and
gravels, having a general elevation of a few feet above the Mesopotamian
plain, and occasionally rising into ridges of no great height, whose
direction is parallel to the course of the great stream.  Such are the
Hazem and the Qassaim, in the country between the Bahr-i-Nedjif and the
Persian Gulf, low pebbly ridges which skirt the valley from the Bahr to
below Suk-es-Sheioukh.  Further west the desert becomes more stony, its
surface being strewn with numerous blocks of black granite, from which it
derives its appellation of Hejerra.  No permanent streams water this
region; occasional "wadys" or torrent-courses, only full after heavy
rains, are found; but the scattered inhabitants depend for water chiefly
on their wells, which are deep and numerous, but yield only a scanty
supply of a brackish and unpalatable fluid.  No settled population can at
any time have found subsistence in this region, which produces only a few
dates, and in places a poor and unsucculent herbage.  Sandstorms are
frequent, and at times the baleful simoon sweeps across the entire tract,
destroying with its pestilential breath both men and animals.

Towards the north Chaldaea adjoined upon Assyria.  From the foot of that
moderately lofty range already described which the Greeks call Masius,
and the modern Turks know as Jebel Tur and Karajah Dagh, extends, for
above 300 miles, a plain of low elevation, slightly undulating in places,
and crossed about its centre by an important limestone ridge, known as
the Sinjar hills, which have a direction nearly east and west, beginning
about Mosul, and terminating a little below Rakkah.  This track differs
from the Chaldaean lowland, by being at once less flat and more elevated.
Geologically it is of secondary formation, while Chaldaea proper is
tertiary or post-tertiary.  It is fairly watered towards the north, but
below the Sinjar is only very scantily supplied.  In modern times it is
for nine months in the year a desert, but anciently it was well
inhabited, means having apparently been found to bring the whole into
cultivation.  As a complete account of this entire region must be given
in another part of the present volume, this outline (it is thought) may
suffice for our present purpose.

Eastward of Chaldaea, separated from it by the Tigris, which in its lower
course is a stream of more body than the Euphrates, was the country known
to the Jews as Elam, to the early Greeks as Cissia, and to the later
Greeks as Susis or Susiana.  This territory comprised a portion of the
mountain country which separates Mesopotamia from Persia; but it was
chiefly composed of the broad and rich flats intervening between the
mountains and the Tigris, along the courses of the Kerkhah, Kuran, and
Jerahi rivers.  It was a rich and fertile tract, resembling Chaldaea in
its general character, with the exception that the vicinity of the
mountains lent it freshness, giving it cooler streams, more frequent
rains, and pleasanter breezes.

Capable of maintaining with ease a dense population, it was likely, in
the early times, to be a powerful rival to the Mesopotamian kingdom, over
which we shall find that in fact it sometimes exercised supremacy.

On the south Chaldaea had no neighbor.  Here a spacious sea, with few
shoals, land-locked, and therefore protected from the violent storms of
the Indian Ocean, invited to commerce, offering a ready communication
with India and Ceylon, as well as with Arabia Felix, Ethiopia, and Egypt.
It is perhaps to this circumstance of her geographical position, as much
as to any other, that ancient Chaldaea owes her superiority over her
neighbors, and her right to be regarded as one of the five great
monarchies of the ancient world.  Commanding at once the sea, which
reaches here deep into the land, and the great rivers by means of which
the commodities of the land were most conveniently brought down to the
sea, she lay in the highway of trade, and could scarcely fail to profit
by her position.  There is sufficient reason to believe that Ur, the
first capital, was a great maritime emporium; and if so, it can scarcely
be doubted that to commerce and trade, at the least in part, the early
development of Chaldaean greatness was owing.



"Ager totius Asiae fertilissimus."--PLIN. H. N. vi. 26.

Lower Mesopotamia, or Chaldaea, which lies in the same latitude with
Central China, the Punjab, Palestine, Marocco, Georgia, Texas, and
Central California, has a climate the warmth of which is at least equal
to that of any of those regions.  Even in the more northern part of the
country, the district about Baghdad, the thermometer often rises during
the summer to 120 deg. of Fahrenheit in the shade; and the inhabitants
are forced to retreat to their _serdabs_ or cellars, where they remain
during the day, in an atmosphere which, by the entire exclusion of the
sun's rays, is reduced to about 100 deg.  Lower down the valley, at
Zobair, Busrah, and Mohammrah, the summer temperature is still higher;
and, owing to the moisture of the atmosphere, consequent on the vicinity
of the sea, the heat is of that peculiarly oppressive character which
prevails on the sea-coast of Hindustan, in Ceylon, in the West Indian
Islands, at New Orleans, and in other places whose situation is similar.
The vital powers languish under this oppression, which produces in the
European a lassitude of body and a prostration of mind that wholly unfit
him for active duties.  On the Asiatic, however, these influences seem to
have little effect.  The Cha'b Arabs, who at present inhabit the region,
are a tall and warlike race, strong-limbed, and muscular; they appear to
enjoy the climate, and are as active, as healthy, and as long-lived as
any tribe of their nation.  But if man by long residence becomes
thoroughly inured to the intense heat of these regions, it is otherwise
with the animal creation.  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.

The evils proceeding from a burning temperature are augmented in places
under the influence of winds, which, arising suddenly, fill the air with
an impalpable sand, sometimes circling about a point, sometimes driving
with furious force across a wide extent of country.  The heated
particles, by their contact with the atmosphere, increase its fervid
glow, and, penetrating by the nose and mouth, dry up the moisture of the
tongue, parch the throat, and irritate or even choke the lungs.  Earth
and sky are alike concealed by the dusty storm, through which no object
can be distinguished that is removed many yards; a lurid gleam surrounds
the traveller, and seems to accompany him as he moves: every landmark is
hid from view; and to the danger of suffocation is added that of becoming
bewildered and losing all knowledge of the road.  Such are the perils
encountered in the present condition of the country.  It may be doubted,
however, if in the times with which we are here concerned the evils just
described had an existence.  The sands of Chaldaea, which are still
progressive and advancing, seem to have reached it from the Arabian
Desert, to which they properly belong: year by year the drifts gain upon
the alluvium, and threaten to spread over the whole country.  If we may
calculate the earlier by the present rate of progress, we must conclude
that anciently these shifting sands had at any rate not crossed the

If the heat of summer be thus fierce and trying, the cold of winter must
be pronounced to be very moderate.  Frost, indeed, is not unknown in the
country: but the frosts are only slight.  Keen winds blow from the north,
and in the morning the ground is often whitened by the congelation of the
dew; the Arabs, impatient of a low temperature, droop and flag; but there
is at no time any severity of cold; ice rarely forms in the marshes; snow
is unknown; and the thermometer, even on the grass, does not often sink
below 30 deg.  The Persian kings passed their winter in Babylon, on
account of the mildness of the climate; and Indian princes, expelled from
the Peninsula, are wont, from a similar cause, to fix their residence at
Busrah or Baghdad.  The cold of which travellers speak is relative rather
than positive.  The range of the thermometer in Lower Chaldoea is perhaps
100 deg., whereas in England it is scarcely 80 deg., there is thus a
greater difference between the heat of summer and the cold of winter
there than here; but the actual greatest cold--that which benumbs the
Arabs and makes them fall from their horses--is no more than we often
experience in April, or even in May.

The rainy season of Chaldaea is in the winter time.  Heavy showers fall
in November, and still more in December, which sensibly raise the level
of the rivers.  As the spring advances the showers become lighter and
less frequent; but still they recur from time to time, until the summer
sets in, about May.  From May to November rain is very rare indeed.  The
sky continues for weeks or even months without a cloud; and the sun's
rays are only tempered for a short time at morning and at evening by a
gray mist or haze.  It is during these months that the phenomenon of the
mirage is most remarkable.  The strata of air, unequally heated, and
therefore differing in rarity, refract the rays of light, fantastically
enlarging and distorting the objects seen through them, which frequently
appear raised from the ground and hanging in mid-air, or else, by a
repetition of their image, which is reflected in a lower stratum, give
the impression that they stand up out of a lake.  Hence the delusion
which has so often driven the traveller to desperation--the "image of a
cool, rippling, watery mirror," which flies before him as he advances,
and at once provokes and mocks his thirst.

The fertility of Chaldaea in ancient times was proverbial.

"Of all countries that we know," says Herodotus, "there is none that is
so fruitful in grain.  It makes no pretension, indeed, of growing the
fig, the olive, the vine, or any other tree of the kind; but in grain it
is so fruitful as to yield commonly two hundred-fold, and when the
production is at the greatest, even three hundred-fold.  The blade of the
wheat-plant and of the barley-plant is often four fingers in breadth.  As
for the millet and the sesame, I shall not say to what height they grow,
though within my own knowledge; for I am not ignorant that what I have
already written concerning the fruitfulness of Babylonia must seem
incredible to those who have not visited the country."  Theophrastus, the
disciple of Aristotle, remarks--"In Babylon the wheat-fields are
regularly mown twice, and then fed off with beasts, to keep down the
luxuriance of the leaf; otherwise the plant does not run to ear.  When
this is done, the return, in lands that are badly cultivated, is
fifty-fold; while, in those that are well farmed, it is a hundred-fold."
Strabo observes--"The country produces barley on a scale not known
elsewhere, for the return is said to be three hundred-fold.  All other
wants are supplied by the palm, which furnishes not only bread, but wine,
vinegar, honey, and meal."  Pliny follows Theophrastus, with the
exception that he makes the return of the wheat-crop, where the land is
well farmed, a hundred and fifty-fold.  The wealth of the region was
strikingly exhibited by the heavy demands which were made upon it by the
Persian kings, as well as by the riches which, notwithstanding these
demands, were accumulated in the hands of those who administered its
government.  The money-tribute paid by Babylonia and Assyria to the
Persians was a thousand talents of silver (nearly a quarter of a million
of our money) annually; while the tribute in kind was reckoned at one
third part of the contributions of the whole empire.  Yet, despite this
drain on its resources, the government was regarded as the best that the
Persian king had to bestow, and the wealth accumulated by Babylonian
satraps was extraordinary.  Herodotus tells us of a certain
Tritanteechmes, a governor, who, to his own knowledge, derived from his
province nearly two bushels of silver daily!  This fortunate individual
had a "stud of sixteen thousand mares, with a proportionate number of
horses."  Another evidence of the fertility of the region may be traced
in the fear of Artaxerxes Mnemon, after the battle of Cunaxa, lest the
Ten Thousand should determine to settle permanently in the vicinity of
Sittace upon the Tigris.  Whatever opinion may be held as to the exact
position of this place, and of the district intended by Xenophon, it is
certain that it was in the alluvial plain and so contained within the
limits of the ancient Chaldaea.

Modern travellers, speaking of Chaldaea in its present condition, express
themselves less enthusiastically than the ancients; but, on the whole,
agree with them as to the natural capabilities of the country.  "The
soil," says one of the most judicious, "is extremely fertile, producing
great quantities of rice, dates, and grain of different kinds, though it
is not cultivated to above half the degree of which it is susceptible."
"The soil is rich," says another, "not less bountiful than that on the
banks of the Egyptian Nile."  "Although greatly changed by the neglect of
man," observes a third, "those portions of Mesopotamia which are still
cultivated, as the country about Hillah, show that the region has all the
fertility ascribed to it by Herodotus."  There is a general recognition
of the productive qualities of the district, combined with a general
lamentation over the existing neglect and apathy which allow such gifts
of Nature to run to waste.  Cultivation, we are told, is now the
exception, instead of the rule.  "Instead of the luxuriant fields, the
groves and gardens of former times, nothing now meets the eye but an arid
waste."  Many parts of Chaldaea, naturally as productive as any others,
are at present pictures of desolation.  Large tracts are covered by
unwholesome marshes, producing nothing but enormous reeds; others lie
waste and bare, parched up by the fierce heat of the sun, and utterly
destitute of water; in some places, as has been already mentioned,
sand-drifts accumulate, and threaten to make the whole region a mere
portion of the desert.

The great cause of this difference between ancient and modern Chaldaea is
the neglect of the water-courses.  Left to themselves, the rivers tend to
desert some portions of the alluvium wholly, which then become utterly
unproductive; while they spread themselves out over others, which are
converted thereby into pestilential swamps.  A well-arranged system of
embankments and irrigating canals is necessary in order to develop the
natural capabilities of the country, and to derive from the rich soil of
this vast alluvium the valuable and varied products which it can be made
to furnish.

Among the natural products of the region two stand out as pre-eminently
important-the wheat-plant and the date-palm.  [PLATE IV., Fig.  2.]
According to the native tradition, wheat was indigenous in Chaldaea; and
the first comers thus found themselves provided by the bountiful hand of
Nature with the chief necessary of life.  The luxuriance of the plant was
excessive.  Its leaves were as broad as the palm of a man's hand, and its
tendency to grow leaves was so great that (as we have seen) the
Babylonians used to mow it twice and then pasture their cattle on it for
awhile, to keep down the blade and induce the plant to run to ear.  The
ultimate return was enormous; on the most moderate computation it
amounted to fifty-fold at the least, and often to a hundred-fold.  The
modern oriental is content, even in the case of a rich soil, with a
tenfold return.

The date-palm was at once one of the most valuable and one of the most
ornamental products of the country.  "Of all vegetable forms," says the
greatest of modern naturalists, "the palm is that to which the prize of
beauty has been assigned by the concurrent voice of nations in all ages."
And though the date-palm is in form perhaps less graceful and lovely than
some of its sister species, it possesses in the dates themselves a beauty
which they lack.  These charming yellow clusters, semi-transparent, which
the Greeks likened to amber, and moderns compare to gold, contrast, both
in shade and tint, with the green feathery branches beneath whose shade
they hang, and give a richness to the landscape they adorn which adds
greatly to its attractions.  And the utility of the palm has been at all
times proverbial.  A Persian poem celebrated its three hundred and sixty
uses.  The Greeks, with more moderation, spoke of it as furnishing the
Babylonians with bread, wine, vinegar, honey, groats, string and ropes of
all kinds, firing, and a mash for fattening cattle.  The fruit was
excellent, and has formed at all times an important article of
nourishment in the country.  It was eaten both fresh and dried, forming
in the latter case a delicious sweetmeat.  The wine, "sweet but
headachy," was probably not the spirit which it is at present customary
to distil from the dates, but the slightly intoxicating drink called
_lagby_ in North Africa, which may be drawn from the tree itself by
decapitating it, and suffering the juice to flow.  The vinegar was
perhaps the same fluid corrupted, or it may have been obtained from the
dates.  The honey was palm-sugar, likewise procurable from the sap.  How
the groats were obtained we do not know; but it appears that the pith of
the palm was eaten formerly in Babylonia, and was thought to have a very
agreeable flavor.  Ropes were made from the fibres of the bark; and the
wood was employed for building and furniture.  It was soft, light and
easily worked; but tough, strong and fibrous.

The cultivation of the date-palm was widely extended in Chaldaea,
probably from very early times.  The combination of sand, moisture,
and a moderately saline soil, in which it delights, was there found in
perfection, more especially in the lower country, which had but recently
been reclaimed from the sea.  Even now, when cultivation is almost wholly
laid aside, a thick forest of luxuriant date-trees clothes the banks of
the Euphrates on either side, from the vicinity of Mugheir to its
embouchure at the head of the Persian Gulf.  Anciently the tract was much
more generally wooded with them.  "Palm-trees grow in numbers over the
whole of the flat country," says one of the most observant and truthful
of travellers--Herodotus.  According to the historians of Julian, a
forest of verdure extended from the upper edge of the alluvium, which he
crossed, to Mesene, and the shores of the sea.  When the Arabian
conquerors settled themselves in the lower country, they were so charmed
with the luxuriant vegetation and the abundant date-groves, that they
compared the region with the country about Damascus and reckoned it among
their four earthly paradises.  The propagation of the date-palm was
chiefly from seed.  In Chaldaea, however, it was increased sometimes from
suckers or offshoots thrown up from the stem of the old tree; at other
times by a species of cutting, the entire head being struck off with
about three feet of stem, notched, and then planted in moist ground.
Several varieties of the tree were cultivated; but one was esteemed above
all the rest, both for the size and flavor of the fruit.  It bore the
name of "Royal," and grew only in one place near Babylon.

Beside these two precious products, Chaldaea produced excellent barley,
millet, sesame, vetches and fruits of all kinds.  It was, however,
deficient in variety of trees, possessing scarcely any but the palm and
the cypress.  Pomegranates, tamarisks, poplars, and acacias are even now
almost the only trees besides the two above mentioned, to be found
between Samarah and the Persian Gulf.  The tamarisk grows chiefly as a
shrub along the rivers, but sometimes attains the dimensions of a tree,
as in the case of the "solitary tree" still growing upon the ruins of
Babylon.  The pomegranates with their scarlet flowers, and the acacias
with their light and graceful foliage, ornament the banks of the streams,
generally intermingled with the far more frequent palm, while oranges,
apples, pears, and vines are successfully cultivated in the gardens and

[Illustration: PLATE 5]

Among the vegetable products of Chaldaea must be noticed, as almost
peculiar to the region, its enormous reeds.  [PLATE  V.]  These, which
are represented with much spirit in the sculptures of Sennacherib, 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 of the reeds together, and bending them into
arches, to make the skeleton of their buildings; while, to form the
walls, they stretch across from arch to arch mats made of the leaves.
From the same fragile substance they construct their _terradas_ or light
boats, which, when rendered waterproof by means of bitumen, will support
the weight of three or four men.

In mineral products Chaldaea was very deficient indeed.  The alluvium is
wholly destitute of metals, and even of stone, which must be obtained, if
wanted, from the adjacent countries.  The neighboring parts of Arabia
could furnish sandstone and the more distant basalt; which appears to
have been in fact transported occasionally to the Chaldaean Cities.
Probably, however, the chief importation of stone was by the rivers,
whose waters would readily convey it to almost any part of Chaldaea from
the regions above the alluvium.  This we know to have been done in some
cases, but the evidence of the ruins makes it clear that such importation
was very limited.  The Chaldaeans found, in default of stone, a very
tolerable material in their own country; which produced an inexhaustible
supply of excellent clay, easily moulded into bricks, and not even
requiring to be baked in order to fit it for the builder.  Exposure to
the heat of the summer sun hardened the clay sufficiently for most
purposes, while a few hours in a kiln made it as firm and durable as
freestone, or even granite.  Chaldaea, again, yielded various substances
suitable for mortar.  Calcareous earths abound on the western side of the
Euphrates towards the Arabian frontier; while everywhere a tenacious
slime or mud is easily procurable, which, though imperfect as a cement,
can serve the purpose, and has the advantage of being always at hand.
Bitumen is also produced largely in some parts, particularly at Hit,
where are the inexhaustible springs which have made that spot famous in
all ages.  Naphtha and bitumen are here given forth separately in equal
abundance; and these two substances, boiled together in certain
proportions, form a third kind of cement, superior to the slime or mud,
but inferior to lime-mortar.  Petroleum, called by the Orientals _mumia_,
is another product of the bitumen-pits.

The wild animals indigenous in Babylonia appear to be chiefly the
following:--the lion, the leopard, the hyeena, the lynx, the wild-cat,
the wolf, the jackal, the wild-boar, the buffalo, the stag, the gazelle,
the jerboa, the fox, the hare, the badger, and the porcupine.  The
Mesopotamian lion is a noble animal.  Taller and larger than a Mount St.
Bernard dog, he wanders over the plains their undisputed lord, unless
when an European ventures to question his pre-eminence.  The Arabs
tremble at his approach, and willingly surrender to him the choicest of
their flocks and herds.  Unless urged by hunger, he seldom attacks man,
but contents himself with the destruction of buffaloes, camels, dogs, and
sheep.  When taken young, he is easily tamed, and then manifests
considerable attachment to his master.  In his wild state he haunts the
marshes and the banks of the various streams and canals, concealing
himself during the day, and at night wandering abroad in search of his
prey, to obtain which he will approach with boldness to the very skirts
of an Arab encampment.  His roar is not deep or terrible, but like the
cry of a child in pain, or the first wail of the jackal after sunset,
only louder, clearer and more prolonged.  Two varieties of the lion
appear to exist: the one is maneless, while the other has a long mane,
which is black and shaggy.  The former is now the more common in the
country; but the latter, which is the fiercer of the two, is the one
ordinarily represented upon the sculptures.  The lioness is nearly as
much feared as the lion; when her young are attacked, or when she has
lost them, she is perhaps even more terrible.  Her roar is said to be
deeper and far more imposing than of the male.

[Illustration: PLATE 6]

The other animals require but few remarks.  Gazelles are plentiful in the
more sandy regions; buffaloes abound in the marshes of the south, where
they are domesticated, and form the chief wealth of the inhabitants;
troops of jackals are common, while the hyaena and wolf are comparatively
rare; the wild-boar frequents the river banks and marshes, as depicted in
the Assyrian sculptures [PLATE VI., Fig.  1]; hares abound in the country
about Baghdad; porcupines and badgers are found in most places--leopards,
lynxes, wild-cats, and deer, are somewhat uncommon.

Chaldaea possesses a great variety of birds.  Falcons, vultures, kites,
owls, hawks and crows of various kinds, francolins or black partridges,
pelicans, wild-geese, ducks, teal, cranes, herons, kingfishers, and
pigeons, are among the most common.  The sand-grouse (Pterocles
arenarius) is occasionally found, as also are the eagle and the
bee-eater.  Fish are abundant in the rivers and marshes, principally
barbel and carp, which latter grow to a great size in the Euphrates.
Barbel form an important element in the food of the Arabs inhabiting the
Affej marshes, who take them commonly by means of a fish-spear.  In the
Shat-el-Arab, which is wholly within the influence of the tides, there
is a species of goby, which is amphibious.  This fish lies in myriads on
the mud-banks left uncovered by the ebb of the tide, and moves with
great agility on the approach of birds.  Nature seems to have made the
goby in one of her most freakish moods.  It is equally at home in the
earth, the air, and the water; and at different times in the day may be
observed swimming in the stream, basking upon the surface of the tidal
banks, and burrowing deep in the mud.

The domestic animals are camels, horses, buffaloes, cows and oxen, goats,
sheep, and dogs.  The most valuable of the last mentioned are grayhounds,
which are employed to course the gazelle and the hare.  The camels,
horses, and buffaloes are of superior quality; but the cows and oxen seem
to be a very inferior breed.  The goats and the sheep are small, and
yield a scanty supply of a somewhat coarse wool.  Still their flocks and
herds constitute the chief wealth of the people, who have nearly forsaken
the agriculture which anciently gave Chaldaea its pre-eminence, and have
relapsed very generally into a nomadic or semi-nomadic condition.  The
insecurity of property consequent upon bad government has in a great
measure caused this change, which render; the bounty of Nature useless,
and allows immense capabilities to run to waste.  The present condition
of Babylonia gives a most imperfect idea of its former state, which must
be estimated not from modern statistics, but from the accounts of ancient
writers and the evidences which he country itself presents.  From them we
conclude that this region was among the most productive upon the face of
the earth, spontaneously producing some of the best gifts of God to man,
and capable, under careful management, of being made one continuous



"A mighty nation, an ancient nation."--JEREM. v. 15.

That the great alluvial plain at the mouth of the Euphrates and Tigris
was among the countries first occupied by man after the Deluge, is
affirmed by Scripture, and generally allowed by writers upon ancient
history.  Scripture places the original occupation at a time when
language had not yet broken up into its different forms, and when,
consequently, races, as we now understand the term, can scarcely have
existed.  It is not, however, into the character of these primeval
inhabitants that we have here to inquire, but into the ethnic affinities
and characteristics of that race, whatever it was, which first
established an important kingdom in the lower part of the plain--a
kingdom which eventually became an empire.  According to the ordinary
theory, this race was Aramaic or Semitic.  "The name of Aramaeans,
Syrians, or Assyrians," says Niebuhr, "comprises the nations extending
from the mouth of the Euphrates and Tigris to the Euxine, the river
Halys, and Palestine.  They applied to themselves the name of Aram, and
the Greeks called them Assyrians, which is the same as Syrians(?).
Within that great extent of country there existed, of course, various
dialectic differences of language; and there can be little doubt but that
in some places the nation was mixed with other races."  The early
inhabitants of Lower Mesopotamia, however, he considers to have been pure
Aramaeans, closely akin to the Assyrians, from whom, indeed, he regards
them as only separate politically.

Similar views are entertained by most modern writers.  Baron Bunsen, in
one of his latest works, regards the fact as completely established by
the results of recent researches in Babylonia.  Professor M. Muller,
though expressing himself with more caution, inclines to the same
conclusion.  Popular works, in the shape of Cyclopaedias and short
general histories, diffuse the impression.  Hence a difficulty is felt
with regard to the Scriptural statement concerning the first kingdom in
these parts, which is expressly said to have been Cushite or Ethiopian.
"And _Cush begat Nimrod:_ (he began to be a mighty one in the earth;
he was a mighty hunter before the Lord; wherefore it is said, Even as
Nimrod, the mighty hunter before the Lord;) and the beginning of his
kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of
Shinar."  According to this passage the early Chaldaeans should be
Hamites, not Semites--Ethiopians, not Aramaans; they should present
analogies and points of connection with the inhabitants of Egypt and
Abyssinia, of Southern Arabia and Mekran, not with those of Upper
Mesopotamia, Syria, Phoenicia, and Palestine.  It will be one of the
objects of this chapter to show that the Mosaical narrative conveys the
exact truth--a truth alike in accordance with the earliest classical
traditions, and with the latest results of modern comparative philology.

