History Of Egypt, Chaldaea, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria, Volume 4 (of 12)
by G. Maspero
1  2  3  4  5  6  7     Next Part
Home - Random Browse


By G. MASPERO, Honorable Doctor of Civil Laws, and Fellow of Queen's College, Oxford; Member of the Institute and Professor at the College of France

Edited by A. H. SAYCE, Professor of Assyriology, Oxford

Translated by M. L. McCLURE, Member of the Committee of the Egypt Exploration Fund


Volume IV.






Syria, owing to its geographical position, condemned to be subject to neighbouring powers-Lebanon, Anti-Lebanon, the valley of the Orontes and of the Litany, and surrounding regions: the northern table-land, the country about Damascus, the Mediterranean coast, the Jordan and the Dead Sea-Civilization and primitive inhabitants, Semites and Asiatics: the almost entire absence of Egyptian influence, the predominance of that of Chaldaea.

Babylon, its ruins and its environs—It extends its rule over Mesopotamia; its earliest dynasty and its struggle with Central Chaldaea-Elam, its geographical position, its peoples; Kutur-Nakhunta conquers Larsam-Bimsin (Eri-Aku); Khammurabi founds the first Babylonian empire; Ids victories, his buildings, his canals—The Elamites in Syria: Kudurlagamar—Syria recognizes the authority of Hammurabi and his successors.

The Hyksos conquer Egypt at the end of the XIVth dynasty; the founding of Avaris—Uncertainty both of ancients and moderns with regard to the origin of the Hyksos: probability of their being the Khati—Their kings adopt the manners and civilization of the Egyptians: the monuments of Khiani and of Apophis I. and II—The XVth dynasty.

Semitic incursions following the Hyksos—The migration of the Phoenicians and the Israelites into Syria: Terah, Abraham and his sojourn in the land of Canaan—Isaac, Jacob, Joseph: the Israelites go down into Egypt and settle in the land of Goshen.

Thebes revolts against the Hyksos: popular traditions as to the origin of the war, the romance of Apophis and Saquinri—The Theban princesses and the last Icings of the XVIIth dynasty: Tiudqni Kamosis, Ahmosis I.—The lords of El-Kab, and the part they played during the war of independence—The taking of Avaris and the expulsion of the Ilylcsos.

The reorganization of Egypt—Ahmosis I. and his Nubian wars, the reopening of the quarries of Turah—Amenothes I. and his mother Nofritari: the jewellery of Queen Ahhotpu—The wars of Amenothes I., the apotheosis of Nofritari—The accession of Thutmosis I. and the re-generation of Egypt.


Syria: the part played by it in the ancient world—Babylon and the first Chaldaean empire—The dominion of the Hyksos: Ahmosis.

Some countries seem destined from their origin to become the battle-fields of the contending nations which environ them. Into such regions, and to their cost, neighbouring peoples come from century to century to settle their quarrels and bring to an issue the questions of supremacy which disturb their little corner of the world. The nations around are eager for the possession of a country thus situated; it is seized upon bit by bit, and in the strife dismembered and trodden underfoot: at best the only course open to its inhabitants is to join forces with one of its invaders, and while helping the intruder to overcome the rest, to secure for themselves a position of permanent servitude. Should some unlooked-for chance relieve them from the presence of their foreign lord, they will probably be quite incapable of profiting by the respite which fortune puts in their way, or of making any effectual attempt to organize themselves in view of future attacks. They tend to become split up into numerous rival communities, of which even the pettiest will aim at autonomy, keeping up a perpetual frontier war for the sake of becoming possessed of or of retaining a glorious sovereignty over a few acres of corn in the plains, or some wooded ravines in the mountains. Year after year there will be scenes of bloody conflict, in which petty armies will fight petty battles on behalf of petty interests, but so fiercely, and with such furious animosity, that the country will suffer from the strife as much as, or even more than, from an invasion. There will be no truce to their struggles until they all fall under the sway of a foreign master, and, except in the interval between two conquests, they will have no national existence, their history being almost entirely merged in that of other nations.

From remote antiquity Syria was in the condition just described, and thus destined to become subject to foreign rule. Chaldaea, Egypt, Assyria, and Persia presided in turn over its destinies, while Macedonia and the empires of the West were only waiting their opportunity to lay hold of it. By its position it formed a kind of meeting-place where most of the military nations of the ancient world were bound sooner or later to come violently into collision. Confined between the sea and the desert, Syria offers the only route of easy access to an army marching northwards from Africa into Asia, and all conquerors, whether attracted to Mesopotamia or to Egypt by the accumulated riches on the banks of the Euphrates or the Nile, were obliged to pass through it in order to reach the object of their cupidity. It might, perhaps, have escaped this fatal consequence of its position, had the formation of the country permitted its tribes to mass themselves together, and oppose a compact body to the invading hosts; but the range of mountains which forms its backbone subdivides it into isolated districts, and by thus restricting each tribe to a narrow existence maintained among them a mutual antagonism. The twin chains, the Lebanon and the Anti-Lebanon, which divide the country down the centre, are composed of the same kind of calcareous rocks and sandstone, while the same sort of reddish clay has been deposited on their slopes by the glaciers of the same geological period.*

* Drake remarked in the Lebanon several varieties of limestone, which have been carefully catalogued by Blanche and Lartet. Above these strata, which belong to the Jurassic formation, come reddish sandstone, then beds of very hard yellowish limestone, and finally marl. The name Lebanon, in Assyrian Libnana, would appear to signify "the white mountain;" the Amorites called the Anti-Lebanon Saniru, Shenir, according to the Assyrian texts and the Hebrew books.

Arid and bare on the northern side, they sent out towards the south featureless monotonous ridges, furrowed here and there by short narrow valleys, hollowed out in places into basins or funnel-shaped ravines, which are widened year by year by the down-rush of torrents. These ridges, as they proceed southwards, become clothed with verdure and offer a more varied outline, the ravines being more thickly wooded, and the summits less uniform in contour and colouring. Lebanon becomes white and ice-crowned in winter, but none of its peaks rises to the altitude of perpetual snows: the highest of them, Mount Timarun, reaches 10,526 feet, while only three others exceed 9000.* Anti-Lebanon is, speaking generally, 1000 or 1300 feet lower than its neighbour: it becomes higher, however, towards the south, where the triple peak of Mount Hermon rises to a height of 9184 feet. The Orontes and the Litany drain the intermediate space. The Orontes rising on the west side of the Anti-Lebanon, near the ruins of Baalbek, rushes northwards in such a violent manner, that the dwellers on its banks call it the rebel—Nahr el-Asi.** About a third of the way towards its mouth it enters a depression, which ancient dykes help to transform into a lake; it flows thence, almost parallel to the sea-coast, as far as the 36th degree of latitude. There it meets the last spurs of the Amanos, but, failing to cut its way through them, it turns abruptly to the west, and then to the south, falling into the Mediterranean after having received an increase to its volume from the waters of the Afrin.

* Bukton-Drake, Unexplored Syria, vol. i. p. 88, attributed to it an altitude of 9175 English feet; others estimate it at 10,539 feet. The mountains which exceed 3000 metres are Dahr el-Kozib, 3046 metres; Jebel-Mislriyah, 3080 metres; and Jebel-Makhmal or Makmal, 3040 metres. As a matter of fact, these heights are not yet determined with the accuracy desirable.

** The Egyptians knew it in early times by the name of Aunrati, or Araunti; it is mentioned in Assyrian inscriptions under the name of Arantu. All are agreed in acknowledging that this name is not Semitic, and an Aryan origin is attributed to it, but without convincing proof; according to Strabo (xvi. ii. Sec. 7, p. 750), it was originally called Typhon, and was only styled Orontes after a certain Orontes had built the first bridge across it. The name of Axios which it sometimes bears appears to have been given to it by Greek colonists, in memory of a river in Macedonia. This is probably the origin of the modern name of Asi, and the meaning, rebellious river, which Arab tradition attaches to the latter term, probably comes from a popular etymology which likened Axios to Asi, the identification was all the easier since it justifies the epithet by the violence of its current.

The Litany rises a short distance from the Orontes; it flows at first through a wide and fertile plain, which soon contracts, however, and forces it into a channel between the spurs of the Lebanon and the Galilaean hills. The water thence makes its way between two cliffs of perpendicular rock, the ravine being in several places so narrow that the branches of the trees on the opposite sides interlace, and an active man could readily leap across it. Near Yakhmur some detached rocks appear to have been arrested in their fall, and, leaning like flying buttresses against the mountain face, constitute a natural bridge over the torrent. The basins of the two rivers lie in one valley, extending eighty leagues in length, divided by an almost imperceptible watershed into two beds of unequal slope. The central part of the valley is given up to marshes. It is only towards the south that we find cornfields, vineyards, plantations of mulberry and olive trees, spread out over the plain, or disposed in terraces on the hillsides. Towards the north, the alluvial deposits of, the Orontes have gradually formed a black and fertile soil, upon which grow luxuriant crops of cereals and other produce. Cole-Syria, after having generously nourished the Oriental empires which had preyed upon her, became one of the granaries of the Roman world, under the capable rule of the Caesars.

