The continuance of Egyptian influence over Syrian civilization after the death of Ramses III. -- Egyptian myths in Phoenicia: Osiris and Isis at Byblos -- Horus, Thot, and the origin of the Egyptian alphabet -- The tombs at Arvad and the Kabr-Hiram; Egyptian designs in Phoenician glass and goldsmiths'work -- Commerce with Egypt, the withdrawal of Phoenician colonies in the AEgean Sea and the Achaeans in Cyprus; maritime expeditions in the Western Mediterranean.
Northern Syria: the decadence of the Hittites and the steady growth of the Aramaean tribes -- The decline of the Babylonian empire under the Cossaean kings, and its relations with Egypt: Assuruballit, Bammdn-nirdri I. and the first Assyrian conquests -- Assyria, its climate, provinces, and cities: the god Assur and his Ishtar -- The wars against Chaldaea: Shalmaneser I., Tulculi-ninip I., and the taking of Babylon -- Belchadrezzar and the last of the Cosssaeans.
The dynasty of Pashe: Nebuchadrezzar I., his disputes with Elam, his defeat by Assurrishishi -- The legend of the first Assyrian empire, Ninos and Semiramis -- The Assyrians and their political constitution: the limmu, the king and his divine character, his hunting and his wars -- The Assyrian army: the infantry and chariotry, the crossing of rivers, mode of marching in the plains and in the mountain districts -- Camps, battles, sieges; cruelty shown to the vanquished, the destruction of towns and the removal of the inhabitants, the ephemeral character of the Assyrian conquests.
Tiglath pileser I.: Ms campaign against the Mushhu, his conquest of Kurhhi and of the regions of the Zab -- The petty Asiatic kingdoms and their civilization: art and writing in the old Hittite states -- Tiglath-pileser I. in Nairi and in Syria: his triumphal stele at Sebbeneh-Su -- His buildings, his hunts, his conquest of Babylon -- Merodach-nadin-akhi and the close of the Pashe dynasty -- Assur-belkala and Samsi-ramman III.: the decline of Assyria -- Syria without a foreign rider: the incapacity of the Khdti to give unity to the country.
[Illustration: 099.jpg Page Image]
Phoenicia and the northern nations after the death of Ramses III. -- The first Assyrian empire: Tiglath-pileser I. -- The Aramoans and the Khati.
The cessation of Egyptian authority over countries in which it had so long prevailed did not at once do away with the deep impression which it had made upon their constitution and customs. While the nobles and citizens of Thebes were adopting the imported worship of Baal and Astarte, and were introducing into the spoken and written language words borrowed from Semitic speech, the Syrians, on the other hand, were not unreceptive of the influence of their conquerors. They had applied themselves zealously to the study of Egyptian arts, industry and religion, and had borrowed from these as much, at least, as they had lent to the dwellers on the Nile. The ancient Babylonian foundation of their civilization was not, indeed, seriously modified, but it was covered over, so to speak, with an African veneer which varied in depth according to the locality.*
* Most of the views put forth in this part of the chapter are based on posterior and not contemporary data. The most ancient monuments which give evidence of it show it in such a complete state that we may fairly ascribe it to some centuries earlier; that is, to the time when Egypt still ruled in Syria, the period of the XIXth and even the XVIIIth dynasty.
Phoenicia especially assumed and retained this foreign exterior. Its merchants, accustomed to establish themselves for lengthened periods in the principal trade-centres on the Nile, had become imbued therein with something of the religious ideas and customs of the land, and on returning to their own country had imported these with them and propagated them in their neighbourhood. They were not content with other household utensils, furniture, and jewellery than those to which they had been accustomed on the Nile, and even the Phonician gods seemed to be subject to this appropriating mania, for they came to be recognised in the indigenous deities of the Said and the Delta. There was, at the outset, no trait in the character of Baalat by which she could be assimilated to Isis or Hathor: she was fierce, warlike, and licentious, and wept for her lover, while the Egyptian goddesses were accustomed to shed tears for their husbands only. It was this element of a common grief, however, which served to associate the Phonician and Egyptian goddesses, and to produce at length a strange blending of their persons and the legends concerning them; the lady of Byblos ended in becoming an Isis or a Hathor,* and in playing the part assigned to the latter in the Osirian drama.
* The assimilation must have been ancient, since the Egyptians of the Theban dynasties already accepted Baalat as the Hathor of Byblos.
[Illustration: 101.jpg THE TREE GROWING ON THE TOMB OF OSIRIS]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from Prisse d'Avennes
This may have been occasioned by her city having maintained closer relationships than the southern towns with Buto and Mendes, or by her priests having come to recognise a fundamental agreement between their theology and that of Egypt. In any case, it was at Byblos that the most marked and numerous, as well as the most ancient, examples of borrowing from the religions of the Nile were to be found. The theologians of Byblos imagined that the coffin of Osiris, after it had been thrown into the sea by Typhon, had been thrown up on the land somewhere near their city at the foot of a tamarisk, and that this tree, in its rapid growth, had gradually enfolded within its trunk the body and its case. King Malkander cut it down in order to use it as a support for the roof of his palace: a marvellous perfume rising from it filled the apartments, and it was not long before the prodigy was bruited abroad. Isis, who was travelling through the world in quest of her husband, heard of it, and at once realised its meaning: clad in rags and weeping, she sat down by the well whither the women of Byblos were accustomed to come every morning and evening to draw water, and, being interrogated by them, refused to reply; but when the maids of Queen Astarte* approached in their turn, they were received by the goddess in the most amiable manner -- Isis deigning even to plait their hair, and to communicate to them the odour of myrrh with which she herself was impregnated.
* Astarte is the name taken by the queen in the Phoenician version: the Egyptian counterpart of the same narrative substituted for it Nemanous or Saosis; that is to say, the two principal forms of Hathor -- the Hermopolitan Nahmauit and the Heliopolitan lusasit. It would appear from the presence of these names that there must have been in Egypt two versions at least of the Phoenician adventures of Isis -- the one of Hermopolitan and the other of Heliopolitan origin.
Their mistress came to see the stranger who had thus treated her servants, took her into her service, and confided to her the care of her lately born son. Isis became attached to the child, adopted it for her own, after the Egyptian manner, by inserting her finger in its mouth; and having passed it through the fire during the night in order to consume away slowly anything of a perishable nature in its body, metamorphosed herself into a swallow, and flew around the miraculous pillar uttering plaintive cries. Astarte came upon her once while she was bathing the child in the flame, and broke by her shrieks of fright the charm of immortality. Isis was only able to reassure her by revealing her name and the object of her presence there. She opened the mysterious tree-trunk, anointed it with essences, and wrapping it in precious cloths, transmitted it to the priests of Byblos, who deposited it respectfully in their temple: she put the coffin which it contained on board ship, and brought it, after many adventures, into Egypt. Another tradition asserts, however, that Osiris never found his way back to his country: he was buried at Byblos, this tradition maintained, and it was in his honour that the festivals attributed by the vulgar to the young Adonis were really celebrated. A marvellous fact seemed to support this view. Every year a head of papyrus, thrown into the sea at some unknown point of the Delta, was carried for six days along the Syrian coast, buffeted by wind and waves, and on the seventh was thrown up at Byblos, where the priests received it and exhibited it solemnly to the people.* The details of these different stories are not in every case very ancient, but the first fact in them carries us back to the time when Byblos had accepted the sovereignty of the Theban dynasties, and was maintaining daily commercial and political relations with the inhabitants of the Nile valley.**
* In the later Roman period it was letters announcing the resurrection of Adonis-Osiris that the Alexandrian women cast into the sea, and these were carried by the current as far as Byblos. See on this subject the commentaries of Cyril of Alexandra and Procopius of Gaza on chap, xviii. of Isaiah.
** It is worthy of note that Philo gives to the divinity with the Egyptian name Taautos the part in the ancient history of Phoenicia of having edited the mystic writings put in order by Sanchoniathon at a very early epoch.
The city proclaimed Horus to be a great god.* El-Kronos allied himself with Osiris as well as with Adonis; Isis and Baalat became blended together at their first encounter, and the respective peoples made an exchange of their deities with the same light-heartedness as they displayed in trafficking with the products of their soil or their industry.
* This is confirmed by one of the names inscribed on the Tel el-Amarna tablets as being that of a governor of Byblos under Amenothes IV. This name was read Rabimur, Anrabimur, or Ilrabimur, and finally Ilurabihur: the meaning of it is, "Muru is the great god," or "Horus is the great god." Muru is the name which we find in an appellation of a Hittite king, Maurusaru, "Mauru is king." On an Aramoan cylinder in the British Museum, representing a god in Assyrian dress fighting with two griffins, there is the inscription "Horkhu," Harmakhis.
[Illustration: 104.jpg THE PHOENICIAN HORUS]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from an intaglio engraved in Cesnola. The Phoenician figures of Horus and Thot which I have reproduced were pointed out to me by my friend Clermont-Ganneau.
After Osiris, the Ibis Thot was the most important among the deities who had emigrated to Asia. He was too closely connected with the Osirian cycle to be forgotten by the Phoenicians after they had adopted his companions. We are ignorant of the particular divinity with whom he was identified, or would be the more readily associated from some similarity in the pronunciation of his name: we know only that he still preserved in his new country all the power of his voice and all the subtilty of his mind. He occupied there also the position of scribe and enchanter, as he had done at Thebes, Memphis, Thinis, and before the chief of each Heliopolitan Ennead. He became the usual adviser of El-Kronos at Byblos, as he had been of Osiris and Horus; he composed charms for him, and formulae which increased the warlike zeal of his partisans; he prescribed the form and insignia of the god and of his attendant deities, and came finally to be considered as the inventor of letters.*
* The part of counsellor which Thot played in connexion with the god of Byblos was described at some length in the writings attributed to Sankhoniathon.
[Illustration: 105.jpg THE PHOENICIAN THOT]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, after an intaglio engraved in M. de Vogue.
The epoch, indeed, in which he became a naturalised Phoenician coincides approximately with a fundamental revolution in the art of writing -- that in which a simple and rapid stenography was substituted for the complicated and tedious systems with which the empires of the ancient world had been content from their origin. Tyre, Sidon, Byblos, Arvad, had employed up to this period the most intricate of these systems. Like most of the civilized nations of Western Asia, they had conducted their diplomatic and commercial correspondence in the cuneiform character impressed upon clay tablets. Their kings had had recourse to a Babylonian model for communicating to the Amenothes Pharaohs the expression of their wishes or their loyalty; we now behold them, after an interval of four hundred years and more* -- during which we have no examples of their monuments -- possessed of a short and commodious script, without the encumbrance of ideograms, determinatives, polyphony and syllabic sounds, such as had fettered the Egyptian and Chaldaean scribes, in spite of their cleverness in dealing with them. Phonetic articulations were ultimately resolved into twenty-two sounds, to each of which a special sign was attached, which collectively took the place of the hundreds or thousands of signs formerly required.
* The inscription on the bronze cup dedicated to the Baal of the Lebanon, goes back probably to the time of Hiram I., say the Xth century before our era; the reasons advanced by Winckler for dating it in the time of Hiram II. have not been fully accepted up to the present. By placing the introduction of the alphabet somewhere between Amenothes IV. in the XVth and Hiram I. in the Xth century before our era, and by taking the middle date between them, say the accession of the XXIs'dynasty towards the year 1100 B.C. for its invention or adoption, we cannot go far wrong one way or the other.
[Illustration: 106.jpg ONE OF THE MOST ANCIENT PHOENICIAN INSCRIPTIONS]
Drawn by Paucher-Gudin, from a heliogravure. This is the cup of the Baal of the Lebanon.
This was an alphabet, the first in point of time, but so ingenious and so pliable that the majority of ancient and modern nations have found it able to supply all their needs -- Greeks and Europeans of the western Mediterranean on the one hand, and Semites of all kinds, Persians and Hindus on the other.
[Illustration: 107.jpg Table of Alphabets]
It must have originated between the end of the XVIIIth and the beginning of the XXIst dynasties, and the existence of Pharaonic rule in Phoenicia during this period has led more than one modern scholar to assume that it developed under Egyptian influence.*
* The hypothesis of an Egyptian origin, suggested casually by Champollion, has been ably dealt with by E. de Rouge. E. de Rouge derives the alphabet from the Hieratic, and his identifications have been accepted by Lauth, by Brugsch, by P. Lenormant, and by Isaac Taylor. Halevy would take it from the Egyptian hieroglyphics directly without the intervention of the Hieratic. The Egyptian origin, strongly contested of late, has been accepted by the majority of scholars.
Some affirm that it is traceable directly to the hieroglyphs, while others seek for some intermediary in the shape of a cursive script, and find this in the Hieratic writing, which contains, they maintain, prototypes of all the Phoenician letters. Tables have been drawn up, showing at a glance the resemblances and differences which appear respectively to justify or condemn their hypothesis. Perhaps the analogies would be more evident and more numerous if we were in possession of inscriptions going back nearer to the date of origin. As it is, the divergencies are sufficiently striking to lead some scholars to seek the prototype of the alphabet elsewhere -- either in Babylon, in Asia Minor, or even in Crete, among those barbarous hieroglyphs which are attributed to the primitive inhabitants of the island. It is no easy matter to get at the truth amid these conflicting theories. Two points only are indisputable; first, the almost unanimous agreement among writers of classical times in ascribing the first alphabet to the Phoenicians; and second, the Phonician origin of the Greek, and afterwards of the Latin alphabet which we employ to-day.
To return to the religion of the Phoenicians: the foreign deities were not content with obtaining a high place in the estimation of priests and people; they acquired such authority over the native gods that they persuaded them to metamorphose themselves almost completely into Egyptian divinities.
[Illustration: 109.jpg RASHUF ON HIS LION]
Drawn by Paucher-Gudin, from a photograph reproduced in Clermont-Ganneau.
One finds among the majority of them the emblems commonly used in the Pharaonic temples, sceptres with heads of animals, head-dress like the Pschent, the crux ansata, the solar disk, and the winged scarab. The lady of Byblos placed the cow's horns upon her head from the moment she became identified with Hathor.* The Baal of the neighbouring Arvad -- probably a form of Bashuf -- was still represented as standing upright on his lion in order to traverse the high places: but while, in the monument which has preserved the figure of the god, both lion and mountain are given according to Chaldaean tradition, he himself, as the illustration shows, is dressed after the manner of Egypt, in the striped and plaited loin-cloth, wears a large necklace on his neck and bracelets on his arms, and bears upon his head the white mitre with its double plume and the Egyptian uraaus.**
* She is represented as Hathor on the stele of Iehav-melek, King of Byblos, during the Persian period.
** This monument, which belonged to the Peretie collection, was found near Amrith, at the place called Nahr-Abrek. The dress and bearing are so like those of the Rashuf
He brandishes in one hand the weapon of the victor, and is on the point of despatching with it a lion, which he has seized by the tail with the other, after the model of the Pharaonic hunters, Amenothes I. and Thutmosis III. The lunar disk floating above his head lends to him, it is true, a Phonician character, but the winged sun of Heliopolis hovering above the disk leaves no doubt as to his Egyptian antecedents.*
* The Phonician symbol represents the crescent moon holding the darkened portion in its arms, like the symbol reserved in Egypt for the lunar gods.
[Illustration: 110.jpg A PHOENICIAN GOD IN HIS EGYPTIAN SHRINE]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from Renan.
The worship, too, offered to these metamorphosed gods was as much changed as the deities themselves; the altars assumed something of the Egyptian form, and the tabernacles were turned into shrines, which were decorated at the top with a concave groove, or with a frieze made up of repetitions of the uraeus. Egyptian fashions had influenced the better classes so far as to change even their mode of dealing with the dead, of which we find in not a few places clear evidence. Travellers arriving in Egypt at that period must have been as much astonished as the tourist of to-day by the monuments which the Egyptians erected for their dead.
[Illustration: 111.jpg AMENOTHES I. SEIZING A LION]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin. This monument was in the Louvre Museum. Analogous figures of gods or kings holding a lion by the tail are found on various monuments of the Theban dynasties.
The pyramids which met their gaze, as soon as they had reached the apex of the Delta, must have far surpassed their ideas of them, no matter how frequently they may have been told about them, and they must have been at a loss to know why such a number of stones should have been brought together to cover a single corpse. At the foot of these colossal monuments, lying like a pack of hounds asleep around their master, the mastabas of the early dynasties were ranged, half buried under the sand, but still visible, and still visited on certain days by the descendants of their inhabitants, or by priests charged with the duty of keeping them up. Chapels of more recent generations extended as a sort of screen before the ancient tombs, affording examples of the two archaic types combined -- the mastaba more or less curtailed in its proportions, and the pyramid with a more or less acute point. The majority of these monuments are no longer in existence, and only one of them has come down to us intact -- that which Amenothes III. erected in the Serapeum at Memphis in honour of an Apis which had died in his reign.