It will be desirable, however, before proceeding to establish the
correctness of these assertions, to examine the grounds on which the
opposite belief has been held so long and so confidently.  Heeren draws
his chief argument from the supposed character of the language.  Assuming
the form of speech called Chaldee to be the original tongue of the
people, he remarks that it is "an Aramaean dialect, differing but
slightly from the proper Syriac."  Chaldee is known partly from the
Jewish Scriptures, in which it is used occasionally, partly from the
Targums (or Chaldaean paraphrases of different portions of the Sacred
Volume), some of which belong to about the time of the Apostles.  and
partly from the two Talmuds, or collections of Jewish traditions, made in
the third and fifth centuries of our era.  It has been commonly regarded
as the language of Babylon at the time of the Captivity, which the Jews,
as captives, were forced to learn, and which thenceforth took the place
of their own tongue.  But it is extremely doubtful whether this is a true
account of the matter.  The Babylonian language of the age of
Nebuchadnezzar is found to be far nearer to Hebrew than to Chaldee, which
appears therefore to be misnamed, and to represent the western rather
than the eastern Aramaic.  The Chaldee argument thus falls to the ground:
but in refuting it an admission has been made which may be thought to
furnish fully as good proof of early Babylonian Semitism as the rejected

It has been said that the Babylonian language in the time of
Nebuchadnezzar is found to be far nearer to Hebrew than to Chaldee.  It
is, in fact, very close indeed to the Hebrew.  The Babylonians of that
period, although they did not speak the tongue known to modern linguists
as Chaldee, did certainly employ a Semitic or Aramaean dialect, and so
far may be set down as Semites.  And this is the ground upon which such
modern philologists as still maintain the Semitic character of the
primitive Chaldaeans principally rely.  But it can be proved from the
inscriptions of the country, that between the date of the first
establishment of a Chaldaean kingdom and the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, the
language of Lower Mesopotamia underwent an entire change.  To whatever
causes this may have been owing--a subject which will be hereafter
investigated--the fact is certain; and it entirely destroys the force of
the argument from the language of the Babylonians at the later period.

Another ground, and that which seems to have had the chief weight with
Niebuhr, is the supposed identity or intimate connection of the
Babylonians with the Assyrians.  That the latter people were Semites has
never been denied; and, indeed, it is a point supported by such an amount
of evidence as renders it quite unassailable.  If, therefore the
primitive Babylonians were once proved to be a mere portion of the far
greater Assyrian nation, locally and politically, but not ethnically
separate from them, their Semitic character would thereupon be fully
established.  Now that this was the belief of Herodotus must be at once
allowed.  Not only does that writer regard the later Babylonians as
Assyrians--"Assyrians of Babylon," as he expresses it--and look on
Babylonia as a mere "district of Assyria," but, by adopting the mythic
genealogy, which made Ninus the son of Belus, he throws back the
connection to the very origin of the two nations, and distinctly
pronounces it a connection of race.  But Herodotus is a very weak
authority on the antiquities of any nation, even his own; and it is not
surprising that he should have carried back to a remote period a state of
things which he saw existing in his own age.  If the later Babylonians
were, in manners and customs, in religion and in language, a close,
counterpart of the Assyrians, he would naturally suppose them descended
from the same stock.  It is his habit to transfer back to former times
the condition of things in his own day.  Thus he calls the inhabitants of
the Peloponnese before the Dorian invasion "Dorians," regards Athens as
the second city in Greece when Creesus sent his embassies, and describes
as the ancient Persian religion that corrupted form which existed under
Artaxerxes Longimanus.  He is an excellent authority for what he had
himself seen, or for what he had laboriously collected by inquiry from
eye witnesses; but he had neither the critical acumen nor the linguistic
knowledge necessary for the formation of a trust worthy opinion on a
matter belonging to the remote history of a distant people.  And the
opinion of Herodotus as to the ethnic identity of the two nations is
certainly not confirmed by other ancient writers.  Berosus seems to have
very carefully distinguished between the Assyrians and the Babylonians or
Chaldaeans, as may be seen even through the doubly-distorting medium of
Polyhistor and the Armenian Eusebius.  Diodorus Siculus made the two
nations separate and hostile in very early times.  Pliny draws a clear
line between the "Chaldaean races," of which Babylon was the head, and
the Assyrians of the region above them.  Even Herodotus in one place
admits a certain amount of ethnic difference; for, in his list of the
nations forming the army of Xerxes, he mentions the Chaldaeans as serving
with, but not included among, the Assyrians.

The grounds, then, upon which the supposed Semitic character of the
ancient Chaldaeans has been based, fail, one and all; and it remains to
consider whether we have data sufficient to justify us in determinately
assigning them to any other stock.

Now a large amount of tradition--classical and other--brings Ethiopians
into these parts, and connects, more or less distinctly, the early
dwellers upon the Persian Gulf with the inhabitants of the Nile valley,
especially with those upon its upper course.  Homer, speaking of the
Ethiopians, says that they were "divided," and dwelt "at the ends of
earth, towards the setting and the rising sun."  This passage has been
variously apprehended.  It has been supposed to mean the mere division of
the Ethiopians south of Egypt by the river Nile, whereby some inhabited
its eastern and some its western bank.  Again it has been explained as
referring to the east and west coasts of Africa, both found by voyagers
to be in the possession of Ethiopians, who were "divided" by the vast
extent of continent that lay between them.  But the most satisfactory
explanation is that which Strabo gives from Ephorus, that the Ethiopians
were considered as occupying all the south coast both of Asia and Africa,
and as "divided" by the Arabian Gulf (which separated the two continents)
into eastern and western-Asiatic and African.  This was an "old opinion"
of the Greeks, we are told; and, though Strabo thinks it indicated their
ignorance, we may perhaps be excused for holding it that it might not
improbably have arisen from real, though imperfect, knowledge.

The traditions with respect to Memnon serve very closely to connect Egypt
and Ethiopia with the country at the head of the Persian Gulf.  Memnon,
King of Ethiopia, according to Hesiod and Pindar, is regarded by
'Eschylus as the son of a Cissian woman, and by Herodotus and others as
the founder of Susa.  He leads an army of combined Susianians and
Ethiopians to the assistance of Priam, his father's brother, and, after
greatly distinguishing himself, perishes in one of the battles before
Troy.  At the same time he is claimed as one of their monarchs by the
Ethiopians upon the Nile, and identified by the Egyptians with their
king, Amunoph III., whose statue became known as "the vocal Memnon."
Sometimes his expedition is supposed to have started from the African
Ethiopia, and to have proceeded by way of Egypt to its destination.
There were palaces, called "Memnonia," and supposed to have been built
by him, both in Egypt and at Susa; and there was a tribe, called
Memnones, near Meroe.  Memnon thus unites the Eastern and the Western
Ethiopians; and the less we regard him as an historical personage, the
more must we view him as personifying the ethnic identity of the two

The ordinary genealogies containing the name of Belus point in the same
direction, and serve more definitely to connect the Babylonians with the
Cushites of the Nile.  Pherecydes, who is an earlier writer than
Herodotus, makes Agenor, the son of Neptune, marry Damno, the daughter of
Belus, and have issue Phoenix, Isaea, and Melia, of whom Melia marries
Danaus, and Isaea Aegyptus.  Apollodorus, the disciple of Eratosthenes,
expresses the connection thus:--"Neptune took to wife Libya (or Africa),
and had issue Belus and Agenor.  Belus married Anchinoe, daughter of
Nile, who gave birth to AEgyptus, Danaus, Cepheus, and Phineus.  Agenor
married Telephassa, and had issue Europa, Cadmus, Phoenix, and Cilix."
Eupolemus, who professes to record the Babylonian tradition on the
subject, tells us that the first Belus, whom he identifies with Saturn,
had two sons, Belus and Canaan.  Canaan begat the progenitor of the
Phoenicians (Phoenix?), who had two sons, Chum and Mestraim, the
ancestors respectively of the Ethiopians and the Egyptians.  Charax of
Pergamus spoke of AEgyptus as the son of Belus.  John of Antioch agrees
with Apollodorus, but makes certain additions.  According to him, Neptune
and Lybia had three children, Agenor, Belus, and Enyalius or Mars.  Belus
married Sida, and had issue AEgyptus and Danaus; while Agenor married
Tyro, and became the father of five children--Cadmus, Phoenix, Syrus,
Cilix, and Europa.

Many further proofs might be adduced, were they needed, of the Greek
belief in an Asiatic Ethiopia, situated somewhere between Arabia and
India, on the shores of the Erythraean Sea.  Herodotus twice speaks of
the Ethiopians of Asia, whom he very carefully distinguishes from those
of Africa, and who can only be sought in this position.  Ephorus, as we
have already seen, extended the Ethiopians along the whole of the coast
washed by the Southern Ocean.  Eusebius has preserved a tradition that,
in the reign of Amenophis III., a body of Ethiopians migrated from the
country about the Indus, and settled in the valley of the Nile.  Hesiod
and Apollodorus, by making Memnon, the Ethiopian king, son of the Dawn
(Greek) imply their belief in an Ethiopia situated to the east rather
than to the south of Greece.  These are a few out of the many similar
notices which it would be easy to produce from classical writers,
establishing, if not the fact itself, yet at any rate a full belief in
the fact on the part of the best informed among the ancient Greeks.

The traditions of the Armenians are in accordance with those of the
Greeks.  The Armenian Geography applies the name of Cush, or Ethiopia, to
the four great regions, Media, Persia, Susiana or Elymais, and Aria, or
to the whole territory between the Indus and the Tigris.  Moses of
Chorene, the great Armenian historian, identifies Belus, King of Babylon,
with Nimrod; while at the same time he adopts for him a genealogy only
slightly different from that in our present copies of Genesis, making
Nimrod the grandson of Cush, and the son of Mizraim.  He thus connects,
in the closest way, Babylonia, Egypt, and Ethiopia Proper, uniting
moreover, by his identification of Nimrod with Belus, the Babylonians of
later times who worshipped Belus as their hero-founder, with the
primitive population introduced into the country by Nimrod.

The names of Belus and Cush, thus brought into juxtaposition, have
remained attached to some portion or other of the region in question from
ancient times to the present day.  The tract immediately east of the
Tigris was known to the Greeks as Cissia or Cossaea, no less than as
Elymais or Elam.  The country east of Kerman was named Kusan throughout
the Sassanian period.  The same region is now Beloochistan, the country
of the Belooches or Belus, while adjoining it on the east is Cutch, or
Kooch, a term standing to Cush is Belooch stands to Belus.  Again, Cissia
or Cossaea is now Khuzistan, or the land of Khuz a name not very remote
from Cush; but perhaps this is only a coincidence.

To the traditions and traces here enumerated must be added, as of primary
importance, the Biblical tradition, which is delivered to us very simply
and plainly in that precious document the "Toldoth Beni Noah," or "Book
of the Generations of the Sons of Noah," which well deserves to be called
"the most authentic record that we possess for the affiliation of
nations."  "The sons of Ham," we are told, "were Cush, and Mizraim, and
Phut, and Canaan . . . .  And Cush begat Nimrod . . . .  And the
beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in
the land of Shinar."  Here a primitive Babylonian kingdom is assigned to
a people distinctly said to have been Cushite by blood, and to have stood
in close connection with Mizraim, or the people of Egypt, Phut, or those
of Central Africa, and Canaan, or those of Palestine.  It is the simplest
and the best interpretation of this passage to understand it as asserting
that the four races--the Egyptians, Ethiopians, Libyans, and
Canaanites--were ethnically connected, being all descended from Ham; and
further, that the primitive people of Babylon were a subdivision of one
of these races, namely of the Cushites or Ethiopians, connected in some
degree with the Canaanites, Egyptians, and Libyans, but still more
closely with the people which dwelt anciently upon the Upper Nile.

The conclusions thus recommended to us by the consentient primitive
traditions of so many races, have lately received most important and
unexpected confirmation from the results of linguistic research.  After
the most remarkable of the Mesopotamian mounds had yielded their
treasures, and supplied the historical student with numerous and copious
documents bearing upon the history of the great Assyrian and Babylonian
empires, it was determined to explore Chaldaea Proper, where mounds of
less pretension, but still of considerable height, marked the sites of a
number of ancient cities.  The excavations conducted at these places,
especially at Niffer, Senkereh, Warka, and Mugheir, were eminently
successful.  Among their other unexpected results was the discovery, in
the most ancient remains, of a new form of speech, differing greatly from
the later Babylonian language and presenting analogies with the early
language of Susiana, as well as with that of the second column of the
Achoemenian inscriptions.  In grammatical structure this ancient tongue
resembles dialects of the Turanian family, but its vocabulary has been
pronounced to be "decidedly Cushite or Ethiopian;" and the modern
languages to which it approaches the nearest are thought to be the Mahra
of Southern Arabia and the Galla of Abyssinia. Thus comparative philology
appears to confirm the old traditions.  An Eastern Ethiopia instead of
being the invention of bewildered ignorance, is rather a reality which
henceforth it will require a good deal of scepticism to doubt; and the
primitive race which bore sway in Chaldaea Proper is with much
probability assigned to this ethnic type. The most striking physical
characteristics of the African Ethiopians were their swart complexions,
and their crisp or frizzled hair.  According to Herodotus the Asiatic
Ethiopian: were equally dark, but their hair was straight and not
frizzled.  Probably in neither case was the complexion what we understand
by black, but rather a dark red-brown or copper color, which is the tint
of the modern Gallas and Abyssinians, as well as of the Cha'b and
Montefik Arabs and the Belooches.  The hair was no doubt abundant; but it
was certainly not woolly like that of the negroes.  There is a marked
distinction between the negro hair and that of the Ethiopian race, which
is sometimes straight, sometimes crisp, but never woolly.  This
distinction is carefully marked in the Egyptian monuments, as is also the
distinction between the Ethiopian and negro complexions; whence we may
conclude that there was as much difference between the two races in
ancient as in modern times.  The African races descended from the
Ethiopians are on the whole a handsome rather than an ugly people; their
figure is slender and well shaped; their features are regular, and have
some delicacy; the forehead is straight and fairly high; the nose long,
straight, and fine, but scarcely so prominent as that of Europeans; the
chin is pointed and good.  [PLATE VI., Fig. 2.]

The principal defect is in the mouth, which has lips too thick and full
for beauty, though they are not turned out like a negro's.  We do not
possess any representations of the ancient people which can be distinctly
assigned to the early Cushite period.  Abundant hair has been noticed in
an early tomb; and this in the later Babylonians, who must have been
descended in great part from the earlier, was very conspicuous;  but
otherwise we have as yet no direct evidence with respect to the physical
characteristics of the primitive race.  That they were brave and warlike,
ingenious, energetic, and persevering, we have ample evidence, which will
appear in later chapters of this work; but we can do little more than
conjecture their physical appearance, which, however, we may fairly
suppose to have resembled that of other Ethiopian nations.

When the early inhabitants of ChaldAea are pronounced to have belonged to
the same race with the dwellers upon the Upper Nile, the question
naturally arises, which were the primitive people, and which the
colonists?  Is the country at the head of the Persian Gulf to be regarded
as the original abode of the Cushite race, whence it spread eastward and
westward, on the one hand to Susiana, Persia Proper, Carmania, Gedrosia,
and India itself; on the other to Arabia and the east coast of Africa?
Or are we to suppose that the migration proceeded in one direction
only--that the Cushites, having occupied the country immediately to the
south of Egypt, sent their colonies along the south coast of Arabia,
whence they crept on into the Persian Gulf, occupying Chaldaea and
Susiana, and thence spreading into Mekran, Kerman, and the regions
bordering upon the Indus?  Plausible reasons maybe adduced in support of
either hypothesis. The situation of Babylonia, and its proximity to that
mountain region where man must have first "increased and multiplied"
after the Flood, are in favor of its being the original centre from
which the other Cushite races were derived.  The Biblical genealogy of
the sons of Ham points, however, the other way; for it derives Nimrod
from Cush, not Cush from Nimrod.  Indeed this document seems to follow
the Hamites from Africa--emphatically "the land of Ham"--in one line
along Southern Arabia to Shinar or Babylonia, in another from Egypt
through Canaan into Syria. The antiquity of civilization in the valley
of the Nile, which preceded by many centuries that even of primitive
Chaldaea, is another argument in favor of the migration having been from
west to east; and the monuments and traditions of the Chaldaeans
themselves have been thought to present some curious indications of an
East African origin.  On the whole, therefore, it seems most probable
that the race designated in Scripture by the hero-founder Nimrod, and
among the Greeks by the eponym of Belus, passed from East Africa, by way
of Arabia, to the valley of the Euphrates, shortly before the opening of
the historical period.

Upon the ethnic basis here indicated, there was grafted, it would seem,
at a very early period, a second, probably Turanian, element, which very
importantly affected the character and composition of the people.  The
_Burbur_ or _Akkad,_ who are found to have been a principal tribe under
the early kings, are connected by name, religion, and in some degree by
language, with an important people of Armenia, called _Burbur_ and
_Urarda,_ the Alarodians (apparently) of Herodotus.  It has been
conjectured that this race at a very remote date descended upon the plain
country, conquering the original Cushite inhabitants, and by degrees
blending with them, though the fusion remained incomplete to the time of
Abraham.  The language of the early inscriptions, though Cushite in its
vocabulary, is Turanian in many points of its grammatical structure, as
in its use of post-positions, particles, and pronominal suffixes; and it
would seem, therefore, scarcely to admit of a doubt that the Cushites of
Lower Babylon must in some way or other have become mixed with a Turanian
people.  The mode and time of the commixture are matters altogether
beyond our knowledge.  We can only note the fact as indicated by the
phenomena, and form, or abstain from forming, as we please, hypotheses
with respect to its accompanying circumstances.

Besides these two main constituents of the Chaldaean race, there is
reason to believe that both a Semitic and an Arian element existed in the
early population of the country.  The subjects of the early kings are
continually designated in the inscriptions by the title of
_kiprat-arbat,_ "the four nations," or _arba lisun,_ "the four tongues."
In Abraham's time, again, the league of four kings seems correspondent
to a fourfold ethnic division, Cushite, Turanian, Semitic, and Arian,
the chief authority and ethnic preponderance being with the Cushites.
The language also of the early inscriptions is thought to contain traces
of Semitic and Arian influence; so that it is at least probable that the
"four tongues" intended were not mere local dialects, but distinct
languages, the representatives respectively of the four great families
of human speech.

It would result from this review of the linguistic facts and other ethnic
indications, that the Chaldaeans were not a pure, but a very mixed
people.  Like the Romans in ancient and the English in modern Europe,
they were a "colluvio gentium omnium," a union of various races between
which there was marked and violent contrast.  It is now generally
admitted that such races are among those which play the most
distinguished part in the world's history, and most vitally affect its

With respect to the name of Chaldaean, under which it has been customary
to designate this mixed people, it is curious to find that in the native
documents of the early period it does not occur at all.  Indeed it first
appears in the Assyrian inscriptions of the ninth century before our era,
being then used as the name of the dominant race in the country about
Babylon.  Still, as Berosus, who cannot easily have been ignorant of the
ancient appellation of his race, applies the term Chaldaean to the
primitive people, and as Scripture assigns Ur to the Chaldees as early as
the time of Abraham, we are entitled to assume that this term, whenever
it came historically into use, is in fact no unfit designation for the
early inhabitants of the country.  Perhaps the most probable account of
the origin of the word is that it designates properly the inhabitants of
the ancient capital, Ur or Hur-Khaldi being in the Burbur dialect the
exact equivalent of Hur, which was the proper name of the Moon-God, and
Chaldaeans being thus either "Moon-worshippers," or simply "inhabitants
of the town dedicated to, and called after, the Moon."  Like the term
"Babylonian," it would at first have designated simply the dwellers in
the capital, and would subsequently have been extended to the people

A different theory has of late years been usually maintained with respect
to the Chaldaeans.  It has been supposed that they were a race entirely
distinct from the early Babylonians--Armenians, Arabs, Kurds, or Sclaves
--who came down from the north long after the historical period, and
settled as the dominant race in the lower Mesopotamian valley.
Philological arguments of the weakest and most unsatisfactory character
were confidently adduced in support of these views; but they obtained
acceptance chiefly on account of certain passages of Scripture, which
were thought to imply that the Chaldaeans first colonized Babylonia in
the seventh or eighth century before Christ.  The most important of these
passages is in Isaiah.  That prophet, in his denunciation of woe upon
Tyre, says, according to our translation,--"Behold the land of the
Chaldaeans this people was not, till the Assyrian founded it for them
that dwell in the wilderness; they set up the towers thereof, they raised
up the palaces thereof; and he brought it to ruin;" or, according to
Bishop Lowth, "Behold the land of the Chaldaeans.  This people was of no
account.  (The Assyrians founded it for the inhabitants of the desert,
they raised the watch-towers, they setup the palaces thereof.) This
people hath reduced her and shall reduce her to ruin."  It was argued
that we had here a plain declaration that, till a little before Isaiah's
time, the Chaldaeans had never existed as a nation.  Then, it was said,
they obtained for the first time fixed habitations from one of the
Assyrian kings, who settled them in a city, probably Babylon.  Shortly
afterwards, following the analogy of so many Eastern races, they suddenly
sprang up to power.  Here another passage of Scripture was thought to
have an important bearing on their history.  "Lo! I raise up the
Chaldaeans," says Habakkuk, "that bitter and hasty nation, which shall
march through the breadth of the land to possess the dwelling places that
are not theirs.  They are terrible and dreadful; their judgment and their
dignity shall proceed of themselves; their horses also are swifter than
the leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves: and their
horsemen shall spread themselves, and their horsemen shall come from far;
they shall fly as an eagle that hasteth to eat; they shall come all for
violence; their faces shall nip as the east wind, and they shall gather
the captivity as the sand.  And they shall scoff at the kings, and the
princes shall be a scorn unto them; they shall deride every stronghold;
they shall heap dust and take it."  The Chaldaeans, recent occupants of
Lower Mesopotamia, and there only a dominant race, like the Normans in
England or the Lombards in North Italy, were, on a sudden, "raised"
elevated from their low estate of Assyrian colonists to the conquering
people which they became under Nebuchadnezzar.

Such was the theory, originally advanced by Gesenius, which, variously
modified by other writers, held its ground on the whole as the
established view, until the recent cuneiform discoveries.  It was, from
the first, a theory full of difficulty.  The mention of the Chaldaeans in
Job, and even in Genesis, as a well-known people, was in contradiction to
the supposed recent origin of the race.  The explanation of the obscure
passage in the 23d chapter of Isaiah, on which the theory was mainly
based, was at variance with other clearer passages of the same prophet.
Babylon is called by Isaiah the "_daughter_ of the Chaldaeans," and is
spoken of as an ancient city, long "the glory of kingdoms," the oppressor
of nations, the power that "smote the people in wrath with a continual
stroke."  She is "the lady of kingdoms," and "the beauty of the Chaldees'
excellency."  The Chaldaeans are thus in Isaiah, as elsewhere generally
in Scripture, the people of Babylonia, the term "Babylonians" not being
used by him; Babylon is their chief city, not one which they have
conquered and occupied, but their "daughter"--"the beauty of their
excellency;" and so all the antiquity and glory which is assigned to
Babylon belong necessarily in Isaiah's mind to the Chaldaeans.  The
verse, therefore, in the 23d chapter, on which so much has been built,
can at most refer to some temporary depression of the Chaldaeans, which
made it a greater disgrace to Tyre that she should be conquered by them.
Again, the theory of Gesenius took no account of the native historian,
who is (next to Scripture) the best literary authority for the facts of
Babylonian history.  Berosus not only said nothing of any influx of an
alien race into Babylonia shortly before the time of Nebuchadnezzar, but
pointedly identified the Chaldaeans of that period with the primitive
people of the country.  Nor can it be said that he would do this from
national vanity, to avoid the confession of a conquest, for he admits no
fewer than three conquests of Babylon, a "Midian, an Arabian, and an
Assyrian."  Thus, even apart from the monuments, the theory in question
would be untenable.  It really originated in linguistic speculations,
which turn out to have been altogether mistaken.

The joint authority of Scripture and of Berosus will probably be accepted
as sufficient to justify the adoption of a term which, if not strictly
correct, is yet familiar to us, and which will conveniently serve to
distinguish the primitive monarchy, whose chief seats were in Chaldaea
Proper (or the tract immediately bordering upon the Persian Gulf), from
the later Babylonian Empire, which had its head-quarters further to the
north.  The people of this first kingdom will therefore be called
Chaldaeans, although there is no evidence that they applied the name to
themselves, or that it was even known to them in primitive times.

The general character of this remarkable people will best appear from the
account, presently to be given, of their manners, their mode of life,
their arts, their science, their religion, and their history.  It is not
convenient to forestall in this place the results of almost all our
coming inquiries.  Suffice it to observe that, though possessed of not
many natural advantages, the Chaldaean people exhibited a fertility of
invention, a genius, and an energy which place them high in the scale of
nations, and more especially in the list of those descended from a
Hamitic stock.  For the last 3000 years the world has been mainly
indebted for its advancement to the Semitic and Indo-European races; but
it was otherwise in the first ages.  Egypt and Babylon--Mizraim and
Nimrod--both descendants of Ham--led the way, and acted as the pioneers
of mankind in the various untrodden fields of art, literature, and
science.  Alphabetic writing, astronomy, history, chronology,
architecture, plastic art, sculpture, navigation, agriculture, textile
industry, seem, all of them, to have had their origin in one or other of
these two countries.  The beginnings may have been often humble enough.
We may laugh at the rude picture-writing, the uncouth brick pyramid, the
coarse fabric, the homely and ill-shapen instruments, as they present
themselves to our notice in the remains of these ancient nations; but
they are really worthier of our admiration than of our ridicule.  The
first inventors of any art are among the greatest benefactors of their
race; and the bold step which they take from the unknown to the known,
from blank ignorance to discovery, is equal to many steps of subsequent
progress.  "The commencement," says Aristotle, "is more than half of the
whole."  This is a sound judgment; and it will be well that we should
bear it in mind during the review, on which we are about to enter, of the
language, writing, useful and ornamental art, science, and literature of
the Chaldaeans.  "The child is father of the man," both in the individual
and the species; and the human race at the present day lies under
infinite obligations to the genius and industry of early ages.



It was noted in the preceding chapter that Chaldaea, in the earliest
times to which we can go back, seems to have been inhabited by four
principal tribes.  The early kings are continually represented on the
monuments as sovereigns over the Kiprat-arbat, or, Four Races.  These
"Four Races" are called sometimes the Arba Lisun, or "Four Tongues,"
whence we may conclude that they were distinguished from one another,
among other differences, by a variety in their forms of speech.  The
extent and nature of the variety could not, of course, be determined
merely from this expression; but the opinion of those who have most
closely studied the subject appears to be that the differences were great
and marked-the languages in fact belonging to the four great varieties of
human speech--Hamitic, Semitic, Arian, and Turanian.

