Nineveh and Its Remains

Volume 2

By Austen Henry Layard, ESQ. D.C.L.

Part 2 - Chapter 1



I HAVE endeavoured, in the preceding pages, to describe the manner in which excavations were carried on amongst the ruins of Nineveh, and the discoveries to which they gave rise. At the same time, I have sought to convey to the reader, by short descriptions of the Chaldæans, the Arabs, and the Yezidis, some idea of the people, who are now found within the limits of the ancient kingdom of Assyria Proper. This account of my labours would, however, be incomplete, were I not to point out the most important of their results; were I not to show how far the monuments and remains discovered tend to elucidate disputed questions of history or chronology, or to throw light upon the civilisation, manners, and arts of a people, so little known as the Assyrians. It must, however, be remembered that our materials are as yet exceedingly incomplete. The history of this remarkable nation, as derived from its monuments, is a subject hitherto left untouched; and indeed within a very few months alone, have we possessed any positive data to aid us in such an inquiry. The meagre, and mostly fabulous, notices scattered through the works of ancient writers, scarcely afford us any aid whatever; for Nineveh had almost been forgotten before history began. The examination of remains existing on the banks of the Tigris has been but limited. Many extensive ruins are yet unexplored, and it can scarcely be doubted that there are still mounds enclosing records and monuments, the recovery of which would add greatly to our acquaintance with this long-lost people. Only three spots have been hitherto examined, Nimroud, Kouyunjik and Khorsabad; and of the three, Khorsabad, the smallest, alone thoroughly. Unfortunately in the Assyrian edifices, little but the sculptured slabs has been preserved. All the painted records which once covered the walls, in addition to the bas-reliefs of alabaster, have perished. Nor have we, as in Egypt, labyrinths of tombs, on the sides of which, as well as on the walls and columns of the temples, are most faithfully and elaborately pourtrayed the history, the arts, the manners, and the domestic life of the former occupiers of the land — so fully indeed, that, from these monuments alone, we are able to obtain a complete insight into the public and private condition of the Egyptians, from the remotest period to their final extinction.1 Hitherto, no tombs have been discovered in Assyria, which can, with any degree of certainty, be assigned to the Assyrians themselves. It is not impossible that such tombs, even painted after the fashion of the Egyptians, do exist in the bosom of some unexplored hill; their entrances so carefully concealed, that they have escaped the notice of the subsequent inhabitants of the country. At present, however, the only sources from which we can obtain any knowledge of Assyria, are the bas-reliefs discovered in the ruins described in the previous pages. To these may be added a few relics, such as seals, and cylinders, and one or two inscriptions on stones, bricks, and tiles, to be found in the Museums of Europe. Still the sculptures do furnish us with very interesting and important details, both with regard to the arts, and to the manners of the Assyrians; and there is every reason to presume that the inscriptions, when deciphered, will afford positive historical data, which may enable us to fix, with some confidence, the precise period of many events recorded in the bas-reliefs.

There are also other subjects, connected with the discoveries in Assyria requiring notice. Through them may be traced the origin of many arts, of many myths and symbols, and of many traditions afterwards perfected, and made familiar to us through the genius of the Greeks. The connection between the East and the West, and the Eastern origin of several nations of Asia Minor, long suspected, may perhaps be established by more positive proof than we have hitherto possessed. These considerations alone require a detailed account of the results of the excavations. I have endeavoured to avoid statements which do not appear to be warranted by plausible evidence: and if I have ventured to make any suggestions, I am ready to admit that the corroboration of my views must depend upon an acquaintance with the contents of the inscriptions, and upon the future examination of ruins, in which additional monuments may exist.

As I have frequently alluded to the remote antiquity of the Assyrian edifices, it will naturally be asked upon what grounds we assign them to any particular period — on what data do the proofs of their early origin rest? In answering these questions, it will be necessary to point out the evidence afforded by the monuments themselves, and how that evidence agrees with the statements of ancient authors.

From our present limited knowledge of the character used in the inscriptions, and from a want of adequate acquaintance with the details of Assyrian art, which might lead to a satisfactory classification of the various remains, we can scarcely aim at more than fixing a comparative epoch to these monuments. It would be hazardous to assign any positive date to them, or to ascribe their erection to any monarch whose name can be recognised in a dynastic list of acknowledged authenticity, and the time of whose reign can be determined with any pretence to accuracy. Although a conjecture may be allowed, we can come to no positive conclusion upon the subject. More progress is required in deciphering the character, more extensive researches must be carried on amongst the ruins of Assyria, and names of kings must be ascertained, by which we may connect the genealogical lists, undoubtedly of various epochs, that have hitherto been discovered. I will only point out facts which prove that the edifices described in the previous pages must belong to a very early period, without pretending to decide their exact age. The inquiry is one of considerable importance, for upon its results depend many questions of the highest interest connected with the history of civilisation, in the countries watered by the Tigris and Euphrates, of its passage into the neighbouring kingdoms, and of its ultimate effects upon the more distant regions of Asia, and even upon Greece.

The proofs to be adduced in support of the great antiquity of some of the monuments of Nimroud, are entitled to attention, and should not be rejected, merely because they are at variance with preconceived notions and theories. We are not justified in attempting to draw conclusions from the state of the arts, or sciences, amongst a people of whose history and capabilities, before the discovery of these monuments, we were totally ignorant. We knew nothing of the civilisation of the Assyrians, except what could be gathered from casual notices scattered through the works of the Greeks. From their evidence, indeed, we are led to believe that the inhabitants of Assyria had attained a high degree of culture at a very remote period. The testimony of the Bible, and the monuments of the Egyptians, on which the conquests of that people over Asiatic nations are recorded, lead to the same conclusion. It will be shown, that in Assyria, as in Egypt, the arts do not appear to have advanced, after the construction of the earliest edifices with which we are acquainted, but rather to have declined. The most ancient sculptures we possess are the most correct and severe in form, and show the highest degree of taste in the details. The very great antiquity of the early monuments of Egypt, however much we may differ between the highest and lowest date claimed for them, is now generally admitted. Few persons indeed would be inclined to ascribe them to a later epoch than that generally assigned to the foundation of Nineveh, about twenty centuries before Christ. At that time the arts had attained a very high degree of perfection in Egypt; and might obviously have attained even to a much higher, had not those who practised them been restricted by certain prejudices, and superstitions, to a conventional style, from which it was not lawful to depart. There is no reason to doubt, therefore, that at the same remote period, the Assyrians also may have excelled in them. Even the conventional forms of Egypt are accompanied by extreme beauty in the details, and in the shape of the domestic furniture and utensils; which proves that those who invented them were capable of the highest culture, and, if unfettered, might have attained to the greatest perfection. The Assyrians may not have been confined to the same extent as their rivals; they may have copied nature more carefully, and may have given more scope to their taste, and invention, in the choice and arrangement of their ornaments. But the subject will be more fully entered into when I come to speak of the arts of the Assyrians.2 We have now to examine the evidences of the antiquity of their monuments.

The first ascertained date from which our inquiry must commence, is the destruction of Nineveh by the combined armies of Cyaxares, King of Persia and Media, and Nabopolassar, King of Babylon, or more probably governor of that city on behalf of the Assyrian monarch. We must needs go backwards, as we cannot with any degree of certainty fix the date of any earlier event.

It must, I think, be readily admitted that all the monuments hitherto discovered in Assyria are to be attributed to a period preceding the Persian conquest. In the first place, history and tradition unite in affirming that Nineveh was utterly destroyed by the conquerors. Although the earlier prophets frequently allude to the great city, and to its wealth and power before its fall, it will be observed that the latter rarely mention the name. If they do, it is in allusion to the heap of ruins — to the desolation which was spread over the site of a once great city, as a special instance of the divine vengeance. They pointed to it as a warning to other nations against whom their prophecies were directed,3 When Xenophon passed over the remains of Nineveh, its very name had been forgotten, and he describes a part of it as a deserted city which had formerly been inhabited by the Medes.4 Strabo says, that when Cyaxares and his allies took the city, they utterly destroyed it; its inhabitants, according to Diodorus Siculus, being distributed in the surrounding villages. Lucian speaks of Nineveh as so completely laid waste, that even its vestiges did not remain.5 It is certain that even if Nineveh were not levelled with the ground, or deserted by its inhabitants, it was no longer the seat of government, nor held a high place amongst the cities of the East. If vast palaces and edifices are found amongst its ruins, it is much more reasonable to refer their construction to a period when Nineveh was the capital of the Eastern world, and the dwelling-place of the Assyrian monarchs, than to the time of its subjection to the kings of Persia, and of its degradation to a mere provincial town.

If these edifices — between the periods of the erection of which many years, even centuries, must have elapsed — were the work of the Persian conquerors, we should find some record of the fact. The peculiar variety of the cuneiform character adopted by the Persians is perfectly well-known, and is found on all their monuments. It was even used in Egypt, accompanied by hieroglyphics, after their conquest of that country.6 It occurs on all the monuments of the same period in Persia and Armenia, accompanied by translations, in parallel columns, in the Babylonian and Median7 writing. Amongst the ruins of Assyria, this Persian variety of the cuneiform character has never been found. It can scarcely be doubted, that the bas-reliefs described in the previous pages, represent the victories and conquests of the kings who built the edifices in which they were contained; it is not probable that, had these kings been Persians, they would have omitted to record their deeds in their native tongue, when they have done so in all other places where they have caused similar monuments to be erected.

The date of the conquest of Nineveh by Cyaxares is well ascertained as 606 before Christ.8 The city had then been scarcely a year in the hands of the Assyrians, after the expulsion of the Scyths, who, according to the testimony of Herodotus, held this part of Asia for twenty-eight years. We cannot attribute these vast monuments, — evidences of a high state of civilisation, and of taste and knowledge, — to the wandering tribes; who, during their short occupation, did little, according to the historian, but oppress the inhabitants, pass their days in licentiousness amidst new luxuries, and destroy the records of former prosperity and power.9 We have consequently the date of 634 years before Christ to go back from. No one will, I think, be inclined to assign these edifices to a later epoch.

It has already been seen that there are buildings of various periods in the mound of Nimroud, and I have mentioned that they contain the names and genealogies of several kings. The most recent palace was that discovered in the south-west corner; and it was principally built of slabs and materials taken from the edifices in the north-west, the centre, and other parts of the mound. This can be proved beyond a question; first, by identity in the style of the sculptures; secondly, by inscriptions, in which certain formulas occur; thirdly, by the fact of the sculptured faces of the slabs being turned against the wall of sun-dried bricks, and smoothed on the opposite side preparatory to their being used a second time; and, fourthly, by the discovery of sculptured slabs lying in different parts of the ruins, where they had evidently been left, whilst being removed to the new palace.

The only sculptures which can be attributed to the builders of this edifice are the bulls and lions forming the entrances, and the crouching sphinxes between them. But the arguments they afford will be the same, whether they were the work of those who founded the building, or whether they were brought from elsewhere. If the latter be the case, we should be furnished with additional proof in favour of the high antiquity of the earliest edifice. In the material, a kind of limestone, out of which they are sculptured, as well as in certain peculiarities of form (as, for instance, in being provided with four legs, and having small figures carved on the same slab), they differ from any others discovered amongst the ruins. It is not probable that they could have been moved in their finished state without injury; and, as it will be hereafter shown, it was evidently the custom of the Assyrians to sculpture their slabs, not before, but after they had been placed.

On the backs of these lions and bulls we have a short, but highly important, inscription, which has enabled me, as I have already had occasion to observe, to identify the comparative date of many monuments discovered in Assyria, and of tablets existing in other parts of Asia. Before submitting this inscription, as well as others from the ruins, to the reader, I must describe the process by which the names of the kings have been determined; as the arguments will mainly depend upon the proof which these names afford.

Two characters appear at one time to have been in use amongst the Assyrians. One, the cuneiform or arrow-headed, as in Egypt, was probably the hieroglyphic, and principally employed for monumental records10; the other, the cursive or hieratic, may have been used in documents of a private nature, or for records of public events of minor importance. The nature of the arrow-headed will be hereafter fully described. The cursive resembles the writing of the Phoenicians, Palmyrenes, Babylonians, and Jews; in fact, the character, which, under a few unessential modifications, was common to the nations speaking cognate dialects of one language, variously termed the Semitic, Aramaean, or, more appropriately, Syro-Arabian. There is this great distinction between the cuneiform and cursive, — that while the first was written from left to right, the second, after the fashion of the Hebrew and Arabic, ran from right to left. This striking difference would seem to show that the origin of the two modes of writing was distinct.11

It would be difficult, in the present state of our knowledge, to determine the period of the invention and first use of written characters in Assyria; nor is there any evidence to prove which of the two forms, the arrow-head or the cursive, is the more ancient, or whether they were introduced at the same time. Pliny declares that it is to the Assyrians we owe the invention of letters, although some have attributed it to the Egyptians, who were said to have been instructed in the art of writing by Mercury12; or to the Syrians, who, in the passage in Pliny, are evidently distinguished from the Assyrians, with whom they are by ancient authors very frequently confounded.13 Lucan ascribes their introduction to the Phoenicians, a Syrian people.14 On monuments and remains purely Syrian, or such as cannot be traced to a foreign people, only one form of character has been discovered, and it so closely resembles the cursive of Assyria, that there appears to be little doubt as to the identity of the origin of the two. If, therefore, the inhabitants of Syria, whether Phoenicians or others, were the inventors of letters, and those letters were such as exist upon the earliest monuments of that country, the cursive character of the Assyrians may have been as ancient as the cuneiform. However that may be, this hieratic character has not yet been found in Assyria on remains of a very early epoch, and it would seem probable that simple perpendicular and horizontal lines preceded rounded forms, being better suited to letters carved on stone tablets or rocks. At Nimroud, the cursive writing was found on part of an alabaster vase, and on fragments of pottery, taken out of the rubbish covering the ruins. On the alabaster vase it accompanied an inscription in the cuneiform character, containing the name of the Khorsabad king, to whose reign it is evident, from several circumstances, the vase must be attributed. It has also been found on Babylonian bricks of the time of Nebuchadnezzar. The following are parts of inscriptions in this character on fragments of pottery from Nimroud.

