THE SEVEN GREAT MONARCHIES
ANCIENT EASTERN WORLD;
THE HISTORY, GEOGRAPHY, AND ANTIQUITIES OF CHALDAEA, ASSYRIA
BABYLON, MEDIA, PERSIA, PARTHIA, AND SASSANIAN,
OR NEW PERSIAN EMPIRE.
GEORGE RAWLINSON, M.A.,
CAMDEN PROFESSOR OF ANCIENT HISTORY IN THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD
IN THREE VOLUMES.
With Maps and Illustrations
CONTENTS OF VOL. I.
THE FIRST MONARCHY.
CHAPTER I. GENERAL VIEW OF THE COUNTRY
CHAPTER II. CLIMATE AND PRODUCTIONS
CHAPTER III. THE PEOPLE
CHAPTER IV. LANGUAGE AND WRITING
CHAPTER V. ARTS AND SCIENCES
CHAPTER VI. MANNERS AND CUSTOMS
CHAPTER VII. RELIGION
CHAPTER VIII. HISTORY AND CHRONOLOGY
PREFACE TO FIVE GREAT MONARCHIES.
The history of Antiquity requires from time to time to be rewritten. Historical knowledge continually extends, in part from the advance of critical science, which teaches us little by little the true value of ancient authors, but also, and more especially, from the new discoveries which the enterprise of travellers and the patient toil of students are continually bringing to light, whereby the stock of our information as to the condition of the ancient world receives constant augmentation. The extremest scepticism cannot deny that recent researches in Mesopotamia and the adjacent countries have recovered a series of "monuments" belonging to very early times, capable of throwing considerable light on the Antiquities of the nations which produced them. The author of these volumes believes that, together with these remains, the languages of the ancient nations have been to a large extent recovered, and that a vast mass of written historical matter of a very high value is thereby added to the materials at the Historian's disposal. This is, clearly, not the place where so difficult and complicated a subject can be properly argued. The author is himself content with the judgment of "experts," and believes it would be as difficult to impose a fabricated language on Professor Lassen of Bonn and Professor Max Miller of Oxford, as to palm off a fictitious for a real animal form on Professor Owen of London. The best linguists in Europe have accepted the decipherment of the cuneiform inscriptions as a thing actually accomplished. Until some good linguist, having carefully examined into the matter, declares himself of contrary opinion, the author cannot think that any serious doubt rests on the subject.
[Some writers allow that the Persian cuneiform inscriptions have been successfully deciphered and interpreted, but appear to doubt the interpretation of the Assyrian records. (See Edinburgh Review for July, 1862, Art Ill., p. 108.) Are they aware that the Persian inscriptions are accompanied in almost every instance by an Assyrian transcript, and that Assyrian interpretation thus follows upon Persian, without involving any additional "guess-work"]
The present volumes aim at accomplishing for the Five Nations of which they treat what Movers and Kenrick have accomplished for Phoenicia, or (still more exactly) what Wilkinson has accomplished for Ancient Egypt. Assuming the interpretation of the historical inscriptions as, in general, sufficiently ascertained, and the various ancient remains as assigned on sufficient grounds to certain peoples and epochs, they seek to unite with our previous knowledge of the five nations, whether derived from Biblical or classical sources, the new information obtained from modern discovery. They address themselves in a great measure to the eye; and it is hoped that even those who doubt the certainty of the linguistic discoveries in which the author believes, will admit the advantage of illustrating the life of the ancient peoples by representations of their productions. Unfortunately, the materials of this kind which recent explorations have brought to light are very unequally spread among the several nations of which it is proposed to treat, and even where they are most copious, fall short of the abundance of Egypt. Still in every case there is some illustration possible; and in one—Assyria—both the "Arts" and the "Manners" of the people admit of being illustrated very largely from the remains still extant.—[See Chapters VI. and VII. of the Second Monarchy]
The Author is bound to express his obligations to the following writers, from whose published works he has drawn freely: MM. Botta and Flandin, Mr. Layard, Mr. James Fergusson, Mr. Loftus, Mr. Cullimore, and Mr. Birch. He is glad to take this occasion of acknowledging himself also greatly beholden to the constant help of his brother, Sir Henry Rawlinson, and to the liberality of Mr. Faux, of the British Museum. The latter gentleman kindly placed at his disposal, for the purposes of the present work, the entire series of unpublished drawings made by the artists who accompanied Mr. Loftus in the last Mesopotamian Expedition, besides securing him undisturbed access to the Museum sculptures, thus enabling him to enrich the present volume with a large number of most interesting illustrations never previously given to the public. In the subjoined list these illustrations are carefully distinguished from such as, in one shape or another, have appeared previously.
Oxford, September, 1862.
PREFACE TO SECOND EDITION.
In preparing for the press, after an interval of seven years, a second edition of this work, the author has found it unnecessary to make, excepting in two chapters, any important or exensive alterations. The exceptions are the chapters on the History and Chronology of Chaldaea and Assyria. So much fresh light has been thrown on these two subjects by additional discoveries, made partly by Sir Henry Rawlinson, partly by his assistant, Mr. George Smith, through the laborious study of fragmentary inscriptions now in the British Museum, that many pages of the two chapters in question required to be written afresh, and the Chronological Schemes required, in the one case a complete, and in the other a partial, revision. In making this revision, both of the Chronology and the History, the author has received the most valuable assistance both from the published papers and from the private communications of Mr. Smith—an assistance for which he desires to make in this place the warmest and most hearty acknowledgment. He is also beholden to a recent Eastern traveller, Mr. A. D. Berrington, for some valuable notes on the physical geography and productions of Mesopotamia, which have been embodied in the accounts given of those subjects. A few corrections have likewise been made of errors pointed out by anonymous critics. Substantially, however, the work continues such as it was on its first appearance, the author having found that time only deepened his conviction of the reality of cuneiform decipherment, and of the authenticity of the history obtained by means of it.
OXFORD, November, 1870.
PREFACE TO THE SIXTH MONARCHY.
The following work is intended, in part, as a continuation of the ancient History of the East, already treated by the Author at some length in his "Five Great Monarchies"; but it is also, and more expressly, intended as a supplement to the ancient History of the West, as that history is ordinarily presented to moderns under its two recognized divisions of "Histories of Greece" and "Histories of Rome." Especially, it seemed to the writer that the picture of the world during the Roman period, commonly put before students in "Histories of Rome," was defective, not to say false, in its omission to recognize the real position of Parthia during the three most interesting centuries of that period, as a counterpoise to the power of Rome, a second figure in the picture not much inferior to the first, a rival state dividing with Rome the attention of mankind and the sovereignty of the known earth. Writers of Roman history have been too much in the habit of representing the later Republic and early Empire as, practically, a Universal Monarchy, a Power unchecked, unbalanced, having no other limits than those of the civilized world, engrossing consequently the whole attention of all thinking men, and free to act exactly as it pleased without any regard to opinion beyond its own borders. One of the most popular enlarges on the idea—an idea quite inconsistent with the fact—that for the man who provoked the hostility of the ruler of Rome there was no refuge upon the whole face of the earth but some wild and barbarous region, where refinement was unknown, and life would not have been worth having. To the present writer the truth seems to be that Rome never was in the position supposed—that from first to last, from the time of Pompey's Eastern Conquests to the Fall of the Empire, there was always in the world a Second Power, civilized or semi-civilized, which in a true sense balanced Rome, acted as a counterpoise and a check, had to be consulted or considered, held a place in all men's thoughts, and finally furnished a not intolerable refuge to such as had provoked Rome's master beyond forgiveness.
This Power for nearly three centuries (B.C. 64 - A.D. 225) was Parthia, after which it was Persia under the Sassanian kings. In the hope of gradually vindicating to Parthia her true place in the world's history, the Author has in his "Manual of Ancient History" (published by the Delegates of the Clarendon Press) placed the Parthians alongside of the Romans, and treated of their history at a moderate length. But it has seemed to him that something more was requisite. He could not expect that students would be able to give Parthia her proper place in their thoughts unless her history were collected and put forth in a readable form with some fulness. He has, therefore, employed most of his leisure during the last two years in writing the present work, which he commends to students of the later Greek and Roman periods as supplemental to the modern Greek and Roman histories in which those periods are commonly studied.
The Parthian Chronology depends very much upon coins. In preparing this portion of his work the Author has been greatly indebted to aid kindly rendered him by M. R. Stuart Poole and Mr. Gardiner of the British Museum. The representations of coins in the work have been, with one exception, taken by the Author from the originals in the National Collection. For the illustrations of Parthian architecture and art he is indebted to the published works of Mr. Ainsworth, Mr. Ross, the late Mr. Loftus, and MM. Flandin and Coste. He feels also bound to express his obligations to the late Mr. Lindsay, the numismatic portion of whose work on Parthia he has found of much service.
CANTERBURY, December, 1872.
PREFACE TO SEVENTH MONARCHY.
