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to the catastrophe, when the “iniquity” of the Ninevites was “full;" and generations, in solemn train, have seen the proud city at length sacked and destroyed by its united foes. All this has been, to the wise and the good, the rudiment of the last great account. Of all the chapters in the long-lost history of Assyria, it may be safely asserted, none could be more amazing, none fraught with deeper lessons of instruction, none more adapted to stain the pride of human glory, than those which Inspiration has graven, as with a pen of iron and lead, on monuments more lasting than Corinthian brass, and firmer than the “rocks” which “resist the billows and the sky."
Eager to reach the scene of such events, we yet pause to say a word in regard to a former theological Dispensation. We talk of Judaism as if it had been merely Local. Do we not, in this way, multiply the difficulties of a very grave question ?-The temple on Moriah was called A HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL PEOPLE. It had its spacious Court of the Gentiles, and (in its later times especially) its hosts of proselytes. Its central position fitted it to be, in a most important sense, the lighthouse of the world. Sion's prophets carried the “burden” of all surrounding tribes. Communities, remote as well as near, were brought into remarkable contact with the elect nation,-though, by reason of its simply rural pursuits and its religious isolation, it seemed not likely to attract their regard. On the whole, ought we not to qualify some of our statements, bearing on the past dealings of Providence and Grace with the children of men? Is not the mission of JONAH—which is introduced without any special note of the marvellous-a strong suggestion that the light of Judah was intended to spread far beyond the Promised Land, -to play at once, with more than solar bounty, on the Westward shores of the Mediterranean, and to the farthest East? But we leave this alluring subject.
Dr. Layard's modesty wins the reader's esteem ; but, though he pleads literary inexperience, the manner in which his task is executed needs no apology. Earnest, lively, graphic, he charms us in no ordinary degree. His introductory passages relate to prior labours in the same field. Modern criticism is altogether sceptical as to any Assyrian history by Herodotus; and of Ctesias, whatever little regard may be due to him, a few fragments only are preserved. In later writers we have a few gleams of information; but the authorities are various, and often quite doubtful. The attempt to obtain a list of Assyrian monarchs has been vain : yet, from Ninus to Sardanapalus, thirty generations passed away. In the dim distance, Ninus and Semiramis have expanded into heroic, and even divine, proportions ; but who has preserved the names of their successors ? So thick are the mists of this antiquity, that modern scholars have varied, by a thousand years, in assigning the principal dates. Why do they call their fragmentary materials HISTORY?
The men of Nineveh are seen, indeed, by other and reflected lights. In their Westward campaigns the Jews were implicated. We accordingly read, in the sacred pages, the names of some of the later Assyrian monarchs. Still the general history of their Empire receives little illustration. Its glories have faded away. The site of its towers and palaces has been for many ages unknown. Thousands of years has the bright sun risen on shapeless mounds and heaps of ruin, where once glowed the pride of beauty and all the splendours of oriental royalty. And, while a hundred generations have chased each other to the grave, “the voice of harpers” has been “ heard no more at all,” and “the sound of a millstone” has been “heard no more at all,” and “the light of a candle” has shone “no more at all,"
and “the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride” has been “heard no more at all," in the place that formerly gave laws to the earth, but dared to sin against the GOD OF HEAVEN.
Years ago Mr. Rich, of Baghdad, was led to examine the ruins of Babylon. The result was given to the European public from Vienna, in the « Mines de l'Orient,” and in a subsequent publication. He was next attracted (in 1820) to the great mounds opposite Mosul. A sculpture, exhumed some time before, had been utterly destroyed by Mohammedan zeal, inasmuch as the figures had been pronounced by the Ulema “ idols of the infidels.” This by no means quenched Mr. Rich's curiosity ; but fragments of pottery, a small stone chair, and a few bricks inscribed with cuneiform characters, seemed a poor reward for his toil. He noted the circunference of the largest mound of the group,—7,690 feet ; but little thought that there were buried the palaces of the Assyrian Kings. Small as was the result of his examinations, it must be remembered that these fragments “ were subsequently placed in the British Museum, and formed the principal, and indeed almost only, collection of Assyrian antiquities in Europe. A case scarcely three feet square enclosed all that remained, not only of the great city, Nineveh, but of Babylon itself.”