The cuneiform, however, appears to have been the character in general use in Assyria and Babylonia, and at various periods in Persia, Media and Armenia. It was not the same in all these countries; the element was the wedge, but the combination of wedges, to form a letter, differed. The cuneiform has been divided into three branches; the Assyrian or Babylonian; the Persian; and a third, which has been named, probably with little regard to accuracy, the Median. To one of these three divisions may be referred all the forms of arrow-headed writing with which we are acquainted; and the three together occur in the trilingual inscriptions, containing the records of the Persian monarchs of the Achaemenian dynasty.15 These inscriptions are, as it is well known, repeated three times on monuments of this period, in parallel columns or tablets, in a distinct variety of the arrow-headed character; and, as it may be presumed, in a different language.

The investigation of the Persian branch of the cuneiform has now, through the labours of Rawlinson, Lassen, and others, been brought to a satisfactory conclusion. I presume that there are few unacquainted with the admirable memoirs by Major Rawlinson upon the great inscription at Behistun16, published in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. Some, however, are still inclined to look upon the results of his labours with doubt, and even to consider his translation as little more than an ingenious fiction. That the sudden restoration of a language no longer existing in the same form, and expressed in characters previously unknown, should be regarded with considerable suspicion, is not surprising. But even a superficial examination of the ingenious reasoning of Professor Grotefend, which led to the first steps in the inquiry, the division of words and the discovery of the names of the kings, and an acquaintance with the subsequent discoveries of Rawlinson and other eminent philologists, must at once remove all doubt as to the general accuracy of the results to which they have arrived. There may undoubtedly be interpretations, and forms of construction open to criticism. They will probably be rejected or amended, when more materials are afforded by the discovery of additional inscriptions, or when those we already possess have been subjected to a still more rigorous philological examination, and have been further compared with known dialects of the same primitive tongue. But as to the general correctness of the translations of the inscriptions of Persepolis and Behistun, there cannot be a question.17 The materials are in every one's hands. The inscriptions are now accessible, and they scarcely contain a word the meaning of which may not be determined by the aid of dictionaries and vocabularies of the Sanscrit and other early Indo-European languages,18

Before the publication of the great inscription of Behistun, the monuments of Persia, containing little more than the names of kings and royal titles, afforded few materials for the investigation of cuneiform writing. That inscription was long known, and had been seen by many travellers. MM. Coste and Flandin, who accompanied M. de Sercey during his embassy to the court of Teheran, for the express purpose of examining and making drawings of ancient remains, were particularly directed to copy it. They lingered many days on the spot, making several fruitless endeavours to ascend to that part of the rock on which it is cut. At length they declared it to be inaccessible, and returned to France without this important historical record. Major Rawlinson, however, overcame all difficulties. During two visits he succeeded in copying all that remains of the three versions of the inscription; and thus, whilst we are indebted to his intrepidity and perseverance for the transcript of the record, we owe to his learning and research the translation of one of the most interesting fragments of ancient history.19

Of the second, or so called Median branch of the cuneiform, we know at present but little. It differs essentially, in the combination of the wedges, from the Persian, and resembles in many respects the Assyrian or Babylonian, many letters in both being identical in shape, if not in phonetic power.

Whilst the Persian and Median cuneiform offer each but one modification in the arrangement of the wedges, the third division, or Assyro-Baby Ionian, includes several varieties. It has been said to be the most complex in its forms of the three; but such is not exactly the case, as we have in the varieties both extremes: the primitive, or early Assyrian, containing the most simple and elementary combinations, beginning with the wedge standing alone, whilst the Babylonian is distinguished by the most intricate and complex. However, that the two are identically the same, has been proved beyond a doubt by a comparison of the monuments of Babylonia and Assyria, and by the existence of a transcript of a Babylonian record in Assyrian characters.20 The variations appear to be mere caligraphical distinctions, and were perhaps purposely made, to mark the difference between the characters in use in the two countries. The introduction of a few complex forms in the pure Assyrian writing, may be attributed to the number of alphabetic signs required. The alphabet of the Persian cuneiform contains but thirty-nine or forty letters; in the Assyro-Babylonian inscriptions there are about three hundred different characters; the simpler forms would consequently soon be exhausted.21

Major Rawlinson has thus classed the Assyro-Babylonian cuneiform writing: — Primitive Babylonian; Acha3menian Babylonian; Medo-Assyrian; Assyrian; and Elymæan.

Whilst concurring in this division I would suggest, that early Assyrian and later Assyrian, be substituted for Assyrian and Medo-Assyrian. By Medo-Assyrian, Major Rawlinson indicates the character used in the inscriptions of Yan, belonging to a period preceding the Persian domination22, and in those at Palou23, and near Malatia, on the banks of the Euphrates. But at the time he made the distinction he was unacquainted with the earliest monuments of Nimroud, and had only examined inscriptions from Khorsabad, and a fragment from Nimroud both belonging to the same period. The most ancient Assyrian letters are identical in form with those found in Armenia. The distinction lies between the earliest and latest Assyrian writing, and is amply sufficient to determine the comparative date of monuments, as the shape of our own letters marks the time of a document.

The primitive Babylonian is found on bricks, cylinders, and tablets from ruins in Babylonia; the Achæmenian Babylonian in the trilingual inscriptions of Persia. The former is well known from its frequent occurrence on relics, brought to this country, from the remains on the Euphrates near the modern Arab town of Hillah, hitherto believed to be those of primitive Babylon. It is the most intricate variety of the cuneiform yet discovered. Those who used it appear to have exhausted their ingenuity in complicating the simplest forms of the Assyrians.

By a comparison of many letters of the same power in the Assyrian and Babylonian alphabets, it is evident that their dissimilitude frequently arises from the manner of shaping the elementary wedge, either angle of which might be elongated according to the fancy of the writer or sculptor. Thus becomes , and the simple Assyrian letter is identical with , a character of common occurrence in Babylonian inscriptions.

With regard to the relative antiquity of the several forms of cuneiform writing, it may be asserted, with some degree of confidence, that the most ancient hitherto discovered is the Assyrian. The three varieties found in the trilingual inscriptions are all of a comparatively recent period, the reigns of the Achasmenian dynasty. The inscriptions in the Babylonian character, from the ruins near Hillah, can be shown to belong to the time of Nebuchadnezzar, and consequently to a period subsequent to the fall of the Assyrian empire. The name of that monarch is found upon them all. Amongst the ruins of Niffer, to the south of Hillah, Major Rawlinson has discovered other inscriptions with a new royal name; but it is uncertain to what period they belong. That eminent antiquary, who was, I believe, the first to identify the name of Nebuchadnezzar on the bricks and tablets, from the ruins so long believed to be those of the scriptural Babylon, inclines to the opinion that Niffer may represent its true site, whilst the mounds around Hillah are the remains of a more recent city of the same name.24 Nor is this supposition of the existence of two Babylons, inconsistent with history, and eastern customs. Nebuchadnezzar declares that he built the city. "At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon. The king spake, and said, 'Is not this great Babylon that I have built for the house of the kingdom, by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty? '"25 After the successful revolt of the Babylonians, and the fall of Nineveh, it is not improbable that Nebuchadnezzar, on founding a new empire which was to rival the Assyrian in power and extent, should have desired to build a capital worthy of it. During the Assyrian supreniacy, the ancient capital of the Chaldæans may have partly fallen into ruins; and it was perfectly in accordance with the customs and prejudices of an Eastern people, to choose for rebuilding it a new site not far removed from the old. Babylon affords more than one instance of this very custom. The successor of Alexander the Great in the empire of the East, seeking for a capital, did not rebuild Babylon, which had again fallen into decay. He chose a site near it on the banks of the Tigris, founded a new city, calling it Seleucia, after his own name, and partly constructing it of materials taken from Babylon. Subsequently, when another change of dynasty took place, the Parthian succeeding to the Greek, the city was again removed, and Ctesiphon rose on the opposite side of the river. After the Persians came the Arabs, who, desiring to found a capital for their new empire, chose a different site; still, however, remaining in the vicinity of the old. Changing the locality more than once they at length built the celebrated city of Baghdad, which actually represents the ancient Babylon.26 Such appears to have been the general practice in the East; and there is scarcely a place of any note which has not been rebuilt on a different site. The present inhabitants of the country, whether Turks or Arabs, either aware of this fact, or still labouring under the prejudices of the former people, generally seek in the neighbourhood of a modern town some ancient remains, to which they attach the same name.27

It is probable, however, that the half-fabulous accounts of the walls, palaces, temples, and bridges of Babylon, whose foundation was attributed by Herodotus, Diodorus Siculus, and other ancient authors, to two queens, Semiramis and Nitocris, related to the edifices of the second Babylon, built by Nebuchadnezzar. The Chaldees still nourished the traditions of their ancient greatness, and may have endeavoured, in satisfying the curiosity of a stranger, to assign the highest antiquity to their monuments.

It may be asked what proof have we that the name of Nebuchadnezzar exists on bricks, and 'fragments, from the ruins near Hillah? The name, written nearly as in our version of the prophecies of Ezekiel, appears to have been assumed by one of the rebels subdued by Darius Hystaspes. It consequently occurs in the trilingual inscription of Behistun. One Natitabires is there stated to have called himself Nabokhodrossor, the son of Nabonidus, the King of Babylon. As these names are transcribed in the Babylonian column, there is of course no difficulty in recognising the letters composing them, and hence their identification when found elsewhere, as at Hillah, in the pure Babylonian writing. In inscriptions from that site, Nebuchadnezzar is called the son of Nabonassar, and king of the land of the Chaldees.28

Although Major Rawlinson has suggested a reading for the name on the bricks from Niffer, it is doubtful to what period they belong; and at present there is no evidence to show that they are older than the most ancient edifice of Nimroud. We may, therefore, fairly assume that the Assyrian is the earliest known form of the arrow-headed writing. The complex shapes of the Babylonian characters, and their apparent derivation by elongation of angles and other processes from the simpler Assyrian letters, undoubtedly point to a more recent invention. There cannot be a doubt that the characters as formed in the earliest palace of Nimroud long preceded those of the inscriptions of Khorsabad and Kouyunjik. This is an important fact, as it proves that the most simple were the earliest, and that there was a gradual progression towards the more intricate. This progression may be very clearly traced in the inscriptions from different Assyrian ruins. "We may, therefore, consistently conclude that the Babylonian, being the most complex, was the most modern of this branch of cuneiform writing.

The question of prior antiquity now, therefore, lies between the monuments of Assyria, and the rock-tablets of Armenia. At present there is no positive evidence to decide their respective claims, but there are strong grounds for believing that the earliest inscriptions of Nimroud are the most ancient. We have the testimony of ancient authors, who attribute the invention of letters to the Assyrians, and give the name of Assyrian to the cuneiform writing, even when changed and modified by the Persians.29 In the earliest inscriptions of Armenia, the royal titles resemble those of the first kings of Nimroud. In the latter inscriptions of the same Armenian dynasty, the titles are similar to those on the monuments of Khorsabad and Kouyunjik.30 It may be inferred, therefore, that these Armenian kings lived between the erection of the earliest and latest monuments of Assyria proper. Whether there were cotemporaneous Assyrian and Armenian dynasties, or whether the names at Van are those of kings who reigned at the same time over Armenia and Assyria, and are consequently to be included in the Assyrian dynastic lists, are questions which can only be determined when the contents of the inscriptions are known, and the ruins of Assyria more thoroughly examined.

Admitting, therefore, that the Assyrian is the most ancient known form of arrow-headed writing, it would be interesting to ascertain its origin. The epithets of cuneiform, cuneatic, wedge-shaped, and arrow-headed, tête-à-clou (nail-headed) in French, and keilförmig in German, have been variously assigned to it, because its component parts resemble either a wedge, the barb of an arrow, or a nail, according to the fancy of the describer. It is not improbable, however, that the original or primitive elements of the letters were merely simple lines, the wedge or arrow-head being a subsequent improvement or embellishment. On a slab at Nimroud, forming a part of a wall in the south-west palace, but brought from the most ancient edifice, I found one line of writing in which the characters were thus formed. It occurred beneath the usual inscription, and was but slightly cut: —

It is evident that, by substituting the wedge, or arrow-head, for the lines in the above inscription, the characters would resemble such as are found on the earliest Assyrian monuments. The simpler letters may have been used in documents, and could have been written easily and quickly, whilst the more elaborate monumental character would require both time and care. In the inscriptions on Babylonian bricks the wedges are also frequently replaced by mere

lines, as 31  these characters being the same. Nor is the element of the most ancient form of Assyrian monumental writing always the arrow-head or the wedge; it sometimes assumes the shape of a hammer on painted bricks from the earliest palace at Nimroud.

The use of the wedge may have been suggested by the impression of the angular corner of a square rod on a surface of soft clay, which will produce this form very accurately. Even complicated characters and a short inscription might thus have been impressed on a tablet of any soft material. But this elementary figure appears to have been sacred; for we find it represented as placed upon an altar, amongst other religious emblems, on a Babylonian relic, usually known as the "Caillou de Michaux," in the National Library of Paris. Whether it became sacred from its employment in the written character, or whether it was adopted as an emblem, I will not attempt to determine.32

Nor will I stop to inquire whether, in their original forms, the Assyrian letters were ideographic; whether, as it has been assumed with regard to the alphabets of Syria, their names were derived from things which they were meant to represent. It will require a much more intimate acquaintance with the nature and powers of these characters than we can hope to attain for some time to come, before we can determine whether the arrangement of the wedges depends upon any system, or whether it be merely accidental. At present there is no proof in support of either supposition.

