« VorigeDoorgaan »
the night, and kept up a continual bleating and about his neck is a string of sacred emcoughing until they were milked and turned blems; the tassels, fringes, and ornzout to pasture at daybreak.
ments of his dress, and the ornaments of The roofs not having been constructed to his exclude the winter rains now setting in, it re-l are elaborately displayed. Where the
to his person, his thrones, and his chiriots, BD quired some exercise of ingenuity to escape | the torrent which descended into my apart. |
king is not personally present, it is evi. ment. I usually passed the night on these dent that most of the tableaux relate to occasions crouched up in a corner, or under a his majesty's service, and principally to table which I had constructed. The latter, his wars and conquests. We have his having been surrounded by trenches to carry warriors in chariots, on horseback, and off the accumulating waters, generally afforded on foot ; spearmen, archers, men armed the best shelter.
with the sword and with the mace. We Though the interruptions of his work have his troops embarked in gallers, or were continual, and some of them of long on rafts supported by inflated skins. The duration, Mr. Layard did not desist from characters of the different countries which it until he had ascertained what were the are the theatres of war, are indicated by treasures of the principal mounds, se- trees, mountains, streams, marshes, by cured and transmitted to England a great the physiognomy and costumes of the many of the most valuable of those treas- enemy, by the kind of booty, and by the ures, traced out the forms of the buildings images of their gods, which are being carin which they were found, and deduced ried away in triumph. There is no Hofrom his discoveries much information, meric ascription of great qualities to the to modern nations quite new, concerning foe, although, as we shall see, we have the history and customs of the Assyrians much reason to believe that Ionia and of old. The sculptures, found in great Greece generally derived much of their quantity from time to time, were most of art and elegance from Assyria. On the them of the same character as those already contrary, the Assyrians seem to have had described, but they presented varieties of a charter for “whipping creation ; " they the same subjects, and the execution of pursue, they kill, they over-ride, they some far surpassed in merit that of others. crack a castle or a fenced city like a nut, The differences soon suggested that the they carry away captive whole nations, they ruins were of different periods ; and a clue load themselves with spoil. And this is was found to the dates, the names of the not the worst; we see them putting to builders, and the style of the architecture. I death and torturing their prisoners, and in But perhaps it may be well, before saying one slab flaying them alive. Scribes take how they serve to reconstruct history, or account of the enemies' heads that are to make intelligible some hitherto obscure brought in ; some of the enemy are seen allusions in ancient writings, to state what writhing impaled upon the field; birds of the subjects of the bas-reliefs and other prey fly through the air carrying in their figures were.
beaks the entrails of the slain ; but no A very large portion of the sculptures Assyrian is ever seen dead, or wounded, is intended to magnify and record the ex- or prisoner. In other compartments, ploits of the king, who is in most cases troops of women and children, and bands the principal figure. He is on his throne, of musicians, are going out to meet the receiving ambassadors who prostrate returning conquerors. Apes, camels, rhithemselves before him, and offer presents ; noceroses, elephants, antelopes, buffaloes, or he is performing religious services in come on the scene either as spoil or tribcompany with some of his gods; he is ute. hunting, destroying lions generally; or The king is in some places represented he is in his war-chariot, on the march or with the symbol of the supreme being in action, or directing the works of a above his head. This figure is like that siege, or the passage of a marsh, or giving of a man wearing a horned cap, such as orders concerning the disposal of the cap- is seen on the human-headed figures of tives. In other places he is superintend- animals, and shooting an arrow; it is suring civil works. There is an elaborate rounded by a circle with wings. Occarepresentation of the transport to its sionally the figure has three heads. There place in a building of a gigantic image of is a god with the head of a bird, and ana human-headed bull. Here and there other compounded of the figures of a man was found what was thought to be the and a fish. No doubt, among these are portrait of a monarch, on a very large Baal and Rimmon, and Nisroch and Nescale, wearing his robes and head-dress, bo. Again, the hunting pieces prove that and carrying royal symbols in his hand ; | the pursuit in which Nimrod excelled
maintained its reputation as long as As- seers, and superintended by the king in syria was an empire. The noblest chase person, attended by his guards, and sitof all was that of the lion, and it is the ting in a chariot with an umbrella over subject of very many bas-reliefs. The his head. The implements for this serking, generally attended, is shown to us vice were brought up in carts, or on men's despatching the other king of the beasts, shoulders. Crow-bars and other levers, to wit) by quite a Homeric variety of wedges, and rollers, seem to have been deaths. There is the hand-to-hand en the only mechanical powers used. There counter, where the monarch seizes the were plenty of strong cables to pull with. wild beast by his beard and stabs him The huge figure was supported in a through the heart, making us think of an- frame, and placed on a sledge, which was other king,
hauled by main force up the mound on
which stood the building to which it was Against whose fury and unmatched force The aweless lion could not wage the fight,
to be appropriated. Men steadied it while Nor keep his princely heart from Richard's
on its rough passage by ropes and poles, hand.