This work completes the Ancient History of the East, to which the author has devoted his main attention during the last eighteen years. It is a sequel to his "Parthians," published in 1873; and carries down the History of Western Asia from the third century of our era to the middle of the seventh. So far as the present writer is aware, no European author has previously treated this period from the Oriental stand-point, in any work aspiring to be more than a mere sketch or outline. Very many such sketches have been published; but they have been scanty in the extreme, and the greater number of them have been based on the authority of a single class of writers. It has been the present author's aim to combine the various classes of authorities which are now accessible to the historical student, and to give their due weight to each of them. The labors of M. C. Muller, of the Abbe Gregoire Kabaragy Garabed, and of M. J. St. Martin have opened to us the stores of ancient Armenian literature, which were previously a sealed volume to all but a small class of students. The early Arab historians have been translated or analyzed by Kosegarten, Zotenberg, M. Jules Mohl, and others. The coinage of the Sassanians has been elaborately—almost exhaustively—treated by Mordtmann and Thomas. Mr. Fergusson has applied his acute and practised powers to the elucidation of the Sassanian architecture. By combining the results thus obtained with the old sources of information—the classical, especially the Byzantine writers—it has become possible to compose a history of the Sassanian Empire which is at once consecutive, and not absolutely meagre. How the author has performed his task, he must leave it to the public to judge; he will only venture to say that he has spared no labor, but has gone carefully through the entire series of the Byzantine writers who treat of the time, besides availing himself of the various modern works to which reference has been made above. If he has been sometimes obliged to draw conclusions from his authorities other than those drawn by Gibbon, and has deemed it right, in the interests of historic truth, to express occasionally his dissent from that writer's views, he must not be thought blind to the many and great excellencies which render the "Decline and Fall" one of the best, if not the best, of our histories. The mistakes of a writer less eminent and less popular might have been left unnoticed without ill results. Those of an historian generally regarded as an authority from whom there is no appeal could not be so lightly treated.
The author begs to acknowledge his great obligations, especially, to the following living writers: M. Patkanian, M. Jules Mohl, Dr. Haug, Herr Spiegel, Herr Windischmann, Herr Mordtmann, Canon Tristram, Mr. James Fergusson, and Mr. E. Thomas. He is also largely beholden to the works of M. Texier and of MM. Flandin and Coste for the illustrations, which he has been able to give, of Sassanian sculpture and architecture. The photographic illustrations of the newly-discovered palace at Mashita are due to the liberality of Mr. R. C. Johnson (the amateur artist who accompanied Canon Tristram in his exploration of the "Land of Moab"), who, with Canon Tristram's kind consent, has allowed them to appear in the present volume. The numismatic illustrations are chiefly derived from Longperier; but one or two have been borrowed from other sources. For his frontispiece the author is indebted to his brother, Sir Henry Rawlinson, who has permitted it to be taken from an original drawing in his possession, which he believed to be a truthful representation of the great Sassanian building.
CANTERBURY: December 1875.
THE FIRST MONARCHY.
GENERAL VIEW OF THE COUNTRY.
"Behold the land of the Chaldaeans."—ISAIAH xxiii. 13.
The broad belt of desert which traverses the eastern hemisphere, in a general direction from west to east (or, speaking more exactly, of W. S. W. to N. E. E.), reaching from the Atlantic on the one hand nearly to the Yellow Sea on the other, is interrupted about its centre by a strip of rich vegetation, which at once breaks the continuity of the arid region, and serves also to mark the point where the desert changes its character from that of a plain at a low level to that of an elevated plateau or table-land. West of the favored district, the Arabian and African wastes are seas of sand, seldom raised much above, often sinking below, the level of the ocean; while east of the same, in Persia, Kerman, Seistan, Chinese Tartary, and Mongolia, the desert consists of a series of plateaus, having from 3000 to nearly 10,000 feet of elevation. The green and fertile region, which is thus interposed between the "highland" and the "lowland" deserts, participates, curiously enough, in both characters. Where the belt of sand is intersected by the valley of the Nile, no marked change of elevation occurs; and the continuous low desert is merely interrupted by a few miles of green and cultivable surface, the whole of which is just as smooth and as flat as the waste on either side of it. But it is otherwise at the more eastern interruption. There the verdant and productive country divides itself into two tracts, running parallel to each other, of which the western presents features not unlike those that characterize the Nile valley, but on a far larger scale; while the eastern is a lofty mountain region, consisting for the most part of five or six parallel ranges, and mounting in many places far above the level of perpetual snow.
It is with the western or plain tract that we are here concerned. Between the outer limits of the Syro-Arabian desert and the foot of the great mountain range of Kurdistan and Luristan intervenes a territory long famous in the world's history, and the chief site of three out of the five empires of whose history, geography, and antiquities it is proposed to treat in the present volumes. Known to the Jews as Aram-Naharaim, or "Syria of the two rivers;" to the Greeks and Romans as Mesopotamia, or "the between-river country;" to the Arabs as Al-Jezireh, or "the island," this district has always taken its name from the streams, which constitute its most striking feature, and to which, in fact, it owes its existence. If it were not for the two great rivers—the Tigris and Euphrates—with their tributaries, the more northern part of the Mesopotamian lowland would in no respect differ from the Syro-Arabian desert on which it adjoins, and which in latitude, elevation, and general geological character it exactly resembles. Towards the south, the importance of the rivers is still greater; for of Lower Mesopotamia it may be said, with more truth than of Egypt, that it is "an acquired land," the actual "gift" of the two streams which wash it on either side; being, as it is, entirely a recent formation—a deposit which the streams have made in the shallow waters of a gulf into which they have flowed for many ages.
The division, which has here forced itself upon our notice, between the Upper and the Lower Mesopotamian country, is one very necessary to engage our attention in connection with the ancient Chaldaea. There is no reason to think that the terns Chaldaea had at anytime the extensive signification of Mesopotamia, much less that it applied to the entire flat country between the desert and the mountains. Chaldaea was not the whole, but a part of, the great Mesopotamian plain; which was ample enough to contain within it three or four considerable monarchies. According to the combined testimony of geographers and historians, Chaldaea lay towards the south, for it bordered upon the Persian Gulf; and towards the west, for it adjoined Arabia. If we are called upon to fix more accurately its boundaries, which, like those of most countries without strong natural frontiers, suffered many fluctuations, we are perhaps entitled to say that the Persian Gulf on the south, the Tigris on the east, the Arabian desert on the west, and the limit between Upper and Lower Mesopotamia on the north, formed the natural bounds, which were never greatly exceeded and never much infringed upon. These boundaries are for the most part tolerably clear, though the northern only is invariable. Natural causes, hereafter to be mentioned more particularly, are perpetually varying the course of the Tigris, the shore of the Persian Gulf, and the line of demarcation between the sands of Arabia and the verdure of the Euphrates valley. But nature has set a permanent mark, half way down the Mesopotamian lowland, by a difference of geological structure, which is very conspicuous. Near Hit on the Euphrates, and a little below Samarah on the Tigris, the traveller who descends the streams, bids adieu to a somewhat waving and slightly elevated plain of secondary formation, and enters on the dead flat and low level of the mere alluvium. The line thus formed is marked and invariable; it constitutes the only natural division between the upper and lower portions of the valley; and both probability and history point to it as the actual boundary between Chaldaea and her northern neighbor.
The extent of ancient Chaldaea is, even after we have fixed its boundaries, a question of some difficulty. From the edge of the alluvium a little below Hit, to the present coast of the Persian Gulf at the mouth of the Shat-el-Arab, is a distance of above 430 miles; while from the western shore of the Bahr-i-Nedjif to the Tigris at Serut is a direct distance of 185 miles. The present area of the alluvium west of the Tigris and the Shat-el-Arab maybe estimated at about 30,000 square miles. But the extent of ancient Chaldaea can scarcely have been so great. It is certain that the alluvium at the head of the Persian Gulf now grows with extraordinary rapidity, and not improbable that the growth may in ancient times have been even more rapid than it is at present. Accurate observations have shown that the present rate of increase amounts to as much as a mile each seventy years, while it is the opinion of those best qualified to judge that the average progress during the historic period has been as much as a mile in every thirty years! Traces of post-tertiary deposits have been found as far up the country as Tel Ede and Hammam, 10 or more than 200 miles from the embouchure of the Shat-el-Arab; and there is ample reason for believing that at the time when the first Chaldaean monarchy was established, the Persian Gulf reached inland, 120 or 130 miles further than at present. We must deduct therefore from the estimate of extent grounded upon the existing state of things, a tract of land 130 miles long and some 60 or 70 broad, which has been gained from the sea in the course of about forty centuries. This deduction will reduce Chaldaea to a kingdom of somewhat narrow limits; for it will contain no more than about 23,000 square miles. This, it is true, exceeds the area of all ancient Greece, including Thessaly, Acarnania, and the islands; it nearly equals that of the Low Countries, to which Chaldaea presents some analogy; it is almost exactly that of the modern kingdom of Denmark; but it is less than Scotland, or Ireland, or Portugal, or Bavaria; it is more than doubled by England, more than quadrupled by Prussia, and more than octupled by Spain, France, and European Turkey. Certainly, therefore, it was not in consequence of its size that Chaldaea became so important a country in the early ages, but rather in consequence of certain advantages of the soil, climate, and position, which will be considered in the next chapter.
It has been already noticed that in the ancient Chaldaea, the chief—almost the sole-geographical features, were the rivers. Nothing is more remarkable even now than the featureless character of the region, although in the course of ages it has received from man some interruptions of the original uniformity. On all sides a dead level extends itself, broken only by single solitary mounds, the remains of ancient temples or cities, by long lines of slightly elevated embankment marking the course of canals, ancient or recent, and towards the south—by a few sand-hills. The only further variety is that of color; for while the banks of the streams, the marsh-grounds, and the country for a short distance on each side of the canals in actual operation, present to the eye a pleasing, and in some cases a luxuriant verdure; the rest, except in early spring, is parched and arid, having little to distinguish it from the most desolate districts of Arabia. Anciently, except for this difference, the tract must have possessed all the wearisome uniformity of the steppe region; the level horizon must have shown itself on all sides unbroken by a single irregularity; all places must have appeared alike, and the traveller can scarcely have perceived his progress, or have known whither or how to direct his steps. The rivers alone, with their broad sweeps and bold reaches, their periodical changes of swell and fall, their strength, motion, and life-giving power, can have been objects of thought and interest to the first inhabitants; and it is still to these that the modern must turn who wishes to represent, to himself or others, the general aspect and chief geographical divisions of the country.
