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Title: Assyria, Its Princes, Priests and People - By-Paths of Bible Knowledge VII
Author: Sayce, A. H. (Archibald Henry), 1845-1933
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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(_From the original in the British Museum._)]

By-Paths of Bible Knowledge.




Deputy Professor of Comparative Philology, Oxford,
Hon. LL.D. Dublin, etc.

Author of 'Fresh Light from the Ancient Monuments,'
'An Introduction to Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther,' etc.

The Religious Tract Society,
56, Paternoster Row, 65, St. Paul's Churchyard,
and 164, Piccadilly.


       List of Illustations                           6

       Preface                                        7

       Chronological Table of the Kings of Assyria   17

       Table of Biblical Dates according to
       Assyrian Monuments                            19

    I. The Country and People                        21

   II. Assyrian History                              27

  III. Assyrian Religion                             55

   IV. Art, Literature, and Science                  86

    V. Manners and Customs; Trade and Government    122

       Appendix                                     146

       Index                                        153

       Index of Scripture References                166


  Monolith of Shalmaneser II. (from the original in the
  British Museum)                                 Frontispiece

  Assur-bani-pal and his Queen. (from the original in the
  British Museum)                                           49

  Nergal. (from the original in the British Museum)         65

  Fragment now in the British Museum showing primitive
  Hieroglyphics and Cuneiform Characters side by side.      93

  An Assyrian Book. (from the original in the British
  Museum)                                                   99

  Part of an Assyrian Cylinder containing Hezekiah's
  Name. (from the original in the British Museum)          104

  Assyrian King in his Chariot.                            125

  Siege of a City.                                         127


Among the many wonderful achievements of the present century there is
none more wonderful than the recovery and decipherment of the monuments
of ancient Nineveh. For generations the great oppressing city had slept
buried beneath the fragments of its own ruins, its history lost, its
very site forgotten. Its name had passed into the region of myth even in
the age of the classical writers of Greece and Rome; Ninos or Nineveh
had become a hero-king about whom strange legends were told, and whose
conquests were fabled to have extended from the Mediterranean to India.
Little was known of the history of the mighty Assyrian Empire beyond
what might be learnt from the Old Testament, and that little was
involved in doubt and obscurity. Scholars wrote long treatises to
reconcile the statements of Greek historians with those of Scripture,
but they only succeeded in evolving theories which were contradicted and
overthrown by the next writer. There was none so bold as to suggest that
the history and life of Assyria were still lying hidden beneath the
ground, ready to rise up and disclose their secrets at the touch of a
magician's rod. The rod was the spade and the patient sagacity which
deciphered and interpreted what the spade had found. It might have been
thought that the cuneiform or wedge-shaped inscriptions of Assyria could
never be forced to reveal their mysteries. The language in which they
were written was unknown, and all clue to the meaning of the
multitudinous characters that composed them had long been lost. No
bilingual text came to the aid of the decipherer like the Rosetta Stone,
whose Greek inscription had furnished the key to the meaning of the
Egyptian hieroglyphics. Nevertheless the great feat was accomplished.
Step by step the signification of the cuneiform characters and the words
they concealed was made out, until it is now possible to translate an
ordinary Assyrian text with as much ease and certainty as a page of the
Old Testament.

And the revelation that awaited the decipherer was startling in the
extreme. The ruins of Nineveh yielded not only sculptures and
inscriptions carved in stone, but a whole library of books. True, the
books are written upon clay, and not on paper, but they are none the
less real books, dealing with all the subjects of knowledge known at the
time they were compiled, and presenting us with a clear and truthful
reflection of Assyrian thought and belief. We can not only trace the
architectural plans of the Assyrian palaces, and study the bas-reliefs
in which the Assyrians have pictured themselves and the life they led;
we can also penetrate to their inmost thoughts and feelings, and read
their history as they have told it themselves.

It is a strange thing to examine for the first time one of the clay
tablets of the old Assyrian library. Usually it has been more or less
broken by the catastrophe of that terrible day when Nineveh was captured
by its enemies, and the palace and library burnt and destroyed together.
But whether it is a fragment or a complete tablet, it is impossible not
to handle it reverently when cleaning it from the dirt with which its
long sojourn in the earth has encrusted it, and spelling out its words
for the first time for more than 2,000 years. When last the characters
upon it were read, it was in days when Assyria was still a name of
terror, and the destruction that God's prophets had predicted was still
to come. When its last reader laid it aside, Judah had not as yet
undergone the chastisement of the Babylonish exile, the Old Testament
was an uncompleted volume, the kingdom of the Messiah a promise of the
distant future. We are brought face to face, as it were, with men who
were the contemporaries of Isaiah, of Hezekiah, of Ahaz; nay, of men
whose names have been familiar to us since we first read the Bible by
our mother's side.

Tiglath-Pileser and Sennacherib can never again be to us mere names. We
possess the records which they caused to be written, and in which they
told the story of their campaigns in Palestine. The records are not
copies of older texts, with all the errors that human fallibility causes
copyists and scribes to make. They are the original documents which were
recited to the kings who ordered them to be compiled, and who may have
held them in their own hands. The gulf of centuries and forgetfulness
that has divided us from Sennacherib is filled up when we read the
account of his invasion of Judah, which seems to come from his own lips.
Never again can the heroes of the Old Testament be to us as lay-figures,
whose story is told by a voice that comes from a dark and unreal past.
The voice is now become a living one, and we can realise that Isaiah and
those of whom Isaiah wrote were men of flesh and blood like ourselves,
with the same passions, the same needs, the same temptations.

This realisation of Old Testament history is not the only result of the
recovery of Assyria upon Biblical studies. It is a very important
result, but there are others besides of equal importance. One of these
is the unexpected confirmation of the correctness of Holy Writ which
Assyrian discovery has afforded. The later history of the Old Testament
no longer stands alone. Once it was itself the sole witness for the
truth of the narratives it contains. Classical history or legend dealt
with other lands and other ages; there were no documents besides those
contained in the Old Testament to which we could appeal in support of
its statements. All is changed now. The earth has yielded up its
secrets; the ancient civilisation of Assyria has stepped forth again
into the light of day, and has furnished us with records, the
authenticity of which none can deny, which run side by side with those
of the Books of Kings, confirming, explaining, and illustrating them. It
has been said that just at the moment when sceptical criticism seemed
to have achieved its worst, and to have resolved the narratives of the
Old Testament into myths or fables, God's Providence was raising up from
the grave of centuries a new and unimpeachable witness for their truth.
Indeed, so strikingly was this the case, that one of the objections
brought against the correctness of Assyrian decipherment in its early
days was that Assyrian monarchs could never have concerned themselves
with petty kingdoms like those of Samaria and Judah, as the decipherers
made them do. Before the cuneiform monuments were interpreted, no one
could have suspected that they would have poured such a flood of light
upon Old Testament history.

This light is manifold. The very language of the inscriptions has helped
to explain difficult passages in the Hebrew Bible. Assyrian turns out to
be very closely related to Hebrew, as closely related, in fact, as two
strongly marked English dialects are to one another. There is no other
Semitic language (except, of course, Phœnician, which is practically the
same as Hebrew) which is so nearly allied to it. And thanks to the
library of Nineveh, and its lexicons and lists of synonymous words, we
have a larger literature, and a larger vocabulary, to draw upon in the
case of Assyrian than we have in the case of Hebrew. The consequence is
that Assyrian may sometimes settle the meaning of a word which occurs
only once or very rarely in the Old Testament. Thus the word _z'bhûl_,
which Hebrew scholars had supposed to mean 'a dwelling,' is shown by
the Assyrian texts to signify a 'height,' so that in 1 Kings viii. 13,
Solomon does not declare to God that he had built Him 'an house to dwell
in,' as the Authorised Version renders the passage, but 'a lofty
temple.' Naturally words of Assyrian origin, like Rab-shakeh and Tartan,
have first received their explanation from the decipherment of the
Assyrian inscriptions. They are not proper names, but titles, the
Rab-shakeh being 'the chief of the princes,' or Vizier, and the Tartan,
the commander-in-chief.

But not only do we find parallels to Hebrew in the individual words of
Assyrian, we also find parallel expressions which illustrate and explain
those of the Hebrew text. We all remember the statement that the 'Lord
rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out
of heaven.' The same phrase occurs in an unpublished Accadian hymn
addressed to a deity whose name is lost, but who was probably Rimmon the
Air-god. The Accadian original describes him as 'raining fire and stones
upon the enemy,' which the Assyrian translation changes into 'raining
stones and fire upon the foe' in exact conformity with the Hebrew
phrase. The familiar expression 'the Lord of Hosts,' similarly finds its
analogue and illustration in the common Assyrian title of the supreme
god Assur: 'lord of the legions of heaven and earth,' these legions
being the multitudinous spirits and angels whose home was in 'the heaven
above and the earth below.'

We can hardly speak here of the accounts of the Creation, the Deluge,
and the Tower of Babel, to which Mr. George Smith gave the name of 'the
Chaldean Genesis,' and which agree so closely with the corresponding
accounts in the Hebrew Book of Genesis. Though found in the library of
Nineveh, they are really copies of older Babylonian works, and therefore
belong rather to Babylonian than to Assyrian history. It is only the
account of the Creation in six days which may perhaps be of purely
Assyrian origin. What a resemblance it offers to the first chapter of
Genesis will be seen from the extracts from it in the chapter on
Assyrian Religion.

It is in the domain of history that the light cast upon Old Testament
Scripture by Assyrian research has been fullest and strongest. No one
can read the sketch of Assyrian history as revealed by the monuments
which is given in the following pages, without perceiving how important
it is for the proper understanding of the ancient Scriptures. For the
first time the prophecies in Isaiah which refer to a capture of
Jerusalem receive their explanation, and the sceptical criticism is
answered which found in them a prediction of events that never took
place. The chapter in which Isaiah describes the onward march of the
Assyrian host against Jerusalem (ch. x.) is no 'ideal' description of
'an ideal campaign,' the verses in which he tells us of the sufferings
endured by the beleaguered inhabitants of the Jewish capital (ch. xxii.)
are no 'exaggerated account of a possible catastrophe,' the prophecies
in which he declares that the devoted city was about to fall into the
hands of its enemies (x. 34, xxii. 14) were not unfulfilled threats. We
learn from the inscriptions of Sargon that already, ten years before the
campaign of his son Sennacherib, the Assyrian monarch had swept through
'the wide-spread land of Judah,' and had made it a tributary province.
It was not the army of Sennacherib to which Isaiah was alluding on the
day whereon he declared that the Assyrian host was at Nob, only a short
half-hour to the north of Jerusalem, but the more terrible veterans of
Sargon who marched against the holy city along the northern road.
Similar light is thrown by the Assyrian monuments upon another prophecy
of Isaiah, in which he pronounces the doom upon the land of Egypt (ch.
xix.). The prophecy has sometimes been referred by critics to a later
age than that of the great prophet; but the records of Esar-haddon prove
that it is strictly applicable to his time, and to his time only. The
unexpected revelation they have made to us of the Assyrian conquest of
Egypt, and its division into twenty vassal satrapies shows us who was
the 'cruel lord' and 'fierce king' into whose hands the Egyptians were
given, and paints the picture of an epoch in which 'the Egyptians'
fought 'every one against his brother, and every one against his
neighbour; city against city, and kingdom against kingdom.' The Isaianic
authorship of 'the burden of Egypt' can never again be denied.

Nahum, again, we can now read with a new interest and a new
understanding. The very date of his prophecy, so long disputed, can be
fixed approximately by the reference it contains to the sack of No-Amon
or Thebes (iii. 8). The prophecy was delivered hard upon sixty years
before the fall of Nineveh, when the Assyrian Empire was at the height
of its prosperity, and mistress of the Eastern world. Human foresight
could little have imagined that so great and terrible a power was so
soon to disappear. And yet at the very moment when it seemed strongest
and most secure, the Jewish prophet was uttering a prediction which the
excavations of Botta and Layard have shown to have been carried out
literally in fact. As we thread our way among the ruins of Nineveh, or
trace the after history of the deserted and forgotten site, we see
everywhere the fulfilment of Nahum's prophecy. Of the words that he
pronounced against the doomed city, there is none which has not come to

Those who would learn how marvellously the monuments of Assyria
illustrate and corroborate the pages of sacred history, need only
compare the records they contain with the narratives of the Books of
Kings which relate to the same period. The one complements and supplies
the missing chapters given by the other. The Bible informs us why
Sennacherib left Hezekiah unpunished, and never despatched another army
to Palestine; the cuneiform annals explain the causes of his murder, and
the reason of the flight of his sons to Ararat or Armenia. The single
passage in Scripture in which the name of Sargon is mentioned, no
longer remains isolated and unintelligible; we have no longer any need
to identify him with Tiglath-Pileser, or Shalmaneser, or any other
Assyrian prince with whom the fancy of older commentators confounded
him; we now know that he was one of the most powerful of Assyrian
conquerors, and we have his own independent testimony to that siege and
capture of Ashdod which is the occasion of the mention of his name in
Scripture. Between the history of the monuments and the history of the
Bible there is perpetual contact; and the voice of the monuments is
found to be in strict harmony with that of the Old Testament.

Before concluding this Preface, I have to thank Mr. W. G. Hird for his
kindness in undertaking the task of compiling an Index to the volume.

         *       *       *       *       *


  Bel-kapkapi                                    1700(?)


  Bel-bani, his son                              1650(?)

  Assur-sum-esir                                 1600(?)

  Adar-tiglath-Assuri                            1600(?)

  Irba-Rimmon                                    1550(?)

  Assur-nadin-akhi, his son

  Assur-bel-nisi-su                      _cir._  1450

  Buyur-Assur                                    1420

  Assur-yuballidh                                1400

  Bel-nirari, his son                            1380

  Pudil (Pedael), his son                        1350

  Rimmon-nirari I, his son                       1320

  Shalmaneser I, his son                         1300

  Tiglath-Adar I, his son                        1280

  Bel-kudur-utsur (Belchadrezzar), his son       1260

  Assur-narara and Nebo-dân                      1240

  Adar-pal-esar (Adar-pileser)                   1220

  Assur-dân I, his son                           1200

  Mutaggil-Nebo, his son                         1180

  Assur-ris-ilim, his son                        1160

  Tiglath-pileser I, his son                     1140

  Assur-bel-kala, his son                        1110

  Samas-Rimmon I, his brother                    1090

  Assur-rab buri


  Assur-dân II                                    930

  Rimmon-nirari II, his son                       911

  Tiglath-Adar II, his son                        889

  Assur-natsir-pal, his son                       883

  Shalmaneser II, his son                         858

  Samas-Rimmon II, his son                        823

  Rimmon-nirari III, his son                      810

  Shalmaneser III                                 781

  Assur-dân III                                   771

  Assur-nirari                                    753

  Pulu (Pul) usurps the throne and founds
  the 2nd Empire under the name of
  Tiglath-Pileser II             12th of Iyyar    745

  Ululâ (Elulæos) of Tinu, usurper, takes
  the name of Shalmaneser IV                      727

  Sargon, usurper                                 722

  Sennacherib of Khabigal, his son    12th of Ab  705

  Esar-haddon, his son                            681

  Assur-bani-pal (Sardanapalos), his son          668

  Assur-etil-ili-yukinni, his son         _cir._  640


  Esar-haddon II (Sarakos)

  Fall of Nineveh                                 606(?)

         *       *       *       *       *


  Battle of Karkar; Ahab ally of Damascus
    against Shalmaneser of Assyria                853

  Death of Ahab                                   851

  Campaign of Shalmaneser against Hadadezer
    (Benhadad II) of Damascus                     850

  Second campaign against Hadadezer               845

  Murder of Hadadezer by Hazael                   843

  Campaign of Shalmaneser against Hazael;
    tribute paid by Jehu of Samaria               841

  Damascus captured by the Assyrians;
    tribute paid by Samaria                       804

  Campaign of the Assyrians against Damascus      773

  Tiglath-Pileser II attacks Hamath;
    submission of Uzziah; fall of Arpad        743-40

  Tribute paid to Tiglath-Pileser by Menahem
    of Samaria and Rezon of Damascus              738

  Damascus besieged by the Assyrians; the tribes
    beyond the Jordan carried away; Jehoahaz
    (Ahaz) of Judah becomes a vassal of
    Tiglath-Pileser                               734

  Damascus taken and Rezon slain; Ahaz
    at Damascus                                   732

  Samaria besieged by Shalmaneser V               723

  Accession of Sargon                             722

  Merodach-baladan conquers Babylonia             721

  Capture of Samaria by Sargon                    720

  Hamath conquered by Sargon; Sabako (So) of
    Egypt defeated at Raphia                      719

  Embassy of Merodach-baladan to Hezekiah         712

  Capture of Jerusalem and Ashdod by Sargon       711

  Merodach-baladan driven from Babylonia          710

  Merodach-baladan recovers Babylonia for six
    months                                        703

  Sennacherib's campaign against Judah; battle
    of Eltekeh; overthrow of the Assyrian army
    at Jerusalem                                  701

  Murder of Sennacherib by his two sons           681

  Manasseh appears among the Assyrian
    tributaries; Egypt conquered by Esar-haddon   676

  Destruction of Thebes (No-Amun) by the
    Assyrians                                     665

                *       *       *       *       *





Assyria was the name given to the district which had been called 'the
land of Assur' by its own inhabitants. Assur, however, had originally
been the name, not of a country, but of a city founded in remote times
on the western bank of the Tigris, midway between the Greater and the
Lesser Zab. It was the primitive capital of the district in which it
stood, and to which, accordingly, it lent its name. It seems to have
been built by a people who spoke an agglutinative language, like the
languages of the modern Fins and Turks, and who were afterwards
supplanted by the Semitic Assyrians. The name in their language probably
signified 'water-boundary.' When the country was occupied by the Semitic
Assyrians the name was slightly changed, so as to assume the form of a
word which in Assyrian meant 'gracious.'

It so happened that Assyrian mythology knew of a deity who represented
the firmament, and was addressed as Sar. The name of Sar came in time
to be confused with that of Assur, the divine patron of the Assyrian
capital, the result being that Assur signified not only a city and
country, but also the supreme deity worshipped by their inhabitants.
Assur, in fact, became the divine impersonation of the power and
constitution of Assyria; at the same time he was also 'the gracious' god
and the primæval firmament of heaven.

Assur, whose ruins are now called Kalah Sherghat, did not always remain
the capital of Assyria. Its place was taken by a group of cities some 60
miles to the north, above the Greater Zab, and on the eastern side of
the Tigris, namely, Nineveh, Calah, and Dur-Sargon. The foundation of
Nineveh, the modern Kouyunjik, probably goes back to as early an age as
that of Assur, but it was not until a much later period that it became
an important city, and supplanted the older capital of the kingdom.
Calah, now called Nimrûd, though built some four centuries before, was
not made the seat of royalty until the reigns of Assur-natsir-pal and
Shalmaneser II, in the 9th century B.C., and Dur-Sargon (the modern
Khorsabad), as its name implies, was the creation of Sargon. Instead of
Dur-Sargon the Book of Genesis (x. 11) mentions Resen 'between Nineveh
and Calah.' The site of Resen has not been identified, though its name
has been met with in the Assyrian inscriptions under the form of
Res-eni, 'the head of the spring.'

The passage of Genesis in which Resen is referred to unfortunately
admits of a double translation. If we adopt the rendering of the margin,
and translate 'out of that land he went forth into Assyria and builded
Nineveh,' we might infer that Nineveh and its neighbouring towns had no
existence before the days when Babylonian emigrants settled in the
territory of the city of Assur, and superseded its older inhabitants.
However this may be, we know from the cuneiform monuments that the rise
of Assyria did not take place until the Babylonian monarchy was already
growing old. The country afterwards known as Assyria had been comprised
in Gutium or Kurdistan, a name which has been identified, with great
probability, by Sir H. Rawlinson, with the Goyyim or 'nations' of
Genesis xiv. over which Tidal was king. There seems to have been a time
when the rulers of Assur were mere governors appointed by the Babylonian
monarchs; at all events, the earliest of whom we know do not give
themselves the title of king, but use a word which signifies 'viceroy'
in the Chaldean inscriptions.

These viceroys, however, managed eventually to shake off the yoke of
their Babylonian masters, and one of them, Bel-kapkapi by name,
established an independent kingdom at Assur in the 17th or 16th century
before our era. His kingdom extended on both sides of the Tigris, and
doubtless included the country north of the Greater Zab, where Nineveh
was situated. The exact frontiers of Assyria, however, were never
accurately fixed. They varied with the military power and conquests of
its monarchs. Sometimes portions of the plateau of Mesopotamia on the
west were comprehended within it, as well as the country through which
the Tigris flowed, as far south as the borders of Babylonia, and as far
north as the Kurdish mountains. At other times Assyria was confined to
the narrow space within which its great cities stood.

The inhabitants of Assyria belonged to the Semitic stock, that is to
say, they were allied in blood and language to the Hebrews, the
Aramæans, and the Arabs. The older population had been either expelled
or destroyed. The Assyrians thus differed from the Babylonians, who were
a mixed race, partly Semitic and partly non-Semitic. The non-Semitic
element is generally termed Accadian; it spoke agglutinative dialects,
and was the original possessor of the plain of Chaldæa. The Accadians
invented the cuneiform system of writing, founded the chief cities and
civilisation of Babylonia, and erected the earliest Babylonian monuments
with which we are acquainted. It was only gradually that they yielded to
the advance of the Semites; in fact, the final triumph of the Semites in
Babylonia was only effected by their amalgamation with the old
population of the country, and their complete acceptance of Accadian
culture. The Accadian language lingered long, and when it died out was
preserved as a learned language, like Latin in our own day, which every
educated Babylonian was expected to know.

It was natural, therefore, that the pure-blooded Semites of Assyria and
the mixed population of Babylonia should differ from one another in many
respects. The Babylonians were agriculturists, fond of literature and
peaceful pursuits. The Assyrians, on the contrary, have been
appropriately termed the Romans of the East: they were a military
people, caring for little else save war and trade. Their literature,
like their culture and art, was borrowed from Babylonia, and they never
took kindly to it. Even under the magnificent patronage of
Assur-bani-pal, Assyrian literature was an exotic. It was cultivated
only by the few; whereas in Babylonia the greater part of the population
seems to have been able to read and write. If the Assyrian was less
luxurious than his Babylonian neighbour, he was also less humane.
Indeed, the Assyrian annals glory in the record of a ferocity at which
we stand aghast. On the other hand, the Assyrian was not so
superstitious as the Babylonian, though he ascribed his successes to the
favour of Assur, and impaled the inhabitants of conquered towns or burnt
them alive because they did not believe in his national deity. He was,
as Nahum declared, the lion which 'did tear in pieces enough for his
whelps, and strangled for his lionesses, and filled his holes with prey,
and his dens with ravin.'

Assyria was so wholly a military power, that the destruction of Nineveh
not only destroyed the Assyrian Empire but blotted out the Assyrian
nation itself. When 'the gates of the rivers' of Nineveh—the Tigris and
Khusur—were opened, and 'the palace dissolved,' Assyria ceased to
exist. In the Sassanian period the mounds which covered the ruins of the
old city were for a short time occupied by the houses of a village, but
these, too, disappeared after a while, and the very site of Nineveh
remained for centuries unknown. Rich, in 1818, conjectured that the
mounds of Kouyunjik, opposite the modern town of Mosul, concealed its
ruins beneath them, but it was not until the excavations of the
Frenchman Botta, in 1842, and the Englishman Layard, in 1845, that the
remains first of Dur-Sargon, and then of Nineveh itself, were revealed
to the eyes of a wondering world. The capital of the Assyrian Empire was
recovered, and with it the sculptured monuments of its kings, and the
relics of its clay-inscribed library. The discovery came at an opportune
moment. The cuneiform inscriptions of Persia had at last yielded up
their secrets to the patient sagacity of European scholars, and had
furnished the key to other inscriptions,—also in cuneiform characters,
but of a wholly different kind, and expressing a wholly different
language—which now proved to be the long-lost records of the Assyrian
people. Little by little the records were deciphered; fresh expeditions
to the buried cities of Assyria and Babylonia returned to Europe with
fresh spoils, and it is now possible to describe the history and even
the daily life and thoughts of a people who but half a century ago were
but a mere name. The following pages are intended to give a picture of
that history and life.

                *       *       *       *       *



Assyrian history, as we have seen, begins with the _patesis_ or viceroys
of the city of Assur. We know little about them except their names;
contemporaneous annals do not commence until Assyria has ceased to be
the dependency of a foreign power, and has become an independent
kingdom. It was in the 17th or 16th century before the Christian era
that Bel-kapkapi first gave himself the title of king. For two or three
centuries afterwards our chief information about the monarchy he founded
is derived from the relations, sometimes hostile and sometimes
peaceable, which his successors had with Babylonia. One of them,
however, Rimmon-nirari I by name (about B.C. 1320), has left us an
inscription in which he recounts the wars he waged against the
Babylonians, the Kurds, the Aramæans, and the Shuites, nomad tribes who
extended along the western bank of the Euphrates. It was his son,
Shalmaneser I, to whom the foundation of Calah is ascribed. For six
generations his descendants followed one another on the throne; then
came Tiglath-Pileser I, who may be regarded as the founder of the first
Assyrian Empire. He carried his arms as far as Cilicia and Malatiyeh on
the west, and the wild tribes of Kurdistan on the east; he overthrew the
Moschi or Meshech, defeated the Hittites and their Colchian allies, and
erected a memorial of his conquests at the sources of the Tigris. The
Hittite city of Pethor, at the junction of the Euphrates and Sajur, was
garrisoned with Assyrian soldiers, and at Arvad the Assyrian monarch
symbolised his subjection of the Mediterranean by embarking in a ship
and killing a dolphin in the sea. In Nineveh he established a botanical
garden, which he filled with the strange trees he had brought back with
him from his campaigns. In B.C. 1130 he marched into Babylonia, and,
after a momentary repulse at the hands of the Babylonian king, defeated
his antagonists on the banks of the Lower Zab. Babylonia was ravaged,
and Babylon itself was captured.