The first records of the Assyrians, like those of most ancient nations, were probably monumental. They were cut either on the walls of temples, palaces, and other edifices, or upon the smoothed face of a rock. After the subjection of a distant nation, the limits of the conquest of the king were marked, or his triumphs celebrated, by an inscription in some conspicuous spot in the conquered country. The side of a lofty precipice was generally chosen. A tablet was first cut sufficiently deep into the rock to leave above it a projecting ledge, to protect the sculpture as much as possible from the effects of the weather, and from the water which might run down its face. A bas-relief, representing the king alone, or the king receiving captives, was then generally sculptured. Below the figures, or near, was explained in writing the event recorded by the bas-relief, and sometimes a short inscription on the dress33, or above the head, of each person contained his name and titles. Such is the Assyrian monument at the mouth of the Nahr-el-Kelb, or Dog River, in Syria. Frequently an inscription, or a bas-relief was alone carved, as in parts of Asia Minor. The rock below the tablet was generally scarped, all access to the monument being cut off, to save it from injury or destruction. If no convenient rock could be found, or if the king wished to mark the boundaries of his dominions, a square pillar or slab was erected, as on the summit of the pass of Kel-i-Shin, in the high mountains dividing Assyria from Media.34 The Persians, who appear to have closely imitated the Assyrians in all their customs, adopted the same method of recording their conquests and victories, as the rock sculptures of Behistun still testify. According to Herodotus, Darius in his Scythian expedition erected, on the shores of the Bosphorus, two columns of white marble, one having inscribed in Assyrian (cuneiform), and the other in Greek characters, the names of the different nations which composed his vast army. He placed a third on the Tearus, after crossing the straits into Thrace.35

When events were to be recorded more in detail, the inscriptions appear to have been engraved on the walls of their temples or palaces, as in Egypt, to accompany painted or sculptured representations of the scenes they described.

It is not improbable that during the early period of the Assyrian monarchy, stone and clay were the only substances on which private as well as public records were written. In the most ancient sculptures of Nimroud there are no representations of scribes. In the more recent, however, at Khorsabad, Kouyunjik, and Nimroud, we have eunuchs writing down the number of heads, and the amount of spoil, on rolls of leather, or some other flexible material.36

The material generally used cannot be determined from the sculptures. At the time of the close intercourse between Assyria and Egypt, probably existing, as it will be shown, at the period to which these bas-reliefs belong, the papyrus may have been an article of commerce between the two countries; or rolls of leather manufactured in Assyria may have been the only substance employed. The reed growing in the marshes formed by the Tigris and Euphrates may have served, as it does to this day, for a pen; and the cursive or hieratic characters, on the fragments of vases from Nimroud, appear to have been written with some such instrument.

But the most common mode of keeping records in Assyria and Babylonia was on prepared bricks, tiles, or cylinders of clay, baked after the inscription was impressed. The characters appear to have been formed by an instrument, or may sometimes have been stamped. The Chaldasan priests informed Callisthenes that they kept their astronomical observations on bricks baked in the furnace37; and we have the testimony of Epigenes to the same effect,38 Ezekiel, who prophesied near the river Chebar in Assyria, was commanded to take a tile and pourtray upon it the city of Jerusalem.39 Of such records we have many specimens. The most remarkable are two hexagonal cylinders, one in the possession of Colonel Taylor, late political agent at Baghdad, and the other given by me to the British Museum. They were both discovered in the ruins opposite Mosul, and, I believe, in the mound of Nebbi Yunus.40 On each side there are about sixty lines of writing, in such minute characters that the aid of a magnifying glass is required to ascertain their forms. Habit, and long practice have enabled me to analyse and copy the inscription on my own cylinder; that on Colonel Taylor's has not yet been examined. I find in it the name of the Kouyunjik king, with those, I think, of his father and son. Other royal names are frequently repeated, and the whole appears to be some public document or historical record,41" The identification of the fragment (probably of a similar cylinder) published in Ker Porter's Travels, with the inscription on the stone in the Museum of the East India Company, containing decrees or annals of Nebuchadnezzar, renders it highly probable that these cylinders were generally used for such purposes.

In many public and private collections there are inscriptions on tiles, and on barrel-shaped cylinders of baked clay. On a tile formerly in the possession of Dr. Ross of Baghdad, and afterwards, I believe, in that of the late Mr. Steuart, there are many lines of writing, accompanied by the impression of seals, probably of attesting witnesses.42

The inscriptions on the Babylonian bricks are generally enclosed in a small square, and are formed with considerable care and nicety. They appear to have been impressed with a stamp, upon which the entire inscription, and not isolated letters, was cut in relief. This art, so nearly approaching to the modern invention of printing, is proved to have been known at a very remote epoch to the Egyptians43 and Chinese. The characters on the Assyrian bricks were made separately. Some letters may have been impressed singly by a stamp, but from the careless and irregular way in which they are formed and grouped together, it appears more probable that they were all cut with an instrument, and by the hand.44 The characters, however, on the cylinders, particularly on one or two fragments discovered at Nimroud, are so elaborately minute45, and at the same time so accurately made, that only an instrument of the most delicate construction could have produced them.

The great antiquity of carving documents on stone, is shown by the Bible. The divine commands were first given to mankind on stone tablets, and amongst all primitive nations this appears to have been considered the most appropriate and durable method of perpetuating records. The letters were evidently cut with a sharp instrument of iron, or of prepared copper. From the passage in Job46, " Oh that my words were written! that they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever! "it has been conjectured that the incised letters were filled up with lead. No remains of metal were found by me in the inscriptions; but M. Botta states, that in letters on the pavement slabs of Khorsabad, traces of copper were still evident, the stone being coloured by it.47

The cuneiform characters on most of the monuments of Assyria and Persia are formed with great neatness and care. Major Rawlinson states, that on the surface of the rock at Behistun could still be traced the remains of varnish, or some transparent substance which appears to have been laid over the whole tablet to preserve it, as far as possible, from injury, by exposure to the atmosphere. No kind of letter can be better adapted to resist the ordinary process of decay than the Assyrian when well sculptured. Simple horizontal or perpendicular lines, deeply incised, will defy for ages the effects of decay. When an inscription is so much injured, that a person unaccustomed to the examination of similar monuments, would either fail to distinguish it, or would soon abandon an attempt to copy it as hopeless, it is frequently possible, by watching the shadows thrown by the sun, to transcribe the whole. Some inscriptions, visible at certain periods of the day, entirely vanish at others, and would escape even the most experienced eye.48

The foregoing remarks will, it is hoped, have given the reader some insight into the writing of the Assyrians. It only remains for me to add that the great trilingual record of Behistun, the inscription over the tomb of Darius near the ruins of Persepolis, and various shorter and less important inscriptions in other parts of Persia, have afforded a ground-work for the investigation of the Assyrian character. From the progress already made, there is every reason to hope, that within a short period we shall be able to ascertain the general contents, if not to give accurate translations, of the numerous inscriptions which have, within the last three years, been added to the written records of the ancient world. The labour of deciphering an unknown character, probably representing an extinct dialect, if not an extinct language, is however very great. Not only is an intimate acquaintance with etymology and philology absolutely required, but at the same time considerable ingenuity, a vast deal of mere mechanical investigation, and a tedious comparison of all known inscriptions in the same character. I have already alluded to the extreme laxity prevailing in the construction, and orthography, of the language of the Assyrian inscriptions, and to the number of distinct characters which appear to make up its alphabet. Letters differing widely in their forms, and evidently the most opposite in their phonetic powers, are interchangeable. The shortest name may be written in a variety of ways; every character in it may be changed, till at last the word is so altered, that a person unacquainted with the process which it has undergone, would never suspect that the two were in fact the same. These changes will be pointed out hereafter in the name of the king who appears to have been the founder of the earliest edifice at Nimroud.

By a careful comparison of inscriptions more than once repeated, it will be found that many characters, greatly or even altogether differing in form, are only varieties or variants of the same letter. If we determine, by a process of comparison, the number of characters which have evidently the same phonetic power, and admit that many letters have, to a certain extent, a syllabic value, consonants being differently formed according to the vowel sound attached to them, the number of letters may be reduced within the compass of an alphabet.49

We derive another important aid in deciphering from the well-proved fact, that in Assyrian monumental writing it was never the custom to divide a word at the end of a line. To avoid doing so, the sculptor would carry it beyond the limits of the rest of the inscription, or would prefer finishing it on the side, or even back, of the slab. This appears also to have been frequently the case when inscriptions were carried across figures, the word not being divided, when an interruption from drapery, or other portions of the sculpture, took place. The knowledge of this fact has enabled me, by a careful comparison of the inscriptions of similar import, which are repeated on almost every slab in the earliest palace of Nimroud, to determine nearly all the words in them.50 Several proper names, in the trilingual inscriptions, particularly those of kings and countries, have given us the undoubted value of many letters, and have enabled us to find corresponding geographical names on the Assyrian monuments. We are able at the same time to prove that the name of a man51 is generally, if not always, preceded by a simple wedge, and to determine the character representing "son of," as well as that meaning a country, or denoting that the following name belongs to a people or to a nation. The names of cities, above their sculptured representations in the bas-reliefs, are also always preceded by a determinative sign.52

Such are the materials for inquiry. They are considerable; quite sufficient indeed to warrant the hope of future success, when the investigation is pursued by such men as Rawlinson, Birch, or Norris, and others, in France and Germany, no less distinguished for extensive philological acquirements, than for eminent abilities, perseverance, and ingenuity.53

I have thus placed before the reader the principal steps made towards deciphering the Assyrian inscriptions, and pointed out the amount of knowledge we possess. I will now return to the inscriptions of Nimroud, and resume the arguments afforded by them as to the comparative dates of the various buildings.

I have had frequent occasion to observe that there is scarcely a kiln- burnt brick or a stone employed in the ancient edifices of Assyria without an inscription upon it. In buildings of various epochs we find different formulae; but in every mound where there are the remains of but one building, as at Khorsabad for instance, one formula is constantly repeated, with a few unessential variations. The inscription on the bricks of the earliest palace at Nimroud, that in the north-west corner, is as follows: —

⁕ = 54 & = 55

The inscription, which is found on almost every slab in the same building, commences nearly in a similar way: —

On the bricks discovered in the centre palace we have the following inscription: —

⁕ = 56

It is evident that in these inscriptions a certain formula is repeated three times57, preceded on each occasion by a different group of characters. In the inscriptions from the earliest palace, these groups are in those from the centre and It will also be observed that, in both inscriptions, the groups before the second and third repetition of the formula, are preceded either by or by alone. On comparing the Persian trilingual inscriptions, it is found that in the Babylonian column, the names of the kings, as well as all proper names, are preceded by a simple perpendicular wedge ; and further, that replaces the "son of" of the Persian. We have, therefore, in the inscriptions given above, three names in direct descent, the last being the builder or founder of an edifice, and his name occurring on every stone and nearly every brick in it. It will also be perceived that in the inscription from the second palace, the position of two of the names occurring in the first are changed, and that the other no longer appears. The son in fact becomes the father, and the father the grandfather; Avhilst the last in the list, or the builder of the new edifice, is a name not found in the first series.

On a pavement slab in the upper chambers, to the south of the north-west palace58, we have a further list of names of considerable importance; for not only do four appear in genealogical series, thus confirming our first conjecture, but two new names are added.

⁕ = 59 and † = 60

We have thus six generations, three kings — the third, the fourth, and the sixth, having been founders of buildings at Nimroud.

There can be little doubt that the names are those of kings. In the first place, the groups following them can be shown, by referring to the trilingual inscriptions, to be royal titles; and secondly, the interpretation of the legends on the Babylonian bricks, and analogous discoveries in Egypt, prove that it was customary to impress the name of the king upon the materials used in public edifices. Besides, a name of such common and general occurrence can hardly be that of a private individual.

In the inscription on the slab opposite wall k, in the south-west palace61, we have a new name accompanied by royal titles, 62; and I think I can distinguish that of the father, if not that of the grandfather also, of the monarch. The inscription, however, from the injuries the slab has sustained, requires a more careful examination than I have yet been able to give it. There can be no doubt that it was brought from elsewhere, with other materials used in the construction of the building in which it was found. It did not belong to either the palace in the north-west, or in the centre of the mound; for not only is the name new, but the peculiar arrangement of the wedges in the characters, point to a different and more recent period than that of the erection of those edifices.

Behind the bulls and lions in the south-west palace, as well as on baked bricks from the same building, we have the following highly important genealogical series.

† = 63


The first name is identical with that of the king who founded the earliest palace at Nimroud, but those of his father and grandfather do not occur elsewhere in the ruins. The name of the father is, however, found on the bricks, and in the inscriptions from Kouyunjik, and that of the grandfather on the monuments of Khorsabad.64 We are consequently able to fix the comparative period of both these buildings, with reference to the most recent palace at Nimroud. And this direct proof afforded by the genealogy is confirmed by the identity of style in the sculptures, and in the form of the letters used in the inscriptions from the three buildings — so much so, that long before the discovery of the ruins of Kouyunjik, and those in the south-west palace of Nimroud, I conjectured, from the examination of mere fragments from them, that they belonged to the same period as Khorsabad.

We have thus, in the foregoing inscriptions, the names of ten, if not twelve, kings; the first six in genealogical series, the seventh standing by itself, and the last three again showing a direct descent, but unconnected with any of the previous. I have already mentioned the tablet in the tunnel of Negoub, which was unfortunately destroyed before I was able to obtain an accurate copy of the inscription upon it.65 On examining, after my return to England, the fragment that the little light in the place permitted me to transcribe, and which before appeared to be almost unintelligible, I find a genealogical list, and I think I recognise the names of the Kouyunjik king, of the founder of Khorsabad, and of his father66, and perhaps even his grand father. But the ends of the lines have been destroyed, and the series is consequently interrupted. The two additional names are (line interrupted), and 67 The forms of the characters are those of the late Assyrian period.