Syria is surrounded on all sides by countries of varying aspect and soil. That to the north, flanked by the Amanos, is a gloomy mountainous region, with its greatest elevation on the seaboard: it slopes gradually towards the interior, spreading out into chalky table-lands, dotted over with bare and rounded hills, and seamed with tortuous valleys which open out to the Euphrates, the Orontes, or the desert. Vast, slightly undulating plains succeed the table-lands: the soil is dry and stony, the streams are few in number and contain but little water. The Sajur flows into the Euphrates, the Afrin and the Karasu when united yield their tribute to the Orontes, while the others for the most part pour their waters into enclosed basins. The Khalus of the Greeks sluggishly pursues its course southward, and after reluctantly leaving the gardens of Aleppo, finally loses itself on the borders of the desert in a small salt lake full of islets: about halfway between the Khalus and the Euphrates a second salt lake receives the Nahr ed-Dahab, the "golden river." The climate is mild, and the temperature tolerably uniform. The sea-breeze which rises every afternoon tempers the summer heat: the cold in winter is never piercing, except when the south wind blows which comes from the mountains, and the snow rarely lies on the ground for more than twenty-four hours. It seldom rains during the autumn and winter months, but frequent showers fall in the early days of spring. Vegetation then awakes again, and the soil lends itself to cultivation in the hollows of the valleys and on the table-lands wherever irrigation is possible. The ancients dotted these now all but desert spaces with wells and cisterns; they intersected them with canals, and covered them with farms and villages, with fortresses and populous cities. Primaeval forests clothed the slopes of the Amanos, and pinewood from this region was famous both at Babylon and in the towns of Lower Chaldaea. The plains produced barley and wheat in enormous quantities, the vine throve there, the gardens teemed with flowers and fruit, and pistachio and olive trees grew on every slope. The desert was always threatening to invade the plain, and gained rapidly upon it whenever a prolonged war disturbed cultivation, or when the negligence of the inhabitants slackened the work of defence: beyond the lakes and salt marshes it had obtained a secure hold. At the present time the greater part of the country between the Orontes and the Euphrates is nothing but a rocky table-land, ridged with low hills and dotted over with some impoverished oases, excepting at the foot of Anti-Lebanon, where two rivers, fed by innumerable streams, have served to create a garden of marvellous beauty. The Barada, dashing from cascade to cascade, flows for some distance through gorges before emerging on the plain: scarcely has it reached level ground than it widens out, divides, and forms around Damascus a miniature delta, into which a thousand interlacing channels carry refreshment and fertility. Below the town these streams rejoin the river, which, after having flowed merrily along for a day's journey, is swallowed up in a kind of elongated chasm from whence it never again emerges. At the melting of the snows a regular lake is formed here, whose blue waters are surrounded by wide grassy margins "like a sapphire set in emeralds." This lake dries up almost completely in summer, and is converted into swampy meadows, filled with gigantic rushes, among which the birds build their nests, and multiply as unmolested as in the marshes of Chaldaea. The Awaj, unfed by any tributary, fills a second deeper though smaller basin, while to the south two other lesser depressions receive the waters of the Anti-Lebanon and the Hauran. Syria is protected from the encroachments of the desert by a continuous barrier of pools and beds of reeds: towards the east the space reclaimed resembles a verdant promontory thrust boldly out into an ocean of sand. The extent of the cultivated area is limited on the west by the narrow strip of rock and clay which forms the littoral. From the mouth of the Litany to that of the Orontes, the coast presents a rugged, precipitous, and inhospitable appearance. There are no ports, and merely a few ill-protected harbours, or narrow beaches lying under formidable headlands. One river, the Nahr el-Kebir, which elsewhere would not attract the traveller's attention, is here noticeable as being the only stream whose waters flow constantly and with tolerable regularity; the others, the Leon, the Adonis,* and the Nahr el-Kelb,* can scarcely even be called torrents, being precipitated as it were in one leap from the Lebanon to the Mediterranean. Olives, vines, and corn cover the maritime plain, while in ancient times the heights were clothed with impenetrable forests of oak, pine, larch, cypress, spruce, and cedar. The mountain range drops in altitude towards the centre of the country and becomes merely a line of low hills, connecting Gebel Ansarieh with the Lebanon proper; beyond the latter it continues without interruption, till at length, above the narrow Phoenician coast road, it rises in the form of an almost insurmountable wall. Near to the termination of Coele-Syria, but separated from it by a range of hills, there opens out on the western slopes of Hermon a valley unlike any other in the world. At this point the surface of the earth has been rent in prehistoric times by volcanic action, leaving a chasm which has never since closed up. A river, unique in character—the Jordan—flows down this gigantic crevasse, fertilizing the valley formed by it from end to end.***

* The Adonis of classical authors is now Nahr-Ibrahim. We have as yet no direct evidence as to the Phoenician name of this river; it was probably identical with that of the divinity worshipped on its banks. The fact of a river bearing the name of a god is not surprising: the Belos, in the neighbourhood of Acre, affords us a parallel case to the Adonis.

** The present Nahr el-Kelb is the Lykos of classical authors. The Due de Luynes thought he recognized a corruption of the Phoenician name in that of Alcobile, which is mentioned hereabouts in the Itinerary of the pilgrim of Bordeaux. The order of the Itinerary does not favour this identification, and Alcobile is probably Jebail: it is none the less probable that the original name of the Nahr el Kelb contained from earliest times the Phoenician equivalent of the Arab word kelb, "dog."

*** The Jordan is mentioned in the Egyptian texts under the name of Yorduna: the name appears to mean the descender, the down-flowing.

Its principal source is at Tell el-Qadi, where it rises out of a basaltic mound whose summit is crowned by the ruins of Laish.*

* This source is mentioned by Josephus as being that of the Little Jordan.

Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph by the Duc de Luynes.

The water collects in an oval rocky basin hidden by bushes, and flows down among the brushwood to join the Nahr el-Hasbany, which brings the waters of the upper torrents to swell its stream; a little lower down it mingles with the Banias branch, and winds for some time amidst desolate marshy meadows before disappearing in the thick beds of rushes bordering Lake Huleh.*

* Lake Huleh is called the Waters of Merom, Me-Merom, in the Book of Joshua, xi. 5, 7; and Lake Sammochonitis in Josephus. The name of Ulatha, which was given to the surrounding country, shows that the modern word Huleh is derived from an ancient form, of which unfortunately the original has not come down to us.

At this point the Jordan reaches the level of the Mediterranean, but instead of maintaining it, the river makes a sudden drop on leaving the lake, cutting for itself a deeply grooved channel. It has a fall of some 300 feet before reaching the Lake of Grenesareth, where it is only momentarily arrested, as if to gather fresh strength for its headlong career southwards.

Drawn by Boudier, from several photographs brought back by Lortet.

Here and there it makes furious assaults on its right and left banks, as if to escape from its bed, but the rocky escarpments which hem it in present an insurmountable barrier to it; from rapid to rapid it descends with such capricious windings that it covers a course of more than 62 miles before reaching, the Dead Sea, nearly 1300 feet below the level of the Mediterranean.*

* The exact figures are: the Lake of Huleh 7 feet above the Mediterranean; the Lake of Genesareth 68245 feet, and the Dead Sea 1292 feet below the sea-level; to the south of the Dead Sea, towards the water-parting of the Akabah, the ground is over 720 feet higher than the level of the Red Sea.

Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph by the Duc de Luynes.

Nothing could offer more striking contrasts than the country on either bank. On the east, the ground rises abruptly to a height of about 3000 feet, resembling a natural rampart flanked with towers and bastions: behind this extends an immense table-land, slightly undulating and intersected in all directions by the affluents of the Jordan and the Dead Sea—the Yarmuk,* the Jabbok,** and the Arnon.***

* The Yarmuk does not occur in the Bible, but we meet with its name in the Talmud, and the Greeks adopted it under the form Hieromax.

** Gen. xxxii. 22; Numb, xxi. 24. The name has been Grecized under the forms lobacchos, labacchos, Iambykes. It is the present Nahr Zerqa.

*** Numb. xxi. 13-26; Beut. ii. 24; the present Wady Mojib. [Shephelah = "low country," plain (Josh. xi. 16). With the article it means the plain along the Mediterranean from Joppa to Gaza.—Te.]

