Nin'eveh (Heb. Nineveh', נַינוֵה:); Sept. Νινευή or Νινευῆ, v. r. Νινευϊv; Vulg. Ninive), the capital of the ancient kingdom and empire of Assyria; a city of great power, size, and renown, usually included among the most ancient cities of the world of which there is any historic record. In the following account we bring together the ancient and the modern notices, especially the Scripture relations.
I. Name. — This, if Shemitic, signifies dwelling of Ninus; but it is probably of foreign etymology. In cuneiform (q.v.) it is written or Josephus Graecizes it Νενεύη, '(Ant. 9:10, 2), Ptolemy Νῖνος ἡ καὶ Νινευϊv (8:21, § 3), Herodotus ἡ Νίνος or Νῖνος (1:193; 2:150); while the Romans wrote it Ninus (Tacit. Ann. 12:13) or Nineve (Amm. Marcianus, 18:7). The name appears to be derived from that of an Assyrian deity, "Nin," corresponding, it is conjectured, with the Greek Hercules, and occurring in the names of several Assyrian kings, as in "Ninus," the mythic founder, according to Greek tradition, of. the city. In the Assyrian inscriptions Nineveh is also supposed to be called "the city of Bel." Fletcher, rather fancifully, taking Nin as meaning "a floating substance or fish," and neveh
"a resting-place," supposes the city to have been built nigh to the spot where the ark of Noah rested, and in memory of the deliverance provided by that wondrous vessel (Notes from Nineveh, 2:90). The connection of the name of.the city with Ninus, its mythical founder, is not opposed to the statement in Ge 10:11; for the city might be named, not from Nimrod, its originator, but from a successor who gave it conquest and renown. In the Assyrian mythology Ninus is the son of Nimrod.
II. History. —
1. From Biblical and Later Accounts. The first reference to Nineveh in Scripture is in Ge 10:11, "Out of that land went forth Asshur and builded Nineveh," as it is rendered in our version. The other and better version is, "Out of that land (the land of Shinar) went he (Nimrod) to Assyria, and builded Nineveh, and Rehoboth, and Calah, and Resen between Nineveh and Calah; the same is a great city." The translation which we have adopted is that of the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan, and is defended by Hyde, Bochart, Le Clerc, Tuch, Baumgarten, Keil, Delitzsch, Knobel, Kalisch, and Murphy. The other exegesis, which makes Asshur the subject of the verb, has support from the Septuagint, the Syrian version, and the Vulgate, and has been adopted by Luther, Calvin, Grotius. Michaelis, Schumann, Von Bohlen, Pye Smith, and is apparently preferred by Rawlinson. The arguments in its favor are not strong; yet it contains or implies the reason why the country was named Assyria after its first settler. It is also a plausible theory of Jacob Bryant, that Nimrod by his conquests forced Asshur to leave the territory of Shinar, so that, thus expelled and overpowered by the mighty hunter, he went out of that land and built Nineveh (Ancient Mythology, 6:192). Hence Assyria was subsequently known to the Jews as "the land of, Nimrod" (comp. Mic 5:6), and was believed to have been first peopled by a colony from Babylon.
The kingdom of Assyria and of the Assyrians is referred to in the O.T. as connected with the Jews at a very early period; as in Nu 24:22,24, and Ps 83:8: but after the notice of the foundation of Nineveh in Genesis no further mention is made of the city until the time of the book of Jonah, or the 8th century B.C., supposing we accept the earliest date for that narrative, SEE JONAH, BOOK OF, which, however, according to some critics, must be brought down 300 years later, or to the 5th century B.C. In this book neither Assyria nor the Assyrians are mentioned, the king to whom the prophet .was sent being termed the "king of Nineveh." Assyria is first called a kingdom ill the time of Menahem, about B.C. 770. Nahum (? B.C. 645) directs his prophecies against Nineveh; only once against the king of Assyria (Na 3:18). In 2 Kings (2Ki 19:36) was Isaiah (Isa 37:37) the city is first distinctly mentioned as the residence of the monarch. Sennacherib was slain there when worshipping in the temple of Nisroch his god. In 2 Chronicles, (2Ch 32:21), where the same event is described, the name of the place where it occurred is omitted. Zephaniah, about B.C. 630, couples the capital and the kingdom together (Zep 2:13); and this is the last mention of Nineveh as an existing city. He probably lived to witness its destruction, an event impending at the time of his prophecies. Although Assyria and the Assyrians are alluded to by Ezekiel and Jeremiah, by the former as a nation in whose miserable ruin prophecy had been fulfilled (ch. 31), yet they do not refer by name to the capital. Jeremiah, when enumerating "all the kingdoms of the world which are upon the face of the earth" (ch. 25), omits all mention of the nation and the city. Habakkuk only speaks of the Chaldaeans, which may lead to the inference that the date of his prophecies is somewhat later than that usually assigned to them. SEE HABAKKUK, BOOK OF.
The fall of Nineveh, like its rise and history, is very much enveloped in obscurity. But the account of Ctesias, preserved in Diodorus Siculus (2:27, 28), has been thought to be substantially correct. It may, however, be observed that Mr. Rawlinson, in his latest work (The Ancient Monarchies, 1:52i), says that it "seems undeserving of a place in history." According to that account, Cyaxares, the Median monarch, aided by the Babylonians, under Nabopolassar, laid siege to the city. His first efforts were in vain. He was more than once repulsed and obliged to take refuge in the mountains of the Zagros range; but, receiving reinforcements, he succeeded in routing the Assyrian army, and driving them to shut themselves up within the walls. He then attempted to reduce the city by blockade, but was unsuccessful for two years, till his efforts were unexpectedly assisted by an extraordinary rise of the Tigris, which swept away a part of the walls, and rendered it possible for the Medes to enter. The Assyrian monarch, Saracus, in despair, burned himself in his palace. With the ruthless barbarity of the times, the conquerors gave the whole city over to the flames, and razed its former magnificence to the ground. The cities dependent on Nineveh, and in its neighborhood, appear to have incurred a like fate, and the excavations show that the principal agent in their destruction was fire.
Calcined sculptured alabaster, charcoal and charred wood buried in masses of brick and earth, slabs and statues split with heat, were objects continually encountered by Mr. Layard and his fellow-laborers at Khorsabad, Nimrud, and Kuyunjik.
From a comparison of these data, it has generally been assumed that the destruction of Nineveh and the extinction of the empire took place between the time of Zephaniah and that of Ezekiel and Jeremiah. The exact period of these events has consequently been fixed, with a certain amount of concurrent evidence derived from classical history, at B.C. 606 (Clinton, Fasti Hellen. 1:269). It has been shown that it may have occurred twenty years earlier. SEE ASSYRIA. The city was then laid waste, its monuments destroyed, and its inhabitants scattered or carried away into captivity. It never rose again from its ruins. This total disappearance of Nineveh is fully confirmed by the records of profane history. There is no mention of it in the Persian cuneiform inscriptions of the Achaemenid dynasty. Herodotus (1:193) speaks of the Tigris as "the river upon which the town of Nineveh formerly stood." He must have passed, in his journey to Babylon, very near the site of the city — perhaps actually over it. So accurate a recorder of what he saw would scarcely have omitted to mention, if not to describe, any ruins of importance that might have existed there. Not two centuries had then elapsed since the fall of the city. Equally conclusive proof of its condition is afforded by Xenophon, who with the ten thousand Greeks encamped during his retreat on, or very near, its site (B.C. 401). The very name had then been forgotten, or at least he does not appear to have been acquainted with it, for he calls one group of ruins "Larissa," and merely states that a second group was near the deserted town of Mespila (Anab. iii, iv, § 7). The ruins, as he describes them, correspond in many respects with those which exist at the present day, except that he assigns to the walls near Mespila a circuit of six parasangs, or nearly three times their actual dimensions. Ctesias placed the city on the Euphrates (Frag. 1:2), a proof either of his ignorance or of the entire disappearance of the place. He appears to have led Diodorus Siculus into the same error (2:27, 28). The historians of Alexander, with the exception of Arrian (Ind. 42, 3), do not even allude to the city, over the ruins of which the conqueror must have actually marched. His great victory of Arbela was won almost in sight of them. It is evident that the later Greek and Roman writers, such as Strabo, Ptolemy, and Pliny, could only have derived any independent knowledge they possessed of Nineveh from traditions of no authority. They concur, however, in placing it on the eastern bank of the Tigris. During the Roman period, a small castle or fortified town appears to have stood on some part of the site of the ancient city. It was probably built by the Persians (Amm. Marceli. 23:22); and subsequently occupied by the Romans, and erected by the emperor Claudius into a colony. It appears to have borne the ancient traditional name of Nineve, as well as its corrupted form of Ninos and Ninus, and also at one time that of Hierapolis. Tacitus (Anan. 12:13), mentioning its capture by Meherdates, calls it "Ninos;" on coins of Trajan it is "Ninus," on those of Maximinus "Niniva," in both instances the epithet Claudiopolis being added. Many Roman remains, such as sepulchral vases, bronze and other ornaments, sculptured figures in marble, terra-cottas, and coins, have been discovered in the rubbish covering the Assyrian ruins; besides wells and tombs, constructed long after the destruction of the Assyrian edifices. The Roman settlement appears to have been in its turn abandoned, for there is no mention of it when Heraclius gained the great victory over the Persians in the battle of Nineveh, fought on the very site of the ancient city, A.D. 627. After the Arab conquest, a fort on the east bank of the Tigris bore the name of "Ninawi" (Rawlinson, Assoc. Journal, 12:418). Benjamin of Tudela, in the. 12th century, mentions the site of Nineveh as occupied by numerous inhabited villages and small townships (ed. Asher, 1:91). The name remained attached to the ruins during the Middle Ages; and from them a bishop of the Chaldaean Church derived his title (Assemani, 4:459); but it is doubtful whether any town or fort was so called. Early English travelers merely allude to the site (Purchas, 2:1387). Niebuhr is the first modern traveler who speaks of "Nuniyah" as a village standing on one of the ruins which he describes as "a considerable hill" (2:353). This may be a corruption of "Nebbi Yunus," the Prophet Jonah, a name still given to a village containing his apocryphal tomb. Mr. Rich, who surveyed the site in 1820, does not mention Nuniyah, and no such place now exists. Tribes of Turcomans and sedentary Arabs, and Chaldaean and Syrian Christians, dwell in small mudbuilt villages, and cultivate the soil in the country around the ruins; and occasionally a tribe of wandering Kurds, or of Bedouins driven by hunger from the desert, will pitch their tents among them. After the Arab conquest of the west of Asia, Mosul, at one time the flourishing capital of an independent kingdom, rose on the opposite or western bank of the Tigris. Some similarity in the names has suggested its identification with the Mespila of Xenophon; but its first actual mention only occurs after the Arab conquest (A.H. 16, or A.D. 637). It was sometimes known as Athur, and was united with Nineveh as an episcopal see of the Chaldaean Church (Assemani, 3:269). It has lost all its ancient prosperity, and the greater part of the town is now in ruins.
Traditions of the unrivaled size and magnificence of Nineveh were equally familiar to the Greek and Roman writers, and to the Arab geographers. But the city had fallen so completely into decay before the period of authentic history that new description of it, or even of any of its monuments, is to be found in any ancient author of trust. Diodorus Siculus asserts (2:3) that the city formed a quadrangle of 150 stadia by 90, or altogether of 480 stadia (no less than 60 miles), and was surrounded by walls 100 feet high, broad enough for three chariots to drive abreast upon them, and defended by 1500 towers, each 200 feet in height. According. to Strabo (16:737) it was larger than Babylon, which was 385 stadia in circuit. In the O.T. we find only vague allusions to the splendor and wealth of the city, and the very indefinite statement in the book of Jonah that it was "an exceeding great city," or "a great city to God," or "for God" (i.e. in the sight of God), "of three days' journey;" and that it contained "six score thousand persons who could not discern between their right hand and their left hand, and also much cattle" (4:11). It is obvious that the accounts of Diodorus are for the most part absurd exaggerations, founded upon fabulous traditions, for which existing remains afford no warrant. It may, however, be remarked that the dimensions he assigns to the area of the city would correspond to the three days' journey of Jonah — the Jewish day's journey being 20 miles — if that expression be applied to the circuit of the walls. "Persons not discerning between their right hand and their left" may either allude to children or to the ignorance of the whole population. If the first be intended, the number of inhabitants, according to the usual calculation, would have amounted to about 600,000. But such expressions are probably mere Eastern figures of speech to denote vastness, and far too vague to admit of exact interpretation.
The political history of Nineveh is that of Assyria (q.v.). It has been observed that the territory included within the boundaries of the kingdom of Assyria proper was comparatively limited in extent, and that almost within the immediate neighborhood of the capital petty kings appear to have ruled over semi-independent states, owning allegiance and paying tribute to the great lord of the empire, "the King of Kings," according to his Oriental title, who dwelt at Nineveh. (Comp. Isa 10:8: "Are not my princes altogether kings?") These petty kings were in a. constant state of rebellion, which usually showed itself by their refusal to pay the apportioned tribute -the principal link between the sovereign and the dependent states-and repeated expeditions were undertaken against them to enforce this act of obedience. (Comp. 2Ki 16:7; 2Ki 17:4, where it is stated that the war made by the Assyrians upon the Jews was for the purpose of enforcing the payment of tribute.) There was, consequently, no bond of sympathy arising out of common interests between the various populations which made up the empire. Its political condition was essentially weak. When an independent monarch was sufficiently powerful to carry on a successful war against the great king, or a dependent prince sufficiently strong to throw off his allegiance, the empire soon came to an end. The fall of the capital was the signal for universal disruption. Each petty state asserted its independence, until reconquered by some warlike chief who could found a new dynasty and a new empire to replace those which had fallen. Thus on the borders of the great rivers of Mesopotamia arose in turn the first Babylonian, the Assyrian, the Median, the second Babylonian, the Persian, and the Seleucid empires. The capital was, however, invariably changed, and generally transferred to the principal seat of the conquering race. In the East men have rarely rebuilt great cities which have once fallen into decay — never perhaps on exactly the same site. If the position of the old capital was deemed, from political or commercial reasons, more advantageous than any other, the population was settled in its neighborhood, as at Delhi, and not amid its ruins. But Nineveh, having fallen with the empire, never rose again. It was abandoned at once, and suffered to perish utterly. It is probable that, in conformity with an Eastern custom, of which we find such remarkable illustrations in the history of the Jews, the entire population was removed by the conquerors, and settled as colonists in some distant province.