Although the evidence afforded by the two additional names in this inscription is entitled to considerable weight, I will not dwell upon it. Placing only one name between each of the kings in the three distinct series given above, and supposing these kings to have succeeded one another, we have eight generations between the founder of the first edifice and the last, or in all ten. If we allow, as is usual, thirty years to a generation, we have a lapse of 300 years. The first palace could not, therefore, have been founded later than about 900 years before Christ.

But there are several circumstances which seem to prove, that a very long interval elapsed between the construction of the palaces in the north and centre of the mound, and that at the south-west corner. The latter is chiefly built, as I have had frequent occasion to remark, of slabs taken from the others; but there are, at the same time, sculptures and inscriptions in this edifice evidently coming from some ruin not yet discovered, and differing in many respects from those known to exist in any other building at Nimroud. These edifices appear, from, the frequent repetition of the figures of the gods, to have been either temples, or, as there is reason to believe was the case in Egypt, royal residences combined with those of the gods. It may, therefore, reasonably be conjectured that a considerable period elapsed before a monarch pulled down the sacred buildings of kings of his own race and faith, to raise out of the materials a new habitation for himself or his divinities. A contrary supposition would be opposed to all we know of the religious feelings and prejudices of the ancients. The buildings destroyed must either have belonged to so remote a period, that not only all remembrance of those who erected them had passed away, which was not likely to have been the case in Assyria, as the written character was still preserved, or a new religion had been introduced with a new dynasty.

That a new race, with new forms of worship, had succeeded to the original inhabitants of the country; or, what is more probable, that a new dynasty had taken the place of the old, seems to be shown by the monuments themselves. There are remarkable differences between the sculptures from the earliest palace of Nimroud, and those from Khorsabad. The costumes change; the forms of the chariots, the trappings of the horses, the helmets and armour of the warriors are no longer the same. The mode of treatment of the subjects, the nature of the sculpture, and the forms of the characters used in the inscriptions, vary essentially. At Khorsabad, and Kouyunjik we find no traces of the religious emblems so frequent in the sculptures of the north-west palace of Nimroud. The emblem of the great divinity, the winged figure within the circle, has never been found at Khorsabad, Kouyunjik, or in the latest palaces of Mmroud. From the frequent representations of the fire-altar in the bas-reliefs from those ruins, and on cylinders evidently of the same period, there is reason to believe that a fire-worship had succeeded to the purer forms of Saba3anism. The language, too, of the earliest inscriptions, appears to vary essentially from that used in the latest. Major Rawlinson is of opinion that, whilst the language spoken by the builders of the most ancient Assyrian monuments was far removed from the Chaldee of a known historic period, that of the inscriptions of Khorsabad approaches very closely to the Babylonian dialect; which again is nearly allied to the Chaldee of sacred literature, and of the Sadr of the Saba3ans. Indeed it may be foreseen, that the reading of the early Nimroud inscriptions will be a task of no easy accomplishment, and will be best arrived at by a prior knowledge of the contents of those of Khorsabad.

All these facts lead to the belief that the palaces at Khorsabad and Kouyunjik, and in the south-west corner of the mound of Nimroud, were built by a later race or dynasty of kings. It is not indeed impossible, but on the contrary there are circumstances to lead to the conjecture, that the edifices in one part of the mound of Nimroud were already in ruins, and buried under ground, before those in another part were founded. The flooring, or foundations, of the southwest palace is on a level with the tops of the walls of the north-west, and of the centre palaces. It is not probable that an edifice should have been erected adjoining the ruins of a more ancient, and so much above it, that the artificial mound must have been carried up to the level of the roof of the ruined building. It would moreover appear, from a peculiar depression in the mound, that when the slabs of the northern wall of the great hall (B, in plan 3.) were carried away for the construction of the south-west palace, excavations were made to reach them. It may be mentioned as a curious fact to corroborate this supposition, that two of the slabs68 had fallen back from their places, not into the room, but into the place where the wall of sun-dried bricks, of which they had originally formed the casing, ought to have been; so that this wall must have been removed. On examining the ruins carefully, it appeared to me as if the builders of the most recent palace, having found a suitable position for an edifice on the artificial elevation at Nimroud, and discovering that remains were buried in it, enlarged the mound by adding to it on the south side. Having raised this new platform to the height of the ruins, covered, as they then were, with earth, they built upon it, digging, for their materials, into the old palaces. And it may be remarked, as almost conclusive evidence that the palaces of different periods were not standing at the same time, that whilst the most recent building at Nimroud had been completely destroyed by fire, the north-west and centre palaces had not been exposed to a conflagration, nor are there any traces of smoke, or of the action of fire, in any part of these buildings. It will be remembered that Khorsabad, Kouyunjik, and the south-western palace of Nimroud, all edifices of the same period, owe their destruction to the same cause. It would appear, therefore, that the monuments of the latter dynasty were destroyed at a different time, and altogether in a different manner from those of the first, which must have been concealed to escape the same fate. These are important facts in our inquiry, and may be connected with the assertion of Diodorus, that on the taking of Nineveh by the Medes, under Arbaces, the city was destroyed; or with the usual historical account of the death of Sardanapalus, about 876 or 868 years before Christ.69

The north-west palace, if already in ruins or buried, must have been partly uncovered, perhaps excavated for materials, in the time of the Khorsabad king; because there was in one of the chambers, as I have already mentioned70, an inscription commencing with his name, cut above the usual standard inscription. It has every appearance of having been placed there to commemorate the re-opening, discovery, or re-occupation of the building. Moreover, the vases bearing the name of this king, and found in the rubbish above the chambers, must be of the same period. The ivory ornaments I conjecture to be cotemporaneous with the vases, and so also most of the small objects found in the edifice. And if this fact be established, we may obtain important chronological data; for if the name in the cartouche could be satisfactorily deciphered, and identified with that of any Egyptian king, or with that of any Assyrian king whose place in history can be determined, we should be able at once to decide the period of the reign of the Khorsabad king, and of his successors.

As the name cannot yet be determined, Mr. Birch, in a memoir read before the Royal Society of Literature, has endeavoured to fix the age of the ivories by "their artistic style, by philological peculiarities, and by the political relations between Egypt and Assyria."71 He well observes, that the style is not purely Egyptian, although it shows very close imitation of Egyptian workmanship, and this must strike any one who examines these fragments. The solar disc and plumes surmounting the cartouche, appear to have been first used in the time of the 18th dynasty, in the reign of Thotlimes III., and are found above the names of kings as late as the Persian occupation of Egypt. The head attire of the king bears some resemblance to that of Amenophis III. at Karnak, and the kheppr, or helmet, also appears at the commencement of the 18th dynast}7; the absence of peaked sandals, and the masses of locks of side hair, may possibly have been the fashion of the 22nd dynasty.

As to the evidence afforded by the philological construction, and the employment of certain letters, all the symbols, except one, appear to have been in use from the earliest period in Egypt; the exceptional symbol, the u, was introduced generally in the time of the 18th dynasty. Mr. Birch concludes, that the time of the 22nd dynasty would well suit the cartouche, if stress may be laid upon certain philological peculiarities.

We have next the evidence of political intercourse between the two countries, as showing at what period it is likely that by trade or otherwise, articles of Egyptian manufacture may have been carried into Assyria, or Egyptian workmen may have sought employment in the Assyrian cities. It has already been shown that from the commencement of the 18th dynasty a close intercourse had already commenced, — chiefly, it would appear, by conquest; as the monuments of that period frequently allude to the subjugation of the countries on the borders of the Euphrates.72 But it is about the time of the 21st dynasty of Tanite kings, that the relations between the two countries seem to have been most fully established, and that more than a common connection had sprung up between them. Mr. Birch has discovered, and pointed out, the remarkable evidence afforded by the names of male and female members of this, and the following dynasty, which are evidently of Semitic, and even of Assyrian origin. Those of many of the kings of the 22nd, or Bubastite, dynasty, are the most remarkable instances. We have Sheshank, his sons Shapud and Osorchon, Nimrot, the son of Osorchon II., Takilutha or Takellothis, Nimrot, the son of Takellothis II., and the names of queens, Lekamat or Rekamat73, Karmain or Kalmirn, daughter of the Prince Nimroud and Tatepor. The two first, Sheshank and Shapud, and the names of the queens, Mr. Birch shows, are not referable to Egyptian roots, but follow the analogy of Assyrian names. Osorchon he identifies with the Assyrian Sargon74, Nimrot with Nimrod, and Takilutha with Tiglath; a word which enters into the composition of the name of the Assyrian monarch, Tiglath Pileser.

It is highly probable, therefore, that at this period, the reign of the 22nd dynasty, very intimate relations existed between Egypt and the countries to the north east of it. Solomon had married a daughter of an Egyptian monarch75, and Jeroboam fled to the court of King Shishak.76 The same alliances, therefore, may have been formed between the most powerful monarchs of the time — those of Assyria and Egypt. The two countries appear then to have been at peace, and in friendly communication; for we have no notice in the Bible of wars between the Assyrians and Egyptians at this period, nor does Naharaina appear amongst the numerous conquests of Shishak. As their battle-ground would probably have been some part of Syria, and the troops of one of the two nations would have marched through the Jewish territories, some record of the event would have been preserved by the sacred writers. The monuments of this dynasty do not contain any notice of triumphs and conquests to the east of the Euphrates. During this period of intimate alliance, the Assyrian monarchs may have adopted Egyptian names or prenomens, or may have employed Egyptian artists to record their names and titles in the sacred characters of Egypt. It is is even possible that this connection may account for the appearance of Egyptian names in the lists of Assyrian kings.77

Thus the evidence afforded by the artistic style of the cartouches, and by their philological peculiarities, as well as by the principal period of political and commercial intercourse between the two people, appears to coincide, and points to the 22nd dynasty, or 980 B. C., as the most probable period of the ivories. At the same time it must be observed that there is no argument against their being attributed to the 18th dynasty.

Mr. Birch reads the name upon the entire cartouche, Aubnu-ra, or Auvnu-ra78, which, if a mere Egyptian word, Would mean the shining sun. He observes, " There is no especial deity of the Egyptian pantheon called Ubnu; yet, as this word is constructed in the same manner as the names of Egyptian deities, it may be that of an Assyrian deity, translated or transcribed into hieroglyphics. The name of Cannes, the Chaldaean God, half man, half fish, is the nearest approximation to it of the Assyrian names that have reached us There is another hypothesis applicable to this cartouche: that it represents the name of an Assyrian king transcribed into hieroglyphics. In order to identify it, if possible, with such a name, I have collated it carefully with the lists of names of Assyrian monarchs which have reached us, from Eusebius, the Syncellus, Moses of Chorene, and other chronographists of a later period." But he has been unable to identify it with any authentic name in those lists. " The name," Mr. Birch concludes, " is not philologically composed like the name of a king; and if it is supposed to be a prænomen, which the Assyrian monarch might have assumed in imitation of his Egyptian cotemporaries, there is scarcely one in the whole Egyptian series constructed in the same manner; for in these the disk of the sun is universally placed first. It is much more probable that it is a praBnoinen, than a name; in which case the fragment of the other name, in the second cartouche, might be the name of the monarch."

Unfortunately only half the panel containing this second cartouche has been preserved. Three symbols, reading NTA, or NATH, as the end of some Assyrian name, alone remain. On a fragment of ivory, not belonging to either of the cartouches, are two hieroglyphics, a duckling and the water-line, which ^Ir. Birch reads UN, and conjectures to be part of the name of an Assyrian deity.

In conclusion, Mr. Birch admits that the names of two Egyptian kings correspond, in a remarkable degree, with those in the Nimroud cartouches — the one being Ra-ubn, the shining sun, and the word ubn forming part of the other. But the following objections to their identity occur to him, viz.: " that the monarchs of this dynasty are anterior to the 18th, and were ephemeral rulers, whose reigns varied from a few months to only four years, showing either an epoch of political confusion, or a series of reigns improperly recorded. Now the Nimroud cartouche can hardly be referred to so early a period, although the Hykshos invasion is considered by some to be represented by this part of the canon. These kings cannot be connected with the shepherds. There is one period which cannot be omitted in the consideration of these Assyrian cartouches — that of the worship of the A ten, or sun's disk, introduced during the 18th dynasty; but there is no internal evidence that the kings of this dynasty were Assyrians." May not this very confusion indicate a foreign conquest — one of the Assyrian occupations of Egypt hinted at by Chaldee and Greek authors? And is it not a remarkable coincidence, that we have continual representations of the disk of the sun, as an object of worship, on the earliest monuments of Nineveh?