[Illustration: 112.jpg A PHOENICIAN MASTABA AT ARVAD]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from the restoration by Thobois, as given in Renan. The cuttings made in the lower stonework appear to be traces of unfinished steps. The pyramid at the top is no longer in existence, but its remains are scattered about the foot of the monument, and furnished M. Thobois with the means of reconstructing with exactness the original form.
Phoenicians visiting the Nile valley must have carried back with them to their native country a remembrance of this kind of burying-place, and have suggested it to their architects as a model. One of the cemeteries at Arvad contains a splendid specimen of this imported design.*
* Pietschmann thinks that the monument is not older than the Greek epoch, and it must be admitted that the cornice is not such as we usually meet with in Egypt in Theban times; nevertheless, the very marked resemblance to the Theban mastaba shows that it must have been directly connected with the Egyptian type which prevailed from the XVIIIth to the XXth dynasties.
[Illustration: 113.jpg TWO OF THE TOMBS AT ARVAD]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a water-colour by Thobois, reproduced in Renan.
It is a square tower some thirty-six feet high; the six lower courses consist of blocks, each some sixteen and a half feet long, joined to each other without mortar. The two lowest courses project so as to form a kind of pedestal for the building. The cornice at the top consists of a deep moulding, surmounted by a broad flat band, above which rises the pyramid, which attains a height of nearly thirty feet. It is impossible to deny that it is constructed on a foreign model; it is not a slavish imitation, however, but rather an adaptation upon a rational plan to the conditions of its new home. Its foundations rest on nothing but a mixture of soil and sand impregnated with water, and if vaults had been constructed beneath this, as in Egypt, the body placed there would soon have corrupted away, owing to the infiltration of moisture. The dead bodies were, therefore, placed within the structure above ground, in chambers corresponding to the Egyptian chapel, which were superimposed the one upon the other. The first storey would furnish space for three bodies, and the second would contain twelve, for which as many niches were provided. In the same cemetery we find examples of tombs which the architect has constructed, not after an Egyptian, but a Chaldaean model. A round tower is here substituted for the square structure and a cupola for the pyramid, while the cornice is represented by crenellated markings. The only Egyptian feature about it is the four lions, which seem to support the whole edifice upon their backs.*
* The fellahin in the neighbourhood call these two monuments the Meghazil or "distaffs."
Arvad was, among Phoenician cities, the nearest neighbour to the kingdoms on the Euphrates, and was thus the first to experience either the brunt of an attack or the propagation of fashions and ideas from these countries. In the more southerly region, in the country about Tyre, there are fewer indications of Babylonian influence, and such examples of burying-places for the ruling classes as the Kabr-Hiram and other similar tombs correspond with the mixed mastaba of the Theban period. We have the same rectangular base, but the chapel and its crowning pyramid are represented by the sarcophagus itself with its rigid cover. The work is of an unfinished character, and carelessly wrought, but there is a charming simplicity about its lines and a harmony in its proportions which betray an Egyptian influence.
[Illustration: 115.jpg THE KABR-HIRAM NEAR TYRE]
Drawn by Boudier, from a sketch by Thobois, reproduced by Renan.
The spirit of imitation which we find in the religion and architecture of Phoenicia is no less displayed in the minor arts, such as goldsmiths'work, sculpture in ivory, engraving on gems, and glass-making. The forms, designs, and colours are all rather those of Egypt than of Chaldaea. The many-hued glass objects, turned out by the manufacturers of the Said in millions, furnished at one time valuable cargoes for the Phoenicians; they learned at length to cast and colour copies of these at home, and imitated their Egyptian models so successfully that classical antiquity was often deceived by them.*
* Glass manufacture was carried to such a degree of perfection among the Phoenicians, that many ancient authors attributed to them the invention of glass.
Their engravers, while still continuing to employ cones and cylinders of Babylonian form, borrowed the scarab type also, and made use of it on the bezils of rings, the pendants of necklaces, and on a kind of bracelet used partly for ornament and partly as a protective amulet. The influence of the Egyptian model did not extend, however, amongst the masses, and we find, therefore, no evidence of it in the case of common objects, such as those of coarse sand or glazed earthenware. Egyptian scarab forms were thus confined to the rich, and the material upon which they are found is generally some costly gem, such as cut and polished agate, onyx, haematite, and lapis-lazuli. The goldsmiths did not slavishly copy the golden and silver bowls which were imported from the Delta; they took their inspiration from the principles displayed in the ornamentation of these objects, but they treated the subjects after their own manner, grouping them afresh and blending them with new designs. The intrinsic value of the metal upon which these artistic conceptions had been impressed led to their destruction, and among the examples which have come down to us I know of no object which can be traced to the period of the Egyptian conquest. It was Theban art for the most part which furnished the Phoenicians with their designs. These included the lotus, the papyrus, the cow standing in a thicket and suckling her calf, the sacred bark, and the king threatening with his uplifted arm the crowd of conquered foes who lie prostrate before him.
[Illustration: 117.jpg EGYPTIAN TREATMENT OF THE COW ON A PHOENICIAN BOWL]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, after Grifi.
The king's double often accompanied him on some of the original objects, impassive and armed with the banner bearing the name of Horus. The Phoenician artist modified this figure, which in its original form did not satisfy his ideas of human nature, by transforming it into a protective genius, who looks with approval on the exploits of his protege, and gathers together the corpses of those he has slain. Once these designs had become current among the goldsmiths, they continued to be supplied for a long period, without much modification, to the markets of the Eastern and Western worlds. Indeed, it was natural that they should have taken a stereotyped form, when we consider that the Phoenicians who employed them held continuous commercial relations with the country whence they had come -- a country of which, too, they recognised the supremacy. Egypt in the Ramesside period was, as we have seen, distinguished for the highest development of every branch of industry; it had also a population which imported and exported more raw material and more manufactured products than any other.
[Illustration: 118.jpg THE KING AND HIS DOUBLE ON A PHOENICIAN BOWL]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a sketch by Longperier.
The small nation which acted as a commercial intermediary between Egypt and the rest of the world had in this traffic a steady source of profit, and even in providing Egypt with a single article -- for example, bronze, or the tin necessary for its preparation -- could realise enormous profits. The people of Tyre and Sidon had been very careful not to alienate the good will of such rich customers, and as long as the representatives of the Pharaoh held sway in Syria, they had shown themselves, if not thoroughly trustworthy vassals, at least less turbulent than their neighbours of Arvad and Qodshu. Even when the feebleness and impotence of the successors of Ramses III. relieved them from the obligation of further tribute, they displayed towards their old masters such deference that they obtained as great freedom of trade with the ports of the Delta as they had enjoyed in the past. They maintained with these ports the same relations as in the days of their dependence, and their ships sailed up the river as far as Memphis, and even higher, while the Egyptian galleys continued to coast the littoral of Syria. An official report addressed to Hrihor by one of the ministers of the Theban Amon, indicates at one and the same time the manner in which these voyages were accomplished, and the dangers to which their crews were exposed. Hrihor, who was still high priest, was in need of foreign timber to complete some work he had in hand, probably the repair of the sacred barks, and commanded the official above mentioned to proceed by sea to Byblos, to King Zikarbal,* in order to purchase cedars of Lebanon.
* This is the name which classical tradition ascribed to the first husband of Dido, the founder of Carthage -- Sicharbas, Sichaeus, Acerbas.
The messenger started from Tanis, coasted along Kharu, and put into the harbour of Dor, which then belonged to the Zakkala: while he was revictualling his ship, one of the sailors ran away with the cash-box. The local ruler, Badilu, expressed at first his sympathy at this misfortune, and gave his help to capture the robber; then unaccountably changing his mind he threw the messenger into prison, who had accordingly to send to Egypt to procure fresh funds for his liberation and the accomplishment of his mission. Having arrived at Byblos, nothing occurred there worthy of record. The wood having at length been cut and put on board, the ship set sail homewards. Driven by contrary winds, the vessel was thrown upon the coast of Alasia, where the crew were graciously received by the Queen Khatiba. We have evidence everywhere, it may be stated, as to the friendly disposition displayed, either with or without the promptings of interest, towards the representative of the Theban pontiff. Had he been ill-used, the Phoenicians living on Egyptian territory would have been made to suffer for it.
Navigators had to take additional precautions, owing to the presence of AEgean or Asiatic pirates on the routes followed by the mercantile marine, which rendered their voyages dangerous and sometimes interrupted them altogether. The Syrian coast-line was exposed to these marauders quite as much as the African had been during the sixty or eighty years which followed the death of Ramses II.; the seamen of the north -- Achaeans and Tyrseni, Lycians and Shardanians -- had pillaged it on many occasions, and in the invasion which followed these attacks it experienced as little mercy as Naharaim, the Khati, and the region of the Amorites. The fleets which carried the Philistines, the Zakkala, and their allies had devastated the whole coast before they encountered the Egyptian ships of Ramses III. near Magadil, to the south of Carmel. Arvad as well as Zahi had succumbed to the violence of their attack, and if the cities of Byblos, Berytus, Sidon, and Tyre had escaped, their suburbs had been subjected to the ravages of the foe.*
* See, for this invasion, vol. v. pp.305-311, of the present work.
Peace followed the double victory of the Egyptians, and commerce on the Mediterranean resumed once more its wonted ways, but only in those regions where the authority of the Pharaoh and the fear of his vengeance were effective influences. Beyond this sphere there were continual warfare, piracy, migrations of barbaric hordes, and disturbances of all kinds, among which, if a stranger ventured, it was at the almost certain risk of losing his life or liberty. The area of undisturbed seas became more and more contracted in proportion as the memory of past defeats faded away. Cyprus was not comprised within it, and the AEgeans, who were restrained by the fear of Egypt from venturing into any region under her survey, perpetually flocked thither in numerous bodies. The Achaeans, too, took up their abode on this island at an early date -- about the time when some of their bands were infesting Libya, and offering their help to the enemies of the Pharaoh. They began their encroachments on the northern side of the island -- the least rich, it is true, but the nearest to Cilicia, and the easiest to hold against the attacks of their rivals. The disaster of Piriu had no doubt dashed their hopes of finding a settlement in Egypt: they never returned thither any more, and the current of emigration which had momentarily inclined towards the south, now set steadily towards the east, where the large island of Cyprus offered an unprotected and more profitable field of adventure. We know not how far they penetrated into its forests and its interior. The natives began, at length, under their influence, to despise the customs and mode of existence with which they had been previously contented: they acquired a taste for pottery rudely decorated after the Mycenean manner, for jewellery, and for the bronze swords which they had seen in the hands of the invaders. The Phoenicians, in order to maintain their ground against the intruders, had to strengthen their ancient posts or found others -- such as Carpasia, Gerynia, and Lapathos on the Achaean coast itself, Tamassos near the copper-mines, and a new town, Qart-hadashat, which is perhaps only the ancient Citium under a new name.* They thus added to their earlier possessions on the island regions on its northern side, while the rest either fell gradually into the hands of Hellenic adventurers, or continued in the possession of the native populations. Cyprus served henceforward as an advance-post against the attacks of Western nations, and the Phoenicians must have been thankful for the good fortune which had made them see the wisdom of fortifying it. But what became of their possessions lying outside Cyprus? They retained several of them on the southern coasts of Asia Minor, and Rhodes remained faithful to them, as well as Thasos, enabling them to overlook the two extremities of the Archipelago;** but, owing to the movements of the People of the Sea and the political development of the Mycenean states, they had to give up the stations and harbours of refuge which they held in the other islands or on the continent.
* It is mentioned in the inscription of Baal of Lebanon, and in the Assyrian inscriptions of the VII"'century B.C.
* This would appear to be the case, as far as Rhodes is concerned, from the traditions which ascribed the final expulsion of the Phoenicians to a Doric invasion from Argos. The somewhat legendary accounts of the state of affairs after the Hellenic conquest are in the fragments of Ergias and Polyzelos.
They still continued, however, to pay visits to these localities -- sometimes in the guise of merchants and at others as raiders, according to their ancient custom. They went from port to port as of old, exposing their wares in the market-places, pillaging the farms and villages, carrying into captivity the women and children whom they could entice on board, or whom they might find defenceless on the strand; but they attempted all this with more risk than formerly, and with less success. The inhabitants of the coast were possessed of fully manned ships, similar in form to those of the Philistines or the Zakkala, which, at the first sight of the Phoenicians, set out in pursuit of them, or, following the example set by their foe, lay in wait for them behind some headland, and retaliated upon them for their cruelty. Piracy in the Archipelago was practised as a matter of course, and there was no islander who did not give himself up to it when the opportunity offered, to return to his honest occupations after a successful venture. Some kings seem to have risen up here and there who found this state of affairs intolerable, and endeavoured to remedy it by every means within their power: they followed on the heels of the corsairs and adventurers, whatever might be their country; they followed them up to their harbours of refuge, and became an effective police force in all parts of the sea where they were able to carry their flag. The memory of such exploits was preserved in the tradition of the Cretan empire which Minos had constituted, and which extended its protection over a portion of continental Greece.
If the Phoenicians had had to deal only with the piratical expeditions of the peoples of the coast or with the jealous watchfulness of the rulers of the sea, they might have endured the evil, but they had now to put up, in addition, with rivalry in the artistic and industrial products of which they had long had the monopoly. The spread of art had at length led to the establishment of local centres of production everywhere, which bade fair to vie with those of Phoenicia. On the continent and in the Cyclades there were produced statuettes, intaglios, jewels, vases, weapons, and textile fabrics which rivalled those of the East, and were probably much cheaper. The merchants of Tyre and Sidon could still find a market, however, for manufactures requiring great technical skill or displaying superior taste -- such as gold or silver bowls, engraved or decorated with figures in outline -- but they had to face a serious falling off in their sales of ordinary goods. To extend their commerce they had to seek new and less critical markets, where the bales of their wares, of which the AEgean population was becoming weary, would lose none of their attractions. We do not know at what date they ventured to sail into the mysterious region of the Hesperides, nor by what route they first reached it. It is possible that they passed from Crete to Cythera, and from this to the Ionian Islands and to the point of Calabria, on the other side of the straits of Otranto, whence they were able to make their way gradually to Sicily.*
* Ed. Meyer thinks that the extension of Phoenician commerce to the Western Mediterranean goes back to the XVIIIth dynasty, or, at the latest, the XVth century before our era. Without laying undue stress on this view, I am inclined to ascribe with him, until we get further knowledge, the colonisation of the West to the period immediately following the movements of the People of the Sea and the diminution of Phoenician trade in the Grecian Archipelago. Exploring voyages had been made before this, but the founding of colonies was not earlier than this epoch.
Did the fame of their discovery, we may ask, spread so rapidly in the East as to excite there the cupidity and envy of their rivals? However this may have been, the People of the Sea, after repeated checks in Africa and Syria, and feeling more than ever the pressure of the northern tribes encroaching on them, set out towards the west, following the route pursued by the Phoenicians. The traditions current among them and collected afterwards by the Greek historians give an account, mingled with many fabulous details, of the causes which led to their migrations and of the vicissitudes which they experienced in the course of them. Daedalus having taken flight from Crete to Sicily, Minos, who had followed in his steps, took possession of the greater part of the island with his Eteocretes. Iolaos was the leader of Pelasgic bands, whom he conducted first into Libya and finally to Sardinia. It came also to pass that in the days of Atys, son of Manes, a famine broke out and raged throughout Lydia: the king, unable to provide food for his people, had them numbered, and decided by lot which of the two halves of the population should expatriate themselves under the leadership of his son Tyrsenos. Those-who were thus fated to leave their country assembled at Smyrna, constructed ships there, and having embarked on board of them what was necessary, set sail in quest of a new home. After a long and devious voyage, they at length disembarked in the country of the Umbrians, where they built cities, and became a prosperous people under the name of Tyrseni, being thus called after their leader Tyrsenos.*
* Herodotus, whence all the information of other classical writers is directly or indirectly taken. Most modern historians reject this tradition. I see no reason for my own part why they should do so, at least in the present state of our knowledge. The Etrurians of the historical period were the result of a fusion of several different elements, and there is nothing against the view that the Tursha -- one of these elements -- should have come from Asia Minor, as Herodotus says. Properly understood, the tradition seems well founded, and the details may have been added
The remaining portions of the nations who had taken part in the attack on Egypt -- of which several tribes had been planted by Ramses III. in the Shephelah, from Gaza to Carmel -- proceeded in a series of successive detachments from Asia Minor and the AEgean Sea to the coasts of Italy and of the large islands; the Tursha into that region which was known afterwards as Etruria, the Shardana into Sardinia, the Zakkala into Sicily, and along with the latter some Pulasati, whose memory is still preserved on the northern slope of Etna. Fate thus brought the Phonician emigrants once more into close contact with their traditional enemies, and the hostility which they experienced in their new settlements from the latter was among the influences which determined their further migration from Italy proper, and from the region occupied by the Ligurians between the Arno and the Ebro. They had already probably reached Sardinia and Corsica, but the majority of their ships had sailed to the southward, and having touched at Malta, Gozo, and the small islands between Sicily and the Syrtes, had followed the coast-line of Africa, until at length they reached the straits of Gribraltar and the southern shores of Spain. No traces remain of their explorations, or of their early establishments in the western Mediterranean, as the towns which they are thought -- with good reason in most instances -- to have founded there belong to a much later date. Every permanent settlement, however, is preceded by a period of exploration and research, which may last for only a few years or be prolonged to as many centuries. I am within the mark, I think, in assuming that Phonician adventurers, or possibly even the regular trading ships of Tyre and Sidon, had established relations with the semi-barbarous chiefs of Botica as early as the XIIth century before our era, that is, at the time when the power of Thebes was fading away under the weak rule of the pontiffs of Amon and the Tanite Pharaohs.