2. Monumental Records. — From the annals of Tiglath-Pileser I we learn that a temple had been founded at Asshur, or Kalah Sherghat, as early as the nineteenth century B.C., by Shamasiva, a son of Ismi-dagon, who was one of the early kings in the series answering to the great Chaldaean dynasty of Berosus, and from this circumstance may be inferred to have ruled over Assyria. In fact, as long as this dynasty lasted, Assyria probably occupied the position of an unimportant dependency of Babylonia, not being mentioned in one single, legend, and not furnishing the Chaldaean monarchs with one of their royal titles. At what period Assyria was enabled to achieve her independence, or under what circumstances she achieved it, we have no means of knowing, but the date at which, for several reasons, we may suppose it to have been accomplished is approximately B.C. 1273. Probably an Arabian conquest of Babylonia, which caused the overthrow of this Chaldaean dynasty in the sixteenth century, furnished the Assyrians with an opportunity of shaking off the Babylonian yoke, but it was not till three centuries later that they appear to have gained a position of importance. During the period of Assyrian subjection to Chaldaea, and long after she became an independent empire, the vice-regal, or the royal city, was probably Asshur, on the west bank of the Tigris, sixty miles south of Nineveh, the name of which is still preserved in the designation given by the Arabs to the neighboring district. It may perhaps be as well to observe that the four kings in Genesis 14, according to Josephus, were only commanders in the army of the Assyrian king, who had then, he says, dominion over Asia. But this is very improbable, and is really contradicted by recent discoveries, which show, at least negatively, that Assyria was not then an independent power. Sir H. Rawlinson thinks that he has found the name of a king (Kudur-Mapula or Kudur-Mabuk) stamped upon bricks in Babylonia which corresponds to that of Chedorlaomer, and supposes that this king was the Elamitic founder of the great Chaldaean empire of Berosus. Mr. Stuart Poole thinks it not improbable that the expedition of Chedorlaomer was directed against the power of the Egyptian kings of the fifteenth dynasty and their Phoenician allies or subjects. Josephus also calls Chushan Rishathaim — who in Judges 3 is said to have been king of Mesopotamia — king of the Assyrians; but this again demands an earlier rise of the Assyrian power than the monuments warrant us in assuming. The first known king of Assyria is Bel-lush or Belukh, who, with three others in succession, viz. Pudil, Iva-lush, Shalmabar or Shalmarish, is reputed to have reigned shortly after its dependence on Babylon had been shaken off. The period from 1273 to 1200 may be assigned to the reign of these kings. They have left no other record but their names upon bricks, etc., which are found only at Kalah Sherghat; and the character in which these are inscribed is so ancient and so mixed with babylonian forms that they are assigned to this period, though the same effects might possibly have been produced at a later period of Babylonian ascendency. After these names, we are enabled to trace a continuous line of six hereditary monarchs, who, with the exception of the last, are enumerated on the oldest historic relic yet discovered in Assyria. This is the octagonal prism of Kalah Sherghalt, on which Tiglath-Pileser I records the events of the first five years of his reign, and traces back his pedigree to the fourth generation. He calls himself the son of Asshur-rish-ili; the grandson of Mutaggil Nebu; the great grandson of Asshur-dapal-il, whose father was Nin-pala-kura, the supposed successor of Shalmabar or Shalmarish. Of his great-grandfather he relates that, sixty years previously, he had taken down the temple of Ann and Iva before alluded to, which had stood for 641 years, but was then in a ruined condition. His father seems to have been a great conqueror, and perhaps was the first to raise the character of the Assyrian arms, and to gain a foreign reputation. But whatever fame he acquired in this way was eclipsed by that of his son, who says that he won victories in Cappadocia, Syria, and in the Median and Armenian mountains. Particularly a people called Nairi, who probably dwelt at the north-west of Assyria proper, are conspicuous among his conquests. Now it so happens that the date of this king can be fixed in a remarkable way, by a rock inscription of Sennacherib at Bavian, which states that a Tiglath-Pileser occupied the throne of Assyria 418 years before the tenth year of his own reign, and as Sennacherib was reigning towards the end of the eighth, or the beginning of the seventh century, this would throw back the time of Tiglath-Pileser's reign to the latter part of the twelfth century B.C. We also learn from this same rock inscription that Tiglath-Pileser was himself defeated by Merodach-adan-akhi, the king of Babylon, who carried away with him images of certain Assyrian gods, showing that Babylon at this period was independent of Assyria, and a formidable rival to her power. Of Asshurbani-pal I, the son and successor of Tiglath-Pileser nothing is known. Only one record of him has been hitherto discovered, and this was found at Kuyunjik. This name was softened or corrupted by the Greeks into Sardanapalus. After this king a break occurs in the line of succession which cannot be supplied. It is thought, however, not to have been long, as Asshuradan-akhi is supposed to have begun to reign about 1050, and therefore to have been contemporary with David. This monarch, and the three kings who succeeded him, are obscure and unimportant, not being known for anything else than repairing and adding to the palaces at Kalah Sherghat. Their names are Asshur-danin-il, Iva-lush II, and Tiglathi-Nin.
With the last of these, however, Asshur ceased to be the royal residence. The seat of government was transferred by his son Asshur-bani-pal to Calah, now supposed to be represented by Nimrud, forty miles to the north, near the confluence of the upper Zab and the Tigris, and on the east bank of the latter river. The reason of this change is not known; but it is thought that it was connected with the extension of the empire in the direction of Armenia, which would therefore demand greater vigilance in that quarter. This king, Sardanapalus II, pushed his conquests to the shores of the Mediterranean, levied tribute of the kings of Tyre and Sidon, and therefore perhaps of Ethbaal, the father of Jezebel. He was also the founder of the north-west palace at Nimrod, which is second only to that of Sennacherib, at Kuyunjik, in magnificence and extent. The next monarch who sat on the Assyrian throne was Shalmanu-bar, the son of Sardanapalus. He reigned thirty-one years, spread his conquests farther than any of his predecessors, and recorded them on the black obelisk now in the British Museum. In his reign the power of the first Assyrian empire seems to have culminated. He carried his victorious army over all the neighboring countries, imposing tribute upon all Babylonia, Mesopotamia, Syria, Media, Armenia, and the scriptural kingdoms of Hamath and Damascus. The latter under Benhadad and Hazael are alike conspicuous among his vanquished enemies. But what is of paramount interest in the records of this king is the identification in the second epigraph in the above-named obelisk of the name of Jehu the king of Israel, who there appears as Yahua the son of Khumri, and is said to have given the Assyrian monarch tribute of gold and silver. This name was discovered independently, but almost on the self-same day, both by Dr. Hincks and colonel Rawlinson, the latter being at Bagdad and the former in the north of Ireland. It is supposed that Jehu is called the son of Khumri or Omri, either as being king of Samaria, the city which Omri built. or as claiming descent from the founder of that city to strengthen his right to the throne, and possibly even as being descended from him on the mother's side.
Shalmanu-bar was the founder of the central palace at Nimrud, and probably reigned from about 900 to 850 or 860. He was succeeded by his second son Shamasiva, his eldest having made a revolt during the lifetime of his father, which probably lost him the succession, and was with difficulty quelled by his younger brother. The annals of Shamas-iva extend only over a period of four years. At this time the history is enveloped in much obscurity; but it is probable that the reign of Shamas-iva-lasted much longer, as it is with his son and successor, Iva-lush III, that the first Assyrian dynasty comes to a close, and the reigns of these two princes are all we have to fill up the interval from 850 to 747, which is about the time it is supposed to have ended. Iva-lush is perhaps the Pul of Scripture. Among those from whom he received tribute are mentioned the people of Khinuri. i.e. Samaria; and Menahem gave Pul 1000 talents of silver to confirm the kingdom in his hand. There is a statue of the god Neboin the British Museum which is dedicated by the artist "to his lord Iva-lush and his lady Sammuramit." This personage is in all probability the Semiramis of the Greeks, and her age remarkably agrees with that which Herodotus assigns her. viz. five generations prior to Nitocris, who seems with him to represent Nebuchadnezzar. He also speaks of her as, a Babylonian princess; and since Iva-lush asserts that Asshur had "granted him the kingdom of Babylon," he may very likely have acquired it in right of his wife, or reigned conjointly with her. But we cannot here replace conjecture by certainty. As we are altogether ignorant of the causes which terminated the first Assyrian dynasty or established the second, the interval between both may have been considerable, and may account for the difficulty above mentioned with respect to the period from the death of Shalmanu-bar and the end of the first empire. Tiglath-Pileser II, who founded the second empire, appears before us "without father, without mother." Unlike the kings before him, he makes no parade of his ancestry in his inscriptions, from which circumstance we may fairly assume that he was a usurper. Much uncertainty has arisen about the date of his accession, because he states that he took tribute from Menahem in his eighth year, which would make it B.C. 667 or 768 (received chronology), whereas it is more likely that it was connected in some way with the change of events in Babylon that gave rise to the sera of Nabonassar, or 747. However, as the Sept. gives the reign of Manasseh thirty-five years instead of fifty-five, this diminution of twenty years would exactly rectify the discrepancy, or else it is possible that in the said inscription Menahem may be by mistake for Pekah, since he is joined with Rezin, whom Scripture always couples with Pekah. The annals of Tiglath-Pileser II extend over a period of seventeen years, and record his wars against Mesopotamia, Armenia, and Medaa; he also invaded Babylon, took the city of Sepharvaim or Sippara, and slew Rezin, the king of Syria. It was this king whom Ahaz met at Damascus when he saw the altar of which he sent the pattern to Urijah the priest at Jerusalem. Of Shalmaneser, his probable successor, little is known but what has come down to us in the sacred narrative. His name has not been found on the monuments. Shalmaneser twice invaded Israel; upon the first occasion it seems that Hoshea the king bought him off by tribute, but subsequently revolted upon having made an alliance with Sabaco or So, king of Egypt. Upon this Shalmaneser again invaded Israel, and besieged Samaria for the space of three years. He is supposed to have died or to have been deposed before the city surrendered, and to have left the final subjugation of it to his successor. This was Sargon or Sargina, who came to the throne in B.C. 721, was the founder of a dynasty, and is therefore suspected of being a usurper. He reigned nineteen years after the captives of Samaria had been brought to Assyria; he made war against Babylon, and perhaps placed Merodach-Baladan upon the throne. After this he marched in the direction of southern Syria and Egypt. At this time the latter country was under the dominion of the twenty-fifth or Ethiopian dynasty, and would seem to have recently gained possession of the five Philistine cities, according to the prediction of Isa 19:18. It is remarkable that Sargon speaks of Gaza as belonging to Egypt, and its king is said to have been defeated at Raphia by the Assyrian monarch. Upon this the Egyptian "Pharaoh" paid Sargon tribute of gold, horses, camels, etc. Afterwards he made war in Hamath, Cappadocia, and Armenia, turning his arms also against Mount Zagros and the Medes, whose cities he colonized with his Israelitish captives. Later he made a second expedition into Syria, and took Ashdod by his Tattan, or general (Isa 20:1), the king of that place flying to Egypt, which is said to be under the dominion of Mirukha or Meroe. At this time, also, Tyre fell under his power. Subsequently he made a second war upon Babylonia, and drove Merodach-Baladan, who seems to have offended him, into banishment. Finally, the Greeks of Cyprus, who are called "the Yaha Nagd tribes of Yunau" or lonia. are named among those who paid him tribute. He appears to have removed the seat of government from Calah to Khorsabad, called from him Dur-Sargina. At this time the influence of Egyptian taste is manifest in Assyrian works of art. Sargon was succeeded in the year B.C. 702 by his son Sennacherib. He fixed his government at Nineveh, which, being now greatly decayed, he completely restored, and there he built the magnificent structure discovered and excavated by Layard. In the repairs of the great palace alone he is said to have employed no less than 360,000 men among his captives from Chaldaea, Armenia, and elsewhere. Sennacherib immediately after his accession proceeded to Babylon, where Merodach-Baladan had contrived to place himself again upon the throne with the aid of the Susianians. He fought a bloody battle with him, in which the Babylonian was entirely defeated, and then appointed Belibus, or Elibus, viceroy of Babylon. In his second year he marched on the north and east of Assyria,- and penetrated to certain Median tribes whom he asserts to have been quite unknown to his predecessors. The Philistines also were subdued by him, and the kings of Egypt who fought with him near Lachish were worsted. Lachish and Libnah fell before his arms, and Hezekiah, at Jerusalem, had to purchase peace by a tribute of 300 talents of silver and 30 talents of gold (2
Kings 18:13, 14). This, however, is not recorded in his annals, which extend only to his eighth year, and therefore may have occurred subsequently to the period at which they close. In the year 699 he again marched against Babylon, defeated the party of Merodach-Baladan, deposed the viceroy Belibus, whom he had himself appointed three years before, and placed his own eldest son, Asshur-nadin, upon the throne. We know that Sennacherib reigned twenty-two years, because we have his twenty-second year stamped on a clay tablet, but it is uncertain when his second expedition to Syria was undertaken; some, however, consider his two Syrian expeditions to have been identical. The object of the second was to recover the cities of Lachish and Libnah, which had again fallen .under the power of Egypt. While he was warring against Lachish he heard of the agreement that Hezekiah had entered into with the king of Egypt, and sent a detachment of his host against Jerusalem, under Rab-Saris and Rab-Shakeh. For some reason which we are not told, these generals found it expedient to retire from Jerusalem and join their master, who had raised the siege of Lachish, at Libnah. Meanwhile Tirhakah, the Ethiopian, perhaps not yet king of Egypt, advanced from the south to meet Sennhcherib, and reinforce the Egyptian party against whom he was contending; but before the decisive battle could he fought, the Angel of the Lord had smitten in the camp of the Assyrians 185,000 men. Sennacherib, with the rest of his army, fled in dismay, and the Egyptians perhaps commemorated his disaster in the manner related by Herodotus (2:141). It is not a matter of surprise that this event is unnoticed on the Assyrian monuments. In all probability the murder of Sennacherib by his sons did not immediately follow his defeat at Libnah, but this also we have no means of knowing from the Assyrian records. He was succeeded by one of his younger sons (not his eldest, who had been regent in Babylon, and was probably dead), Esarhaddon, or Asshur-akh-iddina. He was celebrated for his victories and his magnificent buildings. He carried on his father's war with Egypt, Which county, as well as Ethiopia, he seems to have subdued. He is also thought to have reigned in his own person at Babylon, and perhaps to have held his court indifferently either at Nineveh or Babylon, which would account for Manasseh being carried by the captains of the king of Assyria to Babylon (2Ch 33:11); but in B.C 667, thirteen years after his accession, he was succeeded on the throne of Babylon by Saosduchinus, who was either a rebel or a viceroy appointed by Esarhaddon. About the year 660 his son Asshur-bani-pal, or Sardanapalus III, succeeded to "the throne of Assyria, and with him began the fall of the empire. He may have reigned till 640; but he feebly imitated the conquests; of his predecessors, and appears to have contented himself with hunting. He was succeeded by his son Asshuremit-ili, the last king of whom any records have been discovered. Under him Assyria was hastening its downfall, and- Cyaxares, with his victorious Medes, was preparing for the final attack. If he was not the last king, he was the last but one, and the Saracus of Berosus, perhaps his brother, may have succeeded him, or else we must consider Saracus to be identical with Asshur-emitiii, who corresponded in fate with the warlike Sardanapalus of the Greeks.