The Tigris and Euphrates rise from opposite sides of the same mountain-chain. This is the ancient range of Niphates (a prolongation of Taurus), the loftiest of the many parallel ridges which intervene between the Euxine and the Mesopotamian plain, and the only one which transcends in many places the limits of perpetual snow. Hence its ancient appellation, and hence its power to sustain unfailingly the two magnificent streams which flow from it. The line of the Niphates is from east to west, with a very slight deflection to the south of west; and the streams thrown off from its opposite flanks, run at first in valleys parallel to the chain itself, but in opposite directions, the Euphrates flowing westward from its source near Ararat to Malatiyeh, while the Tigris from Diarbekr "goes eastward to Assyria." The rivers thus appear as if never about to meet; but at Malatiyeh, the course of the Euphrates is changed. Sweeping suddenly to the south-east, this stream passes within a few miles of the source of the Tigris below Lake Goljik, and forces a way through the mountains towards the south, pursuing a tortuous course, but still seeming as if it intended ultimately to mingle its waters with those of the Mediterranean. It is not till about Balis, in lat. 36 deg., that this intention appears to be finally relinquished, and the convergence of the two streams begins. The Euphrates at first flows nearly due east, but soon takes a course which is, with few and unimportant deflections, about south-east, as far as Suk-es-Sheioukh, after which it runs a little north of east to Kurnah. The Tigris from Til to Mosul pursues also a south-easterly course, and draws but a very little nearer to the Euphrates. From Mosul, however, to Samarah, its course is only a point east of south; and though, after that, for some miles it flows off to the east, yet resuming, a little below the thirty-fourth parallel, its southerly direction, it is brought about Baghdad within twenty miles of the sister stream. From this point there is again a divergence. The course of the Euphrates, which from Hit to the mounds of Mohammed (long. 44 deg.) had been E.S.E., becomes much more southerly, while that of the Tigris—which, as we have seen, was for awhile due south—becomes once more only slightly south of east, till near Serut, where the distance between the rivers has increased from twenty to a hundred miles. After passing respectively Serut and El Khitr, the two streams converge rapidly. The flow of the Euphrates is at first E. S. E., and then a little north of east to Kurnah, while that of the Tigris is S.S.E. to the same point. The lines of the streams in this last portion of their course, together with that which may be drawn across from stream to stream, form nearly an equilateral triangle, the distance being respectively 104, 110, and 115 miles. So rapid is the final convergence of the two great rivers.
The Tigris and Euphrates are both streams of the first order. The estimated length of the former, including main windings, is 1146 miles; that of the latter is 1780 miles. Like most rivers that have their sources in high mountain regions, they are strong from the first, and, receiving in their early course a vast number of important tributaries, become broad and deep streams before they issue upon the plains. The Euphrates is navigable from Sumeisat (the ancient Samosata), 1200 miles above its embouchure; and even 180 miles higher up, is a river "of imposing appearance," 120 yards wide and very deep. The Tigris is often 250 yards wide at Diarbekr, which is not a hundred miles from its source, and is navigable in the flood time from the bridge of Diarbekr to Mosul, from which place it is descended at all seasons to Baghdad, and thence to the sea. Its average width below Mosul is 200 yards, with a depth which allows the ascent of light steamers, unless when there is an artificial obstruction. Above Mosul the width rarely exceeds 150 yards, and the depth is not more in places than three or four feet. The Euphrates is 250 yards wide at Balbi, and averages 350 yards from its junction with the Khabour to Hit: its depth is commonly from fifteen to twenty feet. Small steamers have descended its entire course from Bir to the sea. The volume of the Euphrates in places is, however, somewhat less than that of the Tigris, which is a swifter and in its latter course a deeper stream. It has been calculated that the quantity of water discharged every second by the Tigris at Baghdad is 164,103 cubic feet, while that discharged by the Euphrates at Hit is 72,804 feet.
The Tigris and Euphrates are very differently circumstanced with respect to tributaries. So long as it runs among the Armenian mountains, the Euphrates has indeed no lack of affluents; but these, except the Kara Su, or northern Euphrates, are streams of no great volume, being chiefly mountain-torrents which collect the drainage of very limited basins. After it leaves the mountains and enters upon a low country at Sumefsat, the affluents almost entirely cease; one, the river of Sajur, is received from the right, in about lat. 36 deg. 40'; and two of more importance flow in from the left-the Belik (ancient Bilichus), which joins it in long. 39 deg. 9'; and the Khabour (ancient Habor or Chaboras), which effects a junction in long. 40 deg. 30', lat. 35 deg. 7'. The Belik and Khabour collect the waters which flow from the southern flank of the mountain range above Orfa, Mardin, and Nisibin, best known as the "Mons Masius" of Strabo. They are not, however, streams of equal importance. The Belik has a course which is nearly straight, and does not much exceed 120 miles. The Khabour, on the contrary, is sufficiently sinuous, and its course may be reckoned at fully 200 miles. It is navigable by rafts from the junction of its two main branches near the volcanic cone of Koukab, and adds a considerable body of water to the Euphrates. Below its confluence with this stream, or during the last 800 miles of its course, the Euphrates does not receive a single tributary. On the contrary, it soon begins to give off its waters right and left, throwing out branches, which either terminate in marshes, or else empty themselves into the Tigris. After awhile, indeed, it receives compensation, by means of the Shat-el-Hie and other branch streams, which bring back to it from the Tigris, between Mugheir and Kurnah, the greater portion of the borrowed fluid. The Tigris, on the contrary, is largely enriched throughout the whole of its course by the waters of tributary streams. It is formed originally of three main branches: the Diarbekr stream, or true Tigris, the Myafarekin River, and the Bitlis Chai, or Centrites of Xenophon, which carries a greater body than either of the other two. From its entry on the low country near Jezireh to the termination of its course at Kurnah, it is continually receiving from the left a series of most important additions. The chain of Zagros, which, running parallel to the two main springs, shuts in the Mesopotamian plain upon the east, abounds with springs, which are well supplied during the whole summer from its snows, and these when collected form rivers of large size and most refreshing coolness. The principal are, the eastern Khabour, which joins the Tigris in lat. 37 deg. 12': the Upper Zabo which falls in by the ruins of Nimrud: the Lower Zab, which joins some way below Kileh Sherghat: the Adhem, which unites its waters half way between Samarah and Baghdad: and the Diyaleh (ancient Gyndes), which is received between Baghdad and the ruins of Ctesiphon.
By the influx of these streams the Tigris continues to grow in depth and strength as it nears the sea, and becomes at last (as we have seen) a greater river than the Euphrates, which shrinks during the latter part of its course, and is reduced to a volume very inferior to that which it once boasted. The Euphrates at its junction with the Khabour, 700 miles above Kurnah, is 400 yards wide and 18 feet deep; at Irzah or Verdi, 75 miles lower down, it is 350 yards wide and of the same depth; at Hadiseh, 140 miles below Werdi, it is 300 yards wide, and still of the same depth; at Hit, 50 miles below Hadiseh, its width has increased to 350 yards, but its depth has diminished to 16 feet; at Felujiah, 75 miles from Hit, the depth is 20 feet, but the width has diminished to 250 yards. From this point the contraction is very rapid and striking. The Saklawiyeh canal is given out upon the left, and some way further down the Hindiyeh branches off upon the right, each carrying, when the Euphrates is full, a large body of water. The consequence is that at Hillah, 90 miles-below Felujiah, the stream is no more than 200 yards wide and 15 feet deep; at Diwaniyeh, 65 miles further down, it is only 160 yards wide; and at Lamlun, 20 miles below Diwaniyeh, it is reduced to 120 yards wide, with a depth of no more than 12 feet! Soon after, however, it begins to recover itself. The water, which left it by the Hindiyeh, returns to it upon the one side, while the Shat-el-Hie and numerous other branch streams from the Tigris flow in upon the other; but still the Euphrates never recovers itself entirely, nor even approaches in its later course to the standard of its earlier greatness. The channel from Kurnah to El Khitr was found by Colonel Chesney to have an average width of only 200 yards, and a depth of about 18 or 19 feet, which implies a body of water far inferior to that carried between the junction with the Khabour and Hit. More recently, the decline of the stream in its latter course has been found to be even greater. Neglect of the banks has allowed the river to spread itself more and more widely over the land: and it is said that, except in the flood time, very little of the Euphrates water reaches the sea. Nor is this an unprecedented or very unusual state of things. From the circumstance (probably) that it has been formed by the deposits of streams flowing from the east as well as from the north, the lower Mesopotamian plain slopes not only to the south, but to the west. The Euphrates, which has low banks, is hence at all times inclined to leave its bed, and to flow off to the right, where large tracts are below its ordinary level. Over these it spreads itself, forming the well-known "Chaldaean marshes," which absorb the chief proportion of the water that flows into them, and in which the "great river" seems at various times to have wholly, or almost wholly, lost itself. No such misfortune can befall the Tigris, which runs in a deep bed, and seldom varies its channel, offering a strong contrast to the sister stream.