The language which the early inscriptions have revealed to us is not, of
course, composed equally of these four elements.  It does, however,
contain strong marks of admixture.  It is predominantly Cushite in its
vocabulary, Turanian in its structure.  Its closest analogies are with
such dialects as the _Mahra_ of Arabia, the _Galla_ and _Wolaitsa_ of
Abyssinia, and the ancient language of Egypt, but in certain cases it
more resembles the Turkish.  Tatar, and Magyar (Turanian) dialects; while
in some it presents Semitic and in others Arian affinities.  This will
appear sufficiently from the following list:

[Illustration: PAGE 42]

_Dingir, or Dimir,_ "God."  Compare Turkish _Tengri_.
_Atta,_ "father."  Compare Turkish atta. _Etea_ is "father" in the
Wolaitsa (Abyssinian) dialect.
_Sis,_ "brother."  Compare Wolaitsa and Woratta _isha_.
_Tur,_ "a youth," "a son," Compare the _tur-khan_ of the Parthians
     (Turanians), who was the Crown Prince.
_E,_ "a house."  Compare ancient Egyptian _e,_ and Turkish _ev_.
_Ka,_ "a gate."  Compare Turkish _kapi_.
_Kharran,_ "a road."  Compare Galla _kara_.
_Huru,_ "a town."  Compare Heb. [--]
_Ar,_ "a river."  Compare Heb. [--] , Arab. _nahr_.
_Gabri_, "a mountain."  Compare Arabic _jabal_.
_Ki,_ "the earth."
_Kingi,_ "a country."
_San,_ "the sun."
_Kha,_ "a fish"(?).
_Kurra,_ "a horse."  Compare Arabic _gurra_.
_Guski,_ "gold."  Compare Galla _irerke_.  _Guski_ means also "red" and
"the evening."
_Babar,_ "silver," "white," "the morning."  Compare Agau _ber,_ Tigre
_Zabar,_ "copper."  Compare Arabic _sifr_.
_Hurud,_ "iron."  Compare Arabic _hadid_.
_Zakad,_ "the head."  Compare Gonga _toko_.
_Kat,_ "the hand."  Compare Gonga _kiso_.
_Si,_ "the eye."
_Pi,_ "the ear."  Compare Magyar _ful_.
_Gula,_ "great."  Compare Galla _guda_.
_Tura,_  "little."  Compare Gonga _tu_ and Galla _tina_.
_Kelga,_ "powerful."
_Ginn,_ "first."
_Mis,_ "many."  Compare Agau _minch_ or _mench_.
_Gar,_  "to do."
_Egir,_ "after."  Compare Hhamara (Abyssinian) _igria_.

The grammar of this language is still but very little known.  The
conjugations of verbs are said to be very intricate and difficult, a
great variety of verbal forms being from the same root as in Hebrew, by
means of preformatives.  Number and person in the verbs are marked by
suffixes--the third person singular (masculine) by _bi_ (compare Gonga
_bi,_ "he"), or _ani_ (compare Galla _enni,_ "he"), the third person
plural by _bi-nini_.

The accusative case in nouns is marked by a postposition, _ku_, as in
Hindustani.  The plural of pronouns and substantives is formed sometimes
by reduplication.  Thus _ni_ is "him," while _nini_ is "them;" and
_Chanaan, Yavnan, Libnan_ seem to be plural forms from _Chna, Yavan_ and

A curious anomaly occurs in the declension of pronouns.' When accompanied
by the preposition kita, "with," there is a tmesis of the preposition,
and the pronouns are placed between its first and second syllable; e.g.
vi, him''-ki-ni-ta, "with him."  This takes place in every number and
person, as the following scheme will show:--

                    1st person.    2d person.      3d person.

         Sing.      _ki-mu-ta_     _ki-zu-ta_      _ki-ni-ta_
                     (with me)     (with thee)     (with him)

         Plur.      _ki mi-ta_    _ki zu-nini-ta_  _ki-nini-ta_
                     (with us)      (with you)     (with them)

N. B.--The formation of the second person plural deserves attention.  The
word _zu-nini_ is, clearly, composed of the two elements, _zu,_ "thee,"
and _nini,_ "them"--so that instead of having a word for "you," the
Chaldaeans employed for it the periphrasis "thee-them"!  There is, I
believe, no known language which presents a parallel anomaly.

Such are the chief known features of this interesting but difficult form
of speech.  A specimen may now be given of the mode in which it was
written.  Among the earliests of the monuments hitherto discovered are a
set of bricks bearing the following cuneiform inscription [PLATE VI.,
Fig. 3]:

This inscription is explained to mean:--"Beltis, his lady, has caused
Urukh (?), the pious chief, King of Hur, and King of the land (?) of the
Akkad, to build a temple to her."  In the same locality where it occurs,
bricks are also found bearing evidently the same inscription, but written
in a different manner.  Instead of the wedge and arrow-head being the
elements of the writing, the whole is formed by straight lines of almost
uniform thickness, and the impression seems to have been made by a single
stamp.  [PLATE VII., Fig. 1.]

[Illustration: PLATE 7]

This mode of writing, which has been called without much reason "the
hieratic," and of which we have but a small number of instances, has
confirmed a conjecture, originally suggested by the early cuneiform
writing itself, that the characters were at first the pictures of
objects.  In some cases the pictorial representation is very plain and

     [Etext Editor's Note: the next two pages contain many examples
     of heiratic symbols [--] which can be seen only in the html file
     or the jpg image ]

[Illustration: PAGE 44]

For instance, the "determinative" of a god--the sign that is, which marks
that the name of a god is about to follow, in this early rectilinear
writing is [--] an eight-rayed star.  The archaic cuneiform keeps closely
to this type, merely changing the lines into wedges, thus [--], while the
later cuneiform first unites the oblique wedges in one [--] , and then
omits them as unnecessary, retaining only the perpendicular and the
horizontal ones [--] .  Again, the character representing the word "hand"
is, in the rectilinear writing [--] , in the archaic cuneiform [--] ,
in the later cuneiform [--] .  The five lines (afterwards reduced to four)
clearly represent the thumb and the four fingers.  So the character
ordinarily representing "a house" is evidently formed from the original
--, the ground-plan of a house; and that denoting "the sun" [--] , comes
from [--] , through [--] , and [--] , the original [--] being the best
representation that straight lines could give of the sun.  In the case of
_ka,_ "a gate," we have not the original design; but we may see posts,
bars, and hinges in [--] , the ordinary character.

Another curious example of the pictorial origin of the letters is
furnished by the character [--] , which is the French _une,_ the feminine
of "one."  This character may be traced up through several known forms to
an original picture, which is thus given on a Koyunjik tablet [--] . It has
been conjectured that the object here represented is "a sarcophagus."
But the true account seems to be that it is a _double-toothed comb,_ a
toilet article peculiar to women, and therefore one which might well be
taken to express "a woman," or more generally the feminine gender.  It is
worth notice that the emblem is the very one still in use among the Lurs,
in the mountains overhanging Babylonia.  And it is further remarkable
that the phonetic power of the character here spoken of is _it_ (or
_yat_)the ordinary Semitic feminine ending.

The original writing, it would therefore seem, was a picture-writing as
rude as that of the Mexicans.  Objects were themselves represented, but
coarsely and grotesquely--and, which is especially remarkable, without
any curved lines.  This would seem to indicate that the system grew up
where a hard material, probably stone, was alone used.  The cuneiform
writing arose when clay took the place of stone as a material.  A small
tool with a square or triangular point, impressed, by a series of
distinct touches, the outline of the old pictured objects on the soft
clay of tablets and bricks.  In course of time simplifications took
place.  The less important wedges were omitted.  One stroke took the
place of two, or sometimes of three.  In this way the old form of objects
became, in all but a few cases, very indistinct; while generally it was
lost altogether.

Originally each character had, it would seem, the phonetic power of the
name borne by the object which it represented.  But, as this namee was
different in the languages of the different tribes inhabiting the
country, the same character came often to have several distinct phonetic
values.  For instance, the character [--] representing "a house," had the
phonetic values of _e, bit,_ and _mal,_ because those were the words
expressive of "a house," among the Hamitic, Semitic, and Arian
populations respectively.  Again, characters did not always retain their
original phonetic powers, but abbreviated them.  Thus the character which
originally stood for _Assur,_ "Assyria," came to have the sound of _as,_
that denoting _bil_, "a lord," had in addition the sound of _bi,_ and so
on.  Under these circumstances it is almost impossible to feel any
certainty in regard to the phonetic representation of a single line of
these old inscriptions.  The meaning of each word may be well known; but
the articulate sounds which were in the old times attached to them may be
matter almost of conjecture.

The Chaldaean characters are of three kinds-letters proper, monograms,
and determinatives.  With regard to the letters proper, there is nothing
particular to remark, except that they have almost always a syllabic
force.  The monograms represent in a brief way, by a wedge or a group of
wedges, an entire word, often of two or three syllables, as Nebo, Babil,
Merodach, etc.  The determinatives mark that the word which they
accompany is a word of a certain class, as a god, a man, a country, a
town, etc.  These last, it is probable, were not sounded at all when the
word was read.  They served, in some degree, the purpose of our capital
letters, in the middle of sentences, but gave more exact notice of the
nature of the coming word.  Curiously enough, they are retained
sometimes, where the word which they accompany has merely its phonetic
power, as (generally) when the names of gods form a part of the names
of monarchs.

It has been noticed already that the chief material on which the ancient
Chaldaeans wrote was moist clay, in the two forms of tablets and bricks.
On bricks are found only royal inscriptions, having reference to the
building in which the bricks were used, commonly designating its purpose,
and giving the name and titles of the-monarch who erected it.  The
inscription does not occupy the whole brick, but a square or rectangular
space towards its centre.  It is in some cases stamped, in some impressed
with a tool.  The writing--as in all cuneiform inscriptions, excepting
those upon seals--is from left to right, and the lines are carefully
separated from one another.  Some specimens have been already given.

The tablets of the Chaldaeans are among the most remarkable of their
remains, and will probably one day throw great additional light on the
manners and customs, the religion, and even, perhaps, the science and
learning, of the people.  They are small pieces of clay, somewhat rudely
shaped into a form resembling a pillow, and thickly inscribed with
cuneiform characters, which are sometimes accompanied by impressions of
the cylindrical seals so common in the museums of Europe.  The seals are
rolled across the body of the document, as in the accompanying figure.
[PLATE VII., Fig.  2.] Except where these impressions occur, the clay is
commonly covered on both sides with minute writing.  What is most
curious, however, is that the documents thus duly attested have in
general been enveloped, after they were baked, in a cover of moist clay,
upon which their contents have been again inscribed, so as to present
externally a duplicate of the writing within; and the tablet in its cover
has then been baked afresh.  That this was the process employed is
evident from the fact that the inner side of the envelope bears a cast,
in relief, of the inscription beneath it.  Probably the object in view
was greater security--that if the external cover became illegible, or was
tampered with, there might be a means of proving beyond a doubt what the
document actually contained.  The tablets in question have in a
considerable number of cases been deciphered; they are for the most part
deeds, contracts, or engagements, entered into by private persons and
preserved among the archives of families.

Besides their writings on clay, the Chaldaeans were in the habit, from
very early times, of engraving inscriptions on gems.  The signet cylinder
of a very ancient king exhibits that archaic formation of letters which
has been already noted as appearing upon some of the earliest bricks.
[PLATE  VII., Fig.  3.] That it belongs to the same period is evident,
not only from the resemblance of the literal type, but from the fact that
the same king's name appears upon both.  This signet inscription--so far
as it has been hitherto deciphered--is read as follows:--"The signet of
Urukh, the pious chief, king of Ur, . . . .  High-Priest (?) of . . . .
Niffer."  Another similar relic, belonging to a son of this monarch, has
the inscription, "To the manifestation of Nergal, king of Bit-Zida, of
Zurgulla, for the saving of the life of Ilgi, the powerful hero, the king
of Ur, . . . . son of Urukh . . . . May his name be preserved."  A third
signet, which belongs to a later king in the series, bears the following
legend: "--_sin, the powerful chief, the king of Ur, the king of the
Kiprat-arbat (or four races) . . . . his seal."  The cylinders, however,
of this period are more usually without inscriptions, being often plain,
and often engraved with figures, but without a legend.



"Chaldaei cognitione astrorum sollertiaque ingeniorum antecellunt."
Cic. _de Div._ i. 41.

Among the arts which the first Ethiopic settlers on the shores of the
Persian Gulf either brought with them from their former homes, or very
early invented in their new abode, must undoubtedly have been the two
whereby they were especially characterized in the time of their greatest
power--architecture and agriculture.  Chaldaea is not a country disposing
men to nomadic habits.  The productive powers of the soil would at once
obtrude themselves on the notice of the new comers, and would tempt to
cultivation and permanency of residence.  If the immigrants came by sea,
and settled first in the tract immediately bordering upon the gulf, as
seems to have been the notion of Berosus, their earliest abodes may have
been of that simple character which can even now be witnessed in the
Affej and Montefik marshes--that is to say, reed cabins, supported by the
tall stems of the growing plants bent into arches, and walled with mats
composed of flags or sedge.  Houses of this description last for forty or
fifty years and would satisfy the ideas of a primitive race.  When
greater permanency began to be required, palm-beams might take the place
of the reed supports, and wattles plastered with mud that of the rush
mats; in this way habitations would soon be produced quite equal to those
in which the bulk of mankind reside, even at the present day.

In process of time however, a fresh want would be felt.  Architecture,
as has been well observed, has its origin, not in nature only, but in
religion.  The common worship of God requires temples; and it is soon
desired to give to these sacred edifices a grandeur, a dignity, and a
permanency corresponding to the nature of the Being worshipped in them.
Hence in most countries recourse is had to stone, as the material of
greatest strength and durability; and by its means buildings are raised
which seem almost to reach the heaven whereof they witness.  In
Babylonia, as it has been already observed, this material was entirely
wanting.  Nowhere within the limits of the alluvium was a quarry to be
found; and though at no very great distance, on the Arabian border, a
coarse sandstone might have been obtained, yet in primitive times, before
many canals were made, the difficulty of transporting this weighty
substance across the soft and oozy soil of the plain would necessarily
have prevented its adoption generally, or, indeed, anywhere, except in
the immediate vicinity of the rocky region.  Accordingly we find that
stone was never adopted in Babylonia as a building material, except to an
extremely small extent; and that the natives were forced, in its default,
to seek for the grand edifices, which they desired to build, a different

The earliest traditions, and the existing remains of the earliest
buildings, alike inform us that the material adopted was brick.  An
excellent clay is readily procurable in all parts of the alluvium; and
this, when merely exposed to the intense heat of an Eastern sun for a
sufficient period, or still more when kiln-dried, constitutes a very
tolerable substitute for the stone employed by most nations.  The baked
bricks, even of the earliest tines, are still sound and hard; while the
sun-dried bricks, though they have often crumbled to dust or blended
together in one solid earthen mass, yet sometimes retain their shape and
original character almost unchanged, and offer a stubborn resistance to
the excavator.  In the most ancient of the Chaldaean edifices we
occasionally find, as in the Bowariyeh ruin at Warka, the entire
structure composed of the inferior material; but the more ordinary
practice is to construct the mass of the building in this way, and then
to cover it completely with a facing of burnt brick, which sometimes
extends to as much as ten feet in thickness.  The burnt brick was thus
made to protect the unburnt from the influence of the weather, while
labor and fuel--were greatly economized by the employment to so large an
extent of the natural substance.  The size and color of the bricks vary.
The general shape is square, or nearly so, while the thickness is, to
modern ideas, disproportionately small; it is not, however, so small as
in the bricks of the Romans.  The earliest of the baked bricks hitherto
discovered in Chaldaea are 11 1/4 inches square, and 2 1/2 inches thick,
while the Roman are often 15 inches square, and only an inch and a
quarter thick.  The baked bricks of later date are of larger size than
the earlier; they are commonly about 13 inches square, with a thickness
of three inches.  The best quality of baked brick is of a
yellowish-white tint, and very much resembles our Stourbridge or fire
brick; another kind, extremely hard, but brittle, is of a blackish blue;
a third, the coarsest of all, is slack-dried, and of a pale red.  The
earliest baked bricks are of this last color.  The sun-dried bricks have
even more variety of size than the baked ones.  They are sometimes as
large as 16 inches square and seven inches thick, sometimes as small as
six inches square by two thick.  Occasionally, though not very often,
bricks are found differing altogether in shape from those above
described, being formed for special purposes.  Of this kind are the
triangular bricks used at the corners of walls, intended to give greater
regularity to the angles than would otherwise be attained; and the
wedge-shaped bricks, formed to be employed in arches, which were known
and used by this primitive people.

The modes of applying these materials to building purposes were various.
Sometimes the crude and the burnt brick were used in alternate layers,
each layer being several feet in thickness; more commonly the crude brick
was used (as already noticed) for the internal parts of the building, and
a facing of burnt brick protected the whole from the weather.
Occasionally the mass of an edifice was composed entirely of crude brick;
but in such cases special precautions had to be taken to secure the
stability of this comparatively frail material.  In the first place, at
intervals of four or five feet, a thick layer of reed matting was
interposed along the whole extent of the building, which appears to have
been intended to protect the earthy mass from disintegration, by its
protection beyond the rest of the external surface.  The readers of
Herodotus are familiar with this feature, which (according to him)
occurred in the massive walls whereby Babylon was surrounded.  If this
was really the case, we may conclude that those walls were not composed
of burnt brick, as he imagined, but of the sun-dried material.  Reeds
were never employed in buildings composed of burnt brick, being useless
in such cases; where their impression is found, as not unfrequently
happens, on bricks of this kind, the brick has been laid upon reed
matting when in a soft state, and afterwards submitted to the action of
fire.  In edifices of crude brick, the reeds were no doubt of great
service, and have enabled some buildings of the kind to endure to the
present day.  They are very strikingly conspicuous where they occur,
since they stripe the whole building with continuous horizontal lines,
having at a distance somewhat the effect of the courses of dark marble in
an Italian structure of the Byzantine period.

Another characteristic of the edifices in which crude brick is thus
largely employed, is the addition externally of solid and massive
buttresses of the burnt material.  These buttresses have sometimes a very
considerable projection; they are broad, but not high, extending less
than half way up the walls against which they are placed.

Two kinds of cement are used in the early structures.  One is a coarse
clay or mud, which is sometimes mixed with chopped straw; the other is
bitumen.  This last is of an excellent quality, and the bricks which it
unites adhere often so firmly together that they can with difficulty be
separated.  As a gen eral rule, in the early buildings, the crude brick
is laid in mud, while the bitumen is used to cement together the burnt

[Illustration: PLATE 8]

These general remarks will receive their best illustration from a
detailed description of the principal early edifices which recent
researches in Lower Mesopotamia have revealed to us. These are for the
most part temples; but in one or two cases the edifice explored is
thought to have been a residence, so that the domestic architecture of
the period may be regarded as known to us, at least in some degree.  The
temples most carefully examined hitherto are those at Warka, Mugheir, and
Abu-Shahrein, the first of which was explored by Mr. Loftus in 1854, the
second by Mr. Taylor in the same year, and the third by the same
traveller in 1855. The Warka ruin is called by the natives Bowariyeh,
which signifies "reed mats," in allusion to a peculiarity, already
noticed, in its construction.  [PLATE VIII., Fig.  1.] It is at once the
most central and the loftiest ruin in the place.  At first sight it
appears to have been a cone or pyramid; but further examination proves
that it was in reality a tower, 200 feet square at the base, built in two
stories, the lower story being composed entirely of sun-dried bricks laid
in mud, and protected at intervals of four or five feet by layers of
reeds, while the upper one was composed of the same material, faced with
burnt brick.  Of the upper stage very little remains; and this little is
of a later date than the inferior story, which bears marks of a very high
antiquity.  The sundried bricks whereof the lower story is composed are
"rudely moulded of very incoherent earth, mixed with fragments of pottery
and fresh-water shells," and vary in size and shape, being sometimes
square, seven inches each way; sometimes oblong, nine inches by seven,
and from three to three and a half inches thick.  The whole present
height of the building is estimated at 100 feet above the level of the
plain.  Its summit, except where some slight remains of the second story
constitute an interruption, is "perfectly flat," and probably continues
very much in the condition in which it was when the lower stage was first
built.  This stage, being built of crude brick, was necessarily weak; it
is therefore supported by four massive buttresses of baked brick, each
placed exactly in the centre of one of the sides, and carried to about
one-third of the height.  Each buttress is nineteen feet high, six feet
one inch wide, and seven and a half feet in depth; and each is divided
down the middle by a receding space, one foot nine inches in width.  All
the bricks composing the buttresses are inscribed, and are very firmly
cemented together with bitumen, in thick layers.  The buttresses were
entirely hidden under the mass of rubbish which had fallen from the
building, chiefly from the upper story, and only became apparent when Mr.
Loftus made his excavations.

It is impossible to reconstruct the Bowariyeh ruin from the facts and
measurements hitherto supplied to us even the height of the first story
is at present uncertain; and we have no means of so much as conjecturing
the height of the second.  The exact emplacement of the second upon the
first is also doubtful, while the original mode of access is
undiscovered; and thus the plan of the building is in many respects still
defective.  We only know that it was a square; that it had two stories at
the least; and that its entire height above the plain considerably
exceeded 100 feet.  The temple at Mugheir has been more accurately
examined.  [PLATE VIII., Fig.  2.]  On a mound or platform of some size,
raised about twenty feet above the level of the plain, there stands a
rectangular edifice, consisting at present of two stories, both of them
ruined in parts, and buried to a considerable extent in piles of rubbish
composed of their debris.  The angles of the building exactly face the
four cardinal points.  It is not a square, but a parallelogram, having
two longer and two shorter sides.  [PLATE IX., Fig. 1.]  The longer sides
front to the north-east and south-west respectively, and measure 198
feet; while the shorter sides, which face the north-west and south-east,
measure 133 feet.  The present height of the basement story is 27 feet;
but, allowing for the concealment of the lower part by the rubbish, and
the destruction of the upper part by the hand of time, we may presume
that the original height was little, if at all, short of 40 feet.  The
interior of this story is built of crude or sun-dried bricks of small
size, laid in bitumen; but it is faced through out with a wall, ten feet
in thickness, composed of red kiln dried bricks, likewise cemented with
bitumen.  This external wall is at once strengthened and diversified to
the eye by a number of shallow buttresses or pilasters in the same
material; of these there are nine, including the corner ones, on the
longer, and six on the shorter sides.  The width of the buttresses is
eight feet, and their projection a little more than a foot.  The walls
and buttresses alike slope inwards at an angle of nine degrees.  On the
north-eastern side of the building there is a staircase nine feet wide,
with sides or balustrades three feet wide, which leads up from the
platform to the top of the first story.  It has also been conjectured
that there was a second or grand staircase on the south-east face, equal
in width to the second story of the building, and thus occupying nearly
the whole breadth of the structure on that side.  A number of narrow
slits or air-holes are carried through the building from side to side;
they penetrate alike the walls and buttresses, and must have tended to
preserve the dryness of the structure. The second story is, like the
first, a parallelogram, and not of very different proportions.  Its
longer sides measure 119 feet, and its shorter ones 75 feet at the base.
Its emplacement upon the first story is exact as respects the angles, but
not central as regards the four sides.  While it is removed from the
south-eastern edge a distance of 47 feet, from the northwestern it is
distant only 30 feet.  From the two remaining sides its distance is
apparently about 28 feet.  The present height of the second story,
including the rubbish upon its top, is 19 feet; but we may reasonably
suppose that the original height was much greater.  The material of which
its inner structure is composed, seems to be chiefly (or wholly)
partially-burnt brick, of a light red color, laid in a cement composed of
lime and ashes.  This central mass is faced with kiln-dried bricks of
large size and excellent quality, also laid, except on the north-west
face, in lime mortar.  No buttresses and no staircase are traceable on
this story; though it is possible that on the south-east side the grand
staircase may have run the whole height of both stories.

According to information received by Mr. Taylor from the Arabs of the
vicinity, there existed, less than half a century ago, some remains of a
third story, on the summit of the rubbish which now crowns the second.
This building is described as a room or chamber, and was probably the
actual shrine of the god in whose honor the whole structure was erected.
Mr. Taylor discovered a number of bricks or tiles glazed with a blue
enamel, and also a number of large copper nails, at such a height in the
rubbish which covers up much of the second story, that he thinks they
could only have come from this upper chamber.  The analogy of later
Babylonian buildings, as of the Birs-Nimrud and the temple of Belus at
Babylon confirms this view, and makes it probable that the early
Chaldaean temple was a building in three stages, of which the first and
second were solid masses of brickwork, ascended by steps on the outside,
while the third was a small house or chamber highly ornamented,
containing the image and shrine of the god.  [PLATE IX., Fig.  2.]