III. Present Ruins. — Previous to recent excavations and researches, the ruins which occupied the presumed site of Nineveh seemed to consist of mere shapeless heaps or mounds of earth and rubbish. Unlike the vast masses of brick masonry which mark the site of Babylon, they showed externally no signs of artificial construction, except perhaps here and there the traces of a rude wall of sun-dried bricks. Some of these mounds were of enormous dimensions, looking in the distance rather like natural elevations than the work of men's hands. Upon and around them, however, were scattered innumerable fragments of pottery-the unerring evidence of former habitations. Some had been chosen by the scattered population of the land as sites for villages, or for small mud-built forts, the mound itself affording means of refuge and defense against the marauding parties of Bedouins and Kurds which for generations have swept over the face of. the country. The summits of others were sown with corn or barley. During the spring months they were covered with grass and flowers, bred by the winter rains. The Arabs call these mounds "Tell," the Turcomans and Turks "Teppeh," both words being equally applied to natural hills and elevations, and the first having been used in the same double sense by the most ancient Shemitic races (comp. Hebrew תֵּל, "a hill," "a mound, "a heap of rubbish" [Eze 3:15; Ezr 2:59; Ne 7:61; 2Ki 19:12]). They are found in vast numbers throughout the whole region watered by the Tigris and Euphrates and their confluents, from the Taurus to the Persian Gulf. They are seen, but are less numerous, in Syria, parts of Asia Minor, and in the plains of Armenia. Wherever they have been examined they appear to have furnished remains which identify the period of their construction with that of the alternate supremacy of the Assyrian, Babylonian, and Persian empires. They differ greatly in form, size, and height. Some are mere conical heaps, varying from fifty to one hundred and fifty feet high; others have a broad, flat summit, and very precipitous. cliff-like sides, furrowed by deep ravines worn by the winter rains. Such mounds are especially numerous in the region to the east of the Tigris, in which Nineveh stood, and some of them must mark the ruins of the Assyrian capital. There is no edifice mentioned by ancient authors as forming part of the city, which we are required, as in the case of Babylon, to identify with any existing remains, except the tomb, according to some, of Ninus, according to others, of Sardanapalus, which is recorded to have stood at the entrance of Nineveh (Diod. Sic. 2:7; Amynt. Frag. [ed.Muller], p. 36). The only difficulty is to determine which ruins are to be comprised within the actual limits of the ancient city.
1. The northern extremity of the principal collection of mounds on the eastern bank of the Tigris may be fixed at Sherif Khan, and the southern at Nimfid, about six and a half miles from the junction of that river with the great Zab, the ancient Lycus. Eastward they extend to Khorsabad, about ten miles north by east of Sherif Khan, and to Karamless, about fifteen miles north-east of Nimrod. Within the area of this irregular quadrangle are to be found, in every direction, traces of ancient edifices and of former population. It comprises various separate and distinct groups of ruins, four of which, if not more, are the remains of fortified enclosures or strongholds, defended by walls and ditches, towers and ramparts. The principal are: (1) the group immediately opposite Mosul, including the great mounds of Kuyunjik (also called by the Arabs Armushiyah) and Nebbi Yunus; (2) that near the junction of the Tigris and Zab, comprising the mounds of Nimruid and Athur; (3) Khorsabad, about ten miles to the east of the former river; (4) Sherif Khan, about five and a half miles to the north of Kuyunjik; and (5) Selamlyah, three miles to the north of Nimrod. Other large mounds are Baaskeikhah, Karamless, where the remains of fortified enclosures may perhaps be traced; Baazani, Yarumieh, and Bellawat. It is scarcely necessary to observe that all these names are comparatively modern, dating from after the Mohammedan conquest. The respective position of these ruins will be seen in the accompanying map. We will describe the most important.
(1.) The ruins opposite Mosul consist of an enclosure formed by a continuous line of mounds, resembling a vast embankment of earth, but marking the remains of a wall, the western face of which is interrupted by the two great mounds of Kuyunjik and Nebbi Yunus. To the east of this enclosure are the remains of an extensive line of defenses, consisting of moats and ramparts. The inner wall forms an irregular quadrangle with very unequal sides — the northern being 2333 yards, the western or the river-face, 4533, the eastern (where the wall is almost the segment of a circle) 5300 yards, and the southern but little more than 1000; altogether 13,200 yards, or seven English miles and four furlongs. The present height of this earthen wall is between forty and fifty feet. Here and there a mound more lofty than the rest covers the remains. of a tower or a gateway. The walls appear to have been originally faced, at least to a certain height, with stone masonry, some remains of which have been discovered. The mound of Kuyunjik is of irregular form, being 'nearly square at the southwest corner, and ending almost in a point at the northeast. It is about 1300 yards in length, by 500 in its greatest width; its greatest height is 96 feet, and its sides are precipitous, with occasional deep ravines or watercourses. The summit is nearly flat, but falls from the west to the east. A small village formerly stood upon it, but has of late years been abandoned. The Khosr. a narrow but deep and sluggish stream, sweeps around the southern side of the mound on its way to join the Tigris. Anciently dividing itself into two branches, it completely surrounded Kuyunjik. Nebbi Yunus is considerably smaller than Kuyunjik, being about 530 yards by 430, and occupying an area of about 40 acres. In height it is about the same. It is divided into two nearly equal parts by a depression in the surface. Upon it is a Turcoman village containing the apocryphal tomb of Jonah, and a burial-ground held in great sanctity by Mohammedans from its Vicinity to this sacred edifice. Remains of entrances or gateways have been discovered' in the northern and eastern walls (b and c). The Tigris formerly ran beneath the western wall, and at the foot of the two great mounds. It is now about a mile distant from them, but during very high spring floods it sometimes reaches its ancient bed. The western face of the enclosure (a) was thus protected by the river. The northern and southern faces — b and d — were strengthened by deep and broad moats. The eastern (c), being most accessible to an enemy, was most strongly fortified, and presents the remains of a very elaborate system of defenses. The Khosr, before entering the enclosure, which it divides into two nearly equal parts, ran for some distance almost parallel to it (f), and supplied the place of an artificial ditch for about half the length of the eastern wall. The remainder of the wall was protected by two wide moats (h), fed by the stream, the supply of water being regulated by dams, of which traces still exist. In addition, one or more ramparts of earth were thrown up, and a moat excavated between the inner walls and the Khosr, the eastern bank of which was very considerably raised by artificial means. Below, or to the south of the stream, a third stream, excavated in the compact conglomerate rock, and about two hundred feet broad, extended almost the whole length of the eastern face, joining the moat on the south. An enormous outer rampart of earth, still in some places above eighty feet in height (i), completed the defenses on this side. - A-few mounds outside this rampart probably mark the sites of detached towers or fortified posts. This elaborate system of fortifications was singularly well devised to resist the attacks of an enemy. It is remarkable that within the enclosure, with the exception of Kuyunjik and Nebbi Yunus, no mounds or irregularities in the surface of the soil denote ruins of any size. The ground is, however, strewed in every direction with fragments of brick, pottery, and the usual signs of ancient population.
(2.) Nimrod consists of a similar enclosure of consecutive mounds-the remains of ancient walls. The system of defenses is, however, very inferior in importance and completeness to that of Kuyunjik. The indications of towers occur at regular intervals; 108 may still be traced on the northern and eastern sides. The area forms an irregular square, about 2331 yards by 2095, containing about 1000 acres. The northern and eastern sides were defended by moats, the western and southern walls by the river, which once flowed immediately beneath them. On the south-western face is a great mound, 700 yards by 400, and covering about 60 acres, with a cone or pyramid of earth about 140 feet high rising in the north-western corner of it. At the southeastern angle of the enclosure is a group of lofty mounds called by the Arabs. after Nimrod's lieutenant, Athur (comp. Ge 10:11). According to the Arab geographers thisῥname at one time applied to all the ruins of Nimrod (Layard, Nin. and its Remains, 2:245, note). Within the enclosure a few slight irregularities in the soil mark the sites of ancient habitations, but there are no indications of ruins of buildings of any size. Fragments of brick and pottery abound. The Tigris is now one and a half miles distant from the mounds, but sometimes reaches them during extraordinary? floods.
(3) The enclosure-walls of Khorsabad form a square of about 2000 yards. They show the remains of towers and gateways. There are apparently no traces of moats or ditches. The mound which gives its name to this group of ruins rises on the north-west face. It may be divided into two parts or stages, the upper about 650 feet square and 30 feet high, and the lower, adjoining it, about 1350 by 300. Its summit was formerly occupied by an Arab village. In one corner there is a pyramid or cone, similar to that at Nimrod, but very inferior in height and size. Within the interior are a few mounds marking the sites of propylaea and similar detached monuments, but no traces of considerable buildings. These ruins were known to the early Arab geographers by the name of "Sarain," probably a traditional corruption of the name of Sargon, the king who founded the palaces discovered there.
(4.) Sherif Khan, so called from a small village in the neighborhood, consists of a group of mounds of no great size when compared with other Assyrian ruins, and without traces of an outer wall. Selamlyah is an enclosure of irregular form, situated upon a high bank overlooking the Tigris, about 5000 yards in circuit, and containing an area of about 410 acres, apparently once surrounded by a ditch or moat. It contains no mound or ruin, and even the earthen rampart which marks the walls has in many places nearly disappeared. The name is derived from an Arab town once of some importance, -but now reduced to a miserable village inhabited by Turcomans.
2. The greater part of the discoveries which, of late years, have thrown so much light upon. the history and condition of the ancient inhabitants of Nineveh were made in the ruins of Nimrud, Kuvunjik, and Khorsabad. The first traveler who carefully examined the supposed site of the city was Mr. Rich, formerly political agent for the East India Company at Bagdad; but his investigations were almost entirely confined to Kuyunjik and the surrounding mounds, of which he made a survey in 1820. From them he obtained a few relics, such as inscribed pottery and bricks, cylinders, and gems. Some time before a bass-relief representing men and animals had been discovered, but had been destroyed by the Mohammedans. He subsequently visited the mound of Nimrud, of which, however, he was unable to make more than a hasty examination (Narrative of a Residence in Kurdistan, 2:131). Several travelers described the ruins after Mr. Rich, but no attempt was made to explore them systematically until M. Botta was appointed French consul at Mosul in 1843. While excavating in the mound of Khorsabad, to which he had been directed by a peasant, he discovered a row of upright alabaster slabs, forming the paneling or skirting of the lower part of the walls of a chamber. This chamber was found to communicate with others of similar construction, and it soon became evident that the remains of an edifice of considerable size were buried in the mound.: The French government having given the necessary funds, the ruins were fully explored. They consisted of the lower part of a number of halls, rooms, and passages, for the most part wainscoted with slabs of coarse gray alabaster, sculptured with figures in relief,; the principal entrances being formed by colossal human-headed winged bulls. No remains of exterior architecture of any great importance were discovered. The calcined limestone and the great accumulation;of charred wood and charcoal showed that the building had been destroyed by fire. Its upper part had entirely disappeared, and its general plan could only be restored by the remains of the lower story. The collection of Assyrian sculptures in the Louvre came from these ruins. The excavations subsequently carried on by MM. Place and Fresnel at Khorsabad led to the discovery, in the enclosure below the platform, of propylaea, flanked by colossal human-headed bulls, and of other detached buildings forming the approaches to the palace, and also of some of the gateways in the enclosure-walls, ornamented with similar mythic figures.