The whole of this district forms a little world in itself, whose inhabitants, half shepherds, half bandits, live a life of isolation, with no ambition to take part in general history. West of the Jordan, a confused mass of hills rises into sight, their sparsely covered slopes affording an impoverished soil for the cultivation of corn, vines, and olives. One ridge—Mount Carmel—detached from the principal chain near the southern end of the Lake of Genesareth, runs obliquely to the north-west, and finally projects into the sea. North of this range extends Galilee, abounding in refreshing streams and fertile fields; while to the south, the country falls naturally into three parallel zones—the littoral, composed alternately of dunes and marshes—an expanse of plain, a "Shephelah," dotted about with woods and watered by intermittent rivers,—and finally the mountains. The region of dunes is not necessarily barren, and the towns situated in it—Gaza, Jaffa, Ashdod, and Ascalon—are surrounded by flourishing orchards and gardens. The plain yields plentiful harvests every year, the ground needing no manure and very little labour. The higher ground and the hill-tops are sometimes covered with verdure, but as they advance southwards, they become denuded and burnt by the sun. The valleys, too, are watered only by springs, which are dried up for the most part during the summer, and the soil, parched by the continuous heat, can scarcely be distinguished from the desert. In fact, till the Sinaitic Peninsula and the frontiers of Egypt are reached, the eye merely encounters desolate and almost uninhabited solitudes, devastated by winter torrents, and overshadowed by the volcanic summits of Mount Seir. The spring rains, however, cause an early crop of vegetation to spring up, which for a few weeks furnishes the flocks of the nomad tribes with food.

We may summarise the physical characteristics of Syria by saying that Nature has divided the country into five or six regions of unequal area, isolated by rivers and mountains, each one of which, however, is admirably suited to become the seat of a separate independent state. In the north, we have the country of the two rivers—the Naharaim—extending from the Orontes to the Euphrates and the Balikh, or even as far as the Khabur:* in the centre, between the two ranges of the Lebanon, lie Coele-Syria and its two unequal neighbours, Aram of Damascus and Phoenicia; while to the south is the varied collection of provinces bordering the valley of the Jordan.

* The Naharaim of the Egyptians was first identified with Mesopotamia; it was located between the Orontes and the Balikh or the Euphrates by Maspero. This opinion is now adopted by the majority of Egyptologists, with slight differences in detail. Ed. Meyer has accurately compared the Egyptian Naharaim with the Parapotamia of the administration of the Seleucidae.

It is impossible at the present day to assert, with any approach to accuracy, what peoples inhabited these different regions towards the fourth millennium before our era. Wherever excavations are made, relics are brought to light of a very ancient semi-civilization, in which we find stone weapons and implements, besides pottery, often elegant in contour, but for the most part coarse in texture and execution. These remains, however, are not accompanied by any monument of definite characteristics, and they yield no information with regard to the origin or affinities of the tribes who fashioned them.* The study of the geographical nomenclature in use about the XVIth century B.C. reveals the existence, at all events at that period, of several peoples and several languages. The mountains, rivers, towns, and fortresses in Palestine and Coele-Syria are designated by words of Semitic origin: it is easy to detect, even in the hieroglyphic disguise which they bear on the Egyptian geographical lists, names familiar to us in Hebrew or Assyrian.

* Researches with regard to the primitive inhabitants of Syria and their remains have not as yet been prosecuted to any extent. The caves noticed by Hedenborg at Ant-Elias, near Tripoli, and by Botta at Nahr el-Kelb, and at Adlun by the Duc de Luynes, have been successively explored by Lartet, Tristram, Lortet, and Dawson. The grottoes of Palestine proper, at Bethzur, at Gilgal near Jericho, and at Tibneh, have been the subject of keen controversy ever since their discovery. The Abbe Richard desired to identify the flints of Gilgal and Tibneh with the stone knives used by Joshua for the circumcision of the Israelites after the passage of the Jordan (Josh. v- 2-9), some of which might have been buried in that hero's tomb.

But once across the Orontes, other forms present themselves which reveal no affinities to these languages, but are apparently connected with one or other of the dialects of Asia Minor.* The tenacity with which the place-names, once given, cling to the soil, leads us to believe that a certain number at least of those we know in Syria were in use there long before they were noted down by the Egyptians, and that they must have been heirlooms from very early peoples. As they take a Semitic or non-Semitic form according to their geographical position, we may conclude that the centre and south were colonized by Semites, and the north by the immigrant tribes from beyond the Taurus. Facts are not wanting to support this conclusion, and they prove that it is not so entirely arbitrary as we might be inclined to believe. The Asiatic visitors who, under a king of the XIIth dynasty, came to offer gifts to Khnumhotpu, the Lord of Beni-Hasan, are completely Semitic in type, and closely resemble the Bedouins of the present day. Their chief—Abisha—bears a Semitic name,** as too does the Sheikh Ammianshi, with whom Sinuhit took refuge.***

* The non-Semitic origin of the names of a number of towns in Northern Syria preserved in the Egyptian lists, is admitted by the majority of scholars who have studied the question.

** His name has been shown to be cognate with the Hebrew Abishai (1 Sam. xxvi. 6-9; 2 Sam. ii. 18, 24; xxi. 17) and with the Chaldaeo-Assyrian Abeshukh.

*** The name Ammianshi at once recalls those of Ammisatana, Ammiza-dugga, and perhaps Ammurabi, or Khammurabi, of one of the Babylonian dynasties; it contains, with the element Ammi, a final anshi. Chabas connects it with two Hebrew words Am-nesh, which he does not translate.

Ammianshi himself reigned over the province of Kadima, a word which in Semitic denotes the East. Finally, the only one of their gods known to us, Hadad, was a Semite deity, who presided over the atmosphere, and whom we find later on ruling over the destinies of Damascus. Peoples of Semitic speech and religion must, indeed, have already occupied the greater part of that region on the shores of the Mediterranean which we find still in their possession many centuries later, at the time of the Egyptian conquest.

Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Insinger.

For a time Egypt preferred not to meddle in their affairs. When, however, the "lords of the sands" grew too insolent, the Pharaoh sent a column of light troops against them, and inflicted on them such a severe punishment, that the remembrance of it kept them within bounds for years. Offenders banished from Egypt sought refuge with the turbulent kinglets, who were in a perpetual state of unrest between Sinai and the Dead Sea. Egyptian sailors used to set out to traffic along the seaboard, taking to piracy when hard pressed; Egyptian merchants were accustomed to penetrate by easy stages into the interior. The accounts they gave of their journeys were not reassuring. The traveller had first to face the solitudes which confronted him before reaching the Isthmus, and then to avoid as best he might the attacks of the pillaging tribes who inhabited it.

Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Insinger

Should he escape these initial perils, the Amu—an agricultural and settled people inhabiting the fertile region—would give the stranger but a sorry reception: he would have to submit to their demands, and the most exorbitant levies of toll did not always preserve caravans from their attacks.* The country seems to have been but thinly populated; tracts now denuded were then covered by large forests in which herds of elephants still roamed,** and wild beasts, including lions and leopards, rendered the route through them dangerous.

* The merchant who sets out for foreign lands "leaves his possessions to his children—for fear of lions and Asiatics."

** Thutmosis III. went elephant-hunting near the Syrian town of Nii.

The notion that Syria was a sort of preserve for both big and small game was so strongly implanted in the minds of the Egyptians, that their popular literature was full of it: the hero of their romances betook himself there for the chase, as a prelude to meeting with the princess whom he was destined to marry,* or, as in the case of Kazarati, chief of Assur, that he might encounter there a monstrous hyena with which to engage in combat.

* As, for instance, the hero in the Story of the Predestined Prince, exiled from Egypt with his dog, pursues his way hunting till he reaches the confines of Naharaim, where he is to marry the prince's daughter.

These merchants' adventures and explorations, as they were not followed by any military expedition, left absolutely no mark on the industries or manners of the primitive natives: those of them only who were close to the frontiers of Egypt came under her subtle charm and felt the power of her attraction, but this slight influence never penetrated beyond the provinces lying nearest to the Dead Sea. The remaining populations looked rather to Chaldaea, and received, though at a distance, the continuous impress of the kingdoms of the Euphrates. The tradition which attributes to Sargon of Agade, and to his son Istaramsin, the subjection of the people of the Amanos and the Orontes, probably contains but a slight element of truth; but if, while awaiting further information, we hesitate to believe that the armies of these princes ever crossed the Lebanon or landed in Cyprus, we must yet admit the very early advent of their civilization in those western countries which are regarded as having been under their rule. More than three thousand years before our era, the Asiatics who figure on the tomb of Khnumhotpu clothed themselves according to the fashions of Uru and Lagash, and affected long robes of striped and spotted stuffs. We may well ask if they had also borrowed the cuneiform syllabary for the purposes of their official correspondence,* and if the professional scribe with his stylus and clay tablet was to be found in their cities. The Babylonian courtiers were, no doubt, more familiar visitors among them than the Memphite nobles, while the Babylonian kings sent regularly to Syria for statuary stone, precious metals, and the timber required in the building of their monuments: Urbau and Gudea, as well as their successors and contemporaries, received large convoys of materials from the Amanos, and if the forests of Lebanon were more rarely utilised, it was not because their existence was unknown, but because distance rendered their approach more difficult and transport more costly. The Mediterranean marches were, in their language, classed as a whole under one denomination—Martu, Amurru,** the West—but there were distinctive names for each of the provinces into which they were divided.