[Illustration: PLATE 9]

In conclusion, it must be observed that only the lower story of the
Mugheir temple exhibits the workmanship of the old or Chaldaean period.
Clay cylinders found in the upper story inform us that in its present
condition this story is the work of Nabonidus, the last of the Babylonian
kings; and most of its bricks bear his stamp.  Some, however, have the
stamp of the same monarch who built the lower story and this is
sufficient to show that the two stories are a part of the original
design, and therefore that the idea of building in stages belongs to the
first kingdom and to primitive times.  There is no evidence to prove
whether the original edifice had, or had not, a third story; since the
chamber seen by the Arabs was no doubt a late Babylonian work.  The third
story of the accompanying sketch must therefore be regarded as

It is not necessary for our present purpose to detain the reader with a
minute description of the ancient temple at Abu-Shahrein.  The general
character of this building seems to have very closely resembled that of
the Mugheir temple.  Its angles fronted the cardinal points: it had two
stories, and an ornamented chamber at the top; it was faced with burnt
brick, and strengthened by buttresses; and in most other respects
followed the type of the Mugheir edifice.  Its only very notable
peculiarities are the partial use of stone in the construction, and the
occurrence of a species of pillar, very curiously composed.  The
artificial platform on which the temple stands is made of beaten clay,
cased with a massive wall of sandstone and limestone, in some places
twenty feet thick.  There is also a stone or rather marble, staircase
which leads up from the platform to the summit of the first story,
composed of small polished blocks, twenty-two inches long, thirteen
broad, and four and a half thick.  The bed of the staircase is made of
sun dried brick, and the marble was fastened to this substratum by copper
bolts, some portion of which was found by Mr. Taylor still adhering to
the blocks.  At the foot of the staircase there appear to have stood two
columns, one on either side of it. The construction of these columns is
very singular.  A circular nucleus composed of sandstone slabs and small
cylindrical pieces of marble disposed in alternate layers, was coated
externally with coarse lime, mixed with small stones and pebbles, until
by means of many successive layers the pillar had attained the desired
bulk and thickness.  Thus the stone and marble were entirely concealed
under a thick coating of plaster; and a smoothness was given to the outer
surface which it would have otherwise been difficult to obtain. The date
of the Abu-Shahrein temple is thought to be considerably later than that
of the other buildings above described; and the pillars would seem to be
a refinement on the simplicity of the earlier times.  The use of stone is
to be accounted for, not so much by the advance of architectural science,
as by the near vicinity of the Arabian hills, from which that material
could be readily derived.

It is evident, that if the Chaldaean temples were of the character and
construction which we have gathered from their remains, they could have
possessed no great architectural beauty, though they may not have lacked
a certain grandeur.  In the dead level of Babylonia, an elevation even of
100 or 150 feet must have been impressive; and the plain massiveness of
the structures no doubt added to their grand effect on the beholder.  But
there was singularly little in the buildings, architecturally viewed, to
please the eye or gratify the sense of beauty.  No edifices in the world
--not even the Pyramids--are more deficient in external ornament.  The
buttresses and the air-holes, which alone break the flat uniformity of
the walls, are intended simply for utility, and can scarcely be said to
be much embellishment.  If any efforts were made to delight by the
ordinary resources of ornamental art, it seems clear that such efforts
did not extend to the whole edifice, but were confined to the shrine
itself--the actual abode of the god--the chamber which crowned the whole,
and was alone, strictly speaking, "the temple."  Even here there is no
reason to believe that the building had externally much beauty.  No
fragments of architraves or capitals, no sculptured ornaments of any
kind, have been found among the heaps of rubbish in which Chaldaean
monuments are three-parts buried.

The ornaments which have been actually discovered, are such as suggest
the idea of internal rather than external decoration; and they render it
probable that such decoration was, at least in some cases, extremely
rich.  The copper nails and blue enamelled tiles found high up in the
Mugheir mound, have been already noticed.  At Abu-Shahrein the ground
about the basement of the second story was covered with small pieces of
agate, alabaster, and marble, finely cut and polished, from half an inch
to two inches long, and half an inch (or somewhat less) in breadth, each
with a hole drilled through its back, containing often a fragment of a
copper bolt.

[Illustration: PAGE 56]

It was strewn less thickly with small plates of pure gold, and with a
number of gold-headed or gilt, headed nails, used apparently to attach
the gold plates to the internal plaster or wood-work.  These fragments
seem to attest the high ornamentation of the shrine in this instance,
which we have no reason to regard is singular or in any way exceptional.

The Chaldaean remains which throw light upon the domestic architecture of
the people are few and scanty.  A small house was disinterred by Mr.
Taylor at Mugheir, and the plan of some chambers was made out at
Abu-Shahrein; but these are hitherto the only specimens which can be
confidently assigned to the Chaldaean period.  The house stood on a
platform of sundried bricks, paved on the top with burnt bricks.  It was
built in the form of a cross, but with a good deal of irregularity, every
wall being somewhat longer or shorter than the others.  The material used
in its construction was burnt brick, the outer layer imbedded in bitumen,
and the remainder in a cement of mud.  Externally the house was
ornamented with perpendicular stepped recesses, while internally the
bricks had often a thin coating of gypsum or enamel, upon which
characters were inscribed.  The floors of the chambers were paved with
burnt brick, laid in bitumen.  Two of the doorways were arched, the arch
extending through the whole thickness of the walls; it was semicircular,
and was constructed with bricks made wedge-shaped for the purpose.  A
good deal of charred date-wood was found in the house, probably the
remains of rafters which had supported the roof.

The chambers at Abu-Shahrein were of sun-dried brick, with an internal
covering of fine plaster, ornamented with paint.  In one the
ornamentation consisted of a series of red, black, and white bands, three
inches in breadth; in another was represented, but very rudely, the
figure of a man holding a bird on his wrist, with a smaller figure near
him, in red paint.  The favorite external ornamentation for houses seems
to have been by means of colored cones in terra cotta, which were
imbedded in moist mud or plaster, and arranged into a variety of
patterns.  [PLATE IX., Fig. 3.]

[Illustration: PLATE 10]

But little can be said as to the plan on which houses were built.
[Illustration: PLATE X., Fig.  2. ]  The walls were generally of vast
thickness, the chambers long and narrow, with the outer doors opening
directly into them.  The rooms ordinarily led into one another, passages
being rarely found.  Squared recesses, sometimes stepped or dentated,
were common in the rooms; and in the arrangement of these something of
symmetry is observable, as they frequently correspond to or face each
other.  The roofs were probably either flat-beams of palm-wood being
stretched across from wall to wall--or else arched with brick.  No
indication of windows has been found as yet; but still it is thought that
the chambers were lighted by them, only they were placed high, near the
ceiling or roof, and thus do not appear in the existing ruins, which
consists merely of the lower portion of walls, seldom exceeding the
height of seven or eight feet.  The doorways, both outer and inner, are
towards the sides rather than in the centre of the apartments--a feature
common to Chaldaean with Assyrian buildings.

Next to their edifices, the most remarkable of the remains which the
Chaldaeans have left to after-ages, are their burial-places.  While
ancient tombs are of very rare occurrence in Assyria and Upper Babylonia,
Chaldaea Proper abounds with them.  It has been conjectured, with some
show of reason, that the Assyrians, in the time of their power, may have
made the sacred land of Chai the general depository of their dead, much
in the same way as the Persians even now use Kerbela and Nedjif or Meshed
Ali as special cemetery cities, to which thousands of corpses are brought
annually.  At any rate, the quantity of human relics accumulated upon
certain Chaldaean sites is enormous, and seems to be quite beyond what
the mere population of the surrounding district could furnish.  At Warka,
for instance, excepting the triangular space between the three principal
ruins, the whole remainder of the platform, the whole space within the
walls, and an unknown extent of desert beyond them, are everywhere filled
with human bones and sepulchres.  In places coffins are piled upon
coffins, certainly to the depth of 30, probably to the depth of 60 feet;
and for miles on every side of the ruins the traveller walks upon a soil
teeming with the relics of ancient, and now probably extinct, races.
Sometimes these relics manifestly belong to a number of distinct and
widely separate eras; but there are places where it is otherwise.
However we may account for it--and no account has been yet given which
is altogether satisfactory--it seems clear, from the comparative
homogeneousness of the remains in some places, that they belong to a
single race, and if not to a single period, at any rate to only two,
or, at the most, three distinct periods, so that it is no longer very
difficult to distinguish the more ancient from the later relics.  Such
is the character of the remains at Mugheir, which are thought to contain
nothing of later date than the close of the Babylonian period, B. C.
538; and such is, still more remarkably, the character of the ruins at
Abu-Shahrein and Tel-el-Lahm, which seem to be entirely, or almost
entirely, Chaldaean.  In the following account of the coffins and mode of
burial employed by the early Chaldaeans, examples will be drawn from
these places only; since otherwise we should be liable to confound
together the productions of very different ages and peoples.

[Illustration: PLATE 11]

The tombs to which an archaic character most certainly attaches are of
three kinds-brick vaults, clay coffins shaped like a dish-cover, and
coffins in the same material, formed of two large jars placed mouth to
mouth, and cemented together with bitumen.  The brick vaults are found
chiefly at Mugheir.  [PLATE XI., Fig. 1.] They are seven feet long, three
feet seven inches broad, and five feet high, composed of sun-dried bricks
imbedded in mud, and exhibit a very remarkable form and construction of
the arch.  The side walls of the vaults slope outwards as they ascend;
and the arch is formed, like those in Egyptian buildings and Scythian
tombs, by each successive layer of bricks, from the point where the arch
begins, a little overlapping the last, till the two sides of the roof are
brought so near together that the aperture may be closed by a single
brick.  The floor of the vaults was paved with brick similar to that used
for the roof and sides; on this floor was commonly spread a matting of
reeds, and the body was laid upon the matting.  It was commonly turned on
its left side, the right arm falling towards the left, and the fingers
resting on the edge of a copper bowl, usually placed on the palm of the
left hand.  The head was pillowed on a single sun-dried brick.  Various
articles of ornament and use were interred with each body, which will be
more particularly described hereafter.  Food seems often to have been
placed in the tombs, and jars or other drinking vessels are universal.
The brick vaults appear to have been family sepulchres; they have often
received three or four bodies, and in one case a single vault contained
eleven skeletons.

[Illustration: PLATE 12]

The clay coffins, shaped like a dish-cover, are among the most curious of
the sepulchral remains of antiquity.  [PLATE  XI., Fig.  2; PLATE XII.,
Fig. 1.] On a platform of sun-dried brick is laid a mat exactly similar
to those in common use among the Arabs of the country at the present day;
and hereon lies the skeleton disposed as in the brick vaults, and
surrounded by utensils and ornaments.  Mat, skeleton, and utensils are
then concealed by a huge cover in burnt clay, formed of a single piece,
which is commonly seven feet long, two or three feet high, and two feet
and a half broad at the bottom.  It is rarely that modern potters produce
articles of half the size.  Externally the covers have commonly some
slight ornament, such as rims and shallow indentations, as represented in
the sketch (No. 1).  Internally they are plain.  Not more than two
skeletons have ever been found under a single cover; and in these cases
they were the skeletons of a male and a female.  Children were interred
separately, under covers about half the size of those for adults.  Tombs
of this kind commonly occur at some considerable depth.  None were
discovered at Mugheir nearer the surface than seven or eight feet.

The third kind of tomb, common both at Mugheir and at Telel-Lahm, is
almost as eccentric as the preceding.  Two large open-mouthed jars (a and
b), shaped like the largest of the water-jars at present in use at
Baghdad, are taken, and the body is disposed inside them with the usual
accompaniments of dishes, vases, and ornaments.  [PLATE  XII.  Fig. 2.]
The jars average from two and a half feet to three feet in depth, and
have a diameter of about two feet; so that they would readily contain
a full-sized corpse if it was slightly bent at the knees.

Sometimes the two jars are of equal size, and are simply united at their
mouths by a layer of bitumen (dd); but more commonly one is slightly
larger than the other, and the smaller mouth is inserted into the larger
one for a depth of three or four inches, while a coating of bitumen is
still applied externally at the juncture.  In each coffin there is an
air-hole at one extremity (c) to allow the escape of the gases generated
during decomposition.

Besides the coffins themselves, some other curious features are found in
the burial-places.  The dead are commonly buried, not underneath the
natural surface of the ground, but in extensive artificial mounds, each
mound containing a vast number of coffins.  The coffins are arranged side
by side, often in several layers; and occasionally strips of masonry,
crossing each other at right angles, separate the sets of coffins from
their neighbors.  The surface of the mounds is sometimes paved with
brick; and a similar pavement often separates the layers of coffins one
from another.  But the most remarkable feature in the tomb-mounds is
their system of drainage.  Long shafts of baked clay extend from the
surface of the mound to its base, composed of a succession of rings two
feet in diameter, and about a foot and a half in breadth, joined together
by thin layers of bitumen.  [PLATE XII., Fig. 3.] To give the rings
additional strength, the sides have a slight concave curve and, still
further to resist external pressure, the shafts are filled from bottom to
top with a loose mass of broken pottery.  At the top the shaft contracts
rapidly by means of a ring of a peculiar shape, and above this ring are a
series of perforated bricks leading up to the top of the mound, the
surface of which is so arranged as to conduct the rain-water into these
orifices.  For the still more effectual drainage of the mound, the
top-piece of the shaft immediately below the perforated bricks, and also
the first rings, are full of small holes to admit any stray moisture;
and besides this, for the space of a foot every way, the shafts are
surrounded with broken pottery, so that the real diameter of each drain
is as much as four feet.  By these arrangements the piles have been kept
perfectly dry; and the consequence is the preservation, to the present
day, not only of the utensils and ornaments placed in the tombs, but of
the very skeletons themselves, which are seen perfect on opening a tomb,
though they generally crumble to dust at the first touch.

The skill of the Chaldaeans as potters has received considerable
illustration in the foregoing pages.  No ordinary ingenuity was needed to
model and bake the large vases, and still larger covers, which were the
ordinary receptacles of the Chaldaean dead.  The rings and top-pieces of
the drainage-shafts also exhibit much skill and knowledge of principles.
Hitherto, however, the reader has not been brought into contact with any
specimens of Chaldaean fictile art which can be regarded as exhibiting
elegance of form, or, indeed, any sense of beauty as distinguished from
utility.  Such specimens are, in fact, somewhat scarce, but they are not
wholly wanting.  Among the vases and drinking vessels with which the
Chaldaean tombs abound, while the majority are characterized by a certain
rudeness both of shape and material, we occasionally meet with specimens
of a higher character, which would not shrink from a comparison with the
ordinary productions of Greek fictile art.  A number of these are
represented in the second figure [PLATE XIII., Fig  2], which exhibits
several forms not hitherto published-some taken from drawings by Mr.
Churchill, the artist who accompanied Mr. Loftus on his first journey;
others drawn for the present work from vases now in the British Museum.

[Illustration: PLATE 13]

It is evident that, while the vases of the first group are roughly
moulded by the hand, the vases and lamps of the second have been
carefully shaped by the aid of the potter's wheel.  These last are formed
of a far finer clay than the early specimens, and have sometimes a slight
glaze upon them, which adds much to their beauty.

In a few instances the works of the Chaldaeans in this material belong to
mimetic art, of which they are rude but interesting specimens.  Some of
the primitive graves at Senkareh yielded tablets of baked clay, on which
were represented, in low relief, sometimes single figures of men,
sometimes groups, sometimes men in combination with animals.  A scene in
which a lion is disturbed in its feast off a bullock, by a man armed with
a club and a mace or hatchet, possesses remarkable spirit, and, were it
not for the strange drawing of the lion's unlifted leg, might be regarded
as a very creditable performance.  In another, a lion is represented
devouring a prostrate human being; while a third exhibits a pugilistic
encounter after the most approved fashion of modern England.  It is
perhaps uncertain whether these tablets belong to the Chaldaean or to the
Babylonian period, but on the whole their rudeness and simplicity favor
the earlier rather than the later date.

[Illustration: PLATE 14]

The only other works having anything of an artistic character, that can
be distinctly assigned to the primitive period, are a certain number of
engraved cylinders, some of which are very curious.  [PLATE XIV., Fig. 1]
It is clearly established that the cylinders in question, which are
generally of serpentine, meteoric stone, jasper, chalcedony, or other
similar substance, were the seals or signets of their possessors, who
impressed them upon the moist clay which formed the ordinary material for
writing.  They are round, or nearly so, and measure from half an inch to
three inches in length; ordinarily they are about one-third of their
length in diameter.  A hole is bored through the stone from end to end,
so that it could be worn upon a string; and cylinders are found in some
of the earliest tombs which have been worn round the wrist in this way.
In early times they may have been impressed by the hand; but afterwards
it was common to place them upon a bronze or copper axis attached to a
handle, by means of which they were rolled across the clay from one end
to the other.  The cylinders are frequently unengraved, and this is most
commonly their condition in the primitive tombs; out there is some very
curious evidence, from which it appears that the art of engraving them
was really known and practised (though doubtless in rare instances) at a
very early date.  The signet cylinder of the monarch who founded the most
ancient of the buildings at Mugheir, Warka, Senkareh, and Niffer, and who
thus stands at the head of the monumental kings, was in the possession of
Sir R. Porter; and though it is now lost, an engraving made from it is
preserved in his "Travels."  [PLATE XIV., Fig. 2.]  The signet cylinder
of this monarch's son has been recently recovered, and is now in the
British Museum.  We are entitled to conclude from the data thus in our
possession that the art of cylinder-engraving had, even at this early
period, made considerable progress.  The letters of the inscriptions,
which give the names of the kings and their titles, are indeed somewhat
rudely formed, as they are on the stamped bricks of the period; but the
figures have been as well cut, and as flowingly traced, as those of a
later date.  It was thought possible that the artist employed by Sir R.
Porter had given a flattering representation of his original, but the
newly recovered relic, known as the "cylinder of Ilgi," bears upon it
figures of quite as great excellence: and we are thus led to the
conclusion that both mechanical and artistic skill had reached a very
surprising degree of excellence at the most remote period to which the
Chaldaean records carry us back.

[Illustration: PLATE 15]

It increases the surprise which we naturally feel at the discovery of
these relics to reflect upon the rudeness of the implements with which
such results would seem to have been accomplished.  In the primitive
Chaldaean ruins, the implements which have been discovered are either in
stone or bronze.  Iron in the early times is seemingly unknown, and when
it first appears is wrought into ornaments for the person.  Knives of
flint or chert [PLATE XIV., Fig. 3], stone hatchets, hammers, adzes, and
nails, are common in the most ancient mounds, which contain also a number
of clay models, the centres, as it is thought, of moulds into which
molten bronze was run, and also occasionally the bronze instruments
themselves, as (in addition to spear heads and arrow-heads) hammers,
adzes, hatchets, knives, and sickles.  It will be seen by the engraved
representations that these instruments are one and all of a rude and
coarse character.  [PLATE XV.], [PLATE XVI.]  The flint and stone knives,
axes, and hammers, which abound in all the true Chaldaean mounds, are
somewhat more advanced indeed than those very primitive implements which
have been found in a drift; but they are of a workmanship at least as
unskilled as that of the ordinary stone celts of Western and Northern
Europe, which till the discoveries of M. Perthes were regarded as the
most ancient human remains in our quarter of the globe.  They indicate
some practical knowledge of the cleavage of silicious rocks, but they
show no power of producing even such finish as the celts frequently
exhibit.  In one case only has a flint instrument been discovered
perfectly regular in form, and presenting a sharp angular exactness.
The instrument, which is figured [PLATE XVI., Fig. 2], is a sort of long
parallelogram, round at the back, and with a deep impression down its
face.  Its use is uncertain; but, according to a reasonable conjecture,
it may have been designed for impressing characters upon the moist clay
of tablets and cylinders--a purpose for which it is said to be
excellently fitted.

[Illustration: PLATE 16]

The metallurgy of the Chaldaeans, though indicative of a higher state of
civilization and a greater knowledge of the useful arts than their stone
weapons, is still of a somewhat rude character, and indicates a nation
but just emerging out of an almost barbaric simplicity.  Metal seems to
be scarce, and not many kinds are found.  There is no silver, zinc, or
platinum; but only gold, copper, tin, lead, and iron.  Gold is found in
beads, ear-rings, and other ornaments, which are in some instances of a
fashion that is not inelegant.  [PLATE XVI., Fig. 3.]  Copper occurs
pure, but is more often hardened by means of an alloy of tin, whereby it
becomes bronze, and is rendered suitable for implements and weapons.
Lead is rare, occurring only in a very few specimens, as in one jar or
bottle, and in what seems to be a portion of a pipe, brought by Mr.
Loftus from Mugheir.  [PLATE XVII., Fig. 1.] Iron, as already observed,
is extremely uncommon; and when it occurs, is chiefly used for the rings
and bangles which seem to have been among the favorite adornments of the
people.  Bronze is, however, even for these, the more common material.
[PLATE  XVII, Fig. 2.] It is sometimes wrought into thin and elegant
shapes, tapering to a point at either extremity; sometimes the form into
which it is cast is coarse and massive, resembling a solid bar twisted
into a rude circle.  For all ordinary purposes of utility it is the
common metal used.  A bronze or copper bowl is found in almost every
tomb; bronze bolts remain in the pieces of marble used for tesselating;
bronze rings sometimes strengthen the cones used for ornamenting walls;
bronze weapons and instruments are, as we have seen, common, and in the
same material have been found chains, nails, toe and finger rings,
armlets, bracelets, and fish-hooks.

[Illustration: PLATE 17]

No long or detailed account can be given of the textile fabrics of the
ancient Chaldaeans; but there is reason to believe that this was a branch
of industry in which they particularly excelled.  We know that as early
as the time of Joshua a Babylonian garment had been imported into
Palestine, and was of so rare a beauty as to attract the covetous regards
of Achan, in common with certain large masses of the precious metals.
The very ancient cylinder figured above must belong to a time at least
five or six centuries earlier; upon it we observe flounced and fringed
garments, delicately striped, and indicative apparently of an advanced
state of textile manufacture.  Recent researches do not throw much light
on this subject.  The frail materials of which human apparel is composed
can only under peculiar circumstances resist the destructive power of
thirty or forty centuries; and consequently we have but few traces of the
actual fabrics in use among the primitive people.  Pieces of linen are
said to have been found attaching to some of the skeletons in the tombs;
and the sun-dried brick which supports the head is sometimes covered with
the remains of a "tasselled cushion of tapestry;" but otherwise we are
without direct evidence either as to the material in use, or as to the
character of the fabric.  In later times Babylon was especially
celebrated for its robes and its carpets.  Such evidence as we have would
seem to make it probable that both manufactures had attained to
considerable excellence in Chaldaean times.

The only sciences in which the early Chaldaeans can at present be proved
to have excelled are the cognate ones of arithmetic and astronomy.  On
the broad and monotonous plains of Lower Mesopotamia, where the earth has
little upon it to suggest thought or please by variety, the "variegated
heaven," ever changing with the hours and with the seasons, would early
attract attention, while the clear sky, dry atmosphere, and level horizon
would afford facilities for observations, so soon as the idea of them
suggested itself to the minds of the inhabitants.  The "Chaldaean
learning" of a later age appears to have been originated, in all its
branches, by the primitive people; in whose language it continued to be
written even in Semitic times.

We are informed by Simplicius that Callisthenes, who accompanied
Alexander to Babylon, sent to Aristotle from that capital a series of
astronomical observations, which he had found preserved there, extending
back to a period of 1903 years from Alexander's conquest of the city.
Epigenes related that these observations were recorded upon tablets of
baked clay, which is quite in accordance with all that we know of the
literary habits of the people.  They must have extended, according to
Simplicius, as far back as B.C. 2234, and would therefore seem to have
been commenced and carried on for many centuries by the primitive
Chaldaean people.  We have no means of determining their exact nature or
value, as none of them have been preserved to us: no doubt they were at
first extremely simple; but we have every reason to conclude that they
were of a real and substantial character.  There is nothing fanciful, or
(so to speak) astrological, in the early astronomy of the Babylonians.
Their careful emplacement of their chief buildings, which were probably
used from the earliest times for astronomical purposes, their invention
of different kinds of dials, and their division of the day into those
hours which we still use, are all solid, though not perhaps very
brilliant, achievements.  It was only in later times that the Chaldaeans
were fairly taxed with imposture and charlatanism; in early ages they
seem to have really deserved the eulogy bestowed on them by Cicero.

It may have been the astronomical knowledge of the Chaldaeans which gave
them the confidence to adventure on important voyages.  Scripture tells
us of the later people, that "their cry was in the ships;" and the early
inscriptions not only make frequent mention of the "ships of Ur," but by
connecting these vessels with those of Ethiopia seem to imply that they
were navigated to considerable distances.  Unfortunately we possess no
materials from which to form any idea either of the make and character of
the Chaldaean vessels, or of the nature of the trade in which they were
employed.  We may perhaps assume that at first they were either canoes
hollowed out of a palm-trunk, or reed fabrics made water-tight by a
coating of bitumen.  The Chaldaea trading operations lay no doubt,
chiefly in the Persian Gulf; but it is quite possible that even in very
early times they were not confined to this sheltered basin.  The gold,
which was so lavishly used in decoration, could only have been obtained
in the necessary quantities from Africa or India; and it is therefore
probable that one, if not both, of these countries was visited by the
Chaldaean traders.

Astronomical investigations could not be conducted without a fair
proficiency in the science of numbers.  It would be reasonable to
conclude, from the admitted character of the Chaldaeans as astronomers,
that they were familiar with most arithmetical processes, even had we no
evidence upon the subject.  Evidence, however, to a certain extent, does
exist.  On a tablet found at Senkareh, and belonging probably to an early
period, a table of squares is given, correctly calculated from one to
sixty.  The system of notation, which is here used, is very curious.
Berosus informs us that, in their computations of time, the Chaldaeans
employed an alternate sexagesimal and decimal notation, reckoning the
years by the _soss,_ the _ner,_ and the _sar_--the _soss_ being a term of
60 years, the _ner_ one of 600, and the _sar_ one of 3600 (or 60
_sosses_).  It appears from the Senkareh monument, that they occasionally
pursued the same practice in mere numerical calculations, as will be
evident from the illustration.  [PLATE XVIII., Figs.  1, 2.]

[Illustration: PLATE 18]

In Arabic numerals this table may be expressed as follows:

[Illustration: PAGE 66]

The calculation is in every case correct; and the notation is by means of
two signs--the simple wedge [--] , and the arrowhead [--] ; the wedge
representing the unit, the soss (60), and the sar (3600), while the
arrowhead expresses the decades of each series, or the numbers 10 and
600.  The notation is cumbrous, but scarcely more so than that of the
Romans.  It would be awkward to use, from the paucity in the number of
signs, which could scarcely fail to give rise to confusion,--more
especially as it does not appear that there was any way of expressing a
cipher.  It is not probable that at any time it was the notation in
ordinary use.  Numbers were commonly expressed in a manner not unlike the
Roman, as will be seen by the subjoined table.  [PLATE XVIII., Fig. 3.]
One, ten, a hundred, and a thousand, had distinct signs.  Fifty had the
same sign as the unit--a simple wedge.  The other numbers were composed
from these elements.