M. Botta's discoveries at Khorsabad were followed by those of Mr. Lavard at Nimrud and Kuyunjik, made between the years 1845 and 1850. The mound of Nimrrd was found to contain the ruins of several distinct edifices, erected at different periods — materials for the construction of the latest having been taken from an earlier building. The most ancient stood at the northwest corner of the platform, the most recent at the south-east. In general plan and in construction they resembled the ruins of Khorsabad- consisting of a number of halls, chambers, and galleries, panelled with sculptured and inscribed alabaster slabs, and opening one into the other by doorways generally formed by pairs of colossal human-headed winged bulls or lions. The exterior architecture could not be traced. The lofty cone or pyramid of earth adjoining this edifice covered the ruins of a building the basement of which was a square of 165 feet, and consisted, to the height. of 20 feet, of a solid mass of sun-dried bricks, faced on "the four sides by blocks of stone carefully squared, bevelled, and adjusted. This stone facing singularly enough coincides exactly with the height assigned by Xenophon to the stone plinth of the walls (Anab. 3:4), and is surmounted, as he describes the plinth to have been, by a superstructure of bricks, nearly every kiln-burned brick bearing an inscription. Upon this solid substructure there probably rose, as in the Babylonian temples, a succession of platforms or stages, diminishing in size, the highest having a shrine or altar upon it (Layard, Nin. and Bab. ch. v). A vaulted chamber or gallery, 100 feet long, 6 broad, and 12 high, crossed the center of the mound on a level with the summit of the stone-masonry. It had evidently been broken into and rifled of its contents at some remote period, and may have been a royal sepulcher — the tomb of Ninus or Sardanapalus, which stood at the entrance of Nineveh. It is the tower described by Xenophon at Larissa as being 1. plethron (100 feet) broad and 2 plethra high. It appears to have been raised by the son of the king who built the north-west palace, and whose name in the cuneiform inscriptions is supposed to be identified with that of Sardanapalus. Shalmanubar or Shalmaneser, the builder of this tomb or tower, also erected in the center of the great mound a second palace, which appears to have been destroyed to furnish materials for later buildings. The black obelisk now in the British Museum was found among its ruins. On the west face of the mound, and adjoining the center palace, are the remains of a third edifice, built by the grandson of Shalmanubar, whose name is read Iva-lush, and who is believed to be the Pul of the Hebrew Scriptures. It contained some important inscribed slabs, but no sculptures. Esarhaddon raised (about B.C. 680) at the south-west corner of the platform another royal abode of considerable extent, but constructed principally of materials brought from his predecessor's palaces. In the opposite or south-east corner are the ruins of a still later palace built by his grandson Asshur-emit-ili, very inferior in size and in splendor to other Assyrian edifices. Its rooms were small; it appears to have had no great halls, and the chambers were paneled with slabs of common stone, without sculpture or inscriptions. Some important detached figures, believed to bear the name of the historical Semiramis, were, however, found in its ruins. At the south-west corner of the mound of Kuyunjik stood a palace built by Sennacherib (about B.C. 700), exceeding in size and in magnificence of decoration all others hitherto explored. It occupied nearly 100 acres. Although much of the building yet remains to be examined, and much has altogether perished, about 60 courts, halls (some nearly 150 feet square), rooms, and passages (one 200 feet long) have been discovered, all paneled with sculptured slabs of alabaster. The entrances to the edifice and to the principal chambers were flanked by groups of winged human-headed lions and bulls of colossal proportions — some nearly 20 feet in height; 27 portals thus formed were excavated by Mr. Layard. A second palace was erected on the same platform by the son of Esarhaddon, the third king of the name of Sardanapalus. In it were discovered sculptures of great interest and beauty, among them the series representing the lion-hunt now in the British Museum. Owing to the sanctity attributed by Mohammedans to the supposed tomb of Jonah, great difficulties were experienced in examining the mound upon which it stands. A shaft sunk within the walls of a private house led to the discovery of sculptured slabs; and excavations subsequently carried on by agents of the Turkish government proved that they formed part of a palace erected by Esarhaddon. Two entrances or gateways in the great enclosure-walls have been excavated — one (at b on plan) flanked by colossal human-headed bulls and human figures. They, as well as the walls, appear, according to the inscriptions, to have been constructed by Sennacherib. No propylaea or detached buildings have as yet been discovered within the enclosure. At Sherif Khan are the ruins of a temple, but no sculptured slabs have been dug up there. It was founded by Sennacherib, and added to by his grandson. At Selamiyah no remains of buildings nor any fragments of sculpture or inscriptions have been discovered.
3. The most recent explorer in this field is Mr. George Smith, of the British Museum. The commencement of Mr. Smith's studies and researches in the field of Assyrian archaeology practically took place in the year 1866, when he engaged in the examination of Sir Henry Rawlinson's casts and fragments of inscriptions in the British Museum, with a view to the elucidation of several questions in the Old-Testament history. He first lighted upon a curious inscription of Shalmaneser II, giving an account 'of the war against Hazael, king of Syria, and relating that it was in the eighteenth year of Shalmaneser when he received tribute from Jehu. His next labors were devoted to the cylinders containing the history of Asshur- bani-pal, the Sardanapalus of the Greeks. The annals of this monarch were then in considerable confusion, but by dint of patient comparison of the various copies, Mr. Smith at length succeeded in obtaining a fair text of the earlier part of these inscriptions. Pursuing his investigations, he discovered several important fragments of the annals of TiglathPileser, containing notices of Azariah, king of Judah," and of Pekah and Hoshea, — kings of Israel. In the course of four years he had discovered new portions of the Assyrian canon, several accounts of the early conquest of Babylonia by the Elamites, and a religious calendar of the Assyriais, in which every month is divided into four weeks, and the seventh days marked out as Sabbaths, in which no work was to be performed. During 1.870 he was occupied with preparing the large work on the history of Asshur-bani-pal, giving the cuneiform texts, transcriptions, and translations, which was published in 1871. In 1872 Mr. Smith discovered the tablets containing the Chaldaean account of the Deluge, which attracted a good deal of attention both at home and abroad.
The interest taken in these discoveries prompted the proprietors of the London Telegraph newspaper to advance the sum of one thousand guineas for fresh researches at Nineveh, Mr. Smith to conduct the expedition. He accordingly started from London Jan. 20, 1873. and on March 2 arrived at the ruins of Nineveh. After an excursion to Bagdad and Babylon, he returned to Nineveh about April 1, and commenced excavations on the mound of Nimrod on the third of that month. His work at first, which was on a small scale, was directed to the temple of Nebo. Here he discovered some inscriptions, but most of them were duplicates of texts already known. Excepting the stone basement of the temple and a few chambers around it, the whole was in a ruinous condition. After the city had declined, this part of the mound appears to have been used as a granary. A large tunnel was burrowed through the walls and chambers on the eastern face. This was found packed with grain, black and rotten from age. In the central part excavations had been made for tombs, destroying considerable portions of the temple. The more prominent parts of the building were of large square red blocks of stone at the bottom, and sun-dried bricks at the top. On each side of the entrance stood a colossal figure of Nebo, with crossed arms, in the attitude of meditation. In one of the eastern chambers Mr. Smith discovered a fragment of the reign of Tiiglath-Pileser, but there was nothing else' of great interest in the neighborhood. Many of the inscriptions have suffered very much since the excavations of Mr. Layard. The explorations at Nimrud were closed on May 8, without any important results, and Mr. Smith proceeded to prepare for his researches among the ruins of Nineveh, opposite the town of Mosul. After commencing operations on one of these mounds, with a view to recover inscribed terra- cotta tablets, Mr. Smith found several valuable inscriptions, which served in some degree as compensation for his labors. Much to his surprise, one of the fragments contained the greater portion of seventeen lines of inscription belonging to the first column of the Chaldaean account of the Deluge, fitting into the only place where there was a serious blank in the story. Among other discoveries were a small tablet of Esarhaddon, king of Assyria, some new fragments of one of the historical cylinders of Asshur- banipal, and a curious fragment of the history of Sargon, king of Assyria, relating to his expedition against Ashdod. On the same fragment was a part of the list of Median chiefs who paid tribute to Sargon. Part of an inscribed cylinder of Sennacherib, and half of an amulet in onyx, with the name and titles of this monarch, were subsequently found, with implements of bronze, iron, and glass. There was part of a crystal throne, a most magnificent article of furniture, closely resembling in shape the bronze throne discovered by Mr. Layard at Nimruid. Near the close of his excavations, while preparing to return to England, Mr. Smith disinterred a fragment of a curious syllabary, divided into four perpendicular columns. In the first, column was given the phonetic value of the cuneiform characters; the characters themselves were written in the second column; the third column contained the names and meanings of the signs; while the fourth column gave the words and ideas which it represented. The work was brought to a close on June 9, and on the same day Mr. Smith Started on his return journey to Europe, with the antiquities which he had collected.
The arrival of the antiquities in England called forth great interest in the results of the expedition, and the trustees of the British Museum directed Mr. Smith to return to Mosul, setting aside a sum of £1000 for the enterprise. On this occasion he left London Nov. 25, 1873, and, traversing his former route, arrived at Alexandretta on Dec. 9. He arrived at Mosul Jan. 1:1874, and at once engaged a number of men to dig over the earth on the spot of the last year's excavations. Soon afterwards they commenced work on the mound, bringing a fine fragment of a tablet and a bronze figure as the first-fruits of the excavation. In spite of the embarrassments caused by the Turkish officials, Mr. Smith continued the work of excavation with great diligence and with considerable success. Remains of culptures were discovered with inscriptions from the temples of Nebo and Merodach. There were also inscriptions from Shalnaneser I, king of Assyria, recording that he founded the palace of Nineveh; and mixed ap with these were remains of inscriptions belonging to the same monarch, stating that he restored the temple of Ishtar. From the same spot came inscriptions of his son, Tugulti-ninip, the conqueror of Babylonia, relating that he also restored the temple of Ishtar, and inscriptions of a similar purport of the monarchs Asshurnazir-pal and Shalmaneser II. Some curiousnspecimens of pottery, ornamented with figures laid on the clay, were found near the same spot. Between the chambers in the center of the mound and the eastern edge there were fragments of a palace and temple. The remains of the temple were most of them found in a square chamber, seemingly of later date, built up of stones from the Assyrian buildings near it. All along the walls were placed small square. slabs with inscriptions of Asshur-bani-pal, dedicated to the goddess of Nineveh, none of them in their original position. Near this chamber were fragments of an obelisk in black stone-built into a later wall, and many fragments of a palace which stood in the neighborhood. Among these was an inscription of a king of Assyria, B.C. 1:170, and several fragments from sculptured walls representing processions of warriors. Near one corner of the palace was found the head of a female divinity, the hair arranged in bunches of curls on each side, the face exhibiting the usual corpulent style of Assyrian female beauty. Among other fragments was the opening portion of a copy from an early Babylonian inscription, giving the names of six new Babylonian kings, and some curious details of early Babylonian history. At a subsequent date was found a new portion of the sixth tablet of the Deluge series.
The principal excavation was carried on over what Layard calls the library- chamber of the south-west palace. Upon removing the top earth from a section of the palace around the region of the library-chamber, Mr. Smith was rewarded with a variety of discoveries of a valuable character. At first nothing turned up but modern objects, coins, pottery, and glass, but on going deeper the Assyrian cuneiform tablets were of frequent occurrence. In front of one of the entrances Mr. Smith discovered the lintel of a door- way, formed of a block of stone six feet long, and sculptured along the face. In the center was an ornamental cup or vase with two handles; on each side stood a winged griffin or dragon; and over the cup and the dragon was an, ornament of honeysuckles. This curious lintel is the first Assyrian object of the kind which has been discovered, and it is no wonder that when lifted out of the excavation it excited a thrill of pleasure. Many fragments were found along the floor of a long gallery, including syllabaries, bilingual lists, and mythological and historical tablets. 'There was a beautiful bronze Assyrian fork, with two prongs joined by an ornamental shoulder to a shaft of spiral work, ending in the head of an ass. This is a unique specimen of Assyrian work, and shows the advance of the people in the refinements of life. Near by was found part of a curious astrolabe and fragments of the history of Sargon, king of Assyria, B.C. 722. In one place, below the level of the floor, Mr. Smith discovered a fine fragment of the history of Asshur-bani-pal, containing new and curious matter relating to his Egyptian wars, and to the affairs of Gyges,. king of Lydia. From this part of the palace he also gained the shoulder of a colossal statue, with an inscription of Asshur-bani-pal. In another spot he obtained a bone spoon, and a fragment of a tablet with the history of the seven evil spirits. Near this was found a bronze style, with which the cuneiform tablets were probably impressed. In another part of the excavation there were the remains of crystal and alabaster vases, and specimens of the royal seal. One of these was a clay impression of the seal of Sargon, king of Assyria.
Mr. Smith left Mosul on April 4, and after various interesting excursions arrived at Alexandria toward the end of May, and finally reached London on June 9. The most important result of the expedition was the recovery of new tablets containing the Chaldaean account of the Deluge. There is still much required to complete the series, but in their present state they form one of the most remarkable collections of inscriptions yet discovered. The whole number of inscriptions discovered by Mr. Smith, during the four months in which he was engaged in excavation, amounted to over 3000, besides many other objects of great archeological interest. In many instances they comprised very important texts and antiquities. The majority of the fragments form parts of texts of which the other portions were already in the British Museum, and the new fragments afford data for the completion or enlargment of those inscriptions. In no branch of cuneiform inquiry have the late researches added more to our knowledge than in the early Babylonian history. It is uncertain how far back the records of Babylonia extend, and the lists of kings are too imperfect to afford materials for the construction of a satisfactory scheme. There is no doubt, however, that they reach up to the 24th century B.C., and some scholars are of opinion that they stretch nearly two thousand years beyond that time; but it will probably require many expeditions to the country in order to ascertain its primitive history. The new inscriptions favor the opinion that the country gained a prominent place in the world much earlier than some have supposed. Valuable data have been added to the period of Assyrian history con temporary with the kings of Judah and Israel. On the comparative chronology of the Assyrian and Jewish kingdoms, Mr. Smith's expeditions have added nothing to our previous knowledge. Of the later Babylonian period — the time of Nebuchadnezzar and his successors — there are a few new dated documents and some useful inscriptions belonging to the succeeding Persian empire. The most valuable of the later inscriptions is that which fixes the date of the rise of the Parthian empire, which has so long been a doubtful point among chronologists.