With the death of Tiglath-Pileser I, Assyrian history becomes for awhile
obscure. The sceptre fell into feeble hands, and the distant conquests
of the empire were lost. It was during this period of abeyance that the
kingdom of David and Solomon arose in the west. The Assyrian power did
not revive until the reign of Assur-dân II, whose son, Rimmon-nirari II
(B.C. 911-889), and great-grandson, Assur-natsir-pal (B.C. 883-858), led
their desolating armies through Western Asia, and made the name of
Assyria once more terrible to the nations around them. Assur-natsir-pal
was at once one of the most ferocious and most energetic of the
Assyrian kings. His track was marked by impalements, by pyramids of
human heads, and by other barbarities too horrible to be described. But
his campaigns reached further than those of Tiglath-Pileser had done.
Armenia, Mesopotamia, and Kurdistan, were overrun again and again; the
Babylonians were forced to sue for peace; Sangara, the Hittite king of
Carchemish, paid tribute, and the rich cities of Phœnicia poured their
offerings into the treasury of Nineveh. The armies of Assyria penetrated
even to Nizir, where the ark of the Chaldæan Noah was believed to have
rested on the peak of Rowandiz. In Assyria itself the cities were
embellished with the spoils of foreign conquest; splendid palaces were
erected, and Calah, which had fallen into decay, was restored. A library
was erected there, and it became the favourite residence of

He was succeeded by his son Shalmaneser II, so named, perhaps, after the
original founder of Calah. Shalmaneser's military successes exceeded
even those of his father, and his long reign of thirty-five years marks
the climax of the first Assyrian Empire. His annals are chiefly to be
found engraved on three monuments now in the British Museum. One of
these is a monolith from Kurkh, a place about twenty miles from
Diarbekr. The full-length figure of Shalmaneser is sculptured upon it,
and the surface of the stone is covered with the inscription. Another
monument is a small 'obelisk' of polished black stone, the upper part of
which is shaped like three ascending steps. Inscriptions run round its
four sides, as well as small bas-reliefs representing the tribute
offered to 'the great king' by foreign states. Among the tribute-bearers
are the Israelitish subjects of 'Jehu, son of Omri.' The third monument
is one which was discovered in 1878 at Balawât, about nine miles from
Nimrûd or Calah. It consists of the bronze framework of two colossal
doors, of rectangular shape, twenty-two feet high and twenty-six feet
broad. The doors opened into a temple, and were made of wood, to which
the bronze was fastened by means of nails. The bronze was cut into
bands, which ran in a horizontal direction across the doors, and were
each divided into two lines of embossed reliefs. These reliefs were
hammered out, and not cast, and the rudeness of their execution proves
that they were the work of native artists, and not of the Phœnician
settlers in Nineveh, of whose skill in such work we have several
specimens. Short texts are added to explain the reliefs, so that the
various campaigns and cities represented in them can all be identified.
Among the cities is the Hittite capital Carchemish, and the warriors of
Armenia are depicted in a costume strikingly similar to that of the
ancient Greeks.

Shalmaneser's first campaign was against the restless tribes of
Kurdistan. He then turned northward, and fell upon the Armenian king of
Van and the Mannâ or Minni (see Jer. li. 27), who inhabited the country
between the mountains of Kotûr and Lake Urumiyeh. The Hittites of
Carchemish, with their allies from Cilicia and other neighbouring
districts, were next compelled to sue for peace, and the acquisition of
Pethor, which had been lost after Tiglath-Pileser's death, again gave
the Assyrians the command of the ford over the Euphrates. The result of
this was, that in B.C. 854 Shalmaneser came into conflict with the
kingdom of Hamath. The common danger had roused Hadadezer of Damascus,
called Benhaded II in the Bible, to make common cause with Hamath, and a
confederacy was formed to resist the Assyrian advance. Among the
confederates 'Ahab of Israel' is mentioned as furnishing the allies with
2,000 chariots and 10,000 infantry. But the confederacy was shattered at
Karkar or Aroer, although Shalmaneser had himself suffered too severely
to be able to follow up his victory. For a time, therefore, Syria
remained unmolested, and the Assyrian king turned his attention to
Babylonia, which he reduced to a state of vassalage, under the pretext
of assisting the Babylonian sovereign against his rebel brother.

Twelve years, however, after the battle of Karkar, Shalmaneser was once
more in the west. Hadadezer had been succeeded by Hazael on the throne
of Damascus, and it was against him that the full flood of Assyrian
power was turned. For some time he managed to stem it, but in B.C. 841
he suffered a crushing defeat on the heights of Shenir (see Deut. iii.
9), and his camp, along with 1,121 chariots and 470 carriages, fell into
the hands of the Assyrians, who proceeded to besiege him in his capital,
Damascus. The siege, however, was soon raised, and Shalmaneser
contented himself with ravaging the Hauran and marching to Beyrout,
where his image was carved on the rocky promontory of Baal-rosh, at the
mouth of the Nahr el-Kelb. It was while he was in this neighbourhood
that the ambassadors of Jehu arrived with offers of tribute and
submission. The tribute, we are told, consisted of 'silver, gold, a
golden bowl, vessels of gold, goblets of gold, pitchers of gold, a
sceptre for the king's hand and spear-handles,' and Jehu is erroneously
entitled 'the son of Omri.'

After the defeat of Hazael Shalmaneser's expeditions were only to
distant regions like Phœnicia, Kappadokia, and Armenia, for the sake of
exacting tribute. No further attempt was made at permanent conquest, and
after B.C. 834 the old king ceased to lead his armies in person, the
tartan or commander-in-chief taking his place. Not long afterwards a
revolt broke out headed by his eldest son, who seems to have thought
that he would have little difficulty in wresting the sceptre from the
hands of the enfeebled king. Twenty-seven cities, including Nineveh and
Assur, joined the revolt, which was, however, finally put down by the
energy and military capacity of Shalmaneser's second son Samas-Rimmon,
who succeeded him soon afterwards (B.C. 823-810). On his death he was
followed by his son Rimmon-nirari III (810-781), who compelled Mariha of
Damascus to pay him tribute, as well as the Phœnicians, Israelites,
Edomites, and Philistines. But the vigour of the dynasty was beginning
to fail. A few short reigns followed that of Rimmon-nirari, during
which the first Assyrian Empire melted away. A formidable power arose in
Armenia, the Assyrian armies were driven to the frontiers of their own
country, and disaffection began to prevail in Assyria itself. At length,
on the 15th of June, B.C. 763, an eclipse of the sun took place, and the
city of Assur rose in revolt. The revolt lasted three years, and before
it could be crushed the outlying provinces were lost. When Assur-nirari,
the last of his line, ascended the throne in B.C. 753, the empire was
already gone, and the Assyrian cities themselves were surging with
discontent. Ten years later the final blow was struck; the army declared
itself against their monarch, and he and his dynasty fell together. On
the 30th of Iyyar of the year B.C. 745, a military adventurer, Pul,
seized the vacant crown, and assumed the venerable name of

If we may believe Greek tradition, Tiglath-Pileser II began life as a
gardener. Whatever might have been his origin, however, he proved to be
a capable ruler, a good general, and a far-sighted administrator. He was
the founder of the second Assyrian Empire, which differed essentially
from the first. The first empire was at best a loosely-connected
military organization; campaigns were made into distant countries for
the sake of plunder and tribute, but little effort was made to retain
the districts that had been conquered. Almost as soon as the Assyrian
armies were out of sight, the conquered nations shook off the Assyrian
yoke, and it was only in regions bordering on Assyria that garrisons
were left by the Assyrian king. And whenever the Assyrian throne was
occupied by a weak or unwarlike prince, even these were soon destroyed
or forced to retreat homewards. Tiglath-Pileser II, however,
consolidated and organised the conquests he made; turbulent populations
were deported from their old homes, and the empire was divided into
satrapies or provinces, each of which paid a fixed annual tribute to the
imperial exchequer. For the first time in history the principle of
centralisation was carried out on a large scale, and a bureaucracy began
to take the place of the old feudal nobility of Assyria. But the second
Assyrian Empire was not only an organised and bureaucratic one, it was
also commercial. In carrying out his schemes of conquest Tiglath-Pileser
II was influenced by considerations of trade. His chief object was to
divert the commerce of Western Asia into Assyrian hands. For this
purpose every effort was made to unite Babylonia with Assyria, to
overthrow the Hittites of Carchemish, who held the trade of Asia Minor,
as well as the high road to the west, and to render Syria and the
Phœnician cities tributary. The policy inaugurated by Tiglath-Pileser
was successfully followed up by his successors.

Babylonia was the first to feel the results of the change of dynasty at
Nineveh. The northern part of it was annexed to Assyria, and secured by
a chain of fortresses. Tiglath-Pileser now attacked the Kurdish tribes,
who were constantly harassing the eastern frontier of the kingdom, and
chastised them severely, the Assyrian army forcing its way through the
fastnesses of the Kurdish mountains into the very heart of Media. But
Ararat, or Armenia, was still a dangerous neighbour, and accordingly
Tiglath-Pileser's next campaign was against a confederacy of the nations
of the north headed by Sarduris of Van. The confederacy was utterly
defeated in Kommagênê, 72,950 prisoners falling into the hands of the
Assyrians, and the way was opened into Syria. In B.C. 742 the siege of
Arpad (now Tel Erfâd) began, and lasted two years. Its fall brought with
it the submission of Northern Syria, and it was next the turn of Hamath
to be attacked. Hamath was in alliance with Uzziah of Judah, and its
king Eniel may have been of Jewish extraction. But the alliance availed
nothing. Hamath was taken by storm, part of its population transported
to Armenia, and their places taken by colonists from distant provinces
of the empire, while nineteen of the districts belonging to it were
annexed to Assyria. The kings of Syria now flocked to render homage and
offer tribute to the Assyrian conqueror. Among them we read the names of
Menahem of Samaria, Rezon of Syria, Hiram of Tyre, and Pisiris of
Carchemish. This was the occasion when, as we learn from 2 Kings xv. 19,
Menahem gave a thousand talents of silver to the Assyrian king Pul, the
name under which Tiglath-Pileser continued to be known in Babylonia,
and, as the Old Testament informs us, in Palestine also.

Three years later Ararat was again invaded. Van, the capital, was
blockaded, and though it successfully resisted the Assyrians, the
country was devastated far and near for a space of 450 miles. It was
long before the Armenians recovered from the blow, and for the next
century they ceased to be formidable to Assyria. Tiglath-Pileser's
northern frontier was now secure, and he therefore gladly seized the
opportunity of interfering in the affairs of the west which was offered
him by Ahaz, the Jewish king. Ahaz, whom the Assyrian inscriptions call
Jehoahaz, had been hard pressed by Rezon of Damascus and Pekah of
Israel, who had combined to overthrow the Davidic dynasty and place a
vassal prince, 'the son of Tabeal,' on the throne of Jerusalem. Ahaz in
his extremity called in the aid of Tiglath-Pileser, offering him a heavy
bribe and acknowledging his supremacy. Tiglath-Pileser accordingly
marched into Syria; Rezon was utterly defeated in battle and then
besieged in Damascus, to which he had escaped. Damascus was closely
invested; the trees in its neighbourhood were cut down; the districts
dependent on it were ravaged, and forces were despatched to punish the
Israelites, Ammonites, Moabites, and Philistines, who had been the
allies of Rezon, Gilead and Abel-beth-maachah being burnt, and the
tribes beyond the Jordan carried into captivity. The Philistine cities
were compelled to open their gates; the king of Ashkelon committed
suicide in order not to fall into the hands of the enemy, and Khanun of
Gaza fled to Egypt. At last in B.C. 732, after a siege of two years,
Damascus was forced by famine to surrender. Rezon was slain, Damascus
given over to plunder and ruin, and its inhabitants transported to Kir.
Syria became an Assyrian province, and all its princes were summoned to
do homage to the conqueror, while Tyre was fined 150 talents of gold, or
about £400,000. Among the princes who attended the levée or 'durbar' was
Ahaz, and it was while he was attending it that he saw the altar of
which he sent a pattern to Urijah the priest (2 Kings xvi. 10).

All that now remained for Tiglath-Pileser to do was to reduce Babylonia
as he had reduced Syria. In B.C. 731, accordingly, he marched again into
Chaldæa. Ukin-ziru, the Babylonian king, was slain, Babylon and other
great cities were taken, and in B.C. 729, under his original name of
Pul, Tiglath-Pileser assumed the title of 'king of Sumer (Shinar) and

He lived only two years after this, and died in B.C. 727, when the crown
was seized by Elulæos of Tinu, who took the name of Shalmaneser IV.
Shalmaneser's short reign was signalised by an unsuccessful attempt to
capture Tyre, and by the beginning of a war against the kingdom of
Israel. But the siege of Samaria was hardly commenced when Shalmaneser
died, or was murdered, in B.C. 722, and was succeeded by another usurper
who assumed the name of Sargon, one of the most famous of the early
Babylonian kings. Sargon in his inscriptions claims royal descent, but
the claim was probably without foundation. He proved to be an able
general, though his inscriptions show that he continued to the last to
be a rough but energetic soldier who had perhaps risen from the ranks.

Two years after his accession (B.C. 720) Samaria was taken and placed
under an Assyrian governor, 27,280 of its leading inhabitants being
carried captive to Gozan and Media. But Sargon soon found that the task
of cementing and completing the empire founded by Tiglath-Pileser was by
no means an easy one. Babylonia had broken away from Assyria on the news
of Shalmaneser's death, and had submitted itself to Merodach-Baladan the
hereditary chieftain of Beth-Yagina in the marshes on the coast of the
Persian Gulf. The southern portion of Sargon's dominions was threatened
by the ancient and powerful kingdom of Elam; the Kurdish tribes on the
east renewed their depredations; while the Hittite kingdom of Carchemish
still remained unsubdued, and the Syrian conquests could with difficulty
be retained. In fact, a new enemy appeared in this part of the empire in
the shape of Egypt.

Sargon's first act, therefore, was to drive the Elamites back to their
own country with considerable loss. He was then recalled to the west by
the revolt of Hamath, where Yahu-bihdi, or Ilu-bihdi, whose name perhaps
indicates his Jewish parentage, had proclaimed himself king, and
persuaded Arpad, Damascus, Samaria, and other cities to follow his
standard. But the revolt was of short duration. Hamath was burnt, 4,300
Assyrians being sent to occupy its ruins, and Yahu-bihdi was flayed
alive. Sargon next marched along the sea-coast to the cities of the
Philistines. There the Egyptian army was routed at Raphia, and its ally,
Khanun of Gaza, taken captive.

In B.C. 717 all was ready for dealing the final blow at the Hittite
power in Northern Syria. The rich trading city of Carchemish was
stormed, its last king, Pisiris, fell into the hands of the Assyrians,
and his Moschian allies were forced to retreat to the north. The plunder
of Carchemish brought eleven talents and thirty manehs of gold and 2,100
talents of silver into the treasury of Calah. It was henceforth placed
under an Assyrian satrap, who thus held in his hands the key of the high
road and the caravan trade between Eastern and Western Asia.

But Sargon was not allowed to retain possession of Carchemish without a
struggle. Its Hittite inhabitants found avengers in the allied
populations of the north, in Meshech and Tubal, in Ararat and Minni. The
struggle lasted for six years, but in the end Sargon prevailed. Van
submitted, its king Ursa, the leader of the coalition against Assyria,
committed suicide, Cilicia and the Tibareni or Tubal were placed under
an Assyrian governor, and the city of Malatiyeh was razed to the ground.
In B.C. 711, Sargon was at length free to turn his attention to the
west. Here affairs wore a threatening aspect. Merodach-Baladan,
foreseeing that his own turn would come as soon as Sargon had firmly
established his power in Northern Syria, had despatched ambassadors to
the Mediterranean states, urging them to combine with him against the
common foe. We read in the Bible of the arrival of the Babylonian
embassy in Jerusalem, and of the rebuke received by Hezekiah for his
vainglory in displaying to the strangers the resources of his kingdom.
In spite of Isaiah's warning, Hezekiah listened to the persuasions of
the Babylonian envoys, and encouraged by the promise of Egyptian support
along with Phœnicia, Moab, Edom, and the Philistines, determined to defy
the Assyrian king.

But before the confederates were ready to act in concert Sargon
descended upon Palestine. Phœnicia and Judah were overrun, Jerusalem was
captured, and Ashdod burnt, while the Egyptians made no attempt to help
their friends. This siege of Ashdod is the only occasion on which the
name of Sargon occurs in the Bible (Isaiah xx. 1). As soon as all source
of danger was removed in the west Sargon hurled his forces against
Babylonia. Merodach-Baladan had made every preparation to meet the
coming attack, and the Elamite king had engaged to help him. But the
Elamites were again compelled to fly before the warriors of Assyria, and
Sargon entered Babylon in triumph (B.C. 710). The following year he
pursued Merodach-Baladan to his ancestral stronghold in the marshes;
Beth-Yagina was taken by storm, and its unfortunate defenders were sent
in chains to Nineveh. Sargon was now at the height of his power. His
empire was a compact and consolidated whole, reaching from the
Mediterranean on the west to the mountains of Elam on the east, and his
solemn coronation at Babylon gave a title to his claim to be the
legitimate successor of the ancient Sargon of Accad. The old kingdoms of
Elam and Egypt alone remained to threaten the newly-founded empire,
which received the voluntary homage of the smaller states that lay
immediately beyond it. Thus the sacred island of Dilvun in the Persian
Gulf submitted itself to the terrible conqueror, and the Phœnicians of
Kition or Chittim in Cyprus erected a monumental record of his

Sargon's end was consonant with his whole career. He was murdered by his
soldiers in his new city of Dur-Sargon or Khorsabad, on the 12th of Ab
or July, B.C. 705, and was succeeded by his son Sennacherib. If we may
judge from Sennacherib's name, which means 'the Moon-god has increased
the brothers,' he would not have been Sargon's eldest son. In any case
he had been brought up in the purple, and displayed none of the rugged
virtues of his father. He was weak, boastful, and cruel, and preserved
his empire only by the help of the veterans and generals whom Sargon had

Merodach-Baladan had escaped from captivity, and two years after the
death of Sargon had once more possessed himself of Babylon. But a battle
at Kis drove him from the country nine months subsequently, and
Sennacherib was able to turn his attention to affairs in the west. In
B.C. 701, he marched into Phœnicia and Palestine, where Hezekiah of
Judah and some of the neighbouring kings had refused their tribute.
Tirhakah, the Ethiopian king of Egypt, had promised support to the
rebellious states, and Padi, the king of Ekron, who remained faithful to
the Assyrians, was carried in chains to Jerusalem. The Assyrian army
fell first upon Phœnicia. Great and Little Sidon, Sarepta, Acre, and
other towns, surrendered, Elulæos, the Sidonian monarch, fled to Cyprus,
and the kings of Arvad and Gebal offered homage. Metinti of Ashdod,
Pedael of Ammon, Chemosh-nadab of Moab, and Melech-ram of Edom, also
submitted. Then, says Sennacherib: 'Zedekiah, king of Ashkelon, who had
not submitted to my yoke, himself, the gods of the house of his fathers,
his wife, his sons, his daughters, and his brothers, the seed of the
house of his fathers, I removed, and I sent him to Syria. I set over the
men of Ashkelon Sarludari, the son of Rukipti, their former king, and I
imposed upon him the payment of tribute, and the homage due to my
majesty, and he became a vassal. In the course of my campaign I
approached and captured Beth-Dagon, Joppa, Bene-berak, and Azur, the
cities of Zedekiah, which did not submit at once to my yoke, and I
carried away their spoil. The priests, the chief men, and the common
people of Ekron who had thrown into chains their king Padi because he
was faithful to his oaths to Assyria, and had given him up to Hezekiah,
the Jew, who imprisoned him like an enemy in a dark dungeon, feared in
their hearts. The king of Egypt, the bowmen, the chariots, and the
horses of the king of Ethiopia, had gathered together innumerable
forces, and gone to their assistance. In sight of the town of Eltekeh
was their order of battle drawn up; they called their troops (to the
battle). Trusting in Assur, my lord, I fought with them and overthrew
them. My hands took the captains of the chariots, and the sons of the
king of Egypt, as well as the captains of the chariots of the king of
Ethiopia, alive in the midst of the battle. I approached and captured
the towns of Eltekeh and Timnath, and I carried away their spoil. I
marched against the city of Ekron, and put to death the priests and the
chief men who had committed the sin (of rebellion), and I hung up their
bodies on stakes all round the city. The citizens who had done wrong and
wickedness I counted as a spoil; as for the rest of them who had done no
sin or crime, in whom no fault was found, I proclaimed a free pardon. I
had Padi, their king, brought out from the midst of Jerusalem, and I
seated him on the throne of royalty over them, and I laid upon him the
tribute due to my majesty. But as for Hezekiah of Judah, who had not
submitted to my yoke, forty-six of his strong cities, together with
innumerable fortresses and small towns which depended on them, by
overthrowing the walls and open attack, by battle engines and
battering-rams, I besieged, I captured, I brought out from the midst of
them and counted as a spoil 200,150 persons, great and small, male and
female, horses, mules, asses, camels, oxen and sheep without number.
Hezekiah himself I shut up like a bird in a cage in Jerusalem, his royal
city. I built a line of forts against him, and I kept back his heel from
going forth out of the great gate of his city. I cut off his cities that
I had spoiled from the midst of his land, and gave them to Metinti, king
of Ashdod, Padi, king of Ekron, and Zil-baal, king of Gaza, and I made
his country small. In addition to their former tribute and yearly gifts,
I added other tribute, and the homage due to my majesty, and I laid it
upon them. The fear of the greatness of my majesty overwhelmed him, even
Hezekiah, and he sent after me to Nineveh, my royal city, by way of gift
and tribute, the Arabs and his body-guard whom he had brought for the
defence of Jerusalem, his royal city, and had furnished with pay, along
with thirty talents of gold, 800 talents of pure silver, carbuncles and
other precious stones, a couch of ivory, thrones of ivory, an elephant's
hide, an elephant's tusk, rare woods of various names, a vast treasure,
as well as the eunuchs of his palace, dancing-men and dancing-women; and
he sent his ambassador to offer homage.'

In this account of his campaign Sennacherib discreetly says nothing
about the disaster which befell his army in front of Jerusalem, and
which obliged him to return ignominiously to Assyria without attempting
to capture Jerusalem, and to deal with Hezekiah as it was his custom to
deal with other rebellious kings. The tribute offered by Hezekiah at
Lachish, when he vainly tried to buy off the threatened Assyrian attack,
is represented as having been the final result of a successful campaign.
There is, however, no exaggeration in the amount of silver Sennacherib
claims to have received, since 800 talents of silver are equivalent to
the 500 talents stated by the Bible to have been given, when reckoned
according to the standard of value in use at the time in Nineveh.

Sennacherib never recovered from the blow he had suffered in Judah. He
made no more expeditions against Palestine, and during the rest of his
reign Judah remained unmolested. Babylonia, moreover, gave him constant
trouble. In the year after his campaign in the west (B.C. 700) a
Chaldean, named Nergal-yusezib, stirred up a revolt which Sennacherib
had some difficulty in suppressing. Two years later he appointed his
eldest son, Assur-nadin-sumi, viceroy of Babylon. In B.C. 694, he
determined to attack the followers of Merodach-Baladan in their last
retreat at the mouth of the Eulæus, where land had been given to them by
the Elamite king after their expulsion from Babylonia. Ships were built
and manned by Phœnicians in the Persian Gulf, by means of which the
settlements of the Chaldean refugees were burnt and destroyed.
Meanwhile, however, Babylonia itself was invaded by the Elamites; the
Assyrian viceroy was carried into captivity, and Nergal-yusezib placed
on the throne of the country. He defeated the Assyrian forces in a
battle near Nipur, but died soon afterwards, and was followed by
Musezib-Merodach, who like his predecessor is called Suzub in
Sennacherib's inscriptions. He defied the Assyrian power for nearly four
years. But in B.C. 690 the combined Babylonian and Elamite army was
overthrown in the decisive battle of Khalule, and before another year
was past Sennacherib had captured Babylon, and given it up to fire and
sword. Its inhabitants were sold into slavery, and the waters of the
Araxes canal allowed to flow over its ruins. Sennacherib now assumed the
title of king of Babylonia, but with the exception of a campaign into
the Cilician mountains he seems to have undertaken no more military
expeditions. The latter years of his life were passed in constructing
canals and aqueducts, in embanking the Tigris, and in rebuilding the
palace of Nineveh on a new and sumptuous scale. On the 20th of Tebet, or
December, B.C. 681, he was murdered by his two elder sons, Adrammelech
and Nergal-sharezer, who were jealous of the favour shown to their
younger brother, Esar-haddon.