Referring to the autumn of 1839 and the following winter, Dr. Layard says,
I had traversed Asia Minor and Syria, Chaldæa. With these names are linked visiting the ancient seats of civilisation, great nations and great cities dimly and the spots which religion has made shadowed forth in history; mighty ruins, holy. I now felt an irresistible desire to in the midst of deserts, defying, by their penetrate to the regions beyond the Eu- very desolation and lack of definite phrates, to which history and tradition form, the description of the traveller; point as the birthplace of the wisdom of the remnants of mighty nations still the West. Most travellers, after a jour. roving over the land; the fulfilling and ney through the usually frequented parts fulfilment of prophecies; the plains to of the East, have the same longing to which the Jew and the Gentile alike cross the great river, and to explore those look as the cradle of their race. After a lands which are separated on the map journey in Syria, the thoughts naturally from the confines of Syria by a vast turn eastward ; and without treading on blank stretching from Aleppo to the the remains of Nineveh and Babylon our banks of the Tigris. A deep mystery pilgrimage is incomplete. hangs over Assyria, Babylonia, and
(Vol. i., pp. 2, 3.) On the 10th of April, 1840, Mr. Layard and his companion entered Mosul ; and they hastened to visit the now far-famed mounds near it, but beyond the Tigris. In that deep solitude, they could not fail to reflect that they stood in the midst of ruins on which Xenophon and his unfortunate Ten Thousand gazed twenty-two centuries ago, and which were even then the remains of an ancient city.
Were the traveller to cross the Eu- hill from the scorched plain, the fragphrates to seek for such ruins in Meso- ments of pottery, and the stupendous potamia and Chaldæa as he had left mass of brickwork occasionally laid bare behind him in Asia Minor or Syria, bis by the winter rains. He has left the search would be vain. The graceful land where nature is still lovely; where, column rising above the thick foliage of in his mind's eye, he can rebuild the the myrtle, ilex, and oleander; the gra- temple or the theatre, half doubting dines of the amphitheatre covering a whether they would have made a more gentle slope, and overlooking the dark grateful impression upon the senses than blue waters of a lake-like bay; the richly the ruin before him. He is now at a carved cornice or capital half hidden by loss to give any form to the rude heaps the luxuriant herbage, are replaced by upon which he is gazing. Those of the stern shapeless mound rising like a whose works they are the remains, unlike
VOL. VI._FOURTH SERIES.
the Roman and the Greek, have left no soil had been washed away by the curvisible traces of their civilisation, or of rent; but a solid mass of masonry still their arts: their influence has long since withstood its impetuosity. The Arab, passed away. The more he conjectures, who guided my small raft, gave himself the more vague the results appear. The up to religious ejaculations as we ap. scene around is worthy of the ruin he is proached this formidable cataract, over contemplating : desolation meets desola- which we were carried with some violence. tion; a feeling of awe succeeds to won. Once safely through the danger, he exder; for there is nothing to relieve the plained to me that this unusual change mind, to lead to hope, or to tell of what in the quiet face of the river was caused has gone by. These huge mounds of by a great dam which had been built by Assyria made a deeper impression upon Nimrod, and that in the autumn, before me, gave rise to more serious thoughts the winter rains, the huge stones of and more earnest reflection, than the tem which it was constructed, squared, and ples of Balbec and the theatres of Ionia. united by cramps of iron, were frequently
In the middle of April I left Mosul visible above the surface of the stream, for Baghdad. As I descended the It was, in fact, one of those monuments Tigris on a raft, I again saw the ruins of a great people, to be found in all the of Nimroud, and had a better opportunity rivers of Mesopotamia, which were unof examining them. It was evening as dertaken to ensure a constant supply of we approached the spot. The spring water to the innumerable canals, spreadrains had clothed the mound with the ing like net-work over the surrounding richest verdure, and the fertile meadows, country, and which, even in the days of which stretched around it, were covered Alexander, were looked upon as the with flowers of every hue. Amidst this works of an ancient nation. No wonder luxuriant vegetation were partly con that the traditions of the present inhacealed a few fragments of bricks, pottery, bitants of the land should assign them to and alabaster, upon which might be traced one of the Founders of the human race ! the well-defined wedges of the cuneiform The Arab explained the connexion becharacter. Did not these remains mark tween the dam and the city built by the nature of the ruin, it might have Athur, the lieutenant of Nimrod, the been confounded with a natural eminence. vast ruins of which were then before us,
A long line of consecutive narrow and of its purpose as a causeway for the mounds, still retaining the appearance of mighty hunter to cross to the opposite walls or ramparts, stretched from its palace, now represented by the mound of base, and formed a vast quadrangle. Hammum Ali. He was telling me of The river flowed at some distance from the histories and fate of the kings of a them : its waters, swollen by the melting primitive race, still the favourite theme of the snows on the Armenian hills, were of the inhabitants of the plains of Shinar, broken into a thousand foaming whirl. when the last glow of twilight faded pools by an artificial barrier, built across away, and I fell asleep as we glided the stream. On the eastern bank the onward to Baghdad. (Pp. 6_9.)