4. The Assyrian edifices were so nearly alike in general plan, construction, and decoration that one description will suffice for all. They were built upon artificial mounds or platforms, varying in height, but generally from 30 to 50 feet above the level of the surrounding country, and solidly constructed of regular layers of sun-dried bricks, as at Nimrud, or consisting merely of earth and rubbish heaped up, as at Kuyunjik. The mode of raising the latter kind of mound is represented in a series of bass- reliefs, in which. captives and prisoners are seen among the workmen (Layard, Mon. of Nin. 2d series, pl. 14, 15). This platform was probably faced with stone masonry, remains of which were discovered at Nimrud, and broad flights of steps (such as were found at Khorsabad) or inclined ways led up to its summit. Although only the general plan of the ground floor can now be traced, it is evident that the palaces had several stories built of wood and sun-dried bricks, which, when the building was deserted and allowed to fall to decay, gradually buried the lower chambers with their ruins, and protected the sculptured slabs from the effects of the weather. The depth of soil and rubbish above the alabaster slabs varied from a few inches to about 20 feet. It is to this accumulation of rubbish above them that the bass-reliefs owe their extraordinary preservation. The portions of the edifices still remaining consist of halls, chambers, and galleries, opening for the most part into large uncovered courts. The partition walls vary from 6 to 15 feet in thickness, and are solidly built of sun-dried bricks, against which is placed the paneling or skirting of alabaster slabs. No windows have hitherto been discovered, and it is probable that in most of the smaller chambers light was only admitted through the doors. The wall, above the wainscoting of alabaster, was plastered, and painted with figures and ornaments. The pavement was formed either of inscribed slabs of alabaster, or large flat kiln-burned bricks. It rested upon layers of bitumen and fine sand. Of nearly similar construction are the modern houses of Mosul, the architecture of which has probably been preserved from the earliest times as that best suited to the climate and to the manners and wants of an Oriental people. The rooms are grouped in the same manner around open courts or large halls. The same alabaster, usually carved with ornaments, is used for wainscoting the apartments, and the walls are constructed of sundried bricks. The upper part and the external architecture of the Assyrian palaces, both of which have entirely disappeared, can only be restored conjecturally, from a comparison of monuments represented in the bass-reliefs, and of edifices built by nations, such as the Persians, who took their arts from the Assyrians. By such means Mr. Fergusson has, with much ingenuity, attempted to reconstruct a palace of Nineveh (The Palaces of Nineveh and Persepolis restored). He presumes that the upper stories were built entirely of sun-dried bricks and wood — a supposition warranted by the absence of stone and marble columns, and of remains of stone and burned-brick masonry in the rubbish and soil which cover and surround the ruins; that the exterior was richly sculptured and painted with figures and ornaments, or decorated with enameled bricks of bright colors, and that light was admitted to the principal chambers on the ground-floor through a kind of gallery which formed the upper part of them, and upon which rested the wooden pillars necessary for the support of the superstructure. The capitals and various details of these pillars, the friezes and architectural ornaments he restores from the stone columns and other remains at Persepolis. He conjectures that curtains, suspended between the pillars, kept oat the glaring light of the sun, and that the ceilings were of wood-work, elaborately painted with patterns similar to those represented in the sculptures, and probably ornamented with gold and ivory. The discovery at Khorsabad of an arched entrance of considerable size and depth, constructed of sun-dried and kiln-burned bricks, the latter enameled with figures, leads to the inference that some of the smaller chambers may have been vaulted.
The sculptures, with the exception of the humanheaded lions and bulls, were for the most part in low relief. The colossal figures usually represent the king, his attendants, and the gods; the smaller sculptures, which either cover the whole face of the slab, or are divided into two compartments by bands of inscriptions, represent battles, sieges, the chase, single combats with wild beasts, religious ceremonies, etc. All refer to public or national events; the hunting-scenes evidently recording the prowess and personal valor of the king as the head of the people; the mighty hunter before the Lord." The sculptures appear to have been painted remains of color having been found on most of them. Thus decorated, without and within, the Assyrian palaces must have displayed a barbaric magnificence, not, however, devoid of a certain grandeur and beauty, which no ancient or modern edifice has probably exceeded. Among the small objects, undoubtedly of the Assyrian period, found in the ruins, were copper vessels (some embossed and incised with figures of men and animals and graceful ornaments), bells, various instruments and tools of copper and iron, arms (such as spear and arrow heads, swords, daggers, shields, helmets, and fragments of chain and plate armor), ivory ornaments, glass bowls and vases, alabaster urns, figures and other objects in terra-cotta, pottery, parts of a throne, inscribed cylinders and seals of agate and other precious materials, and a few detached statues. All these objects show great mechanical skill and a correct and refined taste, indicating considerable advance in civilization.
These great edifices, the depositories of the national records, appear to have been at the same time the abode of the king and the temple of the gods-thus corresponding, as in Egypt, with the character of the monarch, who was both the political and religious chief of the nation, the special favorite of the deities, and the interpreter of their decrees. No building has yet been discovered which possesses any distinguishing features to mark it specially as a temple. They are all precisely similar in general plan and construction. Most probably a part of the palace was set apart for religious worship and ceremonies. Altars of stone, resembling the Greek tripod in form, have been found in some of the chambers — in one instance before a figure of the king himself (Layard, Nin. and Bab. p. 351). According to the inscriptions, it would, however, appear that the Assyrian monarchs built temples of great magnificence at Nineveh, and in various parts of the empire, and profusely adorned them with gold, silver, and other precious materials.
IV. Site of the City. — Much diversity of opinion exists as to the identification of the ruins which may be properly included within the site of ancient Nineveh. According to Sir H. Rawlinson, and those who concur in his interpretation of the cuneiform characters, each group of mounds we have described represents a separate and distinct city. The name applied in the inscriptions to Nimrud is supposed to read "Kalkhu," and the ruins are consequently identified with those of the Calah of Genesis (Ge 10:11); Khorsabad is Sargina, as founded by Sargon, the name having been retained in that of Sarghun; or Saraun, by which the ruins were known to the Arab geographers; Sherif Khan is Tarbisi. Selamlyah has not yet been identified, no inscription having been found in the ruins. The name of Nineveh is limited to the mounds opposite Mosul, including Kuyunjik and Nebbi Yfnus. Sir H. Rawlinson was at one time inclined to exclude even the former mound from the precincts of the city (Journ. of As. Soc. xii. 418). Furthermore, the ancient and primitive capital of Assyria is supposed to have been rot Nineveh, but a city named Asshur, whose ruins have been. discovered at Kalah. Sherghdt, a mound on the right or west bank of the Tigris, about sixty miles south of Mosul. It need scarcely be observed that this theory rests entirely upon the presumed accuracy of the interpretation of the cuneiform inscriptions, and that it is totally at variance with the accounts and traditions preserved by sacred and classical history of the antiquity, size, and importance of Nineveh. The area of the enclosure of Kuyunjik, about 1800 acres, is far too small to represent the site of the city, built as it must have been in accordance with Eastern customs and manners, even after allowing for every exaggeration on the part of ancient writers. Captain Jones (Topography of Nineveh, in the Journ. of R. Asiat. Soc. 15:324) computes that it would contain 174,000 inhabitants, fifty square yards being given to each person; but the basis of this calcution would scarcely apply to any modern Eastern city. If Kuyunjik represents Nineveh, and Nimrud Calah, where are we to place Resen, "a great city" between the two? (Ge 10:12). Scarcely at Selamlyah, only three miles from Nimrad, and where no ruins of any importance exist. On the other hand, it has been conjectured that these groups of mounds are not ruins of separate cities, but of fortified royal residences, each combining palaces, temples, propylea, gardens, and parks, and having its peculiar name; and that they all formed part of one great city built and added to at different periods, and consisting of distinct quarters scattered over a very large area, and frequently very distant one from the other. Nineveh might thus be compared with Damascus, Ispahan, or perhaps more appropriately with Delhi, a city rebuilt at various periods, but never on exactly the same site, and whose ruins consequently cover an area but little inferior to that assigned to the capital of Assyria. The primitive site, the one upon which Nineveh was originally founded, may possibly have been that occupied by the mound of Kuiyunjik. It is thus alone that the ancient descriptions of Nineveh, if any value whatever is to be attached to them, can be reconciled with existing remains. The absence of all traces of buildings of any size within the enclosures of Nimrud, Kuyunjik, and Khorsabad, and the existence of propylaea forming part of the approaches to the palace, beneath and at a considerable distance from the great mound at Khorsabad, seem to add weight to this conjecture. Even Sir H. Rawlinson is compelled to admit that all the ruins may have formed part of "that group of cities which, in the time of the prophet Jonah, was known by the common name of Nineveh" (On the Inscriptions of Babylonia and Assyria, in the Journ. As. Soc.). But the existence of fortified palaces is consistent with Oriental custom, and with authentic descriptions of ancient Eastern cities. Such were the residences of the kings of Babylon, the walls of the largest of which were sixty stadia, or seven miles, in circuit, or little less than those of Kuyunjik, and considerably greater than those of Nimrod. SEE BABYLON. The Persians, who appear to have closely imitated the Assyrians in most things, constructed similar fortified parks — or paradises, as they were called — which included royal dwelling-places (Quint. Curt. 1, 7, c. 8). Indeed, if the interpretation of the cuneiform inscriptions is to be trusted, the Assyrian palaces were of precisely the same character; for that built by Esarhaddon at Nebbi Yunus is stated to have been so large that horses and other animals were not only kept, but even bred within its walls (Fox Talbot, Assyr. Texts translated, p. 17,18). It is evident that this description cannot apply to a building occupying so confined an area as the summit of this mound, but to a vast enclosed space. This aggregation of strongholds may illustrate the allusion in Nahum (Na 3:14), "Draw the waters for the siege, fortify thy strong holds," and "repair thy fortified places." They were probably surrounded by the dwellings of the mass of the population, either collected in groups, or scattered singly in the midst of fields, orchards, and gardens. There are still sufficient indications in the country around of the sites of such habitations. The fortified enclosures. while including the residences of the king, his family or immediate tribe, his principal officers, and probably the chief priests, may also have served as places of refuge for the inhabitants of the city at large in times of danger or attack. According to Diodorus (2:9) and Quintus Curtius (v. 1), there was land enough within the precincts of Babylon, besides gardens and orchards, to furnish corn for the wants of the whole population in case of siege; and in the book of Jonah, Nineveh is said to contain, besides its population, "much cattle" (Jon 4:11). As at Babylon, no great consecutive wall of enclosure comprising all the ruins, such as that described by Diodorus, has been discovered at Nineveh, and no such wall ever existed, otherwise some traces of so vast and massive a structure must have remained to this day. The Kiver Gomel, the. modern Ghazir-Su, may have formed the eastern boundary or defense of the city. As to the claims of the mound of Kalah Sherghat to represent the site of the primitive capital of Assyria called Asshur, they must rest entirely on the interpretation of the inscriptions. This city was founded, or added to, they are supposed to declare, by one Shamas-Iva, the son and viceroy, or satrap, of Ismi-Dagon, king of Babylon, who reigned, it is conjectured, about B.C. 1840. Assyria and its capital remained subject to Babylonia until B.C. 1273, when an independent Assyrian dynasts was founded, of which fourteen kings, or more, reigned at Kalah Sherghat. About B.C. 930 the seat of government, it is asserted, was transferred by Sardanapalus (the second of the name, and the Sardanapalus of the Greeks) to the city of Kalkhu or Calah (Nimrod), which had been founded by an earlier monarch named Shalmanubar. There it continued about 250 years, when Sennacherib made Nineveh the capital of the empire. SEE ASSYRIA. These assumptions seem to rest upon very slender grounds; and Dr. Hincks altogether rejects the theory of the Babylonian character of these early kings, believing them to be Assyrian (Report to the Trustees of the Brit. Mus. on Cylinders and TerraCottas). It is believed that on an inscribed terra-cotta cylinder discovered at Khalah- Sherghat the foundation of a temple is attributed to this Shamas-Iva. A royal name similar to that of his father. Ismi-Dagon, is read on a brick from some ruins in Southern Babylonia, and the two kings are presumed to be identical, although there is no other evidence of the fact (Rawlinson, Herod. 1:456, note 5); indeed the only son of this Babylonian king mentioned in the inscriptions is read Ibil-anu-duina, a name entirely different from that of the presumed viceroy of Asshur. It is by no means an uncommon occurrence that the same names should be found in royal dynasties of very different periods. The Assyrian dynasties furnish more than one example. It may be further observed that no remains of sufficient antiquity and importance have been discovered at Khalah Sherghat to justify the opinion that it was the ancient capital. The only sculpture found in the ruins, the seated figure in black basalt now in the British Museum, belongs to a later period than the monuments from the north-west palace at Nimrufd. Upon the presumed identification above indicated, and upon no other evidence, so far as we can understand, an .entirely new system of Assyrian history and chronology has been constructed, of which a sketch has been given under the title ASSYRIA (see also Rawlinson's Herod. 1:489). It need only be pointed out here that this system is at variance with sacred, classical and monumental history, and can scarcely be accepted as proven until the Assyrian ruins have been examined with more completeness than has hitherto been possible, and until the decipherment of the cuneiform inscriptions has made far greater progress. It has been shown how continuously tradition points to Nineveh as the ancient capital of Assyria. There is no allusion to any other city which enjoyed this rank. Its name occurs in the statistical table of Karnak, in conjunction with Naharaina or Mesopotamia, and on a fragment recently discovered by M. Mariette, of the times of Thotmes III, or about B.C. 1490 (Birch, Trans. of R. Soc. of Lit. 2:345, 2d series); and no mention has been found on any Egyptian monument of such cities as Asshur and Calah. Sir H. Rawlinson in a paper read before the Royal Society of Literature, has, however, contended that the Naharain, Saenkar, and Assuri of the Egyptian inscriptions are not Mesopotamia, Singar, and Assyria, and that Nin-i-iu is not Nineveh at all, but refers to a city in the chain of Taurus. But these conclusions are altogether rejected by Egyptian scholars. Further researches may show that Sennacherib's palace at Kuyunjik, and that of Sardanapalus at Nimrod, were built upon the site, and above the remain of very much earlier edifices. According to the interpretation of the inscriptions, Sardanapalus himself founded a temple at "Nineveh" (Rawlinson, Herod. 1:46-2), yet no traces of this building have been discovered at Kuyunjik. Sargon restored the walls of Nineveh, and declares that he erected his palace "near to Nineveh" (ibid. p. 474), while Sennacherib only claims to have rebuilt the palaces, which were "rent and split from extreme old age" (ibid. p. 475), employing 360,000 men, captives from Chaldea, Syria, Armenia, and Cilicia, in the undertaking, and speaks of Nineveh as founded of old, and governed by his forefathers, "kings of the old time" (Fox Talbot, on Bellino's cylinder, Journ. of the As. Soc. vol. 18). Old palaces, a great tower, and ancient temples dedicated to Ishtar and Bar Muri, also stood there.