Esar-haddon was at the time conducting a campaign against Erimenas, king
of Armenia, to whom his insurgent brothers naturally fled. Between seven
and eight weeks after the murder of the old king, a battle was fought
near Malatiyeh, in Kappadokia, between the veterans of Esar-haddon and
the forces under his brothers and Erimenas, which ended in the complete
defeat of the latter. Esar-haddon was proclaimed king, and the event
proved that a wiser choice could not have been made.

His military genius was of the first order, but it was equalled by his
political tact. He was the only king of Assyria who endeavoured to
conciliate the nations he had conquered. Under him the fabric of the
Second Empire was completed by the conquest of Egypt. In the first year
of his reign he rebuilt Babylon, giving it back its captured deities,
its plunder, and its people. Henceforth Babylon became the second
capital of the empire, the court residing alternately there and at
Nineveh. It was while Esar-haddon was holding his winter court at
Babylon that Manasseh, of Judah, was brought to him as prisoner.[1]

  [1] 2 Chr. xxxiii. 11.

The trade of Phœnicia was diverted into Assyrian hands by the
destruction of Sidon. The caravan-road from east to west was at the same
time rendered secure by an expedition into the heart of Northern Arabia.
Here Esar-haddon penetrated as far as the lands of Huz and Buz, 280
miles of the march being through a waterless desert. The feat has never
been excelled, and the terror it inspired among the Bedouin tribes was
not forgotten for many years. The northern frontiers of the kingdom were
also made safe by the defeat of Teispes, the Kimmerian, who was driven
westward with his hordes into Asia Minor. In the east the Assyrian
monarch was bold enough to occupy and work the copper-mines on the
distant borders of Media, the very name of which had scarcely been
heard of before. Westward, the kings of Cyprus paid homage to the great
conqueror, and among the princes who sent materials for his palace at
Nineveh were Cyprian rulers with Greek names.

But the principal achievement of Esar-haddon's reign was his conquest of
the ancient monarchy of Egypt. In B.C. 675 the Assyrian army started for
the banks of the Nile. Four years later Memphis was taken on the 22nd of
Tammuz, or June, and Tirhakah, the Egyptian king, compelled to fly first
to Thebes, and then into Ethiopia. Egypt was divided into twenty
satrapies, governed partly by Assyrians, partly by native princes, whose
conduct was watched by Assyrian garrisons. On his return to Assyria
Esar-haddon associated Assur-bani-pal, the eldest of his four sons, in
the government on the 12th of Iyyar, or April, B.C. 669, and died two
years afterwards (on the 12th of Marchesvan, or October), when again on
his way to Egypt. Assur-bani-pal, the Sardanapalos of the Greeks,
succeeded to the empire, his brother, Samas-sum-yukin, being entrusted
with the government of Babylonia.

Assur-bani-pal is probably the 'great and noble' Asnapper of Ezra iv.
10. He was luxurious, ambitious, and cruel, but a munificent patron of
literature. The libraries of Babylonia were ransacked for ancient texts,
and scribes were kept busily employed at Nineveh in inscribing new
editions of older works. But unlike his fathers, Assur-bani-pal refused
to face the hardships of a campaign. His armies were led by generals,
who were required to send despatches from time to time to the king. It
was evident that a purely military empire, like that of Assyria, could
not last long, when its ruler had himself ceased to take an active part
in military affairs. At first the veterans of his father preserved and
even extended the empire of Assur-bani-pal; but before his death it was
shattered irretrievably. It is characteristic of Assur-bani-pal that his
lion-hunts were mere _battues_, in which tame animals were released from
cages and lashed to make them run; in curious contrast to the lion-hunts
in the open field in which his warlike predecessors had delighted.

(_From the original in the British Museum._)]

His first occupation was to crush a revolt in Egypt. Tirhakah was once
more driven out of the country, and Thebes, called Ni in the Assyrian
texts, and No-Amon, or 'No of the god Amun' in Scripture, was plundered
and destroyed. Its temples were hewed in pieces, and two of its
obelisks, weighing 70 tons in all, were carried as trophies to Nineveh.
It is to this destruction of the old capital of the Pharaohs that Nahum
refers in his prophecy (iii. 8).

Meanwhile Tyre had been besieged and forced to surrender, and Cilicia
had paid homage to the Assyrian king. Gog, or Gyges, of Lydia, too,
voluntarily sent him tribute, including two Kimmerian chieftains whom
the Lydian sovereign had captured in battle. When the Lydian ambassadors
arrived in Nineveh they found no one who could understand their
language; in fact, the very name of Lydia had been unknown to the
Assyrians before.

The Assyrian Empire had now reached its widest limits. Elam had fallen
after a long and arduous struggle. Shushan, its capital, was razed to
the ground, and the three last Elamite kings were bound to the yoke of
Assur-bani-pal's chariot, and made to drag their conqueror through the
streets of Nineveh. The Kedarites and other nomad tribes of Northern
Arabia were also chastised, the land of the Minni was overrun, and the
Armenians of Van begged for an alliance with the Assyrian king.

But while at the very height of his prosperity, the empire was fast
slipping away from under Assur-bani-pal's feet. In B.C. 652 a rebellion
broke out headed by his brother, the Babylonian viceroy, which shook it
to the foundations. Babylonia, Egypt, Palestine, and Arabia made common
cause against the oppressor. Lydia sent Karian and Ionic mercenaries to
Psammetikhos of Sais, with whose help he succeeded in overthrowing his
brother satraps, and in delivering Egypt from the Assyrian yoke. The
revolt in Babylonia took long to quell, and for a time the safety of
Assur-bani-pal himself was imperilled. At last in 647 Babylon and Cuthah
were reduced by famine, and Samas-sum-yukin burnt himself to death in
his palace. Fire and sword were carried through Elam, and the last of
its monarchs became an outlawed fugitive.

When Assyria finally emerged from the deadly struggle, Egypt was lost to
it for ever, and Babylonia was but half subdued. The latter province was
placed under the government of Kandalanu, who ruled over it for
twenty-two years, more like an independent sovereign than a viceroy. His
successor, Nabopolassar, the father of Nebuchadnezzar, threw off all
semblance of submission to Nineveh, and prepared the way for the empire
of his son. But meanwhile the once proud kingdom of Assyria had been
contending for bare existence. Assur-bani-pal's son, Assur-etil-ilani,
rebuilt with diminished splendour the palace of Calah, which seems to
have been burnt by some victorious enemy; and when the last Assyrian
king, Esar-haddon II, called Sarakos by the Greeks, mounted the throne,
he found himself surrounded on all sides by threatening foes. Kaztarit
or Kyaxares, Mamitarsu the Median, the Kimmerians, the Minni, and the
people of Sepharad leagued themselves together against the devoted city
of Nineveh. The frontier towns fell first, and though Esar-haddon in his
despair proclaimed public fasts and prayers to the gods, nothing could
ward off the doom pronounced by God's prophets against Nineveh so long
before. Nineveh was besieged, captured, and utterly destroyed; and the
second Assyrian Empire perished more hopelessly and completely than the
first. All that survived was the old capital of the country, Assur,
whose former inhabitants were allowed to return to it by Cyrus at the
time when the Jewish exiles also were released from their captivity in

  [2] The following are the significations of the different Assyrian
      royal names mentioned in this chapter:—
        Rimmon-nirari, 'Rimmon (the Air-god) is my help.'
        Shalmaneser (Sallimanu-esir), 'Sallimanu (Solomon, the god of
            peace) directs.' The Babylonians changed the name to
            Sulman-asarid, 'Solomon is supreme.'
        Tiglath-Pileser (Tukulti-pal-E-Sára), 'The servant of (the god
            Adar) the son of E-'Sara (the temple of legions).'
        Assur-dân, 'Assur is strong.'
        Assur-natsir-pal, 'Assur is protector of the son.'
        Samas-Rimmon, 'The Sun-god is also Rimmon (the Air-god).'
        Sargon (Sarru-kunu), 'the constituted king.'
        Sennacherib (Sinu-akhi-erba), 'The Moon-god increased the
        Esar-haddon (Assur-akh-iddina), 'Assur gave a brother.'
        Assur-bani-pal, 'Assur is creator of the son.'
        Assur-etil-ilani, 'Assur is prince of the gods.'


                *       *       *       *       *



The Assyrians derived the greater part of their deities and religious
beliefs, like their literature and culture generally, from Babylonia.
The Babylonian gods were the gods of Assyria also. Most of them were of
Accadian or præ-Semitic origin, but the Semitic Babylonians, when they
appropriated the civilisation of the Accadians, modified them in
accordance with their own conceptions. The Accadians believed that every
object and phenomenon of nature had its _Zi_ or 'spirit,' some of them
beneficent, others hostile to man, like the objects and phenomena they
represented. Naturally, however, there were more malevolent than
beneficent spirits in the universe, and there was scarcely an action
which did not risk demoniac possession. Diseases were due to the
malevolence of these spirits, and could be cured only by the use of
certain charms and exorcisms. Exorcisms, in fact, gave those who
employed them power over the spirits; they could by means of them compel
the evil spirit to retire, and the beneficent spirit to approach. The
knowledge of such exorcisms was in the hands of the priests, so that
priest and magician were almost synonymous terms.

Among the multitude of spirits feared by the Accadians, there were some
which had been raised above the rest into the position of gods. Of
these, Anu, 'the sky;' Mul-ge, 'the earth;' and Ea, 'the deep,' were the
most conspicuous. At their side stood the 'spirits' of the heavenly
bodies—the Moon-god, the Sun-god, the evening star, and the other
planets. The Moon-god ranked before the Sun-god, as might indeed have
been expected to be the case among a nation of astronomers like the

When the Semitic Babylonians adopted the deities of their predecessors
and teachers, Anu and his compeers lost much of their elemental nature,
while the Sun-god Samas came to assume an important place. The religion
of the Babylonian Semites, in fact, was essentially solar; the Sun-god
was addressed as Bel or Baal, the supreme 'lord,' and adored under
various forms. He appeared to them, moreover, under two aspects,
sometimes as the kindly deity who gives life and light to all things,
sometimes as the scorching sun of summer who demanded the sacrifice of
the first-born to appease his wrath. Sometimes, again, he was worshipped
as the young and beautiful Tammuz, slain by the boar's tusk of winter;
whose death was lamented at the autumnal equinox, and who was invoked as
_adoni_ (_Adonis_) or 'master.'

Unlike the Accadians, who did not distinguish gender, the Semites
divided all nouns into masculines and feminines. By the side of the god,
consequently, stood the goddess. She was, however, but a pale
reflection of her male consort, created, so to speak, by the necessities
of grammar. She had no independent attributes of her own; Beltis, or
Bilat, the wife of Bel, was nothing more than the feminine complement of
the god. The Accadians had known of one great goddess, Istar, the
evening star; but Istar was an independent deity, with attributes as
strongly and individually marked as those of the gods. Among the
Semites, Istar became Ashtoreth, with the feminine suffix _th_, and
though in Babylonia the old legends and traditions prevented her from
losing altogether her primitive character, she tended more and more to
pass into the mere reflection of some male deity. Just as the gods could
be collectively spoken of as Baalim or 'lords,' all being regarded as so
many different forms of the Sun-god, the goddesses also were termed
Ashtaroth or 'Ashtoreths.'

We see, therefore, that in adopting the pantheon of Accad, the Semites
made three important changes. The Sun-god was assigned a leading place
in worship and belief; female deities were introduced, who were,
however, mere reflections of the gods; while the inferior deities of the
Accadians were classed among 'the 300 spirits of heaven' and 'the 600
spirits of earth,' only a few of the more prominent ones retaining their
old position. These latter may be grouped as follows:—

At the head of the divine hierarchy still stood the old triad of Anu,
Mul-ge, and Ea. Mul-ge's name, however, was changed to Bel, but since
Merodach was also known as Bel, he fell more and more into the
background, especially after the rise of Babylon, of which city Merodach
was the patron deity. At Nipur, now Niffer, alone, he continued to be
worshipped down into late times. His consort was Bilat, or Beltis, 'the
great lady,' who eventually came to be regarded as the wife of Merodach
rather than of 'the other Bel.' Like Anu and Ea, Bel was the offspring
of Sar and Kisar, the upper and lower firmaments.

Anu was the visible sky, but he also represented the invisible heaven,
which was supposed to extend above the visible one, and to be the abode
of the gods. The chief seat of his worship was Erech, where he was
regarded as the oldest of the gods, and the original creator of the
universe. But elsewhere, also, he was looked upon as the creator of the
visible world, and the father of the gods. By his side, in the Semitic
period, stood the goddess Anat, whose attributes were derived from his.
The worship of Anat spread from Babylonia to the Canaanites, as is shown
by the geographical names Beth Anath, 'the temple of Anat' (Josh. xix.
38; xv. 59), and Anathoth, the city of 'the goddesses Anat.' It was even
introduced into Egypt after the Asiatic wars of the eighteenth dynasty.
In the præ-Semitic days of Chaldea, a monotheistic school had
flourished, which resolved the various deities of the Accadian belief
into manifestations of the one supreme god, Anu; and old hymns exist in
which reference is made to 'the one god.' But this school never seems
to have numbered many adherents, and it eventually died out. Its
existence, however, reminds us of the fact that Abraham was born in 'Ur
of the Chaldees.'

Ea originally represented the ocean-stream or 'great deep,' which was
supposed to surround the earth like a serpent, and by which all rivers
and springs were fed. He was symbolised by the snake, and was held to be
the creator and benefactor of mankind. One of his most frequent titles
is 'lord of wisdom,' and the chief seat of his worship was at Eridu,
'the holy city,' near which was the sacred grove or 'garden,' the centre
of the world, where the tree of life and knowledge had its roots. It was
Ea who had given to mankind not only life, but all the arts and
appliances of culture also, and it was his help that the Babylonian
invoked when in trouble. He was emphatically the god of healing, who had
revealed medicines to mankind. As god of the great deep, he was often
figured as a man with the tail of a fish, and in this form was known to
the Greeks under the name of Oannes or 'Ea the fish.' Sometimes the skin
of a fish was suspended behind his back. Oannes, it was said, had in
early days ascended out of the Persian Gulf, and taught the first
inhabitants of Babylonia letters, science, and art, besides writing a
history of the origin of mankind and their different ways of life. His
wife was Dav-kina, 'the lady of the earth,' who presided over the lower

Among the numerous offspring of Ea and Dav-kina, Merodach held the
foremost place. He was originally a form of the Sun-god, regarded under
his beneficent aspect, and was believed to be ever engaged in combating
the powers of evil, and in performing services for mankind. Hence he is
addressed as 'the redeemer of mankind,' 'the restorer to life,' and the
'raiser from the dead,' and a considerable number of the religious hymns
are dedicated to him. He was believed to be continually passing
backwards and forwards between the earth and the heaven where Ea dwelt,
informing Ea of the sufferings of men, and returning with Ea's
directions how to relieve them. One of the bas-reliefs from Nineveh, now
in the British Museum, represents him as pursuing with his curved sword
or thunderbolt the demon Tiamat, the personification of chaos and
anarchy, who is depicted with claws, tail, and horns. As we have already
seen, he was commonly addressed as Bel or 'lord,' and so came gradually
to supplant the older Bel or Mul-ge. Among the planets his star was
Jupiter. His wife was Zarpanit or Zirat-panitu, in whom some scholars
have seen the Succoth-benoth of 2 Kings xvii. 30.

The children of Merodach and Zarpanit were Nebo, 'the prophet,' and his
wife Tasmit, 'the hearer.' Nebo was the god of oratory and literature;
it was he who 'enlightened the eyes' to understand written characters,
while his wife 'enlarged the ears,' so that they could comprehend what
was read. The origin of the cuneiform system of writing was ascribed to
Nebo. To him was dedicated 'the temple of the Seven Lights of Heaven
and Earth,' at Borsippa, the suburb of Babylon, which is now known to
the Arabs as the Birs-i-Nimrûd, and his worship was carried as far as
Canaan, as we may gather from such names as the city of Nebo, in Judæa
(Ezra ii. 29), and Mount Nebo, in Moab (Deut. xxxii. 49). In Accadian he
had been called Dimsar, 'the tablet-writer,' and a temple was erected to
him in the island of Bahrein, in the Persian Gulf, where he was
worshipped under the name of Enzak. As a planetary deity, he was
identified with Mercury. He was often adored under the name of Nusku,
although Nusku had originally been a separate divinity, and the same,
perhaps, as the Nisroch of the Bible (2 Kings xix. 37).

The companion of Merodach was Rimmon, or rather Ramman, 'the thunderer.'
He represented the atmosphere, and was accordingly the god of rain and
storm, who was armed with the lightning and the thunderbolt. Sometimes
he was dreaded as 'the destroyer of crops,' 'the scatterer of the
harvest;' at other times prayers were made to him as 'the lord of
fecundity.' His worship extended into Syria, where Rimmon appears to
have been the supreme deity of Damascus, and where he was also known
under the name of Hadad or Dadda.

Two other elemental gods were Samas, the Sun-god, and Sin, the Moon-god.
Samas was the son of Sin, in accordance with the astronomical view of
the old Babylonians, which made the moon the measurer of time, and
regarded the day as the offspring of night. Samas, however, like Saul or
Savul, another deity of whom mention is made in the inscriptions, was
really but a form of Merodach, though in historical times the two
divinities were separated from one another, and received different
cults. Samas, again, was originally identical with Tammuz; but when
Tammuz came to denote only the sun of spring and summer, while the myth
that associated him with Istar laid firm hold of men's minds, Tammuz
assumed separate attributes, and an individual existence apart from

Sin, the Moon-god, was termed Agu or Acu by the Accadians, and if the
name of Mount Sinai was derived from him, as is sometimes supposed, we
should have evidence that he was known and worshipped in Northern
Arabia. At all events he was one of the deities of Southern Arabia. Sin
was the patron-god of the city of Ur, and it was to him that the
Assyrian kings traced the formation of their kingdom. One of the most
famous of his temples was in the ancient city of Harran, where he was
symbolised by an upright cone of stone. As the emblem of the Sun-god was
the solar orb, the emblem of Sin was the crescent moon.

According to some of the legends of Babylonia, the daughter of the
Moon-god was the goddess Istar. Other legends, however, placed Istar
among the older gods, and made her the daughter of Anu, the sky. In
either case she was at the outset the goddess of the evening star, and
when it was discovered that the evening and morning stars were the same,
of the morning star also. As the evening star, she was known as Istar of
Erech, as the morning star, she was identified with Anunit or Anat, the
goddess of Accad. At times she was also regarded as androgynous, both
male and female.

Istar was the chief of the Accadian goddesses, and she retained her rank
even among the Semites, who, as we have seen, looked upon the goddess as
the mere consort and shadow of the god. But Istar continued to the last
a separate and independent divinity. She presided over love and war, as
well as over the chase. She was invoked as 'the queen of heaven,' 'the
queen of all the gods,' and there was often a tendency to merge in her
the other goddesses of the pantheon. Her principal temples were at
Erech, Nineveh, and Arbela, but altars were erected to her in almost
every place, and she was adored under as many forms and titles as she
possessed shrines. Her name and worship spread through the Semitic
world, in Southern Arabia, in Syria, in Moab, where she was identified
with the Sun-god, Chemosh, and in Canaan, where she was called
Ashtoreth, the Astartê of the Greeks. But the Greeks also knew her as
Aphroditê, the goddess whom they had borrowed from the Phœnicians of
Canaan, and we may discover her again in the Ephesian Artemis. The rites
performed in her temples made Istar or Ashtoreth the darkest blot in
Assyrian and Canaanitish religion, and excited the utmost horror and
indignation of the prophets of God. When the moon came to be conceived
as a female divinity, the pale reflection, as it were, of the sun,
Istar, the evening star, became also the goddess of the moon. Hence it
is that 'the queen of heaven' (Jer. xliv. 17) passed into Astartê 'with
crescent horns.'

One of the most popular of old Babylonian myths told how Istar had
wedded the young and beautiful Sun-god, Tammuz, 'the only-begotten,' and
had descended into Hades in search of him when he had been slain by the
boar's tusk of winter. A portion of a Babylonian poem has been preserved
to us, which describes her passage through the seven gates of the
underworld, where she left with the warden of each some one of her
adornments, until at last she reached the seat of the infernal goddess
Allat, stripped and bare. There she remained imprisoned until the gods,
wearied of the long absence of the goddess of love, created a hound
called 'the renewal of light,' who restored her to the upper world. The
myth clearly refers to the waning and waxing of the monthly moon, and
must therefore have originated when Istar had already become the goddess
of the moon. The myth entered deeply into the religious belief of the
worshippers of Istar. The Accadians called the month of August 'the
month of the errand of Istar,' while June was termed 'the month of
Tammuz' by the Semites. It was then that, as Milton writes, his

        'annual wound in Lebanon allured
    The Syrian damsels to lament his fate
    In amorous ditties all a summer's day;
    While smooth Adonis from his native rock
    Ran purple to the sea, supposed with blood
    Of Tammuz yearly wounded.'

But it was not only in Assyria and Phœnicia that the death of Tammuz was
lamented by the women year by year. The infection spread to Judah also,
and even in Jerusalem, within the precincts of the temple itself,
Ezekiel saw 'women weeping for Tammuz' (Ezek. viii. 14).

[Illustration: NERGAL.
(_From the original in the British Museum._)]

There are only two other Assyro-Babylonian deities who need be
mentioned, Nergal and Adar. Nergal was the presiding deity of Cuthah and
its vast necropolis.[3] He shared with Anu the privilege of
superintending the regions of the dead, and he was also a god of hunting
and war. His name, like those of Anu, Ea, and Istar, was of Accadian
origin. Adar, the son of Beltis, was one of those solar deities who were
formed by worshipping the Sun-god under some particular attribute. The
reading of his name is, unfortunately, not certain, and Adar is only its
most probable pronunciation. If it is correct, Adar will be the deity
meant in 2 Kings xvii. 31, where it is stated that the people of
Sepharvaim, or the two Sipparas, burnt their children in fire to
Adrammelech and Anammelech, that is to say, to 'King Adar' and 'King

  [3] Confer 2 Kings xvii. 30.

Such were the principal divinities of Babylonia and Assyria. But the
Assyrians had another also, whom they exalted above all the rest. This
was Assur, the divine impersonation of the state and empire. It was
Assur who, according to the Assyrian kings, led them to victory, and the
cruelties they practised on the conquered were, they held, judgments
exercised against those who would not believe in him. Assur, in the form
of an archer, is sometimes represented on the monuments in the midst of
the winged solar disk, and above the head of the monarch, whom he
protects from his enemies.

The Assyrian, however, was not so pious or superstitious as his
Babylonian neighbour. The Babylonian lived in perpetual dread of the
evil spirits which thronged about him; almost every moment had its
religious ceremony, almost every action its religious complement. Not
only had the State ritual to be attended to; the unceasing attacks of
the demons could be warded off only by magical incantations and the
intervention of the sorcerer-priest. But the Assyrians were too much
occupied with wars and fighting to give all this heed to the
requirements of religion. It is significant that, whereas in Babylonia
we find the remains of scarcely any great buildings except temples, the
great buildings of Assyria were the royal palaces. The libraries, which
in Babylonia were stored in the temples, were deposited in Assyria in
the palace of the king.

Nevertheless, the greater part of the religious system of Babylonia had
been transported into Assyria. Along with the Babylonian deities had
come the Babylonian scriptures. These were divided into two great
collections or volumes. The first, and oldest, was a collection of
exorcisms and magical texts, by the use of which, it was believed, the
spirits of evil could be driven away, and the spirits of good induced to
visit the reciter. When, however, certain independent deities began to
emerge from among the multitudinous 'spirits' of the primitive Accadian
creed, hymns were composed in their honour, and these hymns were
eventually collected together, and, like the Rig-Veda of India, became a
second sacred book. After the Accadians had been supplanted by the
Semites, the Accadian language, in which the hymns were originally
written, was provided with a Semitic translation; but it was still
considered necessary to recite the exact words of the original, since
the words themselves were sacred, and any mistake in their pronunciation
would invalidate the religious service in which they were employed. Some
of the incantations embodied in the collection of exorcisms must have
been introduced into it subsequently to the compilation of the sacred
hymns, since the latter are found inserted in them. From this it would
appear that the older collection continued to receive additions for a
long while after the younger collection—that of the sacred hymns—had
been put together and invested with a sacred character. This could not
have been till after the beginning of the Semitic period, since there
are a few hymns which do not seem to have had any Accadian originals. If
we may compare the two collections with our own religious literature, we
may say that the collection of hymns corresponded more to our Bible,
that of exorcisms to our Prayer Book.

The Babylonians and Assyrians, however, possessed a liturgy which
answered far better to our conception of what a Prayer Book should be.
This contained services for particular days and hours, together with
rubrics for the direction of the priest. Thus we are told that 'in the
month Nisan, on the second day, two hours after nightfall, the priest
[of Bel at Babylon] must come and take of the waters of the river, must
enter into the presence of Bel, and change his dress; must put on a robe
in the presence of Bel, and say this prayer: "O my lord who in his
strength has no equal, O my lord, blessed sovereign, lord of the world,
speeding the peace of the great gods, the lord who in his might destroys
the strong, lord of kings, light of mankind, establisher of trust, O
Bel, thy sceptre is Babylon, thy crown is Borsippa, the wide heaven is
the dwelling-place of thy liver.... O lord of the world, light of the
spirits of heaven, utterer of blessings, who is there whose mouth
murmurs not of thy righteousness, or speaks not of thy glory, and
celebrates not thy dominion? O lord of the world, who dwellest in the
temple of the sun, reject not the hands that are raised to thee; be
merciful to thy city Babylon, to Beth-Saggil thy temple incline thy
face, grant the prayers of thy people the sons of Babylon."'

