صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

certainty :-Assarac, Ani, Nit, Artank, Beltis, Shemir, Bar; and perhaps also Ammun and Horus, Nebe, Tal and Set. Temen-bar then records his genealogy, naming his father, Sardanapalus, and his grandfather, Alti-bar; and afterwards goes on to chronicle his wars, describing the events of each regnal year with great exactness, and at the same time with remarkable simplicity. These wars appear to be directed against all the nations conterminous with Assyria. In Syria Proper the chief antagonists of the king are Hem-ithra and Ar-hulena, the rulers of Atesh (which Major Rawlinson considers to be Hems or Emessa), and Hamath, who appear to have been confederated with the Sheta and the twelve tribes of the upper and lower country. These Sheta (or Khetta, according to the usual orthography at Khorsabad), were, Major Rawlinson observes, undoubtedly the same as the Khita of Egyptian history. They appear to have been a large tribe, holding the entire country between the Syrian desert and the Mediterranean; and he conceives it most probable that the Hittites of Scripture were either an offshoot from, or a fragment of, the same nation. On one occasion, while the king was in this country of Atesh, or Hems, among the tribes of the Sheta, he appears to have received the tribute of Tyre, Sidon, and Gebal. This has been already referred to, and it shows how precise and minute are these elements of ancient history, relating to periods of which not the slightest knowledge has existed

for ages.

[ocr errors]

The expeditions of the king, whether directed against Syria Proper, Asia Minor, or Upper Armenia, are usually prefaced in the inscriptions with the phrase—“I crossed the Euphrates."

In the ninth year of this king's reign, he led an expedition to the southward, to the land of Shinar, or Babylonia, raising altars to the gods in the cities of Shinar and Bersippa, and subsequently pursuing his march as far as the land of the Chaldees who dwelt upon the sea-coast. On two occasions, in his sixteenth and twenty-fourth years, the king led his armies to the eastward, crossing the lower Zab, and ascending the range of Zagros. He recounts his movements in this direction against the Arians (the Arii of Herodotus), the Persians, the Medes, and the Armenians of Kharkhar. On two other occasions he sent his general, Tetarassar, to wage war upon the same nations, and among the conquests of this chief is found the land of Minni, which was undoubtedly, Major Rawlinson conceives, the country of that name associated by the prophet Jeremiah with Ararat and Askchenaz, in his denunciations against Babylon, and appears to be the province of which Van was the capital, as the local title of the sovereigns recorded at that place very nearly corresponds with the Assyrian orthography of Minnie.

After following the record through the whole series of the thirty-one years of Temen-bar's reign, Major Rawlinson remarks on the epigraphs attached to the figures sculptured on the obelisk. These he explains as describing the tribute brought in from different lands to the Assyrian king. The rare animals, about which so much curiosity has been excited—that is, the two-humped camel, the elephant, the wild bull, the unicorn, the antelope, the monkeys, and the baboons—appear among the tribute of a country named Misr, which there are grounds for supposing may be the same as Egypt, in as much as the sculptures of Khorsabad prove that Misr adjoined Syria, and as a name pronounced in the same manner, though written with a different initial character, is used at Persepolis and Behistun for the Persian Mudráya. The only animals specifically mentioned in the epigraphs are horses and camels, the latter being called, “ beasts of the desert with the double back;" and Major Rawlinson remarks, that if Misr should ultimately prove to designate Egypt, it will be necessary to suppose that those animals had been imported into the country, as curiosities from India.

Major Rawlinson thinks that all the inscriptions of Assyria yet discovered, whether found at Nimroud, Khorsabad, or at Koyunjik, belonged to that line of kings known in history as the dynasty of Ninus and Semiramis. He does not believe that we have hitherto found any memorials of the lower dynasty, or of those kings mentioned in Scripture as contemporary with the kingdoms of Israel and Judah; and he added that he almost expected, if such memorials should come to light, Assyria would be found during the period in question, to have been in dependence on the lords paramount of Media.