V. Prophecies relating to Nineveh, and Illustrations of the O.T. — These are exclusively contained in the books of Nahum and Zephaniah; for although Isaiah foretells the downfall of the Assyrian empire (ch. 10 and 14), he makes no mention of its capital. Nahum threatens the entire destruction of the city, so that it shall not rise again from its ruins: "With an overrunning flood he will make an utter end of the place thereof." He will make an utter end; affliction shall not rise up the second time" (Na 1:8-9). "Thy people is scattered upon the mountains, and no one gathereth them. There is no healing of thy bruise" (Na 3:18-19). The manner in which the city should be taken seems to be indicated. "The defense shall be prepared" (Na 2:5) is rendered in the marginal reading "the covering or coverer shall be prepared," and by Mr. Vance Smith (Prophecies on Assyria and the Assyrians, p. 242), "the covering machine," the covered battering-ram or tower supposed to be represented in the bass-reliefs as being used in sieges. Some commentators believe that "the over-running flood" refers to the agency of water in the destruction of the walls by an extraordinary overflow of the Tigris, and the consequent exposure of the city to assault through a breach; others, that it applies to a large and devastating army. An allusion to the overflow of the rivet may be contained in Na 2:6, "The gates of the rivers shall be opened, and the palace shall be dissolved," a prophecy supposed to have been fulfilled when the MedoBabylonian army captured the city. Diodorus (2:27) relates of that event that "there was an old prophecy that Nineveh should not be taken till the river became an enemy to the city; and in the third year of the siege the river, being swollen with continued rains, overflowed part of the city, and broke down the wall for twenty stadia; then the king, thinking that the oracle was fulfilled and the river become an enemy to the city, built a large funeral pile in the palace, and collecting together all his wealth and his concubines and eunuchs, burned himself and the palace with them all: and the enemy entered the breach that the waters had made, and took the city." Most of the edifices discovered had been destroyed by fire, but no part of the walls of either Nimrud or Kuyunjik appears to have been washed away by the river. The Tigris is still subject to very high and dangerous floods during the winter and spring rains, and even now frequently reaches the ruins. When it flowed in its ancient bed at the foot of the walls a part of the city might have been overwhelmed by an extraordinary inundation. The likening of Nineveh to "a pool of water" (Na 2:8) has been conjectured to refer to the moats and dams by which a portion of the country around Nineveh could be flooded. The city was to be partly destroyed by fire: "The fire shall devour thy bars,'" then shall the fire devour thee" (Na 3:13,15). The gateway in the northern wall of the Kuyunjik enclosure had been destroyed by fire as well as the palaces. The population was to be surprised when unprepared, "while they are drunk as drunkards they shall be devoured as stubble full dry" (Na 1:10). Diodorus states that the last and fatal assault was made when they were overcome with wine. In the bass-reliefs carousing scenes are represented, in which the king, his courtiers, and even the queen, reclining on couches or seated on thrones, and attended by musicians, appear to be pledging each other in bowls of wine (Botta, 'Mon. de Nin. pl. 63-67, 112, 113). The captivity of the inhabitants, and their removal to distant provinces, are predicted (Na 3:18). Their dispersion, which occurred when the city fell, was in accordance with the barbarous custom of the age. The palace-temples were to be plundered of their idols, "Out of the house of thy gods will I cut off the graven image and the molten image" (Na 1:14), and the city sacked of its wealth: "Take ye the spoil of silver, take the spoil of gold" (Na 2:9). For ages the Assyrian edifices have been despoiled of their sacred images; and enormous amounts of gold and silver were, according to tradition, taken to Ecbatana by the conquering Medes (Diod. Sic. iii). Only one or two fragments of the precious metals were found in the ruins. Nineveh, after its 'fall, was to be "empty and void, and: waste" (Na 2:10); "It shall come to pass that all they that look upon thee shall flee from thee, and say, Nineveh is laid waste" (Na 3:7). These epithets describe the present state of the site of the city. But the fullest and most vivid and poetical picture of its ruined and deserted condition is that given by Zephaniah, who probably lived to see its fall: "He will make Nineveh a desolation, and dry like a wilderness. And flocks shall lie down in the midst of her, all the beasts of the nations: both the cormorant and the bittern shall lodge in the upper lintels of it; their voice shall sing in the windows; desolation shall be in the thresholds; for he shall uncover the cedar work . . how is she become a desolation, a place for beasts to lie down in! every one that passeth by her shall hiss and wag his hand" (Zep 2:13-15). The canals which once fertilized the soil are now dry. Except when the earth is green after the periodical rains the site of the city, as well as the surrounding country, is an arid yellow waste. Flocks of sheep and herds of camels may be seen seeking scanty pasture among the mounds. From the unwholesome swamp within the ruins of Khorsabad, and from the reedy banks of the little streams that flow by Kuyunjik and Nimrud, may be heard the croak of the cormorant and the bittern. The cedar-wood which adorned the ceilings of the palaces has been uncovered by modern explorers (Layard, Nin. and Bab. p. 357), and in the deserted halls the hyena, the wolf, the fox, and the jackal now lie down. Many allusions in the O.T. to the dress, arms, modes of warfare, and customs of the people of Nineveh, as well as of the Jews, are explained by the Nineveh monuments. Thus (Na 2:3), "The shield of his mighty men is made red, the valiant men are in scarlet:" the shields and the dresses of the warriors are generally painted red in the sculptures. The magnificent description of the assault upon the city (Na 3:1-3) is illustrated in almost every particular (Layard, Nin. and its Ren. vol. ii, pt. ii, ch. v): the mounds built up against the walls of a besieged town (Isa 37:33; 2Ki 19:32; Ter. 23:24, etc.), the battering-ram (Eze 4:2), the various kinds of armor, helmets, shields, spears, and swords, used in battle and during a siege; the chariots and horses (Na 3:3), are all seen in various bassreliefs (Layard, Nin. and its Rem. vol. ii, pt: ii, ch. iv and v). SEE CHARIOT. The custom of cutting off the heads of the slain and placing them in heaps (2Ki 10:8) is constantly represented (Layard, 2:184). The allusion in 2Ki 19:28," I will put my hook in thy nose and my bridle in thy lips," is illustrated in a bass-relief from Khorsabad (ibid. p. 376).
The interior decorations of the Assyrian palaces is described by Ezekiel, himself a captive in Assyria and an eye-witness of their magnificence (Eze 23:14-15): "She saw men of sculptured workmanship upon the walls; likenesses of the Chaldaeans pictured in red, girded with girdles upon their loins, with colored flowing headdresses upon their heads, with the aspect of princes all of them" (Layard, Nin. and its Rem. 2:307); a description strikingly illustrated by the sculptured likenesses of the Assyrian kings and warriors (see especially Botta, Mon. de Nin. pl. 12). The mystic figures seen by the prophet in his vision (ch. i), uniting the man, the lion, the ox, and the eagle, may have been suggested by the eagle- headed idols, and man-headed bulls and lions (by some identified with the cherubim of the Jews), and the sacred emblem of the "wheel within wheel" by the winged-circle or globe frequently represented in the bass-reliefs (Layard, Nineveh and its Remains, 2:455).
VI. Ninevite Arts. — The origin of Assyrian art is a subject at present involved in mystery, and one which offers a wide field for speculation and research. Those who derive the civilization and political system of the Assyrians from Babylonia would trace their arts to the same source. One of the principal features of their architecture, the artificial platform serving as a substructure, for their national edifices, may have been taken from a people inhabiting plains perfectly flat, such as those of Shinar, rather than an undulating country in which natural elevations are not uncommon, such as Assyria proper. But it still remains to be proved that there are artificial mounds in Babylonia of an earlier date than mounds on or near the site of Nineveh. Whether other leading features and the details of Assyrian architecture came from the same source, is much more open to doubt. Such Babylonian edifices as have hitherto been explored are of a later date than those of Nineveh, to which they appear to bear but little resemblance. The only features in common seem to be the ascending stages of the temples or tombs, and the use of enameled bricks. The custom of paneling walls with alabaster or stone must have originated in a country in which such materials abound, as in Assyria, and not in the alluvial plains of southern Mesopotamia, where they cannot be obtained except at great cost or by great labor. The use of sun-dried and kiln-burned bricks and of wooden columns would be common to both countries, as also such arrangements for the admission of light and exclusion of heat as the climate would naturally suggest.
In none of the arts of the Assyrians have any traces hitherto been found of progressive change. In the architecture of the most ancient known edifice all the characteristics of the style were already fully developed; no new features of any importance seem to have been introduced at a later period. The palace of Sennacherib only excels those of his remote predecessors in the vastness of its proportions, and in the elaborate magnificence of its details. In sculpture, as would probably be the case in painting also, if we possessed the means of comparison, the same thing is observable as in the remains of ancient Egypt. The earliest works hitherto discovered show the result of a lengthened period of gradual development, which, judging. from the slow progress made by untutored men in the arts, must have extended over a vast number of years. They exhibit the arts of the Assyrians at the highest. stage of excellence they probably ever attained. The only change we can trace, as in Egypt, is one of decline or "decadence." The latest monuments, such as those from the palaces of Esarhaddon and his son, show perhaps a closer imitation of nature, especially in the representation of animals, such as the lion, dog, wild ass, etc., and a more careful and minute execution of details than those from the earlier edifices; but they are wanting in the simplicity yet grandeur of conception, in the invention, and in the variety of treatment displayed in the most ancient sculptures. This will at. once be perceived by. a comparison of the ornamental details of the two periods. In the older sculptures there occur the most graceful and varied combinations of flowers, beasts, birds, and other natural objects, treated in a conventional and highly artistic manner; in. the later there is only a constant and monotonous repetition of rosettes and commonplace forms, without much display of invention or imagination (comp. Layard, Mon. of Vin. 1st ser., especially pl. 5, 8, 43-48, 50; with 2d ser., passim; and with Botta, Monumens de Ninive). The same remark applies to animals. The lions of the early period are a grand, ideal, and, to a certain extent, conventional representation of the beast — not very different from that of the Greek sculptor in the noblest period of Greek art (Layard, Aon. of Vin. 2d ser., pi. 2). In the later bass-reliefs, such as those from the palace of Sardanapalus III now in the British Museum, the lions are more closely imitated from nature without any conventional elevation; but what is gained in truth is lost in dignity.
The same may be observed in' the treatment of the human form, though in its representation the Assyrians, like the Egyptians, would seem to have been at all times more or less shackled by religious prejudices or laws. For instance, the face is almost invariably in profile, not because the sculptor was unable to represent the full face — one or two examples of it occurring in the bass-reliefs — but probably because he was bound by a generally received custom, through which he would not break. No new forms or combinations appear to have been introduced into Assyrian art during the four or five centuries, if not longer period, in which we are acquainted with it. We trace throughout the same eagleheaded, lion- headed, and fish-headed figures, the same winged divinities, the same composite forms at the doorways. In the earliest works, an attempt at composition, that is at a pleasing and picturesque grouping of the figures, is perhaps more evident than in the later — as may be illustrated by the lion-hunt from the N.W. palace, now in the British Museum (Layard, Mon. of Nin. pl. 10). A parallel may in many respects be drawn between the arts of the Assyrians from their earliest known period to their latest, and those of Greece from Phidias to the Roman epoch, and of Italy from the 15th to the 118th century.
The art of the Nineveh monuments must in the present state of our knowledge be accepted as an original and national art, peculiar, if not to the Assyrians alone, to the races who at various periods possessed the country watered by the Tigris and Euphrates. As it was undoubtedly brought to its highest perfection by the Assyrians, and is especially characteristic of them, it may well and conveniently bear their name. From whence it was originally derived there is nothing as vet to show. If from Babylon, as some have conjectured, there are no remains to prove the fact. Analogies may perhaps be found between it and that of Egypt, but they are not sufficient to convince us that the one was the offspring of the other. These analogies, if not accidental, may have been derived, at some very remote period, from a common source. The two may have been offshoots from some common trunk which perished ages before either Nineveh or Thebes was founded; or the Phoenicians, it has been suggested, may have introduced into the two countries, between which they were placed, and between which they may have formed a commercial link, the arts peculiar to each of them. Whatever the origin, the development of the arts of the two countries appears to have been affected and directed by very opposite conditions of national character, climate, geographical and geological position, politics, and religion. Thus, Egyptian architecture seems to have been derived from a stone prototype, Assyrian from a wooden one, in accordance with the physical nature of the two countries. Assyrian art is the type of power, vigor, and action. Egyptian that of calm dignity and repose. The one is the expression of an ambitious, conquering, and restless nature; the other of a race which seems to have worked for itself alone and for eternity. In a late period of Assyrian history, at the time of the building of the Khorsabad palace (about the 8th century B.C.), a more intimate intercourse with Egypt through 'war' or dynastic alliances than had previously existed appears to have led to the introduction of objects of Egyptian manufacture into Assyria, and may have influenced to a limited extent its arts. A precisely similar influence proceeding from Assyria has been remarked at the same period in Egypt, probably arising from the conquest and temporary occupation of the latter country by the Assyrians, under a king whose name is read Asshur-bani-pal, mentioned in the cuneiform inscriptions (Birch, Trans. of R. Soc. of Lit., new series). To this age belong the ivories, bronzes, and nearly all the small objects of an Egyptian character, though not apparently of Egyptian workmanship, discovered in the Assyrian ruins. It has been asserted, on the authority of an inscription believed to contain the names of certain Hellenic artists from Idalium, Citium, Salamis, Paphos, and other Greek cities, that Greeks were employed by Esarhaddon and his son in executing the sculptured decorations of their palaces (Rawlinson, Herod. 1:483). But, passing over the extreme uncertainty attaching to the decipherment of proper names in the cuneiform character, it must be observed that no remains whatever of Greek art of so early a period are known, which can be compared in knowledge of principles and in beauty of execution and of design with the sculptures of Assyria. Niebuhr has remarked of Hellenic art, that "anything produced before the Persian war was altogether barbarous" (34th Lecture on Ancient History). If Greek artists could execute such monuments in Assyria, why it may be asked, did they not display equal skill in their own country? The influence, indeed, seems to have been entirely in the opposite direction. The discoveries at Nineveh show almost beyond a doubt that the Ionic element in Greek art was derived from Assyria, as the Doric came from Egypt. There is scarcely a leading form or a detail in the Ionic order which cannot be traced to Assyria — the volute of the column, the frieze of griffins, the honeysuckle-border, the guilloche, the Caryatides, and many other ornaments peculiar to the style.