Part of the liturgy consisted of prayers addressed to the various
deities, and suited to various occasions. Here are examples of them: 'At
dawn and in the night prayer should be made to the throne-bearer, and
thus should it be said: "O throne-bearer, giver of prosperity, a
prayer!" After that, let prayer be made to Nusku, and thus let it be
said: "O Nusku, prince and king of the secrets of the great gods, a
prayer!" After that, let prayer be made to Adar, and thus let it be
said: "O Adar, mighty lord of the deep places of the springs, a prayer!"
After that let prayer be made to Gula (Beltis), and thus let it be said:
"O Gula, mother, begetter of the black-headed race (of Accadians), a
prayer!" After that, let prayer be made to Nin-lil, and thus let it be
said: "O Nin-lil, great goddess, wife of the divine prince of
sovereignty, a prayer!" After that, let prayer be made to Bel, and thus
let it be said: "O lord supreme, establisher of law, a prayer!" The
prayer (must be repeated) during the day at dawn, and in the night,
with face and mouth uplifted, during the middle watch. Water must be
poured out in libation day by day ... at dawn, on the beams of the

One of the most curious of these petitions is a prayer after a bad
dream, of which a fragment only has been found. This reads as follows:
'May the lord set my prayer at rest, (may he remove) my heavy (sin). May
the lord (grant) a return of favour. By day direct unto death all that
disquiets me. O my goddess, be gracious unto me; when (wilt thou hear)
my prayer? May they pardon my sin, my wickedness, (and) my
transgression. May the exalted one deliver, may the holy one love. May
the seven winds carry away my groaning. May the worm lay it low, may the
bird bear it upwards to heaven. May a shoal of fish carry it away; may
the river bear it along. May the creeping thing of the field come unto
me; may the waters of the river as they flow cleanse me. Enlighten me
like a mask of gold. Food and drink before thee perpetually may I get.
Heap up the worm, take away his life. The steps of thy altar, thy many
ones, may I ascend. With the worm make me pass, and may I be kept with
thee. Make me to be fed, and may a favourable dream come. May the dream
I dream be favourable; may the dream I dream be fulfilled. May the dream
I dream turn to prosperity. May Makhir, the god of dreams, settle upon
my head. Let me enter Beth-Saggil, the palace of the gods, the temple of
the lord. Give me unto Merodach, the merciful, to prosperity, even unto
prospering hands. May thy entering (O Merodach) be exalted, may thy
divinity be glorious; may the men of thy city extol thy mighty deeds.'

Along with these prayers, the Assyrians possessed a collection of
penitential psalms, which were composed at a very remote period in
Southern Babylonia. The most perfect of those of which we have copies is
the following:—

    My Lord is wroth in his heart: may he be appeased again.
    May God be appeased again, for I knew not that I sinned.
    May Istar, my mother, be appeased again, for I knew not
      that I sinned,
    God knoweth that I knew not: may he be appeased.
    Istar, my mother, knoweth that I knew not: may she be
    May the heart of my God be appeased.
    May God and Istar, my mother, be appeased.
    May God cease from his anger.
    May Istar, my mother, cease from her anger.
    The transgression (I committed my God) knew.

          [The next few lines are obliterated.]

    The transgression (I committed, Istar, my mother, knew).
    (My tears) I drink like the waters of the sea.
    That which was forbidden by my God I ate without knowing.
    That which was forbidden by Istar, my mother, I trampled
      on without knowing.
    O my Lord, my transgression is great, many are my sins.
    O my God, my transgression is great, many are my sins.
    O Istar, my mother, my transgression is great, many are my
    O my God, who knowest that I knew not, my transgression is
      great, many are my sins.
    O Istar, my mother, who knowest that I knew not, my
      transgression is great, many are my sins.
    The transgression that I committed I knew not.
    The sin that I sinned I knew not.
    The forbidden thing did I eat.
    The forbidden thing did I trample on.
    My Lord, in the anger of his heart, has punished me.
    God, in the strength of his heart, has taken me.
    Istar, my mother, has seized upon me, and put me to grief.
    God, who knoweth that I knew not, has afflicted me.
    Istar, my mother, who knoweth that I knew not, has caused
    I prayed, and none takes my hand.
    I wept, and none held my palm.
    I cry aloud, but there is none that will hear me.
    I am in darkness and hiding, I dare not look up.
    To God I refer my distress, I utter my prayer.
    The feet of Istar, my mother, I embrace.
    To God, who knoweth that I knew not, my prayer I utter.
    To Istar, my mother, who knoweth that I knew not, my
      prayer I address.

          [The next four lines are destroyed.]

    How long, O God (shall I suffer)?
    How long, O Istar, my mother (shall I be afflicted)?
    How long, O God, who knoweth that I knew not (shall I
      feel thy) strength?
    How long, O Istar, my mother, who knoweth that I knew
      not, shall thy heart (be angry)?
    Thou writest the number (?) of mankind, and none knoweth
    Thou callest man by his name, and what does he know?
    Whether he shall be afflicted, or whether he shall be
      prosperous, there is no man that knoweth.
    O my God, thou givest not rest to thy servant.
    In the waters of the raging flood take his hand.
    The sin he has sinned turn into good.
    Let the wind carry away the transgression I have committed.
    Destroy my manifold wickednesses like a garment.
    O my God, seven times seven are my transgressions, my
      transgressions are (ever) before me.

A rubric is attached to this verse, stating that it is to be repeated
ten times, and at the end of the whole psalm is the further rubric: 'For
the tearful supplication of the heart let the glorious name of every god
be invoked sixty-five times, and then the heart shall have peace.'

Reference is made in the psalm to the eating of forbidden foods, and we
have other indications that certain kinds of food, among which swine's
flesh may be mentioned, were not allowed to be consumed. On particular
days also fasts were observed, and special days of fasting and
humiliation were prescribed in times of public calamity. In the calendar
of the Egibi banking firm, the 2nd of Tammuz or June is entered as a day
of 'weeping.' The institution of the Sabbath, moreover, was known to
the Babylonians and Assyrians, though it was confounded with the feast
of the new moon, since it was kept, not every seven days, but on the
seventh, fourteenth, twenty-first, and twenty-eighth days of the lunar
month. On these days, we read in a sort of Saints' calendar for the
intercalary Elul: 'Flesh cooked on the fire may not be eaten, the
clothing of the body may not be changed, white garments may not be put
on, a sacrifice may not be offered, the king may not ride in his
chariot, nor speak in public, the augur may not mutter in a secret
place, medicine of the body may not be applied, nor may any curse be
uttered.' The very name of Sabattu or Sabbath was employed by the
Assyrians, and is defined as 'a day of rest for the heart,' while the
Accadian equivalent is explained to mean 'a day of completion of

So far as we are at present acquainted with the peculiarities of the
Assyro-Babylonian temple, it offers many points of similarity to the
temple of Solomon at Jerusalem. Thus there were an outer and an inner
court and a shrine, to which the priests alone had access. In this was
an altar approached by steps, as well as an ark or coffer containing two
inscribed tablets of stone, such as were discovered by Mr. Rassam in the
temple of Balawât. In the outer court was a large basin, filled with
water, and called 'a sea,' which was used for ablutions and religious
ceremonies. At the entrance stood colossal figures of winged bulls,
termed 'cherubs,' which were imagined to prevent the ingress of evil
spirits. Similar figures guarded the approach to the royal palace, and
possibly to other houses as well. Some of them may now be seen in the
British Museum. Within, the temples were filled with images of gods,
great and small, which not only represented the deities whose names they
bore, but were believed to confer of themselves a special sanctity on
the place wherein they were placed. As among the Israelites, offerings
were of two kinds, sacrifices and meal offerings. The sacrifice
consisted of an animal, more usually a bullock, part of whose flesh was
burnt upon the altar, while the rest was handed over to the priests or
retained by the offerer. There is no trace of human sacrifices among the
Assyrians, which is the more singular, since we learn that human
sacrifice had been an Accadian institution. A passage in an old
astrological work indicates that the victims were burnt to death, like
the victims of Moloch; and an early Accadian fragment expressly states
that they were to be the children of those for whose sins they were
offered to the gods. The fragment is as follows: 'The son who lifts his
head among men, the son for his own life must (the father) give; the
head of the child for the head of the man must he give; the neck of the
child for the neck of the man must he give; the breast of the child for
the breast of the man must he give.' The idea of vicarious punishment is
here clearly indicated.

The future life to which the Babylonian had looked forward was dreary
enough. Hades, the land of the dead, was beneath the earth, a place of
darkness and gloom, from which 'none might return,' where the spirits of
the dead flitted like bats, with dust alone for their food. Here the
shadowy phantoms of the heroes of old time sat crowned, each upon his
throne, a belief to which allusion is made by the Hebrew prophet in his
prophecy of the coming overthrow of Babylon (Is. xiv. 9). In the midst
stood the palace of Allat, the queen of the underworld, where the waters
of life bubbled forth beside the golden throne of the spirits of earth,
restoring those who might drink of them to life and the upper air. The
entrance to this dreary abode of the departed lay beyond Datilla, the
river of death, at the mouth of the Euphrates, and it was here that the
hero Gisdhubar saw Xisuthros, the Chaldean Noah, after his translation
to the fields of the blessed. In later times, when the horizon of
geographical knowledge was widened, the entrance to the gloomy world of
Hades, and the earthly paradise that was above it, were alike removed to
other and more unknown regions. The conception of the after-life,
moreover, was made brighter, at all events, for the favoured few. An
Assyrian court-poet prays thus on behalf of his king: 'The land of the
silver sky, oil unceasing, the benefits of blessedness may he obtain
among the feasts of the gods, and a happy cycle among their light, even
life everlasting, and bliss; such is my prayer to the gods who dwell in
the land of Assur.' Even at a far earlier time we find the great
Chaldean epic of Gisdhubar concluding with a description of the
blissful lot of the spirit of Ea-bani: 'On a couch he reclines and pure
water he drinks. Him who is slain in battle thou seest and I see. His
father and his mother (support) his head, his wife addresses the corpse.
His friends in the fields are standing; thou seest (them) and I see. His
spoil on the ground is uncovered; of his spoil he hath no oversight,
(as) thou seest and I see. His tender orphans beg for bread; the food
that was stored in (his) tent is eaten.' Here the spirit of Ea-bani is
supposed to behold from his couch in heaven the deeds that take place on
the earth below.

Heaven itself had not always been 'the land of the silver sky' of later
Assyrian belief. The Babylonians once believed that the gods inhabited
the snow-clad peak of Rowandiz, 'the mountain of the world' and 'the
mountain of the East,' as it was also termed, which supported the starry
vault of heaven. It is to this old Babylonian belief that allusion is
made in Isaiah xiv. 13, 14, where the Babylonian monarch is represented
as saying in his heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my
throne above the stars of God: I will sit also on the mount of the
assembly (of the gods)[4] in the extremities[5] of the north: I will
ascend above the heights of the clouds.'

  [4] A. V. 'congregation.'

  [5] A. V. 'sides.'

As in all old forms of heathen faith, religion and mythology were
inextricably mixed together. Myths were told of most of the gods.
Reference has already been made to the myth of Istar and Tammuz, the
prototype of the Greek legend of Aphroditê and Adonis. So, too, the
Greek story of the theft of fire by Prometheus has its parallel in the
Babylonian story of the god Zu, 'the divine storm-bird,' who stole the
lightning of Bel, the tablet whereon the knowledge of futurity is
written, and who was punished for his crime by the father of the gods.
In reading the legend of the plague-demon Lubara, whom Anu sends to
smite the evildoers in Babylon, Erech, and other places, we are reminded
of the avenging angel of God whom David saw standing with a drawn sword
over Jerusalem.

One of the most curious of the Babylonian myths was that which told how
the seven evil-spirits or storm-demons had once warred against the moon
and threatened to devour it. Samas and Istar fled from the lower sky,
and the Moon-god would have been blotted out from heaven had not Bel and
Ea sent Merodach in his 'glistening armour' to rescue him. The myth is
really a primitive attempt to explain a lunar eclipse, and finds its
illustration in the dragon of the Chinese, who is still popularly
believed by them to devour the sun or moon when an eclipse takes place.

The primæval victory of light and order over darkness and chaos, which
seems to be repeated whenever the sun bursts through a storm-cloud, was
similarly expressed in a mythical form. It was the victory of Merodach
over Tiamat,'the deep,' the personification of chaos and elemental
anarchy. The myth was embodied in a poem, the greater part of which has
been preserved to us. We are told how Merodach was armed by the gods
with bow and scimetar, how alone he faced and fought the dragon Tiamat,
driving the winds into her throat when she opened her mouth to swallow
him, and how, finally, he cut open her body, scattering in flight 'the
rebellious deities' who had stood at her side. Tiamat, or the watery
chaos, is usually represented with wings, claws, tail, and horns, but
she is also identified with 'the wicked serpent' of 'night and
darkness,' 'the monstrous serpent of seven heads,' 'which beats the

The most interesting of the old myths and traditions of Babylonia are
those in which we can trace, more or less clearly, the lineaments of the
accounts of the creation of the world and the early history of man,
given us in the early chapters of Genesis. There was more than one
legend of the creation. In a text which came from the library of Cuthah,
it was described as taking place on evolutionary principles, the first
created beings being the brood of chaos, men with 'the bodies of birds'
and 'the faces of ravens,' who were succeeded by the more perfect forms
of the existing world. But the library of Assur-bani-pal also contained
an account of the creation, which bears a remarkable resemblance to that
in the first chapter of Genesis. Unfortunately, however, it seems to
have been of Assyrian and not Babylonian origin, and, therefore, not to
have been of early date. In this account the creation appears to be
described as having been accomplished in six days. It begins in these

'At that time the heavens above named not a name, nor did the earth
below record one; yea, the ocean was their first creator, the flood of
the deep (Tiamat) was she who bore them all. Their waters were embosomed
in one place, and the clouds (?) were not collected, the plant was still
ungrown. At that time the gods had not issued forth, any one of them; by
no name were they recorded, no destiny (had they fixed). Then the
(great) gods were made; Lakhmu and Lakhamu issued forth the first. They
grew up.... Next were made the host of heaven and earth. The time was
long, (and then) the gods Anu, (Bel, and Ea were born of) the host of
heaven and earth.' The rest of the account is lost, and it is not until
we come to the fifth tablet of the series, which describes the
appointment of the heavenly bodies, that the narrative is again
preserved. Here we are told that the creator, who seems to have been Ea,
'made the stations of the great gods, even the stars, fixing the places
of the principal stars like ... He ordered the year, setting over it the
decans; yea, he established three stars for each of the twelve months.'
It will be remembered that, according to Genesis, the appointment of the
heavenly bodies to guide and govern the seasons was the work of the
fourth day, and since the work is described in the fifth tablet or book
of the Assyrian account, while the first tablet describes the condition
of the universe before the creation was begun, it becomes probable that
the Assyrians also knew that the work was performed on the fourth day.
The next tablet states that 'at that time the gods in their assembly
created (the living creatures). They made the mighty (animals). They
caused the living beings to come forth, the cattle of the field, the
beast of the field, and the creeping thing.' Unfortunately the rest of
the narrative is in too mutilated a condition for a translation to be
possible, and the part which describes the creation of man has not yet
been recovered among the ruins of the library of Nineveh.

The Chaldean account of the Deluge was discovered by Mr. George Smith,
and its close resemblance to the account in Genesis is well known. Those
who wish to see a translation of it, according to the latest researches,
will find one in the pages of 'Fresh Light from the Ancient Monuments.'
The account was introduced as an episode into the eleventh book of the
great Babylonian epic of Gisdhubar, and appears to be the amalgamation
of two older poems on the subject. The story of the Deluge, in fact, was
a favourite theme among the Babylonians, and we have fragments of at
least two other versions of it, neither of which, however, agree so
remarkably with the Biblical narrative as does the version discovered by
Mr. Smith. Apart from the profound difference caused by the polytheistic
character of the Chaldean account, and the monotheism of the Scriptural
narrative, it is only in details that the two accounts vary from one
another. Thus, the vessel in which Xisuthros, the Chaldean Noah, sails,
is a ship, guided by a steersman, and not an ark, and others besides
his own family are described as being admitted into it. So, too, the
period of time during which the flood was at its height is said to have
been seven days only, while, beside the raven and the dove, Xisuthros is
stated to have sent out a third bird, the swallow, in order to determine
how far the waters had subsided. The Chaldean ark rested, moreover, on
Rowandiz, the highest of the mountains of Eastern Kurdistan, and the
peak whereon Accadian mythology imagined the heavens to be supported,
and not on the northern or Armenian continuation of the range.
Babylonian tradition, too, had fused into one Noah and Enoch, Xisuthros
being represented as translated to the land of immortality immediately
after his descent from the ark and his sacrifice to the gods. It is
noticeable that the Chaldean account agrees with that of the Bible in
one remarkable respect, in which it differs from almost all the other
traditions of the Deluge found throughout the world. This is in its
ascribing the cause of the Deluge to the wickedness of mankind. It was
sent as a punishment for sin.

As might have been expected, the Babylonians and Assyrians knew of the
building of the Tower of Babel, and the dispersion of mankind. Men had
'turned against the father of all the gods,' under a leader the thoughts
of whose heart 'were evil.' At Babylon they began to erect 'a mound,' or
hill-like tower, but the winds destroyed it in the night, and Anu
'confounded great and small on the mound,' as well as their 'speech,'
and 'made strange their counsel.' All this was supposed to have taken
place at the time of the autumnal equinox, and it is possible that the
name of the rebel leader, which is lost, was Etána. At all events the
demi-god Etána played a conspicuous part in the early historical
mythology of Babylonia, like two other famous divine kings, Ner and Dun,
and a fragment describes him as having built a city of brick. However
this may be, Etána is the Babylonian Titan of Greek writers, who, with
Promêtheus and Ogygos, made war against the gods.

If we sum up the character of Assyrian religion, we shall find it
characterised by curious contrasts. On the one hand we shall find it
grossly polytheistic, believing in 'lords many and gods many,' and
admitting not only gods and demi-gods, and even deified men, but the
multitudinous spirits, 'the host of heaven and earth,' who were classed
together as the '300 spirits of heaven and the 600 spirits of earth.'
Some of these were beneficent, others hostile, to man. In addition to
this vast army of divine powers, the Assyrian offered worship also to
the heavenly bodies, and to the spirits of rivers and mountains. He even
set up stones or 'Beth-els,' so called because they were imagined to be
veritable 'houses of god,' wherein the godhead dwelt, and over these he
poured out libations of oil and wine. Yet, on the other hand, with all
this gross polytheism, there was a strong tendency to monotheism. The
supreme god, Assur, is often spoken of in language which at first sight
seems monotheistic: to him the Assyrian monarchs ascribe their
victories, and in his name they make war against the unbeliever. A
similar inconsistency prevailed in the character of Assyrian worship
itself. There was much in it which commands our admiration: the Assyrian
confessed his sins to his gods, he begged for their pardon and help, he
allowed nothing to interfere with what he conceived to be his religious
duties. With all this, his worship of Istar was stained with the foulest
excesses—excesses, too, indulged in, like those of the Phœnicians, in
the name and for the sake of religion.

Much of this inconsistency may be explained by the history of his
religious ideas. As we have seen, a large part of them was derived from
a non-Semitic population, the primitive inhabitants of Babylonia, under
whose influence the Semitic Babylonians had come at a time when they
still lacked nearly all the elements of culture. The result was a form
of creed in which the old Accadian faith was bodily taken over by an
alien race, but at the same time profoundly modified. It was Accadian
religion interpreted by the Semitic mind and belief. Baal-worship, which
saw the Sun-god everywhere under an infinite variety of manifestations,
waged a constant struggle with the conceptions of the borrowed creed,
but never overcame them altogether. The gods and spirits of the
Accadians remained to the last, although permeated and overlaid with the
worship of the Semitic Sun-god. As time went on, new religious elements
were introduced, and Assyro-Babylonian religion underwent new phases,
while in Assyria itself the deified state in the person of the god Assur
tended to absorb the religious cult and aspirations of the people. The
higher minds of the nation struggled now and again towards the
conception of one supreme God and of a purer form of faith, but the dead
weight of polytheistic beliefs and practices prevented them from ever
really reaching it. In the best examples of their religious literature
we constantly fall across expressions and ideas which show how wide was
the gulf that separated them from that kindred people of Israel to whom
the oracles of God were revealed.


                *       *       *       *       *



Assyrian art was, speaking generally, imported from Babylonia. Even the
palace of the king was built of bricks, and raised upon a mound like the
palaces and temples of Babylonia, although stone was plentiful in
Assyria, and there was no marshy plain where inundations might be
feared. It was only the walls that were lined with sculptured slabs of
alabaster, the sculptures taking the place of the paintings in
vermilion, which adorned the houses of Babylonia (Ezek. xxiii. 14).

It is at Khorsabad, or Dur-Sargon, the city built by Sargon, to the
north of Nineveh, that we can best study the architectural genius of
Assyria. The city was laid out in the form of a square, and surrounded
by walls forty-six feet thick and over a mile in length each way, the
angles of which faced the four cardinal points. The outer wall was
flanked with eight tall towers, and was erected on a mound of rubble.

On the north-west side stood the royal palace, defended also by a wall
of its own, and built on a [T]-shaped platform. It was approached
through an outer court, the gates of which were hung under arches of
enamelled brick, and guarded by colossal figures in stone. From the
court an inclined plane led to the first terrace, occupied by a number
of small rooms, in which the French excavators saw the barracks of the
palace-guard. Above this terrace rose a second, at a height of about ten
feet, upon which was built the royal palace itself. This was entered
through a gateway, on either side of which stood the stone figure of a
'cherub,' while within it was a court 350 feet long and 170 feet wide.
Beyond this court was an inner one, which formed a square of 150 feet.
On its left were the royal chambers, consisting of a suite of ten rooms,
and beyond them again the private chapel of the monarch, leading to the
apartments in which he commonly lived. On the west side of the palace
rose a tower, built in stages, on the summit of which was the royal

It is a question whether the Assyrian palace possessed any upper
stories. On the whole, probability speaks against it. Columns, however,
were used plentifully. The column, in fact, had been a Babylonian
invention, and originated in the necessity of supporting buildings on
wooden pillars in a country where there was no stone. From Babylonia
columnar architecture passed into Assyria, where it assumed exaggerated
forms, the column being sometimes made to rest on the backs of lions,
dogs, and winged bulls.

The apertures which served as windows were protected by heavy folds of
tapestry, that kept out the heats of summer and the cold winds of
winter. In warm weather, however, the inmates of the house preferred to
sit in the open air, either in the airy courts upon which its chambers
opened, or under the shady trees of the _paradeisos_ or park attached to
the dwellings of the rich. The leases of houses let or sold in Nineveh
in the time of the Second Assyrian Empire generally make mention of the
'shrubbery,' which formed part of the property.

Assyrian sculpture was for the most part in relief. The Assyrians carved
badly in the round, unlike the Babylonians, some of whose sitting
statues are not wanting in an air of dignity and repose. But they
excelled in that kind of shallow relief of which so many examples have
been brought to the British Museum. We can trace three distinct periods
in the history of this form of art. The first period is that which
begins, so far as we know at present, with the age of Assur-natsir-pal.
It is characterised by boldness and vigour, by an absence of background
or landscape, and by an almost total want of perspective. With very few
exceptions, faces and figures are drawn in profile. But with all this
want of skill, the work is often striking from the spirit with which it
is executed, and the naturalness with which animals, more especially,
are depicted. A bas-relief representing a lion-hunt of Assur-natsir-pal
has been often selected as a typical, though favourable, illustration of
the art of this age.

The second period extends from the foundation of the Second Assyrian
Empire to the reign of Esar-haddon. The artist has lost in vigour, but
has compensated for it by care and accuracy. The foreground is now
filled in with vegetable and other forms, all drawn with a
pre-Raffaellite exactitude. The relief consequently becomes exceedingly
rich, and produces the effect of embroidery in stone. It is probable
that the delicate minuteness of this period of art was in great measure
due to the work in ivory that had now become fashionable at Nineveh.

The third, and best period, is that of the reign of Assur-bani-pal.
There is a return to the freedom of the first period, but without its
accompanying rudeness and want of skill. The landscape is either left
bare, or indicated in outline only, the attention of the spectator being
thus directed to the principal sculpture itself. The delineation of the
human figure has much improved; vegetable forms have lost much of their
stiffness, and we meet with several examples of successful
foreshortening. Up to the last, however, the Assyrian artist succeeded
but badly in human portraiture. Nothing can surpass some of his pictures
of animals; when he came to deal with the human figure he expended his
strength on embroidered robes and the muscles of the legs and arms. The
reason of this is not difficult to discover. Unlike the Egyptian, who
excelled in the delineation of the human form, he did not draw from nude
models. The details of the drapery were with him of more importance than
the features of the face or the posture of the limbs. We cannot expect
to find portraits in the sculptures of Assyria. Little, if any, attempt
is made even to distinguish the natives of different foreign countries
from one another, except in the way of dress. All alike have the same
features as the Assyrians themselves.

The effect of the bas-reliefs was enhanced by the red, black, blue, and
white colours with which they were picked out. The practice had come
from Babylonia, but whereas the Babylonians delighted in brilliant
colouring, their northern neighbours contented themselves with much more
sober hues. It was no doubt from the populations of Mesopotamia that the
Greeks first learnt to paint and tint their sculptured stone.
Unfortunately it is difficult, if not impossible, to find any trace of
colouring remaining in the Assyrian bas-reliefs now in Europe. When
first disinterred, however, the colours were still bright in many cases,
although exposure to the air soon caused them to fade and perish.