and a great lever, worked by many men
behind the sledge, served to guide the The lion is transfixed with javelins or mass or to help it over obstacles. Some arrows, and some of the most spirited of the overseers use speaking-trumpets sculptures are those which exhibit the to give their orders. It is a very animat animal as wounded and making desperate ed scene. Mr. Layard tells us that, beefforts of pain and rage; one fine speci-| fore he found these bas-reliefs, he had men is the figure of a maddened lion seiz
arranged and superintended the moving ing a chariot-wheel with his claws and of one of these colossal bulls from the teeth.* The king on one slab is pouring place where he found it to the Tigris for libations over dead lion's. But there is
conveyance to England, and that the other hunting too; we find leashes of means which he had used were the very fine dogs held in readiness for the sport, same which the Assyrians are shown in and afterwards are made to understand, the sculptures to be using, except that he by lifelike tableaux, how they pulled down I carried his figure on a cart instead of a the wild ass. Gazelles in many well-I sledge. Some of these bulls are twenty drawn attitudes flee before the hunters, I feet high ; the human-headed lions also or are transfixed by spears or arrows; lare very large ; on some of these figures and, by a scene which represents the cap- there are long inscriptions. ture of a wild ass, we learn that the lasso Some beautiful border-work of honeywas in use. Deer were destroyed in suckles, and of other flowers interspersed quantities. Preparations for the chase among figures of animals, was discovered ; furnish the subjects of a series of bas-re-l also an emblematic tree of peculiar trace, liefs. Huntmen and other servants are thought to be the tree of life. A number seen bringing out the hounds, and bear- of bells and of bronze weights in the ing themselves, or driving mules which forms of lions were found ; and there bear, ropes, gins, and nets, for the sport. I were altars and inscribed cylinders, parts Only one lady of rank has yet been seen of daggers, swords and shields, vases, on the sculptures, and she is probably a cups, and dishes. Two entire glass bowls queen, from the attendance and state and fragments of others were also turned which appertain to her. She is feasting up, and some ivory objects, one of which with a king, who reclines in Eastern fash- was thought to be a royal sceptre ; but a ion under a shade of vine branches. The more interesting discovery was that of piece is highly finished and admirably the king's throne itself. There it stood, preserved.
still recognizable as the chair of state One remarkable series of bas-reliefs delineated in the sculptures, although represents the process of moving to its twenty or more centuries must have place in a building one of the colossal elapsed since it had been seen by human human-headed bulls, weighing forty or leyes. “ With the exception of the legs, fiity tons each, of which Mr. Layard found
| which appear to have been partly of ivory, a great number. The laborious work is
it was of wood, cased or overlaid with done by innumerable captives, directed bronze. The metal was elaborately enin all its parts by taskmasters and over-graved and embossed with symbolical
| figures and ornaments, like those em• We have no reason to think that Assyrian achieve- broidered on the robes of the early Nimmect went bevond gallantly destroying the lion. The Egyptians tamed and utilized the beast, making him roud king, such as winged deities strugrun down game for them.