Frequent allusion has been made, in the course of this description of the Tigris and Euphrates, to the fact of their having each a flood season. Herodotus is scarcely correct when he says that in Babylonia "the river does not, as in Egypt, overflow the corn-lands of its own accord, but is spread over them by the help of engines." Both the Tigris and Euphrates rise many feet each spring, and overflow their banks in various places. The rise is caused by the melting of the snows in the mountain regions from which the two rivers and their affluents spring. As the Tigris drains the southern, and the Euphrates the northern side of the same mountain range, the flood of the former stream is earlier and briefer than that of the latter. The Tigris commonly begins to rise early in March, and reaches its greatest height in the first or second week of May, after which it rapidly declines, and returns to its natural level by the middle of June. The Euphrates first swells about the middle of March, and is not in full flood till quite the end of May or the beginning of June; it then continues high for above a month, and does not sink much till the middle of July, after which it gradually falls till September. The country inundated by the Tigris is chiefly that on its lower course, between the 32d and 31st parallels, the territory of the Beni Lam Arabs. The territory which the Euphrates floods is far more extensive. As high up as its junction with the Khabour, that stream is described as, in the month of April, "spreading over the surrounding country like a sea." From Hit downwards, it inundates both its banks, more especially the country above Baghdad (to which it is carried by the Saklawiyeh canal), the tract west of the Birs Nimrud and extending thence by way of Nedjif to Samava and the territory of the Affej Arabs, between the rivers above and below the 32d parallel. Its flood is, however, very irregular, owing to the nature of its banks, and the general inclination of the plain, whereof mention was made above. If care is taken, the inundation may be pretty equally distrib uted on either side of the stream; but if the river banks are neglected, it is sure to flow mainly to the west, rendering the whole country on that side the river a swamp, and leaving the territory on the left bank almost without water. This state of things may be traced historically from the age of Alexander to the present day, and has probably prevailed more or less since the time when Chaldaea received its first inhabitants.
The floods of the Tigris and Euphrates combine with the ordinary action of their streams upon their banks to produce a constant variation in their courses, which in a long period of time might amount to something very considerable. It is impossible to say, with respect to any portion of the alluvial plain, that it may not at some former period have been the bed of one or the other river. Still it would seem that, on the whole, a law of compensation prevails, with the result that the general position of the streams in the valley is not very different now from what it was 4000 years ago. Certainly between the present condition of things and that in the time of Alexander, or even of Herodotus, no great difference can be pointed out, except in the region immediately adjoining on the gulf, where the alluvium has grown, and the streams, which were formerly separate, have united their waters. The Euphrates still flows by Hit and through Babylon; the Tigris passes near Opis, and at Baghdad runs at the foot of an embankment made to confine it by Nebuchadnezzar. The changes traceable are less in the main courses than in the branch streams, which perpetually vary, being sometimes left dry within a few years of the time that they have been navigable channels.
The most important variations of this kind are on the side of Arabia. Here the desert is always ready to encroach; and the limits of Chaldaea itself depend upon the distance from the main river, to which some branch stream conveys the Euphrates water. In the most flourishing times of the country, a wide and deep channel, branching off near Hit, at the very commencement of the alluvium, has skirted the Arabian rock and gravel for a distance of several hundred miles, and has entered the Persian Gulf by a mouth of its own. In this way the extent of Chaldaea has been at times largely increased, a vast tract being rendered cultivable, which is otherwise either swamp or desert.
Such are the chief points of interest connected with the two great Mesopotamian rivers. These form, as has been already observed, the only marked and striking characteristics of the country, which, except for them, and for one further feature, which now requires notice, would be absolutely unvaried and uniform. On the Arabian side of the Euphrates, 50 miles south of the ruins of Babylon, and 25 or 30 miles from the river, is a fresh-water lake of very considerable dimensions—the Bahr-i-Nedjif, the "Assyrium stagnum" of Justin. This is a natural basin, 40 miles long, and from 10 to 20 miles broad, enclosed on three sides by sandstone cliffs, varying from 20 to 200 feet in height, and shut in on the fourth side—the north-east—by a rocky ridge, which intervenes between the valley of the Euphrates and this inland sea. The cliffs are water-worn, presenting distinct indications of more than one level at which the water has rested in former times. At the season of the inundation this lake is liable to be confounded with the extensive floods and marshes which extend continuously from the country west of the Birs Nimrud to Samava. But at other tines the distinction between the Bahr and the marshes is very evident, the former remaining when the latter disappear altogether, and not diminishing very greatly in size even in the driest season. The water of the lake is fresh and sweet, so long as it communicates with the Euphrates; when the communication is cut off it becomes very unpalatable, and those who dwell in the vicinity are no longer able to drink it. This result is attributed to the connection of the lake with rocks of the gypsiferous series.
It is obvious that the only natural divisions of Chaldaea a proper are those made by the river-courses. The principal tract must always have been that which intervenes between the two streams. This was anciently a district some 300 miles in length, varying from 20 to 100 miles in breadth, and perhaps averaging 50 miles, which must thus have contained an area of about 15,000 square miles. The tract between the Euphrates and Arabia was at all times smaller than this, and in the most flourishing period of Chaldaea must have fallen short of 10,000 square miles.
We have no evidence that the natural division of Chaldaea here indicated was ever employed in ancient times for political purposes. The division which appears to have been so employed was one into northern and southern Chaldaea, the first extending from Hit to a little below Babylon, the second from Niffer to the shores of the Persian Gulf. In each of these districts we have a sort of tetrarchy, or special pre-eminence of four cities, such as appears to be indicated by the words—"The beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad and Calneh, in the land of Shinar." The southern tetrarchy is composed of the four cities, Ur or Hur, Huruk, Nipur, and Larsa or Larancha, which are probably identified with the Scriptural "Ur of the Chaldees," Erech, Calneh, and Ellasar. The northern consists of Babel or Babylon, Borsippa, Cutha, and Sippara, of which all except Borsippa are mentioned in Scripture. Besides these cities the country contained many others,—as Chilmad, Dur-Kurri-galzu, Ihi or Ahava, Rubesi, Duran, Tel-Humba, etc. It is not possible at present to locate with accuracy all these places. We may, however, in the more important instances, fix either certainly, or with a very high degree of probability, their position.
Hur or Ur, the most important of the early capitals, was situated on the Euphrates, probably at no great distance from its mouth. It was probably the chief commercial emporium in the early times; as in the bilingual vocabularies its ships are mentioned in connection with those of Ethiopia. The name is found to have attached to the extensive ruins (now about six miles from the river, on its right bank, and nearly opposite its junction with the Shat-el-Hie) which are known by the name of Mugheir, or "the bitumened." Hereon a dead flat, broken only by a few sand-hills, are traces of a considerable town, consisting chiefly of a series of low mounds, disposed in an oval shape, the largest diameter of which runs from north to south, and measures somewhat more than half a mile. The chief building is a temple, hereafter to be more particularly described, which is a very conspicuous object even at a considerable distance, its greatest height above the plain being about seventy feet. It is built in a very rude fashion, of large bricks, cemented with bitumen, whence the name by which the Arabs designate the ruins.
About thirty miles from Hur, in a north-westerly direction, and on the other side of the Euphrates, from which it is distant eight or nine miles, are the ruins of a town, called in the inscriptions Larrak, or Larsa, in which some of the best Orientalists have recognized at once the Biblical Ellasar, the Laranchue of Berosus, and the Larissa of Apollodorus, where the king held his court who sent Memnon to the siege of Troy. The identification is perhaps doubtful; but, at any rate, we have here the remains of a second Chaldaean capital, dating from the very earliest times. The ruins, which bear now the name of Senkereh or Sinkara, consist of a low circular platform, about four and a half miles in circumference, rising gradually from the level of the plain to a central mound, the highest point of which attains an elevation of seventy feet above the plain itself, and is distinctly visible from a distance of fifteen miles. The material used consists of the ordinary sun-dried and baked bricks; and the basement platforms bear the inscriptions of the same king who appears to have been the original founder of the chief buildings at Ur or Mugheir.
Fifteen miles from Larsa, in a direction a little north of west, and on the same side of the river, are ruins considerably more extensive than those of either Ur or Larsa, to which the natives apply the name of Warka, which is no doubt a corruption of the original appellation. The Erech, or Orech, of the Hebrews, which appears as Huruk in the cuneiform geographical lists, became known to the Greeks as Orchoe; and this appellation, probably continuing in use to the time of the Arab conquest, was then corrupted into Urka or Warka, in which shape the name given by Nimrod still attaches to the second of his cities. The ruins stand in lat. 31 deg. 19', long. 45 deg. 40', about four miles from the nearest bend of the Euphrates, on its left or east bank. They form an irregular circle, nearly six miles in circumference, which is defined by the traces of an earthen rampart, in some places forty feet high. A vast mass of undulating mounds, intersected by innumerable channels and ravines, extends almost entirely across the circular space, in a direction, which is nearly north and south, abutting at either end upon the rampart. East and west of this mass is a comparatively open space, where the mounds are scattered and infrequent; while outside the rampart are not only a number of detached hillocks marking the site of ancient buildings, but in one direction—towards the east—the city may be traced continuously by means of ruined edifices, mounds, and pottery, fully three miles beyond the rampart into the desert. The greatest height of the ruins is about 100 feet; their construction is very rude and primitive, the date of some buildings being evidently as early as that of the most ancient structures of either Mugheir or Senkereh.
Sixty miles to the north-west of these ruins, still on the left or eastern bank of the Euphrates, but at the distance of thirty miles from its present course, are the remains of another city, the only Chaldaean ruins which can dispute, with those already described, the palm of antiquity. They consist of a number of separate and distinct heaps, which seem to be the remains of different buildings, and are divided into two nearly equal groups by a deep ravine or channel 120 feet wide, apparently the dry bed of a river which once ran through the town. Conspicuous among the other hillocks is a conical heap, occupying a central position on the eastern side of the river-bed, and rising to the height of about seventy feet above the general level of the plain. Further on in this direction is a low continuous mound, which seems to be a portion of the outer wall of the city. The ruins are of considerable extent, but scarcely so large as those at either Senkereh or Warka. The name which now attaches to them is Niffer: and it appears, from the inscriptions at the place, that the ancient Semitic appellation was but slightly different. This name, as read on the bilingual tablets, was Nipur; and as there can be little doubt that it is this word which appears in the Talmud as Nopher, we are perhaps entitled, on the authority of that treasure-house of Hebrew traditions, to identify these ruins with the Calneh of Moses, and the Calno of Isaiah.