Chaldaea, unlike Egypt, has preserved to our day but few records of the
private or domestic life of its inhabitants.  Beyond the funereal
customs, to which reference was made in the last chapter, we can obtain
from the monuments but a very scanty account of their general mode of
life, manners, and usages.  Some attempt, however, must be made to throw
together the few points of this nature on which we have obtained any
light from recent researches in Mesopotamia.

The ordinary dress of the common people among the Chaldaeans seems to
have consisted of a single garment, a short tunic, tied round the waist,
and reaching thence to the knees, a costume very similar to that worn by
the Madan Arabs at the present day.  To this may sometimes have been
added an _abba,_ or cloak, thrown over the shoulders, and falling below
the tunic, about half-way down the calf of the leg.  The material of the
former we may perhaps presume to have been linen, which best suits the
climate, and is a fabric found in the ancient tombs.  The outer cloak was
most likely of woollen, and served to protect hunters and others against
the occasional inclemency of the air.  The feet were unprotected by
either shoes or sandals; on the head was worn a skull-cap, or else a band
of camel's hairs--the germ of the turban which has now become universal
throughout the East.

The costume of the richer class was more elaborate.  A high mitre, of a
very peculiar appearance, or else a low cap ornamented with two curved
horns, covered the head.  [PLATE  XIX. Fig. 1.]  The neck and arms were
bare.  The chief garment was a long gown or robe, extending from the neck
to the feet, commonly either striped or flounced, or both; and sometimes
also adorned with fringe.  This robe, which was scanty according to
modern notions, appears not to have been fastened by any girdle or
cincture round the waist, but to have been kept in place by passing over
one shoulder, a slit or hole being made for the arm on one side of the
dress only.  In some cases the upper part of the dress seems to have been
detached from the lower, and to have formed a sort of jacket, which
reached about to the hips.

[Illustration: PLATE 19]

The beard was commonly worn straight and long, not in crisp curls, as by
the Assyrians.  [PLATE XIX., Fig. 2.]  The hair was also worn long,
either gathered together into a club behind the head, or depending in
long spiral curls on either side the face and down the back.  Ornaments
were much affected, especially by the women.  Bronze and iron bangles and
armlets, and bracelets of rings or beads, ear-rings, and rings for the
toes, are common in the tombs, and few female skeletons are without them.
The material of the ornaments is generally of small value.  Many of the
rings are formed by grinding down a small kind of shell; the others are
of bronze or iron.  Agate beads, however, are not uncommon, and gold
beads have been found in a few tombs, as well as some other small
ornaments in the same material.  The men seem to have carried generally
an engraved cylinder in agate or other hard stone, which was used as a
seal or signet, and was probably worn round the wrist.  Sometimes rings,
and even bracelets, formed also a part of their adornment.  The latter
were occasionally in gold--they consisted of bands or fillets of the pure
beaten metal, and were as much as an inch in breadth.

The food of the early Chaldaeans consisted probably of the various
esculents which have already been mentioned as products of the territory.
The chief support, however, of the mass of the population was, beyond a
doubt, the dates, which still form the main sustenance of those who
inhabit the country.  It is clear that in Babylonia, as in Scythia, the
practice existed of burying with a man a quantity of the food to which he
had been accustomed during life.  In the Chaldaean sepulchres a number of
dishes are always ranged round the skeleton, containing the viaticum of
the deceased person, and in these dishes are almost invariably found a
number of date-stones.  They are most commonly unaccompanied by any
traces of other kinds of food; occasionally, however, besides
date-stones, the bones of fish and of chickens have been discovered, from
which we may conclude that those animals were eaten, at any rate by the
upper classes.  Herodotus tells us that in his day three tribes of
Babylonians subsisted on fish alone; and the present inhabitants of Lower
Mesopotamia make it a principal article of their diet.  The rivers and
the marshes produce it in great abundance, while the sea is also at hand,
if the fresh-water supply should fail.  Carp and barbel are the principal
fresh-water sorts, and of these the former grows to a very great size in
the Euphrates.  An early tablet, now in the British Museum, represents a
man carrying a large fish by the head, which may be a carp, though the
species can scarcely be identified.  There is evidence that the wild-boar
was also eaten by the primitive people; for Mr. Loftus found a jaw of
this animal, with the tusk still remaining, lying in a shallow clay dish
in one of the tombs.  Perhaps we may be justified in concluding, from the
comparative rarity of any remains of animal food in the early sepulchres,
that the primitive Chaldaeans subsisted chiefly on vegetable productions.
The variety and excellence of such esculents are prominently put forward
by Berosus in his account of the original condition of the country; and
they still form the principal support of those who now inhabit it.

We are told that Nimrod was "a mighty hunter before the Lord;" and it is
evident, from the account already given of the animals indigenous in
Lower Mesopotainia, that there was abundant room for the display of a
sportsman's skill and daring when men first settled in that region.  The
Senkareh tablets show the boldness and voracity of the Chaldaean lion,
which not only levied contributions on the settlers' cattle, but
occasionally ventured to attack man himself.  We have not as yet any
hunting scenes belonging to these early times; but there can be little
doubt that the bow was the chief weapon used against the king of beasts,
whose assailants commonly prefer remaining at a respectful distance from
him.  The wild-boar may have been hunted in the same way, or he may have
been attacked with a spear--a weapon equally well known with the bow to
the early settlers.  Fish were certainly taken with the hook; for
fish-hooks have been found in the tombs; but probably they were also
captured in nets, which are among the earliest of human inventions.

A considerable portion of the primitive population must have been engaged
in maritime pursuits.  In the earliest inscriptions we find constant
mention of the "ships of Ur," which appear to have traded with Ethiopia
--a country whence may have been derived the gold, which--as has been
already shown--was so largely used by the Chaldaeans in ornamentation.
It would be interesting could we regard it as proved that they traded
also with the Indian peninsula; but the "rough logs of wood, apparently
teak," which Mr. Taylor discovered in the great temple at Mugheir, belong
more probably to the time of its repair by Nabonidus than to that of its
original construction by a Chaldaean monarch.  The Sea-God was one of the
chief objects of veneration at Ur and elsewhere; and Berosus appears to
have preserved an authentic tradition, where he makes the primitive
people of the country derive their arts and civilization from "the Red
Sea."  Even if their commercial dealings did not bring them into contact
with any more advanced people, they must have increased the intelligence,
as well as the material resources, of those employed in them, and so have
advanced their civilization.

Such are the few conclusions concerning the manners of the Chaldaeans
which alone we seem to have any right to form with our present means of



The religion of the Chaldaeans, from the very earliest times to which the
monuments carry us back, was, in its outward aspect, a polytheism of a
very elaborate character.  It is quite possible that there may have been
esoteric explanations, known to the priests and the more learned, which,
resolving the personages of the Pantheon into the powers of nature,
reconciled the apparent multiplicity of gods with monotheism, or even
with atheism.  So far, however, as outward appearances were concerned,
the worship was grossly polytheistic.  Various deities, whom it was not
considered at all necessary to trace to a single stock, divided the
allegiance of the people, and even of the kings, who regarded with equal
respect, and glorified with equally exalted epithets, some fifteen or
sixteen personages.  Next to these principal gods were a far more
numerous assemblage of inferior or secondary divinities, less often
mentioned, and regarded as less worthy of honor, but still recognized
generally through the country.  Finally, the Pantheon contained a host of
mere local gods or genii, every town and almost every village in
Babylonia being under the protection of its own particular divinity.

It will be impossible to give a complete account of this vast and
complicated system.  The subject is still but partially worked out by
cuneiform scholars; the difficulties in the way of understanding it are
great; and in many portions to which special attention has been paid it
is strangely perplexing and bewildering.  All that will be attempted in
the present place is to convey an idea of the general character of the
Chaldaean religion, and to give some information with regard to the
principal deities.

In the first place, it must be noticed that the religion was to a certain
extent astral.  The heaven itself, the sun, the moon, and the five
planets, have each their representative in the Chaldaean Pantheon among
the chief objects of worship.  At the same time it is to be observed that
the astral element is not universal, but partial; and that, even where it
has place, it is but one aspect of the mythology, not by any means its
full and complete exposition.  The Chaldaean religion even here is far
from being mere Sabaeanism--the simple worship of the "host of heaven."
The aether, the sun, the moon, and still more the five planetary gods,
are something above and beyond those parts of nature.  Like the classical
Apollo and Diana, Mars and Venus, they are real persons, with a life and
a history, a power and an influence, which no ingenuity can translate
into a metaphorical representation of phenomena attaching to the air and
to the heavenly bodies.  It is doubtful, indeed, whether the gods of this
class are really of astronomical origin, and not rather primitive
deities, whose character and attributes were, to a great extent, fixed
and settled before the notion arose of connecting them with certain parts
of nature.  Occasionally they seem to represent heroes rather than
celestial bodies; and they have all attributes quite distinct from their
physical or astronomical character.

Secondly, the striking resemblance of the Chaldaean system to that of the
Classical Mythology seems worthy of particular attention.  This
resemblance is too general, and too close in some respects, to allow of
the supposition that mere accident has produced the coincidence.  In the
Pantheons of Greece and Rome, and in that of Chaldaea, the same general
grouping is to be recognized; the same genealogical succession is not
unfrequently to be traced; and in some cases even the familiar names and
titles of classical divinities admit of the most curious illustration and
explanation from Chaldaean sources.  We can scarcely doubt but that, in
some way or other, there was a communication of beliefs--a passage in
very early times, from the shores of the Persian Gulf to the lands washed
by the Mediterranean, of mythological notions and ideas.  It is a
probable conjecture that among the primitive tribes who dwelt on the
Tigris and Euphrates, when the cuneiform alphabet was invented and when
such writing was first applied to the purposes of religion, a Scythic or
Scytho-Arian race existed, who subsequently migrated to Europe, and
brought with them those mythical traditions which, as objects of popular
belief, had been mixed up in the nascent literature of their native
country, and that these traditions were passed on to the classical
nations, who were in part descended from this Scythic or Scytho-Arian

The grouping of the principal Chalda an deities is as follows.  At the
head of the Pantheon stands a god, Il or Ra, of whom but little is known.
Next to him is a Triad, _Ana, Bil_ or _Belus,_ and _Hea_ or _Hoa,_ who
correspond closely to the classical Pluto, Jupiter, and Neptune.  Each of
these is accompanied by a female principle or wife, _Ana_ by _Anat, Bil_
(or Bel) by _Mulita_ or _Beltis,_ and _Hea_ (or _Hoa_) by _Davkina_.
Then follows a further Triad, consisting of _Sin_ or _Hurki,_ the
Moon-god; _San_ or _Sansi,_ the Sun; and _Vul_ the god of the
atmosphere.  The members of this Triad are again accompanied by female
powers or wives,--_Vul_ by a goddess called _Shala_ or _Tala, San_ (the
Sun) by _Gula_ or _Anunit,_ and _Hurki_ (the Moon) by a goddess whose
name is wholly uncertain, but whose common title is "the great lady."

Such are the gods at the head of the Pantheon.  Next in order to them we
find a group of five minor deities, the representatives of the five
planets,--Nin or Ninip (Saturn), Merodach (Jupiter), Nergal (Mars),
Ishtar (Venus), and Nebo (Mercury).  These together constitute what we
have called the _principal_ gods; after them are to be placed the
numerous divinities of the second and third order.

These principal gods do not appear to have been connected, like the
Egyptian and the classical divinities, into a single genealogical scheme:
yet still a certain amount of relationship was considered to exist among
them.  Ana and Bel, for instance, were brothers, the sons of Il or Ra;
Vul was son of Ana; Hurki, the Moon-god, of Bel; Nebo and Merodach were
sons of Hea or Hoa.  Many deities, however, are without parentage, as not
only Il or Ra, but Hea, San (the Sun), Ishtar, and Nergal.  Sometimes the
relationship alleged is confused, and even contradictory, as in the case
of Nin or Ninip, who is at one time the son, at another the father of
Bel, and who is at once the son and the husband of Beltis.  It is evident
that the genealogical aspect is not that upon which much stress is
intended to be laid, or which is looked upon as having much reality.  The
great gods are viewed habitually rather as a hierarchy of coequal powers,
than as united by ties implying on the one hand pre-eminence and on the
other subordination.

We may now consider briefly the characters and attributes of the several
deities so far as they can be made out, either from the native records,
or from classical tradition.  And, first, concerning the god who stands
in some sense at the head of the Chaldaean Pantheon.

IL, or RA.

The form Ra represents probably the native Chaldaean name of this deity,
while _Il_ is the Semitic equivalent. _Il,_ of course, is but a variant
of _El,_ the root of the well-known Biblical _Elohim_ as well as of the
Arabic _Allah_.  It is this name which Diodorus represents under the form
of Elms ('H??oc), 7 and Sanchoniathon, or rather Philo-Byblius, under
that of _Elus_ or _Ilus_.  The meaning of the word is simply "God," or
perhaps "the god" emphatically. _Ra,_ the Cushite equivalent, must be
considered to have had the same force originally, though in Egypt it
received a special application to the sun, and became the proper name of
that particular deity.  The word is lost in the modern Ethiopic.  It
formed an element in the native name of Babylon, which was _Ka-ra,_ the
Cushite equivalent of the Semitic _Bab-il,_ an expression signifying "the
gate of God."

Ra is a god with few peculiar attributes.  He is a sort of fount and
origin of deity, too remote from man to be much worshipped or to excite
any warm interest.  There is no evidence of his having had any temple in
Chaldaea during the early times.  A belief in his existence is implied
rather than expressed in inscriptions of the primitive kings, where the
Moon-god is said to be "brother's son of Ana, and eldest son of Bil, or
Belus."  We gather from this that Bel and Ana were considered to have a
common father; and later documents sufficiently indicate that that common
father was Il or Ra.  We must conclude from the name _Babil,_ that
Babylon was originally under his protection, though the god specially
worshipped in the great temple there seems to have been in early times
Bel, and in later times Merodach.  The identification of the Chaldaean,
Il or Ra with Saturn, which Diodorus makes, and which may seem to derive
some confirmation from Philo-Byblius, is certainly incorrect, so far as
the planet Saturn, which Diodorus especially mentions, is concerned; but
it may be regarded as having a basis of truth, inasmuch as Saturn was in
one sense the chief of the gods, and was the father of Jupiter and Pluto,
as Ra was of Bil and Ana.


_Ana,_ like Il and Ra, is thought to have been a word originally
signifying "God," in the highest sense.  The root occurs probably in the
Annedotus and Oannes of Berosus, as well as in Philo-Byblius's Anobret.
In its origin it is probably Cushite: but it was adopted by the
Assyrians, who inflected the word which was indeclinable in the Chaldaean
tongue, making the nominative Anu, the genitive Ani, and the accusative

Ana is the head of the first Triad, which follows immediately after the
obscure god Ra.  His position is well marked by Damascius, who gives the
three gods, Anus, Illinus, and Aus, as next in succession to the primeval
pair, Assorus and Missara.  He corresponds in many respects to the
classical Hades or Pluto, who, like him, heads the triad to which he
belongs.  His epithets are chiefly such as mark priority and antiquity.
He is called "the old Ana," "the original chief," perhaps in one place
"the father of the gods," and also "the Lord of spirits and demons."
Again, he bears a number of titles which serve to connect him with the
infernal regions.  He is "the king of the lower world," the "Lord of
darkness" or "death," "the ruler of the far-off city," and the like.  The
chief seat of his worship is Huruk or Erech--the modern Warka--which
becomes the favorite Chaldaean burying city, as being under his
protection.  There are some grounds for thinking that one of his names
was _Dis._ If this was indeed so, it would seem to follow, almost beyond
a doubt, that _Dis,_ the lord of Orcus in Roman mythology, must have been
a reminiscence brought from the East--a lingering recollection of _Dis_
or Ana, patron god of Erech (_Opex_ of the LXX), the great city of the
dead, the necropolis of Lower Babylonia.  Further, curiously enough, we
have, in connection with this god, an illustration of the classical
confusion between Pluto and Plutus; for Ana is "the layer-up of
treasures"--the "lord of the earth" and of the "mountains," whence the
precious metals are derived.

The worship of Ana by the kings of the Chaldaean series is certain.  Not
only did Shanias-vul, the son of Ismi-dagon, raise a temple to the honor
of Ana and his son Vul at Kileh-Shergat (or Asshur) about B.C. 1830--
whence that city appears in later times to have borne the name of Telane,
or "the mound of Ana"--but Urukh himself mentions him as a god in an
inscription quoted above; and there is reason to believe that from at
least as early a date he was recognized as the presiding deity at Erech
or Warka.  This is evident from the fact, that though the worship of
Beltis superseded that of Ana in the great temple at that place from a
very remote epoch, yet the temple itself always retained the title of
Bit-Ana (or Beth-Ana), "the house of Ana;" and Beltis herself was known
commonly as "the lady of Bit-Ana," from the previous dedication to this
god of the shrine in question.  Ana must also have been worshipped
tolerably early at Nipur (Rifer), or that city could scarcely have
acquired, by the time of Moses, the appellation of Calneh in the
Septuagint translation, which is clearly Kal Ana, "the fort of Ana."

Ana was supposed to have a wife, Anata, of whom a few words will be said
below.  She bore her husband a numerous progeny.  One tablet shows a list
of nine of their children, among which, however, no name occurs of any
celebrity.  But there are two sons of Ana mentioned elsewhere, who seem
entitled to notice.  One is the god of the atmosphere, Vul (?), of whom a
full account will be hereafter given.  The other bears the name of Martu,
and may be identified with the _Brathy_ of Sanchoniathon.  He represents
"Darkness," or "the West," corresponding to the Erebus of the Greeks.


Anat or Anata has no peculiar characteristics.  As her name is nothing
but the feminine form of the masculine Ana, so she herself is a mere
reflection of her husband.  All his epithets are applied to her, with a
simple difference of gender.  She has really no personality separate from
his, resembling Amente in Egyptian mythology, who is a mere feminine
Ammon.  She is rarely, if ever, mentioned in the historical and
geographical inscriptions.

BIL, or ENU.

Bil or Enu is the second god of the first Triad.  He is, probably, the
Illinus (_Il-Enu_ or "God Enu ") of Damascius.  His name, which seems to
mean merely "lord," is usually followed by a qualificative adjunct,
possessing great interest.  It is proposed to read this term as _Nipru,_
or in the feminine _Niprut,_ a word which cannot fail to recall the
Scriptural Nimrod, who is in the Septuagint Nebroth.  The term nipru
seems to be formed from the root napar, which is in Syriac to "pursue,"
to "make to flee," and which has in Assyrian nearly the same meaning.
Thus Bil-Nipru would be aptly translated as "the Hunter Lord," or "the
god presiding over the chase," while, at the same time, it might combine
the meaning of "the Conquering Lord" or "the Great Conqueror."

On these grounds it is reasonable to conclude that we have, in this
instance, an admixture of hero-worship in the Chaldaean religion.
Bil-Nipru is probably the Biblical Nimrod, the original founder of the
monarchy, the "mighty hunter" and conqueror.  At the same time, however,
that he is this hero deified, he represents also, as the second god of
the first Triad, the classical Jupiter.  He is "the supreme," "the father
of the gods," "the procreator," "the Lord," _par excellence,_ "the king
of all the spirits," "the lord of the world," and again, "the lord of all
the countries."  There is some question whether he is altogether to be
identified with the Belus of the Greek writers, who in certain respects
rather corresponds to Merodach.  When Belus, however, is called the first
king, the founder of the empire, or the builder of Babylon, it seems
necessary to understand Bil-Nipru or Bel-Nimrod.  Nimrod, we know, built
Babylon; and Babylon was called in Assyrian times "the city of
Bil-Nipru," while its famous defences--the outer and the inner wall--were
known, even under Nebuchadnezzar, by the name of the same god.--Nimrod,
again, was certainly the founder of the kingdom; and, therefore, if
Bil-Nipru is his representative, he would be Belus under that point of

The chief seat of Bel-Nimrod's worship was undoubtedly Nipur (Niffer) or
Calneh.  Not only was this city designated by the very same name as the
god, and specially dedicated to him and to his wife Beltis, but
Bel-Nimrod is called "Lord of Nipra," and his wife "Lady of Nipra," in
evident allusion to this city or the tract wherein it was placed.
Various traditions, as will be hereafter shown, connect Nimrod with
Niffer, which may fairly be regarded as his principal capital.  Here then
he would be naturally first worshipped upon his decease; and here seems
to have been situated his famous temple called Kharris-Nipra, so noted
for its wealth, splendor, and antiquity, which was an object of intense
veneration to the Assyrian kings.  Besides this celebrated shrine, he
does not appear to have possessed many others.  He is sometimes said to
have had four "arks" or "tabernacles;" but the only places besides
Niffer, where we know that he had buildings dedicated to him, are Calah
(Nimrud) and Dur-Kurri-galzu (Akkerkuf).  At the same time he is a god
almost universally acknowledged in the invocations of the Babylonian and
Assyrian kings, in which he has a most conspicuous place.  In Assyria he
seems to be inferior only to Asshur; in Chaldaea to Ra and Ana.

Of Beltis, the wife of Bel-Nimrod, a full account will be given
presently.  Nin or Ninip--the Assyrian Hercules--was universally regarded
as their son; and he is frequently joined with Bel-Nimrod in the
invocations.  Another famous deity, the Moon-god, Sin or Hurki, is also
declared to be Bel-Nimrod's son in some inscriptions.  Indeed, as "the
father of the gods," Bel-Nimrod might evidently claim an almost infinite

The worship of Bel-Nimrod in Chaldaea extends through the whole time of
the monarchy.  It has been shown that he was probably the deified Nimrod,
whose apotheosis would take place shortly after his decease.  Urukh, the
earliest monumental king, built him a temple at Niffer; and Kurri-galzu,
one of the latest, paid him the same honor at Akkerkuf.  Urukh also
frequently mentions him in his inscriptions in connection with Hurki, the
Moon-god, whom he calls his "eldest son."


Beltis, the wife of Bel-Nimrod, presents a strong contrast to Anata, the
wife of Ana.  She is far more than the mere female power of Bel-Nimrod,
being in fact a separate and very important deity.  Her common title is
"the Great Goddess."  In Chaldaea her name was Mulita or Enuta--both
words signifying "the Lady;" in Assyria she was Bilta or Bilta-Nipruta,
the feminine forms of Bil and Bilu-Nipru.  Her favorite title was "the
Mother of the Gods," or "the Mother of the Great Gods:" whence it is
tolerably clear that she was the "Dea Syria" worshipped at Hierapolis
under the Arian appellation of Mabog. Though commonly represented as the
wife of Bel-Nimrod, and mother of his son Nin or Ninip, she is also
called "the wife of Nin," and in one place "the wife of Asshur."  Her
other titles are "the lady of Bit-Ana," "the lady of Nipur," "the Queen
of the land" or "of the lands," "the great lady," "the goddess of war and
battle," and the "queen of fecundity."  She seems thus to have united the
attributes of the Juno, the Ceres or Demeter, the Bellona, and even the
Diana of the classical nations: for she was at once the queen of heaven,
the goddess who makes the earth fertile, the goddess of war and battle,
and the goddess of hunting.  In these latter capacities she appears,
however, to have been gradually superseded by Ishtar, who sometimes even
appropriates her higher and more distinctive appellations.

The worship of Beltis was wide-spread, and her temples were very
numerous.  At Erech (Warka) she was worshipped on the same platform, if
not even in the same building with Ana.  At Calneh or Nipur (Niffer), she
shared fully in her husband's honors.  She had a shrine at Ur (Mugheir),
another at Rubesi, and another outside the walls of Babylon.  Some of
these temples were very ancient, those at Warka and Niffer being built by
Urukh, while that at Mugheir was either built or repaired by Ismi-dagon.

According to one record, Beltis was a daughter of Ana.  It was especially
as "Queen of Nipur" that she was the wife of her son Nin.  Perhaps this
idea grew up out of the fact that at Nipur the two were associated
together in a common worship.  It appears to have given rise to some of
the Greek traditions with respect to Semiramis, who was made to contract
an incestuous marriage with her own son Ninyas, although no explanation
can at present be given of the application to Beltis of that name.

HEA, or HOA.

The third god of the first Triad was Hea, or Hoa, probably the Aus of
Damascus.  His appellation is perhaps best rendered into Greek by the
[--] of Helladius--the name given to the mystic animal, half man, half
fish, which came up from the Persian Gulf to teach astronomy and letters
to the first settlers on the Euphrates and Tigris.  It is perhaps
contained also in the word by which Berosus designates this same
creature--Oannes--which may be explained as _Hoa-ana,_ or "the god Hoa."
There are no means of strictly determining the precise meaning of the
word in Babylonian; but it is perhaps allowable to connect it,
provisionally, with the Arabic Hiya, which is at once life and "a
serpent," since, according to the best authority, there are very strong
grounds for connecting Hea or Hoa with the serpent of Scripture and the
Paradisaical traditions of the tree of knowledge and the tree of life.

Hoa occupies, in the first Triad, the position which in the classical
mythology is filled by Poseidon or Neptune, and in some respects he
corresponds to him.  He is "the lord of the earth," just as Neptune is
[Greek]; he is "the king of rivers;" and he comes from the sea to teach
the Babylonians; but he is never called "the lord of the sea."  That
title belongs to Nin or Ninip.  Hoa is "the lord of the abyss," or of
"the great deep," which does not seem to be the sea, but something
distinct from it.  His most important titles are those which invest him
with the character, so prominently brought out in Oe and Oannes, of the
god of science and knowledge.  He is "the intelligent guide," or,
according to another interpretation, "the intelligent fish," "the teacher
of mankind," "the lord of understanding."  One of his emblems is the
"wedge" or "arrowhead," the essential element of cuneiform writing, which
seems to be assigned to him as the inventor, or at least the patron of
the Chaldaean alphabet.  Another is the serpent which occupies so
conspicuous a place among the symbols of the gods on the black stones
recording benefactions, and which sometimes appears upon the cylinders.
[PLATE XIX., Fig. 3.] This symbol, here as elsewhere, is emblematic of
superhuman knowledge--a record of the primeval belief that the serpent
was more subtle than any beast of the field.  The stellar name of Hoa was
Kimmut; and it is suspected that in this aspect he was identified with
the constellation Draco, which is perhaps the Kimah of Scripture.
Besides his chief character of "god of knowledge," Hoa is also "god of
life," a capacity in which the serpent would again fitly symbolize him.
He was likewise "god of glory," and "god of giving,"  being, as Berosus
said, the great giver of good gifts to man.