* The most ancient cuneiform tablets of Syrian origin are not older than the XVIth century before our era; they contain the official, correspondence of the native princes with the Pharaohs Amenothes III. and IV. of the XVIIIth dynasty, as will be seen later on in this volume; they were discovered in the ruins of one of the palaces at Tel el- Amarna in Egypt.

** Formerly read Akharru. Martu would be the Sumerian and Akharru the Semitic form, Akharru meaning that which is behind. The discovery of the Tel el-Amarna tablets threw doubt on the reading of the name Akharru: some thought that it ought to be kept in any case; others, with more or less certainty, think that it should be replaced by Amuru, Amurru, the country of the Amorites. But the question has now been settled by Babylonian contract and law tablets of the period of Khaminurabi, in which the name is written A- mu-ur-ri (ki). Hommel originated the idea that Martu might be an abbreviation of Amartu, that is, Amar with the feminine termination of nouns in the Canaanitish dialect: Martu would thus actually signify the country of the Amorites.

Probably even at that date they called the north Khati,* and Cole-Syria, Amurru, the land of the Amorites. The scattered references in their writings seem to indicate frequent intercourse with these countries, and that, too, as a matter of course which excited no surprise among their contemporaries: a journey from Lagash to the mountains of Tidanum and to Gubin, or to the Lebanon and beyond it to Byblos,** meant to them no voyage of discovery. Armies undoubtedly followed the routes already frequented by caravans and flotillas of trading boats, and the time came when kings desired to rule as sovereigns over nations with whom their subjects had peaceably traded.

* The name of the Khati, Khatti, is found in the Book of Omens, which is supposed to contain an extract from the annals of Sargon and Naramsin; as, however, the text which we possess of it is merely a copy of the time of Assurbanipal, it is possible that the word Khati is merely the translation of a more ancient term, perhaps Martu. Winckler thinks it to be included in Lesser Armenia and the Melitone of classical authors.

** Gubin is probably the Kupuna, Kupnu, of the Egyptians, the Byblos of Phoenicia. Amiaud had proposed a most unlikely identification with Koptos in Egypt. In the time of Ine-Sin, King of Ur, mention is found of Simurru, Zimyra.

It does not appear, however, that the ancient rulers of Lagash ever extended their dominion so far. The governors of the northern cities, on the other hand, showed themselves more energetic, and inaugurated that march westwards which sooner or later brought the peoples of the Euphrates into collision with the dwellers on the Nile: for the first Babylonian empire without doubt comprised part if not the whole of Syria.*

* It is only since the discovery of the Tel el-Amarna tablets that the fact of the dominant influence of Chaldaea over Syria and of its conquest has been definitely realized. It is now clear that the state of things of which the tablets discovered in Egypt give us a picture, could only be explained by the hypothesis of a Babylonish supremacy of long duration over the peoples situated between the Euphrates and the Mediterranean.

Among the most celebrated names in ancient history, that of Babylon is perhaps the only one which still suggests to our minds a sense of vague magnificence and undefined dominion. Cities in other parts of the world, it is true, have rivalled Babylon in magnificence and power: Egypt could boast of more than one such city, and their ruins to this day present to our gaze more monuments worthy of admiration than Babylon ever contained in the days of her greatest prosperity. The pyramids of Memphis and the colossal statues of Thebes still stand erect, while the ziggurats and the palaces of Chaldaea are but mounds of clay crumbling into the plain; but the Egyptian monuments are visible and tangible objects; we can calculate to within a few inches the area they cover and the elevation of their summits, and the very precision with which we can gauge their enormous size tends to limit and lessen their effect upon us. How is it possible to give free rein to the imagination when the subject of it is strictly limited by exact and determined measurements? At Babylon, on the contrary, there is nothing remaining to check the flight of fancy: a single hillock, scoured by the rains of centuries, marks the spot where the temple of Bel stood erect in its splendour; another represents the hanging gardens, while the ridges running to the right and left were once the ramparts.

Drawn by Boudier, from a drawing reproduced in Hofer. It shows the state of the ruins in the first half of our century, before the excavations carried out at European instigation.

The vestiges of a few buildings remain above the mounds of rubble, and as soon as the pickaxe is applied to any spot, irregular layers of bricks, enamelled tiles, and inscribed tablets are brought to light—in fine, all those numberless objects which bear witness to the presence of man and to his long sojourn on the spot. But these vestiges are so mutilated and disfigured that the principal outlines of the buildings cannot be determined with any certainty, and afford us no data for guessing their dimensions. He who would attempt to restore the ancient appearance of the place would find at his disposal nothing but vague indications, from which he might draw almost any conclusion he pleased.

Prepared by Thuillier, from a plan reproduced in G. Rawlinson, Herodotus

Palaces and temples would take a shape in his imagination on a plan which never entered the architect's mind; the sacred towers as they rose would be disposed in more numerous stages than they actually possessed; the enclosing walls would reach such an elevation that they must have quickly fallen under their own weight if they had ever been carried so high: the whole restoration, accomplished without any certain data, embodies the concept of something vast and superhuman, well befitting the city of blood and tears, cursed by the Hebrew prophets. Babylon was, however, at the outset, but a poor town, situated on both banks of the Euphrates, in a low-lying, flat district, intersected by canals and liable at times to become marshy. The river at this point runs almost directly north and south, between two banks of black mud, the base of which it is perpetually undermining. As long as the city existed, the vertical thrust of the public buildings and houses kept the river within bounds, and even since it was finally abandoned, the masses of debris have almost everywhere had the effect of resisting its encroachment; towards the north, however, the line of its ancient quays has given way and sunk beneath the waters, while the stream, turning its course westwards, has transferred to the eastern bank the gardens and mounds originally on the opposite side. E-sagilla, the temple of the lofty summit, the sanctuary of Merodach, probably occupied the vacant space in the depression between the Babil and the hill of the Kasr.*

* The temple of Merodach, called by the Greeks the temple of Belos, has been placed on the site called Babil by the two Rawlinsons; and by Oppert; Hormuzd Rassam and Fr. Delitzsch locate it between the hill of Junjuma and the Kasr, and considers Babil to be a palace of Nebuchadrezzar.

In early times it must have presented much the same appearance as the sanctuaries of Central Chaldaea: a mound of crude brick formed the substructure of the dwellings of the priests and the household of the god, of the shops for the offerings and for provisions, of the treasury, and of the apartments for purification or for sacrifice, while the whole was surmounted by a ziggurat. On other neighbouring platforms rose the royal palace and the temples of lesser divinities,* elevated above the crowd of private habitations.

* As, for instance, the temple E-temenanki on the actual hill of Amran-ibn-Ali, the temple of Shamash, and others, which there will be occasion to mention later on in dealing with the second Chaldaean empire.

Drawn by Boudier, from the engraving by Thomas in Perrot- Chipiez.

The houses of the people were closely built around these stately piles, on either side of narrow lanes. A massive wall surrounded the whole, shutting out the view on all sides; it even ran along the bank of the Euphrates, for fear of a surprise from that quarter, and excluded the inhabitants from the sight of their own river. On the right bank rose a suburb, which was promptly fortified and enlarged, so as to become a second Babylon, almost equalling the first in extent and population.

Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, after the plate published in Ohesney.

Beyond this, on the outskirts, extended gardens and fields, finding at length their limit at the territorial boundaries of two other towns, Kutha and Borsippa, whose black outlines are visible to the east and south-west respectively, standing isolated above the plain. Sippara on the north, Nippur on the south, and the mysterious Agade, completed the circle of sovereign states which so closely hemmed in the city of Bel. We may surmise with all probability that the history of Babylon in early times resembled in the main that of the Egyptian Thebes. It was a small seigneury in the hands of petty princes ceaselessly at war with petty neighbours: bloody struggles, with alternating successes and reverses, were carried on for centuries with no decisive results, until the day came when some more energetic or fortunate dynasty at length crushed its rivals, and united under one rule first all the kingdoms of Northern and finally those of Southern Chaldaea.

The lords of Babylon had, ordinarily, a twofold function, religious and military, the priest at first taking precedence of the soldier, but gradually yielding to the latter as the town increased in power. They were merely the priestly representatives or administrators of Babel—shakannaku Babili—and their authority was not considered legitimate until officially confirmed by the god. Each ruler was obliged to go in state to the temple of Bel Merodach within a year of his accession: there he had to take the hands of the divine statue, just as a vassal would do homage to his liege, and those only of the native sovereigns or the foreign conquerors could legally call themselves Kings of Babylon—sharru Babili—who had not only performed this rite, but renewed it annually.*

* The meaning of the ceremony in which the kings of Babylon "took the hands of Bel" has been given by Winckler; Tiele compares it very aptly with the rite performed by the Egyptian kings—at Heliopolis, for example, when they entered alone the sanctuary of Ra, and there contemplated the god face to face. The rite was probably repeated annually, at the time of the Zakmuku, that is, the New Year festival.