The bas-reliefs and colossi were moved from the quarries out of which
they had been dug, or the workshops in which they had been carved, by
the help of sledges and rollers. Hundreds of captives were employed to
drag the huge mass along; sometimes it was transported by water, the
boat on which it lay being pulled by men on shore; sometimes it was
drawn over the land by gangs of slaves, urged to their work by the rod
and sword of their task-masters. On the colossus itself stood an
overseer holding to his mouth what looks on the monument like a modern
speaking-trumpet. Over a sculpture representing the transport of one of
these colossi Sennacherib has engraved the words: 'Sennacherib, king
of legions, king of Assyria, has caused the winged bull and the colossi,
the divinities which were made in the land of the city of the Baladians,
to be brought with joy to the palace of his lordship, which is within
Nineveh.' We may infer from this epigraph that the images themselves
were believed to be in some way the abode of divinity, like the Beth-els
or sacred stones to which reference has been made in the last chapter.

[Illustration: Fragment now in the British Museum showing primitive
Hieroglyphics and Cuneiform Characters side by side.]

Like Assyrian art, Assyrian literature was for the most part derived
from Babylonia. A large portion of it was translated from Accadian
originals. Sometimes the original was lost or forgotten; more frequently
it was re-edited from time to time with interlinear or parallel
translations in Assyro-Babylonian. This was more especially the case
with the sacred texts, in which the old language of Accad was itself
accounted sacred, like Latin in the services of the Roman Catholic
Church, or Coptic in those of the modern Egyptian Church.

The Accadians had been the inventors of the hieroglyphics or pictorial
characters out of which the cuneiform characters had afterwards grown.
Writing begins with pictures, and the writing of the Babylonians formed
no exception to the rule. The pictures were at first painted on the
papyrus leaves which grew in the marshes of the Euphrates, but as time
went on a new and more plentiful writing material came to be employed in
the shape of clay. Clay was literally to be found under the feet of
every one. All that was needed was to impress it, while still wet, with
the hieroglyphic pictures, and then dry it in the sun. It is probable
that the bricks used in the construction of the great buildings of
Chaldea were first treated in this way. At all events we find that up to
the last, the Babylonian kings stamped their names and titles in the
middle of such bricks, and hundreds of them may be met with in the
museums of Europe bearing the name of Nebuchadnezzar. When once the
discovery was made that clay could be employed as a writing material, it
was quickly turned to good account. All Babylonia began to write on
tablets of clay, and though papyrus continued to be used, it was
reserved for what we should now term 'éditions de luxe.' The writing
instrument had originally been the edge of a stone or a piece of stick,
but these were soon superseded by a metal stylus with a square head.
Under the combined influence of the clay tablet and the metal stylus,
the old picture-writing began to degenerate into the cuneiform or
'wedge-shaped' characters with which the monuments of Assyria have made
us familiar. It was difficult, if not impossible, any longer to draw
circles and curves, and accordingly angles took the place of circles,
and straight lines the place of curves. Continuous lines were equally
difficult to form; it was easier to represent them by a series of
indentations, each of which took a wedge-like appearance from the square
head of the stylus. As soon as the exact forms of the old pictures began
to be obliterated, other alterations became inevitable. The forms began
to be simplified by the omission of lines or wedges which were no
longer necessary, now that the character had become a mere symbol
instead of a picture; and this process of simplification went on from
one century to another, until in many instances the later form of a
character is hardly more than a shadow of what it originally was.
Education was widely spread in Babylonia; in spite of the cumbrousness
and intricacy of the system of writing, there were few, it would appear,
who could not read and write, and hence, as was natural, all kinds of
handwritings were prevalent, some good and some bad. Among these various
cursive or running hands were some which were selected for public
documents; but as the hands varied, not only among individuals, but also
from age to age, the official script never became fixed and permanent,
but changed constantly, each change, however, bringing with it increased
simplicity in the shapes of the characters, and a greater departure from
the primitive hieroglyphic form. The earliest contemporaneous monuments
with which we are at present acquainted, are those recently excavated by
the French Consul M. de Sarzec at a place called Tel-Loh; on these we
see the early pictures in the very act of passing into cuneiform
characters, the pictures being sometimes preserved and sometimes already
lost. A comparison of the forms found at Tel-Loh with those usually
employed in the time of Nebuchadnezzar, will show at a glance what
profound modifications were undergone by the cuneiform syllabary in the
course of its transmission from generation to generation.

In contrast to the Babylonians, the Assyrians were a nation of warriors
and huntsmen, not of students, and with them, therefore, a knowledge of
writing was confined to a particular class, that of the scribes. At an
early period, accordingly, in the history of the kingdom, a special form
of script was adopted not only in official documents, but in private
documents as well, and this script remained practically unchanged down
to the fall of Nineveh. This form of script was one of the many
simplified forms of handwriting that were used in Babylonia, and it was
fortunately a very clear and well-defined one. Now and then, it is true,
contact with Babylonia made an Assyrian king desirous of imitating the
archaic writing of Babylonia, and inscriptions were consequently
engraved in florid characters, abounding in a multiplicity of needless
wedges, and reminding us of our modern black-letter. Such ornamental
inscriptions are not numerous, and were carved only on stone. The clay
literature was all written in the ordinary Assyrian characters, except
when the scribe was unable to recognise a character in a Babylonian text
he was copying, and so reproduced it exactly in his copy.

The clay tablets used by the Assyrians were an improvement on those of
Babylonia. Instead of being merely dried in the sun, they were
thoroughly baked in a kiln, holes being drilled through them here and
there to allow the steam to escape. As a rule, therefore, the tablets of
Assyria are smaller than those of Babylonia, since there was always a
danger of a large tablet being broken in the fire. In consequence of
the small size of the tablets, and the amount of text with which it was
often necessary to cover them, the characters impressed upon them are
frequently minute, so minute, indeed, as to suggest that they must have
been written with the help of a magnifying glass. This supposition is
confirmed by the existence of a magnifying lens of crystal discovered by
Sir A. H. Layard on the site of the library of Nineveh, and now in the
British Museum.

[Illustration: AN ASSYRIAN BOOK.
(_From the original in the British Museum._)]

A literary people like the Babylonians needed libraries, and libraries
were accordingly established at a very early period in all the great
cities of the country, and plentifully stocked with books in papyrus and
clay. In imitation of these Babylonian libraries, libraries were also
founded in Assyria by the Assyrian kings. There was a library at Assur,
and another at Calah which seems to have been as old as the city itself.
But the chief library of Assyria that, in fact, from which most of the
Assyrian literature we possess has come, was the great library of
Nineveh (Kouyunjik). This owed its magnitude and reputation to
Assur-bani-pal, who filled it with copies of the plundered books of
Babylonia. A whole army of scribes was employed in it, busily engaged in
writing and editing old texts. Assur-bani-pal is never weary of telling
us, in the colophon at the end of the last tablet of a series which made
up a single work, that 'Nebo and Tasmit had given him broad ears and
enlightened his eyes so as to see the engraved characters of the written
tablets, whereof none of the kings that had gone before had seen this
text, the wisdom of Nebo, all the literature of the library that
exists,' so that he had 'written, engraved, and explained it on tablets,
and placed it within his palace for the inspection of readers.'

A good deal of the literature was of a lexical and grammatical kind, and
was intended to assist the Semitic student in interpreting the old
Accadian texts. Lists of characters were drawn up with their
pronunciation in Accadian and the translation into Assyrian of the words
represented by them. Since the Accadian pronunciation of a character was
frequently the phonetic value attached to it by the Assyrians, these
syllabaries, as they have been termed—in consequence of the fact that
the cuneiform characters denoted syllables and not letters—have been of
the greatest possible assistance in the decipherment of the
inscriptions. Besides the syllabaries, the Semitic scribes compiled
tables of Accadian words and grammatical forms with their
Assyro-Babylonian equivalents, as well as lists of the names of animals,
birds, reptiles, fish, stones, vegetables, medicines, and the like in
the two languages. There are even geographical and astronomical lists,
besides long lists of Assyrian synonyms and the titles of military and
civil officers.

Other tablets contain phrases and sentences extracted from some
particular Accadian work and explained in Assyrian, while others again
are exercises or reading-books intended for boys at school, who were
learning the old dead language of Chaldea. In addition to these helps
whole texts were provided with Assyrian translations, sometimes
interlinear, sometimes placed in a parallel column on the right-hand
side; so that it is not wonderful that the Assyrians now and then
attempted to write in the extinct Accadian, just as we write nowadays in
Latin, though in both cases, it must be confessed, not always with

Accadian, however, was not the only language besides his own that the
Semitic Babylonian or Assyrian was required to know. Aramaic had become
the common language of trade and diplomacy, so that not only was it
assumed by the ministers of Hezekiah that an official like the
Rab-shakeh or Vizier of Sennacherib could speak it as a matter of course
(2 Kings xviii. 26), but even in trading documents we find the Aramaic
language and alphabet used side by side with the Assyrian cuneiform.
This common use of Aramaic explains how it was that the Jews after the
Babylonish captivity gave up their own language in favour not of the
Assyro-Babylonian, but of the Aramaic of Northern Syria and Arabia. An
educated Assyrian was thus expected to be able to read and write a dead
language, Accadian, and to read, write, and speak a foreign living
language, Aramaic. In addition to these languages, moreover, he took an
interest in others which were spoken by his neighbours around him. The
Rab-shakeh of Sennacherib was able to speak Hebrew, and tablets have
been discovered giving the Assyrian renderings of lists of words from
the barbarous dialects of the Kossæans in the mountains of Elam and of
the Semitic nomads on the western side of the Euphrates.

All the branches of knowledge known at the time were treated of in
Assyrian literature, though naturally history, legend, and poetry
occupied a prominent place in it. But even such subjects as the
despatches of generals in the field, or the copies of royal
correspondence found a place in the public library. The chronology of
Assyria, and therewith of the Old Testament also, has been restored by
means of the lists of successive 'eponyms' or officers after whom the
years were named, while a recent discovery has brought to light a table
of Semitic Babylonian kings, arranged in dynasties, which traces them
back to B.C. 2330.

[Illustration: Part of an Assyrian Cylinder containing Hezekiah's Name.
(_From the original in the British Museum._)]

The following is the transcription into the ordinary Assyrian Characters
of the last thirteen lines of the photograph on page 104.


By way of comparison, a specimen of Babylonian writing is also given


The following is the transliteration and translation of the
transcription on page 105.

  29.        a-na   D.P.[6] Kha-za-ki-ya-hu
             _to              Hezekiah._

  [6] D.P. stands for 'Determinative Prefix.' There are thirty
      determinatives in Assyrian.

      The D.P. [Illustration: Symbol 1], the sign meaning 'heaven,' or
      anything in heaven, is put before the name of a god.

      The D.P. [Illustration: Symbol 2], the sign meaning 'country,'
      is put before the name of a country.

      The D.P. [Illustration: Symbol 3], the sign meaning 'city,' is
      put before the name of a city, and so on.

  30.      D.P. Ya-hu-da-â       id-di-nu-su  nak-ris a-na zil-li e-śir-su
      _of the Jews they gave him  as an enemy  In a  dungeon he shut him up._

  31.  ip-lukh lab-ba-su-un   sarrani      mat      Mu-tsu-ri
       _Their heart feared.  The kings of the country of Egypt,_

  32.  D.P. tsabi  D.P. mitpani  D.P. narkabaté
      _the men of    bows and      chariots,_

           D.P. sisē    sa   sar      D.P. Me-lukh-khi
          _the horses of the king of      Meluḥḥi_,

  33.  e-mu-ḳi   la    ni-bi      ik-te-ru-nim-ma          il-li-ku
      _a force without number  they brought together  and they marched to_

  34.  ri-tsu-uś-śu-un.       i-na ta-mir-ti       D.P. Al-ta-ḳu-u
         _their aid.     In the sight of the city       Altaku_

  35.  el-la-mu-u-a       śi-id-ru         rit-ku-nu          u-sa-a'-lu
        _before me  the order of battle  they had placed,  they appealed to_

  36.  D.P. kakk-su-un  i-na tukulti D.P. Assur  beli-ya  it-ti-su-un
       _their weapons.  By the support of Assur  my lord   with them_

  37.  am-da-khi-its-ma     as-ta-kan      hapikta-su-un
          _I fought and  I accomplished  their overthrow;_

  38.  D.P. beli-narkabate  u       abli        sarrani   D.P. Mu-tsu-ra-â
        _the charioteers   and  the sons of  the kings of   the Egyptians_

  39.     a-di        D.P. beli-narkabate    sa sar    D.P. Me-lukh-khi
      _together with  the charioteers of  the king of       Meluḥḥi_


  40.   i-na ḳabal   tam-kha-ri   ik-su-da      ḳatā     D.P. Al-ta-ḳu-u
      _in the midst  of battle  my two hands  captured.  The city Altaku_

  41.    D.P. Ta-am-na-a      al-me      aks-ud       as-lu-la
      _and the city Tāmnā  I besieged  I captured  I carried away

          _their spoil._

A flood of light has been poured on Chaldean astronomy and astrology, by
the fragments of the original work called 'The Observations of Bel'
which was translated into Greek by the Babylonian priest Bêrôssos. It
consisted of seventy-two books, and was compiled for king Sargon of
Accad, whose date is assigned by Nabonidos to B.C. 3800. Another work on
omens, in 137 books, had been compiled for the same king, and both
remained to the last days of the Assyrian Empire the standard treatises
on the subjects with which they dealt. To the same period we should
probably refer a treatise on agriculture, extracts from which have been
preserved in a reading-book in Accadian and Assyrian. Here the songs are
quoted with which the Accadian ox-drivers beguiled their labours
in the field: 'An heifer am I: to the cow thou art yoked: the
plough's handle is strong: lift it up lift it up;' or again: 'The knees
are marching, the feet are not resting; with no wealth of thy own grain
thou begettest for me.' Some of the most curious specimens of this
department of literature are the fables, riddles, and proverbs, which
embody the homely wisdom of the unofficial classes.

Here, for instance, is a riddle propounded to Nergal and the other gods
by 'the wise man,' such as Orientals still delight in:

'What is (found) in the house; what is (concealed) in the secret place;
what is (fixed) in the foundation of the house; what exists on the floor
of the house; what is (perceived) in the lower part (of the house); what
goes down by the sides of the house; what in the ditch of the house
(makes) broad furrows; what roars like a bull; what brays like an ass;
what flutters like a sail; what bleats like a sheep; what barks like a
dog; what growls like a bear; what enters into a man; what enters into a
woman?' The answer is, of course, the air or wind.

Among the most treasured portions of the library of Nineveh was the
poetical literature, comprising epics, hymns to the gods, psalms and
songs. Fifteen of these songs, we are told, were arranged on the eastern
and northern sides of the building, 'on the western side being nine
songs to Assur, Bel the voice of the firmament, the Southern Sun,' and
another god. The mention of songs to Assur shows that there were some
which were of Assyrian origin. The epics, however, all came from
Babylonia, and were partly translations from Accadian, partly
independent compositions of Semitic Babylonian poets. The names of the
reputed authors of many of them have come down to us. Thus the great
epic of Gisdhubar was ascribed to Sin-liki-unnini; the legend of Etána
to Nis-Sin; the fable of the fox to Ru-Merodach the son of

The epic of Gisdhubar, as has already been stated, contained the account
of the Deluge, introduced as an episode into the eleventh book. It
consisted in all of twelve books, and was arranged upon an astronomical
principle, the subject-matter of each of the books being made to
correspond with one of the signs of Zodiac. Thus the fifth book records
the death of a monstrous lion at the hands of Gisdhubar, answering to
the Zodiacal Leo; in the sixth book the hero is vainly wooed by Istar,
the Virgo of the Zodiacal signs; and just as Aquarius is in the eleventh
Zodiacal sign, so the history of the Deluge is embodied in the eleventh
book. There was a special reason, however, for this arrangement;
Gisdhubar himself was a solar hero. He seems originally to have been the
fire-stick of the primitive Accadians, and then the god or spirit of the
fire it produced, eventually in the Semitic period passing first into a
form of the Sun-god, and then into a solar hero. His twelve labours or
adventures answer to the twelve months of the year through which the sun
moves, like the twelve labours of the Greek Hêraklês. The latter,
indeed, were simply the twelve labours of Gisdhubar transported to the
west. The Greeks received many myths and mythological conceptions from
the Phœnicians, along with their early culture, and these myths had
themselves been brought by the Phœnicians from their original home in
Chaldea. It has long been recognised that Hêraklês was the borrowed
Phœnician Sun-god; we now know that his primitive prototype had been
adopted by the Phœnicians from the Accadians of Babylonia. It is not
strange, therefore, that just as in the Greek myth of Aphroditê and
Adônis we find the outlines of the old Chaldean story of Istar and
Tammuz, so in the legends of Hêraklês we find an echo of the legends of
Gisdhubar. The lion destroyed by Gisdhubar is the lion of Nemea; the
winged bull made by Anu to avenge the slight offered to Istar is the
winged bull of Krete; the tyrant Khumbaba, slain by Gisdhubar in 'the
land of pine-trees, the seat of the gods, the sanctuary of the spirits'
is the tyrant Geryôn; the gems borne by the trees of the forest beyond
'the gateway of the sun' are the apples of the Hesperides; and the
deadly sickness of Gisdhubar himself is but the fever sent by the
poisoned tunic of Nessos through the veins of the Greek hero. It is
curious thus to trace to their first source the myths which have made so
deep an impress on classical art and literature. The indebtedness of
European culture to the valley of the Euphrates is becoming more and
more apparent every year.

It is impossible to determine the age of the great Chaldean epic, but
it must have been composed subsequently to the period when, through the
precession of the equinoxes, Aries came to be the first sign of the
Zodiac instead of Taurus, that is to say, about B.C. 2500. On the other
hand, it is difficult to make it later than B.C. 2000, while the whole
character and texture of the poem shows that it has been put together
from older lays, which have been united into a single whole. The poem
deservedly continued to be a favourite among the Babylonians and
Assyrians, and more than one edition of it was made for the library of
Assur-bani-pal. A translation of all the portions of it that have been
discovered will be found in George Smith's 'Chaldean Account of

It is difficult for the English reader to appreciate justly the real
character of many of these old poems. The tablets on which they are
inscribed were broken in pieces when Nineveh was destroyed, and the roof
of the library fell in upon them. A text, therefore, has generally to be
pieced together from a number of fragments, leaving gaps and lacunæ
which mar the pleasure of reading it. Then, again, the translator
frequently comes across a word or phrase which is new to him, and which
he is consequently obliged to leave untranslated or to render purely
conjecturally. At times there is a lacuna in the original text itself.
When the Assyrian scribe was unable to read the tablet he was copying,
either because the characters had been effaced by time or because their
Babylonian forms were unknown to him, he wrote the word _khibi_, 'it is
wanting,' and left a blank in his text. It is not wonderful, therefore,
that what is really a fine piece of literature reads tamely and poorly
in its English dress, more especially when we remember that the
decipherer is compelled to translate literally, and cannot have recourse
to those idiomatic paraphrases which are permissible when we are dealing
with known languages.

But it must be confessed that many of the best compositions of Babylonia
are spoilt for us by the references to a puerile superstition, and the
ever-present dread of witchcraft and magic which they contain. A good
example of this curious mixture of exalted thought and debasing
superstition is the following hymn to the Sun-god:—

   'O Sun-god, king of heaven and earth, director of things
      above and below,
    O Sun-god, thou that clothest the dead with life, delivered
      by thy hands,
    judge unbribed, director of mankind,
    supreme in mercy for him that is in trouble,
    bidding the child and offspring come forth, light of the
    creator of all thy land, the Sun-god art thou!
    O Sun-god, when the bewitchment for many days
    is bound behind me and there is no deliverer,
    the expulsion of the curse and return of health are brought
      about (by thee).
    Among mankind, the flock of the god Ner, whatever be their
      names, he selects me:
    after trouble he fills me with rest,
    and day and night I stand undarkened.
    In the anguish of my heart and the sickness of my body
      there is ...
    O father supreme, I am debased and walk to and fro.
    In misery and affliction I held myself (?).
    My littleness (?) I know not, the sin I have committed I
      knew not.
    I am small and he is great:
    The walls of my god may I pass.
    O bird stand still and hear the hound!
    O Sun-god stand still and hear me!
    The name of the evil bewitchment that has been brought
      about overpower,
    whether the bewitchment of my father, or the bewitchment of
      my begetter,
    or the bewitchment of the seven branches of the house of my
    or the bewitchment of my family and my slaves,
    or the bewitchment of my free-born women and concubines,
    or the bewitchment of the dead and the living, or the
      bewitchment of the adult and the suckling (?),
    or the bewitchment of my father and of him who is not my
    To father and mother be thou a father, and to brother and
      child be thou a father.
    To friend and neighbour be thou a father, and to handmaid
      and man be thou a father.
    To the field thou hast made and thy ... be thou a father.
    May the name of my god be a father where there is no
    To mankind, the flock of the god Ner, whatever be their
      names, who are in field and city,
    speak, O Sun-god, mighty lord, and bid the evil enchantment
      be at rest.'

Even the science of the Babylonians and their Assyrian disciples was not
free from superstition. Astronomy was mixed with astrology, and their
observation of terrestrial phenomena led only to an elaborate system of
augury. The false assumption was made that an event was caused by
another which had immediately preceded it; and hence it was laid down
that whenever two events had been observed to follow one upon the other,
the recurrence of the first would cause the other to follow again. The
assumption was an illustration of the well-known fallacy: 'Post hoc,
ergo propter hoc.' It produced both the pseudo-science of astrology and
the pseudo-science of augury.

The standard work on astronomy, as has already been noted, was that
called 'The Observations of Bel,' compiled originally for the library of
Sargon I at Accad. Additions were made to it from time to time, the
chief object of the work being to notice the events which happened after
each celestial phenomenon. Thus the occurrences which at different
periods followed a solar eclipse on a particular day were all duly
introduced into the text and piled, as it were, one upon the other. The
table of contents prefixed to the work showed that it treated of
various matters—eclipses of the sun and moon, the conjunction of the
sun and moon, the phases of Venus and Mars, the position of the
pole-star, the changes of the weather, the appearance of comets, or, as
they are called, 'stars with a tail behind and a corona in front,' and
the like. The immense collection of records of eclipses indicates the
length of time during which observations of the heavens had been carried
on. As it is generally stated whether a solar eclipse had happened
'according to calculation' or 'contrary to calculation,' it is clear
that the Babylonians were acquainted at an early date with the
periodicity of eclipses of the sun. The beginning of the year was
determined by the position of the star Dilgan (α Aurigæ) in relation to
the new moon at the vernal equinox, and the night was originally divided
into three watches. Subsequently the _kasbu_ or 'double hour' was
introduced to mark time, twelve _kasbu_ being equivalent to a night and
day. Time itself was measured by a clepsydra or water-clock, as well as
by a gnomon or dial. The dial set up by Ahaz at Jerusalem (2 Kings xx.
11) was doubtless one of the fruits of his intercourse with the

The Zodiacal signs had been marked out and named at that remote period
when the sun was still in Taurus at the beginning of spring, and the
equator had been divided into sixty degrees. The year was
correspondingly divided into twelve months, each of thirty days,
intercalary months being counted in by the priests when necessary. The
British Museum possesses fragments of a planisphere from Nineveh,
representing the sky at the time of the vernal equinox, the
constellation of Tammuz or Orion being specially noticeable upon it.
Another tablet contains a table of lunar longitudes.

With all this attention to astronomical matters it is not surprising
that every great city boasted of an observatory, erected on the summit
of a lofty tower. Astronomers were appointed by the state to take charge
of these observatories, and to send in fortnightly reports to the king.
Here are specimens of them, the first of which is dated B.C. 649:—'To
the king, my lord, thy servant Istar-iddin-pal, one of the chief
astronomers of Arbela. May there be peace to the king, my lord, may
Nebo, Merodach, and Istar of Arbela, be favourable to the king, my lord.
On the twenty-ninth day we kept a watch. The observatory was covered
with cloud: the moon we did not see. (Dated) the month Sebat, the first
day, the eponymy of Bel-kharran-Sadua.' 'To the king, my lord, thy
servant Abil-Istar. May there be peace to the king, my lord. May Nebo
and Merodach be propitious to the king, my lord. May the great gods
grant unto the king, my lord, long days, soundness of body, and joy of
heart. On the twenty-seventh day (of the month) the moon disappeared. On
the twenty-eighth, twenty-ninth, and thirtieth days, we kept a watch for
the eclipse of the sun. But the sun did not pass into eclipse. On the
first day the moon was seen during the day. During the month Tammuz
(June) it was above the planet Mercury, as I have already reported to
the king. During the period when the moon is called Anu (_i.e._, from
the first to the fifth days of the lunar month), it was seen declining
in the orbit of Arcturus. Owing to the rain the horn was not visible.
Such is my report. During the period when the moon was Anu, I sent to
the king, my lord, the following account of its conjunction:—It was
stationary and visible below the star of the chariot. During the period
when the moon is called Bel (_i.e._, from the tenth to the fifteenth
day), it became full; to the star of the chariot it approached. Its
conjunction (with the star) was prevented; but its conjunction with
Mercury, during the period when it was Anu, of which I have already sent
a report to the king, my lord, was not prevented. May the king, my lord,
have peace!'