The attempt to connect the names of many Egyptian and Assyrian divinities has already been frequently made.79 I will only allude to one, whose Assyrian origin is generally admitted, and whose appearance on the monuments of Egypt affords important evidence in an inquiry into the date of the Assyrian edifices. I mean the goddess Ken80, the Astarte, Astaroth, Mylitta, and Alitta of the Assyrians, Syrians, and Arabs.81 This divinity appears to have been introduced into the Egyptian pantheon in the time of the 18th dynasty, or at the commencement of the close connection between Assyria and Egypt. On comparing a representation of the goddess in the rock sculptures of Malthaiyah, with an Egyptian bas-relief in the British Museum, it will be seen that the mode of treating the subject is nearly the same. In both we have a female standing on a lion. The Egyptian figure holds two snakes and a flower, the stalks of which are twisted into the form of a ring; the Assyrian carries a ring alone. The flower resembles that borne by the winged figures in the palace of Khorsabad, and is not found in the edifices of the first Assyrian period — where the flowers in the hands of similar figures are of a different shape.82

In the Egyptian bas-relief, of which I give a woodcut, the goddess is naked; but she is sometimes found clothed, as in Assyria. In the earliest palace of Nimroud, I discovered two representations of the same divinity, both differing entirely from those of the rock sculptures of Malthaiyah. The figure was not placed upon a lion; but the posture clearly pointed out the peculiar form of worship over which the goddess presided, the lower part of the person being obviously exposed. The Egyptian Ken appears, therefore, to be connected with the second, and not the first, mode of representation which prevailed in Assyria.83

But if the Egyptians borrowed from the Assyrians, the emblems of Egypt were also carried to the eastward; and, it would appear, about the same time. The monuments of the second Assyrian period are characterised by more than one Egyptian peculiarity. The crux ansata, the tau or sign of life, is found on the sculptures of Khorsabad84, on the ivories from Nimroud, which, as I have shown, are of the same age, carried too by an Assyrian king, and on cylinders evidently of the later Assyrian period.85 At Kouyunjik the lotus was introduced as an architectural ornament upon pavement slabs, between the bulls forming the entrances, and apparently on cornices, fragments of which were found in the rubbish at the foot of the mound. In the latest palace at Nimroud, were the crouching sphinxes with the beardless human head86; we have also the vases of Egyptian form, inscribed with the name of the Khorsabad king. About the same time were probably introduced the scarabæi, engraved with Assyrian emblems and characters, not unfrequently found in Assyrian ruins.87 It is probable also that the singular grotesque head carved in a yellow silex, placed by me in the British Museum, and discovered in the mound of Nebbi Yunus, near Kouyunjik, is of the same period; and an imitation of the head of the Egyptian deity, which some believe to represent death.88

Before leaving the subject of the connection between Egypt and Assyria, it may not be out of place to allude to the insertion of names, apparently of Egyptian origin, in the lists of Assyrian kings. In the dynastic list of the Syncellus, for instance, we have a Sethos; and Pliny mentions an Assyrian king called Horus.89 It is difficult to say how these lists were drawn up; but it is not impossible that there may have been some traditionary evidence at least to support them, and that this appearance of Egyptian names may point to a closer connection with Egypt than history has recorded. If, in the dynasties of Egypt, whose authenticity is admitted, we find Assyrian names, why should we altogether reject Egyptian names, merely because they are Egyptian, when they occur in the dynasties of Assyria?90

The various statements of ancient authors, as to the epoch of Ninus, remain to be considered. According to the fragments of Ctesias, preserved by Diodorus Siculus, there were thirty-three kings from the accession of that monarch to the fall of the empire, whose reigns occupied 1306 years, and ended 876 B. c. Diodorus himself acquiesces in this date, and Ctesias is followed by many writers, amongst them Strabo and Abydenus. Castor brings the empire down to 843 before Christ; and he reckons 1280 years from the first Ninus, to a second who succeeded Sardanapalus. According to Eusebius, 1240 years elapsed between Ninus and Sardanapalus, during which time reigned thirty-six Assyrian kings, fixing the fall of the empire at 819 B. C. The Syncellus places that event 826 years B. C., after the duration of the empire for 1460 years.91 The fall of Nineveh mentioned by these authors occurred, therefore, much earlier than the destruction of the city recorded in Scripture, which must be attributed to the joint expedition of Cyaxares and Nabopolassar; undertaken, as it has been shown, about 606 B. c. The event alluded to by Ctesias and his followers may refer to the revolt of the Medes, and not to the final overthrow of the Assyrian empire. Some violent political convulsion probably took place when Arbaces enabled the Medes to assert their independence — the reigning Assyrian dynasty may have been changed, and the old Assyrian empire really brought to an end.92

Clinton, after a careful examination of the statements of the Greek writers, and after comparing them with the Scriptures, thus fixes the dates of the principal events of Assyrian history: —

(Ninus, B.C. 2182.) Years. B.C.
     Assyrian monarchy 1306 years before the Empire 675 1912
     During the Empire, 24 Kings 526 1237
(Sardanapalus, B.C. 876.)    
     After the Empire, 6 Kings 105   711


     Capture of Nineveh   606 93


There are indeed sufficient grounds for the conjecture that there were two, if not more, distinct Assyrian dynasties — the first commencing with Ninus, and ending with a Sardanapalus of history; and the second, including the kings mentioned in the Scriptures, and ending with Saracus, Ninus II., or the king, under whatever name he was known, in whose reign Nineveh was finally destroyed by the combined armies of Persia and Babylon. In history we have apparently twice recorded the destruction of the Assyrian capital; and two monarchs, first Sardanapalus, and then Saracus, are declared to have burnt themselves in their palaces94 rather than fall into the hands of their enemies.95

⁕ = 97

To the tombs, in the earth covering the remains of the north-west, centre, and south-east edifices at Nimroud, I cannot at present assign any date; and, until the vases, and other objects, found in them are examined in England, I would hesitate to found an argument upon their presence. They undoubtedly prove that, at a very early period, the ruins were completely buried, and the contents of the mounds unknown.96 The cartouches, ivory ornaments, and other objects, found still lower in the ruins, are sufficient to mark the period of the destruction of the building. I will only allude to the resemblance between the vases, necklaces, and ornaments from the sepulchres of Nimroud, and those discovered in Egyptian tombs. The small crouching lion in lapis lazuli, a sitting figure of the same material, the beads, the forms of the vases, are all purely Egyptian,98 Had they been placed in the hands of any antiquary, not acquainted with the circumstances of their discovery, he would not. I am convinced, have hesitated to assign to them an Egyptian origin. Two or three purely Assyrian cylinders were also discovered in the tombs. Who the people were that buried their dead above the Assyrian palaces, I cannot venture at present to decide. They were not Christians, nor did they profess the Magian doctrines as taught in the time of the Sassanian kings. The inhabitants of ancient Assyria, neither during the supremacy of the Parthian Arsacida3, of the Romans, or of the Greeks, maintained that close connection with Egypt which would have led to such general use of Egyptian symbols, or objects of Egyptian manufacture. Nor is the mode of burial Egyptian; it more nearly resembles that adopted by the early Persians. Cyrus and Darius were buried in sarcophagi, or troughs; Darius in one of Egyptian alabaster.99 From the fact that tombs were found in all the most ancient ruins of Assyria, over the north-west, centre, and south-east edifices at Mmroud, at Kalah Sherghat, and Baasheikha, and not at Khorsabad, Kouyunjik, or over the south-west palace at Nimroud, it might be conjectured that they belonged to an intermediate people or race, who occupied Assyria after the building of the most ancient palaces, and before the foundation of the most recent. The close connection between Assyria and Egypt, during the time of the 18th, and four subsequent Egyptian dynasties, is naturally called to our recollection. But in the present state of our knowledge, it would be too hazardous to assign so remote an antiquity to these remains; for by doing so we must, of course, assume, that the ruins beneath are even some centuries more ancient. I will, however, attempt, to show, that there is nothing inconsistent with either history or tradition in the supposition, that these buried edifices belong to a very early period. I will not lay any stress upon the contents of the tombs; they may have been brought from elsewhere; and it is not impossible that they may belong to the time of the first Persian occupation, or perhaps even to the second; although the absence of coins and gems of that period is opposed to this supposition.100

It may, I think, be proved, from the facts which I have stated, that a very considerable period elapsed between the construction of the earliest and latest palaces, discovered at Nimroud. On the most moderate calculation, we may assign a date of 1100 or 1200 years before Christ, to the erection of the most ancient; but the probability is, that it is much more ancient. As I have already observed, there is nothing in history, either sacred or profane, or in the traditions handed down to us, against attributing the highest antiquity to the Assyrian empire. In the land of Shinar, in the country watered by the Tigris and Euphrates, the Scripture places the earliest habitations of the human race. Whether we look upon that statement as the result of divine inspiration, or whether we consider it as the record of a tradition, or an historical fact received by the Hebrew legislator from elsewhere, still we have the evidence that at the very earliest period, the belief was generally current, both amongst Egyptians and Jews, that the first settlements were in Assyria; and that from Chaldaea, civilisation, and the arts and sciences were spread over the world.101 Abraham and his family, above 1900 years before Christ, migrated from a land already thickly inhabited, and possessing great cities. According to Josephus, the four confederate kings, who marched in the time of the patriarch against the people of Sodom, and the neighbouring cities, were under a king of Assyria, whose empire extended over all Asia,102 Most of the early Greek authors, and those who have followed them, recognising a tradition which appears to have been generally prevalent, agree in assigning to the first kings of Nineveh the remotest antiquity; and in this they are confirmed by the Armenian historians. Their united testimony even tends to identify or to confound Ninus, the first king, with Nimrod himself, or with one of the immediate descendants of the scriptural Noah.103 Herodotus, who is quoted to disprove the antiquity of Ninus, merely states that the Assyrians had been in possession of Upper Asia for a period of 520 years, when the Medes first revolted and established their independence,104 If we place this event about B. C. 710, and assume that Herodotus alludes to the founding of Nineveh, when he fixes the date of 520 years to the Assyrian domination in Upper Asia, then we must conclude that the Ninus who gave his name to the city did not flourish earlier than the 13th century before Christ.105 But the meaning of the historian is doubtful; for he appears to reckon, not from the first establishment of a monarchy in Assyria, but from the time that the Assyrians were sufficiently powerful to extend their empire over other parts of Asia. I may mention as a curious fact, first called to my attention by Major Rawlinson, but which, it must be admitted, requires further corroboration, that — whilst, in the inscriptions from the earliest edifices at Nimroud, Assyria alone is included in the dominions of the king, — in those from Khorsabad and subsequent edifices, Babylonia, Armenia, and other countries are enumerated.

But if the inscriptions of Egypt are correctly interpreted, we have distinct evidence that Nineveh was standing long before the period assigned to its foundation, on the supposed evidence of Herodotus. The name is found in the celebrated statistical tablet of Karnak. Mr. Birch, in his observations on that tablet106, observes: "The word Nen-i-iu has been recognised as the celebrated Nineveh on the Tigris, by Champollion. The identification of this name is not perfectly satisfactory; for as it commences the line, it is possible that it may be the termination of the name of some fort or place. As it stands, it coincides with this city, while the return of the king southwards, towards Naharaina107, quite concurs with its position." It may be further mentioned, in support of the reading, that in the same tablet we have the name of Babylon, which has not been found in any other Egyptian inscription. If this name, therefore, be that of Nineveh, it occurs on a monument of the reign of Thothmes III., about 1490 years before Christ; and the arguments, founded upon the apparent testimony of Herodotus, at once fall to the ground.108

There is no reason why we should not assign to Assyria the same remote antiquity we claim for Egypt. The monuments of Egypt prove that she did not stand alone in civilisation and power. At the earliest period we find her contending with enemies, already nearly, if not fully, as powerful as herself; and amongst the spoil from Asia, and the articles of tribute brought by subdued nations from the north-east, are vases as elegant in shape, stuffs as rich in texture, and chariots as well adapted to war as her own. It is not improbable that she herself was indebted to the nations of Western Asia for the introduction of arts in which they excelled, and that many things in common use were brought from the banks of the Tigris. In fact, to reject the notion of the existence of an independent kingdom in Assyria, at the very earliest period, would be almost to question whether the country were inhabited; which would be directly in opposition to the united testimony of Scripture and tradition. A doubt may be entertained as to the dynasties, and extent of the empire, but not as to its existence. That it was not peopled by mere wandering tribes, appears to be proved by the frequent mention of expeditions against Naharaina (Mesopotamia), on the earliest monuments of Egypt, and the nature of the spoil brought from the country. Fourteen hundred years before Christ, Chushan-rishathaim, a king of Mesopotamia109, subdued the Israelites. Other kings were established in the surrounding countries; all perhaps tributaries to the Assyrians. But Naharaina appears to have been the extent of the Egyptian conquests, the Egyptian kings being frequently declared to have put up the tablets of the boundaries of their empire in that country. That the Assyrian kingdom may not have been known much beyond its limits until the time of its greatest prosperity, when it had extended its rule over the greater part of Asia, is highly probable; and this would account for the silence of the Jewish writers, and for the absence of its name in most ancient Egyptian inscriptions.