Sargon the Elder had lived in Babylon, and had built himself a palace there: hence the tradition of later times attributed to this city the glory of having been the capital of the great empire founded by the Akkadian dynasties. The actual sway of Babylon, though arrested to the south by the petty states of Lower Chaldaea, had not encountered to the north or north-west any enemy to menace seriously its progress in that semi-fabulous period of its history. The vast plain extending between the Euphrates and the Tigris is as it were a continuation of the Arabian desert, and is composed of a grey, or in parts a whitish, soil impregnated with selenite and common salt, and irregularly superimposed upon a bed of gypsum, from which asphalt oozes up here and there, forming slimy pits. Frost is of rare occurrence in winter, and rain is infrequent at any season; the sun soon burns up the scanty herbage which the spring showers have encouraged, but fleshy plants successfully resist its heat, such as the common salsola, the salsola soda, the pallasia, a small mimosa, and a species of very fragrant wormwood, forming together a vari-coloured vegetation which gives shelter to the ostrich and the wild ass, and affords the flocks of the nomads a grateful pasturage when the autumn has set in. The Euphrates bounds these solitudes, but without watering them. The river flows, as far as the eye can see, between two ranges of rock or bare hills, at the foot of which a narrow strip of alluvial soil supports rows of date-palms intermingled here and there with poplars, sumachs, and willows. Wherever there is a break in the two cliffs, or where they recede from the river, a series of shadufs takes possession of the bank, and every inch of the soil is brought under cultivation. The aspect of the country remains unchanged as far as the embouchure of the Khabur; but there a black alluvial soil replaces the saliferous clay, and if only the water were to remain on the land in sufficient quantity, the country would be unrivalled in the world for the abundance and variety of its crops.

Drawn by Boudier, from the plate in Chesney.

The fields, which are regularly sown in the neighbourhood of the small towns, yield magnificent harvests of wheat and barley: while in the prairie-land beyond the cultivated ground the grass grows so high that it comes up to the horses' girths. In some places the meadows are so covered with varieties of flowers, growing in dense masses, that the effect produced is that of a variegated carpet; dogs sent in among them in search of game, emerge covered with red, blue, and yellow pollen. This fragrant prairie-land is the delight of bees, which produce excellent and abundant honey, while the vine and olive find there a congenial soil. The population was unequally distributed in this region. Some half-savage tribes were accustomed to wander over the plain, dwelling in tents, and supporting life by the chase and by the rearing of cattle; but the bulk of the inhabitants were concentrated around the affluents of the Euphrates and Tigris, or at the foot of the northern mountains wherever springs could be found, as in Assur, Singar, Nisibis, Tilli,* Kharranu, and in all the small fortified towns and nameless townlets whose ruins are scattered over the tract of country between the Khabur and the Balikh. Kharranu, or Harran, stood, like an advance guard of Chaldaean civilization, near the frontiers of Syria and Asia Minor.** To the north it commanded the passes which opened on to the basins of the Upper Euphrates and Tigris; it protected the roads leading to the east and south-east in the direction of the table-land of Iran and the Persian Gulf, and it was the key to the route by which the commerce of Babylon reached the countries lying around the Mediterranean. We have no means of knowing what affinities as regards origin or race connected it with Uru, but the same moon-god presided over the destinies of both towns, and the Sin of Harran enjoyed in very early times a renown nearly equal to that of his namesake.

* Tilli, the only one of these towns mentioned with any certainty in the inscriptions of the first Chaldaean empire, is the Tela of classical authors, and probably the present Weranshaher, near the sources of the Balikh.

** Kharranu was identified by the earlier Assyriologists with the Harran of the Hebrews (Gen. v. 12), the Carrhse of classical authors, and this identification is still generally accepted.

He was worshipped under the symbol of a conical stone, probably an aerolite, surmounted by a gilded crescent, and the ground-plan of the town roughly described a crescent-shaped curve in honour of its patron. His cult, even down to late times, was connected with cruel practices; generations after the advent to power of the Abbasside caliphs, his faithful worshippers continued to sacrifice to him human victims, whose heads, prepared according to the ancient rite, were accustomed to give oracular responses.* The government of the surrounding country was in the hands of princes who were merely vicegerents:** Chaldaean civilization before the beginnings of history had more or less laid hold of them, and made them willing subjects to the kings of Babylon.***

* Without seeking to specify exactly which were the doctrines introduced into Harranian religion subsequently to the Christian era, we may yet affirm that the base of this system of faith was merely a very distorted form of the ancient Chaldaean worship practised in the town.

** Only one vicegerent of Mesopotamia is known at present, and he belongs to the Assyrian epoch. His seal is preserved in the British Museum.

*** The importance of Harran in the development of the history of the first Chaldaean empire was pointed out by Winckler; but the theory according to which this town was the capital of the kingdom, called by the Chaldaean and Assyrian scribes "the kingdom of the world," is justly combated by Tiele.

These sovereigns were probably at the outset somewhat obscure personages, without much prestige, being sometimes independent and sometimes subject to the rulers of neighbouring states, among others to those of Agade. In later times, when Babylon had attained to universal power, and it was desired to furnish her kings with a continuous history, the names of these earlier rulers were sought out, and added to those of such foreign princes as had from time to time enjoyed the sovereignty over them—thus forming an interminable list which for materials and authenticity would well compare with that of the Thinite Pharaohs. This list has come down to us incomplete, and its remains do not permit of our determining the exact order of reigns, or the status of the individuals who composed it. We find in it, in the period immediately subsequent to the Deluge, mention of mythical heroes, followed by names which are still semi-legendary, such as Sargon the Elder; the princes of the series were, however, for the most part real beings, whose memories had been preserved by tradition, or whose monuments were still existing in certain localities. Towards the end of the XXVth century before our era, however, a dynasty rose into power of which all the members come within the range of history.*

* This dynasty, which is known to us in its entirety by the two lists of G. Smith and by Pinches, was legitimately composed of only eleven kings, and was known as the Babylonian dynasty, although Sayce suspects it to be of Arabian origin. It is composed as follows:—

The dates of this dynasty are not fixed with entire certainty. The first of them, Sumuabim, has left us some contracts bearing the dates of one or other of the fifteen years of his reign, and documents of public or private interest abound in proportion as we follow down the line of his successors. Sumulailu, who reigned after him, was only distantly related to his predecessor; but from Sumulailu to Sam-shusatana the kingly power was transmitted from father to son without a break for nine generations, if we may credit the testimony of the official lists.*

* Simulailu, also written Samu-la-ilu, whom Mr. Pinches has found in a contract tablet associated with Pungunila as king, was not the son of Sumuabim, since the lists do not mention him as such; he must, however, have been connected with some sort of relationship, or by marriage, with his predecessor, since both are placed in the same dynasty. A few contracts of Sumulailu are given by Meissner. Samsuiluna calls him "my forefather (d-gula-mu), the fifth king before me."

Hommel believes that the order of the dynasties has been reversed, and that the first upon the lists we possess was historically the second; he thus places the Babylonian dynasty between 2035 and 1731 B.C. His opinion has not been generally adopted, but every Assyriologist dealing with this period proposes a different date for the reigns in this dynasty; to take only one characteristic example, Khammurabi is placed by Oppert in the year 2394-2339, by Delitzsch- Murdter in 2287-2232, by Winckler in 2264-2210, and by Peiser in 2139-2084, and by Carl Niebuhr in 2081-2026.

Contemporary records, however, prove that the course of affairs did not always run so smoothly. They betray the existence of at least one usurper—Immeru—who, even if he did not assume the royal titles, enjoyed the supreme power for several years between the reigns of Zabu and Abilsin. The lives of these rulers closely resembled those of their contemporaries of Southern Chaldaea. They dredged the ancient canals, or constructed new ones; they restored the walls of their fortresses, or built fresh strongholds on the frontier;* they religiously kept the festivals of the divinities belonging to their terrestrial domain, to whom they annually rendered solemn homage.

* Sumulailu had built six such large strongholds of brick, which were repaired by Samsuiluna five generations later. A contract of Sinmuballit is dated the year in which he built the great wall of a strong place, the name of which is unfortunately illegible on the fragment which we possess.