Since Dr. Layard's valuable work, entitled “ Nineveh and its Remains," was published, several very valuable additional sculptures and inscribed slabs have been brought to this country, and presented by him to Sir John Guest, whose seat, Canford Manor, they now adorn in a manner, the interest of which may be estimated from the following description of some of the principal marbles :

The sculptures consist of ten bas-reliefs, and are of two distinct characters. Five of them are from Birs Nimroud, and in a very perfect state ; the other five from Koyunjik are much smaller in size, and have suffered more from the lapse of time. Some of the Canford marbles differ, but in minute particulars, from those engraved in the “Monuments of Nineveh."

One of them is a colossal head with a pointed helmet, which has three clasping horns, and is ornamented with what has been described as a fleur-de-lis. The eardrop is in the form of a Maltese cross.

Another is a Nisroch, or eagle-headed divinity, of colossal size. It is very similar to that given in the “Monuments of Nineveh.” The chief points in which the sculpture and the plates differ are these :—The Canford basrelief has a rosette on both bracelets, and has also armlets

E

above the elbow, which are not in the plates. These arm lets are formed of a simple band, the ends of which do not anite, but pass beyond each other on the outside of the arm. In the sculpture also there are only two dagger hilts, both of which are plain, whereas in the plates there are three, one of which has an animal's head for the handle. The divinity bears, as usual, one of the square pendant vessels in his hand, already familiar to us from the marbles deposited in the British Museum.

A third consists of two gigantic forms—that of a winged priest and his attendant. The former resembles the Nisroch, with the exception of the head being human, with stiffly curled beard and hair. His head-dress is formed of the horned cap, and his ear ornamented with a plain drop. He carries the fir-cone in his uplifted right hand, and in his left the square vessel or basket, which is ornamented on its side with a representation of two worshippers on each side of the cone bearing the tree of life. Above this is a winged circle, supposed to be the emblem of the Triune deity.

But the indefatigable explorer is again at the scene of his former most interesting and romantic exploits, and already announces equally remarkable, if not still more valuable discoveries, than any that have yet been made. From time to time news reaches us of the progress of Dr. Layard's labours. By letters, dated from Nimroud, on the 7th January 1850, we learn that he has pursued his researches in the old Nimroud palace, and has cleared an entrance into a chamber wherein he has discovered an extraordinary and most interesting collection of relics, including domestic utensils, personal ornaments, and weapons of war. Among these are specified a remarkable assortment of Assyrian antiquities, including shields, swords, pateræ, bowls, and cauldrons, crowns, and other distinguished features of state decorations, and

personal ornaments in mother-of-pearl, ivory, &c. The en

[ocr errors]

gravings and embossed decorations on these are described as exceedingly beautiful and elaborate, while their correspondence with the details and mythic representations, on the sculptures already sent home, leave no room to doubt that they are contemporaneous productions. They include hunting scenes, personal encounters with lions, armed warriors on foot and in their chariots, &c. At Koyunjik, Dr. Layard has also successfully begun a series of excavations, and has already uncovered a range of sculptured slabs, singularly interesting from their containing representations, in bas-relief, of the process of building these very palaces and mounds, which now, after the lapse of so many centuries, are being explored and studied by natives of the far north, whose island home, when these sculptures were hewn, and these palaces built, was in all probability a tangled forest, and savage jungle waste, where the wild boar and the wolf alone disputed possession.

CHAPTER V.

THE RECORDS OF ASSYRIA.

The ancient worlds their mysteries yield,
The Chaldean sages' secrets are unsealed,
The history of old time, that seem'd undone,
Proves in the last of days but yet begun;
And prophecy awaits the child of time,
To give fresh beauty to its truths sublime.

BROWNR.

THE great interest which attaches to the recent discoveries in Assyria cannot fail to be kept alive by the activity with which the explorers of its ancient remains, both at home and abroad, are pursuing their researches. While

« السابقةمتابعة »