With our present limited knowledge of the Assyrian character, it would be hazardous to attempt the identification of the names in the Greek and Armenian lists of kings, with those in the Assyrian inscriptions; nor would I venture upon an experiment so often tried, as that of constructing a system of chronology upon these dynastic lists. I will only allude to the assertion of many writers of antiquity, that Troy was an Assyrian dependency. Memnon appears at the siege of that city, with the 20,000 men, and 200 chariots, sent by the Assyrian king to the assistance of the Trojans. This king, according to Ctesias, Eusebius, and the commentators, was Teutames; whom Diodorus makes the 20th, Eusebius the 26th, and Ctesias the 25th in direct descent from Ninus. Their evidence again leads back to the earlier date for the foundation of Nineveh, to about 2100 years before Christ. According to Plato, Troy was within the dominions of the king of Assyria.110 Eusebius, quoting from the works of ancient authors, mentions its dependency upon that monarch. On the authority of Cephalion, he even relates the terms in which Priam applied to his Assyrian suzerain for assistance,111

An attempt to prove that the earliest palace of Nimroud was founded by the Ninus who gave his name to the Assyrian capital, might not be altogether unsupported by plausible arguments. I hesitate at present to decide upon Major Rawlinson's identification of the name which occurs in the inscriptions, with that of the Ninus of history; although any suggestion coming from such an authority must be entitled to the greatest respect. This name, it will be remembered, is

When the ruins at Nimroud were first discovered, I conjectured, from the frequent recurrence of these characters both on the sculptures and on the bricks, that they must represent the name of the king. I submitted them to Major Rawlinson, and he was led to believe, from a nearly similar word corresponding in the Babylonian column of the trilingual inscriptions, to the name of Assyria in the Persian, that in the inscriptions of Nimroud the country also was meant, and that they began, " I the king of Assyria," or with some such formula. When the genealogical series commencing the inscriptions was determined, it became evident that this was a name, and it was not unnatural to connect it with the Asshur of Genesis.112 Subsequently I found, from a comparison of numerous inscriptions, that the word was written indifferently


the first and last of the three letters being resolvable into the same letter. The power of is from independent sources conjectured to be that of an n, and appears to have nearly the same phonetic power.114

The ruins themselves furnish additional evidence in support of assigning this building to the Ninus to whom tradition, at least, attributes the foundation of the Assyrian capital, and from whom the city took its name. It may be mentioned, in the first place, that the north-west edifice at Nimroud, built by is the most ancient hitherto discovered in Assyria; and as all the great ruins on the site of Nineveh have now been partially explored, it may be presumed that no earlier building of this nature exists. 2dly, According to Castor, the last Assyrian king, or one of the last, of the second dynasty, perhaps the Saracus of Abydenus, was called Ninus II.115 It will be remembered, that the names of the builders of the most ancient and recent edifices discovered in Assyria, are identical; and from the appearance of the south-western building of Nimroud, there is every reason to believe that it was destroyed before completed. It may, consequently, be conjectured to have been the last of the Assyrian palaces. 3rdly, Diodorus Siculus states, that in the palace of Ninus or Semiramis, at Babylon, were represented various hunting scenes, in which the queen was seen throwing a javelin at a panther, and Ninus as transfixing a lion with a lance. It is remarkable that whilst at Khorsabad and Kouyunjik such representations have not been discovered,, they abound in the earliest palace at Nimroud; not only forming separate bas-reliefs, but being constantly introduced into the embroideries on the robes of the principal figures. 4thly, Ctesias, and several writers, speak of the Bactrian, and Indian expedition of Ninus and Semiramis. The obelisk discovered at Nimroud belongs to the period of the earliest palace, having, it appears, been erected by the son of the founder of that building; upon it are represented the Bactrian camel, the elephant, and the rhinoceros, all animals from India and central Asia, brought as tribute by a conquered people to the king.

Even if his father and grandfather were called in the inscriptions "kings of Nineveh," Ninus himself may still have founded and given his name to the city.116 Eusebius, after Abydenus, names six kings as the predecessors of this Ninus117; although by giving the name of Nineveh to the capital, he evidently assigns its foundation to him. This king may have been the first to build monuments, such as those recently discovered; or, he may have first used inscriptions and sculptures for monumental records; or, as Moses of Chorene states, Ninus may have displaced a more ancient dynasty, and, jealous of its glory, and wishing to appear to posterity as the founder of the race, and the origin of its arts and civilisation, may have destroyed all the monuments of his predecessors.118 This statement of the Armenian historian, from the advanced state of art shown in the most ancient edifices of Assyria, is not altogether unworthy of credit.

In conclusion, it may appear from the preceding remarks —

1st. That there are buildings in Assyria which so far differ in their sculptures, in their mythological and sacred symbols, and in the character and language of their inscriptions, as to lead to the inference that there were at least two distinct periods of Assyrian history. We may moreover conclude, that either the people inhabiting the country at those distinct periods were of different races, or of different branches of the same race; or that by intermixture with foreigners, perhaps Egyptians, great changes had taken place in their language, religion, and customs, between the building of the first palace of Nimroud, and that of the edifices at Khorsabad and Kouyunjik.

2nd. That the names of the kings on the monuments, show a lapse even of some centuries, between the foundation of the most ancient and most recent of these edifices.

3rd. That from the symbols introduced into the sculptures of the second Assyrian period, and from the Egyptian character of the small objects found in the earth, above the ruins of the buildings of the oldest period, there was a close connection with Egypt, either by conquest or friendly intercourse, between the time of the erection of the earliest and latest palaces; and that the monuments of Egypt, the names of kings in certain Egyptian dynasties, the ivories from Nimroud, the introduction of several Assyrian divinities into the Egyptian pantheon, and other evidence, point to the 14th century as the probable time of the commencement, and the 9th as the period of the termination, of that intercourse.119

4th. That the earlier palaces of Nimroud were already in ruins, and buried before the foundation of the later; and that it is probable they may have been thus destroyed about the time of the 14th Egyptian dynasty.

5th. That the existence of two distinct dynasties in Assyria, and the foundation, about two thousand years before Christ, of an Assyrian monarchy, may be inferred from the testimony of the most ancient authors; and is in accordance with the evidence of Scripture, and of Egyptian monuments.

I cannot pretend to draw any positive conclusions from the data that I have attempted to bring together. It has been my object to place before the reader the facts which have been afforded by the examination of the ruins — facts, which, it must be admitted, will go far towards enabling us ultimately to form some opinion as to the comparative, if not the positive, date of these newly discovered monuments. I trust that I have at least succeeded in showing, that there are grounds for admitting the possibility of the very early origin of some of these edifices; and that there is nothing in the discoveries hitherto made inconsistent with the early date which the dynastic lists, and the statements of ancient authors, would assign to the foundation of Nineveh. The subject is new, and has not yet been illustrated by the remains of the people themselves. The vast ruins of Egypt — its written and sculptured records — have enabled the antiquarian to enlarge, and rectify, the notices preserved to us through the Greeks and Romans; but hitherto Assyria has furnished no such materials. Their very absence has compelled us to neglect a branch of inquiry, replete with interest as connected with Biblical study, and with the history of the human race. Further researches will probably lead to the discovery of additional monuments and inscriptions, adding to the great mass of materials which in the last three years has been placed in our possession. It would scarcely be reasonable or consistent, after what has already been done, to discard all evidence of the antiquity of the Assyrian empire, because there are discrepancies in the statements of such authors as Ctesias, Eusebius, and the Syncellus; and at the same time to found arguments against that antiquity upon an isolated and doubtful passage in Herodotus, or upon the absence of the mention of an early Assyrian king in the Scriptures.



1) I need scarcely mention the admirable work of Sir Gardner Wilkinson, in which he has availed himself of the paintings, sculptures, and monuments of the ancient Egyptians to restore their manners and customs, and to place their public and private life before us, as fully as if they still occupied the banks of the Nile. I shall frequently have occasion to refer to it in the course of this and the following chapters.

2) These remarks are necessary, as there is an impression that an approximate date can be assigned to the monuments discovered at Nimroud from the style of art of the sculptures. (See a letter of Mr. Westmacott in the Athenaeum of 7th August, 1847.)

3) See particularly Ezekiel, ch. xxxi.

4) Cyrop. 1. iii. c. 4. — "After this defeat the Persians retired, and the Greeks, marching the rest of the day without disturbance, came to the river Tigris, where stood a large uninhabited city, called Larissa, anciently inhabited by the Medes."

5) Strabo, lib. xvi. Herodotus appears to allude to it as a city that formerly existed. (Lib. i. c. 193.) Clement of Alexandria, in his commentaries on Nahum, confirms the account of Lucan of its utter destruction. The Nineveh of Tacitus (Annal. 1. xii. 13.) and Ammianus Marcellinus (1. xviii. c. 7.), was a modern city built near or on the ruins of the ancient.

6) I allude to the vases with the names of the Persian kings in hieroglyphics, as well as in cuneiform characters. One at Venice bears the name of Artaxerxes; that usually known as Caylus's vase, in the National Library, at Paris, the name of Xerxes.

7) I use the term Median, however inapplicable, because it has generally been adopted.

8) The evidence afforded as to the exact date of the destruction of Nineveh by the concurrent evidence of Scripture and Herodotus, is thus collected by Clinton (Fasti Hellenici, vol. i. p. 269.): — "The overthrow of Nineveh did not happen before the death of Josiah king of Judah in B. C. 609, because a king of Assyria is mentioned at that period; and Zephaniah, in the prophecy delivered in the reign of Josiah, predicts the destruction of Nineveh as a future event. The sum of the argument is this: From the age of Tobit it appears that Nineveh was standing in B.C. 610. For he became blind in the year 710, and survived that accident 100 years; and yet he died before the fall of Nineveh. But a prophecy of Jeremiah, written in the first year of the captivity, B.C. 605, seems to imply that the city was then destroyed; for in the particular enumeration of all the kings of the north far and near, and all the kingdoms of the world, &c., Assyria and Nineveh are not named. The testimony of Scripture, then, decides that the city was captured, and the Assyrian monarchy destroyed, certainly after B.C. 609, and probably before B.C. 605. Herodotus brings the date to a narrower point. Cyaxares prepared to revenge his father's death upon the Assyrians, but was interrupted by the Scythians, who held Asia for twenty-eight years. After their expulsion Cyaxares conquered the Assyrians. But as the Scythians were not expelled till B. c. 607, the capture of Nineveh could not occur till B c. 606; and this date, obtained from Herodotus, is remarkably consistent with the accounts of Scripture." According to the Seder-Olam (c. 24, 25.), the fall of Nineveh would have occurred about this time; and upon its authority M. Freret (Mem. de Lit. tires des Registres de 1'Academic, vol. vii. p. 538.) places the event in 608 B. c.

9) "After possessing the dominion of Asia for twenty-eight years, the Scythians lost all they had obtained by their licentiousness and neglect." — Herod, lib. i. c. 106.

10) Democritus is said to have written on the sacred letters of Babylon "τὸ περὶ τῶν ἐν Βαβυλῶν ιἐρῶν γραμμὰτων." (Diog. Laert. lib. ix.) This appears to point to two forms of writing.

11) The numerals, like the letters, were expressed by various combinations of the wedge. There appear to have been, at the same time, numbers for the cursive, as well as for the cuneiform writing, the former somewhat resembling the Egyptian. On the painted bricks of Nimroud I could, I think, trace several of these cursive numerals, each brick having apparently a number upon it. Dr. Hincks was, I believe, the first to determine the forms and values of the Assyrian numerals by an examination of the inscriptions of Van.

12) This deity, under the name of Thoth, or Taut, was the Egyptian god of letters.

13) "Literas semper arbitror Assyrias fuisse; sed alii apud Ægyptios a Mercurio, ut Gellius: alii apud Syros repertas volunt." — Pliny, lib. vii. c. 57.

14) "Phœnices primi famae si creditur ausi

        Mansuram rudibus vocem signare figuris." — Lib. iii. v. 220.

15) Major Rawlinson has suggested the use of the term Scythic instead of Median (the Persian Cuneiform Inscription at Behistun deciphered, part i. p. 20. vol. x. of the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society). However, until the language of the inscriptions in this character can be determined beyond a doubt, we can scarcely venture upon adopting definitively either appellation. Major Rawlinson is of opinion that that language is a Scythic or Mongolian dialect; and from its use on monuments erected by the Persian kings, it is highly probable that it is so. The subjects of the Achannenian monarchs included three great divisions of the human race, speaking respectively Semitic or Syro-Arabian, Indo-European or Arian, and Scythic or Mongolian languages; and when we find that two of the columns of the trilingual inscriptions are dialects of the first and second of these languages, we may consistently infer that the remaining version of the inscriptions is in the third.

16) This name is generally written Bisutun in the maps; it is now given to a small village near Kirmanshah, on the frontiers of Persia.

17) The transcription in cuneiform letters of an hieroglyphical legend on a vase at Venice, is a test of the general accuracy of the deciphering of both characters. The name of the king was found to be that of Artaxerxes, and was so read independently from the Persian and Egyptian texts, by Major Rawlinson and Sir Gardner Wilkinson.

18) There is not a more attractive subject of investigation, nor one more delusive and uncertain in its results, unless carried on with the most rigorous regard to criticism, than the origin, derivation, and connexion of languages. But whilst this is admitted, it must be remembered, that within the last few years this branch of study has been greatly facilitated by the discovery of rules, which are now generally recognised. They go far to guide those who engage in the inquiry, and to prevent a repetition of the absurd speculations of the last century. Etymology may now take its place amongst the sciences, and no science is more important in any investigation connected with the history of the human race.

19) The contents of the Behistun inscription are of great importance to all interested in the study of ancient history, as they so fully confirm the statements of Herodotus, and afford fresh proofs of his veracity and accuracy.

20) I particularly refer to the fragment of a cylinder given in vol. ii. of Ker Porter's Travels, and the celebrated inscription in the India House, supposed to contain the decrees of Nebuchadnezzar, of which the cylinder, when entire, appears to have been a transcript. Their identity was, I believe, discovered by Grotefend. It is on the tablets and cylinders of baked clay, that the Assyrian cuneiform character is most complex. Besides the substitution of forms not used on the monuments, common letters are rendered more intricate by adding to the number of wedges: thus becomes and

21) Many of these characters are undoubtedly what are termed "variants;" that is, merely a different way of forming the same letter; but even admitting a large number to be so, and to be interchangeable arbitrarily, still there are between 100 and 150 letters which appear to have each their distinct phonetic value.

22) There is also a trilingual inscription of Xerxes on the rock at Van.

23) The inscription at Palou, an ancient Armenian city, was first examined and copied by me on my return from Mosul last year. My attention was called to it by Dr. Smith, of the American Board of Foreign Missions. It closely resembles the inscription near Malatia, copied by Captain Van Muhlbach. (See Papers of the Syro-Egyptian Society, vol. i. part i.)