The Phoenicians were too much absorbed in their commercial pursuits to aspire to the inheritance which Egypt was letting slip through her fingers. Their numbers were not more than sufficient to supply men for their ships, and they were often obliged to have recourse to their allies or to mercenary tribes -- the Leleges or Carians -- in order to provide crews for their vessels or garrisons for their trading posts; it was impossible, therefore, for them to think of raising armies fit to conquer or keep in check the rulers on the Orontes or in Naharaim. They left this to the races of the interior -- the Amorites and Hittites -- and to their restless ambition. The Hittite power, however, had never recovered from the terrible blow inflicted on it at the time of the Asianic invasion.
[Illustration: 128.jpg AZAZ -- ONE OF THIS TUMULI ON THE ANCIENT HITTITE PLAIN]
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph by M. Barthelemy.
The confederacy of feudal chiefs, which had been brought momentarily together by Sapalulu and his successors, was shattered by the violence of the shock, and the elements of which it was composed were engaged henceforward in struggles with each other. At this time the entire plain between the Amanus and the Euphrates was covered with rich cities, of which the sites are represented to-day by only a few wretched villages or by heaps of ruins. Arabian and Byzantine remains sometimes crown the summit of the latter, but as soon as we reach the lower strata we find in more or less abundance the ruins of buildings of the Greek or Persian period, and beneath these those belonging to a still earlier time. The history of Syria lies buried in such sites, and is waiting only for a patient and wealthy explorer to bring it to light.* The Khati proper were settled to the south of the Taurus in the basin of the Sajur, but they were divided into several petty states, of which that which possessed Carchemish was the most important, and exercised a practical hegemony over the others. Its chiefs alone had the right to call themselves kings of the Khati. The Patinu, who were their immediate neighbours on the west, stretched right up to the Mediterranean above the plains of Naharairn and beyond the Orontes; they had absorbed, it would seem, the provinces of the ancient Alasia. Aramaeans occupied the region to the south of the Patinu between the two Lebanon ranges, embracing the districts of Hamath and Qobah.**
* The results of the excavations at Zinjirli are evidence of what historical material we may hope to find in these tumuli. See the account of the earlier results in P. von Luschan, Ausgrabungen in Sendschirli, 1893.
** The Aramaeans are mentioned by Tiglath-pileser I. as situated between the Balikh, the Euphrates, and the Sajur.
The valleys of the Amanus and the southern slopes of the Taurus included within them some half-dozen badly defined principalities -- Samalla on the Kara-Su,* Gurgum** around Marqasi, the Qui*** and Khilakku**** in the classical Cilicia, and the Kasku^ and Kummukh^^ in a bend of the Euphrates to the north and north-east of the Khati.
* The country of Samalla, in Egyptian Samalua, extended around the Tell of Zinjirli, at the foot of the Amanus, in the valley of Marash of the Arab historians.
** The name has been read Gamgumu, Gaugum, and connected by Tom-kins with the Egyptian Augama, which he reads Gagama, in the lists of Thutmosis III. The Aramaean inscription on the statue of King Panammu shows that it must be read Gurgumu, and Sachau has identified this new name with that of Jurjum, which was the name by which the province of the Amanus, lying between Baias and the lake of Antioch, was known in the Byzantine period; the ancient Gurgum stretches further towards the north, around the town of Marqasi, which Tomkins and Sachau have identified with Marash.
*** The site of the country of Qui was determined by Schrader; it was that part of the Cilician plain which stretches from the Amanus to the mountains of the Ketis, and takes in the great town of Tarsus. F. Lenor-mant has pointed out that this country is mentioned twice in the Scriptures (1 Kings x, 28 and 2 Chron. i.16), in the time of Solomon. The designation of the country, transformed into the appellation of an eponymous god, is found in the name Qauisaru, "Qaui is king."
**** Khilakku, the name of which is possibly the same as the Egyptian Khalakka, is the Cilicia Trachsea of classical geographers.
^ The country of Kashku, which has been connected with Kashkisha, which takes the place of Karkisha in an Egyptian text, was still a dependency of the Hittites in the time of Tiglath-pileser. It was in the neighbourhood of the Urumu, whose capital seems to have been Urum, the Ourima of Ptolemy, near the bend of the Euphrates between Sumeisat and Birejik; it extended into the Commagene of classical times, on the borders of Melitene and the Tubal.
^^ Kummukh lay on both sides of the Euphrates and of the Upper Tigris; it became gradually restricted, until at length it was conterminous with the Commagene of classical geographers.
The ancient Mitanni to the east of Carchemish, which was so active in the time of the later Amenothes, had now ceased to exist, and there was but a vague remembrance of its farmer prowess. It had foundered probably in the great cataclysm which engulfed the Hittite empire, although its name appears inscribed once more among those of the vassals of Egypt on the triumphal lists of Ramses III. Its chief tribes had probably migrated towards the regions which were afterwards described by the Greek geographers as the home of the Matieni on the Halys and in the neighbourhood of Lake Urmiah. Aramaean kingdoms, of which the greatest was that of Bit-Adini,* had succeeded them, and bordered the Euphrates on each side as far as the Chalus and Balikh respectively; the ancient Harran belonged also to them, and their frontier stretched as far as Hamath, and to that of the Patinu on the Orontes.
* The province of Bit-Adini was specially that part of the country which lay between the Euphrates and the Balikh, but it extended also to other Syrian provinces between the Euphrates and the Aprie.
It was, as we have seen, a complete breaking up of the old nationalities, and we have evidence also of a similar disintegration in the countries to the north of the Taurus, in the direction of the Black Sea. Of the mighty Khati with whom Thutmosis III. had come into contact, there was no apparent trace: either the tribes of which they were composed had migrated towards the south, or those who had never left their native mountains had entered into new combinations and lost even the remembrance of their name. The Milidu, Tabal (Tubal), and Mushku (Meshech) stretched behind each other from east to west on the confines of the Tokhma-Su, and still further away other cities of less importance contended for the possession of the Upper Saros and the middle region of the Halys. These peoples, at once poor and warlike, had been attracted, like the Hittites of some centuries previous, by the riches accumulated in the strongholds of Syria. Eevolutions must have been frequent in these regions, but our knowledge of them is more a matter of conjecture than of actual evidence. Towards the year 1170 B.C. the Mushku swooped down on Kummukh, and made themselves its masters; then pursuing their good fortune, they took from the Assyrians the two provinces, Alzi and Purukuzzi, which lay not far from the sources of the Tigris and the Balikh.*
* The Annals of Tiglath-pileser I. place their invasion fifty years before the beginning of his reign. Ed. Meyer saw a connexion between this and the invasion of the People of the Sea, which took place under Ramses III. I think that the invasion of the Mushku was a purely local affair, and had nothing in common with the general catastrophe occasioned by the movement of the Asiatic armies.
A little later the Kashku, together with some Aramaeans, broke into Shubarti, then subject to Assyria, and took possession of a part of it. The majority of these invasions had, however, no permanent result: they never issued in the establishment of an empire like that of the Khati, capable by its homogeneity of offering a serious resistance to the march of a conqueror from the south. To sum up the condition of affairs: if a redistribution of races had brought about a change in Northern Syria, their want of cohesion was no less marked than in the time of the Egyptian wars; the first enemy to make an attack upon the frontier of one or other of these tribes was sure of victory, and, if he persevered in his efforts, could make himself master of as much territory as he might choose. The Pharaohs had succeeded in welding together their African possessions, and their part in the drama of conquest had been played long ago; but the cities of the Tigris and the Lower Euphrates -- Nineveh and Babylon-were ready to enter the lists as soon as they felt themselves strong enough to revive their ancient traditions of foreign conquest.
The successors of Agumkakrime were not more fortunate than he had been in attempting to raise Babylon once more to the foremost rank; their want of power, their discord, the insubordination and sedition that existed among their Cossaean troops, and the almost periodic returns of the Theban generals to the banks of the Euphrates, sometimes even to those of the Balikh and the Khabur, all seemed to conspire to aggravate the helpless state into which Babylon had sunk since the close of the dynasty of Uruazagga. Elam was pressing upon her eastern, and Assyria on her northern frontier, and their kings not only harassed her with persistent malignity, but, by virtue of their alliances by marriage with her sovereigns, took advantage of every occasion to interfere both in domestic and state affairs; they would espouse the cause of some pretender during a revolt, they would assume the guardianship of such of their relatives as were left widows or minors, and, when the occasion presented itself, they took possession of the throne of Bel, or bestowed it on one of their creatures. Assyria particularly seemed to regard Babylon with a deadly hatred. The capitals of the two countries were not more than some one hundred and eighty-five miles apart, the intervening district being a flat and monotonous alluvial plain, unbroken by any feature which could serve as a natural frontier. The line of demarcation usually followed one of the many canals in the narrow strip of land between the Euphrates and the Tigris; it then crossed the latter, and was formed by one of the rivers draining the Iranian table-land, -- either the Upper Zab, the Radanu, the Turnat, or some of their ramifications in the spurs of the mountain ranges. Each of the two states strove by every means in its power to stretch its boundary to the farthest limits, and to keep it there at all hazards. This narrow area was the scene of continual war, either between the armies of the two states or those of partisans, suspended from time to time by an elaborate treaty which was supposed to settle all difficulties, but, as a matter of fact, satisfied no one, and left both parties discontented with their lot and jealous of each other. The concessions made were never of sufficient importance to enable the conqueror to crush his rival and regain for himself the ancient domain of Khammurabi; his losses, on the other hand, were often considerable enough to paralyse his forces, and prevent him from extending his border in any other direction. When the Egyptians seized on Naharaim, Assyria and Babylon each adopted at the outset a different attitude towards the conquerors. Assyria, which never laid any permanent claims to the seaboard provinces of the Mediterranean, was not disposed to resent their occupation by Egypt, and desired only to make sure of their support or their neutrality. The sovereign then ruling Assyria, but of whose name we have no record, hastened to congratulate Thutmosis III. on his victory at Megiddo, and sent him presents of precious vases, slaves, lapis-lazuli, chariots and horses, all of which the Egyptian conqueror regarded as so much tribute. Babylon, on the other hand, did not take action so promptly as Assyria; it was only towards the latter years of Thutmosis that its king, Karaindash, being hard pressed by the Assyrian Assurbelnishishu, at length decided to make a treaty with the intruder.*
* We have no direct testimony in support of this hypothesis, but several important considerations give it probability. As no tribute from Babylon is mentioned in the Annals of Thutmosis III., we must place the beginning of the relations between Egypt and Chaldaea at a later date. On the other hand, Burnaburiash II., in a letter written to Amenothes III., cites Karaindash as the first of his fathers, who had established friendly relations with the fathers of the Pharaoh, a fact which obliges us to place the interchange of presents before the time of Amenothes III.: as the reigns of Amenothes II. and of Thutmosis IV. were both short, it is probable that these relations began in the latter years of Thutmosis III.
The remoteness of Egypt from the Babylonian frontier no doubt relieved Karaindash from any apprehension of an actual invasion by the Pharaohs; but there was the possibility of their subsidising some nearer enemy, and also of forbidding Babylonish caravans to enter Egyptian provinces, and thus crippling Chaldaean commerce. Friendly relations, when once established, soon necessitated a constant interchange of embassies and letters between the Nile and the Euphrates. As a matter of fact, the Babylonian king could never reconcile himself to the idea that Syria had passed out of his hands. While pretending to warn the Pharaoh of Syrian plots against him,* the Babylonians were employing at the same time secret agents, to go from city to city and stir up discontent at Egyptian rule, praising the while the great Cosssean king and his armies, and inciting to revolt by promises of help never meant to be fulfilled. Assyria, whose very existence would have been endangered by the re-establishment of a Babylonian empire, never missed an opportunity of denouncing these intrigues at head-quarters: they warned the royal messengers and governors of them, and were constantly contrasting the frankness and honesty of their own dealings with the duplicity of their rival.
* This was done by Kurigalzu I., according to a letter addressed by his son Burnaburiash to Amenothes IV.
This state of affairs lasted for more than half a century, during which time both courts strove to ingratiate themselves in the favour of the Pharaoh, each intriguing for the exclusion of the other, by exchanging presents with him, by congratulations on his accession, by imploring gifts of wrought or unwrought gold, and by offering him the most beautiful women of their family for his harem. The son of Karaindash, whose name still remains to be discovered, bestowed one of his daughters on the young Amenothes III.: Kallimasin, the sovereign who succeeded him, also sent successively two princesses to the same Pharaoh. But the underlying bitterness and hatred would break through the veneer of polite formula and protestations when the petitioner received, as the result of his advances, objects of inconsiderable value such as a lord might distribute to his vassals,'or when he was refused a princess of solar blood, or even an Egyptian bride of some feudal house; at such times, however, an ironical or haughty epistle from Thebes would recall him to a sense of his own inferiority.
As a fact, the lot of the Cossaean sovereigns does not appear to have been a happy one, in spite of the variety and pomposity of the titles which they continued to assume. They enjoyed but short lives, and we know that at least three or four of them -- Kallimasin, Burnaburiash I., and Kurigalzu I. ascended the throne in succession during the forty years that Amenothes III. ruled over Egypt and Syria.*
* The copy we possess of the Royal Canon of Babylon is mutilated at this point, and the original documents are not sufficiently complete to fill the gap. About two or three names are missing after that of Agumkakrime, and the reigns must have been very short, if indeed, as I think, Agumka- krimi and Karaindash were both contemporaries of the earlier Pharaohs bearing the name of Thutmosis. The order of the names which have come down to us is not indisputably established. The following order appears to me to be the most probable at present: --
Karaindash. Kallimasin. Burnaburiash I. Kurigalzu I. Burnaburiash II. Karakhardash. Kadashmankiiarbe I.
This is, with a slight exception, the classification adopted by Winckler, and that of Hilprecht differs from it only in the intercalation of Kudurturgu and Shagaraktiburiash between Burnaburiash II. and Karakhardash.
Perhaps the rapidity of this succession may have arisen from some internal revolution or from family disturbances. The Chaldaeans of the old stock reluctantly rendered obedience to these Cosssean kings, and, if we may judge from the name, one at least of these ephemeral sovereigns, Kallimasin, appears to have been a Semite, who owed his position among the Cossoan princes to some fortunate chance. A few rare inscriptions stamped on bricks, one or two letters or documents of private interest, and some minor objects from widely distant spots, have enabled us to ascertain the sites upon which these sovereigns erected buildings; Karaindash restored the temple of Nana at Uruk, Burnaburiash and Kurigalzu added to that of Shamash at Larsam, and Kurigalzu took in hand that of Sin at Uru. We also possess a record of some of their acts in the fragments of a document, which a Mnevite scribe of the time of Assurbanipal had compiled, or rather jumbled together,* from certain Babylonian chronicles dealing with the wars against Assyria and Elam, with public treaties, marriages, and family quarrels. We learn from this, for example, that Burnaburiash I. renewed with Buzurassur the conventions drawn up between Karaindash and Assurbelnishishu. These friendly relations were maintained, apparently, under Kurigalzu I. and Assur-nadin-akhi, the son of Buzurassur;** if Kurigalzu built or restored the fortress, long called after him Dur-Kurigalzu,*** at one of the fords of the Narmalka, it was probably as a precautionary measure rather than because of any immediate danger. The relations between the two powers became somewhat strained when Burnaburiash II. and Assuruballit had respectively succeeded to Kurigalzu and Assur-nadin-akhi; **** this did not, however, lead to hostilities, and the subsequent betrothal of Karakhardash, son of Burnaburiash II., to Mubauitatserua, daughter of Assuruballit, tended to restore matters to their former condition.