The monuments do not contain much evidence of the early worship of Hoa.
His name appears on a very ancient stone tablet brought from Mugheir
(Ur); but otherwise his claim to be accounted one of the primeval gods
must rest on the testimony of Berosus and Helladius, who represent him as
known to the first settlers.  He seems to have been the tutelary god
of Is or Hit, which Isidore of Charax calls Aeipolis, or "Hea's city;"
but there is no evidence that this was a very ancient place.  The
Assyrian kings built him temples at Asshur and Calah.

Hoa had a wife Dav-Kina, of whom a few words will be said presently.
Their most celebrated son was Merodach or Bel-Merodach, the Belus of
Babylonian times.  As Kimmut, Hoa was also the father of Nebo, whose
functions bear a general resemblance to his own.


Dav-Kina, the wife of Hoa, is clearly the Dauke or Davke of Damascius who
was the wife of Ails and mother of Belus (Bel-Merodach).  Her name is
thought to signify "the chief lady."  She has no distinctive titles or
important position in the Pantheon, but, like Anata, takes her husband's
epithets with a mere distinction of gender.


The first god of the second Triad is Sin, or Hurki, the moon-deity.  It
is in condescension to Greek notions that Berosus inverts the true
Chaldaean order, and places the sun before the moon in his enumeration of
the heavenly bodies.  Chaldaean mythology gives a very decided preference
to the lesser luminary, perhaps because the nights are more pleasant than
the days in hot countries.  With respect to the names of the god, we may
observe that Sin, the Assyrian or Semitic term, is a word of quite
uncertain etymology, which, however, is found applied to the moon in many
Semitic languages; while Hurki, which is the Chaldaean or Hamitic name,
is probably from a root cognate to the Hebrew _Ur_, "vigilare," whence is
derived the term sometimes used to signify "an angel" _Ir,_ "a watcher."

The titles of Hurki are usually somewhat vague.  He is "the chief," "the
powerful," "the lord of the spirits," "he who dwells in the great
heavens;" or, hyperbolically, "the chief of the gods of heaven and
earth," "the king of the gods," and even "the god of the gods."
Sometimes, however, his titles are more definite and particular: as,
firstly, when they belong to him in respect of his being the celestial
luminary--e.g., "the bright," "the shining," "the lord of the month;"
and, secondly, when they represent him as presiding over buildings and
architecture, which the Chaldaeans appear to have placed under his
special superintendence.  In this connection he is called "the supporting
architect," "the strengthener of fortifications," and, more generally,
"the lord of building" (Bel-zuna).  Bricks, the Chaldaean building
material, were of course under his protection; and the sign which
designates them is also the sign of the month over which he was
considered to exert particular care.  His ordinary symbol is the crescent
or new moon, which is commonly represented as large, but of extreme
thinness: though not without a certain variety in the forms.

[Illustration: PAGE 81]

The most curious and the most purely conventional representations are a
linear semicircle, and an imitation of this semicircle formed by three
straight lines.  The illuminated part of the moon's disk is always turned
directly towards the horizon, a position but rarely seen in nature.

The chief Chaldaean temple to the moon-god was at Ur or Hur (Mugheir), a
city which probably derived its name from him, and which was under his
special protection.  He had also shrines at Babylon and Borsippa, and
likewise at Calah and Dur-Sargina (Khorsabad).  Few deities appear to
have been worshipped with such constancy by the Chaldaean kings.  His
great temple at Ur was begun by Urukh, and finished by his son Ilgi--the
two most ancient of all the monarchs.  Later in the series we find him in
such honor that every king's name during some centuries comprise the name
of the moon-god in it.  On the restoration of the Chaldaean power he is
again in high repute.  Nebuchadnezzar mentions him with respect; and
Nabonidus, the last native monarch, restores his shrine at Ur, and
accumulates upon him the most high-sounding titles.

The moon-god is called, in more than one inscription, the eldest son of
Bel-Ninnod.  He had a wife (the moon-goddess) whose title was "the great
lady," and who is frequently associated with him in the lists.  She and
her husband were conjointly the tutelary deities of Ur or Hur; and a
particular portion of the great temple there was dedicated to her honor
especially.--Her "ark" or "tabernacle," which was separate from that of
her husband was probably, as well as his, deposited in this sanctuary.
It bore the title of "the lesser light," while his was called,
emphatically, "the light."


San, or Sansi, the sun-god, was the second member of the second Triad.
The main element of this name is probably connected with the root _shani_
which is in Arabic, and perhaps in Hebrew, "bright."  Hence we may
perhaps compare our own word "sun" with the Chaldaean "San;" for "sun" is
most likely connected etymologically with "sheen" and "shine."  Shamas or
Shemesh, the Semitic title of the god, is altogether separate and
distinct, signifying as it does, the Ministering office of the sun, and
not the brilliancy of his light.  A trace of the Hamitic name appears in
the well-known city Bethsain, whose appellation is declared by Eugesippus
to signify "domus Solis," "the house of the sun."

The titles applied to the sun-god have not often much direct reference to
his physical powers or attributes.  He is called indeed, in some places,
"the lord of fire," "the light of the gods," "the ruler of the day," and
"he who illumines the expanse of heaven and earth."  But commonly he is
either spoken of in a more general way, as "the regent of all things,"
"the establisher of heaven and earth;" or, if special functions are
assigned to him, they are connected with his supposed "motive" power, as
inspiring warlike thoughts in the minds of the kings, directing and
favorably influencing their expeditions; or again, as helping them to
discharge any of the other active duties of royalty.  San is "the supreme
ruler who casts a favorable eye on expeditions," "the vanquisher of the
king's enemies," "the breaker-up of opposition."  He "casts his motive
influence" over the monarchs, and causes them to "assemble their
chariots and warriors"--he goes forth with their armies, and enables them
to extend their dominions--he chases their enemies before them, causes
opposition to cease, and brings them back with victory to their own
countries.  Besides this, he helps them to sway the sceptre of power,
and to rule over their subjects with authority.  It seems that, from
observing the manifest agency of the material sun in stimulating all the
functions of nature, the Chaldaeans came to the conclusion that the
sun-god exerted a similar influence on the minds of men, and was the
great motive agent in human history.

The chief seats of the sun-god's worship in Chaldaea appear to have been
the two famous cities of Larsa (Ellasar?) and Sippara.  The great temple
of the Sun, called Bit-Parra, at the former place, was erected by Urukh,
repaired by more than one of the later Chaldaean monarchs, and completely
restored by Nebuchadnezzar.  At Sippara, the worship of the sun-god was
so predominant, that Abydenus, probably following Berosus, calls the town
Heliopolis.  There can be little doubt that the Adrammelech, or
"Fire-king," whose worship the Sepharvites (or people of Sippara)
introduced into Samaria, was this deity.  Sippara is called Tsipar sha
Shamas, "Sippara of the Sun," in various inscriptions, and possessed a
temple of the god which was repaired and adorned by many of the ancient
Chaldaean kings, as well as by Nebuchadnezzar and Nabonidus.

The general prevalence of San's worship is indicated most clearly by the
cylinders.  Few comparatively of those which have any divine symbol upon
them are without his.  The symbol is either a simple circle, a quartered
disk a four-rayed orb of a more elaborate character.

[Illustration: PAGE 83]

San or Sansi had a wife, Ai, Gula, or Anunit, of whom it now follows to


Ai, Gula, or Anunit, was the female power of the sun, and was commonly
associated with San in temples and invocations.  Her names are of
uncertain signification, except the second, Gula, which undoubtedly means
"great," being so translated in the vocabularies.  It is suspected that
the three terms may have been attached respectively to the "rising," the
"culminating," and the "setting sun," since they do not appear to
interchange; while the name Gula is distinctly stated in one inscription
to belong to the "great" goddess, "the wife of the meridian Sun."  It is
perhaps an objection to this view, that the male Sun, who is decidedly
the superior deity, does not appear to be manifested in Chaldaea under
any such threefold representation.

As a substantive deity, distinct from her husband, Gula's characteristics
are that she presides over life and over fecundity.  It is not quite
clear whether these offices belong to her alone, or whether she is
associated in each of them with a sister goddess.  There is a "Mistress
of Life," who must be regarded as the special dispenser of that blessing;
and there is a "Mistress of the Gods," who is expressly said to "preside
over births."  Concerning these two personages we cannot at present
determine whether they are really distinct deities, or whether they are
not rather aspects of Gula, sufficiently marked to be represented in the
temples by distinct idols.

Gula was worshipped in close combination with her husband, both at Larsa
and Sippara.  Her name appears in the inscriptions connected with both
places; and she is probably the "Anammelech," whom the Sepharvites
honored in conjunction with Adrammelech, the "Fire-King."  In later times
she had also temples independent of her husband, at Babylon and Borsippa,
as well as at Calah Asshur.

The emblem now commonly regarded as symbolizing Gula is the eight-rayed
disk or orb, which frequently accompanies the orb with four rays in the
Babylonian representations.  In lieu of a disk, we have sometimes an
eight-rayed star and even occasionally a star with six rays only.  It is
curious that the eight-rayed star became at an early period the universal
emblem of divinity: but perhaps we can only conclude from this the
stellar origin of the worship generally, and not any special pre-eminence
or priority of Anunit over other deities.

[Illustration: PAGE 84]


The third member of the second Triad is the god of the atmosphere, whose
name it has been proposed to render phonetically in a great variety of
ways.  Until a general agreement shall be established, it is thought best
to retain a name with which readers are familiar; and the form Vul will
therefore be used in these volumes.  Were Iva the correct articulation,
we might regard the term as simply the old Hamitic name for "the air,"
and illustrate it by the Arabic _heva,_ which has still that meaning.

The importance of Vul in the Chaldaean mythology, and his strong positive
character, contrast remarkably with the weak and shadowy features of
Uranus, or AEther, in the classical system.  Vul indeed corresponds in
great measure with the classical Zeus or Jupiter, being, like him, the
real "Prince of the power of the air," the lord of the whirlwind and the
tempest, and the wielder of the thunderbolt.  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, where it is
figured as a double or triple bolt. [PLATE XIX., Fig. 4.] Vul again, as
the god of the atmosphere, gives the rain; and hence he is "the careful
and beneficent chief," "the giver of abundance," "the lord of fecundity."
In this capacity he is naturally chosen to preside over canals, the great
fertilizers of Babylonia; and we find among his titles "the lord of
canals," and "the establisher of works of irrigation."

There is not much evidence of the worship of Vul in Chaldaea during the
early times.  That he must have been known appears from the fact of his
name forming an element in the name of Shamas-Vul, son of Ismi-dagon, who
ruled over Chaldaea about B.C. 1850.  It is also certain that this
Shamas-Vul set up his worship at Asshur (Kileh-Sherghat) in Assyria,
associating him there with his father Ana, and building to them
conjointly a great temple.  Further than this we have no proof that he
was an object of worship in the time of the first monarchy; though in the
time of Assyrian preponderance, as well as in that of the later
Babylonian Empire, there were few gods more venerated.

Vul is sometimes associated with a goddess, Shala or Tala, who is
probably the Salambo or Salambas of the lexicographers.  The meaning of
her name is uncertain; and her epithets are for the most part obscure.
Her ordinary title is sacrat or sharrat, "queen," the feminine of the
common word sar, which means "Chief," "King," or "Sovereign."


If we are right in regarding the five gods who stand next to the Triad
formed of the Moon, the Sun, and the Atmosphere, as representatives of
the five planets visible to the naked eye, the god Nin, or Ninip, should
be Saturn.  His names, Bar and Nin, are respectively a Semitic and a
Hamitic term signifying "lord" or "master."  Nin-ip, his full Hamitic
appellation, signifies "Nin, by name," or "he whose name is Nin;" and
similarly, his full Semitic appellation seems to have been Barshem, "Bar,
by name," or "he whose name is Bar"--a term which is not indeed found in
the inscriptions, but which appears to have been well known to the early
Syrians and Armenians, and which was probably the origin of the title
Barsemii, borne by the kings of Hatra (Hadhr near Kileh-Sherghat) in
Roman times.

In character and attributes the classical god whom Nin most closely
resembles is, however, not Saturn, but Hercules.  An indication of this
connection is perhaps contained in the Herodotean genealogy, which makes
Hercules an ancestor of Ninus.  Many classical traditions, we must
remember, identified Hercules with Saturn; and it seems certain that in
the East at any rate this identification was common.  So Nin, in the
inscriptions, is the god of strength and courage.  He is "the lord of the
brave," "the champion," "the warrior who subdues foes," "he who
strengthens the heart of his followers;" and again, "the destroyer of
enemies," "the reducer of the disobedient," "the exterminator of rebels,"
"he whose sword is good."  In many respects he bears a close resemblance
to Nergal or Mars.  Like him, he is a god of battle and of the chase,
presiding over the king's expeditions, whether for war or hunting, and
giving success in both alike.  At the same time he has qualities which
seem wholly unconnected with any that have been hitherto mentioned.  He
is the true "Fish-God" of Berosus, and is fig ured as such in the
sculptures.  [PLATE XIX., Fig. 5.] In this point of view he is called
"the god of the sea," "he who dwells in the sea," and again, somewhat
curiously, "the opener of aqueducts."  Besides these epithets, he has
many of a more general character, as "the powerful chief," "the supreme,"
"the first of the gods," "the favorite of the gods," "the chief of the
spirits," and the like.  Again, he has a set of epithets which seem to
point to his stellar character, very difficult to reconcile with the
notion that, as a celestial luminary, he was Saturn. We find him called
"the light of heaven and earth," "he who, like the sun, the light of the
gods, irradiates the nations."  These phrases appear to point to the
Moon, or to some very brilliant star, and are scarcely reconcilable with
the notion that he was the dark and distant Saturn.

Nin's emblem in Assyria is the Man-bull, the impersonation of strength
and power.  [PLATE XIX., Fig. 6.] He guards the palaces of the Assyrian
kings, who reckon him their tutelary god, and give his name to their
capital city.  We may conjecture that in Babylonia his emblem was the
sacred fish, which is often seen under different forms upon the
cylinders.  [PLATE XIX., Fig. 7.]

The monuments furnish no evidence of the early worship of Nin in
Chaldaea.  We may perhaps gather the fact from Berosus' account of the
Fish-God as an early object of veneration in that region, as well as from
the Hamitic etymology of the name by which he was ordinarily known even
in Assyria.  There he was always one of the most important deities.  His
temple at Nineveh was very famous, and is noticed by Tacitus in his
"Annals;" and he had likewise two temples at Calah (Nimrud), both of them
buildings of some pretension.

It has been already mentioned that Nin was the son of Bel-Nimrod, and
that Beltis was both his wife and his mother.  These relationships are
well established, since they are repeatedly asserted.  One tablet,
however, inverts the genealogy, and makes Bel-Nimrod the son of Nin,
instead of his father.  The contradiction perhaps springs from the double
character of this divinity, who, as Saturn, is the father, but, as
Hercules, the son of Jupiter.


Bel-Merodach is, beyond all doubt, the planet Jupiter, which is still
called Bel by the Mendaeans.  The name Merodach is of uncertain etymology
and meaning.  It has been compared with the Persian _Mardak,_ the
diminutive of _mard,_ "a man," and with the Arabic _Mirrich,_ which is
the name of the planet Mars.  But, as there is every reason to believe
that the term belongs to the Hamitic Babylonian, it is in vain to have
recourse to Arian or Semitic tongues for its derivation.  Most likely the
word is a descriptive epithet, originally attached to the name Bel, in
the same way as _Nipru,_ but ultimately usurping its place and coming to
be regarded as the proper name of the deity.  It is doubtful whether any
phonetic representative of Merodach has been found on the monuments; if
so, the pronunciation should, apparently, be _Amardak,_ whence we might
derive the Amordacia of Ptolemy.

The titles and attributes of Merodach are of more than usual vagueness.
In the most ancient monuments which mention him, he seems to be called
"the old man of the gods," and "the judge;" he also certainly has the
gates, which in early times were the seats of justice, under his special
protection.  Thus he would seem to be the god of justice and judgment--an
idea which may have given rise to the Hebrew name of the planet Jupiter,
viz. _sedek,_ "justitia."  Bel-Merodach was worshipped in the early
Chaldaean kingdom, as appears from the Tel-Sifr tablets.  He was probably
from a very remote time the tutelary god of the city of Babylon; and
hence, as that city grew into importance, the worship of Merodach became
more prominent.  The Assyrian monarchs always especially associate
Babylon with this god; and in the later Babylonian empire he becomes by
far the chief object of worship.  It is his temple which Herodotus
describes so elaborately, and his image, which, according to the
Apocryphal Daniel, the Babylonians worshipped with so much devotion.
Nebuchadnezzar calls him "the king of the heavens and the earth," "the
great lord," "the senior of the gods," "the most ancient," "the supporter
of sovereignty," "the layer-up of treasures," etc., and ascribes to him
all his glory and success.

We have no means of determining which among the emblems of the gods is to
be assigned to Bel-Merodach; nor is there any sculptured form which can
be certainly attached to him.  According to Diodorus, the great statue of
Bel-Merodach at Babylon was a figure "standing and walking."  Such a form
appears more often than any other upon the cylinders of the Babylonians;
and it is perhaps allowable to conjecture that it may represent this
favorite deity.  [PLATE XIX., Fig. 8.]


Bel-Merodach has a wife, with whom he is commonly associated, called
Zir-banit.  She had a temple at Babylon, probably attached to her
husband's, and is perhaps the Babylonian Juno (Hera) of Diodorus.  The
essential element of her name seems to be Zir, which is an old Hamitic
root of uncertain meaning, while the accompanying _banit_ is a
descriptive epithet, which may be rendered by "genetrix."  Zir-banit was
probably the goddess whose worship the Babylonian settlers carried to
Samaria, and who is called Succoth-benoth in Scripture.


Nergal, the planet Mars, whose name was continued to a late date, under
the form of Nerig in the astronomical system of the Mendaeans, is a god
whose character and attributes are tolerably clear and definite.  His
name is evidently compounded of the two Hamitic roots _nir,_ "a man," and
_gala,_ "great;" so that he is "the great man," or "the great hero."  He
is the special god of war and of hunting, more particularly of the
latter.  His titles are "the king of battle," "the champion of the gods,"
"the storm ruler," "the strong begetter," "the tutelar god of Babylonia,"
and "the god of the chase."  He is usually coupled with Nin, who likewise
presides over battles and over hunting; but while Nin is at least his
equal in the former sphere, Nergal has a decided pre-eminence in the

We have no distinct evidence that Nergal was worshipped in the primitive
times.  He is first mentioned by some of the early Assyrian kings, who
regard him as their ancestor.  It has, however, been conjectured that,
like Bil-Nipru, he represented the deified hero, Nimrod, who may have
been worshipped in different parts of Chaldaea under different titles.

The city peculiarly dedicated to Nergal was Cutha or Tiggaba, which is
constantly called his city in the inscriptions.  He was worshipped also
at Tarbisa, near Nineveh, but in Tiggaba he was said to "live," and his
shrine there was one of great celebrity.  Hence "the men of Cuth," when
transported to Samaria by the Assyrians, naturally enough "made Nergal
their god," carrying his worship with them into their new country.

[Illustration: PLATE 20]

It is probable that Nergal's symbol was the Man Lion.  [PLATE XX.]  Nir
is sometimes used in the inscriptions in the meaning of "lion;" and the
Semitic name for the god himself is "Aria"--the ordinary term for the
king of beasts both in Hebrew and in Syriac.  Perhaps we have here the
true derivation of the Greek name for the god of war, _Ares,_ which has
long puzzled classical scholars.  The lion would symbolize both the
fighting and the hunting propensities of the god, for he not only engages
in combats upon occasions, but often chases his prey and runs it down
like a hunter.  Again, if Nergal is the Man-Lion, his association in the
buildings with the Man-Bull would be exactly parallel with the
conjunction, which we so constantly find, between him and Nin in the

Nergal had a wife, called Laz, of whom, however, nothing is known beyond
her name.  It is uncertain which among the emblems of the gods appertains
to him.


Ishtar, or Nana, is the planetary Venus, and in general features
corresponds with the classical goddess.  Her name Ishtar is that by which
she was known in Assyria; and the same term prevailed with slight
modifications among the Semitic races generally.  The Phoenician form was
Astarte, the Hebrew Ashtoreth; the later Mendaean form was Ashtar.  In
Babylonia the goddess was known as Nana, which seems to be the Naneea of
the second book of Maccabees, and the Nani of the modern Syrians.  No
satisfactory account can at present be given of the etymology of either
name; for the proposal to connect Ishtar with the Greek (Zend _starann,_
Sanscrit _tara,_ English _star,_ Latin _stella_), though it has great
names in its favor, is not worthy of much attention.

Ishtar's aphrodisiac character, though it can scarcely be doubted, does
not appear very clearly in the inscriptions.  She is "the goddess who
rejoices mankind," and her most common epithet is "Asurah," "the
fortunate," or "the happy."  But otherwise her epithets are vague and
general, insomuch that she is often scarcely distinguishable from Beltis.
She is called "the mistress of heaven and earth," "the great goddess,"
"the queen of all the gods," and again "the goddess of war and battle,"
"the queen of victory," "she who arranges battles," and "she who defends
from attacks."  She is also represented in the inscriptions of one king
as the goddess of the chase.

The worship of Ishtar was wide-spread, and her shrines were numerous.
She is often called "the queen of Babylon," and must certainly have had
a temple in that city.  She had also temples at Asshur (Kileh-Sherghat),
at Arbela, and at Nineveh.  It may be suspected that her symbol was the
naked female form, which is not uncommon upon the cylinders.  [PLATE
XXI., Figs. 1, 2.]  She may also be represented by the rude images in
baked clay so common throughout the Mesopotamian ruins, which are
generally regarded as images of Mylitta.  Ishtar is sometimes coupled
with Nebo in such a way as to suggest the notion that she was his wife.
This, however, can hardly have been her real position in the mythology,
since Nebo had, as will presently appear, another wife, Varamit, whom
there is no reason to believe identical with Ishtar.  It is most probable
that the conjunction is casual and accidental, being due to special and
temporary causes.

[Illustration: PLATE 21]


The last of the five planetary gods is Nebo, who undoubtedly represents
the planet Mercury.  [PLATE XXI., Fig. 3.] His name is the same, or
nearly so, both in Babylonian and Assyrian; and we may perhaps assign it
a Semitic derivation, from the root _nibbah,_  "to prophesy."  It is his
special function to preside over knowledge and learning.  He is called
"the god who possesses intelligence," "he who hears from afar," "he who
teaches," or "he who teaches and instructs."  In this point of view, he
of course approximates to Hoa, whose son he is called in some
inscriptions, and to whom he bears a general resemblance.  Like Hoa, he
is symbolized by the simple wedge or "arrowhead," the primary and
essential element of cuneiform writing, to mark his joint presidency with
that God over writing and literature.  At the same time Nebo has, like so
many of the Chaldaean gods, a number of general titles, implying divine
power, which, if they had belonged to him only, would have seemed to
prove him the supreme deity.  He is "the Lord of lords, who has no equal
in power," "the supreme chief," "the sustainer," "the supporter," "the
ever ready," "the guardian over the heavens and the earth," "the lord of
the constellations," "the holder of the sceptre of power," "he who grants
to kings the sceptre of royalty for the governance of their people."  It
is chiefly by his omission from many lists, and his humble place when he
is mentioned together with the really great gods, that we know he was
mythologically a deity of no very great eminence.

There is nothing to prove the early--worship of Nebo.  His name does not
appear as an element in any royal appellation belonging to the Chaldaean
series.  Nor is there any reference to him in the records of the primeval
times.  Still, as he is probably of Babylonian rather than Assyrian
origin, and as an Assyrian king is named after him in the twelfth century
B.C., we may assume that he was not unknown to the primitive people of
Chaldaea, though at present their remains have furnished us with no
mention of him.  In later ages the chief seat of his worship was
Borsippa, where the great and famous temple, known at present as the
Birs-Nimrud, was dedicated to his honor.  He had also a shrine at Calah
(Nimrud), whence were procured the statues representing him which are now
in the British Museum.  He was in special favor with the kings of the
great Babylonian empire, who were mostly named after him, and viewed him
as presiding over their house.  His symbol has not yet been recognized.

The wife of Nebo, as already observed, was Varamit or Urmit--a word which
perhaps means "exalted," from the root on, "to be lifted up."  No special
attributes are ascribed to this goddess, who merely accompanies her
husband in most of the places where he is mentioned by name.

Such, then, seem to have been the chief gods worshipped by the early
Chaldaeans.  It would be an endless as well as an unprofitable task to
give an account of the inferior deities.  Their name is "Legion;" and
they are, for the most part, too vague and shadowy for effective
description.  A vast number are merely local; and it may be suspected
that where this is the case the great gods of the Pantheon come before us
repeatedly, disguised under rustic titles.  We have, moreover, no clue at
present to this labyrinth, on which, even with greater knowledge, it
would perhaps be best for us to forbear to enter; since there is no
reason to expect that we should obtain any really valuable results from
its exploration.

A few words, however, may be added upon the subject of the Chaldaean
cosmogony.  Although the only knowledge that we possess on this point is
derived from Berosus, and therefore we cannot be sure that we have really
the belief of the ancient people, yet, judging from internal evidence of
character, we may safely pronounce Berosus' account not only archaic, but
in its groundwork and essence a primeval tradition, more ancient probably
than most of the gods whom we have been considering.