The arts of the Assyrians, especially their architecture, spread to surrounding nations, as is usually the case when one race is brought into contact with another in a lower state of civilization. They appear to have crossed the Euphrates, and to have had more or less influence on the countries between it and the Mediterranean. Monuments of an Assyrian character have been discovered in certain parts of Syria, and further researches would probably disclose many more. The arts of the Phoenicians, judging from the few specimens preserved, show the same influence. In the absence of even the most insignificant remains, and of any implements which may with confidence be attributed to the Jews, there are no materials for comparison between Jewish and Assyrian art. It is possible that the bronzes and ivories discovered at Nineveh were of Phoenician manufacture, like the vessels in Solomon's temple. On the lion-weights, now in the British Museum, are inscriptions both in the cuneiform and Phoenician characters. The Assyrian inscriptions seem to indicate a direct dependence of Judaea upon Assyria from a very early period. From the descriptions of the temple and "houses" of Solomon (comp. 1Ki 6; 1Ki 7; 2Ch 3; 2Ch 4; Josephus 8,:2; Fergusson's Palaces of Nineveh; and Layard, Nin. and Bab. p. 642), it would appear that there was much similarity between them and the palaces of Nineveh, if not in the exterior architecture, certainly in the interior decorations, such as the walls paneled or wainscoted with sawn stones, the sculptures on the slabs representing trees and plants, the remainder of the walls above the skirting painted with various colors and pictures, the figures of the winged cherubim carved "all the house round," and especially on the doorways, the ornaments of open flowers, pomegranates, and lilies (apparently corresponding exactly with the rosettes, pomegranates, and honeysuckle ornaments of the Assyrian bass-reliefs [Botta, Mon. de Nin., and Layard, Mon. of Nin.], and the ceiling, roof, and beams of cedar-wood. The Jewish edifices were, however, very much inferior in size to the Assyrian. Of objects of art (if we may use the term) contained in the Temple we have the description of the pillars, of the brazen sea, and of various bronze or copper vessels. They were the work of Hiram, the son of a Phoenician artist by a Jewish woman of the tribe of Naphtali (1Ki 7:14), a fact which gives us some insight into Phoenician art. and seems to show that the Jews had no art of their own, as Hiram was brought from Tyre by Solomon. The Assyrian character of these objects is very remarkable. The two pillars and "chapiters" of brass had ornaments of lilies and pomegranates; the brazen sea was supported on oxen, and its rim was ornamented with flowers of lilies, while the bases were graven with lions, oxen, and cherubim on the borders, and the plates of the ledges with cherubim, lions, and palm-trees. The veil of the Temple, of different colors, had also cherubim wrought upon it (comp. Layard, Nin. and Bab. p. 588, in which a large vessel, probably of bronze or copper, is represented supported upon oxen, and Mon. of Nin. ser. 2, pl. 60, 65, 68, in which vessels with embossed rims apparently similar to those in Solomon's temple are figured; also ser. 1, pl. 8, 44, 48, in which embroideries with cherubim occur).
The influence of Assyria to the eastward was even more considerable, extending far into Asia. The Persians copied their architecture (with such modifications as the climate and the building-materials at hand suggested), their sculpture, probably their painting and their mode of writing, from the Assyrians. The ruined palaces of Persepolis show the same general plan of construction as those of Nineveh — the entrances formed by human- headed animals, the skirting of sculptured stone and the inscribed slabs. The various religious emblems and the ornamentation have the same Assyrian character. In Persia, however, a stone architecture prevailed, and the columns in that material have resisted to this day the ravages of time.
The Persians made an advance in one respect upon Assyrian sculpture, and probably painting likewise, in an attempt at a natural representation of drapery by the introduction of folds, of which there is only the slightest indication on Assyrian monuments. It may have been partly through Persia that the influence of Assyrian art passed into Asia Minor, and thence into Greece; but it had probably penetrated far into the former country long before the Persian domination. We find it strongly shown in the earliest monuments, as in those of Lycia and Phrygia, and in the archaic sculptures of Branchidae. But the early art of Asia Minor still offers a most interesting field for investigation. Among the Assyrians the arts were principally employed, as among all nations in their earlier stages of civilization, for religious and national purposes. The colossal figures at the doorways of the palaces were mythic combinations to denote the attributes of a deity. The "Man-Bull" and the "Man-Lion" are conjectured to be the gods "Nin" and "Nergal," presiding over war and the chase; the eagle-headed and fish- headed figures, so constantly repeated in the sculptures and as ornaments on vessels of metal or in embroideries, Nisroch and Dagon. The bass-reliefs almost invariably record some deed of the king, as head of the nation, in war, and in combat with wild beasts, or his piety in erecting vast palace- temples to the gods. Hitherto no sculptures specially illustrating the private life of the Assyrians have been discovered, except one or two incidents, such as men baking bread or tending horses, introduced as mere accessories into the historical bassreliefs. This may be partly owing to the fact that no traces whatever have yet been found of their burial places, or even of their mode of dealing with the dead. It is chiefly upon the walls of tombs that the domestic life of the Egyptians has been so fully depicted. In the useful arts, as in the fine arts, the Assyrians had made a progress which denotes a very high state of civilization. When the inscriptions have been fully examined and deciphered, it will probably be found that they had made no inconsiderable advance in the sciences, especially in astronomy, mathematics, numeration, and hydraulics.
Although the site of Nineveh afforded no special advantages for commerce, and although she owed her greatness rather to her political position as the capital of the empire, yet, situated upon a navigable river communicating with the Euphrates and the Persian Gulf, she must have soon formed one of the great trading stations between that important inland sea and Syria ant the Mediterranean, and must have become a deipt fo the merchandise supplied to a great part of Asia Minor Armenia, and Persia. Her merchants are described in Ezekiel (Eze 27:24) as trading in blue clothes and broidered work (such as is probably represented in the sculptures), and in Nahum (Nahm 3:16) as "multiplied above the stars of heaven." The animals represented on the black obelisk in the British Museum maid on other monument the rhinoceros, the elephant, the double-humped camel, and various kinds of apes and monkeys — show a communication, direct or indirect, with the remotest part of Asia. This intercourse with foreign nations, and the practice of carrying to Assyria as captives the skilled artists and workmen of conquered countries, must have contributed greatly to the improvement of Assyrian manufactures. Affairs of state are frequently represented on the monuments: the king in his glory going to war receiving booty or captives, or making a treaty of peace; behind him the eunuch with beardless double chin, carrying a fly-flapper or an umbrella. The government was despotic; it was centered in the king. The provinces were ruled by satraps, and their state and retinue were so magnificent that the monarch boasts "Are not my princes altogether kings?" In a country vanquished, the conqueror secured some memorial of his conquest — either an inscription on some conspicuous rock or on stone blocks. His name and martial achievements are duly registered, and his person is figured in priestly robes. Several of these memorials are now in the British Museum.
Little is known of the dwellings of the people: they easily fell into ruin, and lay buried in the mass — the bricks or mud of which they were built fast dissolving into earth or soil. Nor do the monuments throw light on the subject, for they are filled with scenes from the chase or war-fields, trees, and fortresses. But there is one village depicted, and from it we learn that Assyrian dwellings of the common sort were built of mud, without windows, and had either a flat roof, or one rising into a cone, with an opening at the top-while the houses, though closely arranged, yet stand separate from each other.
The ornamental arts had reached a high state in ancient Nineveh. Many seals and cylinders have been recovered. The sculptures and paintings are full of expression and life, freer and more natural too than those of Egypt. The Assyrian artists did not excel in modeling statues, which, however, do not often occur, and they are characterized by an undue flatness or want of breadth in the side view, as if they were intended only to be seen directly in front. But their genius developed itself in bass-reliefs, and they used this art for every purpose to which it can be applied, for it was to them what painting is to our modern world. Through this art — in which so many scenes taken from nature and life, as war, religion, the chase, daily occupations, kitchen utensils, cooking and feasting, are represented we have come to know the ancient Asshur with some familiarity and completeness. Bass-reliefs have been traced back, as at Nimrid, to the period of Asa, king of Jidah, ten centuries before Christ. At first the work is rude but spirited, gradually it throws off its stiffness and conventionality, and appears at its best in the days of Esarhaddon or his son, about B.C. 640. The vases or urns of clay are beautifully molded, and resemble Egyptian pottery. Some of the bronzes are of graceful symmetry. Metallic ornaments, ear-rings, bracelets, and clasps display great taste and skill. Chairs and couches of beautiful shapes are often inlaid with ivory. The lion was a sort of national emblem; and a frequent ornament on furniture, weights, and jewels is his-head or claws, warranting the imagery in the bold challenge of Nahum (Na 2:11): "Where is the dwelling of the lions, and the feeding-place of the young lions, where the lion, even the old lion, walked, and the lion's whelp?" Vessels such as bowls and bottles of glass, both transparent and beautifully colored, have been found, and a magnifying lens of rock-crystal was discovered at Nimrod: The garments of the better class were woven of linen, wool, or silk, and, though capacious in size, were worn with stately gracefulness. The silk of the country was famous, and was spun by a large silkworm not found elsewhere. Pliny speaks of the Assyria bombyx as a becoming dress for women (Hist. Nat. 11:23).
The Assyrians seem to have been fond of music, and various musical instruments are sculptured on the monuments. We have the harp, with eight, nine, or ten strings; the lyre, of no less than three kinds; the guitar, the double-pipe, the tambourine, cymbals, dulcimer, drums, and trumpets. SEE MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS. Bands of musicians formed an important part of military and religious processions, and in such bands there appear to have been leaders or persons that kept or indicated the time.
Delineations of ships, both for war and trading, are found. The imports must have been extensive: "Thou hast multiplied thy merchants above the stars of heaven" (Na 3:16; Eze 27:23-24). Gold and other metals, ivory, precious stones, and spices, seem to have been brought into the country in abundance, and the exports may also have been on a large scale. The Phoenician mariners, according to Herodotus (1:1), brought home Egyptian and Assyrian merchandise. The productions of her looms were celebrated, as were also several of her perfumes. Horace refers to the Assyrian nard: "Assyriaque nardo potamus uncti" (2:11); but, as Rawlinson says on this point, these odors may have only been conveyed by her from other regions, for she must have been rather a spice-seller than a spice- producer (Ancient Monarchies, 2:192). There are representations of the implements of husbandry, and of the various forms and means of irrigation. Irrigation (q.v.), indeed, was a prime means of fertility; the entire country appears to have been intersected with aqueducts and canals. For this purpose the Tigris was (lammed at several points, and various other engineering expedients were resorted to. The climate and productions were probably much the same as at the present day. The fertility of many districts is still great, and wherever there is sufficient moisture, pastures and crops spring into immediate luxuriance. Dates, olives, figs citrons, wheat, barley, and millet are often referred to by ancient writers, as Herodotus (1:92). The implements of agriculture must have been simple, yet, as shown in the annexed figure of a plow, from a sculpture of the period of Esarhaddon, the bowl and tube rising from the center seem a contrivance intended for sowing the seed in drills. The plow is supposed to have been drawn by two oxen moving in line, the one before the other. Scales and weights are also pictured on the monuments; many metallic weights have been found; and there appears to have been, at one time at least, a clay currency, as small pieces of clay bear upon them, according to Mr. Birch's reading, an order to pay a certain weight of gold.
VII. The region of Assyria, as gathered from the Ninevitic monuments, was probably at first a species of Sabaism — the host of heaven was deified and adored — sun, moon. and stars, with zodiacal signs, are often engraven on cylinders. Idols were, however, in course of time introduced; and the heroes or benefactors of other and ancient times were elevated to the rank of divinities. The father of the race, from being its patron grew into its god, and national pride in him deepened at length into religious veneration. Therefore at the head of the pantheon stood Asshur, the deified patriarch, his name and that of the country being the same; and he is regarded as "the great god, king of all the gods," the national divinity. giving each king life and power. The sovereign, when referring to him, calls him '"Asshur my lord;" his people are "the servants of Asshur," and his foes the "enemies of Asshur." This deity was never superseded, though he had at length many colleagues or rivals. His common emblem is that of a winged circle or globe, with a single figure, and sometimes a triune human figure in the center, and this symbol is generally found in immediate connection with the sovereign. The sacred tree was also associated with Asshur-connected perhaps with the Biblical Asherah, rendered "grove" (q.v.) — and perhaps also derived ultimately from the Edenic tree of life. Other Assyrian gods were Ann, often placed after Asshur, Bil or Bel; Hea or Hoa, Mylitta or Beltis, Sin or the Moon, Shamas or the Sun, Vul or Iva the wielder of the thunderbolt, Gula the sun-goddess, Nin, after whom the capital was named, and whose symbol is the winged bull, Merodach, Nergar, Ishtar, and Nebo. Some of these gods were borrowed from Chaldaea. Each god was usually associated with a corresponding goddess; and the god and his idol, made of metal, clay, or stone, were identified, as in the challenge of Rabshakeh (Isa 36:19-20). Sacrifice was offered to them, and altars of various shapes have been found. Solemn processions were made, and the king appears to be also a priest — his person was divinely sacred, and his palace seems also to have been the temple — though there was at the same time a regular priesthood. Fasting, as seen in the book of Jonah, may not have been an uncommon ordinance. The prophet Nahum styles Nineveh "the mistress of witchcrafts," and many superstitious forms of ascertaining the will of Heaven must have been in constant practice. Layard mentions that dark spots resembling blood are seen on the slabs which form the entrance to the oldest palaces in Nimrod. The nation, appears to have been intensely religious; religious symbols are found not only on the robes and armor of the king, and on the columns and friezes of public buildings, but also on chariots, trappings of horses, and on ordinary household furniture — hangings, tables, chairs, and couches. The sensual or phallic symbols, so common in classical countries, are not found in Assyria; yet, if the worship of Beltis in Assyria resembled at all her worship) in Babylon (Herod. 1:99), it must have been grossly lascivious, as women were required to go once in their lives, to her temple, and prostitute themselves to the first man who wished them. The prophet Nahum calls Nineveh "the well-favored harlot, that selleth nations through her whoredoms;" but this language may refer, in Jewish prophetic style, to shamefaced and proselytizing idolatries.
Associated with the national worship were those composite animal figures, with the grotesque appearance of which we are now so well acquainted. The idea embodied in those strange forms must have been familiar to the ancient and Eastern world. Modifications of such figures are found in the sphinxes of Egypt, and have also been sought in the cherubim. SEE
CHERUB. These figures guard the sacred thresholds in Nineveh, as if such a function needed the strength of a bull, the courage of a lion, the intelligence of a man, and the winged speed of an eagle. In Assyria and Egypt they occur as outer guardians and representatives, whereas in the Hebrew worship they were concealed in the dense gloom of the holy of holies. Perhaps, apart from the special human relations of the Hebrew cherubim, the generic idea underlying the strange symbol was that the noblest creatures on earth are claimed by God as his servants; that their highest duty and honor are to be near him, and to keep his temples from profane intrusion; and that the divine service in its ideal perfection is such as combines in it the various elements of intellect and power, which those forms in their composite unity symbolize.