About sixty-five miles from Niffer, on the opposite side of the Euphrates, and in a direction only slightly north of west, are the remains of the ancient Borsippa. These consist of little more than the ruins of a single building—the great temple of Merodach—which was entirely rebuilt by Nebuchadnezzar. They have been sometimes regarded as really a portion of the ancient Babylon; but this view is wholly incompatible with the cuneiform records, which distinctly assign to the ruins in question the name of Borsip or Borsippa, a place known with certainty to have been distinct from, though in the neighborhood of, the capital. A remnant of the ancient name appears to be contained in the modern appellation, Birs-Nimrud or Birsi-Nimrud, which does not admit of any explanation from the existing language of the country.
Fifteen miles from thence, to the north-east, chiefly but not entirely on the left or east bank of the Euphrates, are the remains of "Babylon the Great," which have been so frequently described by travellers, that little need be said of them in this place. The chief ruins cover a space about three miles long, and from one to two broad, and consist mainly of three great masses: the first a square mound, called "Babil" by the Arabs, lying towards the north at some distance from the other remains; the second or central mound, a pile called the "Kasr" or Palace; and the third, a great irregular heap lying towards the south, known as the "mound of Amram," from a tomb which crowns its summit. The "Kasr" and "Amram" mounds are enclosed within two lines of rampart, lying at right angles to each other, and forming, with the river, a sort of triangle, within which all the principal ruins are comprised, except the mound called "Babil". Beyond the rampart, towards the north, south, and east, and also across the river to the west, are various smaller detached ruins, while the whole ground, in every direction, is covered with fragments of brick and with nitre, the sure marks of former habitations.
The other cities of ancient Chaldaea which may be located with an approach to certainty, are Cutha, now Ibrahim, fifteen miles north-east by north of Hymar; Sippara or Sepharvaim, which was at Sura, near Mosaib on the Euphrates, about twenty miles above Babylon by the direct route; and Dur-Kurri-galzu, now Akkerkuf, on the Saklawiyeh canal, six miles from Baghdad, and thirty from Mosaib, in a direction a little west of north. [PLATE III., Fig. 1.] Ihi, or Ahava, is probably Hit, ninety miles above Mosaib, on the right bank of the river; Chilmad may be Kalwadha, near Baghdad; and Rubesi is perhaps Zerghul, near the left bank of the Shat-el-Hie, a little above its confluence with the Euphrates. Chaldaean cities appear likewise to have existed at Hymar, ten miles from Babylon towards the east; at Sherifeh and Im Khithr, south and south-east of Hymar; at Zibbliyeh, on the line of the Nil canal, fifteen miles north-west of Niffer; at Delayhim and Bisrniya, in the Affej marshes, beyond Niffer, to the south-east; at Phara and Jidr, in the same region, to the south-west and south-east of Bismiya; at Hammam [PLATE III., Fig. 2], sixteen miles south-east of Phara, between the Affej and the Shatra marshes; at Tel-Ede, six miles from Hammam, to the south-south-west [PLATE IV., Fig. 2]; at Tel-Medineh and Tel-Sifr, in the Shatra marshes, to the south-east of Tel-Ede and the north-east of Senkereh; at Yokha, east of Hammam, and Nuffdyji, north of Warka; at Lethami, near Niffer; at Iskhuriyeh, north of Zibbliyeh, near the Tigris; at Tel-Kheir and Tel-Dhalab, in the upper part of the alluvium, to the north of Akkerkuf; at Duair, on the right bank of the Euphrates, south of Hilleh and south-east of the Birs-Nimrud; at Jeb Mehari, south of the Bahr-i-Nedjif; at Mal Battush, near Swaje; at Tel-el-Lahm, nine or ten miles south of Suk-es-Sheioukh, and at Abu Shahrein, in the same neighborhood, on the very border of the Arabian Desert. Further investigation will probably add largely to this catalogue, for many parts of Babylonia are still to some extent unexplored. This is especially true of the tract between the Shat-el-Hie and the lower Tigris, a district which, according to the geographers, abounds with ruins. No doubt the most extensive and most striking of the old cities have been visited; for of these Europeans are sure to hear through the reports of natives. But it is more than probable that a number of the most interesting sites remain unexplored, and even unvisited; for these are not always either very extensive or very conspicuous. The process of gradual disintegration is continually lowering the height of the Chaldaean ruins; and depressed mounds are commonly the sign of an ancient and long-deserted city. Such remains give us an insight into the character of the early people, which it is impossible to obtain from ruins where various populations have raised their fabrics in succession upon the same spot.
The cities here enumerated may not perhaps, in all cases, have existed in the Chaldaean period. The evidence hitherto obtained connects distinctly with that period only the following—Babylon, Ur or Hur, Larrak or Larsa, Erech or Huruk, Calneh or Nopher, Sippara, Dur-Kurri-galzu, Chilmad, and the places now called Abu Shahrein and Tel-Sifr. These sites, it will be observed, were scattered over the whole territory from the extreme south almost to the extreme north, and show the extent of the kingdom to have been that above assigned to it. They are connected together by a similarity in building arrangements and materials, in language, in form of type and writing, and sometimes in actual names of monarchs. The most ancient, apparently, are those towards the south, at Warka, Senkereh, Mugheir, and Niffer; and here, in the neighborhood of the sea, which then probably reached inland as far as Suk-es-Sheioukh, there is sufficient reason to place the primitive seat of Chaldaean power. The capital of the whole region was at first Ur or Hur, but afterwards became Nipur, and finally Babel or Babylon.
The geography of Chaldaea is scarcely complete without a glance at the countries which adjoin upon it. On the west, approaching generally within twenty or thirty miles of the present course of the Euphrates, is the Arabian Desert, consisting in this place of tertiary sand and gravels, having a general elevation of a few feet above the Mesopotamian plain, and occasionally rising into ridges of no great height, whose direction is parallel to the course of the great stream. Such are the Hazem and the Qassaim, in the country between the Bahr-i-Nedjif and the Persian Gulf, low pebbly ridges which skirt the valley from the Bahr to below Suk-es-Sheioukh. Further west the desert becomes more stony, its surface being strewn with numerous blocks of black granite, from which it derives its appellation of Hejerra. No permanent streams water this region; occasional "wadys" or torrent-courses, only full after heavy rains, are found; but the scattered inhabitants depend for water chiefly on their wells, which are deep and numerous, but yield only a scanty supply of a brackish and unpalatable fluid. No settled population can at any time have found subsistence in this region, which produces only a few dates, and in places a poor and unsucculent herbage. Sandstorms are frequent, and at times the baleful simoon sweeps across the entire tract, destroying with its pestilential breath both men and animals.
Towards the north Chaldaea adjoined upon Assyria. From the foot of that moderately lofty range already described which the Greeks call Masius, and the modern Turks know as Jebel Tur and Karajah Dagh, extends, for above 300 miles, a plain of low elevation, slightly undulating in places, and crossed about its centre by an important limestone ridge, known as the Sinjar hills, which have a direction nearly east and west, beginning about Mosul, and terminating a little below Rakkah. This track differs from the Chaldaean lowland, by being at once less flat and more elevated. Geologically it is of secondary formation, while Chaldaea proper is tertiary or post-tertiary. It is fairly watered towards the north, but below the Sinjar is only very scantily supplied. In modern times it is for nine months in the year a desert, but anciently it was well inhabited, means having apparently been found to bring the whole into cultivation. As a complete account of this entire region must be given in another part of the present volume, this outline (it is thought) may suffice for our present purpose.
Eastward of Chaldaea, separated from it by the Tigris, which in its lower course is a stream of more body than the Euphrates, was the country known to the Jews as Elam, to the early Greeks as Cissia, and to the later Greeks as Susis or Susiana. This territory comprised a portion of the mountain country which separates Mesopotamia from Persia; but it was chiefly composed of the broad and rich flats intervening between the mountains and the Tigris, along the courses of the Kerkhah, Kuran, and Jerahi rivers. It was a rich and fertile tract, resembling Chaldaea in its general character, with the exception that the vicinity of the mountains lent it freshness, giving it cooler streams, more frequent rains, and pleasanter breezes.
Capable of maintaining with ease a dense population, it was likely, in the early times, to be a powerful rival to the Mesopotamian kingdom, over which we shall find that in fact it sometimes exercised supremacy.
On the south Chaldaea had no neighbor. Here a spacious sea, with few shoals, land-locked, and therefore protected from the violent storms of the Indian Ocean, invited to commerce, offering a ready communication with India and Ceylon, as well as with Arabia Felix, Ethiopia, and Egypt. It is perhaps to this circumstance of her geographical position, as much as to any other, that ancient Chaldaea owes her superiority over her neighbors, and her right to be regarded as one of the five great monarchies of the ancient world. Commanding at once the sea, which reaches here deep into the land, and the great rivers by means of which the commodities of the land were most conveniently brought down to the sea, she lay in the highway of trade, and could scarcely fail to profit by her position. There is sufficient reason to believe that Ur, the first capital, was a great maritime emporium; and if so, it can scarcely be doubted that to commerce and trade, at the least in part, the early development of Chaldaean greatness was owing.
CLIMATE AND PRODUCTIONS.
"Ager totius Asiae fertilissimus."—PLIN. H. N. vi. 26.