"In the beginning," says this ancient legend, "all was darkness and
water, and therein were generated monstrous animals of strange and
peculiar forms.  There were men with two wings, and some even with four,
and with two faces; and others with two heads, a man's and a woman's on
one body; and there were men with the heads and horns of goats, and men
with hoofs like horses, and some with the upper parts of a man joined to
the lower parts of a horse, like centaurs; and there were bulls with
human heads, dogs with four bodies and with fishes' tails, men and horses
with dogs' heads, creatures with the heads and bodies of horses, but with
the tails of fish, and other animals mixing the forms of various beasts.
Moreover there were monstrous fish and reptiles and serpents, and divers
other creatures, which had borrowed something from each other's shapes;
of all which the likenesses are still preserved in the temple of Belus.
A woman ruleth them all, by name Omorka, which is in Chaldee Thalatth,
and in Greek Thalassa (or "the sea").  Then Belus appeared, and split the
woman in twain; and of the one half of her he made the heaven, and of the
other half the earth; and the beasts that were in her he caused to
perish.  And he split the darkness, and divided the heaven and the earth
asunder, and put the world in order; and the animals that could not bear
the light perished.  Belus, upon this, seeing that the earth was
desolate, yet teeming with productive power, commanded one of the gods to
cut off his head, and to mix the blood which flowed forth with earth, and
form men therewith, and beasts that could bear the light.  So man was
made, and was intelligent, being a partaker of the divine wisdom.
Likewise Belus made the stars, and the sun and moon, and the five

It has been generally seen that this cosmogony bears a remarkable
resemblance to the history of Creation contained in the opening chapters
of the book of Genesis.  Some have gone so far as to argue that the
Mosaic account was derived from it.  Others, who reject this notion,
suggest that a certain "old Chaldee tradition" was "the basis of them
both."  If we drop out the word "Chaldee" from this statement, it may be
regarded as fairly expressing the truth.  The Babylonian legend embodies
a primeval tradition, common to all mankind, of which an inspired author
has given us the true groundwork in the first and second chapters of
Genesis.  What is especially remarkable is the fidelity, comparatively
speaking, with which the Babylonian legend reports the facts.  While the
whole tone and spirit of the two accounts, and even the point of view
from which they are taken, differ, the general outline of the narrative
in each is nearly the same.  In both we have the earth at first "without
form and void," and "darkness upon the face of the deep."  In both the
first step taken towards creation is the separation of the mixed mass,
and the formation of the heavens and the earth as the consequence of such
separation.  In both we have light mentioned before the creation of the
sun and moon; in both we have the existence of animals before man; and in
both we have a divine element infused into man at his birth, and his
formation "from the dust of the ground."  The only points in which the
narratives can be said to be at variance are points of order.  The
Babylonians apparently made the formation of man and of the animals which
at present inhabit the earth simultaneous, and placed the creation of the
sun, moon, and planets after, instead of before, that of men and animals.
In other respects the Babylonian narrative either adds to the Mosaic
account, as in its description of the monsters and their destruction, or
clothes in mythic language, that could never have been understood
literally, the truth which in Scripture is put forth with severe
simplicity.  The cleaving of the woman Thalatth in twain, and the
beheading of Belus, are embellishments of this latter character; they are
plainly and evidently mythological; nor can we suppose them to have been
at any time regarded as facts.  The existence of the monsters, on the
other hand, may well have been an actual belief.  All men are prone to
believe in such marvels; and it is quite possible, as Niebuhr supposes,
that some discoveries of the remains of mammoths and other monstrous
forms embedded in the crust of the earth, may have given definiteness and
prominency to the Chaldaean notions on this subject.

Besides their correct notions on the subject of creation, the primitive
Chaldaeans seem also to have been aware of the general destruction of
mankind, on account of their wickedness, by a Flood; and of the
rebellious attempt which was made soon after the Flood to concentrate
themselves in one place, instead of obeying the command to "replenish the
earth" an attempt which was thwarted by means of the confusion of their
speech.  The Chaldaean legends embodying these primitive traditions were
as follows:--

"God appeared to Xisuthrus (Noah) in a dream, and warned him that on the
fifteenth day of the month Daesius, mankind would be destroyed by a
deluge.  He bade him bury in Sippara, the City of the Sun, the extant
writings, first and last; and build a ship, and enter therein with his
family and his close friends; and furnish it with meat and drink; and
place on board winged fowl, and four-footed beasts of the earth; and when
all was ready, set sail.  Xisuthrus asked 'Whither he was to sail?' and
was told, 'To the gods, with a prayer that it might fare well with
mankind.'  Then Xisuthrus was not disobedient to the vision, but built a
ship five furlongs (3125 feet) in length, and two furlongs (1250 feet) in
breadth; and collected all that had been commanded him, and put his wife
and children and close friends on board.  The flood came; and as soon as
it ceased, Xisuthrus let loose some birds, which, finding neither food
nor a place where they could rest, came back to the ark.  After some days
he again sent out the birds, which again returned to the ark, but with
feet covered with mud.  Sent out a third time, the birds returned no
more, and Xisuthrus knew that land had reappeared: so he removed some of
the covering of the ark, and looked, and behold! the vessel had grounded
on a mountain.  Then Xisuthrus went forth with his wife and his daughter,
and his pilot, and fell down and worshipped the earth, and built an
altar, and offered sacrifice to the gods; after which he disappeared from
sight, together with those who had accompanied him.  They who had
remained in the ark and not gone forth with Xisuthrus, now left it and
searched for him, and shouted out his name; but Xisuthrus was not seen
any more.  Only his voice answered them out of the air, saying, 'Worship
God; for because I worshipped God, am I gone to dwell with the gods; and
they who were with me have shared the same honor.'  And he bade them
return to Babylon, and recover the writings buried at Sippara, and make
them known among men; and he told them that the land in which they then
were was Armenia.  So they, when they had heard all, sacrificed to the
gods and went their way on foot to Babylon, and, having reached it,
recovered the buried writings from Sippara, and built many cities and
temples, and restored Babylon.  Some portion of the ark still continues
in Armenia, in the Gordiaean (Kurdish) Mountains; and persons scrape off
the bitumen from it to bring away, and this they use as a remedy to avert

"The earth was still of one language, when the primitive men, who were
proud of their strength and stature, and despised the gods as their
inferiors, erected a tower of vast height, in order than they might mount
to heaven.  And the tower was now near to heaven, when the gods (or God)
caused the winds to blow and overturned the structure upon the men, and
made them speak with divers tongues; wherefore the city was called

Here again we have a harmony with Scripture of the most remarkable
kind--a harmony not confined to the main facts, but reaching even to the
minuter points, and one which is altogether most curious and interesting.
The Babylonians have not only, in common with the great majority of
nations, handed down from age to age the general tradition of the Flood,
but they are acquainted with most of the particulars of the occurrence.
They know of the divine warning to a single man, the direction to
construct a huge ship or ark, the command to take into it a chosen few
of mankind only, and to devote the chief space to "winged fowl and
four-footed beasts of the earth."  They are aware of the tentative
sending out of birds from it, and of their returning twice, but when
sent out a third time returning no more.  They know of the egress from
the ark by removal of some of its covering, and of the altar built and
the sacrifice offered immediately afterwards.  They know that the ark
rested in Armenia; that those who escaped by means of it, or their
descendants, journeyed towards Babylon; that there a tower was begun,
but not, completed, the building being stopped by divine interposition
and a miraculous confusion of tongues.  As before, they are not content
with the plain truth, but must amplify and embellish it.  The size of
the ark is exaggerated to an absurdity, and its proportions are
misrepresented in such a way as to outrage all the principles of naval
architecture.  The translation of Xisuthrus, his wife, his daughter, and
his pilot--a reminiscence possibly of the translation of Enoch--is
unfitly as well as falsely introduced just after they have been
miraculously saved from destruction.  The story of the Tower is given
with less departure from the actual truth.  The building is, however,
absurdly represented as an actual attempt to scale heaven; and a storm
of wind is somewhat unnecessarily introduced to destroy the Tower, which
from the Scripture narrative seems to have been left standing.  It is
also especially to be noticed that in the Chaldaean legends the whole
interest is made narrow and local.  The Flood appears as a circumstance
in the history of Babylonia; and the priestly traditionists, who have
put the legend into shape, are chiefly anxious to make the event redound
to the glory of their sacred books, which they boast to have been the
special objects of divine care, and represent as a legacy from the
antediluvian ages.  The general interests of mankind are nothing to the
Chaldaean priests, who see in the story of the Tower simply a local
etymology, and in the Deluge an event which made the Babylonians the
sole possessors of primeval wisdom.



"The beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and
Calneh, in the land of Shinar."--GEN. X. 10.

The establishment of a Cushite kingdom in Lower Babylonia dates probably
from (at least) the twenty-fourth or twenty-fifth century before our era.
Greek traditions' assigned to the city of Babylon an antiquity nearly as
remote; and the native historian, Berosus, spoke of a Chaldaean dynasty
as bearing rule anterior to B.C.  2250.  Unfortunately the works of this
great authority have been lost; and even the general outline of his
chronological scheme, whereof some writers have left us an account, is to
a certain extent imperfect; so that, in order to obtain a definite
chronology for the early times, we are forced to have recourse, in some
degree, to conjecture.  Berosus declared that six dynasties had reigned
in Chaldaea since the great flood of Xisuthrus, or Noah.  To the first,
which consisted of 86 kings, he allowed the extravagant period of 34,080
years.  Evechous, the founder of the dynasty, had enjoyed the royal
dignity for 2400 years, and Chomasbelus, his son and successor, had
reigned 300 years longer than his father.  The other 84 monarchs had
filled up the remaining space of 28,980 years--their reigns thus
averaging 345 years apiece.  It is clear that these numbers are
unhistoric; and though it would be easy to reduce them within the limits
of credibility by arbitrary suppositions--as for instance, that the years
of the narrative represent months or days--yet it may reasonably be
doubted whether we should in this way be doing any service to the cause
of historic truth.  The names Evechous and Chomasbelus seem mythic rather
than real; they represent personages in the Babylonian Pantheon, and can
scarcely have been borne by men.  It is likely that the entire series of
names partook of the same character, and that, if we possessed them,
their bearing would be found to be, not historic, but mythological.  We
may parallel this dynasty of Berosus, where he reckons king's reigns by
the cyclical periods of _sosses_ and _ners,_ with Manetho's dynasties of
Gods and Demigods in Egypt, where the sum of the years is nearly as

It is necessary, then, to discard as unhistorical the names and numbers
assigned to his first dynasty by Berosus, and to retain from this part of
his scheme nothing but the fact which he lays down of an ancient
Chaldaean dynasty having ruled in Babylonia, prior to a conquest, which
led to the establishment of a second dynasty, termed by him Median.

The scheme of Berosus then, setting aside his numbers for the first
period, is--according to the best extant authorities, as follows:--

Dynasty  I.  of (?) Chaldaean kings.  (?) years.
        II.  of  8  Median     "  234 (?)   "
       III.  "  11     "       "   48 (?)   "
        IV.  "  49 Chaldaean   "  458       "
         V.  "   9 Arabian     "  245       "
        VI.  "  45   (?)       "  526       "
Reign of Pul                          (?)
Dynasty VII. of (?)  (?) kings        (?)
    "  VIII.  "  6 Chaldaean   "   87       "

[Illustration: PAGE 98]

It will be observed that this table contains certain defects and
weaknesses, which greatly impair its value, and prevent us from
constructing upon it, without further aid, an exact scheme of chronology.
Not only does a doubt attach to one or two of the numbers--to the years,
i.e., of the second and third dynasty--but in two cases we have no
numbers at all set down for us, and must supply them from conjecture, or
from extraneous sources, before we can make the scheme available.
Fortunately in the more important case, that of the seventh dynasty, the
number of years can be exactly supplied without any difficulty.  The Canon
of Ptolemy covers, in fact, the whole interval between the reign of Pul
and the close of the Babylonian Empire, giving for the period of the
seventh dynasty 13 reigns in 122 years, and for that of the eighth 5
reigns in 87 years.  The length of the reign of Pul can, however, only be
supplied from conjecture.  As it is not an unreasonable supposition that
he may have reigned 28 years, and as this number harmonizes well with the
chronological notices of the monuments, we shall venture to assume it,
and thus complete the scheme which the fragments of Berosus imperfect.

[Illustration: PAGE 99]

This scheme, in which there is nothing conjectural except the length of
the reign of Pul, receives very remarkable confirmation from the Assyrian
monuments.  These inform us, first, that there was a conquest of Babylon
by a Susianian monarch 1635 yers before the capture of Susa by
Asshurbanipal, the son of Esarhaddon; and, secondly, that there was a
second conquest by an Assyrian monarch 600 years before the occupation of
Babylon by Esarhaddon's father, Sennacherib.  Now Sennacherib's
occupation of Babylon was in B.C. 702; and 600 years before this brings
us to B.C. 1302, within a year of the date which the scheme assigns to
the accession of the seventh dynasty.  Susa was taken by Asshur-bani-pal
probably in B.C.  651; and 1635 years before this is B.C. 2286, or the
exact year marked in the scheme for the accession of the second (Median)
dynasty.  This double coincidence can scarcely be accidental; and we may
conclude, therefore, that we have in the above table at any rate a near
approach to the scheme of Babylonian chronology as received among both
the Babylonians and Assyrians in the seventh century before our era.

Whether the chronology is wholly trustworthy is another question.  The
evidence both of the classical writers and of the monuments is to the
effect that exact chronology was a subject to which the Babylonians and
Assyrians paid great attention.  The "Canon of Ptolemy," which contained
an exact Babylonian computation of time from B.C. 747 to B.C. 331, is
generally allowed to be a most authentic document, and one on which we
may place complete reliance.  The "Assyrian Canon," which gives the years
of the Assyrian monarchs from B.C. 911 to B.C. 660, appears to be equally
trustworthy.  How much further exact notation went back, it is impossible
to say.  All that we know is, first, that the later Assyrian monarchs
believed they had means of fixing the exact date of events in their own
history and in that of Babylon up to a time distant from their own as
much as sixteen or seventeen hundred years; and secondly, that the
chronology which result from their statements and those of Berosus is
moderate, probably, and in harmony with all the knowledge which we obtain
of the East from other sources.  It is proposed therefore, in the present
volumes, to accept the general scheme of Berosus as, in all probability,
not seriously in error; and to arrange the Chaldaean, Assyrian, and
Babylonian history on the framework which it furnishes.

Chaldaean history may therefore be regarded as opening upon us at a time
anterior, at any rate by a century or two, to B.C. 2286.  It was then
that Nimrod, the son or descendant of Cush, set up a kingdom in Lower
Mesopotamia, which attracted the attention of surrounding nations.  The
people, whom he led, came probably by sea; at any rate, their earliest
settlements were on the coast; and Ur or Hur, on the right bank of the
Euphrates, at a very short distance from its embouchure, was the
primitive capital.  The "mighty hunter" rapidly spread his dominion
inland, subduing or expelling the various tribes by which the country was
previously occupied.  His kingdom extended northwards, at least as far as
Babylon,--which (as well as Erech or Huruk, Accad, and Calneh) was first
founded by this monarch.  Further historical details of his reign are
wanting; but the strength of his character and the greatness of his
achievements are remarkably indicated by a variety of testimonies, which
place him among the foremost men of the Old World, and guarantee him a
never-ending remembrance.  At least as early as the time of Moses his
name had passed into a proverb.  He was known as "the mighty hunter
before the Lord"--an expression which had probably a double meaning,
implying at once skill and bravery in the pursuit and destruction of wild
beasts, and also a genius for war and success in his aggressions upon
men.  In his own nation he seems to have been deified, and to have
continued down to the latest times one of the leading objects of worship,
under the title of Bilu-Nipru or Bel-Nimrod, which may be translated "the
god of the chase," or "the great hunter."

One of his capitals, Calneh, which was regarded as his special city,
appears afterwards to have been known by his name (probably as being the
chief seat of his worship in the early times); and this name it still
retains, slightly corrupted.  In the modern Niffer we may recognize the
Talmudical Nopher, and the Assyrian Nipur which is Nipru, with a mere
metathesis of the two final letters.  The fame of Nimrod has always been
rife in the country of his domination.  Arab writers record a number of
remarkable traditions, in which he plays a conspicuous part; and there is
little doubt but that it is in honor of his apotheosis that the
constellation Orion bears in Arabian astronomy the title of El Jabbar, or
"the giant."  Even at the present day his name lives in the mouth of the
people inhabiting Chaldaea and the adjacent regions, whose memory of
ancient heroes is almost confined to three--Nimrod, Solomon, and
Alexander.  Wherever a mound of ashes is to be seen in Babylonia or the
adjoining countries, the local traditions attach to it the name of
Niinrud or Nimrod; and the most striking ruins now existing in the
Mesopotamian valley, whether in its upper or its lower portion, are made
in this way monuments of his glory.

Of the immediate successors of Nimrod we have no account that even the
most lenient criticism can view as historical.  It appears that his
conquest was followed rapidly by a Semitic emigration from the
country--an emigration which took a northerly direction.  The Assyrians
withdrew from Babylonia, which they still always regarded as their
parent land, and, occupying the upper or non-alluvial portion of the
Mesopotamian plain, commenced the building of great cities in a tract
upon the middle Tigris.  The Phoenicians removed from the shores of the
Persian Gulf, and, journeying towards the northwest, formed settlements
upon the coast of Canaan, where they became a rich and prosperous
people.  The family of Abraham, and probably other Aramaean families,
ascended the Euphrates, withdrawing from a yoke which was oppressive, or
at any rate unpleasant. Abundant room was thus made for the Cushite
immigrants, who rapidly established their preponderance over the whole
of the southern region. As war ceased to be the necessary daily
occupation of the newcomers, civilization and the arts of life began to
appear.  The reign of the "Hunter" was followed, after no long time, by
that of the "Builder." A monumental king, whose name is read doubtfully
as Urkham or Urukh, belongs almost certainly to this early dynasty, and
may be placed next in succession, though at what interval we cannot say,
to Nimrod.  He is beyond question the earliest Chaldaean monarch of whom
any remains have been obtained in the country.  Not only are his bricks
found in a lower position than any others, at the very foundations of
buildings, but they are of a rude and coarse make, and the inscriptions
upon them contrast most remarkably, in the simplicity of the style of
writing used and in their general archaic type, with the elaborate and
often complicated symbols of the later monarchs.  The style of Urukh's
buildings is also primitive and simple in the extreme; his bricks are of
many sizes, and ill fitted together; he belongs to a time when even the
baking of bricks seems to have been comparatively rare, for sometimes he
employs only the sun-dried material; and he is altogether unacquainted
with the use of lime mortar, for which his substitute is moist mud, or
else bitumen.  There can be little doubt that he stands at the head of
the present series of monumental kings, another of whom probably reigned
as early as B.C. 2286.  As he was succeeded by a son, whose reign seems
to have been of the average length, we must place his accession at least
as early as B.C.  2326.  Possibly it may have fallen a century earlier.

It is as a builder of gigantic works that Urukh is chiefly known to us.
The basement platforms of his temples are of an enormous size; and though
they cannot seriously be compared with the Egyptian pyramids, yet
indicate the employment for many years of a vast amount of human labor in
a very unproductive sort of industry.  The Bowariyeh mound at Warka is
200 feet square, and about 100 feet high.  Its cubic contents, as
originally built, can have been little, if at all, under 3,000,000 feet;
and above 30,000,000 of bricks must have been used in its construction.
Constructions of a similar character, and not very different in their
dimensions, are proved by the bricks composing them to have been raised
by the same monarch at Ur, Calneh or Nipur, and Larancha or Larsa, which
is perhaps Ellasar.  It is evident, from the size and number of these
works, that their erector had the command of a vast amount of "naked
human strength," and did not scruple to employ that strength in
constructions from which no material benefit was derivable, but which
were probably designed chiefly to extend his own fame and perpetuate his
glory.  We may gather from this that he was either an oppressor of his
people, like some of the Pyramid Kings in Egypt, or else a conqueror, who
thus employed the numerous captives carried off in his expeditions.
Perhaps the latter is the more probable supposition; for the builders of
the great fabrics in Babylonia and Chaldaea do not seem to have left
behind them any character of oppressiveness, such as attaches commonly to
those monarchs who have ground down their own people by servile labor.

The great buildings of Urukh appear to have been all designed for
temples.  They are carefully placed with their angles facing the cardinal
points, and are dedicated to the Sun, the Moon, to Belus (Bel-Nimrod), or
to Beltis.  The temple at Mugheir was built in honor of the Moon-god, Sin
or Hiuki, who was the tutelary deity of the city.  The Warka temple was
dedicated to Beltis.  At Calneh or Nipur, Urukh erected two temples, one
to Beltis and one to Belus.  At Larsa or Ellasar the object of his
worship was the Sun-god, San or Sansi.  He would thus seem to have been
no special devotee of a single god, but to have divided out his favors
very fairly among the chief personages of the Pantheon.

It has been observed that both the inscriptions of this king, and his
architecture, are of a rude and primitive type.  Still in neither case do
we seem to be brought to the earliest dawn of civilization or of art.
The writing of Urukh has passed out of the first or hieroglyphic stage,
and entered the second or transition one, when pictures are no longer
attempted, but the lines or wedges follow roughly the old outline of the
objects in his architecture, again, though there is much that is rude
and simple, there is also a good deal which indicates knowledge and
experience.  The use of the buttress is understood; and the buttress is
varied according to the material.  The importance of sloping the walls of
buildings inwards to resist interior pressure is thoroughly recognized.
Drains are introduced to carry off moisture, which must otherwise have
been very destructive to buildings composed mainly, or entirely, of crude
brick.  It is evident that the builders whom the king employs, though
they do not possess much genius, have still such a knowledge of the most
important principles of their art as is only obtained gradually by a good
deal of practice.  Indeed, the very fact of the continued existence of
their works at the distance of forty centuries is sufficient evidence
that they possessed a considerable amount of architectural skill and
knowledge.  We are further, perhaps, justified in concluding, from the
careful emplacement of Urukh's temples, that the science of astronomy was
already cultivated in his reign, and was regarded as having a certain
connection with religion.  We have seen that the early worship of the
Chaldaeans was to a great extent astral--a fact which naturally made the
heavenly bodies special objects of attention.  If the series of
observations which Callisthenes sent to Aristotle, dating from B.C.
2234, was in reality a record, and not a mere calculation backwards of
the dates at which certain celestial phenomena must have taken place,
astronomical studies must have been pretty well advanced at a period not
long subsequent to Urukh.

Nor must we omit to notice, if we would estimate aright the condition of
Chaldaean art under this king, the indications furnished by his
signet-cylinder.  So far as we can judge from the representation, which
is all that we possess of this relic, the drawing on the cylinder was as
good and the engraving as well executed as any work of the kind, either
of the Assyrian or of the later Babylonian period.  Apart from the
inscription this work of art has nothing about it that is rude or
primitive.  The elaboration of the dresses and headgear of the figures
has been already noticed.  It is also worthy of remark, that the
principal figure sits on an ornamental throne or chair, of particularly
tasteful construction, two legs of which appear to have been modelled
after those of the bull or ox. We may conclude, without much danger of
mistake, that in the time of the monarch who owned this seal, dresses of
delicate fabric and elaborate pattern, and furniture of a recherche and
elegant shape, were in use among the people over whom he exercised

The chief capital city of Urukh appears to have been Ur.  He calls
himself "King of Ur and Kingi Accad;" and it is at Ur that he raises his
principal buildings.  Ur, too, has furnished the great bulk of his
inscriptions.  Babylon was not yet a place of much importance, though it
was probably built by Nimrod.  The second city of the Empire was Huruk or
Erech: other places of importance were Larsa (Ellasar?) and Nipur or

Urukh appears to have been succeeded in the kingdom by a son, whose name
it is proposed to read as Elgi or Ilgi.  Of this prince our knowledge is
somewhat scanty.  Bricks bearing his name have been found at Ur (Mugheir)
and at Tel Eid, near Erech, or Warka; and his signet-cylinder has been
recovered, and is now in the British Museum.  We learn from inscriptions
of Nabonidus that he completed some of the buildings at Ur, which had
been left unfinished by his father; while his own bricks inform us that
he built or repaired two of the principal temples at Erech.  On his
signet-cylinder he takes the title of "King of Ur."

After the death of Ilgi, Chaldaean history is for a time a blank.  It
would seem, however, that while the Cushites were establishing themselves
in the alluvial plain towards the mouths of the two great rivers, there
was growing up a rival power, Turanian, or Ario-Turanian, in the
neighboring tract at the foot of the Zagros mountain-chain.  One of the
most ancient, perhaps the most ancient, of all the Asiatic cities was
Susa, the Elamitic capital, which formed the centre of a nationality that
endured from the twenty-third century B.C.  to the time of Darius
Hystaspis (B.C. 520) when it sank finally under the Persians.  A king of
Elam, whose court was held at Susa, led, in the year B.C. 2286 (or a
little earlier), an expedition against the cities of Chaldaea, succeeded
in carrying all before him, ravaged the country, took the towns,
plundered the temples, and bore off into his own country, as the most
striking evidence of victory, the images of the deities which the
Babylonians especially reverenced.  This king's name, which was
Kudur-Nakhunta, is thought to be the exact equivalent of one which has a
world-wide celebrity, to wit, Zoroaster.  Now, according to Polyhistor
(who here certainly repeats Berosus), Zoroaster was the first of those
eight Median kings who composed the second dynasty in Chaldaea, and
occupied the throne from about B. C. 2286 to 2052.  The Medes are
represented by him as capturing Babylon at this time, and imposing
themselves as rulers upon the country.  Eight kings reigned in space of
234 (or 224) years, after which we hear no more of Medes, the
sovereignty being (as it would seem) recovered by the natives.  The
coincidences of the conquest the date, the foreign sovereignty and the
name Zoroaster, tend to identify the Median dynasty of Berosus with a
period of Susianian supremacy, which the monuments show to have been
established it Chaldaea at a date not long subsequent to the reigns of
Urukh and Ilgi, and to have lasted for a considerable period.