24) None of the ruins in Babylonia have yet been properly examined, and there is little doubt that excavations in them would lead to very interesting results. The great obelisk ascribed to Seiniraiuis, by Diodorus Siculus, may have been the pillar or column of Acicarus, seen and interpreted by Democritus in his travels in the commencement of the 4th century B. C. (Laertius, in Vita Democriti, p. 650., ed. Casaubon, and Clemens Alexandrinus Stromata, lib. i. cxv. 8. 69.) It was, there can be little doubt, a Babylonian monument; and it probably still exists somewhere in the ruins. Major Rawlinson, in a recent letter, informs me that, according to the Arabs, an obelisk has been seen at Niffer, and such reports have generally some foundation, as I have shown with regard to the sitting figure of Kalah Sherghat (see Chap. XII.). It may have been exposed to view for a short period, and have again been covered up by rubbish. Major Rawlinson is of opinion that all the most ancient remains of Chaldaea (previous to the reign of Nebuchadnezzar) must be looked for in the ruins to the south of Hillah, in southern Babylonia; those to the north being chiefly referable to that king. I have visited most of the remains in the province; but too hastily, and at times of too great danger to admit of a careful and prolonged examination. With proper means and support, researches might, however, be carried on.

25) Daniel, iv. 29. Josephus (cont. Ap. 1. i.), quoting Berosus, says that Nebuchadnezzar repaired the city of Babylon which then existed, and added another city to it.

26) Baghdad is frequently called Babylon by the early travellers, and even by the Arab geographers. The Church of Rome still gives the title of " Bishop of Babylon " to the prelate who is placed over the Roman Catholic Christians in the Pashalic of Baghdad.

27) Thus, there is Mosul and Eski (old) Mosul, Baghdad and Eski (old) Baghdad, &c. &c.

28) An extraordinary laxity in the use, omission, and interchange of certain consonants, as it will be shown, is one of the distinguishing features of the language expressed by this branch of the cuneiform character. The name of Nebuchadnezzar is written in many ways — in the Bisutun inscription, we have Nabokhodrossor, Nabukhadrachar, and Nabukhudrachar. In pure Babylonian inscriptions it undergoes even more numerous changes. In Daniel he is called Nebuchadnezzar, or Nabuchodonosor; in Ezekiel (ch. xxvi. v. 7.) the name is written Nebuchadrezzar. The first component of the word, Nebo, was the name of a Babylonian divinity. (Isaiah, ch. xlvi. v. 1.) The interchanges which take place in consonants is shown by the names of several Babylonian kings, as given by the Greeks. Thus, the Labunitus of Herodotus is called Nabunidus by Berosus.

29) Herodotus always calls this form of writing Assyrian. (See lib. iv. c. 87, &c.) According to Amyntas, the inscription on the tomb of Sardanapalus was written in Chaldaean letters (χαλδαῖκοῖς γράμμασιν) on a stone column. Aristobulus terms them Assyrian letters. (Athenæus, lib. xii.) Also Arrian. (Exp. Alex. lib. ii. c. 5.)

30) This was brought to my notice by Major Rawlinson.

31) The character thus formed occurs in the inscriptions of Susiana. The Assyrian letter, of which the three variants in the text are modifications, has been given, p. 173.

32) It would not be difficult for those who are apt at discovering the hidden meaning of ancient symbols, to invest the arrow-head or wedge of the inscriptions, assuming, as it frequently does, the form of an equilateral triangle, with sacred and mythic properties; and to find in it a direct illustration of the sacred triad, the basis of Chaldasan worship and theogony, or of another well-known Eastern object of worship. (See Lajard's elaborate Essays on the Worship of Venus, on the Cypress, and on the Religious Symbols of the Assyrians and Persians, in the "Memoires de 1' Academic des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres," and in the "Annales de l'Institut Archéologique.")

33) Across the breast of the figures in Ionia, attributed by Herodotus (lib. ii. c. 106.) to Sesostris, but which were probably Assyrian, was an inscription.

34) The custom of putting up tablets and pillars to fix the boundaries of an empire, is frequently alluded to in the monumental records of Egypt. (See Birch's Translation of the Obelisk at Constantinople, and Observations on the Statistical Tablet of Karnak, in the New Series of the Transactions of the Royal Society of Literature, vol. ii.)

35) Herod, lib. iv. c. 87. and 91. This appears also to have been the most ancient method of chronicling events and keeping records. Josephus, following an ancient tradition, declares that Seth erected in the land of Siriad, two pillars, one of brick, the other of stone, and inscribed upon them the principal antediluvian arts and sciences. (Antiq. Jud. lib. i. c. 3.) Sesostris, according to Herodotus, erected pillars and carved tablets in the places which he conquered. The Greek historian mentions those he had seen in Palestine (probably the tablets still existing near the Nahr-el-Kelb) and in Asia Minor. (Lib. ii. c. 102. and 106.)

36) It could scarcely have been papyrus, as that substance is too brittle to be rolled or bent, as represented in the sculptures. Parchment was not invented until a much later period. Mr. Birch inclines to the idea of leather, which the Egyptians used occasionally as early as the 18th dynasty.

37) Simplicius, Aristot. de Coelo, 1. ii.

38) "E diverse Epigenes, apud Babylonios DCCXX. annorum observationes siderum coctilibus laterculis inscriptas, docet gravis auctor in primis, qui minimum, Berosus et Critodemus ccccxc. annorum. Ex quo apparet aeternum literarum usum." — Plin. Hist. Nat. 1. vii. c. Ivi. s. 57. ed. Sillig. In some editions of Pliny a thousand years is added to both these periods; but this appears to have been an error of Brottier, rectified in the last edition, as quoted.

39) "Thou also, son of man, take thee a tile, and lay it before thee, and pourtray upon it the city, even Jerusalem. — Ch. iv. 1.

40) That formerly in my possession was used as a candlestick by a respectable Turcoman family living in the village, on the mound of Nebbi Yunus near the tomb of the prophet. The cylinder is hollow, and was probably closed at both ends: only one extremity is now perfect. A hole in the centre of one of the ends received the tallow candle. To such base uses are now turned the records of the Assyrians! I also found half of another cylinder of the same kind.

41) The inscription will be included in the collection brought by me from Assyria, now in the course of publication by the Trustees of the British Museum.

42) On a fragment brought by me from Nimroud, in the most minute letters, are parallel columns apparently of words and numbers, perhaps an account. On a rectangular tile, also formerly in the possession of Mr. Steuart, a small engraved cylinder of stone or metal appears to have been rolled or passed completely round the edges, probably to prevent enlargement or counter-faction of the document.

43) The Egyptian monarchs also stamped their names on bricks. The stamps used were of wood, and several are preserved in European collections. The characters are, I believe, generally incised, so that the impression, unlike that on the Babylonian bricks, is in relief.

44) The stamp being used in Babylonia, and not in Assyria, may furnish an additional argument in favour of the greater antiquity of the Assyrian writing.

45) Particularly on a very beautiful fragment of baked clay now in the British Museum.

46) Ch. xix. 23. and 24.

47) Botta's letters in the Journal Asiatique and Flandin's memoirs in the Revue des deux Mondes. I discovered at Khalah Sherghat a fragment of a copper tablet with cuneiform letters.

48) Such are the inscriptions in the Babylonian character discovered by Major Rawlinson near Holwan, to the west of Kirmanshah, and also to a certain extent the inscription partly copied by me at Palou. I was unable to distinguish the letters in one corner of the tablet which, during my visit, was thrown into the shade by a projecting ledge. Dr. Smith, who first saw the tablet, was doutbful whether there were still any remains of the inscription upon it.

49) A table, drawn up by the careful comparison of several hundred inscriptions, will be included in the work published by the Trustees of the British Museum. It shows a large number of variants and marks the division between words. M. Botta has also published a highly useful table of variants in the " Journal Asiatique " for October 1847.

50) In the Persian cuneiform inscriptions each word is separated by a slanting wedge; hence one of the principal difficulties in deciphering is avoided. But such is not the case either in the Assyro-Babylonian or in the Median.

51) And sometimes the personal pronoun.

52) The character preceding the proper name, and those signifying "son of" and "king," are given elsewhere. That denoting country is or a city or its variant There is reason to believe that precedes the name of a divinity. is the sign of the plural.

53) Since writing the above I have learnt from Major Rawlinson that he has succeeded in deciphering the inscription on the obelisk described in the preceding pages. It contains, according to him, the annals of the reign of the son of Ninus. He has obtained, moreover, fifteen royal names.

54) It has been conjectured that these two characters signify "the great house" or palace; but there appears to me to be objections to this interpretation. They are sometimes replaced by

55) The cuneiform type used in the text has been cut by Mr. Harrison, of St. Martin's Lane. The inscriptions from Assyria printed by him for the Trustees of the British Museum, are the first specimens of an extensive use of moveable cuneiform types, and they are remarkable instances of the ingenuity, and I may add taste, of a British printer. The letters were cut and put together under my superintendence, and that of Mr. Norris, translator of Eastern languages at the Foreign Office, and one of the secretaries of the Asiatic Society; of whose eminent abilities and most extensive knowledge in every branch of eastern philology and literature, it would be superfluous in me to speak. That the inscriptions of Assyria should be perpetuated, and be made accessible to all through the medium of moveable types, after the loss of the character for nearly 2500 years, is not one of the least of the many wonderful achievements of printing.

56) Characters, in which perpendicular wedges are placed between two horizontal wedges, are formed, in the oldest inscriptions, by carrying one horizontal wedge across the perpendicular. I have not made this distinction in the text.

57) I have placed this formula within brackets.

58) See page 16. of this vol. This slab is on its way to the British Museum.

59) are interchangeable characters.

60) The other names occur after in this inscription, but are not placed, as far as I can ascertain, in genealogical series. A further knowledge of the character is necessary before it can be determined how they are used.

61) See p. 33. of this vol.

62) appears to be equivalent to This character evidently means " King."

63) There appears to be a name in the body of this inscription between the first and second in the genealogical series in the text, viz. accompanied, I think, by a royal title, which certainly seems to belong to the list; it may have been that of a brother, or of one not in the line of descent, but still succeeding to the throne; if so, we should have in this inscription the names of four monarchs following one another.

64) The name of the Khorsabad king is also written for the name of the Kouyunjik king we have the following variation that is to say, that whilst the name, as given in the text, is inscribed on the backs of the slabs, and over the head of the king in the sculptures, as well as on all the bricks I have yet discovered in the ruins opposite Mosul, it occurs in the above form at the commencement of the inscriptions on the front of the bulls (being written, as in the text, on the back). The inference, therefore, naturally is, that the name is the same, or that it may be a title or a praenomen. The well-known laxity of the Assyrian writing admits either supposition. There are other variations, but not so essential, in the orthography of the name. I am aware that Dr. Hincks (on the Inscriptions of Van, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society) denies that the two names found on the bricks and slabs from Khorsabad are identical; believing one (that found at Nimroud, in the short inscription from the south-west palace) to be the name of a king who may have partially built the Khorsabad edifice, and the other to be that of a successor of even the last king mentioned at Nimroud. He reads the first Nishar, and identifies the others with Sennacherib, Essarhaddon, and Chinilidan. Between the last two kings, according to the astronomical canon, there must have been a lapse of more than sixty years. If Dr. Hincks's view, therefore, be correct, we have an additional argument in favour of the antiquity of the earliest palace at Nimroud. But I may observe, that there are very strong grounds for suspecting the identity of the two names occurring on the monuments of Khorsabad. It will be remembered that on the alabaster vases discovered in the ruins of Nimroud both occur; and if the Nimroud edifices were finally buried whilst the last palace was building — as I have shown there are good reasons for suspecting — no doubt will any longer remain as to their identity. Dr. Hincks infers, from the names of the father and son occurring in the Khorsabad inscriptions, that the building could not have been completed, although founded, by the father; but that it was customary also to insert the name of the son, is shown by the existence of the name, even accompanied by a royal title, of the son of the founder of the earliest palace of Nimroud, in some of the inscriptions from that building. If the two names are not those of the same persons, we must add them to our royal list.

65) See Vol. I. p. 81.

66) It is worthy of observation that the name of the father of the builder of Khorsabad has not yet been found in any inscription from that building.

67) The whole fragment will be given in the collection of Assyrian inscriptions, published by the Trustees of the British Museum. I may observe, that since writing the above, I have received a letter from Major Rawlinson, to whom I sent a copy of the fragment, and that he is inclined to doubt the identification of the names with those of the Khorsabad and Kouyunjik kings, and to believe that this is a distinct royal series; if so, we have still more important evidence of the antiquity of the earliest edifice of Nimroud.

68) Nos. 27. and 28. ch. B, plan 3.

69) There is much confusion with regard to the dates of these events, which Clinton (Fasti Hellenici, vol. i.) has endeavoured to clear up. By some the destruction of Nineveh and the revolt of the Medes are looked upon as distinct events, which have been confounded. But the city may have been twice destroyed; or rather, once merely depopulated, and its principal buildings overthrown, and then subsequently, at a much later period, burnt to the ground; this is consistent with the change of dynasty which is presumed to have taken place on the first occasion, and the utter extinction of the Assyrian empire, which followed on the second.

70) P. 11. of this volume.

71) For engravings from the ivories, see my work on the Monuments of Nineveh.

72) See Mr. Birch's paper on the statistical tablet of Karnak, and on the hieroglyphics! inscriptions on the obelisk at Constantinople of the reign of Thothmes III. (Transactions of the Royal Society of Literature, new series.)

73) Mr. Birch conjectures that this name may be derived from the Hebrew "Rikamut," an embroidered garment; "a Semitic word, which, considering the renown of the Assyrian looms, might have been conferred on an Assyrian female."

74) In Isaiah (ch. xx. v. 1.), Sennacherib appears to be so called; but it has been conjectured that Essarhaddon, who is called Sarchedon in the book of Tobit, is meant.

75) About 1014, B. C. — 1 Kings, c. iii. v. 1.

76) 1 Kings, c. xi. v. 40., and, according to some versions of the Septuagint, he married a relation (the Syncellus says a sister) of the Egyptian monarch. (Böekh. Manetho, s. 315.)

77) As for instance, Sethos and Horus.