Igling with griffins, mythic animals, the
sacred tree, and the winged lion and bull. I the name of a king is frequently in. In front of the throne was the foot-stool, scribed ; and this offered a guide to disalso of wood overlaid with embossed covering the builder in each case, prometal, and adorned with the heads of vided the inscription could be underbulls. The feet ended in lions' paws and stood. And supposing the difficulties of pine-cones, like those of the throne.” | the writing and language to be to any exOf iron implements, were found pick-tent mastered, there were means of getheads, a double-handled saw, supposed ting at a good deal of the history of the heads of sledge-hammers, and an instru-empire, because there were inscriptions ment used for undermining walls in on the faces of some of the slabs. As sieges.
has been said, some of the large figures Having thus given a short account of also were inscribed : between the pairs what was found in the mounds of the of colossal figures guarding the entrances, Tigris, let us go on to say what are the there were generally large slabs with deductions which science has made from records on them; and obelisks and cylinthese relics. In the first place, the base- ders covered with historical inscriptions ments of the buildings in which the sculp- were also found. Now it is true that to tures stood have been, with great labour this day learned men are not quite agreed and patience, satisfactorily traced, so that as to the reading of the cuneiform writ. we know the ground-plans of some of ing, nor as to the meaning of the words. of them. Their walls were chiefly of There is, however, sufficient accord brick, either sun-dried or burnt, and the among them to warrant a belief that we bricks were generally inscribed or have got at the meaning of much of this stamped, and we read of some of them Assyrian writing, and that we can tell being painted and even gilded. The who built some of the palaces. sculptured slabs of gypsum made fa- The north-west palace at Nimroud is cings to the brickwork, and skirted the the largest there, and the oldest palace chambers to a greater or less height. that has been found. Its builder had a The winged lions and bulls were found jaw-breaking name, which is now very to stand generally flanking doorways or well known, and quite recognizable in main entrances. It has been pretty the Assyrian characters, but for the letclearly made out that the whole of these ters of it our greatest authorities do not discovered buildings were either royal all find exactly the same English equivapalaces or temples, or public buildings of lents. It is thought to be just such a some kind ; perhaps each of them served name as the Greeks would have smoothed more than one purpose. In the mound down into Eapdavatolo5; and accordingly, of Nimroud there were no less than four he has been distinguished as Sardanapaof these palaces, distinguished as the lus. He was a great warrior and builder, South-East, the South-West, the Centre, and flourished 900 years B.C. Since we and the North-West. At Khorsabad but have become acquainted with Assyrian one palace was discovered, and two at remains and records, it is known that Kouyunjik, although the records tell that there were several kings whose names there were more there. The mound at would be probably written “SardanapaKalah Shergat appears never to have lus” by the Greeks. Possibly these have been thoroughly explored : the perils of been confounded, and the acts of two or that neighbourhood were great ; the more of them ascribed to one. Clearly, Arabs were hostile and powerful, and the he of whom we are now speaking cannot tribes that were friendly to the explorers, be the Sardanapalus with whom we are and gave them protection, did not fancy best acquainted — namely, the one who a long sojourn near such formidable | lost the empire. bands. One or two figures, and the re- Shalmaneser, son of the above, built mains of many walls, were found in this the centre palace at Nimroud. He also large mound, as also a great number of was a great conqueror, and greatly tombs, showing Kalah Shergat to have strengthened his empire. He had tribubeen extensively used as a burying-place, taries in Chaldæa, Babylonia, and probut at a period subsequent to the destruc-ably in Persia, Syria, Phenicia, aud tion of the Assyrian empire. Mr. Layard Northern Mesopotamia. Armenia and does not, however, think that it ever con- Media also paid him tribute ; and in one tained a palace such as those in the other tablet * the Jewish king Jehu is said to mounds.