* This is what is generally called the "Synchronous History," the principal remains of which were discovered and published by H. Rawlinson. It is a very unskilful
** Assur-nadin-akhi I. is mentioned in a Tel el-Amarna tablet as being the father of Assuruballit.
*** This is the present Akerkuf, as is proved by the discovery of bricks bearing the name of Kurigalzu; but perhaps what I have attributed to Kurigalzu I. must be referred to the second king of that name.
**** We infer this from the way in which Burnaburiash speaks of the Assyrians in the correspondence with Amenothes IV.
The good will between the two countries became still more pronounced when Kadashmankharbe succeeded his father Karakhardash. The Cossaean soldiery had taken umbrage at his successor and had revolted, assassinated Kadashmankharbe, and proclaimed king in his stead a man of obscure origin named Nazibugash. Assuruballit, without a moment's hesitation, took the side of his new relatives; he crossed the frontier, killed Nazibugash, and restored the throne to his sister's child, Kurigalzu II., the younger. The young king, who was still a minor at his accession, appears to have met with no serious difficulties; at any rate, none were raised by his Assyrian cousins, Belnirari I. and his successor Budilu.*
* The Synchronous History erroneously places the events of the reign of Ramman-nirari in that of Belnirari. The order of succession of Buzurassur, Assuruballit, Belnirari, and Budilu, has been established by the bricks of Kalah-Shergat.
Towards the close of his reign, however, revolts broke out, and it was only by sustained efforts that he was able to restore order in Babylon, Sippara, and the Country of the Sea. While the king was in the midst of these difficulties, the Elamites took advantage of his troubles to steal from him a portion of his territory, and their king, Khurbatila, challenged him to meet his army near Dur-Dungi. Kurigalzu accepted the challenge, gained a decisive victory, took his adversary prisoner, and released him only on receiving as ransom a province beyond the Tigris; he even entered Susa, and, from among other trophies of past wars, resumed possession of an agate tablet belonging to Dungi, which the veteran Kudurnakhunta had stolen from the temple of Nipur nearly a thousand years previously. This victory was followed by the congratulations of most of his neighbours, with the exception of Bamman-nirari II., who had succeeded Budilu in Assyria, and probably felt some jealousy or uneasiness at the news. He attacked the Cossaeans, and overthrew them at Sugagi, on the banks of the Salsallat; their losses were considerable, and Kurigalzu could only obtain peace by the cession to Assyria of a strip of territory the entire length of the north-west frontier, from the confines of the Shubari country, near the sources of the Khabur, to the suburbs of Babylon itself. Nearly the whole of Mesopotamia thus changed hands at one stroke, but Babylon had still more serious losses to suffer. Nazimaruttash, who attempted to wipe out the disaster sustained by his father Kurigalzu, experienced two crushing defeats, one at Kar-Ishtar and the other near Akarsallu, and the treaty which he subsequently signed was even more humiliating for his country than the preceding one. All that part of the Babylonian domain which lay nearest to Nineveh was ceded to the Assyrians, from Pilaski on the right bank of the Tigris to the province of Lulume in the Zagros mountains. It would appear that the Cossaean tribes who had remained in their native country, took advantage of these troublous times to sever all connection with their fellow-countrymen established in the cities of the plain; for we find them henceforward carrying on a petty warfare for their own profit, and leading an entirely independent life. The descendants of Gandish, deprived of territories in the north, repulsed in the east, and threatened in the south by the nations of the Persian Gulf, never recovered their former ascendency, and their authority slowly declined during the century which followed these events. Their downfall brought about the decadence of the cities over which they had held sway; and the supremacy which Babylon had exercised for a thousand years over the countries of the Euphrates passed into the hands of the Assyrian kings.
Assyria itself was but a poor and insignificant country when compared with her rival. It occupied, on each side of the middle course of the Tigris, the territory lying between the 35th and 37th parallels of latitude.*
* These are approximately the limits of the first Assyrian empire, as given by the monuments; from the Persian epoch onwards, the name was applied to the whole course of the Tigris as far as the mountain district. The ancient orthography of the name is Aushar.
It was bounded on the east by the hills and mountain ranges running parallel to the Zagros Chain -- Gebel Guar, Gebel Gara, Zerguizavan-dagh, and Baravan-dagh, with their rounded monotonous limestone ridges, scored by watercourses and destitute of any kind of trees. On the north it was hemmed in by the spurs of the Masios, and bounded on the east by an undefined line running from Mount Masios to the slopes of Singar, and from these again to the Chaldaean plain; to the south the frontier followed the configuration of the table-land and the curve of the low cliffs, which in prehistoric times had marked the limits of the Persian Gulf; from here the boundary was formed on the left side of the Tigris by one of its tributaries, either the Lower Zab or the Badanu. The territory thus enclosed formed a compact and healthy district: it was free from extremes of temperature arising from height or latitude, and the relative character and fertility of its soil depended on the absence or presence of rivers. The eastern part of Assyria was well watered by the streams and torrents which drained the Iranian plateau and the lower mountain chains which ran parallel to it. The beds of these rivers are channelled so deeply in the alluvial soil, that it is necessary to stand on the very edge of their banks to catch a sight of their silent and rapid waters; and it is only in the spring or early summer, when they are swollen by the rains and melting snow, that they spread over the adjacent country. As soon as the inundation is over, a vegetation of the intensest green springs up, and in a few days the fields and meadows are covered with a luxuriant and fragrant carpet of verdure. This brilliant growth is, however, short-lived, for the heat of the sun dries it up as quickly as it appears, and even the corn itself is in danger of being burnt up before reaching maturity. To obviate such a disaster, the Assyrians had constructed a network of canals and ditches, traces of which are in many places still visible, while a host of shadufs placed along their banks facilitated irrigation in the dry seasons. The provinces supplied with water in this manner enjoyed a fertility which passed into a proverb, and was well known among the ancients; they yielded crops of cereals which rivalled those of Babylonia, and included among their produce wheat, barley, millet, and sesame. But few olive trees were cultivated, and the dates were of inferior quality; indeed, in the Greek period, these fruits were only used for fattening pigs and domestic animals. The orchards contained the pistachio, the apple, the pomegranate, the apricot, the vine, the almond, and the fig, and, in addition to the essences common to both Syria and Egypt, the country produced cedrats of a delicious scent which were supposed to be an antidote to all kinds of poisons. Assyria was not well wooded, except in the higher valleys, where willows and poplars bordered the rivers, and sycamores, beeches, limes, and plane trees abounded, besides several varieties of pines and oaks, including a dwarf species of the latter, from whose branches manna was obtained.
[Illustration: 143.jpg THE 1ST ASSYRIAN EMPIRE -- MAP]
This is a saccharine substance, which is deposited in small lumps, and is found in greater abundance during wet years and especially on foggy days. When fresh, it has an agreeable taste and is pleasant to eat; but as it will not keep in its natural state, the women prepare it for exportation by dissolving it in boiling water, and evaporating it to a sweetish paste, which has more or less purgative, qualities. The aspect of the country changes after crossing the Tigris westward. The slopes of Mount Masios are everywhere furrowed with streams, which feed the Khabur and its principal affluent, the Kharmis;* woods become more frequent, and the valleys green and shady.
* The Kharmis is the Mygdonios of Greek geographers, the Hirmas of the Arabs; the latter name may be derived from Kharmis, or it may be that it merely presents a fortuitous resemblance to it.
The plains extending southwards, however, contain, like those of the Euphrates, beds of gypsum in the sub-soil, which render the water running through them brackish, and prevent the growth of vegetation. The effects of volcanic action are evident on the surface of these great steppes; blocks of basalt pierce through the soil, and near the embouchure of the Kharmis, a cone, composed of a mass of lava, cinders, and scorial, known as the Tell-Kokab, rises abruptly to a height of 325 feet. The mountain chain of Singar, which here reaches its western termination, is composed of a long ridge of soft white limestone, and seems to have been suddenly thrown up in one of the last geological upheavals which affected this part of the country: in some places it resembles a perpendicular wall, while in others it recedes in natural terraces which present the appearance of a gigantic flight of steps. The summit is often wooded, and the spurs covered with vineyards and fields, which flourish vigorously in the vicinity of streams; when these fail, however, the table-land resumes its desolate aspect, and stretches in bare and sandy undulations to the horizon, broken only where it is crossed by the Thartar, the sole river in this region which is not liable to be dried up, and whose banks may be traced by the scanty line of vegetation which it nourishes.
[Illustration: 145.jpg THE VOLCANIC CONE OF KOKAB]
Drawn by Boudier, from the cut in Layard.
In a country thus unequally favoured by nature, the towns are necessarily distributed in a seemingly arbitrary fashion. Most of them are situated on the left bank of the Tigris, where the fertile nature of the soil enables it to support a dense population. They were all flourishing centres of population, and were in close proximity to each other, at all events during the centuries of Assyrian hegemony.*
* We find, for example, in the inscription of Bavian, a long enumeration of towns and villages situated almost within the suburbs of Nineveh, on the banks of the Khoser.
Three of them soon eclipsed their rivals in political and religious importance; these were Kalakh and Nina on the Tigris, and Arbailu, lying beyond the Upper Zab, in the broken plain which is a continuation eastwards of the first spurs of the Zagros.* On the right bank, however, we find merely some dozen cities and towns, scattered about in places where there was a supply of water sufficient to enable the inhabitants to cultivate the soil; as, for example, Assur on the banks of the Tigris itself, Singara near the sources of the Thartar, and Nazibina near those of the Kharmis, at the foot of the Masios. These cities were not all under the rule of one sovereign when Thutmosis III. appeared in Syria, for the Egyptian monuments mention, besides the kingdom of Assyria, that of Singara** and Araphka in the upper basin of the Zab.***
* The name of Arbeles is written in a form which appears to signify "the town of the four gods."
** This kingdom of Singara is mentioned in the Egyptian lists of Thutmosis III. Schrader was doubtful as to its existence, but one of its kings is mentioned in a letter from the King of Alasia to Amenothes IV.; according to Niebuhr, the state of which Singara was the capital must have been identical, at all events at one period, with the Mitanni of the Egyptian texts.
*** The Arapakha of the Egyptian monuments has been identified with the Arrapakhitis of the Greeks.
Assyria, however, had already asserted her supremacy over this corner of Asia, and the remaining princes, even if they were not mere vicegerents depending on her king, were not strong enough in wealth and extent of territory to hold their own against her, since she was undisputed mistress of Assur, Arbeles, Kalakh, and Nineveh, the most important cities of the plain. Assur covered a considerable area, and the rectangular outline formed by the remains of its walls is still discernible on the surface of the soil. Within the circuit of the city rose a mound, which the ancient builders had transformed, by the addition of masses of brickwork, into a nearly square platform, surmounted by the usual palace, temple, and ziggurat; it was enclosed within a wall of squared stone, the battlements of which remain to the present day.* The whole pile was known as the "Ekharsagkurkurra," or the "House of the terrestrial mountain," the sanctuary in whose decoration all the ancient sovereigns had vied with one another, including Samsiramman I. and Irishum, who were merely vicegerents dependent upon Babylon. It was dedicated to Anshar, that duplicate of Anu who had led the armies of heaven in the struggle with Tiamat; the name Anshar, softened into Aushar, and subsequently into Ashshur, was first applied to the town and then to the whole country.**
* Ainsworth states the circumference of the principal mound of Kalah-Shergat to be 4685 yards, which would make it one of the most extensive ruins in the whole country.
** Another name of the town in later times was Palbeki, "the town of the old empire," "the ancient capital," or Shauru. Many Assyriologists believe that the name Ashur, anciently written Aushar, signified "the plain at the edge of the water"; and that it must have been applied to the town before being applied to the country and the god. Others, on the contrary, think, with more reason, that it was the god who gave his name to the town and the country; they make a point of the very ancient play of words, which in Assyria itself attributed the meaning "good god" to the word Ashur. Jensen was the first to state that Ashur was the god Anshar of the account of the creation.
The god himself was a deity of light, usually represented under the form of an armed man, wearing the tiara and having the lower half of his body concealed by a feathered disk. He was supposed to hover continually over the world, hurling fiery darts at the enemies of his people, and protecting his kingly worshippers under the shadow of his wings. Their wars were his wars, and he was with them in the thick of the attack, placing himself in the front rank with the soldiery,* so that when he gained the victory, the bulk of the spoil -- precious metals, gleanings of the battle-field, slaves and productive lands -- fell to his share. The gods of the vanquished enemy, moreover, were, like their princes, forced to render him homage. In the person of the king he took their statues prisoners, and shut them up in his sanctuary; sometimes he would engrave his name upon their figures and send them back to their respective temples, where the sight of them would remind their worshippers of his own omnipotence.** The goddess associated with him as his wife had given her name, Nina, to Nineveh,*** and was, as the companion of the Chaldaean Bel, styled the divine lady Belit; she was, in fact, a chaste and warlike Ishtar, who led the armies into battle with a boldness characteristic of her father.****
* In one of the pictures, for instance, representing the assault of a town, we see a small figure of the god, hurling darts against the enemy. The inscriptions also state that the peoples "are alarmed and quit their cities before the arms of Assur, the powerful one."
** As, for instance, the statues of the gods taken from the Arabs in the time of Esarhaddon. Tiglath-pileser I. had carried away twenty-five statues of gods taken from the peoples of Kurkhi and Kummukh, and had placed them in the temples of Beltis, Ishtar, Anu, and Ramman; he mentions other foreign divinities who had been similarly treated.
*** The ideogram of the name of the goddess Nina serves to write the name of the town Nineveh. The name itself has been interpreted by Schrader as "station, habitation," in the Semitic languages, and by Fr. Delitzsch "repose of the god," an interpretation which Delitzsch himself repudiated later on. It is probable that the town, which, like Assur, was a Chaldaean colony, derived its name from the goddess to whom it was dedicated, and whose temple existed there as early as the time of the vicegerent Samsiramman.
**** Belit is called by Tiglath-pileser I. "the great spouse beloved of Assur," but Belit, "the lady," is here merely an epithet used for Ishtar: the Assyrian Ishtar, Ishtar of Assur, Ishtar of Nineveh, or rather -- especially from the time of the Sargonids -- Ishtar of Arbeles, is almost always a fierce and warlike Ishtar, the "lady of combat, who directs battles," "whose heart incites her to the combat and the struggle." Sayce thinks that the union of Ishtar and Assur is of a more recent date.
[Illustration: 149.jpg ISHTAR AS A WARRIOR BRINGING PRISONERS TO A CONQUERING KING]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from squeezes brought back by M. do Morgan.
These two divinities formed an abstract and solitary pair, around whom neither story nor myth appears to have gathered, and who never became the centre of any complex belief. Assur seems to have had no parentage assigned to him, no statue erected to him, and he was not associated with the crowd of other divinities; on the contrary, he was called their lord, their "peerless king," and, as a proof of his supreme sovereignty over them, his name was inscribed at the head of their lists, before those of the triads constituted by the Chaldaean priests -- even before those of Anu, Bel, and Ba. The city of Assur, which had been the first to tender him allegiance for many years, took precedence of all the rest, in spite of the drawbacks with which it had to contend. Placed at the very edge of the Mesopotamian desert, it was exposed to the dry and burning winds which swept over the plains, so that by the end of the spring the heat rendered it almost intolerable as a residence. The Tigris, moreover, ran behind it, thus leaving it exposed to the attacks of the Babylonian armies, unprotected as it was by any natural fosse or rampart. The nature of the frontier was such as to afford it no safeguard; indeed, it had, on the contrary, to protect its frontier. Nineveh, on the other hand, was entrenched behind the Tigris and the Zab, and was thus secure from any sudden attack. Northerly and easterly winds prevailed during the summer, and the coolness of the night rendered the heat during the day more bearable. It became the custom for the kings and vicegerents to pass the most trying months of the year at Nineveh, taking up their abode close to the temple of Nina, the Assyrian Ishtar, but they did not venture to make it their habitual residence, and consequently Assur remained the official capital and chief sanctuary of the empire. Here its rulers concentrated their treasures, their archives, their administrative offices, and the chief staff of the army; from this town they set out on their expeditions against the Cossaeans of Babylon or the mountaineers of the districts beyond the Tigris, and it was in this temple that they dedicated to the god the tenth of the spoil on their return from a successful campaign.*
* The majority of scholars now admit that the town of Nina, mentioned by Gudea and the vicegerents of Telloh, was a quarter of, or neighbouring borough of, Lagash, and had nothing in common with Nineveh, in spite of Hommel's assumption to the contrary.