78) There are six symbols, or hieroglyphics: the reed A, the cord or boat-head U, the leg B, water N, the duckling U, the sun's disk and the determinative bar.

79) For instance, the goddess Athor or Athyr. Dr. Hincks, I believe, reads the same name, as that of the presiding divinity, on the monuments of Assyria. Mr. Birch admits, in his observations on the cartouches, that the introduction of the Assyrian gods, Baal and Astarta, of Renpu or Reseph, of Ken, and Anata or Anaitis, can be traced to the 18 — 19 dynasty, and is coeval with the epoch of the great conquests of Egypt in central Asia.

80) This is probably the Kiun of the prophet Amos. (Ch. v. ver. 26.)

81) According to M. Fresnel (Journal Asiatique, ive série, t. v. p. 211.) the goddess Athtor is mentioned in the Himyaritic inscriptions.

82) This will be perceived at once by comparing the engravings in (he French work on the monuments of Khorsabad, with those from the sculptures of Nimroud in my large work. As it will be shown hereafter, this lotus-shaped flower was evidently introduced into Assyria during the time of, or immediately preceding the time of, the builders of Khorsabad. There are other representations in the British Museum of this Egyptian form of the Assyrian goddess. On a fragment (Egyptian Room, No. 308.) she is seen worshipped by Harnesses II. On a tablet at Turin she is called Atsh, or Adesh, the name of the chief city of the Khitas, a Mesopotamian people attacked by the Ramessids. (Prisse. Mon. PI. xxxvii.) She usually appears in a triad with Renpu and Khem, or Chamno, also deities of Semitic extraction.

83) Since writing the above I have found, in M. Lajard's great work on the worship of Venus (plate 28), the engraving of an Assyrian cylinder, on which this goddess is represented naked, and in the same posture as on the Egyptian monuments. The two, in fact, are nearly identical. From the dress of the accompanying figures (one of which carries a hatchet), I have little hesitation in ascribing this cylinder to the later Assyrian period.

84) Botta's letters in the Journal Asiatique for 1843. I am aware of the ingenious arguments of M. Lajard (Observations sur 1'Origine et la Signification du Synibole appele la Croix Ansee, Paris, 1847), to derive the crux ansata from the Assyrian symbol of the divinity, the winged figure within the circle; but Egyptian antiquaries reject the connection altogether, not even deeming it worthy of a serious investigation. Without venturing to offer an observation on the subject, I may perhaps be allowed to suggest that the monuments already discovered, and hereafter to be discovered in Assyria, may throw new light upon many subjects connected with Egypt, and may perhaps tend to shake many received opinions.

85) Their comparative date can be shown beyond a doubt, I think, by a comparison with the monuments of Khorsabad.

86) It is doubtful whether this sphinx be male, or female, in the Assyrian monuments. I am inclined to think the latter. (See a representation of the figure, Vol. I. p. 348.) It is well known that the Egyptian sphinx is always male.

87) There are several such scarabæi in the collection of the British Museum. That the obelisk was common to the two nations, at a very early period, is proved by the one in black marble, discovered at Nimroud; and by the mention of the great obelisk said to have been erected by Semiramis at Babylon. Theophrastus (de Lapidibus, c. xliv.) also speaks of an obelisk of emerald, four cubits high and three broad, presented by a king of Babylon to a king of Egypt.

88) Wilkinson's Ancient Egyptians, plate 41. vol. iv. This head has an inscription in cuneiform letters on the crown and back; it might otherwise be mistaken for a Mexican relic. Mr. Birch suggests that, as a similar head is frequently represented on Egyptian monuments, on vases brought as tribute by an Asiatic people; and is, moreover, found on the Phoenician coins of Abusus, as that of the deity, it may be the Semitic Baal, or Typhon.

89) Lib. vi. c. 30. This may be the Thurus of Cedrenus, who, according to a tradition, erected the first stela or pillar in Assyria. (Selden, Proleg. de Dis Syris, c. 3.)

90) The continual confusion in sacred and profane authors between the Kushites, or Ethiopians of Asia and Africa, is worthy of remark. We have a Memnon commanding the armies of the Assyrian king at the siege of Troy, coming from Susa, and followed by the Kushites, or inhabitants of Susiana (Khuzistan). Although Virgil, falling into the common error of supposing Memuon to have been an African, calls him black (Æneid, 1. iii.) Eustathius (in Dionys. Perieg. v. 248.), and Triclinius, the scholiast of Pindar, sny, that both he and his brother were white, although those whom they commanded were black. The birth of Memnon from Tithon and Aurora, according to the Greek mythology, evidently points to his eastern origin. Both Suidas and Pausanias (in. Phocid.) state that he came from Susa. According to some, Tithon, his father, was the brother of Priam.

91) I follow Clinton's Fasti Hellenici in these dates (vol. i. p. 263.). In the chronology of ancient authors, we find the extraordinary discrepancy of 1535 years between the various dates assigned to Semirainis.

92) Polyhistor distinctly alludes to this change of dynasty; and the names of the latter Assyrian kings, as recorded in the Bible, evidently differ materially in their construction from those of the earlier monarchs; so much, indeed, that they appear to belong to a distinct race. According to Bion and Polyhistor, the Dercelades, or descendants of Semiramis, were dethroned by Beletaras, about the nineteenth in direct succession from Ninus.

93) See an elaborate Essay, in the Memoires of the Academic des Inscriptions (vol. vii. of the abridged ed.), by M. Freret, on Assyrian Chronology, in which all the authorities are carefully collected. His results agree nearly with those of Clinton.

94) Saracus, according to Abydenus, in a palace called Evorita, which Major Rawlinson conjectures (Behistun Inscription deciphered, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society) to be represented by the ruins of Khorsabad.

95) According to Herodotus (lib.i. c. 176.), the people of Xanthus, rather than submit to the arms of Cyrus, burnt themselves and their wives. The same thing occurred in this city when besieged by Alexander and Brutus. (Appian. de Bello Civili.) The anecdote is also related by Plutarch.

96) It is probable that when Strabo (lib. xvi.) describes the vast mounds of earth erected by Semiramis, containing subterraneous passages or communications, tanks for water and staircases of stone, he alludes to these very Assyrian ruins, a part of the contents of which might casually have been exposed by the falling in of earth, or when the winter rains formed ravines down their sides.

97) This sketch was made from some Egyptian pottery in the British Museum, as I have no drawings of that found in the Nimroud tombs. The shapes, however, are identical.

98) All these small objects will be deposited in the British Museum.

99) The alabaster πυέλος, or tub, in which Darius was buried, is mentioned by Theophrastus. The Assyrians, like the early Persians, may have buried their dead entire, and preserved the bodies in honey or wax. (Herod, lib. i.e. 140. Arian, deBello Alex. Theoph. de Lapid. c. xv.) According to Ælian, when Xerxes opened the tomb of Belus, he found the body in a coffin filled, nearly to the brim, with oil.

100) It may be observed that remains of the Greek occupation of Assyria are not unfrequently found. At Nimroud a small female figure in terra cotta, evidently of that period, was discovered in the rubbish on the edge of the south-east corner of the mound.

101) Berosus (or Berossos) mentions the first settlement of the human race in Chaldaea. The testimony of this author is entitled to some respect, as he was a Babylonian, living in the time of Alexander. As a priest of Belus he may be supposed to have been well acquainted with the records contained in the temple, and to have been versed in the learning for which those of his order were so distinguished. In his time the walls were probably still covered with the paintings representing the ancient deeds of the people. We know from the Scriptures how carefully public records were kept in Babylon; even those of the Assyrian empire existing after the Persian occupation. (Ezra, c. iv.) The traditions or history, preserved by Berosus, may therefore be presumed to have been generally current in his time, amongst the Babylonians. Moses of Chorene calls him a most learned Chaldaean: " Vir Chaldaicus omnis doctrinae peritissimus."

102) Antiq. Jud. 1. i. c. 9.

103) Particularly that of Berosus. Αὑτὸν Νῖνον τὸν Νεέρώθ οἱ Ἀσσύριοι προσηγόρευσαν. (A poll. Fragmenta, 69., ed. Muller.) To limit the foundation of the Assyrian empire to 900 B. c., because Pul, the first Assyrian king mentioned in Scripture, can be proved to have lived about that time, as the authors of the Ancient Universal History and others have done, is, I conceive, quite inconsistent, not only with all historical and traditionary evidence, but with that afforded by the Bible itself. Before the time of Pul, the Jews having no intimate dealings with Assyria, may not have been affected by events occurring in that country: this would be sufficient to account for there being no earlier mention of it, and would seem to confirm the supposition that Herodotus dates, not from the foundation of the Assyrian empire, but from its spreading over Asia. The fragments which have been handed down to us of Armenian history, through the native early Christian historians who possessed materials now lost, equally tend to fix the date of the reign of Ninus at the time usually assigned to it by the Greek authors. His cotemporary on the Armenian throne was Aram, whose son Araeus was slain by Semiramis. St. Martin, probably after a careful examination of Armenian and Greek history, placed the reign of Semiramis from 1997 to 1957, B.C. (Biog. Universel de Michaud, art. Sanchoniathon.) "Primus omnium Ninus Rex Assyriorum, veterem, et quasi avitum gentibus morem nova imperii cupiditate mutavit. Hie primus intulit bella finitimis," &c. (Just. Li. e.1.)

104) Herod, lib. i. c. 95. Thallus, as quoted by Theophilus of Antiocb, places Belus 322 years before the siege of Troy, thus appearing to agree with Herodotus.

105) Or if the Median revolt took place in 876 B. C., or in 819 according to Moses of Chorene, then in the 14th century.

106) Transactions of the Royal Society of Literature, vol. ii. p. 29. new series.

107) This name is evidently identical with the Neharajim of the Scriptures — in Syriac, Nahrim; it is a pure Semitic word, signifying the country between the two rivers, the Mesopotamia of the Greeks, the Jezirah, or island, of the Arabs.

108) If there be no interpolation in the book of Genesis, we have mention of Nineveh at least 1500 years B. C.

109) Judges, iii. 8.: and, 1450 years before Christ, Balaam, prophesying of the Kenites, describes the power of the Assyrians. (Numbers, xxiv. 22.) The Arioch, king of El-Assar, mentioned in Genesis (xiv. 1.), has been conjectured to be a king of Assyria; the name bearing some resemblance to Arius, the son, or Aralius, the grandson, of Ninyas. (Lenglet du Fresnoy, Methode, &c. vol. i. p. 258.) According to Manetho, Salathis, the first shepherd king, fortified the eastern provinces of Egypt against the Assyrians.

110) De Legibus, lib. iii. He may, as it has been conjectured, have followed Ctesias, who declares that Ninus conquered, amongst other countries, Phrygia, Lydia, and the Troad. (Diodorus Siculus, lib. ii.) According to Herodotus, Agron, the first king of Lydia, was the son of Ninus, and reigned 505 years before Candaules; and, however little worthy of credit this assertion may be, it proves at least that, in his time, there was still a tradition of the ancient dominion of the Assyrians in Asia Minor.

111) Diod. Sic. 1. ii. c. 22. Cephalion says that Priam applied to the Assyrian king in these terms: " Militari vi in regions tuâ a Graecis irruentibus appetitus sum, belloque certatuin est varia fortuna. Nunc vero et filius meus Hector extinctus erat, et aliorura multa proles ac strenua. Copiarum igitur valido sub duce nobis suppetias mitte." (Euseb. ex Interp. Armen. a Mai, p. 41.) Dares Phrygius also mentions the auxiliaries sent to Priam under Perses and Memnon.

112) Chap. x. ver. 11. " Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh;" although the approved reading is " the Assyrian," as given in the margin.

113) This character is sometimes replaced by As to the use of all these characters indifferently in this word, there cannot be a doubt. Dr. Hincks is convinced that is either the name, or an abbreviation of the name, of Athur, the country of Assyria. It is possible that Nineveh, or Athur, may be indiscriminately used in speaking of the country. Dr. Hincks appears to admit that also stands for the city of which the historical name is Nineveh.

114) Dr. Hincks has conjectured that when a letter for a consonant and a vowel sound combined is used, the letter expressing the pure consonant may also be added: this might account for the presence of three characters having the power of n in this word. The substitution of one character for another, as in the name given in the text, is one of the most difficult questions in the investigation of the Assyrian writing. That the letters, thus frequently found interchanging, are not always pure variants, that is, having the same phonetic value, may be shown from

the example in the text, having, there can be little doubt, the value of a. Letters, partly syllabic, i. e. having a vowel sound united with a consonant, appear to be interchangeable with pure consonants, or to be replaced by two distinct signs; but hitherto no rule to regulate any such interchanges has been discovered. They are so frequent, and numerous, that an entire inscription might almost be written in two distinct ways.

115) This second Ninus is also mentioned in the Excerpta Chronologica Euseb. npud Seal. See authorities collected in notes top. 265., Appendix, vol. i., of Clinton's Fasti Hellenici.

116) Dr. Hincks, as it has been mentioned, reads the title of these early kings, "King of Assyria."

117) They are Belus, Babius, Anebus, Arbelus, Chaalus, and Arbelus. I believe Major Rawlinson is satisfied with the reading of Arbel and Aneb, for the father and grandfather of the king in the inscriptions.

118) Moses Chorenensis, lib. i. c. 13. "Item et alias ejus rei rationes aflert, utique Ninum superbia inflatum, suaeque gloriae cupidissimum, cum se unum sumniae potestatis et fortitudinis ac bonitatis fontem atque originem haberi vellet, complures libros et historias antiquas rerum ubicunque egregie gestarum jussisse concremari; et de se tantum suisque temporibus conscribi." The same is recorded of Nabonasser when he ascended the throne at Babylon.

119) I do not, of course, include the Assyrian conquests of Egypt, by kings of the latter dynasty, which are proved by positive historical evidence, and the effects of which are well known and traceable.