Astronomical observations imply a knowledge of mathematics, and in this
the Babylonians and Assyrians seem to have excelled. Tables of squares
and cubes have been found at Senkereh, the ancient Larsa, and a series
of geometrical figures used for augural purposes presupposes a sort of
Babylonian Euclid. The mathematical unit was 60, which was understood as
a multiple when high numbers had to be expressed, IV, for example,
standing for (4 × 60 =) 240. Similarly, 60 was the unwritten denominator
of fractional numbers. The plan of an estate outside the gate of Zamama
at Babylon, and belonging to the time of Nebuchadnezzar, has been
discovered, while the famous Hanging Gardens of that city were watered
by means of a screw.

Medicine also was in a more advanced state than might have been
expected. Fragments of an old work on medicine have been found, which
show that all known diseases had been classified, and their symptoms
described, the medical mixtures considered appropriate to each being
compounded and prescribed quite in modern fashion. Here is one of them:
'For a diseased gall-bladder, which devours the top of a man's heart
like a ring(?) ... within the sick (part), we prepare cypress-extract,
goats' milk, palm-wine, barley, the flesh of an ox and bear, and the
wine of the cellarer, in order that the sick man may live. Half an ephah
of clear honey, half an ephah of cypress-extract, half an ephah of
_gamgam_ herbs, half an ephah of linseed, half an ephah of ..., half an
ephah of _imdi_ herbs, half an ephah of the seed of _tarrati_, half an
ephah of calves' milk, half an ephah of _senu_ wood, half an ephah of
_tik_ powder, half an ephah of the ... of the river-god, half an ephah
of _usu_ wood, half an ephah of mountain medicine, half an ephah of the
flesh(?) of a dove, half an ephah of the seed of the ..., half an ephah
of the corn of the field, ten measures of the juice of a cut herb, ten
measures of the tooth of the sea (sea-weed), one ephah of putrid
flesh(?), one ephah of dates, one ephah of palm-wine and _insik_, and
one ephah of the flesh(?) of the entrails; slice and cut up; or mix as a
mixture, after first stirring it with a reed. On the fourth day observe
(the sick man's) countenance. If it shows a white appearance his heart
is cured; if it shows a dark appearance his heart is still devoured by
the fire; if it shows a yellow appearance during the day, the patient's
recovery is assured; if it shows a black appearance he will grow worse
and will not live. For the swelling(?), slice (the flesh of) a cow which
has entered the stall and has been slaughtered during the day. Seethe it
in water and calves' milk. Drink the result in palm-wine. Drink it
during the day.'

Generally, however, the prescriptions are not so elaborate as this. They
are more usually of this nature: 'For low spirits, slice the root of the
destiny tree, the root of the _susum_ tree, two or three other vegetable
compounds, and the tongue of a dog. Drink the mixture either in water or
in palm-wine.'

Even medical science, however, was invaded by superstition. In place of
trying the doctor's prescription, a patient often had the choice allowed
him of having recourse to charms and exorcisms. Thus the medical work
itself permits him to 'place an incantation on the big toe of the left
foot and cause it to remain' there, the incantation being as follows: 'O
wind, my mother, wind, wind, the handmaid of the gods art thou; O wind
among the storm-birds; yea, the water dost thou make stream down, and
with the gods thy brothers liftest up the glory of thy wisdom.' At other
times a witch or sorceress was called in, and told to 'bind a cord twice
seven times, binding it on the sick man's neck and on his feet like
fetters, and while he lies in his bed to pour pure water over him.'
Instead of the knotted cord verses from a sacred book might be
employed, just as phylacteries were, and still are, among the Jews. Thus
we read: 'In the night-time let a verse from a good tablet be placed on
the head of the sick man in bed.' The word translated 'verse' is
_masal_, the Hebrew _mâshâl_, which literally signifies a 'proverb' or
'parable.' It is curious to find the witch by the side of the wizard in
Babylonia. 'The wise woman,' however, was held in great repute there,
and just as the witches of Europe were supposed to fly through the air
on a broomstick so it was believed that the witches of Babylonia could
perform the same feat with the help of a wooden staff.


                *       *       *       *       *



The monuments of Assyria do not give us the same assistance as those of
Egypt in learning about the manners and customs of its inhabitants. We
find there no tombs whose pictured walls set before us the daily life
and doings of the people. We have to acquire our knowledge from the
bas-reliefs of the royal palaces, which represent to us rather the pomp
of the court and the conquest of foreign nations than scenes taken from
ordinary Assyrian life. It is only incidentally that the manners and
customs of the lower classes are depicted. It is true that we can learn
a good deal from the contract-tablets and other kinds of what may be
called the private literature of Babylonia and Assyria. At present,
however, but a small portion of these has been examined, and a
literature can never paint so fully and distinctly the manners and
customs of the day as the picture or sculpture on the wall. It is only
in times comparatively modern that the novelist has sought to give a
faithful portrait of the life of the peasant and artisan.

The dress of the upper classes in Assyria did not differ essentially
from that of the well-to-do Oriental of to-day. In time of peace the
king was dressed in a robe which reached to the ankles, bound round the
waist with a broad belt, while a mantle was thrown over his shoulders,
and a tiara or fillet was worn on his head. The tiara sometimes
resembled the triple tiara of the Pope, sometimes was of cone-like
shape, and the fillet was furnished with two long bandelettes which fell
down behind. The robe and mantle were alike richly embroidered and edged
with fringes. The arms were left bare, except in so far as they could be
covered by the mantle, and a heavy pair of bracelets encircled each, the
workmanship of the jewelry being similar to that of the chain which was
worn round the neck. The feet were shod with sandals which had a raised
part behind to protect the heels, and they were fastened to the feet by
a ring through which the great toe passed, and a latchet over the
instep. Sandals of precisely the same character are still used in
Mesopotamia. The monarch's dress in war was similar to that used in time
of peace, except that he carried a belt for daggers, while a fringed
apron took the place of the mantle. Boots laced in front were also
sometimes substituted for the sandals.

The upper classes, and more especially the officials about court, wore a
costume similar to that of the king, only of course, less rich and
costly. In all cases they were distinguished by the long fringed
sleeveless robe which descended to the ankles. The dress of the soldiers
and of the common people generally was quite different. It consisted
only of the tunic, over which in all probability the long robe of the
wealthy was worn, and which did not quite reach the knees. Sometimes a
sort of jacket was put on above it, and, in a few instances, a simple
kilt seems to take its place. The kilt was frequently worn under the
tunic, which was fastened round the waist by a girdle or sword-belt. The
arms, legs, and feet, were bare. Some of the soldiers, however, wore
sandals, and others, more particularly the cavalry, wore boots, which
were laced in front, and came half way up the leg. The upper part of the
legs was occasionally protected by drawers of leather or chain-armour,
and we even find tunics made of the same materials. Helmets were also
employed, but the common soldier usually covered his head with a simple

The dress of the women consisted of a long tunic and mantle, and a
fillet for confining the hair.

The king and his officers rode in chariots even when on a campaign. In
crossing mountains the chariots often had to be carried on the shoulders
of men or animals, their wheels being sometimes first taken off for the
purpose. The chariot was large enough to contain not only the king but
an umbrella-bearer and a charioteer as well. The latter held the reins
in both hands, each rein being single and fastened to either side of a
snaffle-like bit. When in the field the royal chariot was followed by a
bow-bearer and a quiver-bearer, as well as by led horses, intended to
assist the monarch to escape, should the fortune of battle turn against
him. The chariot was drawn by two horses, a third horse being usually
attached to it by a thong in order to take the place of one of the other
two if an accident occurred.


Beside the chariots the army was accompanied by a corps of cavalry. In
the time of the first Assyrian Empire the cavalry-soldier rode on the
bare back of the horse, with his knees crouched up in front of him;
subsequently saddles were introduced, though not stirrups.

The cavalry was divided into two corps—the heavy and the light-armed.
The latter were armed only with the bow and arrow and a guard for the
wrist, and were chiefly employed in skirmishing. Most of the archers,
however, belonged to the infantry. The Assyrians were particularly
skilled in the use of the bow, and their superiority in war was probably
in great measure due to it. Besides the bow they employed the spear, the
short dagger or dirk, and the sword, which was of two kinds. The
ordinary kind was long and straight, the less usual kind being curved,
like a scimetar. For defence, round shields, of no great size, were

Only the king and the chief nobles were allowed the luxury of a tent.
The common soldier had to sleep on the ground, wrapped up in a blanket
or plaid. The tent was probably of felt, and had an opening in the
centre through which the smoke of a fire might escape. Not only,
however, was a sleeping-tent carried for the king, a cooking-tent was
carried also. So also was the royal chair, called a _nimedu_, on which
the monarch sat when stationary in camp. The chair may be seen in the
bas-relief, now in the British Museum, which represents Sennacherib
sitting upon it in front of the captured town of Lachish. Above is a
short inscription which tells us that 'Sennacherib, the king of legions,
the king of Assyria, sat on an upright throne, and the spoil of the city
of Lachish passed before him.'

There were various means for assaulting a hostile town. Sometimes
scaling-ladders were used, sometimes the walls were undermined with
crowbars and pickaxes; sometimes a battering-ram was employed armed
with one or two spear-like projections; sometimes fire was applied to
the enemy's gates. Other engines are mentioned in the inscriptions, but
as they have not been found depicted on the monuments it is difficult to
identify them.

[Illustration: SIEGE OF A CITY.]

The barbarities which followed the capture of a town would be almost
incredible, were they not a subject of boast in the inscriptions which
record them. Assur-natsir-pal's cruelties were especially revolting.
Pyramids of human heads marked the path of the conqueror; boys and girls
were burned alive or reserved for a worse fate; men were impaled, flayed
alive, blinded, or deprived of their hands and feet, of their ears and
noses, while the women and children were carried into slavery, the
captured city plundered and reduced to ashes, and the trees in its
neighbourhood cut down. During the second Assyrian Empire warfare was a
little more humane, but the most horrible tortures were still exercised
upon the vanquished. How deeply-seated was the thirst for blood and
vengeance on an enemy is exemplified in a bas-relief which represents
Assur-bani-pal and his queen feasting in their garden while the head of
the conquered Elamite king hangs from a tree above.

The Assyrians made use of chairs, tables, and couches. A piece of
sculpture from Khorsabad introduces us to a scene in which the priests
of the king are seated, two on a chair on either side of a four-legged
table. Their sandals are removed, as was the custom among the Greeks
when eating. In the luxurious days of Assur-bani-pal the couch seems to
have partially taken the place of the chair, since in the scene alluded
to above the king is depicted reclining, though the queen sits in a
chair by his side. The number of different kinds of food mentioned in
the inscriptions seems to imply that the Assyrians were fond of good
living. The common people, it is true, lived mostly on bread, fruit, and
vegetables; but the monuments show us soldiers engaged in slaughtering
and cooking oxen and sheep.

Wine was the usual beverage at a banquet, and the Assyrians appear to
have resembled the Persians in their indulgence in it. Various sorts of
wine are enumerated in the inscriptions, most of which were imported
from abroad. Among the most highly prized was the wine of Khilbun or
Helbon, which is mentioned in Ezek. xxvii. 18, and was grown near
Damascus at a village still called Halbûn. Besides grape-wine,
palm-wine, made from dates, was brought from Babylon, and beer, milk,
cream, butter or ghee, and oil, were all much used. At a feast the wine
was ladled out of a large vase into cups, which were then presented to
the guests.

The table was ornamented with flowers, and musicians were hired to amuse
the banqueters. No less than seven or eight different musical
instruments were known, among them the harp, the lyre, and the
tambourine. The lyre seems to have been specially employed at feasts,
and the harp for the performance of sacred music. The instrumental music
was at times accompanied by the voice, and bands of musicians celebrated
the triumphant return of the king from war.

Polygamy was permitted—at all events to the monarch—and the palace was
accordingly guarded by a whole army of eunuchs. They were generally in
attendance on the sovereign, like the scribes whose offices were
continually needed in both peace and war. Another attendant must not be
forgotten—the servant who stood behind the king armed with a fly-flap,
and was almost a necessity in hot weather. Considering the number of
captives carried away every year to Assyria in the successful campaigns
of its rulers, slaves must have been very plentiful in Nineveh. Indeed,
after the Arabian campaign of Assur-bani-pal we are told that a camel
was sold for half a shekel of silver, and that a man was worth a
correspondingly small sum.

Next to hunting men the chief employment and delight of an Assyrian king
was to hunt wild beasts. Tiglath-Pileser I had hunted elephants in the
land of the Hittites, as the Egyptian Pharaohs had done before him;
subsequently the extinction of the elephant in Western Asia caused his
successors to content themselves with lesser game. The reem or wild bull
and the lion became their favourite sport, smaller animals like the
gazelle, the hare, and the wild ass being left to their subjects to
pursue. It was not until the reign of Assur-bani-pal that the lion-hunt
ceased to be a dangerous and exciting pastime. With Esar-haddon,
however, the old race of warrior kings had come to an end, and the new
king introduced a new style of sport. The lions were now caught and kept
in cages, until they were turned out for a royal _battue_. As they had
to be whipped into activity, neither the monarch nor his companions
could have run much risk of being harmed.

The Assyrians were not an agricultural people like the Babylonians.
Nevertheless, the kings had their paradises or parks, and the wealthier
classes their gardens or shrubberies. The garden was planted with trees
rather than with flowers or herbs, and afforded a shady retreat during
the summer months. Tiglath-Pileser I had even established a sort of
botanical garden, in which he tried to acclimatise some of the trees he
had met with in his campaigns. He tells us of it: 'As for the cedar, the
_likkarin_ tree, and the almug, from the countries I have conquered,
these trees, which none of the kings my fathers that were before me had
planted, I took, and in the gardens of my land I planted, and by the
name of garden I called them; whatsoever in my land there was not I
took, and I established the gardens of Assyria.' The gardens were
abundantly watered from the river or canal, by the side of which they
were usually planted. Summer-houses were built in the midst of them, and
as early as the time of Sennacherib we meet with a 'hanging garden,'
grown on the roof of a building.

Fishing was carried on with a line merely, and without a rod. The
fisherman sat on the bank, or else swam in the water, supporting himself
on an inflated skin.

These inflated skins were largely used in warfare for conveying troops
and animals across a stream. The chief officers, along with their
chariots and commissariat, were ferried across in boats, but the
soldiers had to strip, and with the help of the skins convey themselves,
their arms, the horses, and other baggage to the opposite bank.

At times a pontoon-bridge of boats was constructed, at other times the
Assyrian army was fortunate enough to meet with bridges of stone or
wood. In fact, such bridges existed on all the main roads which it
traversed. Western Asia was more thickly populated then than is at
present the case, and the roads were not only more numerous than they
are to-day, but better kept. Hence the ease and rapidity with which
large bodies of men were moved by the Assyrian kings from one part of
Asia to another. Where a road did not already exist, it was made by the
advancing army, timber being cleared and a highway thrown up for the

As road-makers the Assyrians seem to have anticipated the Romans. Both
their military and their trading instincts led them in this direction.
It was only when they came to the water that their career was checked.
Excellent as they were as soldiers, they never became sailors. The boats
of the Tigris and Euphrates were either rafts or circular coracles of
skins stretched on a wooden framework. When Sennacherib wished to attack
the Chaldeans of Bit-Yagina in their place of refuge on the Persian
Gulf, he had to transport Phœnicians from the west to build his galleys,
and to navigate them afterwards. It was the Babylonians 'whose cry was
in their ships;' the Assyrians fought and traded on shore.

It was not until the rise of the Second Assyrian Empire that the trade
of Assyria became important. The earlier kings had gone forth to war for
the sake of booty or out of mere caprice; Tiglath-Pileser II and his
successors aimed at getting the commerce of the world into the hands of
their own subjects. The fall of Carchemish and the overthrow of the
Phœnician cities enabled them to carry out their design. Nineveh became
a busy centre of trade, from whence caravans went and returned north and
south, east and west. The old Hittite standard of weight, called 'the
maneh of Carchemish' by the Assyrians, was made the ordinary legal
standard, and Aramaic became the common language of trade. Not
unfrequently an Aramaic docket accompanies an Assyrian contract tablet,
stating briefly what were its contents and the names of the chief
contracting parties. These contract tablets have to do with the sale and
lease of houses, slaves, and other property, as well as with the amount
of interest to be paid upon loans. We learn from them that the rate of
interest was usually as low as four per cent., and when objects like
bronze were borrowed as three per cent. House property naturally varied
in value. A house sold at Nineveh on the sixteenth of Sivan or May, B.C.
692, fetched one maneh of silver or £9, the average price of a slave.
Thus, three Israelites, as Dr. Oppert believes, were sold by a Phœnician
on the twentieth of Ab or July, B.C. 709, for £27, retractation or
annulment of the sale being subject to a penalty of about £230, part of
which was to go to the temple of Istar of Arbela. Twenty years later,
however, as many as seven slaves, among them an Israelite, Hoshea, and
his two wives, were sold for the same price, while we find a girl handed
over by her parents to an Egyptian lady Nitôkris, who wished to marry
her to her son Takhos, for the small sum of £2 10_s_. The last deed of
sale, by the way, proves that wives in Assyria could sometimes be

All deeds and contracts were signed and sealed in the presence of a
number of attesting witnesses, who attached their seals, or, if they
were too poor to possess any, their nail-marks, to the documents. It was
then enclosed in an outer coating of clay, on which an abstract of its
contents was given. Sometimes a further document on papyrus was fastened
to it by means of a string.

It was only in the case of the monarch himself that the signatures of
attesting witnesses were dispensed with. The British Museum possesses a
sort of private will made by Sennacherib in favour of Esar-haddon, when
the latter was not as yet heir-apparent to the throne. In this no
witnesses are mentioned, and it is considered sufficient that the
document should be lodged in the imperial archives. It runs as follows:
'I, Sennacherib, king of legions, king of Assyria, bequeathe armlets of
gold, quantities of ivory, a platter of gold, ornaments and chains for
the neck, all these beautiful things of which there are heaps, and three
sorts of precious stones, 1½ manehs and 2½ shekels in weight, to
Esar-haddon, my son, whose name was afterwards changed to
Assur-sar-illik-pal by my wish. I have deposited the treasure in the
house of Amuk. Thine is the kingdom, O Nebo, our light!' Payments, it
must be remembered, were still made by weight, coined money not having
been introduced until after the time of Nebuchadnezzar.

The business-like character of the trading community of Nineveh will
best be gathered from the documents themselves which have been left to
us. It will, therefore, not be out of place to add here translations of
some of the contract tablets:—

      I. 'Ten shekels of the best silver for the head of Istar of
          Nineveh, which Bil-lubaladh has lent on a loan in the presence
          of Mannu-ki-Arbela [here follow three seals]; the silver is to
          have interest paid upon it at four per cent. The silver has
          been given on the third day of the month. (Dated) the third
          day of Sebat, in the eponymy of Rimmon-lid-ani. The witnesses
          (are) Khatpi-sumnu, Rahu, Ziru-yukin, Neriglissor, Ebed-Nebo
          of Selappa, Musezib-Assur, Nebo-sallim-sunu, Khanni, and

Then follow two lines and a half of Aramaic, the first of which contains
the name of Mannu-ki-Arbela.

     II. 'Two talents of bronze, the property of Istar of Arbela, which
          Mannu-ki-Arbela gives to the goddess in the month Ab, in the
          presence of Samas-akhi-erba; if they are given, interest shall
          be paid on them at three per cent. (Dated) the eleventh day of
          Sivan, in the eponymy of Bamba (B.C. 676), before the
          witnesses: Istar-bab-esses, Kua, Sarru-ikbi, Dumku-pani-sarri,
          and Nebo-bilua.'

    III. 'Four manehs of silver, according to the standard of
          Carchemish, which Neriglissor, in the presence of
          Nebo-sum-iddin, son of Nebo-rahim-baladhi, the superintendent
          of the Guards at Dur-Sargon (Khorsabad), lends out at five
          shekels of silver per month interest. (Dated) the twenty-sixth
          day of the month of Iyyar, in the eponymy of Gabbaru (B.C.
          667). The witnesses are: Nebo-pal-iddin, Nebo-nirar, the
          holder of the two pens, Akhu-ramu of the same office,
          Assur-danin-sarri of the same office, Disi the astronomer,
          Samas-igir-sumeli (?), Sin-kasid-kala, the executioner, and
          Merodach ... the astronomer.'

     IV. 'The nail-mark of Sar-ludari, the nail-mark of Atar-suru, the
          nail-mark of the woman Amat-Suhla, the wife of Bel-dur,
          belonging to the third regiment, owners of the house which is
          sold. [Then follow four nail-marks.] The whole house, with its
          woodwork and its doors, situated in the city of Nineveh,
          adjoining the houses of Mannu-ki-akhi and El-kiya, near the
          markets (?), has been sold, and Tsil-Assur, the astronomer, an
          Egyptian, has received it for one maneh of silver, according
          to the royal standard (£9), in the presence of Sar-ludari,
          Atar-suru, and Amat-suhla, the wife of Bel-dur. The full price
          has been paid. This house has been bought. Withdrawal from the
          contract and agreement is forbidden. Whoever shall act
          fraudulently (?) at any time, or from among these men who have
          sworn to the contract and agreement with Tsil-Assur, shall be
          fined ten manehs of silver (£90). The witnesses are:
          Susanku-khatnanis, Kharmaza, the captain; Rasuh, the pilot;
          Nebo-dur-sanin, the foreign traveller; Kharmaza, the chief
          pilot; Sin-sar-utsur and Zedekiah. (Dated) the sixteenth day
          of Sivan, in the eponymy of Zaza (B.C. 692), the Governor of
          Arpad. In the presence of Samas-yukin-akhi, Latturu, and

      V. 'The seal of (Dagon-melech) the master of the slaves.—Imannu,
          the woman U ... and Melech-ur [Melchior], three persons, have
          been sold, and thou, O Enuma-ili, the holder of the
          highplaces which have been erected at the entrance to
          Dur-Sargon, hast received them from Dagon-melech for three
          manehs of silver (£27) according to the standard of
          Carchemish. The full price hast thou paid. These slaves have
          been bought and taken. Withdrawal from the contract and
          agreement is forbidden. Whoever shall act fraudulently (?) at
          any time, and shall deceive and injure me (?), whether
          Dagon-melech or his brothers, or the sons of his brothers,
          whether small or great, who have sworn to the contract and
          agreement on behalf of Enuma-ili, his sons and grandsons,
          shall pay ... (manehs) of silver, and one maneh of gold to
          Istar of Arbela, and shall return the price to the owners with
          ten per cent. interest. Then he will be quit of his contract
          and agreement, and will not have bought. The witnesses (are):
          Adda the astronomer, Akhu-irame the astronomer, Pakakha
          [Pekah] the chief of the ..., Nadbi-Yahu [Nadabiah] the
          principal ... Bel-sime-ani, Bin-dikiri, Khim-Istar, and Tabni
          the astronomer, the recipient of the document. (Dated) the
          twentieth day of Ab, in the eponymy of Mannu-ki-Assur-lih'
          (B.C. 709).

It will be noticed that the Israelitish witnesses to the last deed of
sale, Pekah and Nadabiah, hold public offices, though the exact nature
of them is at present unknown. We may conclude from this that some of
the Samaritan captives were allowed to live in Nineveh, and so far from
being in a condition of slavery were able to be in the service of the
state. Among the earliest known examples of Israelitish or Jewish
writing are seals which probably belong to a period anterior to the
Babylonish Exile, and have been found at Diarbekr and other places in
the neighbourhood of the Tigris and Euphrates. It is also possible that
the great banking firm of Egibi, which flourished at Babylon from the
time of Sennacherib and Esar-haddon to that of Darius and Xerxes, and
carried on business transactions as extensive as those of the
Rothschilds of to-day, was of Israelitish origin. At all events the name
Egibi is not Babylonian, while it is a very exact Babylonian transcript
of the Biblical name Jacob.

The contract tablets throw a good deal of light upon Assyrian law. In
its main outlines it did not differ much from our own. Precedents and
previous decisions seem to have been held in as high estimation as among
our own lawyers. The king was the supreme court of appeal, and copies
exist of private petitions preferred to him on a variety of matters.
Judges were appointed under the king, and prisons were established in
the towns. An old Babylonian code of moral precepts addressed to princes
denounces the ruler who listens to the evil advice of his courtiers, and
does not deliver judgment 'according to the statutes,' 'the law-book,'
and 'the writing of the god Ea.' The earliest existing code of laws is
one which goes back to the Accadian epoch, and contains an express
enactment for protecting the slave against his master. How far it was
made the basis of subsequent Semitic legislation it is difficult to say;
in one respect, at all events, it differed considerably from the law
which followed it. This was in the position it assigned to women. Among
the Accadians, the woman was the equal of man; in fact, she ranked
before the husband in matters relating to the family; whereas among the
Semites she was degraded to a very inferior rank. It is curious to find
the Semitic translator of an Accadian text invariably changing the order
in which the words for man and woman, male and female occur in the
original. In the Accadian the order is 'woman and man,' in the
Assyro-Babylonian translation, 'man and woman.'

The high-roads were placed under the charge of commissioners, and in
Babylonia, where brick-making was an important occupation, the
brick-yards as well. Certain of the taxes, which were raised alike from
citizens and aliens, were devoted to the maintenance of them.
Unfortunately we know but little at present of the precise way in which
the taxes were levied, and the principle on which they were distributed
among the various classes of the population. In Babylonia, however, the
tenant does not seem to have paid much to the government, since we are
told of him that after handing over one-third of the produce of an
estate to his landlord, he might keep the rest of it for himself. There
is no hint that any portion of it was distrained for the state.