There are five monarchs known to us who may be assigned to this dynasty.
The first is the Kudur-Nakhunta above named, who conquered Babylonia and
established his influence there, but continued to hold his court at Susa,
governing his conquest probably by means of a viceroy or tributary king.
Next to him, at no great interval, may be placed Kudur-Lagamer, the
Chedor-laomer of Scripture, who held a similar position to
Kudur-Nakhunta, reigning himself in Elam, while his vassals, Amraphel,
Arioch, and Tidal (or Turgal) held the governments respectfully of
Shinar (or Upper Babylonia), Ellasar (Lower Babylonia or Chaldaea), and
the Goim or the nomadic races.  Possessing thus an authority over the
whole of the alluvial plain, and being able to collect together a
formidable army, Kudur-Lagamer resolved on a expedition up the
Euphrates, with the object of extending his dominion to the
Mediterranean Sea and to the borders of Egypt.  At first his endeavors
were successful.  Together with his confederate kings, he marched as far
as Palestine, where he was opposed by the native princes, Bera, king of
Sodom, Birsha, king of Gomorrah, Shinab, king of Admah, Shemeber, king
of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela or Zoar.  A great battle was fought
between the two confederated armies in the vale of Siddim towards the
lower end of the Dead Sea.  The invaders were victorious; and for twelve
years Bera and his allies were content to own themselves subjects of the
Elamitic king, whom they "served" for that period.  In the thirteenth
year they rebelled: a general rising of the western nations seems to
have taken place; and in order to maintain his conquest it was necessary
for the conqueror to make a fresh effort.  Once more the four eastern
kings entered Syria, and, after various successes against minor powers,
engaged a second time in the valley of Siddim with their old
antagonists, whom they defeated with great slaughter; after which they
plundered the chief cities belonging to them.  It was on this occasion
that Lot, the nephew of Abraham, was taken prisoner.  Laden with booty
of various kinds, and encumbered with a number of captives, male and
female, the conquering army set out upon its march home, and had reached
the neighborhood of Damascus, when it was attacked and defeated by
Abraham, who with a small band ventured under cover of night to fall
upon the retreating host, which he routed and pursued to some distance.
The actual slaughter can scarcely have been great; but the prisoners and
the booty taken had to be surrendered; the prestige of victory was lost;
and the result appears to have been that the Mesopotamian monarch
relinquished his projects, and, contenting himself with the fame
acquired by such distant expeditions, made no further attempt to carry
his empire beyond the Euphrates.

The other three kings who may be assigned to the Elamitic dynasty are a
father, son, and grandson, whose names appear upon the native monuments
of Chaldaea in a position which is thought to imply that they were
posterior to the kings Urukh and Ilgi, but of greater antiquity than any
other monarchs who have left memorials in the country.  Their names are
read as Sinti-shil-khak, Kudur-Mabuk, and Arid-Sin.  Of Sinti-shil khak
nothing is known beyond the name.  Kudur-Mabuk is said in the
inscriptions of his son to have "enlarged the dominions of the city of
Ur;" and on his own bricks he bears the title of Apda Martu, which
probably means "Conqueror of the West."  We may presume therefore that
he was a warlike prince, like Kudur-Nakhunta and Kudur-Lagamer; and
that, like the latter of these two kings, he made war in the direction
of Syria, though he may not have carried his arms so far as his great
predecessor.  He and his son both held their court at Ur, and, though of
foreign origin, maintained the Chaldaean religion unchanged, making
additions to the ancient temples, and worshipping the Chaldaean gods
under the old titles.

The circumstances which brought the Elamitic dynasty to a close, and
restored the Chaldaean throne to a line of native princes, and
unrecorded by any historian; nor have the monuments hitherto thrown any
light upon them.  If we may trust the numbers of the Armenian Eusebius,
the dynasty which succeeded, ab. B.C. 2052, to the Susianian (or
Median), though it counted eleven kings, bore rule for the short space
of forty-eight years only.  This would seem to imply either a state of
great internal disturbance, or a time during which viceroys, removable
at pleasure and often removed, governed the country under some foreign
suzerain.  In either case, the third dynasty of Berosus may be said to
mark a transition period between the time of foreign subjection and that
of the recovery by the native Chaldaeans of complete independence.

To the fourth Berosian dynasty, which held the throne for 458 years,
from about B. C. 2004 to B. C. 1546, the monuments enable us to assign
some eight or ten monarchs, whose inscriptions are characterized by a
general resemblance, and by a character intermediate between the extreme
rudeness of the more ancient and the comparative elegance and neatness
of the later legends.  Of these kings one of the earliest was a certain
Ismidagon, the date of whose reign we are able to fix with a near
approach to exactness.  Sennacherib, in a rock inscription at Bavian,
relates that in his tenth year (which was B. C. 692) he recovered from
Babylon certain images of the gods which had been carried thither
by Merodach-iddin-akhi, King of Babylon, after his defeat of
Tiglath-Pileser, King of Assyria, 418 years previously.  And the same
Tiglath-Pileser relates that he rebuilt a temple in Assyria, which had
been taken down 60 years before, after it had lasted 641 years from its
foundation by Shamas-Vul, sun of Ismi-dagon.  It results from these
numbers that Ismi-dagon was king as early as B.C. 1850, or, probably a
little earlier.

The monuments furnish little information concerning Ismidagon beyond the
evidence which they afford of the extension of this king's dominion into
the upper part of the Mesopotamian valley, and especially into the
country known in later times as Assyria.  The fact that Shamas-Vul, the
son of Ismi-dagon, built a temple at Kileh-Sherghat, implies necessarily
that the Chaldaans at this time bore sway in the upper region.
Shamas-Vul appears to have been, not the eldest, but the second son of
the monarch, and must be viewed as ruling over Assyria in the capacity
of viceroy, either for his father or his brother.  Such evidence as we
possess of the condition of Assyria about this period seems to show that
it was weak and insignificant, administered ordinarily by Babylonian
satraps or governors, whose office was one of no great rank or dignity.

In Chaldaea, Ismi-dagon was succeeded by a son, whose name is read,
somewhat doubtfully, as Gunguna or Gurguna.  This prince is known to us
especially as the builder of the great public cemeteries which now form
the most conspicuous objects among the ruins of Mugheir, and the
construction of which is so remarkable.  Ismi-dagon and his son must
have occupied the Chaldaean throne during most of the latter half of the
nineteenth century before our era-from about B.C. 1850 to B.C. 1800.

Hitherto there has been no great difficulty in determining the order of
the monumental kings, from the position of their bricks in the principal
Chaldaean ruins and the general character of their inscriptions.  But
the relative place occupied in the series by the later monarchs is
rendered very doubtful by their records being scattered and unconnected,
while their styles of inscription vary but slightly.  It is most
unfortunate that no writer has left us a list corresponding in
Babylonian history with that which Manetho put on record for Egyptian;
since we are thus compelled to arrange our names in an order which rests
on little more than conjecture.

The monumental king who is thought to have approached the nearest to
Gurguna is Naram-Sin, of whom a record has been discovered at Babylon,
and who is mentioned in a late inscription as the builder, in
conjunction with his father, of a temple at the city of Agana.  His date
is probably about B.C. 1750.  The seat of his court may be conjectured
to have been Babylon, which had by this time risen into metropolitan
conse quence.  It is evident that, as time went on, the tendency was to
remove the seat of government and empire to a greater distance from the
sea.  The early monarchs reign at Ur (Mugheir), and leave no traces of
themselves further north than Niffer.  Sin-Shada holds his court at
Erech (Warka), twenty-five miles above Mugheir; while Naram-Sin is
connected with the still more northern city of Babylon.  We shall find a
similar tendency in Assyria, as it rose into power.  In both cases we
may regard the fact as indicative of a gradual spread of empire towards
the north, and of the advance of civilization and settled government in
that direction.

A king, who disputes the palm of antiquity with Naram-Sin, has left
various records at Erech or Warka, which appears to have been his
capital city.  It is proposed to call him Sin-Shada. He constructed, or
rather re-built, the upper terrace of the Bowariyeh ruin, or great
temple, which Urukh raised at Warka to Beltis; and his bricks are found
in the doorway of another large ruin (the _Wuswas_) at the same place;
it is believed, however, that in this latter building they are not in
situ, but have been transferred from some earlier edifice.  His reign
fell probably in the latter part of the 18th, century B. C.

Several monarchs of the Sin series--i.e. monarchs into whose names the
word Sin, the name of the Moon-god, enters as an element--now present
themselves.  The most important of them has been called Zur-Sin.  This
king erected some buildings at Mugheir; but he is best known as the
founder of the very curious town whose ruins bear at the present day the
name of Abu-Shahrein.  A description of the principal buildings at this
site has been already given.  They exhibit certain improvements on the
architecture of the earlier times, and appear to have been very richly
ornamented, at least in parts.  At the same time they contain among
their debris remarkable proofs of the small advance which had as yet
been made in some of the simplest arts.  Flint knives and other
implements, stone hatchets, chisels, and nails, are abundant in the
ruins; and though the use of metal is not unknown, it seems to have been
comparatively rare. When a metal is found, it is either gold or bronze,
no trace of iron (except in ornaments of the person) appearing in any of
the Chaldaean remains.  Zur-Sin, Rim-Sin, and three or four other
monarchs of the Sin series, whose names are imperfect or uncertain, may
be assigned to the period included between B.C. 1700 and B.C. 1546.

Another monarch, and the only other monumental name that we can assign to
Berosus's fourth dynasty, is a certain Nur-Vul, who appears by the
Chaldaean sale-tablets to have been the immediate predecessor of Rim-Sin,
the last king of the _Sin_ series.  Nur-Vul has left no buildings or
inscriptions; and we seem to see in the absence of all important
monuments at this time a period of depression, such as commonly in the
history of nations precedes and prepares the way for a new dynasty or a

The remaining monumental kings belong almost certainly to the fifth, or
Arabian, dynasty of Berosus, to which he assigns the period of 245 years
--from about B.C. 1546 to B.C. 1300.  That the list comprises as many as
fifteen names, whereas Berosus speaks of nine Arabian kings only, need
not surprise us, since it is not improbable that Berosus may have omitted
kings who reigned for less than a year.  To arrange the fifteen monarchs
in chronological order is, unfortunately, impossible.  Only three of them
have left monuments.  The names of the others are found on linguistic and
other tablets, in a connection which rarely enables us to determine
anything with respect to their relative priority or posteriority.  We
can, however, definitely place seven names, two at the beginning and five
toward the end of the series, thus leaving only eight whose position in
the list is undetermined.

The series commences with a great king, named Khammurabi, who was
probably the founder of the dynasty, the "Arab" chief who, taking
advantage of the weakness and depression of Chaldaea under the latter
monarchs of the fourth dynasty, by intrigue or conquest established his
dominion over the country, and left the crown to his descendants.
Khammurabi is especially remarkable as having been the first (so far as
appears) of the Babylonian monarchs to conceive the notion of carrying
out a system of artificial irrigation in his dominions, by means of a
canal derived from one of the great rivers.  The _Nahar-Khammu-rabi_
("River of Khabbu-rabi "),whereof he boasts in one of his inscriptions,
was no doubt, as he states, "a blessing to the Babylonians"--it "changed
desert plains into well-watered fields; it spread around fertility an
abundance"--it brought a whole district, previously barren, into
cultivation, and it set an example, which the best of the later monarchs
followed, of a mode whereby the productiveness of the country might be
increased to an almost inconceivable extent.

Khammu-rabi was also distinguished as a builder.  He repaired the great
temple of the Sun at Senkereh and constructed for himself a new palace at
Kalwadha, or Chilmad, not far from the modern Baghdad.  His inscriptions
have been found at Babylon, at Zerghul, and at Tel-Sifr; and it is
thought probable that he made Babylon his ordinary place of residence.
His reign probably covered the space from about B.C. 1546 to B.C. 1520,
when he left his crown to his son, Samsu-iluna.  Of this monarch our
notices are exceedingly scanty.  We know him only from the Tel-Sifr clay
tablets, several of which are dated by the years of his reign.  He held
the crown probably from about B.C. 1520 to B.C. 1500.

About sixty or seventy years after this we come upon a group of names,
belonging almost certainly to this same dynasty, which possess a peculiar
interest, inasmuch as they serve to connect the closing period of the
First, or Chaldaean, with the opening portion of the Second, or Assyrian,
Monarchy.  A succession of five Babylonian monarchs is mentioned on an
Assyrian tablet, the object of which is to record the synchronous history
of the two countries.  These monarchs are contemporary with independent
Assyrian princes, and have relations toward them which are sometimes
peaceful, sometimes warlike.  Kara-in-das, the first of the five, is on
terms of friendship with Asshur-bel-nisi-su, king of Assyria, and
concludes with him a treaty of alliance.  This treaty is renewed between
his successor, Purna-puriyas, and Buzur-Asshur, the successor of
Asshur-bel-nisi-su on the throne of Assyria.  Not long afterwards a third
Assyrian monarch, Asshur-upallit, obtains the crown, and Purna-puriyas
not only continues on the old terms of amity with him, but draws the ties
which unite the two royal families closer by marrying Asshur-upallit's
daughter.  The issue of this marriage is a prince named Kara-khar-das,
who on the death of Purna-puriyas ascends the throne of Babylon.  But
now a revolution occurs.  A certain Nazi-bugas rises in revolt, puts
Kara-khar-das to death, and succeeds in making himself king.  Hereupon
Asshur-upallit takes up arms, invades Babylonia, defeats and kills
Nazi-bugas, and places upon the throne a brother of the murdered
Kara-khar-das, a younger son of Purna-puriyas, by name Kurri-galzu,
or Durri-galzu.  These events may be assigned with much probability
to the period between B.C. 1440 and B.C. 1380.

Of the five consecutive monarchs presented to our notice in this
interesting document, two are known to us by their own inscriptions.
Memorials of Purna-puriyas and Kurri-galzu, very similar in their general
character, have been found in various parts of Chaldala.  Those of
Purna-puriyas come from Senkereh the ancient Larsa, and consist of bricks,
showing that he repaired the great temple of the Sun at that city which
was originally built by Urukh.  Kurri-galzu's memorials comprise bricks
from Mugheir (Ur) and Akkerkuf, together with his signet-seal, which was
found at Baghdad in the year 1800. [PLATE  XXI., Fig. 4.] It also appears
by an inscription of Nabonidus that he repaired a temple at the city of
Agana, and left an inscription there.

But the chief fame of Kurri-galzu arises from his having been the founder
of an important city.  The remarkable remains at Akkerkuf, of which an
account has been given in a former chapter, mark the site of a town of
his erection.  It is conjectured with some reason that this place is the
Dur-Kurri-galzu of the later Assyrian inscriptions--a place of so much
consequence in the time of Sargon that he calls it "the key of the

The remaining monarchs, who are on strong grounds of probability,
etymological and other, assigned to this dynasty are Saga-raktiyas, the
founder of a Temple of the male and female Sun at Sippara, Ammidi-kaga,
Simbar-sikhu, Kharbisikhu, Ulam-puriyas, Nazi-urdas, Mili-sikhu, and
Kara-kharbi.  Nothing is known at present of the position which any of
these monarchs held in the dynasty, or of their relationship to the kings
previously mentioned, or to each other.  Most of them are known to us
simply from their occurrence in a biliugual list of kings, together with
Khammu-rabi, Kurri-galzu, and Purna-puriyas.  The list in question
appears not to be chronological.

Modern research has thus supplied us with memorials (or at any rate with
the names) of some thirty kings, who ruled in the country properly termed
Chaldaea at a very remote date.  Their antiquity is evidenced by the
character of their buildings and of their inscriptions, which are
unmistakably rude and archaic.  It is further indicated by the fact that
they are the builders of certainly the most ancient edifices whereof the
country contains any trace.  The probable connection of two of them with
the only king known previously from good authority to have reigned in the
country during the primitive ages confirms the conclusion drawn from the
appearance of the remains themselves; which is further strengthened by
the monumental dates assigned to two of them, which place them
respectively in the twenty-third and the nineteenth century before our
era.  That the kings belong to one series, and (speaking broadly) to one
time, is evidenced by the similarity of the titles which they use, by
their uninterrupted worship of the same gods, and by the general
resemblance of the language and mode of writing which they employ.
That the time to which they belong is anterior to the rise of Assyria
to greatness appears from the synchronism of the later monarchs of the
Chaldaean with the earliest of the Assyrian list, as well as from the
fact that the names borne by the Babylonian kings after Assyria became
the leading power in the country are not only different, but of a
different type.  If it be objected that the number of thirty kings is
insufficient for the space over which they have in our scheme been
spread, we may answer that it has never been, supposed by any one that
the twenty-nine or thirty kings, of whom distinct mention has been made
in the foregoing account, are a complete list of all the Chaldaean
sovereigns.  On the contrary, it is plain that they are a very incomplete
list, like that which Herodotus gives of the kings of Egypt, or that
which the later Romans possessed of their early monarchs.  The monuments
themselves present indications of several other names of kings, belonging
evidently to the same series, which are too obscure or too illegible for
transliteration.  And there may, of course, have been many others of whom
no traces remain, or of whom none have been as yet found.  On the other
hand, it may be observed, that the number of the early Chaldaean kings
reported by Polyhistor is preposterous.  If sixty-eight consecutive
monarchs held the Chaldaean throne between B.C. 2286 and B.C. 1546, they
must have reigned on an average, less than eleven years apiece.  Nay, if
forty-nine ruled between B.C. 2004 and B.C. 1546, covering a space of
little more than four centuries and a half--which is what Berosus is made
to assert--these later monarchs cannot even have reigned so long as ten
years each, an average which may be pronounced quite impossible in a
settled monarchy such as the Chaldaean. The probability would seem to be
that Berosus has been misreported, his numbers having suffered corruption
during their passage through so many hands, and being in this instance
quite untrustworthy.  We may conjecture that the actual number of reigns
which he intended to allow his fourth dynasty was nineteen, or at the
utmost twenty-nine, the former of which numbers would give the common
average of twenty-four years, while the latter would produce the less
usual but still possible one of sixteen years.

The monarchy which we have had under review is one, no doubt, rather
curious from its antiquity than illustrious from its great names, or
admirable for the extent of its dominions.  Less ancient than the
Egyptian, it claims the advantage of priority over every empire or
kingdom which has grown up upon the soil of Asia.  The Arian, Turanian,
and even the Semitic tribes, appear to have been in the nomadic
condition, when the Cushite settlers in Lower Babylonia betook themselves
to agriculture, erected temples, built cities, and established a strong
and settled government.  The leaven which was to spread by degrees
through the Asiatic peoples was first deposited on the shores of the
Persian Gulf at the mouth of the Great River; and hence civilization,
science, letters, art, extended themselves northward, and eastward, and
westward.  Assyria, Media, Semitic Babylonia, Persia, as they derived
from Chaldaea the character of their writing, so were they indebted to
the same country for their general notions of government and
administration, for their architecture, their decorative art, and still
more for their science and literature.  Each people no doubt modified in
some measure the boon received, adding more or less of its own to the
common inheritance.  But Chaldaea stands forth as the great parent and
original inventress of Asiatic civilization, without any rival that can
reasonably dispute her claims. The great men of the Empire are Nimrod,
Urukh, and Che-dor-laomer.  Nimrod, the founder, has the testimony of
Scripture that he was "a mighty one in the earth;" "a mighty hunter;"
the establisher of a "kingdom," when kingdoms had scarcely begun to be
known; the builder of four great and famous cities, "Babel, and Erech,
and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar," or Mesopotamia.  To him
belong the merit of selecting a site peculiarly fitted for the
development of a great power in the early ages of the world, and of
binding men together into a community which events proved to possess
within it the elements of prosperity and permanence. Whether he had,
indeed, the rebellious and apostate character which numerous traditions,
Jewish, Arabian, and Armenian, assign to him; whether he was in reality
concerned in the building of the tower related in the eleventh chapter of
the Book of Genesis, we have no means of positively determining.  The
language of Scripture with regard to Nimrod is laudatory rather than the
contrary; and it would seem to have been from a misapprehension of the
_nexus_ of the Mosaic narrative that the traditions above mentioned
originated.  Nimrod, "the mighty hunter _before the Lord_," had not in
the days of Moses that ill reputation which attached to him in later
ages, when he was regarded as the great Titan or Giant, who made war
upon the gods, and who was at once the builder of the tower, and the
persecutor who forced Abraham to quit his original country.  It is at
least doubtful whether we ought to allow any weight at all to the
additions and embellishments with which later writers, so much wiser
than Moses, have overlaid the simplicity of his narrative.

Urukh, whose fame may possibly have reached the Romans, was the great
Chaldaean architect.  To him belongs, apparently, the conception of the
Babylonian temple, with its rectangular base, carefully placed so as to
present its angles to the four cardinal points, its receding stages, its
buttresses, its drains, its sloped walls, its external staircases for
ascent, and its ornamental shrine crowning the whole.  At any rate, if he
was not the first to conceive and erect such structures, he set the
example of building them on such a scale and with such solidity as to
secure their long continuance, and render them well-nigh imperishable.
There is no appearance in all Chaldaea, so far as it has been explored,
of any building which can be even probably assigned to a date anterior to
Urukh.  The attempted tower was no doubt earlier; and it may have been a
building of the same type, but there is no reason to believe that any
remnant, or indeed any trace, of this primitive edifice, has continued to
exist to our day.  The structures of the most archaic character
throughout Chaldaea are, one and all, the work of King Urukh, who was not
content to adorn his metropolitan city only with one of the new edifices,
but added a similar ornament to each of the great cities within his

The great builder was followed shortly by the great conqueror.
Kudur-Lagamer, the Elamitic prince, who, more than twenty centuries
before our era, having extended his dominion over Babylonia and the
adjoining regions, marched an army a distance of 1200 miles from the
shores of the Persian Gulf to the Dead Sea, and held Palestine and Syria
in subjection for twelve years, thus effecting conquests which were not
again made from the same quarter till the time of Nebuchadnezzar,
fifteen or sixteen hundred years afterward, has a good claim to be
regarded as one of the most remarkable personages in the world's
history-being, as he is, the forerunner and proto-type of all those
great Oriental conquerors who from time to time have built up vast
empires in Asia out of heterogeneous materials, which have in a longer
or a shorter space successively crumbled to decay.  At a time when the
kings of Egypt had never ventured beyond their borders, unless it were
for a foray in Ethiopia, and when in Asia no monarch had held dominion
over more than a few petty tribes, and a few hundred miles of territory,
he conceived the magnificent notion of binding into one the manifold
nations inhabiting the vast tract which lies between the Zagros
mountain-range and the Mediterranean.  Lord by inheritance (as we may
presume) of Eliun and Chaldaea or Babylonia, he was not content with
these ample tracts, but, coveting more, proceeded boldly on a career of
conquest up the Euphrates valley, and through Syria, into Palestine.
Successful here, he governed for twelve years dominions extending near a
thousand miles from east to west, and from north to south probably not
much short of five hundred.  It was true that he was not able to hold
this large extent of territory; but the attempt and the success
temporarily attending it are memorable circumstances, and were probably
long held in remembrance through Western Asia, where they served as a
stimulus and incentive to the ambition of later monarchs.

These, then, are the great men of the Chaldaean empire.  Its extent, as
we have seen, varied greatly at different periods.  Under the kings of
the first dynasty--to which Urukh and Ilgi belonged--it was probably
confined to the alluvium, which seems then to have been not more than 300
miles in length along the course of the rivers, and which is about 70 or
80 miles in breadth from the Tigris to the Arabian desert.  In the course
of the second dynasty it received a vast increase, being carried in one
direction to the Elamitic mountains, and in another to the Mediterranean,
by the conquest of Kudur-Nakhunta and Chedor-laomer.  On the defeat of
the latter prince it again contracted, though to what extent we have no
means of determining.  It is probable that Elam or Susiana, and not
unlikely that the Euphrates valley, for a considerable distance above
Hit, formed parts of the Chaldaean Empire after the loss of Syria and
Palestine.  Assyria occupied a similar position, at any rate from the
time of Ismi-dagon, whose son built a temple at Kileh-Sherghat or Asshur.
There is reason to think that the subjection of Assyria continued to the
very end of the dynasty, and that this region, whose capital was at
Kileh-Sherghat, was administered by viceroys deriving their authority
from Chaldaean monarchs. These monarchs, as has been observed, gradually
removed their capital more and more northwards; by which it would appear
as if their empire tended to progress in that direction.

The different dynasties which ruled in Chaldaea prior to the
establishment of Assyrian influence, whether Chaldaean, Susianian, or
Arabian, seem to have been of kindred race; and, whether they established
themselves by conquest, or in a more peaceful manner, to have made
little, if any, change in the language, religion, or customs of the
Empire.  The so-called Arab kings, if they are really (as we have
supposed), Khammurabi and his successors, show themselves by their names
and their inscriptions to be as thoroughly proto-Chaldaaan as Urukh or
Ilgi.  But with the commencement of the Assyrian period the case is
altered.  From the time of Tiglathi-Nin (about B.C. 1300), the Assyrian
conqueror who effected the subjugation of Babylon, a strong Semitizing
influence made itself felt in the lower country--the monarchs cease to
have Turanian or Cushite and bear instead thoroughly Assyrian names;
inscriptions, when they occur, are in the Assyrian language and
character.  The entire people seems by degrees to have been Assyrianized,
or at any rate Semitized-assimilated, that is, to the stock of nations to
which the Jews, the northern Arabs, the Aramaeans or Syrians, the
Phoenicians, and the Assyrians belong.  Their language fell into disuse,
and grew to be a learned tongue studied by the priests and the literati;
their Cushite character was lost, and they became, as a people, scarcely
distinguishable from the Assyrians. After six centuries and a half of
submission and insignificance, the Chaldaeans, however, began to revive
and recover themselves--they renewed the struggle for national
independence, and in the year B.C. 625 succeeded in establishing a second
kingdom, which will be treated of in a later volume as the fourth or
Babylonian Monarchy.  Even when this monarchy met its death at the hands
of Cyrus the Great, the nationality of the Chaldaeans was not swept away.
We find them recognized under the Persians, and even under the Parthians,
as a distinct people.  When at last they cease to have a separate
national existence, their name remains; and it is in memory of the
successful cultivation of their favorite science by the people of Nimrod
from his time to that of Alexander, that the professors of astronomical
and astrological learning under the Roman Emperors receive, from the
poets and historians of the time, the appellation of "Chaldaeans."


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*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Seven Great Monarchies Of The Ancient Eastern World, Vol 1. (of 7): Chaldaea - The History, Geography, And Antiquities Of Chaldaea, - Assyria, Babylon, Media, Persia, Parthia, And Sassanian - or New Persian Empire; With Maps and Illustrations." ***

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