The struggle with Chaldaea, indeed, occupied the greater part of their energies, though it did not absorb all their resources, and often left them times of respite, of which they availed themselves to extend their domain to the north and east. We cannot yet tell which of the Assyrian sovereigns added the nearest provinces of the Upper Tigris to his realm; but when the names of these districts appear-in history, they are already in a state of submission and vassalage, and their principal towns are governed by Assyrian officers in the same manner as those of Singara and Nisibe. Assuruballit, the conqueror of the Cossaeans, had succeeded in establishing his authority over the turbulent hordes of Shubari which occupied the neighbourhood of the Masios, between the Khabur and the Balikh, and extended perhaps as far as the Euphrates; at any rate, he was considered by posterity as the actual founder of the Assyrian empire in these districts.* Belnirari had directed his efforts in another direction, and had conquered the petty kingdoms established on the slopes of the Iranian table-land, around the sources of the two Zabs, and those of the Badanu and the Turnat.**
* It is called, in an inscription of his great-grandson, Ramman-nirari L, the powerful king "who reduced to servitude the forces of the vast country of Shubari, and who enlarged the territory and limits "of Assur.
** The inscription of Ramman-nirari I. styles him the prince "who crushes the army of the Cossaeans, he whose hand unnerves the enemy, and who enlarges the territory and its limits." The Cossaeans mentioned in this passage are usually taken to be the Cossaean kings of Babylon, and not the mountain tribes.
Like Susiana, this part of the country was divided up into parallel valleys, separated from each other by broken ridges of limestone, and watered by the tributaries of the Tigris or their affluents.
[Illustration: 152.jpg A VILLAGE IN THE MOUNTAIN DISTRICTS OF THE OLD ASSAEAN KINGDOM]
Drawn by Boudier, from a drawing by Pere Durand.
It was thickly strewn with walled towns and villages; the latter, perched upon the precipitous mountain summits, and surrounded by deep ravines, owed their security solely to their position, and, indeed, needed no fortification. The country abounded in woods and pastures, interspersed with cornlands; access to it was gained by one or two passes on the eastern side, which thus permitted caravans or armies to reach the districts lying between the Erythraean and Caspian Seas. The tribes who inhabited it had been brought early under Chaldaean civilization, and had adopted the cuneiform script; such of their monuments as are still extant resemble the bas-reliefs and inscriptions of Assyria.* It is not always easy to determine the precise locality occupied by these various peoples; the Guti were situated near the upper courses of the Turnat and the Badanu, in the vicinity of the Kashshu;** the Lulume had settled in the neighbourhood of the Batir, to the north of the defiles of Zohab;*** the Namar separated the Lulume from Elam, and were situated half in the plain and half in the mountain, while the Arapkha occupied, both banks of the Great Zab.
* Pinches has published an inscription of a king of Khani, named Tukultimir, son of Ilushaba, written in
** The name is written sometimes Quti, at others Guti, which induced Pognon to believe that they were two different peoples: the territory occupied by this nation must have been originally to the east of the Lesser Zab, in the upper basins of the Adhem and the Diyaleh. Oppert proposes to recognise in these Guti "the ancestors of the Goths, who, fifteen hundred years ago, pushed forward to the Russia of the present day: we find," (he adds), "in this passage and in others, some of which go back to the third millennium before the Christian era, the earliest mention of the Germanic races."
*** The people of Lulumo-Lullubi have been pointed out as living to the east of the Lesser Zab by Schrader; their exact position, together with that of Mount Padir-Batir in whose neighbourhood they were, has been determined by Pere Scheil.
Budilu carried his arms against these tribes, and obtained successes over the Turuki and the Nigimkhi, the princes of the Guti and the Shuti, as well as over the Akhlami and the Iauri.*
* The Shutu or Shuti, who are always found in connection with the Guti, appear to have been the inhabitants of the lower mountain slopes which separate the basin of the Tigris with the regions of Elam, to the south of Turnat. The Akhlame were neighbours of the Shuti and the Guti; they were settled partly in the Mesopotamian plain and partly in the neighbourhood of Turnat. The territory of the Iauri is not known; the Turuki and the Nigimkhi were probably situated somewhere to the east of the Great Zab: in the same way that Oppert connects the Goths with the Guti, so Hommel sees in the Turuki the Turks of a very early date.
The chiefs of the Lulume had long resisted the attacks of their neighbours, and one of them, Anu-banini, had engraved on the rocks overhanging the road not far from the village of Seripul, a bas-relief celebrating his own victories. He figures on it in full armour, wearing a turban on his head, and treading underfoot a fallen foe, while Ishtar of Arbeles leads towards him a long file of naked captives, bound ready for sacrifice. The resistance of the Lulume was, however, finally overcome by Ramman-nirari, the son of Budilu; he strengthened the suzerainty gained by his predecessor over the Guti, the Cossaeans, and the Shubarti, and he employed the spoil taken from them in beautifying the temple of Assur. He had occasion to spend some time in the regions of the Upper Tigris, warring against the Shubari, and a fine bronze sabre belonging to him has been found near Diarbekir, among the ruins of the ancient Amidi, where, no doubt, he had left it as an offering in one of the temples. He was succeeded by Shalmanuasharid,* better known to us as Shalmaneser I., one of the most powerful sovereigns of this heroic age of Assyrian history.
[Illustration: 155.jpg THE SABRE OF RAMMAN-NIRARI]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from the sketch published in the Transactions of the Bibl. Arch. Soc.
His reign seems to have been one continuous war against the various races then in a state of ferment on the frontiers of his kingdom. He appears in the main to have met with success, and in a few years had doubled the extent of his dominions.* His most formidable attacks were directed against the Aramaeans** of Mount Masios, whose numerous tribes had advanced on one side till they had crossed the Tigris, while on the other they had pushed beyond the river Balikh, and had probably reached the Euphrates.***
* Shalmanu-asharid, or Shulmanu-asharid, signifies "the god Shulmanu (Shalmanu) is prince," as Pinches was the first to point out.
** Some of the details of these campaigns have been preserved on the much-mutilated obelisk of Assur-nazir-pal. This was a compilation taken from the Annals of Assyria to celebrate the important acts of the king's ancestors. The events recorded in the third column were at first attributed to the reign of Tiglath-pileser I.; Fr. Delitzsch was the first to recognise that they could be referred to the reign of this Shalmaneser, and his opinion is now admitted by most of the Assyriologists who have studied the question.
*** The identity of the Arami (written also Armaya, Arumi, Arimi) with the Aramoans, admitted by the earlier Kammin- nikabi Assyriologists.
He captured their towns one after another, razed their fortresses, smote the agricultural districts with fire and sword, and then turned upon the various peoples who had espoused their cause -- the Kirkhu, the Euri, the Kharrin,* and the Muzri, who inhabited the territory between the basins of the two great rivers;** once, indeed, he even crossed the Euphrates and ventured within the country of Khanigalbat, a feat which his ancestors had never even attempted.***
* The people of the country of Kilkhi, or Kirkhi, the Kurkhi, occupied the region between the Tigris at Diarbekir and the mountains overlooking the lake of Urumiah. The position of the Ruri is not known, but it is certain that on one side they joined the Aramaeans, and that they were in the neighbourhood of Tushkhan. Kharran is the Harran of the Balikh, mentioned in vol. iv. pp.37, 38 of the present work.
** The name of Muzri frequently occurs, and in various positions, among the countries mentioned by the Assyrian conquerors; the frequency of its occurrence is easily explained if we are to regard it as a purely Assyrian term used to designate the military confines or marches of the kingdom at different epochs of its history. The Muzri here in question is the borderland situated in the vicinity of Cilicia, probably the Sophene and the Gumathene of classical geographers. Winckler appears to me to exaggerate their importance when he says they were spread over the whole of Northern Syria as early as the time of Shalmaneser I.
*** Khanigalbat is the name of the province in which Milid was placed.
He was recalled by a revolt which had broken out in the scattered cities of the district of Dur-Kurigalzu; he crushed the rising in spite of the help which Kadash-manburiash, King of Babylon, had given to the rebels, and was soon successful in subduing the princes of Lulume. These were not the raids of a day's duration, undertaken, without any regard to the future, merely from love of rapine or adventure. Shalmaneser desired to bring the regions which he annexed permanently under the authority of Assyria, and to this end he established military colonies in suitable places, most of which were kept up long after his death.*
* More than five centuries after the time of Shalmaneser I., Assurnazir-pal makes mention, in his Annals, of one of these colonies, established in the country of Diarbekir at Khabzilukha (or Khabzidipkha), near to the town of Damdamua.
He seems to have directed the internal affairs of his kingdom with the same firmness and energy which he displayed in his military expeditions. It was no light matter for the sovereign to decide on a change in the seat of government; he ran the risk of offending, not merely his subjects, but the god who presided over the destinies of the State, and neither his throne nor his life would have been safe had he failed in his attempt. Shalmaneser, however, did not hesitate to make the change, once he was fully convinced of the drawbacks presented by Assur as a capital. True, he beautified the city, restored its temples, and permitted it to retain all its privileges and titles; but having done so, he migrated with his court to the town of Kalakh, where his descendants continued to reside for several centuries. His son Tukulti-ninip made himself master of Babylon, and was the first of his race who was able to claim the title of King of Sumir and Akkad. The Cossaeans were still suffering from their defeat at the hands of Bamman-nirari. Four of their princes had followed Nazimaruttash on the throne in rapid succession -- Kadashmanturgu, Kadashmanburiash, who was attacked by Shalmaneser, a certain Isammeti whose name has been mutilated, and lastly, Shagaraktiburiash: Bibeiasdu, son of this latter, was in power at the moment when Tukulti-ninip ascended the throne. War broke out between the two monarchs, but dragged on without any marked advantage on one side or the other, till at length the conflict was temporarily suspended by a treaty similar to others which had been signed in the course of the previous two or three centuries.*
* The passage from the Synchronous History, republished by Winckler, contains the termination of the mutilated name of a Babylonian king... ashu, which, originally left undecided by Winckler, has been restored "Bibeiashu" by Hilprecht, in the light of monuments discovered at Nipur, an emendation which has since then been accepted by Winckler. Winckler, on his part, has restored the passage on the assumption that the name of the King of Assyria engaged against Bibeiashu was Tukulti-ninip; then, combining this fragment with that in the Pinches Chronicle, which deals with the taking of Babylon, he argues that Bibeiashu was the king dethroned by Tukulti-ninip. An examination of the dates, in so far as they are at present known to us from the various documents, seems to me to render this arrangement inadmissible. The Pinches Chronicle practically tells us that Tukulti-ninip reigned over Babylon for seven years, when the Chaldaeans revolted, and named Rammanshumusur king. Now, the Babylonian Canon gives us the following reigns for this epoch: Bibeiashu 8 years, Belnadinshumu 1 year 6 months, Kadashmankharbe 1 year 6 months, Rammannadinshumu 6 years, Rammanshumusur 30 years, or 9 years between the end of the reign of Bibeiashu and the beginning of that of Rammanshumusur, instead of the 7 years given us by the Pinches Chronicle for the length of the reign of Tukulti- ninip at Babylon. If we reckon, as the only documents known require us to do, seven years from the beginning of the reign of Rammanshumusur to the date of the taking of Babylon, we are forced to admit that this took place in the reign of Kadashmankharbe IL, and, consequently, that the passage in the Synchronous History, in which mention is made of Bibeiashu, must be interpreted as I have done in the text, by the hypothesis of a war prior to that in which Babylon fell, which was followed by a treaty between this prince and the King of Assyria.
The peace thus concluded might have lasted longer but for an unforeseen catastrophe which placed Babylon almost at the mercy of her rival. The Blamites had never abandoned their efforts to press in every conceivable way their claim to the Sebbeneh-su, the supremacy, which, prior to Kbammurabi, had been exercised by their ancestors over the whole of Mesopotamia; they swooped down on Karduniash with an impetuosity like that of the Assyrians, and probably with the same alternations of success and defeat. Their king, Kidinkhutrutash, unexpectedly attacked Belnadinshumu, son of Bibeiashu, appeared suddenly under the walls of Nipur and forced the defences of Durilu and Etimgarka-lamma: Belnadinshumu disappeared in the struggle after a reign of eighteen months. Tukulti-ninip left Belna-dinshumu's successor, Kadashmankharbe II., no time to recover from this disaster; he attacked him in turn, carried Babylon by main force, and put a number of the inhabitants to the sword. He looted the palace and the temples, dragged the statue of Merodach from its sanctuary and carried it off into Assyria, together with the badges of supreme power; then, after appointing governors of his own in the various towns, he returned to Kalakh, laden with booty; he led captive with him several members of the royal family -- among others, Bammanshumusur, the lawful successor of Bibeiashu.
This first conquest of Chaldaea did not, however, produce any lasting results. The fall of Babylon did not necessarily involve the subjection of the whole country, and the cities of the south showed a bold front to the foreign intruder, and remained faithful to Kadashmankharbe; on the death of the latter, some months after his defeat, they hailed as king a certain Bammanshumnadin, who by some means or other had made his escape from captivity. Bammanshumnadin proved himself a better man than his predecessors; when Kidinkhutrutash, never dreaming, apparently, that he would meet with any serious resistance, came to claim his share of the spoil, he defeated him near Ishin, drove him out of the districts recently occupied by the Elamites, and so effectually retrieved his fortunes in this direction, that he was able to concentrate his whole attention on what was going on in the north. The effects of his victory soon became apparent: the nobles of Akkad and Karduniash declined to pay homage to their Assyrian governors, and, ousting them from the offices to which they had been appointed, restored Babylon to the independence which it had lost seven years previously. Tukulti-ninip paid dearly for his incapacity to retain his conquests: his son Assurnazirpal I. conspired with the principal officers, deposed him from the throne, and confined him in the fortified palace of Kar-Tukulti-ninip, which he had built not far from Kalakh, where he soon after contrived his assassination. About this time Rammanshumnadin disappears, and we can only suppose that the disasters of these last years had practically annihilated the Cossaean dynasty, for Rammanshu-musur, who was a prisoner in Assyria, was chosen as his successor. The monuments tell us nothing definite of the troubles which next befell the two kingdoms: we seem to gather, however, that Assyria became the scene of civil wars, and that the sons of Tukulti-ninip fought for the crown among themselves. Tukultiassurbel, who gained the upper hand at the end of six years, set Raminan-shumusur at liberty, probably with the view of purchasing the support of the Chaldaeans, but he did not succeed in restoring his country to the position it had held under Shalmaneser and Tukulti-ninip I. The history of Assyria presents a greater number of violent contrasts and extreme vicissitudes than that of any other Eastern people in the earliest times. No sooner had the Assyrians arrived, thanks to the ceaseless efforts of five or six generations, at the very summit of their ambition, than some incompetent, or perhaps merely unfortunate, king appeared on the scene, and lost in a few years all the ground which had been gained at the cost of such tremendous exertions: then the subject races would rebel, the neighbouring peoples would pluck up courage and reconquer the provinces which they had surrendered, till the dismembered empire gradually shrank back to its original dimensions. As the fortunes of Babylon rose, those of Nineveh suffered a corresponding depression: Babylon soon became so powerful that Eammanshumusur was able to adopt a patronising tone in his relations with Assur-nirari I. and Nabodainani, the descendants of Tukultiassurbel, who at one time shared the throne together.*
* All that we know of these two kings is contained in the copy, executed in the time of Assurbanipal, of a letter addressed to them by Eammanshumusur. They have been placed, at one time or another, either at the beginning of Assyrian history before Assurbelnishishu, or after Tigiath-pileser I., about the XIth or Xth, or even the VIIIth century before our era. It has since been discovered that the
This period of subjection and humiliation did not last long. Belkudurusur, who appears on the throne not long after Assurnirari and his partner, resumed military operations against the Cossaeans, but cautiously at first; and though he fell in the decisive engagement, yet Bamman-shumusur perished with him, and the two states were thus simultaneously left rulerless. Milishikhu succeeded Bammanshumusur, and Ninipahalesharra filled the place of Belkudurusur; the disastrous invasion of Assyria by the Chaldaeans, and their subsequent retreat, at length led to an armistice, which, while it afforded evidence of the indisputable superiority of Milishikhu, proved no less plainly the independence of his rival. Mero-dachabaliddina I. replaced Milishikhu, Zamaniashu-middin followed Merodachabaliddina: Assurdan I., son of Ninipahalesharra, broke the treaty, captured the towns of Zaban, Irria, and Akarsallu, and succeeded in retaining them. The advantage thus gained was but a slight one, for these provinces lying between the two Zabs had long been subject to Assyria, and had been wrested from her since the days of Tukulti-ninip: however, it broke the run of ill luck which seemed to have pursued her so relentlessly, and opened the way for more important victories. This was the last Cossaean war; at any rate, the last of which we find any mention in history: Bel-nadinshumu II. reigned three years after Zamamashu-middin, but when he died there was no man of his family whom the priests could invite to lay hold of the hand of Merodach, and his dynasty ended with him. It included thirty-six kings, and had lasted five hundred and seventy-six years and six months.*
* The following is a list of some of the kings of this dynasty according to the canon discovered by Pinches.