have acknowledged his power in this Now it fortunately happens that on the backs of the sculptured slabs of gypsum
Now in the British Muscum.
way. This fixes Shalmaneser's period to he left ample materials for collecting the somewhere about 840 years B.C.
| history of his own reign. He contributes Shalmaneser's grandson - whose name something, no doubt, to the Greek Saris given as Iva-lush, with variations ac- danapalus - indeed he is believed to be cording to the different methods of read the builder of Tarsus and Anchiale, and ing, and does not appear to be the same the author of the celebrated sensual with any historical name - built some motto about eating and drinking and beupper chambers on the mound of Nim-ing jolly — but his son was the sovereign roud, between the north-west and the who lost the empire, and perished in the south-west palaces. He also was a con- burning palace to which he had himself queror, and he had a wife with a name set fire. The Assyrian name of this son so suspiciously like Semiramis that some does not look like Sardanapalus at all, students believe her, though a personage and at present we do not know why of no pretension, to be the figure about the Greeks attributed the act of self-imwhich fables and glories have been molation to a Sardanapalus. wrapped and hung until she expanded We have picked out these notices of into the classical Semiramis. The world the builders of the palaces to give some has need to look to its heroes and hero- idea of the value of Mr. Layard's work. ines - William Tell is demolished, and it must be stated, however, that the outhere is Semiramis in a precarious con- line of a continuous history of the great dition.
Assyrian monarchy has already been The south-eastern palace at Nimroud traced from the disinterred records, and was built by Tiglath-Pileser, the third that the accounts of some of the reigns monarch of that name. He it was who are likely to be filled in with considercarried away captive some of the Jewish able minuteness whenever the deciphertribes. This was only one of many ex-ing of the inscriptions shall have been ploits. It is hoped that there are mate-accomplished; and very satisfactory acrials for ascertaining the chronicles of counts they are likely to be, for the sculphis reign with some distinctness, as it tures illustrate the history all along, and occurred at a period which is within the we learn the manner of doing things as reach of history – viz., 744 to 726 B.C. well as the things that were done.
The palace at Khorsabad, the remains As the mystery of the cuneiform writof which were discovered by M. Botta, ing is what stands between us and an exwas the work of Sargon (named in Isaiah, tensive and accurate knowledge of many XX. I), who seems to have been an East-periods of the history of Persia, Babyern Napoleon. He not only subdued the lonia, and Assyria, some account of this countries near about him, but also Syria, writing and its difficulties, as well as of Egypt, and Ethiopia, and carried his the means by which the difficulties were arms into Asia Minor, and even to the to some extent overcome, may be interisland of Cyprus.
esting. The element or unit in this kind The name of the next builder is more of writing is a figure in the shape of a familiar to us. Sennacherib, the son of wedge or arrow-head. Every separate Sargon, erected the grand palace at symbol, such as a letter or numeral, is Kouyunjik, and he and his descendants either a single wedge placed in a certain filled it with inscribed records of his attitude, or a cluster of wedges grouped reign, so that a full Assyrian history of in a particular manner. A single wedge that period (704 to 680 B.C.) may be forth- may of course be written vertically with coming. We know already from Scrip-| the thin or the broad end uppermost, it ture that Sennacherib was succeeded by may be written horizontally with the broad his son Esar-haddon; and Assyrian end to the right or to the left, and it may chronicles agree with this account, giving be written inclined to the vertical or to the successor's name as Asshur-akh-idin. the horizontal, and its point turned either This Esar-haddon built the south-westway — representing in every one of these palace at Nimroud with materials taken attitudes a different sound. If this varifrom the older palaces. He it was who ety can be achieved with a single wedge, carried Manasseh, King of Judah, away the great number of sounds that may be captive to Babylon about 677 B.C.