Lower Mesopotamia, or Chaldaea, which lies in the same latitude with Central China, the Punjab, Palestine, Marocco, Georgia, Texas, and Central California, has a climate the warmth of which is at least equal to that of any of those regions. Even in the more northern part of the country, the district about Baghdad, the thermometer often rises during the summer to 120 deg. of Fahrenheit in the shade; and the inhabitants are forced to retreat to their serdabs or cellars, where they remain during the day, in an atmosphere which, by the entire exclusion of the sun's rays, is reduced to about 100 deg. Lower down the valley, at Zobair, Busrah, and Mohammrah, the summer temperature is still higher; and, owing to the moisture of the atmosphere, consequent on the vicinity of the sea, the heat is of that peculiarly oppressive character which prevails on the sea-coast of Hindustan, in Ceylon, in the West Indian Islands, at New Orleans, and in other places whose situation is similar. The vital powers languish under this oppression, which produces in the European a lassitude of body and a prostration of mind that wholly unfit him for active duties. On the Asiatic, however, these influences seem to have little effect. The Cha'b Arabs, who at present inhabit the region, are a tall and warlike race, strong-limbed, and muscular; they appear to enjoy the climate, and are as active, as healthy, and as long-lived as any tribe of their nation. But if man by long residence becomes thoroughly inured to the intense heat of these regions, it is otherwise with the animal creation. Camels sicken, and birds are so distressed by the high temperature that they sit in the date-trees about Baghdad, with their mouths open, panting for fresh air.
The evils proceeding from a burning temperature are augmented in places under the influence of winds, which, arising suddenly, fill the air with an impalpable sand, sometimes circling about a point, sometimes driving with furious force across a wide extent of country. The heated particles, by their contact with the atmosphere, increase its fervid glow, and, penetrating by the nose and mouth, dry up the moisture of the tongue, parch the throat, and irritate or even choke the lungs. Earth and sky are alike concealed by the dusty storm, through which no object can be distinguished that is removed many yards; a lurid gleam surrounds the traveller, and seems to accompany him as he moves: every landmark is hid from view; and to the danger of suffocation is added that of becoming bewildered and losing all knowledge of the road. Such are the perils encountered in the present condition of the country. It may be doubted, however, if in the times with which we are here concerned the evils just described had an existence. The sands of Chaldaea, which are still progressive and advancing, seem to have reached it from the Arabian Desert, to which they properly belong: year by year the drifts gain upon the alluvium, and threaten to spread over the whole country. If we may calculate the earlier by the present rate of progress, we must conclude that anciently these shifting sands had at any rate not crossed the Euphrates.
If the heat of summer be thus fierce and trying, the cold of winter must be pronounced to be very moderate. Frost, indeed, is not unknown in the country: but the frosts are only slight. Keen winds blow from the north, and in the morning the ground is often whitened by the congelation of the dew; the Arabs, impatient of a low temperature, droop and flag; but there is at no time any severity of cold; ice rarely forms in the marshes; snow is unknown; and the thermometer, even on the grass, does not often sink below 30 deg. The Persian kings passed their winter in Babylon, on account of the mildness of the climate; and Indian princes, expelled from the Peninsula, are wont, from a similar cause, to fix their residence at Busrah or Baghdad. The cold of which travellers speak is relative rather than positive. The range of the thermometer in Lower Chaldoea is perhaps 100 deg., whereas in England it is scarcely 80 deg., there is thus a greater difference between the heat of summer and the cold of winter there than here; but the actual greatest cold—that which benumbs the Arabs and makes them fall from their horses—is no more than we often experience in April, or even in May.
The rainy season of Chaldaea is in the winter time. Heavy showers fall in November, and still more in December, which sensibly raise the level of the rivers. As the spring advances the showers become lighter and less frequent; but still they recur from time to time, until the summer sets in, about May. From May to November rain is very rare indeed. The sky continues for weeks or even months without a cloud; and the sun's rays are only tempered for a short time at morning and at evening by a gray mist or haze. It is during these months that the phenomenon of the mirage is most remarkable. The strata of air, unequally heated, and therefore differing in rarity, refract the rays of light, fantastically enlarging and distorting the objects seen through them, which frequently appear raised from the ground and hanging in mid-air, or else, by a repetition of their image, which is reflected in a lower stratum, give the impression that they stand up out of a lake. Hence the delusion which has so often driven the traveller to desperation—the "image of a cool, rippling, watery mirror," which flies before him as he advances, and at once provokes and mocks his thirst.
The fertility of Chaldaea in ancient times was proverbial.
"Of all countries that we know," says Herodotus, "there is none that is so fruitful in grain. It makes no pretension, indeed, of growing the fig, the olive, the vine, or any other tree of the kind; but in grain it is so fruitful as to yield commonly two hundred-fold, and when the production is at the greatest, even three hundred-fold. The blade of the wheat-plant and of the barley-plant is often four fingers in breadth. As for the millet and the sesame, I shall not say to what height they grow, though within my own knowledge; for I am not ignorant that what I have already written concerning the fruitfulness of Babylonia must seem incredible to those who have not visited the country." Theophrastus, the disciple of Aristotle, remarks—"In Babylon the wheat-fields are regularly mown twice, and then fed off with beasts, to keep down the luxuriance of the leaf; otherwise the plant does not run to ear. When this is done, the return, in lands that are badly cultivated, is fifty-fold; while, in those that are well farmed, it is a hundred-fold." Strabo observes—"The country produces barley on a scale not known elsewhere, for the return is said to be three hundred-fold. All other wants are supplied by the palm, which furnishes not only bread, but wine, vinegar, honey, and meal." Pliny follows Theophrastus, with the exception that he makes the return of the wheat-crop, where the land is well farmed, a hundred and fifty-fold. The wealth of the region was strikingly exhibited by the heavy demands which were made upon it by the Persian kings, as well as by the riches which, notwithstanding these demands, were accumulated in the hands of those who administered its government. The money-tribute paid by Babylonia and Assyria to the Persians was a thousand talents of silver (nearly a quarter of a million of our money) annually; while the tribute in kind was reckoned at one third part of the contributions of the whole empire. Yet, despite this drain on its resources, the government was regarded as the best that the Persian king had to bestow, and the wealth accumulated by Babylonian satraps was extraordinary. Herodotus tells us of a certain Tritanteechmes, a governor, who, to his own knowledge, derived from his province nearly two bushels of silver daily! This fortunate individual had a "stud of sixteen thousand mares, with a proportionate number of horses." Another evidence of the fertility of the region may be traced in the fear of Artaxerxes Mnemon, after the battle of Cunaxa, lest the Ten Thousand should determine to settle permanently in the vicinity of Sittace upon the Tigris. Whatever opinion may be held as to the exact position of this place, and of the district intended by Xenophon, it is certain that it was in the alluvial plain and so contained within the limits of the ancient Chaldaea.
Modern travellers, speaking of Chaldaea in its present condition, express themselves less enthusiastically than the ancients; but, on the whole, agree with them as to the natural capabilities of the country. "The soil," says one of the most judicious, "is extremely fertile, producing great quantities of rice, dates, and grain of different kinds, though it is not cultivated to above half the degree of which it is susceptible." "The soil is rich," says another, "not less bountiful than that on the banks of the Egyptian Nile." "Although greatly changed by the neglect of man," observes a third, "those portions of Mesopotamia which are still cultivated, as the country about Hillah, show that the region has all the fertility ascribed to it by Herodotus." There is a general recognition of the productive qualities of the district, combined with a general lamentation over the existing neglect and apathy which allow such gifts of Nature to run to waste. Cultivation, we are told, is now the exception, instead of the rule. "Instead of the luxuriant fields, the groves and gardens of former times, nothing now meets the eye but an arid waste." Many parts of Chaldaea, naturally as productive as any others, are at present pictures of desolation. Large tracts are covered by unwholesome marshes, producing nothing but enormous reeds; others lie waste and bare, parched up by the fierce heat of the sun, and utterly destitute of water; in some places, as has been already mentioned, sand-drifts accumulate, and threaten to make the whole region a mere portion of the desert.
The great cause of this difference between ancient and modern Chaldaea is the neglect of the water-courses. Left to themselves, the rivers tend to desert some portions of the alluvium wholly, which then become utterly unproductive; while they spread themselves out over others, which are converted thereby into pestilential swamps. A well-arranged system of embankments and irrigating canals is necessary in order to develop the natural capabilities of the country, and to derive from the rich soil of this vast alluvium the valuable and varied products which it can be made to furnish.
Among the natural products of the region two stand out as pre-eminently important-the wheat-plant and the date-palm. [PLATE IV., Fig. 2.] According to the native tradition, wheat was indigenous in Chaldaea; and the first comers thus found themselves provided by the bountiful hand of Nature with the chief necessary of life. The luxuriance of the plant was excessive. Its leaves were as broad as the palm of a man's hand, and its tendency to grow leaves was so great that (as we have seen) the Babylonians used to mow it twice and then pasture their cattle on it for awhile, to keep down the blade and induce the plant to run to ear. The ultimate return was enormous; on the most moderate computation it amounted to fifty-fold at the least, and often to a hundred-fold. The modern oriental is content, even in the case of a rich soil, with a tenfold return.