[Illustration: 163.jpg TABLE]
It had enjoyed its moments of triumph, and at one time had almost seemed destined to conquer the whole of Asia; but it appears to have invariably failed just as it was on the point of reaching the goal, and it became completely exhausted by its victories at the end of every two or three generations. It had triumphed over Elam, and yet Elam remained a constant peril on its right. It had triumphed over Assyria, yet Assyria, after driving it back to the regions of the Upper Tigris, threatened to bar the road to the Mediterranean by means of its Masian colonies: were they once to succeed in this attempt, what hope would there be left to those who ruled in Babylon of ever after re-establishing the traditional empire of the ancient Sargon and Khammurabi? The new dynasty sprang from a town in Pashe, the geographical position of which is not known. It was of Babylonian origin, and its members placed, at the be ginning of their protocols, formula which were intended to indicate, in the clearest possible manner, the source from which they sprang: they declared themselves to be scions of Babylon, its vicegerents, and supreme masters. The names of the first two we do not know: the third, Nebuchadrezzar, shows himself to have been one of the most remarkable men of all those who flourished during this troubled era. At no time, perhaps, had Chaldaea been in a more abject state, or assailed by more active foes. The Elamite had just succeeded in wresting from her Namar, the region from whence the bulk of her chariot-horses were obtained, and this success had laid the provinces on the left bank of the Tigris open to their attacks. They had even crossed the river, pillaged Babylon, and carried away the statue of Bel and that of a goddess named Eria, the patroness of Khussi: "Merodach, sore angered, held himself aloof from the country of Akkad;" the kings could no longer "take his hands" on their coming to the throne, and were obliged to reign without proper investiture in consequence of their failure to fulfil the rite required by religious laws.*
* The Donation to Shamud and Shamai informs us that Nebuchadrezzar "took the hands of Bel" as soon as he regained possession of the statue. The copy we possess of the Royal Canon. Nebuchadrezzar I.'s place in the series has, therefore, been the subject of much controversy. Several Assyriologists were from the first inclined to place him in the first or second rank, some being in favour of the first, others preferring the second; Dolitzsch put him into the fifth place, and Winckler, without pronouncing
Nebuchadrezzar arose "in Babylon, -- roaring like a lion, even as Bamman roareth, -- and his chosen nobles, roared like lions with him. -- To Merodach, lord of Babylon, rose his prayer: -- 'How long, for me, shall there be sighing and groaning? -- How long, for my land, weeping and mourning? -- How long, for my countries, cries of grief and tears? Till what time, O lord of Babylon, wilt thou remain in hostile regions? -- Let thy heart be softened, and make Babylon joyful, -- and let thy face be turned toward Eshaggil which thou lovest!'" Merodach gave ear to the plaint of his servant: he answered him graciously and promised his aid. Namar, united as it had been with Chaldaea for centuries, did not readily become accustomed to its new masters. The greater part of the land belonged to a Semitic and Cossaean feudality, the heads of which, while admitting their suzerain's right to exact military service from them, refused to acknowledge any further duty towards him. The kings of Susa declined to recognise their privileges: they subjected them to a poll-tax, levied the usual imposts on their estates, and forced them to maintain at their own expense the troops quartered on them for the purpose of guaranteeing their obedience.*
* Shamua and Shamai "fled in like manner towards Karduniash, before the King of Elam;" it would seem that Rittimerodach had entered into secret negotiations with Nebuchadrezzar, though this is nowhere explicitly stated in the text.
Several of the nobles abandoned everything rather than submit to such tyranny, and took refuge with Nebuchadrezzar: others entered into secret negotiations with him, and promised to support him if he came to their help with an armed force. He took them at their word, and invaded Namar without warning in the month of Tamuz, while the summer was at its height, at a season in which the Elamites never even dreamt he would take the field. The heat was intense, water was not to be got, and the army suffered terribly from thirst during its forced march of over a hundred miles across a parched-up country. One of the malcontents, Eittimerodach, lord of Bitkarziabku, joined Nebuchadrezzar with all the men he could assemble, and together they penetrated as far as Ulai. The King of Elam, taken by surprise, made no attempt to check their progress, but collected his vassals and awaited their attack on the banks of the river in front of Susa. Once "the fire of the combat had been lighted between the opposing forces, the face of the sun grew dark, the tempest broke forth, the whirlwind raged, and in this whirlwind of the struggle none of the characters could distinguish the face of his neighbour." Nebuchadrezzar, cut off from his own men, was about to surrender or be killed, when Eittimerodach flew to his rescue and brought him off safely. In the end the Chaldaeans gained the upper hand.*
* Donation to Rittimerodach, col. i.11.12-43. The description of the battle as given in this document is generally taken to be merely symbolical, and I have followed the current usage. But if we bear in mind that the text lays emphasis on the drought and severity of the season, we are tempted to agree with Pinches and Budge that its statements should be taken literally. The affair may have been begun in a cloud of dust, and have ended in a downpour of rain so heavy as to partly blind the combatants. The king was probably drawn away from his men in the confusion; it was probably then that he was in danger of being made prisoner, and that Rittimerodach, suddenly coming up, delivered him from the foes who surrounded him.
The Elamites renounced their claims to the possession of Namar, and restored the statues of the gods: Nebuchadrezzar "at once laid hold of the hands of Bel," and thus legalised his accession to the throne. Other expeditions against the peoples of Lulurne and against the Cossaeans restored his supremacy in the regions of the north-east, and a campaign along the banks of the Euphrates opened out the road to Syria. He rewarded generously those who had accompanied him on his raid against Elam. After issuing regulations intended to maintain the purity of the breed of horses for which Namar was celebrated, he reinstated in their possessions Shamua and his son Shamai, the descendants of one of the priestly families of the province, granting them in addition certain domains near Upi, at the mouth of the Turnat. He confirmed Rittimerodach in possession of all his property, and reinvested him with all the privileges of which the King of Elam had deprived him. From that time forward the domain of Bitkarziabku was free of the tithe on corn, oxen, and sheep; it was no longer liable to provide horses and mares for the exchequer, or to afford free passage to troops in time of peace; the royal jurisdiction ceased on the boundary of the fief, the seignorial jurisdiction alone extended over the inhabitants and their property. Chaldaean prefects ruled in Namar, at Khalman, and at the foot of the Zagros, and Nebuchadrezzar no longer found any to oppose him save the King of Assyria.
The long reign of Assurdan in Assyria does not seem to have been distinguished by any event of importance either good or bad: it is true he won several towns on the south-east from the Babylonians, but then he lost several others on the north-west to the Mushku,* and the loss on the one side fully balanced the advantage gained on the other.
* Hommel has proved, by a very simple calculation, that Assurdan must have been the king in whose reign the Mushku made the inroad into the basin of the Upper Tigris and of the Balikh, which is mentioned in the Annals of Tiglath- pileser I. These Annals are our authority for stating that Assurdan was on the throne for a long period, though the exact length of his reign is not known.
His son Mutakkilnusku lived in Assur at peace,* but his grandson, Assurishishi, was a mighty king, conqueror of a score of countries, and the terror of all rebels: he scattered the hordes of the Akhlame and broke up their forces; then Ninip, the champion of the gods, permitted him to crush the Lulume and the G-uti in their valleys and on their mountains covered with forests. He made his way up to the frontiers of Elam,** and his encroachments on territories claimed by Babylon stirred up the anger of the Chaldaeans against him; Nebuchadrezzar made ready to dispute their ownership with him.
* Annals of Tiglath-pileser I. Mutakkilnusku himself has only left us one inscription, in which he declares that he had built a palace in the city of Assyria.
** Smith discovered certain fragments of Annals, which he attributed to Assurishishi. The longest of these tell of a campaign against Elam. Lotz attributed them to Tiglath- pileser I., and is supported in this by most Assyriologists of the day.
The earlier engagements went against the Assyrians; they were driven back in disorder, but the victor lost time before one of their strongholds, and, winter coming on before he could take it, he burnt his engines of war, set fire to his camp, and returned home. Next year, a rapid march carried him right under the walls of Assur; then Assurishishi came to the rescue, totally routed his opponent, captured forty of his chariots, and drove him flying across the frontier. The war died out of itself, its end being marked by no treaty: each side kept its traditional position and supremacy over the tribes inhabiting the basins of the Turnat and Eadanu. The same names reappear in line after line of these mutilated Annals, and the same definite enumerations of rebellious tribes who have been humbled or punished. These kings of the plain, both Ninevite and Babylonian, were continually raiding the country up and down for centuries without ever arriving at any decisive result, and a detailed account of their various campaigns would be as tedious reading as that of the ceaseless struggle between the Latins and Sabines which fills the opening pages of Roman history. Posterity soon grew weary of them, and, misled by the splendid position which Assyria attained when at the zenith of its glory, set itself to fabricate splendid antecedents for the majestic empire established by the latter dynasties. The legend ran that, at the dawn of time, a chief named Ninos had reduced to subjection one after the other -- Babylonia, Media, Armenia, and all the provinces between the Indies and the Mediterranean. He built a capital for himself on the banks of the Tigris, in the form of a parallelogram, measuring a hundred and fifty stadia in length, ninety stadia in width; altogether, the walls were four hundred and eighty stadia in circumference. In addition to the Assyrians who formed the bulk of the population, he attracted many foreigners to Nineveh, so that in a few years it became the most flourishing town in the whole world. An inroad of the tribes of the Oxus interrupted his labours; Ninos repulsed the invasion, and, driving the barbarians back into Bactria, laid siege to it; here, in the tent of one of his captains, he came upon Semiramis, a woman whose past was shrouded in mystery. She was said to be the daughter of an ordinary mortal by a goddess, the Ascalonian Derketo. Exposed immediately after her birth, she was found and adopted by a shepherd named Simas, and later on her beauty aroused the passion of Oannes, governor of Syria. Ninos, amazed at the courage displayed by her on more than one occasion, carried her off, made her his favourite wife, and finally met his death at her hands. No sooner did she become queen, than she founded Babylon on a far more extensive scale than that of Nineveh. Its walls were three hundred and sixty stadia in length, with two hundred and fifty lofty towers, placed here and there on its circuit, the roadway round the top of the ramparts being wide enough for six chariots to drive abreast. She made a kind of harbour in the Euphrates, threw a bridge across it, and built quays one hundred and sixty stadia in length along its course; in the midst of the town she raised a temple to Bel. This great work was scarcely finished when disturbances broke out in Media; these she promptly repressed, and set out on a tour of inspection through the whole of her provinces, with a view to preventing the recurrence of similar outbreaks by her presence. Wherever she went she left records of her passage behind her, cutting her way through mountains, quarrying a pathway through the solid rock, making broad highways for herself, bringing rebellious tribes beneath her yoke, and raising tumuli to mark the tombs of such of her satraps as fell beneath the blows of the enemy. She built Ecbatana in Media, Semiramocarta on Lake Van in Armenia, and Tarsus in Cilicia; then, having reached the confines of Syria, she crossed the isthmus, and conquered Egypt and Ethiopia. The far-famed wealth of India recalled her from the banks of the Nile to those of the Euphrates, en route for the remote east, but at this point her good fortune forsook her: she was defeated by King Stratobates, and returned to her own dominions, never again to leave them. She had set up triumphal stelae on the boundaries of the habitable globe, in the very midst of Scythia, not far from the Iaxartes, where, centuries afterwards, Alexander of Macedon read the panegyric of herself which she had caused to be engraved there. "Nature," she writes, "gave me the body of a woman, but my deeds have put me on a level with the greatest of men. I ruled over the dominion of Ninos, which extends eastwards to the river Hinaman, southwards to the countries of Incense and Myrrh, and northwards as far as the Sacaa and Sogdiani. Before my time no Assyrian had ever set eyes on the sea: I have seen four oceans to which no mariner has ever sailed, so far remote are they. I have made rivers to flow where I would have them, in the places where they were needed; thus did I render fertile the barren soil by watering it with my rivers. I raised up impregnable fortresses, and cut roadways through the solid rock with the pick. I opened a way for the wheels of my chariots in places to which even the feet of wild beasts had never penetrated. And, amidst all these labours, I yet found time for my pleasures and for the society of my friends." On discovering that her son Ninyas was plotting her assassination, she at once abdicated in his favour, in order to save him from committing a crime, and then transformed herself into a dove; this last incident betrays the goddess to us. Ninos and Semiramis are purely mythical, and their mighty deeds, like those ascribed to Ishtar and Gilgames, must be placed in the same category as those other fables with which the Babylonian legends strive to fill up the blank of the prehistoric period.*
* The legend of Ninos and Semiramis is taken from Diodorus Siculus, who reproduces, often word for word, the version of Ctesias.
[Illustration: 172.jpg the dove-goddess]
Drawn by Boudier, from the sketch published in Longperier.
The real facts were, as we know, far less brilliant and less extravagant than those supplied by popular imagination. It would be a mistake, however, to neglect or despise them on account of their tedious monotony and the insignificance of the characters who appear on the stage. It was by dint of fighting her neighbours again and again, without a single day's respite, that Rome succeeded in forging the weapons with which she was to conquer the world; and any one who, repelled by their tedious sameness, neglected to follow the history of her early struggles, would find great difficulty in understanding how it came about that a city which had taken centuries to subjugate her immediate neighbours should afterwards overcome all the states on the Mediterranean seaboard with such magnificent ease. In much the same way the ceaseless struggles of Assyria with the Chaldaeans, and with the mountain tribes of the Zagros Chain, were unconsciously preparing her for those lightning-like campaigns in which she afterwards overthrew all the civilized nations of the Bast one after another. It was only at the cost of unparalleled exertions that she succeeded in solidly welding together the various provinces within her borders, and in kneading (so to speak) the many and diverse elements of her vast population into one compact mass, containing in itself all that was needful for its support, and able to bear the strain of war for several years at time without giving way, and rich enough in men and horses to provide the material for an effective army without excessive impoverishment of her trade or agriculture.
[Illustration: 173.jpg AN ASSYRIAN]
Drawn by Boudier, from a painted bas-relief given in Layard.
The race came of an old Semitic strain, somewhat crude as yet, and almost entirely free from that repeated admixture of foreign elements which had marred the purity of the Babylonian stock. The monuments show us a type similar in many respects to that which we find to-day on the slopes of Singar, or in the valleys to the east of Mossul.
The figures on the monuments are tall and straight, broad-shouldered and wide in the hips, the arms well developed, the legs robust, with good substantial feet. The swell of the muscles on the naked limbs is perhaps exaggerated, but this very exaggeration of the modelling suggests the vigour of the model; it is a heavier, more rustic type than the Egyptian, promising greater strength and power of resistance, and in so far an indisputable superiority in the great game of war. The head is somewhat small, the forehead low and flat, the eyebrows heavy, the eye of a bold almond shape, with heavy lids, the nose aquiline, and full at the tip, with wide nostrils terminating in a hard, well-defined curve; the lips are thick and full, the chin bony, while the face is framed by the coarse dark wavy hair and beard, which fell in curly masses over the nape of the neck and the breast. The expression of the face is rarely of an amiable and smiling type, such as we find in the statues of the Theban period or in those of the Memphite empire, nor, as a matter of fact, did the Assyrian pride himself on the gentleness of his manners: he did not overflow with love for his fellow-man, as the Egyptian made a pretence of doing; on the contrary, he was stiff-necked and proud, without pity for others or for himself, hot-tempered and quarrelsome like his cousins of Chaldaea, but less turbulent and more capable of strict discipline. It mattered not whether he had come into the world in one of the wretched cabins of a fellah village, or in the palace of one of the great nobles; he was a born soldier, and his whole education tended to develop in him the first qualities of the soldier -- temperance, patience, energy, and unquestioning obedience: he was enrolled in an army which was always on a war footing, commanded by the god Assur, and under Assur, by the king, the vicegerent and representative of the god. His life was shut in by the same network of legal restrictions which confined that of the Babylonians, and all its more important events had to be recorded on tablets of clay; the wording of contracts, the formalities of marriage or adoption, the status of bond and free, the rites of the dead and funeral ceremonies, had either remained identical with those in use during the earliest years of the cities of the Lower Euphrates, or differed from them only in their less important details. The royal and municipal governments levied the same taxes, used the same procedure, employed the same magistrates, and the grades of their hierarchy were the same, with one exception. After the king, the highest office was filled by a soldier, the tartan who saw to the recruiting of the troops, and led them in time of war, or took command of the staff-corps whenever the sovereign himself deigned to appear on the scene of action.*
* We can determine the rank occupied, by the tartanu at court by the positions they occupy in the lists of eponymous limmu: they invariably come next after the king -- a fact which was noticed many years ago.