As in modern Turkey, the imperial exchequer after the time of
Tiglath-Pileser II was supplied by fixed contributions from the separate
provinces and large towns. Thus Nineveh itself was assessed at thirty
talents. The best way, however, of giving an idea of the assessment is
by a translation of the few fragments of the assessment lists of the
Second Empire which have been preserved to us.

    I. 'To be expended on linen cloths. Fifty (talents).
        Thirty talents. The tribute of Nineveh. Ten talents
          for firewood (?).
        Twenty talents of Assyria, from the same city, for the
          equipment of the fleet.
        Ten talents of Assyria, a fresh assessment. In all
          (from Assyria) 274 talents.
        Twenty talents for the harem of the palace. Expended
          on linen cloths.

               *       *       *       *       *

        Five talents. The tribute of Calah. To be expended
          on firewood (?).
        Four talents of Assyria, from the same city. Thirty
          talents for the highlands.
        Ten talents from the city of Enil, for the lowlands.
        ... talents from the city of Nisibis. Twenty
          talents for 600....
        ( ... talents) from the city of Alikhu, for 600
        ( ... talents) for six vestures of linen. Three
          talents for _epâ_.
        ( ... talents ...) for keeping the gates in
        ( ... talents) for the tax-gatherer. Two talents
          from the city of Alikhu.
        ( ... talents) for chariots and for wheels.
        ( ... talents) for the astronomer. Three talents for
          women's robes.
        ( ... talents) for the throne of the palace in the
          middle of the city. Two talents for gala dresses.
        ( ... talents) for the throne of the palace (in the
        middle of the city). Two talents ten manehs 500
        ... in the city of Assur ... again.
        ... the city of Kalzu[7], two talents (for)
          three conduits.
        ( ... talents) from the city of Enil, for the persons
          of the overseers.
        (Assessment of) the country of Assyria; two talents for
          the house of the tax-gatherer; two talents for the
          right side (of the house); five talents for the
          completion (of the assessment).
        ( ... talents) from the nobles, and two talents from
          the librarians, for firewood (?) each year.

  [7] Now Shamameh, south-west Arbela.

               *       *       *       *       *

        To be expended on linen cloths: ten talents from the
          land of Risu.
        (For) the servants of the palace and the people of

               *       *       *       *       *

        ... (for) seats, five talents from their attendants
          (Levied) every year from the lowlands.
        The payment to be made by the tax-gatherer: two
          talents for the male and female spinners.

               *       *       *       *       *

        (For) the house of the Master of the Singers: one
          talent for their coverings.
        Also for the house of the singing men themselves.
        ... for the keep of the war-chariot. In all 190
          talents ten manehs.

               *       *       *       *       *

        ... manehs for his awning. To be expended in
        ... manehs for the broad streets of the public
          road: seven talents ten manehs besides.
        Forty manehs and a shekel and (?) a sleeved dress;
          twenty-two talents for wood.
        At six per cent. on each shekel let him put out the
          money at triple interest.

               *       *       *       *       *

        Two talents without the linen. Fifteen talents ten
          manehs for the same personage.

               *       *       *       *       *

        Three talents ten manehs for the custom-house.
          Thirty talents ten manehs on (?) slaves.
        Two manehs for wine-presses. The money to be put
          out at double interest.

               *       *       *       *       *

        For rods: one talent (levied on) the north side (of
          the city). In all, twenty-two talents to be invested.
        Altogether thirty talents twenty-one manehs out of
          fifty-three talents.
        In the presence of the princes the money raised on the
          slaves to be invested.

               *       *       *       *       *

        [Here follows the endorsement of the tax-collectors:]

          We receive no bribes: we give what we take.'

   II. 'Thirty talents (are annually received) from Arpad.
        One hundred talents from Carchemish.
        Thirty talents from the city of the Kuans.[8]
        Fifteen talents from Megiddo.
        Fifteen talents from Mannutsuate.
        ... talents from Zemar (Gen. x. 18).
        ... talents from Hadrach (Zech. ix. 1).

  [8] The Kue or Kuans inhabited the northern and eastern
      shores of the Gulf of Antioch. M. François Lenormant
      has ingeniously suggested that in 1 Kings x. 28, we
      ought to read (with a slight change of vowel punctuation),
      'And Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt, and out
      of Kue the king's merchants received a drove at a price.'

               *       *       *       *       *

        ... talents to be put out at interest; fifty talents
          to be melted into bronze.
        It is weighed in the presence of the princes.
        (The tribute) of Damascus, Arpad, Carchemish, Kue,
          Tsubud, Zemar, and Meon-Zemar.'

In spite of the fragmentary character of these lists, and the difficulty
of understanding them perfectly in consequence of their brevity and the
omission of prepositions, we may nevertheless glean from them a fair
idea of the method in which the imperial exchequer of Assyria was
replenished, and the objects to which the taxes and tribute were
devoted. A considerable amount must have gone to the great army of
officials by whom the Second Empire was administered. 'The great king,'
it was true, was autocratic like the Russian Czar, but like the Russian
Czar he was also controlled by a bureaucracy which managed the
government under him. In military matters alone he was supreme, though
even here two commanders-in-chief stood at his side, ready to take his
place in the command of the troops whenever age or disinclination
detained him at home. The lists of Assyrian officials which we possess
are very lengthy, and their titles seem almost endless. At the head came
the two commanders-in-chief, the Turtannu or Tartan of the right, and
the Turtannu of the left, doubtless so called from their position on the
right and left of the king. Next to them were the Chamberlain or
superintendent of the singing men and women, and then after five other
officials whose posts are obscure, the 'Rab-sak' or 'Rab-shakeh.' His
title means literally 'chief of the princes,' and he corresponded to the
Vizier or Prime Minister of the Turkish Empire. Among other public
offices we may notice that of the astronomer, who was supported by the
state like the rest, and who ranked immediately after the
'superintendent of the camel-stables.' The latter again was inferior in
rank to the 'captain of the watch,' 'the captain of fifty,' 'the
overseer of the vineyards,' and 'the overseer of the quays.'

Such, then, was the constitution of the great Assyrian Empire, which
first endeavoured to organise Western Asia into a single homogeneous
whole, and in effecting its purpose cared neither for justice nor for
humanity. Nineveh was 'full of lies and robbery,' but it was God's
instrument in chastising His chosen people, and in preparing the way for
the ages that were to come, and for a while, therefore, it was allowed
to 'make the earth empty' and 'waste.' But the day came when its work
was accomplished, and the measure of its iniquity was full. Nineveh,
'the bloody city,' fell, never to rise again and the doom pronounced by
Nahum was fulfilled. For centuries the very site of the imperial city
remained unknown, and the traveller and historian alike put the vain
question: 'Where is the dwelling of the lions, and the feeding-place of
the young lions, where the lion, even the old lion, walked, and the
lion's whelp, and none made them afraid?'


                  *       *       *       *       *



  _From the inscription of Shalmaneser II, found at Kurkh, on the right
  bank of the Tigris, to the south-east of Diarbekr._

'In the eponymy of Dayan-Assur (B.C. 854) on the 14th of the month Iyyar
I left the city of Nineveh. The river Tigris I crossed. I approached the
cities of Giammu on the river Balikh. The fear of my lordship, the sight
of my strong weapons they feared, and in the service of themselves they
slew Giammu their lord. I descended into the cities of Kitlala and
Tul-sa-abil-akhi [the mound of the son of the brother]; I caused my gods
to enter his palaces; a plundering in his palaces I made. I opened his
store-chambers; his treasures I seized. His goods, his spoil, I carried
off; to my city of Assur I brought (them). From the city of Kitlala I
departed; to the city of the Fort of Shalmaneser [Tul-Barsip, the
Barsampsê of Ptolemy] I approached. In boats of inflated skins for the
second time I crossed the Euphrates at its flood. The tribute of the
kings of the further bank of the Euphrates; of Sangar of Carchemish; of
Kundaspi of Komagênê; of Arame the son of Gusi; of Lalli of Malatiyeh;
of Khayani, the son of Gabari; of Girparuda of the Patinians; and of
Girparuda of the Gamgumians; silver, gold, lead, bronze, and vases of
bronze (in) the city of Assur-tamsukha-atsbat, on the further bank of
the Euphrates, and above the river Saguri [the Sajur], which the
Hittites call the city of Pethor, in the midst (of it) I received. From
the Euphrates I departed. The city of Khalman [Aleppo] I approached;
they feared battle; they embraced my feet. Silver and gold I received as
their tribute; I offered sacrifices before the god Rimmon of Khalman.
From the city of Khalman I departed; to two cities of Irkhulena of
Hamath I approached. The cities of Adennu [the Eden of Amos i. 5], Barga
and Argana his royal city I captured.[9] His spoil, his goods, and the
treasures of his palaces I brought out. To his palaces I set fire. From
the city of Argana I departed, the city of Karkar [Aroer] I approached.
(His) royal city of Karkar I threw down, dug up, and burned with fire.
1,200 chariots, 1,200 horsemen, and 20,000 men of Hadadezer of Damascus,
700 chariots, 700 horsemen, and 10,000 men of Ahab [Akhabbu] of Israel,
500 men of Kue, 1,000 men from Egypt, 10 chariots, and 10,000 men from
the land of Irkanat, 200 men of Matinu-Baal of Arvad, 200 men from the
land of Usanat, 30 chariots, and 10,000 men of Adon-Baal of Sizan, 1,000
camels of Gindibuh of the land of the Arabians [Arba'â], 200 men of
Bahsa son of Rukhubi [Rehob] of Ammon, these twelve kings (Irkhulena)
brought to his help, and to (make) war and battle against me they had
come. With the exalted help which Assur the lord rendered, with the
mighty weapons which the great protector who goes before me bestowed, I
fought with them. From the city of Karkar to the city of Guzau I
overthrew them. 14,000 of their troops I slew with weapons. Like Rimmon,
the air-god, I caused the storm to come forth upon them. I filled the
surface of the water with their (wrecks). I laid low their wide-spread
forces with weapons. The low ground of the district received (?) their
corpses. To give life to its inhabitants I have enlarged its border (?);
that it might support them I divided (it) among its people. The river
Orontes I reached close to the banks. In the midst of this battle I took
from them their chariots, their horsemen, their horses and their teams.'

  [9] On the bronze gates of Balawât Adennu is written Adâ and Barga

  _From the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser II._

'In my eighteenth year for the sixteenth time I crossed the Euphrates.
Hazael, of Damascus, advanced to battle; 1,121 of his chariots, 470 of
his horsemen, along with his camp I took from him.'

  _From a Fragment of the Annals of Shalmaneser II._

'In my eighteenth year for the sixteenth time I crossed the Euphrates.
Hazael, of Damascus, trusted in the might of his army, and assembled his
army without number. He made Mount Shenir, the highest peak of the
mountains which are as you come to Mount Lebanon, his fortress. I fought
with him; I overthrew him; 16,000 of his fighting men I slew with
weapons, 1,121 of his chariots, 470 of his horsemen, along with his
camp, I took from him. To save his life he ascended (the country); I
pursued after him. In Damascus, his royal city, I shut him up; his
plantations I cut down. To the mountains of the Hauran I went; cities
innumerable I threw down, I dug up, I burned with fire; their spoil
innumerable I carried away. To the mountains of Baal-rosh at the
promontory of the sea I went; I made an image of my majesty there. At
that time I received the tribute of the Tyrians, of the Sidonians, and
of Jehu, son of Omri.'

  _From the Inscription of Rimmon-nirari III._

'Conqueror from the highroad of the rising sun, of the lands of Kip,
Ellip [Ekbatana], Kharkhar, Arazias, Mesu, the Medes, Girubbunda to its
whole extent, Munna, Barsua, Allabria, Abdadana, Nahri to its extreme
frontiers, and Andiu, whose situation is remote, the mountainous
border-land to its extreme frontiers, as far as the great sea of the
rising sun [the Persian Gulf], from the Euphrates, and the lands of the
Hittites, of Phœnicia to its whole extent, of Tyre, of Sidon, of Omri
[Samaria], of Edom, and of Philistia as far as the great sea of the
setting sun [the Mediterranean], to my yoke I subjected (them), payment
of tribute I imposed upon them. To the land of Damascus I went; I shut
up Marih, king of Syria, in Damascus, his royal city. The fear of the
brilliance of Assur, his lord, overwhelmed him, and he took my feet; he
offered homage. 2,300 talents of silver, 20 talents of gold, 3,000
talents of bronze, 5,000 talents of iron, garments of damask and linen,
a couch of ivory, a sun-shade of ivory, I took, I carried to (Assyria).
His spoil, his goods innumerable, I received in Damascus, his royal
city, in the midst of his palace.'

  _From Fragments of the Annals of Tiglath-Pileser II._

I. 'They had embraced the mountain of Baal-tsephon [Mount Kasios] as far
as the range of Amanus, the land of Zittu (?), the land of Sau to its
whole extent, the province of the cities of Kar-Rimmon and Hadrach
(Zech. ix. 1), the province of the city of Nukudina, the land of Khazu
[Huz] as far as the cities in the circuit of the city of Arâ, the
cities, all of them, the cities in their circuit, the mountain of Sarbua
to its whole extent, the cities of Askhan and Yadab, Mount Yaraku to its
whole extent, the cities of ... ri, Ellitarbi, and Zitânu as far as the
midst of the city of Atinni ... and the city of Buname, nineteen
districts belonging to Hamath, together with the cities in their circuit
in the direction of the sea of the setting sun [the Mediterranean],
which in their faithlessness made revolt to Azariah, I turned into the
territory of Assyria. My governors and officers I appointed over them.'

II. 'The tribute of Kustaspi of Komagênê, Rezon of Damascus, Menahem of
Samaria, Hiram of Tyre, Sibitti-Baal of Gebal, Urikki of Kue, Pisiris of
Carchemish, Eniel of Hamath, Parammu of Samahla, Tarkhu-lara of Gamgum,
Sulumal of Milid [Malatiyeh], Dadilu of Kolkhis, Vas-surme of Tubal,
Uskhitti of Tuna, Urpalla of Tukhan, Tukhamme of Istunda, Urimme of
Khusimna, and Zabibieh, queen of the Arabians, gold, silver, lead, iron,
elephants' hides, elephants' tusks, tapestries of blue and purple,
oak-wood, weapons for service, a royal tent, sheep with bundles of their
wool, purple dye, the dyed feathers of flying birds, nine of their wings
coloured blue, horses, mules, oxen, sheep, and wethers, camels and
she-camels, together with their young ones, I received. In my ninth year
Assur my lord regarded me and to the countries of Kipsi, Irangi,
Tazakki, Media, Zualzas, Matti, and Umliyas I went.'

III. 'The towns of Gil(ead) and Abel-(beth-Maachah) in the province of
Beth-Omri [Samaria], the widespread (district of Naphta)li to its whole
extent I turned into the territory of Assyria. My (governors) and
officers I appointed (over them). Khanun of Gaza who had fled before my
weapons escaped (to the land) of Egypt. The city of Gaza (his royal city
I captured. Its spoils), its gods (I carried away. My name) and the
image of my majesty (I set up) in the midst of the temple of ... the
gods of their land I counted (as a spoil) and ... like a bird ... to his
land I restored him and (imposed tribute upon him. Gold), silver,
garments of damask and linen (along with other objects) I received. The
land of Beth-Omri ... a selection of its inhabitants (with their goods)
I transported to Assyria. Pekah their king I put to death, and I
appointed Hosea to the sovereignty over them. Ten (talents of gold, ...
of silver as) their tribute I received, and I transported them (to

  _From the Inscriptions of Sargon._

I. '(In the beginning of my reign) the city of Samaria I besieged, I
captured; 27,280 of its inhabitants I carried away; fifty chariots in
the midst of them I collected, and the rest of their goods I seized; I
set my governor over them and laid upon them the tribute of the former
king (Hosea).'

II. '(Sargon) the conqueror of the Thamudites, the Ibadidites, the
Marsimanites, and the Khapayans,[10] the remainder of whom was carried
away and whom he transported to the midst of the land of Beth-Omri.'

  [10] Identified by Delitzsch with the Ephah of Gen. xxv. 4, and
       Is. lx. 6.

III. 'The Thamudites, the (Ibadidites), the Marsimanites and the
Khapayans, distant Arab tribes, who inhabit the desert, of whom no
scholar or envoy knew, and who had never brought their tribute to the
kings my (fathers), I slaughtered in the service of Assur, and
transported what was left of them, setting them in the city of Samaria.'

IV. '(In my ninth expedition and eleventh year) the people of the
Philistines, Judah, Edom and the Moabites who dwell by the sea, who owed
tribute and presents to Assur my lord, plotted rebellion, men of
insolence, who in order to revolt against me carried their bribes for
alliance to Pharaoh king of Egypt, a prince who could not save them, and
sent him homage. I, Sargon, the established prince, the reverer of the
worship of Assur and Merodach, the protector of the renown of Assur,
caused the warriors who belonged to me entirely to pass the rivers
Tigris and Euphrates during full flood, and that same Yavan [of Ashdod],
their king, who trusted in his (forces), and did not (reverence) my
sovereignty, heard of the progress of my expedition to the land of the
Hittites [Syria], and the fear of (Assur) my (lord) overwhelmed him, and
to the border of Egypt ... he fled away.'

  _From a Cylinder of Esar-haddon._

'I assembled the kings of Syria and the land beyond the [Mediterranean]
sea, Baal king of Tyre, Manasseh king of Judah, Kaus-gabri king of Edom,
Mizri[11] king of Moab, Zil-Baal king of Gaza, Metinti king of Ashkelon,
Ikausu king of Ekron, Melech-asaph king of Gebal, Matan-Baal king of
Arvad, Abi-Baal king, of Shamesh-merom, Pedael king of Beth-Ammon, and
Ahimelech king of Ashdod, twelve kings of the sea-coast; Ekistor king of
Idalion, Pylagoras king of Khytros, Kissos king of Salamis, Ithuander
king of Paphos, Eriêsos king of Soloi, Damasos king of Kurion, Rumesu
king of Tamassos, Damusi king of Carthage, Unasagusu king of Lidir, and
Butsusu king of Nurê, ten kings of the land of Cyprus in the middle of
the sea.'

  [11] That is 'the Egyptian;' cf. 2 Sam. xxiii. 20, 21.

                *       *       *       *       *



Accadians, invented the cuneiform system of writing, founded the chief
cities and civilisation of Babylonia; erected the earliest known
monuments; the language may be called the Latin of Asia, 24; the
Accadians first used hieroglyphics or pictures painted on papyrus
leaves, from which the cuneiform characters were formed; afterwards soft
clay was stamped with cuneitic symbols, and then sun-dried; general use
of writing and materials employed; characters changed, 93-95; Sarzec's
recent discovery at Tel-Loh, 95.

Adar, a solar deity; pronunciation of name not quite certain; it forms a
part of the name Adrammelech, 66.

Adrammelech, one of the gods of Sepharvaim brought to Samaria by the
colonists settled there; probably representing some particular attribute
of the Sun-god; also the name of one of Sennacherib's regicide sons, 46,

Ahaz, king of Judah, called Jehoahaz in the inscriptions; bribed Pul to
attack the Syrians and Israelites; and himself became tributary, 36.

Allat, the goddess queen of the underworld, 76.

APPENDIX.—Translations from Assyrian texts relating to the kingdoms of
Israel and Judah:

      I. Inscription of Shalmaneser II, found at Kurkh, 146-8.
     II. The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser II, 148.
    III. From a Fragment of Shalmaneser II, 148.
     IV. From the Inscription of Rimmon-nirari III, 148-9.
      V. From Fragments of the Annals of Tiglath-Pileser II, 149-151.
     VI. From the Inscriptions of Sargon, 151-2.
    VII. From a Cylinder of Esar-haddon, 152.

Aramaic, commonly used by the Jews, after the captivity, and became the
common language of trade, 132-3.

Ararat or Armenia, long a dangerous neighbour; Tiglath-Pileser II
invaded the country, invested Van, and devastated the surrounding
country, 35.

Armies composed of charioteers, light and heavy armed cavalry and
infantry, and were variously equipped with bows, swords, and daggers,

Armies crossing streams; the common soldiers on inflated skins; the
chief officers, chariots, and commissariat in boats, or on pontoon
bridges, 131.

Assessment lists of the provinces and large towns after the time of
Tiglath-Pileser II; the places and amounts paid to the imperial
exchequer, 140-3.

Assur, the name of a city on the western bank of the Tigris, and the
capital of the country or district named after it; Assur was a
descriptive appellation signifying 'water-boundary' at first, but was
slightly changed by the Semitic conquerors so as to mean 'gracious;' the
name of Sar, the god of the firmament, in time, was confused with that
of the patron deity, and Assur thus came to signify the city, country,
and the deity; hence Assur represented at the same time the power and
constitution of Assyria, the 'gracious' god, and the primeval firmament;
ruins now called Kalah Sherghat, 21-2.

Assur-bani-pal, probably 'the great and noble Asnapper;' succeeded his
father, Esar-haddon, 48; he was luxurious, ambitious, and cruel, but a
most magnificent patron of literature; he kept scribes constantly
engaged on new editions of rare or older works; entrusted his armies to
his generals, and before his death found the empire irretrievably
weakened; his lion hunts compared with those of his warlike
predecessors; Egyptian revolt crushed, and Tirhakah again a fugitive,
No-Amon plundered, and two obelisks carried as trophies to Nineveh, 51;
Tyre surrendered and the Lydians paid tribute; fall of Elam, Shushan
razed, and captive kings compelled to drag Assur-bani-pal's chariot
through Nineveh, 51-2; the Arabs severely punished, and the Armenians of
Van sought an alliance; rebellion headed by his brother the Babylonian
viceroy, with the assistance of Egypt, Palestine, and Arabia, and hired
Karian and Ionian mercenaries; Egypt now threw off the yoke; Cuthah was
reduced by famine, and Samas-yukin perished in the flames of his palace;
Elam ravaged again and the last king became a fugitive, 52.

Assur-natsir, one of the most energetic and ferocious warrior kings,
also a great builder of palaces; restored Calah, formed a library, and
made the city his favourite residence, 28-9.

Assur-nirari, the last of his line, ascended the throne in troublous
time; Assur, the capital, rose in revolt; the cities and outlying
districts were surging with discontent; ten years later the army
rebelled, and the monarch and his dynasty fell together, 33.

Assyrian book, with illustration from the original in the British
Museum, 98.

Assyrian _campaigns_ at first undertaken for the sake of plunder and
exacting tribute; made but little effort to retain their conquests, till
the time of the Second Empire, 33.

Assyrian _history_ scarcely known till Bel-kapkapi became king; decline
of Assyrian power and influence, and revived by Assur-dayan II and his
warlike successors, who conquered the Babylonians, Hittites, and
Phœnicians, 34-7.

Assyrian _law_ relied greatly on precedents and decisions; the king
supreme, and appointed the judges; in its general principles resembled
the English; earliest code, Accadian, 138.

Assyrian _literature_, wide range of subjects, included history, legend,
poetry, astronomy, and astrology, &c.; letters of the king, reports of
astronomers and generals, 102.

Assyrian _palace_, built of brick on a raised platform; description,
extent of courts and royal chambers; the observatory built in stages on
the west side; exaggerated forms of columnar architecture used;
apertures which served as windows protected in winter by heavy folds of
tapestry, 86-8.

Assyrian _sculptures_, mostly in relief; three periods traceable;
characteristics and comparison with Egyptian art; colour used on the
bas-reliefs, 89-90.

Assyrian _Semites_, allied in blood and language to the Hebrews,
Aramæans, and Arabs; the Babylonians a mixed race, partly Semites and
Accadians, the original possessors of the soil of Chaldea, 24.

Assyrians and Babylonians contrasted, 66-7.

Assyro-Babylonians excelled in a knowledge of mathematics; tables of
squares and cubes and geometrical figures have been found at Senkereh,
and the plan of an estate at Babylon, 118.


Babel, tower of, and the dispersion, 82-3.

Babylonian _myth_ of the seven evil spirits warring against the moon;
flight of Samas and Istar; and the demons put to flight by Merodach;
explanation of the myth, 78.

Babylonian _story_ of the god Zu stealing the lightning of Bel compared
with that of the Greek Prometheus, 78.

Balawât, colossal doors of, the work of native artists, description of
the bronze framework and reliefs; explanatory texts relating to
Shalmaneser's campaigns; Carchemish and Armenian warriors depicted, 30.

Banquets, wines of various kinds used; those of Helbon most highly
prized; other luxuries common; the tables ornamented with flowers, and
musicians hired to entertain the guests, 128-9.

Bel-kapkapi, the founder of the kingdom of Assur; its extent and varying
frontiers; the inhabitants Semites, 27.

Bêrôssus' great work of seventy-two books translated into Greek, 102.

Blissful lot of the spirit of Ea-bani described in the epic of
Gisdhubar, 76-7.

Botta and Layard's excavation brought to light Dur-Sargon and Nineveh,

Bridges common on all the great roads through Western Asia in the
earliest ages; used for war and trade; the country then more populous,
and the roads numerous and well kept, 131-2.


Calah founded by Shalmaneser I, whose descendants reigned six
generations; it became the seat of royalty under Assur-natsir-pal and
Shalmaneser II, 27-9; the palace rebuilt by Assur-etil-ilani, son of
Assur-bani-pal, 53.

Chairs, tables, and couches used at meals, 128.