They repaired the temples as a matter of course, and enriched them according to their means; we even know that Zabu, the third in order of the line of sovereigns, occupied himself in building the sanctuary Eulbar of Anunit, in Sippara. There is evidence that they possessed the small neighbouring kingdoms of Kishu, Sippara, and Kuta, and that they had consolidated them into a single state, of which Babylon was the capital. To the south their possessions touched upon those of the kings of Uru, but the frontier was constantly shifting, so that at one time an important city such as Nippur belonged to them, while at another it fell under the dominion of the southern provinces. Perpetual war was waged in the narrow borderland which separated the two rival states, resulting apparently in the balance of power being kept tolerably equal between them under the immediate successors of Sumuabim* —the obscure Sumulailu, Zabum, the usurper Immeru, Abilsin and Sinmuballit—until the reign of Khammurabi (the son of Sinmuballit), who finally made it incline to his side.** The struggle in which he was engaged, and which, after many vicissitudes, he brought to a successful issue, was the more decisive, since he had to contend against a skilful and energetic adversary who had considerable forces at his disposal. Birnsin*** was, in reality, of Elamite race, and as he held the province of Yamutbal in appanage, he was enabled to muster, in addition to his Chaldaean battalions, the army of foreigners who had conquered the maritime regions at the mouth of the Tigris and the Euphrates.

* None of these facts are as yet historically proved: we may, however, conjecture with some probability what was the general state of things, when we remember that the first kings of Babylon were contemporaries of the last independent sovereigns of Southern Chaldaea.

** The name of this prince has been read in several ways— Hammurabi, Khammurabi, by the earlier Assyriologists, subsequently Hammuragash, Khammuragash, as being of Elamite or Cossoan extraction: the reading Khammurabi is at present the prevailing one. The bilingual list published by Pinches makes Khammurabi an equivalent of the Semitic names Kimta- rapashtum. Hence Halevy concluded that Khammurabi was a series of ideograms, and that Kimtarapashtum was the true reading of the name; his proposal, partially admitted by Hommel, furnishes us with a mixed reading of Khammurapaltu, Amraphel. [Hommel is now convinced of the identity of the Amraphel of Gen. xiv. I with Khammurabi.—Te.] Sayce, moreover, adopts the reading Khammurabi, and assigns to him an Arabian origin. The part played by this prince was pointed out at an early date by Menant. Recent discoveries have shown the important share which he had in developing the Chaldaean empire, and have, increased his reputation with Assyriologists.

*** The name of this king has been the theme of heated discussions: it was at first pronounced Aradsin, Ardusin, or Zikarsin; it is now read in several different ways—Rimsin, or Eriaku, Riaku, Rimagu. Others have made a distinction between the two forms, and have made out of them the names of two different kings. They are all variants of the same name. I have adopted the form Rimsin, which is preferred by a few Assyriologists. [The tablets recently discovered by Mr. Pinches, referring to Kudur-lagamar and Tudkhula, which he has published in a Paper road before the Victoria Institute, Jan. 20, 1896, have shown that the true reading is Eri-Aku. The Elamite name Eri-Aku, "servant of the moon- god," was changed by some of his subjects into the Babylonian Rim-Sin, "Have mercy, O Moon-god!" just as Abesukh, the Hebrew Absihu'a ("the father of welfare") was transformed into the Babylonian Ebisum ("the actor").—Ed.]

It was not the first time that Elam had audaciously interfered in the affairs of her neighbours. In fabulous times, one of her mythical kings—Khumbaba the Ferocious—had oppressed. Uruk, and Gilgames with all his valour was barely able to deliver the town. Sargon the Elder is credited with having subdued Elam; the kings and vicegerents of Lagash, as well as those of Uru and. Larsam, had measured forces with Anshan, but with no decisive issue. From time to time they obtained an advantage, and we find recorded in the annals victories gained by Gudea, Ine-sin, or Bursin, but to be followed only by fresh reverses; at the close of such campaigns, and in order to seal the ensuing peace, a princess of Susa would be sent as a bride to one of the Chaldaean cities, or a Chaldaean lady of royal birth would enter the harem of a king of Anshan. Elam was protected along the course of the Tigris and on the shores of the Nar-Marratum by a wide marshy region, impassable except at a few fixed and easily defended places. The alluvial plain extending behind the marshes was as rich and fertile as that of Chaldaea. Wheat and barley ordinarily yielded an hundred and at times two hundredfold; the towns were surrounded by a shadeless belt of palms; the almond, fig, acacia, poplar, and willow extended in narrow belts along the rivers' edge. The climate closely resembles that of Chaldaja: if the midday heat in summer is more pitiless, it is at least tempered by more frequent east winds. The ground, however, soon begins to rise, ascending gradually towards the north-east. The distant and uniform line of mountain-peaks grows loftier on the approach of the traveller, and the hills begin to appear one behind another, clothed halfway up with thick forests, but bare on their summits, or scantily covered with meagre vegetation. They comprise, in fact, six or seven parallel ranges, resembling natural ramparts piled up between the country of the Tigris and the table-land of Iran. The intervening valleys were formerly lakes, having had for the most part no communication with each other and no outlet into the sea. In the course of centuries they had dried up, leaving a thick deposit of mud in the hollows of their ancient beds, from which sprang luxurious and abundant harvests. The rivers—the Uknu,* the Ididi,** and the Ulai***—which water this region are, on reaching more level ground, connected by canals, and are constantly shifting their beds in the light soil of the Susian plain: they soon attain a width equal to that of the Euphrates, but after a short time lose half their volume in swamps, and empty themselves at the present day into the Shatt-el-Arab. They flowed formerly into that part of the Persian Gulf which extended as far as Kornah, and the sea thus formed the southern frontier of the kingdom.

* The Uknu is the Kerkhah of the present day, the Choaspes of the Greeks.

** The Ididi was at first identified with the ancient Pasitigris, which scholars then desired to distinguish from the Eulseos: it is now known to be the arm of the Karun which runs to Dizful, the Koprates of classical times, which has sometimes been confounded with the Eulaws.

*** The Ulai, mentioned in the Hebrew texts (Ban. viii. 2, 16), the Euloos of classical writers, also called Pasitigris. It is the Karun of the present day, until its confluence with the Shaur, and subsequently the Shaur itself, which waters the foot of the Susian hills.

From earliest times this country was inhabited by three distinct peoples, whose descendants may still be distinguished at the present day, and although they have dwindled in numbers and become mixed with elements of more recent origin, the resemblance to their forefathers is still very remarkable. There were, in the first place, the short and robust people of well-knit figure, with brown skins, black hair and eyes, who belonged to that negritic race which inhabited a considerable part of Asia in prehistoric times.*

* The connection of the negroid type of Susians with the negritic races of India and Oceania, has been proved, in the course of M. Dieulafoy's expedition to the Susian plains and the ancient provinces of Elam.

Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a bas-relief of Sargon II. in the Louvre.

These prevailed in the lowlands and the valleys, where the warm, damp climate favoured their development; but they also spread into the mountain region, and had pushed their outposts as far as the first slopes of the Iranian table-land. They there contact with white-skinned of medium height, who were probably allied to the nations of Northern and Central Asia—to the Scythians,* for instance, if it is permissible to use a vague term employed by the Ancients.

* This last-mentioned people is, by some authors, for reasons which, so far, can hardly be considered conclusive, connected with the so-called Sumerian race, which we find settled in Chaldaea. They are said to have been the first to employ horses and chariots in warfare.

Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph furnished by Marcel Dieulafoy.

Semites of the same stock as those of Chaldaea pushed forward as far as the east bank of the Tigris, and settling mainly among the marshes led a precarious life by fishing and pillaging.* The country of the plain was called Anzan, or Anshan,** and the mountain region Numma, or Ilamma, "the high lands:" these two names were subsequently used to denote the whole country, and Ilamma has survived in the Hebrew word Elam.*** Susa, the most important and flourishing town in the kingdom, was situated between the Ulai and the Ididi, some twenty-five or thirty miles from the nearest of the mountain ranges.

* From the earliest times we meet beyond the Tigris with names like that of Durilu, a fact which proves the existence of races speaking a Semitic dialect in the countries under the suzerainty of the King of Elam: in the last days of the Chaldaean empire they had assumed such importance that the Hebrews made out Elam to be one of the sons of Shem (Gen. x. 22).

** Anzan, Anshan, and, by assimilation of the nasal with the sibilant, Ashshan. This name has already been mentioned in the inscriptions of the kings and vicegerents of Lagash and in the Book of Prophecies of the ancient Chaldaean astronomers; it also occurs in the royal preamble of Cyrus and his ancestors, who like him were styled "kings of Anshan." It had been applied to the whole country of Elam, and afterwards to Persia. Some are of opinion that it was the name of a part of Elam, viz. that inhabited by the Turanian Medes who spoke the second language of the Achaemenian inscriptions, the eastern half, bounded by the Tigris and the Persian Gulf, consisting of a flat and swampy land. These differences of opinion gave rise to a heated controversy; it is now, however, pretty generally admitted that Anzan-Anshan was really the plain of Elam, from the mountains to the sea, and one set of authorities affirms that the word Anzan may have meant "plain" in the language of the country, while others hesitate as yet to pronounce definitely on this point.

*** The meaning of "Nunima," "Ilamma," "Ilamtu," in the group of words used to indicate Elam, had been recognised even by the earliest Assyriologists; the name originally referred to the hilly country on the north and east of Susa. To the Hebrews, Elam was one of the sons of Shem (Gen. x. 22). The Greek form of the name is Elymais, and some of the classical geographers were well enough acquainted with the meaning of the word to be able to distinguish the region to which it referred from Susiana proper.

Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, after a plate in Chesney.

Its fortress and palace were raised upon the slopes of a mound which overlooked the surrounding country:* at its base, to the eastward, stretched the town, with its houses of sun-dried bricks.**

* Susa, in the language of the country, was called Shushun; this name was transliterated into Chaldaeo-Assyrian, by Shushan, Shushi.

** Strabo tells us, on the authority of Polycletus, that the town had no walls in the time of Alexander, and extended over a space two hundred stadia in length; in the VIII century B.C. it was enclosed by walls with bastions, which are shown on a bas-relief of Assurbanipal, but it was surrounded by unfortified suburbs.

Further up the course of the Uknu, lay the following cities: Madaktu, the Badaca of classical authors,* rivalling Susa in strength and importance; Naditu,** Til-Khumba,*** Dur-Undash,**** Khaidalu.^—all large walled towns, most of which assumed the title of royal cities. Elam in reality constituted a kind of feudal empire, composed of several tribes—the Habardip, the Khushshi, the Umliyash, the people of Yamutbal and of Yatbur^^—all independent of each other, but often united under the authority of one sovereign, who as a rule chose Susa as the seat of government.

* Madaktu, Mataktu, the Badaka of Diodorus, situated on the Eulaaos, between Susa and Ecbatana, has been placed by Rawlinson near the bifurcation of the Kerkhah, either at Paipul or near Aiwan-i-Kherkah, where there are some rather important and ancient ruins; Billerbeck prefers to put it at the mouth of the valley of Zal-fer, on the site at present occupied by the citadel of Kala-i-Riza.

** Naditu is identified by Finzi with the village of Natanzah, near Ispahan; it ought rather to be looked for in the neighbourhood of Sarna.

*** Til-Khumba, the Mound of Khumba, so named after one of the principal Elamite gods, was, perhaps, situated among the ruins of Budbar, towards the confluence of the Ab-i-Kirind and Kerkhah, or possibly higher up in the mountain, in the vicinity of Asmanabad.

**** Dur-Undash, Dur-Undasi, has been identified, without absolutely conclusive reason, with the fortress of Kala-i- Dis on the Disful-Rud.

^ Khaidalu, Khidalu, is perhaps the present fortress of Dis- Malkan.

^^ The countries of Yatbur and Yamutbal extended into the plain between the marshes of the Tigris and the mountain; the town of Durilu was near the Yamutbal region, if not in that country itself. Umliyash lay between the Uknu and the Tigris.

The language is not represented by any idioms now spoken, and its affinities with the Sumerian which some writers have attempted to establish, are too uncertain to make it safe to base any theory upon them.*

* A great part of the Susian inscriptions have been collected by Fr. Lenormant. An attempt has been made to identify the language in which they are written with the Sumero-accadian, and authorities now generally agree in considering the Arcaemenian inscriptions of the second type as representative of its modern form. Hommel connects it with Georgian, and includes it in a great linguistic family, which comprises, besides these two idioms, the Hittite, the Cappadocian, the Armenian of the Van inscriptions, and the Cosstean. Oppert claims to have discovered on a tablet in the British Museum a list of words belonging to one of the idioms (probably Semitic) of Susiana, which differs alike from the Suso-Medic and the Assyrian.

The little that we know of Elamite religion reveals to us a mysterious world, full of strange names and vague forms. Over their hierarchy there presided a deity who was called Shushinak (the Susian), Dimesh or Samesh, Dagbag, As-siga, Adaene, and possibly Khumba and AEmman, whom the Chaldaens identified with their god Ninip; his statue was concealed in a sanctuary inaccessible to the profane, but it was dragged from thence by Assurbanipal of Nineveh in the VIIth century B.C.* This deity was associated with six others of the first rank, who were divided into two triads—Shumudu, Lagamaru, Partikira; Ammankasibar, Uduran, and Sapak: of these names, the least repellent, Ammankasibar, may possibly be the Memnon of the Greeks. The dwelling of these divinities was near Susa, in the depths of a sacred forest to which the priests and kings alone had access: their images were brought out on certain days to receive solemn homage, and were afterwards carried back to their shrine accompanied by a devout and reverent multitude. These deities received a tenth of the spoil after any successful campaign—the offerings comprising statues of the enemies' gods, valuable vases, ingots of gold and silver, furniture, and stuffs. The Elamite armies were well organized, and under a skilful general became irresistible. In other respects the Elamites closely resembled the Chaldaeans, pursuing the same industries and having the same agricultural and commercial instincts. In the absence of any bas-reliefs and inscriptions peculiar to this people, we may glean from the monuments of Lagash and Babylon a fair idea of the extent of their civilization in its earliest stages.

* Shushinak is an adjective derived from the name of the town of Susa. The real name of the god was probably kept secret and rarely uttered. The names which appear by the side of Shushinak in the text published by H. Rawlinson, as equivalents of the Babylonian Ninip, perhaps represent different deities; we may well ask whether the deity may not be the Khumba, Umma, Umman, who recurs so frequently in the names of men and places, and who has hitherto never been met with alone in any formula or dedicatory tablet.

The cities of the Euphrates, therefore, could have been sensible of but little change, when the chances of war transferred them from the rule of their native princes to that of an Elamite. The struggle once over, and the resulting evils repaired as far as practicable, the people of these towns resumed their usual ways, hardly conscious of the presence of their foreign ruler. The victors, for their part, became assimilated so rapidly with the vanquished, that at the close of a generation or so the conquering dynasty was regarded legitimate and national one, loyally attached to the traditions and religion of its adopted country. In the year 2285 B.C., towards the close of the reign of Nurramman, or in the earlier part of that of Siniddinam, a King of Elam, by name Kudur-nakhunta, triumphantly marched through Chaldaea from end to end, devastating the country and sparing neither town nor temple: Uruk lost its statue of Nana, which was carried off as a trophy and placed in the sanctuary of Susa. The inhabitants long mourned the detention of their goddess, and a hymn of lamentation, probably composed for the occasion by one of their priests, kept the remembrance of the disaster fresh in their memories. "Until when, oh lady, shall the impious enemy ravage the country!—In thy queen-city, Uruk, the destruction is accomplished,—in Eulbar, the temple of thy oracle, blood has flowed like water,—upon the whole of thy lands has he poured out flame, and it is spread abroad like smoke.—Oh, lady, verily it is hard for me to bend under the yoke of misfortune!—? Oh, lady, thou hast wrapped me about, thou hast plunged me, in sorrow!—The impious mighty one has broken me in pieces like a reed,—and I know not what to resolve, I trust not in myself,—like a bed of reeds I sigh day and night!—I, thy servant, I bow myself before thee!" It would appear that the whole of Chaldaea, including Babylon itself, was forced to acknowledge the supremacy of the invader;* a Susian empire thus absorbed Chaldaea, reducing its states to feudal provinces, and its princes to humble vassals. Kudur-nakhunta having departed, the people of Larsa exerted themselves to the utmost to repair the harm that he had done, and they succeeded but too well, since their very prosperity was the cause only a short time after of the outburst of another storm. Siniddinam, perhaps, desired to shake off the Elamite yoke. Simtishilkhak, one of the successors of Kudur-nakhunta, had conceded the principality of Yamutbal as a fief to Kudur-mabug, one of his sons. Kudur-mabug appears to have been a conqueror of no mean ability, for he claims, in his inscriptions, the possession of the whole of Syria.**

* The submission of Babylon is evident from the title Adda Martu, "sovereign of the West," assumed by several of the Elamite princes (of. p. 65 of the present work): in order to extend his authority beyond the Euphrates, it was necessary for the King of Elam to be first of all master of Babylon. In the early days of Assyriology it was supposed that this period of Elamite supremacy coincided with the Median dynasty of Berosus.

** His preamble contains the titles adda Martu, "prince of Syria;" adda lamutbal, "prince of Yamutbal." The word adda seems properly to mean "lather," and the literal translation of the full title would probably be "father of Syria," "father of Yamutbal," whence the secondary meanings "master, lord, prince," which have been provisionally accepted by most Assyriologists. Tiele, and Winckler after him, have suggested that Martu is here equivalent to Yamutbal, and that it was merely used to indicate the western part of Elam; Winckler afterwards rejected this hypothesis, and has come round to the general opinion.