The date-palm was at once one of the most valuable and one of the most ornamental products of the country. "Of all vegetable forms," says the greatest of modern naturalists, "the palm is that to which the prize of beauty has been assigned by the concurrent voice of nations in all ages." And though the date-palm is in form perhaps less graceful and lovely than some of its sister species, it possesses in the dates themselves a beauty which they lack. These charming yellow clusters, semi-transparent, which the Greeks likened to amber, and moderns compare to gold, contrast, both in shade and tint, with the green feathery branches beneath whose shade they hang, and give a richness to the landscape they adorn which adds greatly to its attractions. And the utility of the palm has been at all times proverbial. A Persian poem celebrated its three hundred and sixty uses. The Greeks, with more moderation, spoke of it as furnishing the Babylonians with bread, wine, vinegar, honey, groats, string and ropes of all kinds, firing, and a mash for fattening cattle. The fruit was excellent, and has formed at all times an important article of nourishment in the country. It was eaten both fresh and dried, forming in the latter case a delicious sweetmeat. The wine, "sweet but headachy," was probably not the spirit which it is at present customary to distil from the dates, but the slightly intoxicating drink called lagby in North Africa, which may be drawn from the tree itself by decapitating it, and suffering the juice to flow. The vinegar was perhaps the same fluid corrupted, or it may have been obtained from the dates. The honey was palm-sugar, likewise procurable from the sap. How the groats were obtained we do not know; but it appears that the pith of the palm was eaten formerly in Babylonia, and was thought to have a very agreeable flavor. Ropes were made from the fibres of the bark; and the wood was employed for building and furniture. It was soft, light and easily worked; but tough, strong and fibrous.
The cultivation of the date-palm was widely extended in Chaldaea, probably from very early times. The combination of sand, moisture, and a moderately saline soil, in which it delights, was there found in perfection, more especially in the lower country, which had but recently been reclaimed from the sea. Even now, when cultivation is almost wholly laid aside, a thick forest of luxuriant date-trees clothes the banks of the Euphrates on either side, from the vicinity of Mugheir to its embouchure at the head of the Persian Gulf. Anciently the tract was much more generally wooded with them. "Palm-trees grow in numbers over the whole of the flat country," says one of the most observant and truthful of travellers—Herodotus. According to the historians of Julian, a forest of verdure extended from the upper edge of the alluvium, which he crossed, to Mesene, and the shores of the sea. When the Arabian conquerors settled themselves in the lower country, they were so charmed with the luxuriant vegetation and the abundant date-groves, that they compared the region with the country about Damascus and reckoned it among their four earthly paradises. The propagation of the date-palm was chiefly from seed. In Chaldaea, however, it was increased sometimes from suckers or offshoots thrown up from the stem of the old tree; at other times by a species of cutting, the entire head being struck off with about three feet of stem, notched, and then planted in moist ground. Several varieties of the tree were cultivated; but one was esteemed above all the rest, both for the size and flavor of the fruit. It bore the name of "Royal," and grew only in one place near Babylon.
Beside these two precious products, Chaldaea produced excellent barley, millet, sesame, vetches and fruits of all kinds. It was, however, deficient in variety of trees, possessing scarcely any but the palm and the cypress. Pomegranates, tamarisks, poplars, and acacias are even now almost the only trees besides the two above mentioned, to be found between Samarah and the Persian Gulf. The tamarisk grows chiefly as a shrub along the rivers, but sometimes attains the dimensions of a tree, as in the case of the "solitary tree" still growing upon the ruins of Babylon. The pomegranates with their scarlet flowers, and the acacias with their light and graceful foliage, ornament the banks of the streams, generally intermingled with the far more frequent palm, while oranges, apples, pears, and vines are successfully cultivated in the gardens and orchards.
Among the vegetable products of Chaldaea must be noticed, as almost peculiar to the region, its enormous reeds. [PLATE V.] These, which are represented with much spirit in the sculptures of Sennacherib, cover the marshes in the summer-time, rising often to the height of fourteen or fifteen feet. The Arabs of the marsh region form their houses of this material, binding the stems of the reeds together, and bending them into arches, to make the skeleton of their buildings; while, to form the walls, they stretch across from arch to arch mats made of the leaves. From the same fragile substance they construct their terradas or light boats, which, when rendered waterproof by means of bitumen, will support the weight of three or four men.
In mineral products Chaldaea was very deficient indeed. The alluvium is wholly destitute of metals, and even of stone, which must be obtained, if wanted, from the adjacent countries. The neighboring parts of Arabia could furnish sandstone and the more distant basalt; which appears to have been in fact transported occasionally to the Chaldaean Cities. Probably, however, the chief importation of stone was by the rivers, whose waters would readily convey it to almost any part of Chaldaea from the regions above the alluvium. This we know to have been done in some cases, but the evidence of the ruins makes it clear that such importation was very limited. The Chaldaeans found, in default of stone, a very tolerable material in their own country; which produced an inexhaustible supply of excellent clay, easily moulded into bricks, and not even requiring to be baked in order to fit it for the builder. Exposure to the heat of the summer sun hardened the clay sufficiently for most purposes, while a few hours in a kiln made it as firm and durable as freestone, or even granite. Chaldaea, again, yielded various substances suitable for mortar. Calcareous earths abound on the western side of the Euphrates towards the Arabian frontier; while everywhere a tenacious slime or mud is easily procurable, which, though imperfect as a cement, can serve the purpose, and has the advantage of being always at hand. Bitumen is also produced largely in some parts, particularly at Hit, where are the inexhaustible springs which have made that spot famous in all ages. Naphtha and bitumen are here given forth separately in equal abundance; and these two substances, boiled together in certain proportions, form a third kind of cement, superior to the slime or mud, but inferior to lime-mortar. Petroleum, called by the Orientals mumia, is another product of the bitumen-pits.
The wild animals indigenous in Babylonia appear to be chiefly the following:—the lion, the leopard, the hyeena, the lynx, the wild-cat, the wolf, the jackal, the wild-boar, the buffalo, the stag, the gazelle, the jerboa, the fox, the hare, the badger, and the porcupine. The Mesopotamian lion is a noble animal. Taller and larger than a Mount St. Bernard dog, he wanders over the plains their undisputed lord, unless when an European ventures to question his pre-eminence. The Arabs tremble at his approach, and willingly surrender to him the choicest of their flocks and herds. Unless urged by hunger, he seldom attacks man, but contents himself with the destruction of buffaloes, camels, dogs, and sheep. When taken young, he is easily tamed, and then manifests considerable attachment to his master. In his wild state he haunts the marshes and the banks of the various streams and canals, concealing himself during the day, and at night wandering abroad in search of his prey, to obtain which he will approach with boldness to the very skirts of an Arab encampment. His roar is not deep or terrible, but like the cry of a child in pain, or the first wail of the jackal after sunset, only louder, clearer and more prolonged. Two varieties of the lion appear to exist: the one is maneless, while the other has a long mane, which is black and shaggy. The former is now the more common in the country; but the latter, which is the fiercer of the two, is the one ordinarily represented upon the sculptures. The lioness is nearly as much feared as the lion; when her young are attacked, or when she has lost them, she is perhaps even more terrible. Her roar is said to be deeper and far more imposing than of the male.
The other animals require but few remarks. Gazelles are plentiful in the more sandy regions; buffaloes abound in the marshes of the south, where they are domesticated, and form the chief wealth of the inhabitants; troops of jackals are common, while the hyaena and wolf are comparatively rare; the wild-boar frequents the river banks and marshes, as depicted in the Assyrian sculptures [PLATE VI., Fig. 1]; hares abound in the country about Baghdad; porcupines and badgers are found in most places—leopards, lynxes, wild-cats, and deer, are somewhat uncommon.
Chaldaea possesses a great variety of birds. Falcons, vultures, kites, owls, hawks and crows of various kinds, francolins or black partridges, pelicans, wild-geese, ducks, teal, cranes, herons, kingfishers, and pigeons, are among the most common. The sand-grouse (Pterocles arenarius) is occasionally found, as also are the eagle and the bee-eater. Fish are abundant in the rivers and marshes, principally barbel and carp, which latter grow to a great size in the Euphrates. Barbel form an important element in the food of the Arabs inhabiting the Affej marshes, who take them commonly by means of a fish-spear. In the Shat-el-Arab, which is wholly within the influence of the tides, there is a species of goby, which is amphibious. This fish lies in myriads on the mud-banks left uncovered by the ebb of the tide, and moves with great agility on the approach of birds. Nature seems to have made the goby in one of her most freakish moods. It is equally at home in the earth, the air, and the water; and at different times in the day may be observed swimming in the stream, basking upon the surface of the tidal banks, and burrowing deep in the mud.
The domestic animals are camels, horses, buffaloes, cows and oxen, goats, sheep, and dogs. The most valuable of the last mentioned are grayhounds, which are employed to course the gazelle and the hare. The camels, horses, and buffaloes are of superior quality; but the cows and oxen seem to be a very inferior breed. The goats and the sheep are small, and yield a scanty supply of a somewhat coarse wool. Still their flocks and herds constitute the chief wealth of the people, who have nearly forsaken the agriculture which anciently gave Chaldaea its pre-eminence, and have relapsed very generally into a nomadic or semi-nomadic condition. The insecurity of property consequent upon bad government has in a great measure caused this change, which render; the bounty of Nature useless, and allows immense capabilities to run to waste. The present condition of Babylonia gives a most imperfect idea of its former state, which must be estimated not from modern statistics, but from the accounts of ancient writers and the evidences which he country itself presents. From them we conclude that this region was among the most productive upon the face of the earth, spontaneously producing some of the best gifts of God to man, and capable, under careful management, of being made one continuous garden.
"A mighty nation, an ancient nation."—JEREM. v. 15.