VIII. Race and Language. — Sprung from Asshur, the Assyrians were a Shemitic race, whatever may have been the original connection of Nineveh with the Cushite Nimrod. Herodotus (7:63) says of them, "By the Greeks they were called Syrians, and by the barbarians Assyrians." This blunder has been repeated even by Niebuhr and others. But the names are quite distinct, Syria being צוּר, or Tyre, as it is given in English, and Assyria being אִשׁוּר, a very different word. In fact Asshur means the country, an Assyrian, the national divinity, or the town; the determinative before it showing when it signifies the god. The Assyrians were thus allied to the Phoenicians, Syrians, northern Arabs, and Jews, and they were not unlike the latter in general physiognomy, except that they were apparently more robust in limb and heavier in feature. The tongues of these races are similar, too, in structure. The elementary shape of the letter is the wedge Y, of various forms, and placed in all directions — upright, horizontal, diagonal. The alphabet is syllabic in structure — the vowels representing the sounds A, I, and U, and the majority of the sixteen consonants producing each six syllables, either as they precede or follow the vowel. Each simple vowel sound may also combine with two consonants, but the number of such double combinations is limited to 150. This alphabet, so far as ascertained, has at the utmost 250 different characters. Another set of characters is called determinative, and is prefixed to certain names; thus shows that the next word is a man's name. So, too, the plural is marked by y, and the dual by T. The difference between an ideographic and a phonetic sign may be illustrated in this way: If we write the phrase "Ivan I," the I in Ivan has its usual power as a vowel-sound; but the after it has no sound, it merely carries with it or represents the idea of first. . The tongue itself is Shemitic, allied to Hebrew, Phoenician, and Chaldee. Thus its conjunction U, and, is the Heb. ו, vau, and, as in Hebrew, ki signifies 'if." Its first personal pronoun is anaku, Heb. anoki, אָנֹבַי; its second is atta, Heb. אַתָּה; abu is "father," Heb. אָב; nahar is "a river," Heb. נָהָר, etc. The numerals are very similar to those in Hebrew. Feminine nouns end in it or at, like Hebrew nouns in ith. Possessive pronouns are represented by suffixes, much the same as those in Hebrew. שׁ is the relative, as often in the later Biblical and in the rabbinical Hebrew. The interrogative, as in Hebrew, is מָה. As in Aramaic, there is no prepositive article-the "emphatic state" is used instead of it. By a process which Oppert calls "mimmation," and which applies to indeclinable words, the letter in plays an important part, as in the analogous forms in Hebrew, יוֹמָם "daily;" חַנָּם, "for nought." Nouns are formed as in Hebrew by prefixing מ, and such nouns signify instrument, action, or state; and in the formation of nouns proper נ is also used, as in the names Nimrod, Nisroch, Nergal, Nineveh, etc. The conjugations are five principal, four of which correspond to kal, niphal, piel, and hiphil, and the others are the same as the well-known Chaldee forms. The verb is conjugated by the aid, as in Hebrew, of pronominal suffixes, and it has no tenses. The roots are generally biliteral, the Hebrew ones being usually triliteral, as mit, to die, Heb. מוּת rib, to dwell, Heb. יָשִׁב. The proper names are all but universally Shemitic, and not Aryan or Medo-Persic; and they are commonly significant. Asshur, the name of the primal god, is found in many of them; and there occur such terms-as shamos, meaning servant; tiglath, adoration, and mutaggil, adoring-a participial form from the same root; pal is son, allied to the Aramaic bar; sar is king, ris is head, Heb. רֹאשׁ, etc.
The ruins of Nineveh have furnished a vast collection of inscriptions partly carved on marble or stone slabs, and partly impressed upon bricks, and upon clay cylinders, or six-sided and eight-sided prisms, barrels, and tablets, which, used for the purpose when still moist, were afterwards baked in a furnace or kiln. The employment of prepared clay for writing on is apparently an old custom. Josephus (Ant. 1:2, 3) records the tradition that Seth and his family inscribed on two pillars of brick and stone the wisdom of their age especially σοφίαν περὶ τὰ οὐράνια — astronomy. It was natural that Ezekiel, in the land of captivity, should be thus commanded: "Take thee a title, and lay it before thee, and portray upon it the city, even Jerusalem" (Eze 4:1). Reference to the Babylonian custom of writing on bricks (coctilibus-laterculis) is found in Pliny (Hist. Nat. lib. vii, s. 57). The cylinders are hollow, and appear, from the hole pierced through them, to have been mounted so as to turn round, and to present their several sides to the reader. The character employed was the arrow-headed or cuneiform — so called from each letter being formed by marks or elements resembling an arrow-head or a wedge. This mode of writing, believed by some to be of Turanian or Scythic origin, prevailed throughout the provinces comprised in the Assyrian, Babylonian, and the eastern portion of the ancient Persian empires, from the earliest times to which any known record belongs, or at least twenty centuries before the Christian aera, down to the period of the conquests of Alexander; after which epoch, although occasionally employed, it seems to have gradually fallen into disuse. It never extended into Syria, Arabia, or Asia Minor, although it was adopted in Armenia. A cursive writing resembling the ancient Syrian and Phoenician, and by some believed to be the original form of all other cursive writing used in Western Asia, including the Hebrew, appears to have been occasionally employed in Assyria, probably for documents written on parchment or papyrus, or perhaps leather skins. The Assyrian cuneiform character was of the same class as the Babylonian, only differing from it in the less complicated nature of its forms. Although the primary elements in the later Persian and so-called Median cuneiform were the same, yet their combination and the value of the letters were quite distinct. The latter, indeed, is but a form of the Assyrian. Herodotus terms all cuneiform writing the "Assyrian writing" (Herod. 4:87). This character may have been derived from some more ancient form of hieroglyphic writing; but if so, all traces of such origin have disappeared. The Assyrian and Babylonian alphabet (if the term may be applied to above 200 signs) is of the most complicated, imperfect, and arbitrary nature — some characters being phonetic, others syllabic, others ideographic — the same character being frequently used indifferently. This constitutes one of the principal difficulties in the process of decipherment. The investigation first commenced by Grotefend (Heeren, Asiatic Nations, vol. ii, App. 2) has since been carried on with much success by Lassen and Westergaard in Germany. by MM. Osennouf and Oppert in France, and by Sir H. Rawlinson, Dr. Hincks, Mr. Norris, and Mr. Fox Talbot in England (see papers by these last-named gentlemen in the Journals of the Royal Asiatic Society, in the Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy, in the Journal of
Sacred Literature, and in the Athenaeum). Although considerable doubt may still reasonably prevail as to the interpretation of details, as to grammatical construction, and especially as to the rendering of proper names, sufficient progress has been made to enable the student to ascertain with some degree of confidence the general meaning and contents of an inscription. The people of Nineveh, as we have seen above, spoke a Shemitic dialect, connected with the Hebrew and with the so-called Chaldee of the books of Daniel and Ezra. This agrees with the testimony of the O.T. But it is asserted that there existed in Assyria, as well as in Babylonia, a more ancient tongue belonging to a Turanian or Scythic race, who are supposed to have inhabited the plains watered by the Tigris and Euphrates long before the rise of the Assyrian empire, and from whom the Assyrians derived their civilization and the greater part of their mythology. It was retained for sacred purposes by the conquering race, as the Latin was retained after the fall of the Roman empire in the Catholic Church. In fragments of vocabularies discovered in the record-chamber at Kuyunjik words in the two languages are placed in parallel columns, while a center column contains a monographic or ideographic sign representing both. A large number of Turanian words or roots are further supposed to have existed in the Assyrian tongue, and tablets apparently in that language have been discovered in the ruins. The monumental inscriptions occur on detached stelae and obelisks, of which there are several specimens in the British Museum from the Assyrian ruins, and one in the Berlin Museum discovered in the island of Cyprus; on the colossal human-headed lions and bulls, upon parts not occupied by sculpture, as between the legs; on the sculptured slabs, generally in bands between two bassreliefs, to which they seem to refer; and, as in Persia and Armenia, carved on the face of rocks in the hill country. At Nimrod the same inscription is carved on nearly every slab in the north-west palace, and generally repeated on the back, and even carried across the sculptured colossal figures. The Assyrian inscriptions usually contain the chronicles of the king who built or restored the edifice in which they are found, records of his wars and expeditions into distant countries, of the amount of tribute and spoil taken from conquered tribes, of the building of temples and palaces, and invocations to the gods of Assyria. Frequently every stone and kiln-burned brick used in the building bears the name and titles of the king, and generally those of his father and grandfather are added. These inscribed bricks are of the greatest value in restoring the royal dynasties. The longest inscription on stone, that from the northwest palace of Nineveh containing the records of Sardanapalus II, has 325 lines; that on the black obelisk has 210. The most important hitherto discovered in connection with Biblical history is that upon a pair of colossal human-headed bulls from Kuyunjik, now in the British Museum, containing the records of Sennacherib, and describing, among other events, his wars with Hezekiah. It is accompanied by a series of bass-reliefs believed to represent the siege and capture of Lachish (see Layard, Nin. and Bab. p. 148-153).
A long list might be given of Biblical names occurring in the Assyrian inscriptions (id. p. 626). Those of three Jewish kings have been read: Jehu, son of Khumri (Omri), on the black obelisk (see Layard, Nineveh. and Babylon, p. 613); Menahem on a slab from the south-west palace, Nimrud, now in the British Museum (id. p. 617); and Hezekiah in the Kuvunjik records. The most important inscribed terra-cotta cylinders are those from Kalah Sherghat, with the annals of a king, whose name is believed to read Tiglath-Pileser not the same mentioned in the 2d book of King, but an earlier monarch, who is supposed to have reigned about B.C. 1110 (Rawlinson, Herod. 1:457); those from Khorsabad containing the annals of Sargon; those from Kuyunjik, especially one known as Bellino's cylinder, with the chronicles of Sennacherib; that from Nebbi Yunus with the records of Esarhaddon, and the fragments of three cylinders with those of his son. The longest inscription on a cylinder is of 820 lines. Such cylinders and inscribed slabs were generally buried beneath the foundations of great public buildings. Many fragments of cylinders and a vast collection of inscribed clay tablets, many in perfect preservation, and some bearing the impressions of seals, were discovered in a chamber at Kuyunjik, and are now deposited in the British Museum. They appear to include historical documents, vocabularies, astronomical and other calculations, calendars, directions for the performance of religious ceremonies, lists of the gods, their attributes, and the days appointed for their worship, descriptions of countries, lists of animals, grants of lands, etc. In this chamber was also found the piece of clay bearing the seal of the Egyptian king So or Sabaco. and that of an Assyrian monarch, either Sennacherib or his son, probably affixed to a treaty between the two, which, having been written on parchment or papyrus, had entirely perished (Layard, Nin. and Bab. p. 156).
IX. Treatment of the Dead. — It is strange that no representations of burial occur on the monuments, and that no tombs have been discovered in the mounds. Layard, indeed, regards the great cone at Nimrod as a royal tomb, but no human remains have been found; and other tombs, such as those excavated at Kuyunjik by Rassam, the Russian vice-consul, are said to be "of undoubtedly post-Assyrian date." It is as remarkable, on the other hand, that Chaldaea is full of tombs, every mound between Niffar and Mugeyer being a burial place. Arrian (De Exped. Alexand. 7:22) says that the tombs of the Assyrian kings were constructed in the marshes south of Babylon, and Chaldaea appears really to have been the ancient necropolis of Assyria. Warka, the old Erech, is, in fact, a vast cemetery, and "the whole region of lower Chaldaea abounds in sepulchral cities of immense extent" (Loftus, Chaldea and Susiana, p. 198,199).
X. Literature. — The chief authorities on the subject are Botta's Monuments de Nineve (Paris, 1849-50), Layard's Nineveh (Lond. 1851), and his Nineveh and Babylon (1853), with his Monuments of Nineveh (ibid. 1851-3); Prof. Rawlinson's Four Great Empires and Notes to Herodotus; Rich's Babylon and Persepolis; Chwolson, Ueber die Ueberreste der alt-babylonischen Literatur (St. Petersburg, 1859); Bonomi's Nineveh and its Palaces; Fergusson's Palaces of Nineveh and Pesepolis Restored; Vaux's Nineveh and Persepolis (Lond. 1850); Oppert's Elements de la Granmmaire Assyrienne (Paris, 1860); Les Fastes de Sargon (ibid. 1863); Chronologie des Bah. et Assyr. (1857); Oppert et' Menant, Grande inscription de Khorsabad (ibid. 1865); "The Assyrian Verb," some papers by Dr. Hincks in the Journal of Sacred Literature (1852, 1855); Brandisi Rerum Assyr. Temp. Emendat. (Bonn, 1853), and his iiber den histor. Gewinn, etc.; Marc. Niebuhr, Geschichte Assurs; Fox Talbot, Assyrian Texts Explained (Lond. 1856); Menant, Les Ecritures Cuneiformes (Paris, 1860, where the. history of cuneiform discovery is fully given); Jones's Topography of Nineveh, in Roy. As. Soc. Journal (1855); J. Blackburn, Rise and Ruin of Nineveh (Lond. 1852); T. W. Bosanquet, Fall of Nineveh (ibid. 1853); .Jour. Sac. Lit. April, 1851; April, 1858; April, 1860; Fletcher, Notes of Residence at Nineveh (Lond. 1850); G. V. Smith, Prophecies relating to Nineveh (ibid. 1857-8); Feer. Les Ruiaes de Ninive (Paris, 1864); Bretschneider, Ninive und Nahum (Munich, 1861); Tuch, De Nino urbe(Leips. 1849); Pole, Anc. Hist. and Mod. Expositors of Nineveh (Lond. 1854); Nichols, British Museum, p. 159 sq.; G. Smith, Hist. (of Assur-bani-pal (ibid. 1872); Assyria from the
Earliest Time (ibid. 1875); Recent Assyrian Discoveries (ibid. 1875); and the literature cited in the last-named work, p. 6 sq., especially Colossians Rawlinson's various monographs. See Blackwood's Magazine, 1854, 1:45, 462; 1856, 2:729; Meth. Quar. Rev. Oct. 1849. art. ii; Newman, Thrones and Palaces of Babylon and Nineveh (N.Y. 1876); Lond. Qu. Rev. Dec. 1848; Fraser's Mag. April, 1849; North Brit. Rev. May, 1853. Comp. also the works cited under SEE ASSYRIA; SEE CUNEIFOIRM.