represented by different combinations of His son, a second Sardanapalus, built two or of more wedges may be imagined. the second or northern palace at Kouyun- | To find the different shapes that can be jik. He grea:ly embellished the palace made out of a limited number is an exof Sennacherib, filling it with sculpturesercise in permutation ; but if the number exhibiting that monarch's exploits, and / of wedges be unlimited, the combinations are infinite. When in modern times the He made a guess at the names on some remains of this kind of writing began to tablets known to relate to Persia — as. attract attention, there was not the suming that the characters on the oldslightest clue to its interpretation. The est stone meant Darius the son of Hysmeaning had utterly perished. If only a taspes, and that when one of these names word, or even a letter, had been certainly vanished while the other remained, alunderstood, the ingenious brains of though in a different position, and a new scholars would speedily by its means have name was introduced, the changed charlearned something more, and then from acters meant Xerxes the son of Darius.* that something advanced a further stage, Fortunately he had hit the mark, and, from the small seed obtaining at last a tree having assured himself that he knew the with many branches. But the ignorance names intended, he was able to ascertain was absolute; and yet, as we shall see, the sounds of some of the letters; these it was not hopeless, neither did it deter letters, with a little clever guessing, led students from essaying the solution of to the discovery of others, and so a breach this hard enigma. After a time, the was made in the wall of thick darkness faintest possible ray of light began to ap- which had shrouded the cuneiforin writing. pear. There was reason to believe, from It need hardly be stated that when one the length and the number of the words of the tongues on the trilingual tablets in three different sentences on the same came to be known, a key more or less efstone, that one and the same meaning fectual would be found for the others. In had been expressed in three different lan- | this way much progress has been made guages, or that each of these periods was with the interpretation, which has in many a translation of the other two. This dis- cases been proved to be sound by its covery did not seem to promise much, disclosure of facts unknown before, for all three tongues were written in cunei- but which subsequent discoveries have form characters, and all three were en- verified. Several times in the course of tirely unknown. If, as in the case of the his narratives Mr. Layard points to this Rosetta stone, one or more of the inscrip-versification, saying of some historical tions had been legible and intelligible, fact which his researches had brought the unknown part or parts would at once to light, or which had been worked have been to a certain extent clear. But out of inscriptions in some other tongue, where all three languages and modes of that it had been previously announced writing were equally obscure, how should by Sir H. Rawlinson, or Mr. Hincks, any one of them sérve to interpret the or M. Oppert, who had learned it from others? And yet these trilingual inscrip- the cuneiform tablets or cylinders. tions were the means of bringing light | Thus it was proved that they had read upon all three languages and modes of the cuneiform writing aright in many inwriting. A learned and most ingenious stances. There remain, notwithstanding, German scholar (Grotefend) observed numerous difficulties. Translators do not that a great many of these inscriptions agree as to all the details, and in some of were nearly the same as to length and the tongues symbols have been used for characters, the difference being in two or whole words, like hieroglyphics ; so that tlıree words introduced at a particular part one may know the alphabet, and yet be of the inscription. He thought it likely ignorant of what these symbols mean. that the inscriptions might repeat some One of the cylinders found in Nineveh set form, glorifying the king, or announ- was a sort of hornbook showing what cing some act of his, as the erection of a many of these signs meant, and thus little building, and that the words which were by little the darkness is being dispelled. not always the same were the names of As examples of the kind of information the different kings and of their fathers, which has been furnished, let the followlike Jeroboam the son of Nebat, according be taken. There is a detailed Assyre ing to Eastern custoin. This idea was ian account of the wars between Senstrengthened by the discovery that nacherib and Hezekiah, King of Judah, the word which seemed to represent the agreement of which with the Scripthe king on one stone would repre- tural account is most remarkable. The sent the king's father on a later taking of the city of Lachish is not only stone, and from a still later stone entirely disappear, while a new name was intro- * Of course he was aware of the extreme improbaduced. The learned decipherer at last bility of the names being spelt in Persian the same as in became satisfied