He obtained a victory over Siniddinam, and having dethroned him, placed the administration of the kingdom in the hands of his own son Eimsin. This prince, who was at first a feudatory, afterwards associated in the government with his father, and finally sole monarch after the latter's death, married a princess of Chaldaean blood, and by this means legitimatized his usurpation in the eyes of his subjects. His domain, which lay on both sides of the Tigris and of the Euphrates, comprised, besides the principality of Yamutbal, all the towns dependent on Sumer and Accad—Uru, Larsa, Uruk, and Nippur, He acquitted himself as a good sovereign in the sight of gods and men: he repaired the brickwork in the temple of Nannar at Uru; he embellished the temple of Shamash at Larsa, and caused two statues of copper to be cast in honour of the god; he also rebuilt Lagash and Grirsu. The city of Uruk had been left a heap of ruins after the withdrawal of Kudur-nakhunta: he set about the work of restoration, constructed a sanctuary to Papsukal, raised the ziggurat of Nana, and consecrated to the goddess an entire set of temple furniture to replace that carried off by the Elamites. He won the adhesion of the priests by piously augmenting their revenues, and throughout his reign displayed remarkable energy. Documents exist which attribute to him the reduction of Durilu, on the borders of Elam and the Chaldaean states; others contain discreet allusions to a perverse enemy who disturbed his peace in the north, and whom he successfully repulsed. He drove Sinmuballit out of Ishin, and this victory so forcibly impressed his contemporaries, that they made it the starting-point of a new semi-official era; twenty-eight years after the event, private contracts still continued to be dated by reference to the taking of Ishin. Sinmuballit's son, Khammurabi, was more fortunate. Eimsin vainly appealed for help against him to his relative and suzerain Kudur-lagamar, who had succeeded Simtishilkhak at Susa. Eimsin was defeated, and disappeared from the scene of action, leaving no trace behind him, though we may infer that he took refuge in his fief of Yamutbal. The conquest by Khammurabi was by no means achieved at one blow, the enemy offering an obstinate resistance. He was forced to destroy several fortresses, the inhabitants of which had either risen against him or had refused to do him homage, among them being those of Meir* and Malgu. When the last revolt had been put down, all the countries speaking the language of Chaldaea and sharing its civilization were finally united into a single kingdom, of which Khammurabi proclaimed himself the head. Other princes who had preceded him had enjoyed the same opportunities, but their efforts had never been successful in establishing an empire of any duration; the various elements had been bound together for a moment, merely to be dispersed again after a short interval. The work of Khammurabi, on the contrary, was placed on a solid foundation, and remained unimpaired under his successors. Not only did he hold sway without a rival in the south as in the north, but the titles indicating the rights he had acquired over Sumer and Accad were inserted in his Protocol after those denoting his hereditary possessions,—the city of Bel and the four houses of the world. Khammurabi's victory marks the close of those long centuries of gradual evolution during which the peoples of the Lower Euphrates passed from division to unity. Before his reign there had been as many states as cities, and as many dynasties as there were states; after him there was but one kingdom under one line of kings.

* Mairu, Meir, has been identified with Shurippak; but it is, rather, the town of Mar, now Tell-Id. A and Lagamal, the Elamite Lagamar, were worshipped there. It was the seat of a linen manufacture, and possessed large shipping.

Khammurabi's long reign of fifty-five years has hitherto yielded us but a small number of monuments—seals, heads of sceptres, alabaster vases, and pompous inscriptions, scarcely any of them being of historical interest. He was famous for the number of his campaigns, no details of which, however, have come to light, but the dedication of one of his statues celebrates his good fortune on the battlefield. "Bel has lent thee sovereign majesty: thou, what awaitest thou?—Sin has lent thee royalty: thou, what awaitest thou?—Ninip has lent thee his supreme weapon: thou, what awaitest thou?—The goddess of light, Ishtar, has lent thee the shock of arms and the fray: thou, what awaitest thou?—Shamash and Bamman are thy varlets: thou, what awaitest thou?—It is Khammurabi, the king, the powerful chieftain—who cuts the enemies in pieces,—the whirlwind of battle—who overthrows the country of the rebels—who stays combats, who crushes rebellions,—who destroys the stubborn like images of clay,—who overcomes the obstacles of inaccessible mountains." The majority of these expeditions were, no doubt, consequent on the victory which destroyed the power of Kimsin. It would not have sufficed merely to drive back the Elamites beyond the Tigris; it was necessary to strike a blow within their own territory to avoid a recurrence of hostilities, which might have endangered the still recent work of conquest. Here, again, Khammurabi seems to have met with his habitual success.

Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a rapid sketch made at the British Museum.

Ashnunak was a border district, and shared the fate of all the provinces on the eastern bank of the Tigris, being held sometimes by Elam and sometimes by Chaldaea; properly speaking, it was a country of Semitic speech, and was governed by viceroys owning allegiance, now to Babylon, now to Susa.* Khammurabi seized this province, and permanently secured its frontier by building along the river a line of fortresses surrounded by earthworks. Following the example of his predecessors, he set himself to restore and enrich the temples.

* Pognon discovered inscriptions of four of the vicegerents of Ashnunak, which he assigns, with some hesitation, to the time of Khammurabi, rather than to that of the kings of Telloh. Three of these names are Semitic, the fourth Sumerian; the language of the inscriptions bears a resemblance to the Semitic dialect of Chaldaea.

The house of Zamama and Ninni, at Kish, was out of repair, and the ziggurat threatened to fall; he pulled it down and rebuilt it, carrying it to such a height that its summit "reached the heavens." Merodach had delegated to him the government of the faithful, and had raised him to the rank of supreme ruler over the whole of Chaldaea. At Babylon, close to the great lake which served as a reservoir for the overflow of the Euphrates, the king restored the sanctuary of Esagilla, the dimensions of which did not appear to him to be proportionate to the growing importance of the city. "He completed this divine dwelling with great joy and delight, he raised the summit to the firmament," and then enthroned Merodach and his spouse, Zarpanit, within it, amid great festivities. He provided for the ever-recurring requirements of the national religion by frequent gifts; the tradition has come down to us of the granary for wheat which he built at Babylon, the sight of which alone rejoiced the heart of the god. While surrounding Sippar with a great wall and a fosse, to protect its earthly inhabitants, he did not forget Shamash and Malkatu, the celestial patrons of the town. He enlarged in their honour the mysterious Ebarra, the sacred seat of their worship, and that which no king from the earliest times had known how to build for his divine master, that did he generously for Shamash his master. He restored Ezida, the eternal dwelling of Merodach, at Borsippa; Eturka-lamma, the temple of Anu, Ninni, and Nana, the suzerains of Kish; and also Ezikalamma, the house of the goddess Ninna, in the village of Zarilab. In the southern provinces, but recently added to the crown,—at Larsa, Uruk, and Uru,—he displayed similar activity.

He had, doubtless, a political as well as a religious motive in all he did; for if he succeeded in winning the allegiance of the priests by the prodigality of his pious gifts, he could count on their gratitude in securing for him the people's obedience, and thus prevent the outbreak of a revolt. He had, indeed, before him a difficult task in attempting to allay the ills which had been growing during centuries of civil discord and foreign conquest. The irrigation of the country demanded constant attention, and from earliest times its sovereigns had directed the work with real solicitude; but owing to the breaking up of the country into small states, their respective resources could not be combined in such general operations as were needed for controlling the inundations and effectually remedying the excess or the scarcity of water. Khammurabi witnessed the damage done to the whole province of Umliyash by one of those terrible floods which still sometimes ravage the regions of the Lower Tigris,* and possibly it may have been to prevent the recurrence of such a disaster that he undertook the work of canalization.

* Contracts dated the year of an inundation which laid waste Umliyash; cf. in our own time, the inundation of April 10, 1831, which in a single night destroyed half the city of Bagdad, and in which fifteen thousand persons lost their lives either by drowning or by the collapse of their houses.

He was the first that we know of who attempted to organize and reduce to a single system the complicated network of ditches and channels which intersected the territory belonging to the great cities between Babylon and the sea. Already, more than half a century previously, Siniddinam had enlarged the canal on which Larsa was situated, while Bimsin had provided an outlet for the "River of the Gods" into the Persian Gulf:* by the junction of the two a navigable channel was formed between the Euphrates and the marshes, and an outlet was thus made for the surplus waters of the inundation. Khammurabi informs us how Anu and Bel, having confided to him the government of Sumer and Accad, and having placed in his hands the reins of power, he dug the Nar-Khammurabi, the source of wealth to the people, which brings abundance of water to the country of Sumir and Accad. "I turned both its banks into cultivated ground, I heaped up mounds of grain and I furnished perpetual water for the people of Sumir and Accad. The country of Sumer and Accad, I gathered together its nations who were scattered, I gave them pasture and drink, I ruled over them in riches and abundance, I caused them to inhabit a peaceful dwelling-place. Then it was that Khammurabi, the powerful king, the favourite of the great gods, I myself, according to the prodigious strength with which Merodach had endued me, I constructed a high fortress, upon mounds of earth; its summit rises to the height of the mountains, at the head of the Nar-Khammurabi, the source of wealth to the people. This fortress I called Dur-Sinmuballit-abim-ualidiya, the Fortress of Sinmuballit, the father who begat me, so that the name of Sinmuballit, the father who begat me, may endure in the habitations of the world."

1  2  3  4  5  6  7     Next Part
Home - Random Browse