The more influential of these functionaries bore, in addition to their other titles, one of a special nature, which, for the space of one year, made its holder the most conspicuous man in the country; they became limmu, and throughout their term of office their names appeared on all official documents. The Chaldaeans distinguished the various years of each reign by a reference to some event which had taken place in each; the Assyrians named them after the limmu.* The king was the ex-officio limmu for the year following that of his accession, then after him the tartan, then the ministers and governors of provinces and cities in an order which varied little from reign to reign. The names of the limmu, entered in registers and tabulated -- just as, later on, were those of the Greek archons and Roman consuls -- furnished the annalists with a rigid chronological system, under which the facts of history might be arranged with certainty.**
* According to Delitzsch, the term limu, or limmu, meant at first any given period, then later more especially the year during which a magistrate filled his office; in the opinion of most other Assyriologists it referred to the magistrate himself as eponymous archon.
** The first list of limmu was discovered by H. Rawlinson. The portions which have been preserved extend from the year 893 to the year 666 B.C. without a break. In the periods previous and subsequent to this we have only names scattered here and there which it has not been possible to classify: the earliest limmu known at present flourished under Ramman-nirari I., and was named Mukhurilani. Three different versions of the canon have como down to us. In the most important one the names of the eponymous officials are written one after another without titles or any mention of important events; in the other two, the titles of each personage, and any important occurrences which took place during his year of office, are entered after the name.
The king still retained the sacerdotal attributes with which Cossaean monarchs had been invested from the earliest times, but contact with the Egyptians had modified the popular conception of his personality. His subjects were no longer satisfied to regard him merely as a man superior to his fellow-men; they had come to discover something of the divine nature in him, and sometimes identified him -- not with Assur, the master of all things, who occupied a position too high above the pale of ordinary humanity -- but with one of the demi-gods of the second rank, Shamash, the Sun, the deity whom the Pharaohs pretended to represent in flesh and blood here below. His courtiers, therefore, went as far as to call him "Sun" when they addressed him, and he himself adopted this title in his inscriptions.*
* Nebuchadrezzar I. of Babylon assumes the title of Shamash mati-shu, the "Sun of his country," and Hilprecht rightly sees in this expression a trace of Egyptian influences; later on, Assurnazirpal, King of Assyria similarly describes himself as Shamshu kishshat nishi, the "Sun of all mankind." Tiele is of opinion that these expressions do not necessarily point to any theory of the actual incarnation of the god, as was the case in Egypt, but that they may be mere rhetorical figures.
Formerly he had only attained this apotheosis after death, later on he was permitted to aspire to it during his lifetime. The Chaldaeans adopted the same attitude, and in both countries the royal authority shone with the borrowed lustre of divine omnipotence. With these exceptions life at court remained very much the same as it had been; at Nineveh, as at Babylon, we find harems filled with foreign princesses, who had either been carried off as hostages from the country of a defeated enemy, or amicably obtained from their parents. In time of war, the command of the troops and the dangers of the battle-field; in time of peace, a host of religious ceremonies and judicial or administrative duties, left but little leisure to the sovereign who desired to perform conscientiously all that was required of him. His chief amusement lay in the hunting of wild beasts: the majority of the princes who reigned over Assyria had a better right than even Amenothes III. himself to boast of the hundreds of lions which they had slain. They set out on these hunting expeditions with quite a small army of charioteers and infantry, and were often away several days at a time, provided urgent business did not require their presence in the palace. They started their quarry with the help of large dogs, and followed it over hill and dale till they got within bowshot: if it was but slightly wounded and turned on them, they gave it the finishing stroke with their lances without dismounting.
[Illustration: 178.jpg A LION-HUNT]
Drawn by Boudier, from a bas-relief in the British Museum.
Occasionally, however, they were obliged to follow their prey into places where horses could not easily penetrate; then a hand-to-hand conflict was inevitable. The lion would rise on its hind quarters and endeavour to lay its pursuer low with a stroke of its mighty paw, but only to fall pierced to the heart by his lance or sword.
[Illustration: 179.jpg LION TRANSFIXED BY AN ARROW]
Drawn by Boudier, from a bas-relief in the British Museum.
This kind of encounter demanded great presence of mind and steadiness of hand; the Assyrians were, therefore, trained to it from their youth up, and no hunter was permitted to engage in these terrible encounters without long preliminary practice. Seeing the lion as they did so frequently, and at such close quarters, they came to know it quite as well as the Egyptians, and their sculptors reproduce it with a realism and technical skill which have been rarely equalled in modern times. But while the Theban artist generally represents it in an attitude of repose, the Assyrians prefer to show it in violent action in all the various attitudes which it assumes during a struggle, either crouching as it prepares to spring, or fully extended in the act of leaping; sometimes it rears into an upright position, with arched back, gaping jaws, and claws protruded, ready to bite or strike its foe; at others it writhes under a spear-thrust, or rolls over and over in its dying agonies. In one instance, an arrow has pierced the skull of a male lion, crashing through the frontal bone a little above the left eyebrow, and protrudes obliquely to the right between his teeth: under the shock of the blow he has risen on his hind legs, with contorted spine, and beats the air with his fore paws, his head thrown back as though to free himself of the fatal shaft. Not far from him the lioness lies stretched out upon its back in the rigidity of death.
[Illustration: 180.jpg PAINTINGS OF CHAIRS]
The "rimu," or urus, was, perhaps, even a more formidable animal to encounter than any of the felido, owing to the irresistible fury of his attack. No one would dare, except in a case of dire necessity, to meet him on foot. The loose flowing robes which the king and the nobles never put aside -- not even in such perilous pastimes as these -- were ill fitted for the quick movements required to avoid the attack of such an animal, and those who were unlucky enough to quit their chariot ran a terrible risk of being gored or trodden underfoot in the encounter. It was the custom, therefore, to attack the beast by arrows, and to keep it at a distance. If the animal were able to come up with its pursuer, the latter endeavoured to seize it by the horn at the moment when it lowered its head, and to drive his dagger into its neck. If the blow were adroitly given it severed the spinal cord, and the beast fell in a heap as if struck by lightning. A victory over such animals was an occasion for rejoicing, and solemn thanks were offered to Assur and Ishtar, the patrons of the chase, at the usual evening sacrifice.
[Illustration: 181.jpg A UBUS HUNT]
Drawn by Boudier, from a bas-relief in the British Museum.
The slain beasts, whether lion or urus, were arranged in a row before the altar, while the king, accompanied by his flabella, and umbrella-bearers, stood alongside them, holding his bow in his left hand. While the singers intoned the hymn of thanksgiving to the accompaniment of the harp, the monarch took the bowl of sacred wine, touched his lips with it, and then poured a portion of the contents on the heads of the victims. A detailed account of each hunting exploit was preserved for posterity either in inscriptions or on bas-reliefs.*
* In the Annals of Tiglath-pileser I. the king counts the number of his victims: 4 urus, 10 male elephants, 120 lions slain in single combat on foot, 800 lions killed by arrows let fly from his chariot. In the Annals of Assurnazirpal, the king boasts of having slain 30 elephants, 250 urus, and 370 lions.
The chase was in those days of great service to the rural population; the kings also considered it to be one of the duties attached to their office, and on a level with their obligation to make war on neighbouring nations devoted by the will of Assur to defeat and destruction.
[Illustration: 182.jpg LIBATION POURED OVER THE LIONS ON THE RETURN FROM THE CHASE]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Hommel.
The army charged to carry out the will of the god had not yet acquired the homogeneity and efficiency which it afterwards attained, yet it had been for some time one of the most formidable in the world, and even the Egyptians themselves, in spite of their long experience in military matters, could not put into the field such a proud array of effective troops. We do not know how this army was recruited, but the bulk of it was made up of native levies, to which foreign auxiliaries were added in numbers varying with the times.* A permanent nucleus of troops was always in garrison in the capital under the "tartan," or placed in the principal towns at the disposal of the governors.**
* We have no bas-relief representing the armies of Tiglath- pileser I. Everything in the description which follows is taken from the monuments of Assurnazirpal and Shalmaneser II., revised as far as possible by the inscriptions of Tiglath-pileser; the armament of both infantry and chariotry must have been practically the same in the two periods.
** This is based on the account given in the Obelisk of Shalmaneser, where the king, for example, after having gathered his soldiers together at Kalakh [Calah], put at their head Dainassur the artan, "the master of his
[Illustration: 183.jpg TWO ASSYRIAN ARCHERS]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin.
The contingents which came to be enrolled at these centres on the first rumour of war may have been taken from among the feudal militia, as was the custom in the Nile valley, or the whole population may have had to render personal military service, each receiving while with the colours a certain daily pay. The nobles and feudal lords were accustomed to call their own people together, and either placed themselves at their head or commissioned an officer to act in their behalf.*
* The assembling of foot-soldiers and chariots is often described at the beginning of each campaign; the Donation of Bittimerodach brings before us a great feudal lord, who leads his contingent to the King of Chaldaea, and anything which took place among the Babylonians had its counterpart among the Assyrians. Sometimes the king had need of all the contingents, and then it was said he "assembled the country." Auxiliaries are mentioned, for example, in the Annals of Assurnazirpal, col. iii.11.58-77, where the king, in his passage, rallies one after the other the troops of Bit-Bakhiani, of Azalli, of Bit-Adini, of Garganish, and of the Patinu.
[Illustration: 184.jpg AN ASSYRIAN WAR-CHARIOT CHARGING THE FOE]
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph by Mansell.
These recruits were subjected to the training necessary for their calling by exercises similar to those of the Egyptians, but of a rougher sort and better adapted to the cumbrous character of their equipment. The blacksmith's art had made such progress among the Assyrians since the times of Thutmosis III. and Ramses IL, that both the character and the materials of the armour were entirely changed.
[Illustration: 185a.jpg HARNESS OF THE HORSES]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from G. Rawlinson.
[Illustration: 185b.jpg PIKEMAN]
While the Egyptian of old entered into the contest almost naked, and without other defence than a padded cap, a light shield, and a leather apron, the Assyrian of the new age set out for war almost cased in metal. The pikemen and archers of whom the infantry of the line was composed wore a copper or iron helmet, conical in form, and having cheek-pieces covering the ears; they were clad in a sort of leathern shirt covered with plates or imbricated scales of metal, which protected the body and the upper part of the arm; a quilted and padded loin-cloth came over the haunches, while close-fitting trousers, and buskins laced up in the front, completed their attire. The pikemen were armed with a lance six feet long, a cutlass or short sword passed through the girdle, and an enormous shield, sometimes round and convex, sometimes arched at the top and square at the bottom. The bowmen did not encumber themselves with a buckler, but carried, in addition to the bow and quiver, a poignard or mace. The light infantry consisted of pikemen and archers -- each of whom wore a crested helmet and a round shield of wicker-work -- of slingers and club-bearers, as well as of men armed with the two-bladed battle-axe. The chariots were heavier and larger than those of the Egyptians. They had high, strongly made wheels with eight spokes, and the body of the vehicle rested directly on the axle; the panels were of solid wood, sometimes covered with embossed or carved metal, but frequently painted; they were further decorated sometimes with gold, silver, or ivory mountings, and with precious stones. The pole, which was long and heavy, ended in a boss of carved wood or incised metal, representing a flower, a rosette, the muzzle of a lion, or a horse's head. It was attached to the axle under the floor of the vehicle, and as it had to bear a great strain, it was not only fixed to this point by leather thongs such as were employed in Egypt, but also bound to the front of the chariot by a crossbar shaped like a spindle, and covered with embroidered stuff -- an arrangement which prevented its becoming detached when driving at full speed. A pair of horses were harnessed to it, and a third was attached to them on the right side for the use of a supplementary warrior, who could take the place of his comrade in case of accident, or if he were wounded. The trappings were very simple; but sometimes there was added to these a thickly padded caparison, of which the various parts were fitted to the horse by tags so as to cover the upper part of his head, his neck, back, and breast. The usual complement of charioteers was two to each vehicle, as in Egypt, but sometimes, as among the Khati, there were three -- one on the left to direct the horses, a warrior, and an attendant who protected the other two with his shield; on some occasions a fourth was added as an extra assistant. The equipment of the charioteers was like that of the infantry, and consisted of a jacket with imbricated scales of metal, bow and arrows, and a lance or javelin. A standard which served as a rallying-point for the chariots in the battle was set up on the front part of each vehicle, between the driver and the warrior; it bore at the top a disk supported on the heads of two bulls, or by two complete representations of these animals, and a standing figure of Assur letting fly his arrows. The chariotry formed, as in most countries of that time, the picked troops of the service, in which the princes and great lords were proud to be enrolled. Upon it depended for the most part the issue of the conflict, and the position assigned to it was in the van, the king or commander-in-chief reserving to himself the privilege of conducting the charge in person. It was already, however, in a state of decadence, both as regards the number of units composing it and its methods of manoeuvring; the infantry, on the other hand, had increased in numbers, and under the guidance of abler generals tended to become the most trustworthy force in Assyrian campaigns.*
* Tiglath-pileser is seen, for instance, setting out on a campaign in a mountainous country with only thirty chariots.
Notwithstanding the weight of his equipment, the Assyrian foot-soldier was as agile as the Egyptian, but he had to fight usually in a much more difficult region than that in which the Pharaoh's troops were accustomed to manouvre.
[Illustration: 188.jpg CROSSING A RIVER IN BOATS AND ON INFLATED SKINS]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from Layard.
The theatre of war was not like Syria, with its fertile and almost unbroken plains furrowed by streams which offered little obstruction to troops throughout the year, but a land of marshes, arid and rocky deserts, mighty rivers, capable, in one of their sudden floods, of arresting progress for days, and of jeopardising the success of a campaign;* violent and ice-cold torrents, rugged mountains whose summits rose into "points like daggers," and whose passes could be held against a host of invaders by a handful of resolute men.**
* Sennacherib was obliged to arrest his march against Elam, owing to his inability to cross the torrents swollen by the rain; a similar contretemps must have met Assurbanipal on the banks of the Ididi.
** The Assyrian monarchs dwell with pleasure on the difficulties of the country which they have to overcome.
Bands of daring skirmishers, consisting of archers, slingers, and pikemen, cleared the way for the mass of infantry marching in columns, and for the chariots, in the midst of which the king and his household took up their station; the baggage followed, together with the prisoners and their escorts.*
* Assurbanipal relates, for instance, that he put under his escort a tribe which had surrendered themselves as
If they came to a river where there was neither ford nor bridge, they were not long in effecting a passage.
[Illustration: 189.jpg MAKING A BRIDGE FOR THE PASSAGE OF THE CHARIOTS]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a bas-relief on the bronze gates of Balawat.
Each soldier was provided with a skin, which, having inflated it by the strength of his lungs and closed the aperture, he embraced in his arms and cast himself into the stream. Partly by floating and partly by swimming, a whole regiment could soon reach the other side. The chariots could not be carried over so easily.
[Illustration: 190.jpg THE KING'S CHARIOT CROSSING A BRIDGE]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from one of the bas-reliefs on the bronze gates of Balawat.
If the bed of the river was not very wide, and the current not too violent, a narrow bridge was constructed, or rather an improvised dyke of large stones and rude gabions filled with clay, over which was spread a layer of branches and earth, supplying a sufficiently broad passage for a single chariot, of which the horses were led across at walking pace.*
* Flying bridges, titurati, were mentioned as far back as the time of Tiglath-pileser I.