In the summer of 1842 Mr. Layard again saw Mosul. M. Botta had now been named French Consul there, and had begun certain excavations in the large mound, Kouyunjik. Corresponding from the Turkish capital with this Frenchman, Mr. Layard urged him to proceed, and to extend his researches as far as the mound of Nimroud. This, however, M. Botta was not prepared to undertake; but to him is due, as Mr. Layard with generous frankness insists, the honour of having found the first Assyrian monument. It was at Khorsabad, near the Kurdish mountains. The event is too interesting, especially in its bearing on subsequent investigations, to be passed over.
This remarkable discovery owed its origin to the following circumstances. The small party employed by M. Botta were at work on Kouyunjik, when a peasant from a distant village chanced to visit the spot. Seeing that every fragment of brick and alabaster uncovered by the workmen was carefully preserved,
he asked the reason of this strange pro. ceeding. On being informed that they were in search of sculptured stones, he advised them to try the mound on which his village was built, and in which, be declared, many such things had been exposed. M. Botta, having been frequently deceived by similar stories, was not at first inclined to follow the peasant's ad- its founders. Numerous inscriptions, vice, but subsequently sent an agent and accompanying the bas-reliefs, evidently one or two workmen to the place. After contained the explanation of the events a little opposition from the inhabitants, thus recorded in sculpture. They were they were permitted to sink a well in the in the cuneiform, or arrowheaded, chamound; and at a small distance from racter. The nature of these inscriptions the surface they came to the top of a was at least evidence that the building wall which, on digging deeper, they belonged to a period preceding the confound to be built of sculptured slabs of quests of Alexander; for it was generally gypsum. M. Borta, on receiving in admitted that, after the subjugation of formation of this discovery, went at once the west of Asia by the Macedonians, to the village, which was called Khor- the cuneiform writing ceased to be emsabad. He directed a wider trench to be ployed. But too little was then known formed, and to be carried in the direction of this character to enable M. Botta to of the wall. He soon found that he had draw any inference from the peculiar entered a chamber, connected with arrangement of the wedges, which disothers, and surrounded by slabs of gyp- tinguishes the varieties used in different sum covered with sculptured representa countries. However, it was evident that tions of battles, sieges, and similar events, the monument appertained to a very anHis wonder may easily be imagined. A cient and very civilised people, and it new history had been suddenly opened was natural from its position to refer it to him—the records of an unknown peo. to the inhabitants of Nineveh, a city, ple were before hiin. He was equally at which, although it could not have occua loss to account for the age and the pied a site so distant from the Tigris, nature of the monument. The art must have been in the vicinity of the shown in the sculptures, the dresses of place. M. Botta had discovered an the figures, the mythic forms on the Assyrian edifice, the first, probably, walls, were all new to him, and afforded which had been exposed to the view of no clue to the epoch of the erection of man since the fall of the Assyrian emthe edifice, and to the people who were pire. (Pp. 10-12.)
This building had been destroyed by fire; and now the action of the air on the gypsum slabs seemed destined to complete its ruin, and for ever to efface its records of ancient glory. Nearly everything disinterred fell to pieces. A hasty pencil could scarcely copy the forms as they came to light, and at that time there seemed to be no other way of arresting the fugitive beauties. M. Botta communicated at once with Mr. Layard, and with the “Académie” of France. Funds were placed at his disposal ; and a skilful artist was sent out to sketch the objects that could not be preserved. The result was a rich collection of Assyrian sculpture. Mr. Layard's opinion on the antiquity and origin of the edifice uncovered at Khorsabad, first appeared in the “ Malta Times,”—an early glimpse of the theory, now pretty generally held, that this monument may be connected " with the second dynasty of Assyrian Kings, or with one of those monarchs, Essaraddon * or Sennacherib, who extended his conquests over the greater part of Asia.”