Chaldæan account of the Deluge, and its relation to the Scriptural
narrative; the two compared and contrasted, 81-2.

Chariots often carried across mountains on the shoulders of men, or
animals; the royal chariot contained the king and two attendants, and
was followed by a guard and led horses, 124.

Charms and exorcisms used for curing diseases; the knotted cord and
leaves from a sacred book; repute of the witch and wizard, 120-1.

Code of moral precepts addressed to princes and courtiers; earliest
Accadian law book expressly protected slaves, 138.

Colossi dragged from the quarries on land by means of sledges, and on
rivers and canals by rafts; Sennacherib directed the removal of winged
bulls and deities from Balad, 90-3.

Contract tablets relating to loans, sales, leases of houses, and other
property: tablets translated: i. Loan of silver and interest paid on it;
ii. Loan of bronze; iii. Loan of silver; iv. Sale of a house; v. Sale of
slaves, 135-7.

Contrasts between the Assyrians and Babylonians, 66-7.

Creation legend from Cuthah, described chaos, and the formation of
monsters, followed by more perfect creatures; the legend from
Assur-bani-pal's library and its remarkable resemblance to the account
in Genesis; Assyrian account, 79, 80-1.

Cylinder, part of, containing Hezekiah's name, transcribed into
ordinary characters, 104-5; compared with one of Nebuchadnezzar's
inscriptions; transliteration and translation of part of the
inscription, 107-8.

Cyrus permitted the Assyrians to return to their old capital, and
released the Jewish exiles from Babylon, 53-4.


Datilla, the river of death, at the mouth of the Euphrates, where
Gisdhubar saw the Chaldæan Noah after his translation; but in later
times the entrance to Hades and the site of the earthly Paradise were
removed to more unknown regions, 76.

Death of Tammuz lamented by Jewish females in the temple at Jerusalem,

Deeds and contracts signed and sealed in the presence of witness, or
nail marks made by those unable to write, and the documents carefully
preserved, 133.

Defects in the tablets caused by the ignorance of the scribes, 112-3.

Deluge sent as a punishment for the wickedness of mankind, 82.

Descent of Istar into Hades in search of Tammuz, one of the most popular
old Babylonian myths; her passage through the seven gates of the
underworld, and appearance before Allat; the myth explained, 64-5.

Dread of witchcraft and magic; referred to in hymn to the Sun-god,

Dress of all classes; the king in time of peace; the upper classes,
soldiers, common people, and women, 123-4.

Dur-Sargina, the modern Khorsabad, built by Sargon, in the form of a
square, surrounded by walls forty-six feet thick; the outer wall was
flanked with towers; description of the palace and its courts; the royal
chambers; the observatory built in stages, 86-7.


Ea (the god), the deep, or ocean-stream, supposed to surround the earth
like a serpent; his symbol, attributes, and title; Eridu the chief seat
of his worship, near the sacred grove where the tree of life and
knowledge had its roots; Ea, a benevolent deity, who taught the art of
healing and culture to mankind; his wife, Dav-kina, presided over the
lower world, 59.

Eclipse of the sun and revolt of city of Assur, 33.

Educated Assyrians and traders conversant with several languages, 101.

Education widely diffused throughout Babylonia; few unable to read and
write, 95.

Egibi, eminent bankers during the reigns of Sennacherib and Esar-haddon,
to Darius and Xerxes; the name a very exact transcript of the Biblical
Jacob, 138.

Eponyms, officers after whom the year was named; lists determine both
the Assyrian and Biblical chronology, 102.

Erimenas, king of Armenia, completely defeated near Malatiyeh in
Kappadokia, 46.

Esar-haddon, shortly after his father's murder, defeated his insurgent
brothers and Erimenas, near Malatiyeh, and was then proclaimed king; he
possessed military genius and political tact, and was the first king who
conciliated the conquered nations; Egypt was subdued; Babylon rebuilt,
and the plunder and the gods returned to the inhabitants; Manasseh
brought captive before him; trade diverted into Assyrian channels, and
secured by a daring march to Huz and Buz; terrified the Arabs; drove
Teispes westwards; worked the copper mines of Media; exacted tribute
from Cyprus, where he obtained some of the materials of his palace at
Nineveh, 46-8; he completely overran Egypt, divided the country into 27
satrapies placed under governors watched by Assyrian garrisons, 48.

Esar-haddon II, called Sarakos by the Greeks, on ascending the throne
was surrounded by foes; the frontier towns fell quickly, and a public
fast was proclaimed and prayers offered to the gods to ward off the doom
of Nineveh, but the city was besieged, captured, and destroyed, 53.

Etana, the Babylonian Titan, and his exploits, 83; legend ascribed to
Nis-Sin, 110.


Fables, riddles, and proverbs anciently, as now, the delight of
Orientals; riddle propounded to Nergal and the other gods, 109.

Fate of Nineveh after its iniquity was full; the very site unknown for
ages, 53.

Fishing carried on with a line merely, 131.

Forbidden foods; fasts and humiliations in times of public calamity,


Gisdhubar epic; structure and contents; each of its twelve books
corresponded to one of the signs of the zodiac; history of the Deluge
contained in the eleventh book; Gisdhubar a solar hero, and his
adventures compared with the labours of Hêraclês; resemblance of
Accadian and Greek myths; date of the epic more than 2000 years before
Christ; formed of older lays put together to form a single poem, 110-12.

Goyim, over which Tidal was king, probably comprised in Gutium, or
Kurdistan, 23.


Hadadezer (the Biblical Benhadad) of Damascus formed a confederacy with
Hamath and Israel against the Assyrians; Ahab's contingent; rout of the
allies at Karkar, or Aroer, 31.

Hades a dreary abode, where spirits flitted, like bats, among the
crowned phantoms of heroes; palace of Allat, where the waters of life,
near the golden throne, restored to life and the upper air those who
drank of them; entrance, the River Datilla, 75-6.

Hanging gardens, watered by means of a screw, 118.

Hazael utterly routed by Shalmaneser II on the heights of Shenir; camp,
chariots, and carriages captured, and siege laid to Damascus, 31.

Helbon noted for its wines; still called Halbûn, 127.

Highroads and brickyards placed under commissioners, 131-2.

Human sacrifices an Accadian institution; children burnt to death as
expiatory offerings by their fathers, 75.

Hymn to the Sun-god, a mixture of exalted thought and debasing
superstition, 113-5.

Hymns in honour of the different deities collected into a sacred book;
Semitic translations made, but the hymns recited long afterwards in the
original Accadian language, 67-8.


Inferior deities classed among 'the 300 spirits of heaven' and 'the 600
spirits of earth,' 57.

Inscription containing Hezekiah's name transliterated and translated,

Israelite officials witnesses of deed of sale, 137.

Istar, the great Accadian goddess, unlike the Beltis or Bilat, wife of
Baal, had independent attributes as strongly marked as those of the
gods, and was known as the evening star, 57; she became the Semitic
Ashtoreth, and was the goddess of love, war, and the chase; she was
associated with Tammuz; her different attributes, temples, and worship
in different places, 62-4.


Jehu's tribute to Shalmaneser II, gold and silver drinking vessels, a
sceptre, and spear handles, 32.

Jewish seals probably earlier than the Babylonish exile found at
Diarbekr and other places near the Tigris and Euphrates, 138.


Kandalanu, viceroy of Babylon twenty-two years; the father of
Nabopolassar, 53.

Karkar or Aroer, battle of, and defeat of Benhadad and his allies, 31.

Khumbaba the tyrant, slain by Gisdhubar 'in the land of the pine trees,'

King only supreme in military affairs, and assisted by two
commanders-in-chief; lists of officials, their titles and duties, 144.


Legend of Lubara, the plague demon, smiting the evil-doers of Babylon
and Erech, and its partial resemblance to the angel of the Lord standing
with a drawn sword over Jerusalem as a punishment of David's sins, 78.

Libraries early established in all the great cities, as Assur, Calah,
and Nineveh; the last filled by Assur-bani-pal with copies of the
plundered books of Babylonia, 99; lexical and grammatical phrase books,
and lists of the names of animals, birds, reptiles, fish, stones,
vegetables, and titles of military and civil officers, were contained in
the different books stored up for reference, 100-1; all the branches of
learning then known were included; also dispatches of generals, reports
of astronomers, royal letters, and lists of eponyms, 102.

Library of Nineveh, rich in poetical literature, comprised epics, hymns
to the gods, psalms, and songs; songs to Assur of Assyrian origin, the
epics, Babylonian, Accadian, and partly Semitic, by native poets,

Liturgy contained rubrics for particular days, and direction of the
priests, 68.


March, order of, in a campaign; the king and his attendants,
charioteers, heavy and light cavalry, bowmen and infantry variously
equipped, 125-6; king and nobles only allowed tents; a royal chair
called a _nimedu_ carried for the king's use; bas-relief of Sennacherib
seated on one, before Lachish, 126.

Medicines, classification of diseases, prescriptions, and incantations,

Merodach, originally a form of the Sun-god; a benevolent and
intercessory deity, represented as continually passing between earth and
heaven, informing Ea of the sufferings of mankind, and striving to
alleviate them; he destroyed the demon Tiamat, and was commonly
addressed as 'Bel' or 'Lord;' his star Jupiter; and his wife Zir-panitu,

Merodach-Baladan's envoys induced Hezekiah to join the confederacy of
Phœnicia, Moab, Edom, Philistia, and Egypt, against the Assyrians; but
Sargon's rapid movements surprised them; Phœnicia and Judah were
overrun, and Ashdod burnt before the arrival of the Egyptians;
Merodach-Baladan in his own country made vigorous efforts to repel the
attack of the conqueror on his return; but the Elamite allies were put
to flight, and Sargon entered Babylon in triumph; the following year
Merodach-Baladan was pursued to Beth-Yagina, which was taken by storm,
and the defenders sent in chains to Nineveh; Merodach-Baladan escaped,
and two years afterwards again seized Babylon, but was defeated at the
battle of Kis, and a second time became a fugitive, 40-1.

Modes of assaulting fortified towns, and fearful atrocities committed by
the conquerors, 126-8.

Monotheists who flourished in Chaldæa in pre-Semitic times, resolved the
various deities into manifestations of one supreme god, Anu; old hymns
refer to 'the one god,' 58-9.

Myths common to all old forms of faith, 77-8.


Nabopolassar renounced his allegiance to Nineveh, and prepared the way
for his son Nebuchadnezzar's empire, 53.

Names of Assyrian kings explained, 54.

Nebo the god of oratory and literature, said to have invented the
cuneiform system of writing; great temple at Borsippa dedicated to him;
his worship carried to Canaan, as seen in the names of a city and a
mountain; had a temple at Bahrein under the name of Enzak; as a
planetary deity he represented Mercury, and was often adored as Nusku,
perhaps, the Nisroch of the Bible, 61.

Nergal, the god of hunting and war, also presided with Anu over the
regions of the dead, 65.

Nineveh, probably coeval with the city of Assur, but only became the
capital at a much later period; after the fall of the Assyrian Empire
its site was forgotten for ages; Rich's conjecture verified by Layard's
excavations, and its buried treasures again brought to light, 25-6.


'Observations of Bel,' the great work on astronomy and astrology,
compiled at Accad for Sargon, mostly a record of eclipses of the sun and
moon, conjunctions and phases of Venus and Mars; the time of the new
year; the zodiacal signs named, and the divisions of the year, 102,

Observatories in all the great cities; specimens of the astronomers'
fortnightly reports, 117-8.

Official lists and titles almost endless; rank and office of the
principal, 144.

Omens, work on, in 137 books compiled for Sargon, known to the last days
of the Empire, 102.

Ox-driver's labour song in the fields, 109.


Paradises or parks planted by the kings; gardens and shrubberies
containing summer-houses by the wealthy; hanging garden, 130-1.

Penitential psalms composed at a very remote period, one of the finest
addressed to Istar, 71-3.

Phœnician galley builders and sailors employed by Sennacherib on the
Persian Gulf in his attack on the last refuge of the Chaldæans, 132.

Planisphere from Nineveh, and a table of lunar longitudes, 116-7.

Polygamy practised by the king, and the palace guarded by eunuchs, 129.

Prayer after a bad dream, 70.

Prayer of an Assyrian court for the king, 76.

Prayers to Bel and various deities on different occasions, 68-70.

Private will of Sennacherib in favour of Esar-haddon, 134.

Proud boast of the Babylonian monarch about exalting his throne above
the stars, and sitting in the assembly of the gods, 77.

Pul, a military adventurer, seized the crown, B.C. 743, and assumed the
name of Tiglath-Pileser II; he was an able ruler, a good general, and a
skilful administrator, and consolidated the empire by deporting the
turbulent populations to distant homes, and importing others; he divided
the empire into provinces, and fixed the annual tribute; he endeavoured
to subvert the power of the Hittites of Carchemish, and turn the trade
of Asia Minor into Assyrian channels, and render Syria and Phœnicia
tributary, 34; he annexed Northern Babylonia, punished the Kurds,
utterly defeated Sarduris and his confederates, and captured Arpad after
a siege of two years; he stormed Hamath, and transplanted part of the
inhabitants to Armenia; he received tribute from the Syrian kings, and
Menahem, Rezon, Hiram, and Pisiris; he blockaded Van, and ravaged the
surrounding country, 35-6; he was heavily bribed by Ahaz to attack Rezon
and Pekah; Damascus was invested and forced to surrender through famine,
and forces were sent against the Ammonites, Moabites, and Philistines;
on the fall of Damascus it was plundered and the inhabitants
transplanted to Kir; Babylonia was reduced, and under his original name
of Pul, he assumed the title of King of Sumir (Shinar) and Accad, 37.


Relative rank of women in Accadian and Babylonian times, 139.

Religion of Assyria, including deities and beliefs borrowed from
Babylonia; but the Semites had greatly modified the original Accadian
conceptions; belief of the _Zi_, evil and good spirits; diseases caused
by demoniacal possession, and only curable by exorcisms and charms; the
spirits most dreaded those who had been raised to the position of gods,
as Anu, Mul-ge, and Ea; spirits of the heavenly bodies, 55-6; curious
contrasts: polytheism and monotheism, 83-4; victories ascribed to Assur,
and wars undertaken in his name: inconsistency and changes in the cult
explained; inferiority to the faith of Israel, 84-5.

Rents paid by tenants of land in Babylonia, 139.

Repetition of the names of the gods, and its efficacy, 73.

Resen, name found in the inscriptions, but the site not yet determined;
its meaning, 22-3.

Rimmon or Ramman, 'the thunderer,' the god of the atmosphere, rain, and
storms; his cult extended to Syria, and he appears to have been the
chief deity of Damascus, where he was known as Hadad or Dadda, 61.

Rimmon-nirari I, inscriptions of: his wars against the Babylonians,
Kurds, and Shuites, 27.

Roads formed and kept in good condition, 131-2.

Rowandiz, where the ark is supposed to have rested; a snow-clad peak,
'the mountain of the world,' and 'the mountain of the East;' thought to
be the abode of the gods, and the support of the vault of heaven, 77,

Royal hunts, at first wild elephants and lions; but under Esar-haddon
had degenerated into a _battue_ of tamed animals kept in cages for the
purpose, 129, 130.


Sabbath early known, but confounded with the feast of the New Moon; kept
on the seventh, fourteenth, twenty-first, and twenty-eighth day of the
lunar month, 73-4.

Sale of Israelitish slaves by a Phœnician; another sale afterwards of
seven persons included an Israelite called Hoshea and his two wives,

Samas, the Sun-god, was the son of Sin, in accordance with the
astronomical view of the old Babylonians; he was really only a form of
Merodach, though in historical times the two were separated, and
received different cults; originally identical with Tammuz, through the
myth of Istar, separate attributes were assigned to him, and Tammuz
became a deity distinct from Samas, 61-2.

Samas-Rimmon, Shalmaneser's second son, quelled the revolt against his
father, and succeeded him as king of Assyria, 32.

Sar, the god of the firmament; afterwards confused with the name of the
patron deity of the capital of the country, 22. (_See_ Assur.)

Sargon, a usurper, claimed royal descent; was an able general, but a
rough and energetic ruler, 37-8; two years after his accession captured
Samaria, and removed the inhabitants to Gozan; he found the task of
cementing together the empire formed by Tiglath-Pileser by no means
easy; Babylonia had thrown off the yoke, and submitted to
Merodach-Baladan; Elam threatened him on the south; the Kurds renewed
their depredations on the east; the Hittites of Carchemish were
unsubdued, Syria held with difficulty, and Egypt appeared as a new
enemy, 38; he drove the Elamites back into their own country, suppressed
the revolt of Hamath, and burnt the city; put Yahu-bihdi or Ilu-bihdi to
a horrible death, marched along the coast of Palestine, and roused the
Egyptian army at Raphia, taking its ally the king of Gaza captive, 38-9;
he stormed Carchemish, took Pisiris prisoner, and the allies fled
northward; the city was plundered, and an Assyrian satrap appointed over
it; he had now gained the high road of the caravan trade between Eastern
and Western Asia; the Hittite allies continued the struggle six years,
when Van submitted, and its king Ursa committed suicide; Cilicia and
Tubal were placed under an Assyrian governor, and the city of Malatiyeh
was razed to the ground, 39; Merodach-Baladan had formed a powerful
combination against Sargon in the west, of Judah, Phœnicia, Edom,
Philistia, and Egypt, but before the confederates were ready to act
together, Sargon overran Palestine, captured Jerusalem, and burnt
Ashdod; he next hurled his forces against Babylonia, compelled the
Elamites to retire, and entered the capital in triumph; the following
year he pursued Merodach-Baladan to Beth-Yagin, which was taken by
storm, and the defenders sent in chains to Nineveh, but Merodach-Baladan
escaped, 40-1; extent of Sargon's empire, and conquests; murdered by his
own soldiers in Dur-Sargon, his new city, 41; succeeded by his son
Sennacherib, 41.

Science mixed with superstition; astronomy with astrology: the
observation of nature with augury, 115; modes of measuring time and
determining the beginning of the year, 116.

Script characters generally used for official and private documents;
this mode of writing clear, well-defined, and continued nearly the same
till the fall of Nineveh; clay tablets small, but well baked in a kiln;
characters sometimes very minute, and must have been formed with the aid
of a magnifying glass, 96-7.

Sennacherib had been brought up in the purple; was weak, boastful, and
cruel, and only preserved the empire by the help of his father's
veterans and generals; Merodach-Baladan escaped from captivity, and
again seized Babylon, but was driven from the country after the battle
of Kis, 41-2; Sennacherib next invaded Phœnicia and Judah and the
neighbouring countries; Assyrian account of the battle of Eltekeh;
capture of illustrious persons and spoil; his boast of cities taken and
tribute; but entire silence about the terrible disaster he sustained
near Jerusalem, and his precipitate flight; the following year he
suppressed Nergal-yusezib's revolt, and appointed Assur Nadin-sumi
viceroy of Babylon, 42-5; pursued the Chaldæan refugees and destroyed
their last settlements on the Persian Gulf, 45; Elam next invaded
Babylonia, and placed Nergal-yusezib on the throne; defeated the
Assyrians near Nipur, but died soon afterwards; he was succeeded by
Musezib, who defied the power of Assyria nearly four years, but was
beaten in the decisive battle of Khalule; the following year Sennacherib
captured Babylon, and gave it up to fire and the sword; the inhabitants
were sold into slavery, and the waters of the Araxes canal overflowed
the ruined city; his Cilician campaign the last; the rest of his life
spent in constructing canals, aqueducts, and rebuilding the palace at
Nineveh; he was murdered by his two elder sons whilst worshipping in the
temple of his god, 46.

Shalmaneser I said to have built Calah, and his descendants reigned
uninterruptedly six generations, 27.

Shalmaneser II, his great military successes and long reign, the climax
of the first Assyrian empire; his annals contained on a monolith near
Diarbekr, a small obelisk, and on the bronze framework of the gates of
Balawât; Jehu one of his tributaries; his campaign against the Kurds,
Van, and the Manna or Minni; compelled the Hittites to sue for peace,
and recaptured Pethor, 29-31; defeated Benhadad and his allies at Aroer
or Karkar, and twelve years afterwards completely crushed the power of
Hazael on the heights of Shenir, laid siege to Damascus, ravaged the
Hauran, and marched to Baal-rosh, where his image was carved on the
rocky promontory, 31-2; little further attempted by the king, besides
exacting tribute from distant regions; revolt of his eldest son, joined
by twenty-seven cities, put down by the energy and military capacity of
Samas-Rimmon, 31-2.

Shalmaneser III, a usurper of Tinu; he attempted the capture of Tyre,
began a war against Israel, but had scarcely laid siege to Samaria when
he died or was murdered, and was succeeded by Sargon, another usurper,

Sin, the Moon-god, called Agu or Acu by the Accadians, was the patron
deity of Ur; had a famous temple in the ancient city of Harran, where he
was symbolised by an upright cone of stone; his emblem was the crescent
moon, 62.


Table of Semitic Babylonian kings arranged in dynasties, which traces
them back to B.C. 2330; a recent discovery, 102.

Tables of squares and cubes found at Larsa, also geometrical figures
used for augury; the mathematical unit, and mode of expression, 132-3.

Temple, Assyro-Babylonian, and its points of resemblance to Solomon's,
74-5; entrances to temples and palaces guarded by colossal figures of
winged bulls; temples filled with images of the gods, great and small,
which were supposed to confer special sanctity on the place; offerings
of two kinds, sacrifices and meal offerings; no traces of human
sacrifices among the Assyrians, although an Accadian institution;
referred to in an old astrological work, where children were allowed to
be offered by the fathers as expiatory sacrifices, 74-5.

Tiamat, the dragon, destroyed by Merodach, 60, 78-9.

Tiglath-Pileser I, his conquests in Cilicia, Kurdistan; defeated the
Moschi, Hittites, and their Colchian allies, and erected a memorial of
his exploits near the sources of the Tigris; he garrisoned Pethor with
Assyrian soldiers, and on his return to Nineveh planted a park with
strange trees brought back with him during his campaigns; he invaded
Babylonia, and was at first repulsed, but was victorious afterwards,
ravaged the country, and captured Babylon, 28.

Tower of Babel, building destroyed by winds in the night, and 'great and
small,' as well as their speech confounded by Anu, 82-3.

Trade, its rise and growth under the Second Empire; fall of Carchemish
and the Phœnician cities; the standard of weight, 'the maneh,' and
Aramaic, the language of commerce, 132-3.


Van, the capital of Ararat, successfully resisted the Assyrians, whilst
the country far and near was wasted for a space of 450 miles, 36;
submitted to Sargon, and its king Ursa committed suicide, 39; Van sought
an alliance with Assur-bani-pal, 52.


Witches and wizards held in high repute, 121.

Woman's position in Accad and Babylonia, 139.


Xisuthros, the Chaldæan Noah, sails in a ship containing others beside
his own family, steered by a pilot; whilst the flood was at its height,
sent out a raven, dove, and swallow, to ascertain how far the waters had
abated; his vessel rested on Rowandiz, and Xisuthros, immediately after
his descent, sacrificed to the gods, and was translated to the land of
immortality, 81-2.


Zu, 'the divine storm bird,' who stole the lightning of Bel, the
parallel of the Greek story of Prometheus, 78.

                *       *       *       *       *



  Gen. x. 11                  22
  Gen. x. 18                 143
  Gen. xiv. 1                 23

  Deut. iii. 9                31
  Deut. xxii. 49              61

  Josh. xv. 59                58
  Josh. xix. 38               58

  1 Kings viii. 13            12
  1 Kings x. 28              143

  2 Kings xv. 19              35
  2 Kings xvi. 10             37
  2 Kings xvii. 30        60, 65
  2 Kings xvii. 31            66
  2 Kings xviii. 26          101
  2 Kings xviii. 30          101
  2 Kings xix. 37             61
  2 Kings xx. 11             116

  2 Chron. xxxiii. 11         47

  Ezra ii. 29                 61
  Ezra iv. 10                 48

  Is. x. 34                   13
  Is. xiv. 9                  76
  Is. xiv. 13, 14             77
  Is. xix. 25                 14
  Is. xx. 1                   40
  Is. xxii. 14                14
  Is. xliv. 17                64
  Is. li. 27                  30
  Is. li. 30                  30

  Ezek. viii. 14              65
  Ezek. xxiii. 14             86
  Ezek. xxvii. 18            128

  Nahum i. 8                  25
  Nahum ii. 6, 8, 12          25
  Nahum iii. 8            15, 51

  Zech. ix. 1                143

  HARRISON & SONS, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St. Martin's Lane

                *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's note:

Table of Contents edited with additional entries for user convenience.

Punctuation has been standardised.

Page references to pages 104 and 105 are to illustrations on the
two previous pages.

Ditto marks in the Indexes have been replaced with the actual words.

This book was written in a period when many words had not become
standarized in their spelling. Numerous words have multiple spelling
variations in the text. These have been left unchanged unless noted

  Page   6 - added hyphen for consistency (Assur-bani-pal and his

  Page  49 - missing '(' added to caption (From the original in the
             British Museum.).

  Page  54 - removed extraneous open single quotation mark
             (Solomon, the god of peace).

  Page 115 - missing "'" added ('Post hoc, ergo propter hoc.').

  Page 132 - Beth-Yagina is called Bit-Yagina, left unchanged.

  Page 149 - typographical error 'eities' corrected (the cities in their).

  Page 160 - typographical error 'Assyriam' corrected (of the Assyrian).

  Page 162 - typographical error 'Merodoch' corrected (Merodach-Baladan had

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we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.