That the great alluvial plain at the mouth of the Euphrates and Tigris was among the countries first occupied by man after the Deluge, is affirmed by Scripture, and generally allowed by writers upon ancient history. Scripture places the original occupation at a time when language had not yet broken up into its different forms, and when, consequently, races, as we now understand the term, can scarcely have existed. It is not, however, into the character of these primeval inhabitants that we have here to inquire, but into the ethnic affinities and characteristics of that race, whatever it was, which first established an important kingdom in the lower part of the plain—a kingdom which eventually became an empire. According to the ordinary theory, this race was Aramaic or Semitic. "The name of Aramaeans, Syrians, or Assyrians," says Niebuhr, "comprises the nations extending from the mouth of the Euphrates and Tigris to the Euxine, the river Halys, and Palestine. They applied to themselves the name of Aram, and the Greeks called them Assyrians, which is the same as Syrians(?). Within that great extent of country there existed, of course, various dialectic differences of language; and there can be little doubt but that in some places the nation was mixed with other races." The early inhabitants of Lower Mesopotamia, however, he considers to have been pure Aramaeans, closely akin to the Assyrians, from whom, indeed, he regards them as only separate politically.
Similar views are entertained by most modern writers. Baron Bunsen, in one of his latest works, regards the fact as completely established by the results of recent researches in Babylonia. Professor M. Muller, though expressing himself with more caution, inclines to the same conclusion. Popular works, in the shape of Cyclopaedias and short general histories, diffuse the impression. Hence a difficulty is felt with regard to the Scriptural statement concerning the first kingdom in these parts, which is expressly said to have been Cushite or Ethiopian. "And Cush begat Nimrod: (he began to be a mighty one in the earth; he was a mighty hunter before the Lord; wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod, the mighty hunter before the Lord;) and the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar." According to this passage the early Chaldaeans should be Hamites, not Semites—Ethiopians, not Aramaans; they should present analogies and points of connection with the inhabitants of Egypt and Abyssinia, of Southern Arabia and Mekran, not with those of Upper Mesopotamia, Syria, Phoenicia, and Palestine. It will be one of the objects of this chapter to show that the Mosaical narrative conveys the exact truth—a truth alike in accordance with the earliest classical traditions, and with the latest results of modern comparative philology.
It will be desirable, however, before proceeding to establish the correctness of these assertions, to examine the grounds on which the opposite belief has been held so long and so confidently. Heeren draws his chief argument from the supposed character of the language. Assuming the form of speech called Chaldee to be the original tongue of the people, he remarks that it is "an Aramaean dialect, differing but slightly from the proper Syriac." Chaldee is known partly from the Jewish Scriptures, in which it is used occasionally, partly from the Targums (or Chaldaean paraphrases of different portions of the Sacred Volume), some of which belong to about the time of the Apostles. and partly from the two Talmuds, or collections of Jewish traditions, made in the third and fifth centuries of our era. It has been commonly regarded as the language of Babylon at the time of the Captivity, which the Jews, as captives, were forced to learn, and which thenceforth took the place of their own tongue. But it is extremely doubtful whether this is a true account of the matter. The Babylonian language of the age of Nebuchadnezzar is found to be far nearer to Hebrew than to Chaldee, which appears therefore to be misnamed, and to represent the western rather than the eastern Aramaic. The Chaldee argument thus falls to the ground: but in refuting it an admission has been made which may be thought to furnish fully as good proof of early Babylonian Semitism as the rejected theory.
It has been said that the Babylonian language in the time of Nebuchadnezzar is found to be far nearer to Hebrew than to Chaldee. It is, in fact, very close indeed to the Hebrew. The Babylonians of that period, although they did not speak the tongue known to modern linguists as Chaldee, did certainly employ a Semitic or Aramaean dialect, and so far may be set down as Semites. And this is the ground upon which such modern philologists as still maintain the Semitic character of the primitive Chaldaeans principally rely. But it can be proved from the inscriptions of the country, that between the date of the first establishment of a Chaldaean kingdom and the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, the language of Lower Mesopotamia underwent an entire change. To whatever causes this may have been owing—a subject which will be hereafter investigated—the fact is certain; and it entirely destroys the force of the argument from the language of the Babylonians at the later period.
Another ground, and that which seems to have had the chief weight with Niebuhr, is the supposed identity or intimate connection of the Babylonians with the Assyrians. That the latter people were Semites has never been denied; and, indeed, it is a point supported by such an amount of evidence as renders it quite unassailable. If, therefore the primitive Babylonians were once proved to be a mere portion of the far greater Assyrian nation, locally and politically, but not ethnically separate from them, their Semitic character would thereupon be fully established. Now that this was the belief of Herodotus must be at once allowed. Not only does that writer regard the later Babylonians as Assyrians—"Assyrians of Babylon," as he expresses it—and look on Babylonia as a mere "district of Assyria," but, by adopting the mythic genealogy, which made Ninus the son of Belus, he throws back the connection to the very origin of the two nations, and distinctly pronounces it a connection of race. But Herodotus is a very weak authority on the antiquities of any nation, even his own; and it is not surprising that he should have carried back to a remote period a state of things which he saw existing in his own age. If the later Babylonians were, in manners and customs, in religion and in language, a close, counterpart of the Assyrians, he would naturally suppose them descended from the same stock. It is his habit to transfer back to former times the condition of things in his own day. Thus he calls the inhabitants of the Peloponnese before the Dorian invasion "Dorians," regards Athens as the second city in Greece when Creesus sent his embassies, and describes as the ancient Persian religion that corrupted form which existed under Artaxerxes Longimanus. He is an excellent authority for what he had himself seen, or for what he had laboriously collected by inquiry from eye witnesses; but he had neither the critical acumen nor the linguistic knowledge necessary for the formation of a trust worthy opinion on a matter belonging to the remote history of a distant people. And the opinion of Herodotus as to the ethnic identity of the two nations is certainly not confirmed by other ancient writers. Berosus seems to have very carefully distinguished between the Assyrians and the Babylonians or Chaldaeans, as may be seen even through the doubly-distorting medium of Polyhistor and the Armenian Eusebius. Diodorus Siculus made the two nations separate and hostile in very early times. Pliny draws a clear line between the "Chaldaean races," of which Babylon was the head, and the Assyrians of the region above them. Even Herodotus in one place admits a certain amount of ethnic difference; for, in his list of the nations forming the army of Xerxes, he mentions the Chaldaeans as serving with, but not included among, the Assyrians.
The grounds, then, upon which the supposed Semitic character of the ancient Chaldaeans has been based, fail, one and all; and it remains to consider whether we have data sufficient to justify us in determinately assigning them to any other stock.
Now a large amount of tradition—classical and other—brings Ethiopians into these parts, and connects, more or less distinctly, the early dwellers upon the Persian Gulf with the inhabitants of the Nile valley, especially with those upon its upper course. Homer, speaking of the Ethiopians, says that they were "divided," and dwelt "at the ends of earth, towards the setting and the rising sun." This passage has been variously apprehended. It has been supposed to mean the mere division of the Ethiopians south of Egypt by the river Nile, whereby some inhabited its eastern and some its western bank. Again it has been explained as referring to the east and west coasts of Africa, both found by voyagers to be in the possession of Ethiopians, who were "divided" by the vast extent of continent that lay between them. But the most satisfactory explanation is that which Strabo gives from Ephorus, that the Ethiopians were considered as occupying all the south coast both of Asia and Africa, and as "divided" by the Arabian Gulf (which separated the two continents) into eastern and western-Asiatic and African. This was an "old opinion" of the Greeks, we are told; and, though Strabo thinks it indicated their ignorance, we may perhaps be excused for holding it that it might not improbably have arisen from real, though imperfect, knowledge.
The traditions with respect to Memnon serve very closely to connect Egypt and Ethiopia with the country at the head of the Persian Gulf. Memnon, King of Ethiopia, according to Hesiod and Pindar, is regarded by 'Eschylus as the son of a Cissian woman, and by Herodotus and others as the founder of Susa. He leads an army of combined Susianians and Ethiopians to the assistance of Priam, his father's brother, and, after greatly distinguishing himself, perishes in one of the battles before Troy. At the same time he is claimed as one of their monarchs by the Ethiopians upon the Nile, and identified by the Egyptians with their king, Amunoph III., whose statue became known as "the vocal Memnon." Sometimes his expedition is supposed to have started from the African Ethiopia, and to have proceeded by way of Egypt to its destination. There were palaces, called "Memnonia," and supposed to have been built by him, both in Egypt and at Susa; and there was a tribe, called Memnones, near Meroe. Memnon thus unites the Eastern and the Western Ethiopians; and the less we regard him as an historical personage, the more must we view him as personifying the ethnic identity of the two races.
The ordinary genealogies containing the name of Belus point in the same direction, and serve more definitely to connect the Babylonians with the Cushites of the Nile. Pherecydes, who is an earlier writer than Herodotus, makes Agenor, the son of Neptune, marry Damno, the daughter of Belus, and have issue Phoenix, Isaea, and Melia, of whom Melia marries Danaus, and Isaea Aegyptus. Apollodorus, the disciple of Eratosthenes, expresses the connection thus:—"Neptune took to wife Libya (or Africa), and had issue Belus and Agenor. Belus married Anchinoe, daughter of Nile, who gave birth to AEgyptus, Danaus, Cepheus, and Phineus. Agenor married Telephassa, and had issue Europa, Cadmus, Phoenix, and Cilix." Eupolemus, who professes to record the Babylonian tradition on the subject, tells us that the first Belus, whom he identifies with Saturn, had two sons, Belus and Canaan. Canaan begat the progenitor of the Phoenicians (Phoenix?), who had two sons, Chum and Mestraim, the ancestors respectively of the Ethiopians and the Egyptians. Charax of Pergamus spoke of AEgyptus as the son of Belus. John of Antioch agrees with Apollodorus, but makes certain additions. According to him, Neptune and Lybia had three children, Agenor, Belus, and Enyalius or Mars. Belus married Sida, and had issue AEgyptus and Danaus; while Agenor married Tyro, and became the father of five children—Cadmus, Phoenix, Syrus, Cilix, and Europa.