But Nineveh was yet undiscovered ; and Mr. Layard was fired with intense desire to explore its site. Nimroud was uppermost in his thoughts; and, in the autumn of 1845, Sir Stratford Canning's munificence encouraged him to proceed. “Anxious to reach the end of my journey,” says he, “I crossed the mountains of Pontus and the great steppes of the Usun Yilak as fast as post-horses could carry me, descended the high lands into the valley of the Tigris, galloped over the vast plains of Assyria, and reached Mosul in twelve days.” Not less prudent than enthusiastic, he waited on Mohammed Pasha, the uncouth and cruel governor of the Province. (It is sufficiently amusing to hear that this rapacious fellow insisted on tooth-money-a pecuniary compensation, “levied upon all vil
* Mr. Layard's spelling is followed.
lages in which a man of such rank is entertained, for the wear and tear of his teeth in masticating the food he condescends to receive from the inhabitants.") This important person was most curious to know what had brought the stranger from the far West ; but it was expedient to use a little reserve. With the least possible stir, and with very few attendants, Mr. Layard made for Nimroud. He was so fortunate as to engage the services of Awad, a sheikh of the Jehesh, who was acquainted with the ruins. Awad was to superintend the workmen. But here let us take a sample of the tales current among the Arab villagers who roam about the ruins of a mighty city,—tales which are read or recited during the winter nights, and accounted too “religious” to be commonly told to strangers.
“ The palace," said Awad," was and power of men likewise. Before the built by Athur, the Kiayah, or lieute smallest of thy creatures will they pernant of Nimrod. Here the holy Abra ish.' And God was pleased at the faith ham, peace be with him! cast down and of the prophet; and He sent a gnat, brake in pieces the idols which were which vexed Nimrod night and day, so worshipped by the unbelievers. The that he built himself a room of glass in impious Nimrod, enraged at the destruc- yonder palace, that he might dwell tion of his gods, sought to slay Abra- therein, and shut out the insect. But ham, and waged war against him. But the gnat entered also, and passed by his the prophet prayed to God, and said, ear into his brain, upon wbich it fed, • Deliver me, O God, from this man, and increased in size day by day, so that who worships stones, and boasts himself the servants of Nimrod beat his head to be the lord of all beings;' and God with a hammer continually, that he said to him, “How shall I punish him?' might have some ease from his pain; And the prophet answered, “To Thee but he died after suffering these torments armies are as nothing, and the strength for 400 years."
The all-believing sheikh soon found six Arabs to work. And now, to quote Mr. Layard,
Hopes long cherished, were to be real. Nimroud broke like a distant mountain ized, or were to end in disappointment on the morning sky. But how changed Visions of palaces under ground, of gi. was the scene since my former visit! gantic monsters, of sculptured figures, The ruins were no longer covered with and endless inscriptions, floated before verdure and many-coloured flowers; no me. After forming plan after plan for sign of habitation, not even the black removing the earth, and extricating tent of the Arab, was seen upon the these treasures, I fancied myself wan- plain. The eye wandered over a parched dering in a maze of chambers from and barren waste, across which occasionwhich I could find no outlet. Then ally swept the whirlwind dragging with again, all was reburied, and I was stand- it a cloud of sand. About a mile from ing on the grass-covered mound
us was the small village of Nimroud,
like Naifa, a heap of ruins. The lofty cone and broad mound of
(Pp. 23_25.) The Arabs marvelled at our countryman ; but soon, among “handfuls of rubbish," appeared the fragments of a bas-relief,—then, a large alabaster slab, and a second, and a third, and ten more ; together forming a square, with one stone wanting at the north-west corner. The break was, obviously, the entrance to the chamber. At the south-west corner were pieces of calcined alabaster. Inscriptions in cuneiform were quickly exposed. Piercing the side of the mound, the excavators came to a wall, similarly inscribed. All things promising so well, five Turcomans of Selamiyah were added to the laborious band. “Before evening,” says Mr. Layard, “I found myself in a room built of slabs about eight feet high, and varying from six to four feet in breadth, placed upright and closely fitted together.” Several ivory ornaments were here picked up :