But when the distance between the banks was too great, and the stream too violent to allow of this mode of procedure, boats were requisitioned from the neighbourhood, on which men and chariots were embarked, while the horses, attended by grooms, or attached by their bridles to the flotilla, swam across the river.* If the troops had to pass through a mountainous district intersected by ravines and covered by forests, and thus impracticable on ordinary occasions for a large body of men, the advance-guard were employed in cutting a passage through the trees with the axe, and, if necessary, in making with the pick pathways or rough-hewn steps similar to those met with in the Lebanon on the Phoenician coast.**
* It was in this manner that Tiglath-pileser I. crossed the Euphrates on his way to the attack of Carchemish.
** Tiglath-pileser I. speaks on several occasions, and not without pride, of the roads that he had made for himself with bronze hatchets through the forests and over the mountains.
[Illustration: 191.jpg THE ASSYRIAN INFANTRY CROSSING THE MOUNTAINS]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a bas-relief on the bronze gates of Balawat.
The troops advanced in narrow columns, sometimes even in single file, along these improvised roads, always on the alert lest they should be taken at a disadvantage by an enemy concealed in the thickets. In case of attack, the foot-soldiers had each to think of himself, and endeavour to give as many blows as he received; but the charioteers, encumbered by their vehicles and the horses, found it no easy matter to extricate themselves from the danger. Once the chariots had entered into the forest region, the driver descended from his vehicle, and led the horses by the head, while the warrior and his assistant were not slow to follow his example, in order to give some relief to the animals by tugging at the wheels. The king alone did not dismount, more out of respect for his dignity than from indifference to the strain upon the animals; for, in spite of careful leading, he had to submit to a rough shaking from the inequalities of this rugged soil; sometimes he had too much of this, and it is related of him in his annals that he had crossed the mountains on foot like an ordinary mortal.*
* The same fact is found in the accounts of every
A halt was made every evening, either at some village, whose inhabitants were obliged to provide food and lodging, or, in default of this, on some site which they could fortify by a hastily thrown up rampart of earth. If they were obliged to remain in any place for a length of time, a regular encircling wall was constructed, not square or rectangular like those of the Egyptians, but round or oval.*
* The oval inclines towards a square form, with rounded corners, on the bas-reliefs of the bronze gates of
[Illustration: 193.jpg THE KING CROSSING A MOUNTAIN IN HIS CHARIOT]
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph by Mansell, taken in the British Museum.
It was made of dried brick, and provided with towers like an ancient city; indeed, many of these entrenched camps survived the occasion of their formation, and became small fortified towns or castles, whence a permanent garrison could command the neighbouring country. The interior was divided into four equal parts by two roads, intersecting each other at right angles. The royal tents, with their walls of felt or brown linen, resembled an actual palace, which could be moved from place to place; they were surrounded with less pretentious buildings reserved for the king's household, and the stables.
[Illustration: 194.jpg AN ASSYRIAN CAMP]
Drawn by Boudier, from Layard.
The tent-poles at the angles of these habitations were plated with metal, and terminated at their upper extremities in figures of goats and other animals made of the same material. The tents of the soldiers, were conical in form, and each was maintained in its position by a forked pole placed inside. They contained the ordinary requirements of the peasant -- -bed and head-rest, table with legs like those of a gazelle, stools and folding-chairs; the household utensils and the provisions hung from the forks of the support. The monuments, which usually give few details of humble life, are remarkable for their complete reproductions of the daily scenes in the camp. We see on them, the soldier making his bed, grinding corn, dressing the carcase of a sheep, which he had just killed, or pouring out wine; the pot boiling on the fire is watched by the vigilant eye of a trooper or of a woman, while those not actively employed are grouped together in twos and threes, eating, drinking, and chatting. A certain number of priests and soothsayers accompanied the army, but they did not bring the statues of their gods with them, the only emblems of the divinities seen in battle being the two royal ensigns, one representing Assur as lord of the territory, borne on a single bull and bending his bow, while the other depicted him standing on two bulls as King of Assyria.* An altar smoked before the chariot on which these two standards were planted, and every night and morning the prince and his nobles laid offerings upon it, and recited prayers before it for the well-being of the army.
Military tactics had not made much progress since the time of the great Egyptian invasions. The Assyrian generals set out in haste from Nineveh or Assur in the hope of surprising their enemy, and they often succeeded in penetrating into the very heart of his country before he had time to mobilise or concentrate his forces. The work of subduing him was performed piecemeal; they devastated his fields, robbed his orchards, and, marching all through the night,** they would arrive with such suddenness before one or other of his towns, that he would have no time to organise a defence. Most of their campaigns were mere forced marches across plains and mountains, without regular sieges or pitched battles.
* It is possible that each of these standards corresponded to some dignity of the sovereign; the first belonged to him, inasmuch as he was shar kishshati, "king of the regions," and the other, by virtue of his office, of shar Ashshur, "King of Assyria."
** Assurnazirpal mentions several night marches, which enabled him to reach the heart of the enemy's country.
[Illustration: 196.jpg A FORTIFIED TOWN]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Mansell. The inhabitants of the town who have been taken prisoners, are leaving it with their cattle under the conduct of Assyrian soldiers.
Should the enemy, however, seek an engagement, and the men be drawn up in line to meet him, the action would be opened by archers and light troops armed with slings, who would be followed by the chariotry and heavy infantry for close attack; a reserve of veterans would await around the commanding-general the crucial moment of the engagement, when they would charge in a body among the combatants, and decide the victory by sheer strength of arm.*
* Tiglath-pileser I. mentions a pitched battle against the Muskhu, who numbered 20,000 men; and another against Kiliteshub, King of Kummukh, in his first campaign. In one of the following campaigns he overcame the people of Saraush and those of Maruttash, and also 6000 Sugi; later on he defeated 23 allied kings of Nairi, and took from them 120 chariots and 20,000 people of Kumanu. The other wars are little more than raids, during which he encountered merely those who were incapable of offering him any resistance.
The pursuit of the enemy was never carried to any considerable distance, for the men were needed to collect the spoil, despatch the wounded, and carry off the trophies of war. Such of the prisoners as it was deemed useful or politic to spare were stationed in a safe place under a guard of sentries. The remainder were condemned to death as they were brought in, and their execution took place without delay; they were made to kneel down, with their backs to the soldiery, their heads bowed, and their hands resting on a flat stone or a billet of wood, in which position they were despatched with clubs. The scribes, standing before their tent doors, registered the number of heads cut off; each soldier, bringing his quota and throwing it upon the heap, gave in his name and the number of his company, and then withdrew in the hope of receiving a reward proportionate to the number of his victims.*
* The details of this bringing of heads are known to us by representations of a later period. The allusions contained in the Annals of Tiglath-pileser I. show that the custom was in full force under the early Assyrian conquerors.
When the king happened to accompany the army, he always presided at this scene, and distributed largesse to those who had shown most bravery; in his absence he required that the heads of the enemy's chiefs should be sent to him, in order that they might be exposed to his subjects on the gates of his capital. Sieges were lengthy and arduous undertakings. In the case of towns situated on the plain, the site was usually chosen so as to be protected by canals, or an arm of a river on two or three sides, thus leaving one side only without a natural defence, which the inhabitants endeavoured to make up for by means of double or treble ramparts.*
* The town of Tela had three containing walls, that of Shingisha had four, and that of Pitura two.
[Illustration: 198.jpg THE BRINGING OF HEADS AFTER A BATTLE]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from Layard.
These fortifications must have resembled those of the Syrian towns; the walls were broad at the base, and, to prevent scaling, rose to a height of some thirty or forty feet: there were towers at intervals of a bowshot, from which the archers could seriously disconcert parties making attacks against any intervening points in the curtain wall; the massive gates were covered with raw hides, or were plated with metal to resist assaults by fire and axe, while, as soon as hostilities commenced, the defence was further completed by wooden scaffolding. Places thus fortified, however, at times fell almost without an attempt at resistance; the inhabitants, having descended into the lowlands to rescue their crops from the Assyrians, would be disbanded, and, while endeavouring to take refuge within their ramparts, would be pursued by the enemy, who would gain admittance with them in the general disorder. If the town did not fall into their hands by some stroke of good fortune, they would at once attempt, by an immediate assault, to terrify the garrison into laying down their arms.*
* Assurnazirpal, in this fashion, took the town of Pitura in two days, in spite of its strong double ramparts.
The archers and slingers led the attack by advancing in couples till they were within the prescribed distance from the walls, one of the two taking careful aim, while the other sheltered his comrade behind his round-topped shield. The king himself would sometimes alight from his chariot and let fly his arrows in the front rank of the archers, while a handful of resolute men would rush against the gates of the town and attempt either to break them down or set them alight with torches. Another party, armed with stout helmets and quilted jerkins, which rendered them almost invulnerable to the shower of arrows or stones poured on them by the besieged, would attempt to undermine the walls by means of levers and pick-axes, and while thus engaged would be protected by mantelets fixed to the face of the walls, resembling in shape the shields of the archers. Often bodies of men would approach the suburbs of the city and endeavour to obtain access to the ramparts from the roofs of the houses in close proximity to the walls. If, however, they could gain admittance by none of these means, and time was of no consideration, they would resign themselves to a lengthy siege, and the blockade would commence by a systematic desolation of the surrounding country, in which the villages scattered over the plain would be burnt, the vines torn up, and all trees cut down.
[Illustration: 200.jpg THE KING LETS FLY ARROWS AT A BESIEGED TOWN]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from Layard.
The Assyrians waged war with a brutality which the Egyptians would never have tolerated. Unlike the Pharaohs, their kings were not content to imprison or put to death the principal instigators of a revolt, but their wrath would fall upon the entire population. As long as a town resisted the efforts of their besieging force, all its inhabitants bearing arms who fell into their hands were subjected to the most cruel tortures; they were cut to pieces or impaled alive on stakes, which were planted in the ground just in front of the lines, so that the besieged should enjoy a full view of the sufferings of their comrades.
[Illustration: 201.jpg ASSYRIAN SAPPERS]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from Layard.
Even during the course of a short siege this line of stakes would be prolonged till it formed a bloody pale between the two contending armies. This horrible spectacle had at least the effect of shaking the courage of the besieged, and of hastening the end of hostilities. When at length the town yielded to the enemy, it was often razed to the ground, and salt was strewn upon its ruins, while the unfortunate inhabitants were either massacred or transplanted en masse elsewhere. If the bulk of the population were spared and condemned to exile, the wealthy and noble were shown no clemency; they were thrown from, the top of the city towers, their ears and noses were cut off, their hands and feet were amputated, or they and their children were roasted over a slow fire, or flayed alive, or decapitated, and their heads piled up in a heap.
[Illustration: 202.jpg A TOWN TAKEN BY SCALING]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from one of the bas-reliefs of the bronze gate at Balawat. The two soldiers who represent the Assyrian army carry their shields before them; flames appear above the ramparts, showing that the conquerors have burnt the town.
The victorious sovereigns appear to have taken a pride in the ingenuity with which they varied these means of torture, and dwell with complacency on the recital of their cruelties. "I constructed a pillar at the gate of the city," is the boast of one of them; "I then flayed the chief men, and covered the post with their skins; I suspended their dead bodies from this same pillar, I impaled others on the summit of the pillar, and I ranged others on stakes around the pillar."
Two or three executions of this kind usually sufficed to demoralise the enemy. The remaining inhabitants assembled: terrified by the majesty of Assur, and as it were blinded by the brightness of his countenance, they sunk down at the knees of the victor and embraced his feet.*
* These are the very expressions used in the Assyrian texts: "The terror of my strength overthrew them, they feared the combat, and they embraced my feet;" and again: "The brightness of Assur, my lord, overturned them." This latter image is explained by the presence over the king of the winged figure of Assur directing the battle.
[Illustration: 203.jpg TORTURES INFLICTED ON PRISONERS]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from one of the bas-reliefs of the bronze gates of Balawat; on the right the town is seen in flames, and on the walls on either side hangs a row of heads, one above another.
The peace secured at the price of their freedom left them merely with their lives and such of their goods as could not be removed from the soil. The scribes thereupon surrounded the spoil seized by the soldiery and drew up a detailed inventory of the prisoners and their property: everything worth carrying away to Assyria was promptly registered, and despatched to the capital.
[Illustration: 204.jpg A CONVOY OF PRISONERS AND CAPTIVES AFTER THE TAKING OF A TOWN]
Drawn by Faucher Gudin, from Layard.
The contents of the royal palace led the way; it comprised the silver, gold, and copper of the vanquished prince, his caldrons, dishes and cups of brass, the women of his harem, the maidens of his household, his furniture and stuffs, horses and chariots, together with his men and women servants. The enemy's gods, like his kings, were despoiled of their possessions, and poor and rich suffered alike. The choicest of their troops were incorporated into the Assyrian regiments, and helped to fill the gaps which war had made in the ranks;* the peasantry and townsfolk were sold as slaves, or were despatched with their families to till the domains of the king in some Assyrian village.* Tiglath-pileser I. in this manner incorporated 120 chariots of the Kashki and the Urumi into the Assyrian chariotry.
[Illustration: 205.jpg CONVOY OF PRISONERS BOUND IN VARIOUS WAYS]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a bas-relief of one of the gates of Balawat.
The monuments often depict the exodus of these unfortunate wretches. They were represented as proceeding on their way in the charge of a few foot-soldiers -- each of the men carrying, without any sign of labour, a bag of provisions, while the women bear their young children on their shoulders or in their arms: herds of cows and flocks of goats and sheep follow, chariots drawn by mules bringing up the rear with the baggage. While the crowd of non-combatants were conducted in irregular columns without manacles or chains, the veteran troops and the young men capable of bearing arms were usually bound together, and sometimes were further secured by a wooden collar placed on their necks. Many perished on the way from want or fatigue, but such as were fortunate enough to reach the end of the journey were rewarded with a small portion of land and a dwelling, becoming henceforward identified with the indigenous inhabitants of the country. Assyrians were planted as colonists in the subjugated towns, and served to maintain there the authority of the conqueror. The condition of the latter resembled to a great extent that of the old Egyptian vassals in Phoenicia or Southern Syria. They were allowed to retain their national constitution, rites, and even their sovereigns; when, for instance, after some rebellion, one of these princes had been impaled or decapitated, his successor was always chosen from among the members of his own family, usually one of his sons, who was enthroned almost before his father had ceased to breathe. He was obliged to humiliate his own gods before Assur, to pay a yearly tribute, to render succour in case of necessity to the commanders of neighbouring garrisons, to send his troops when required to swell the royal army, to give his sons or brothers as hostages, and to deliver up his own sisters and daughters, or those of his nobles, for the harem or the domestic service of the conqueror. The unfortunate prince soon resigned himself to this state of servitude; he would collect around him and reorganise his scattered subjects, restore them to their cities, rebuild their walls, replant the wasted orchards, and sow the devastated fields. A few years of relative peace and tranquillity, during which he strove to be forgotten by his conqueror, restored prosperity to his country; the population increased with extraordinary rapidity, and new generations arose who, unconscious of the disasters suffered by their predecessors, had, but one aim, that of recovering their independence. We must, however, beware of thinking that the defeat of these tribes was as crushing or their desolation as terrible as the testimony of the inscriptions would lead us to suppose. The rulers of Nineveh were but too apt to relate that this or that country had been conquered and its people destroyed, when the Assyrian army had remained merely a week or a fortnight within its territory, had burnt some half-dozen fortified towns, and taken two or three thousand prisoners.*
* For example, Tiglath-pileser I. conquers the Kummukli in the first year of his reign, burning, destroying, and depopulating the towns, and massacring "the remainder of the Kummukh" who had taken refuge in the mountains, after which, in his second campaign, he again pillages, burns, destroys, and depopulates the towns, and again massacres the remainder of the inhabitants hiding in the mountains. He makes the same statements with regard to most of the other countries and peoples conquered by him, but we find them reappearing with renewed vigour on the scene, soon after their supposed destruction.
If we were to accept implicitly all that is recorded of the Assyrian exploits in Nairi or the Taurus, we should be led to believe that for at least half a century the valleys of the Upper Tigris and Middle Euphrates were transformed into a desert; each time, however, that they are subsequently mentioned on the occasion of some fresh expedition, they appear once more covered with thriving cities and a vigorous population, whose generals offer an obstinate resistance to the invaders. We are, therefore, forced to admit that the majority of these expeditions must be regarded as mere raids. The population, disconcerted by a sudden attack, would take refuge in the woods or on the mountains, carrying with them their gods, whom they thus preserved from captivity, together with a portion of their treasures and cattle; but no sooner had the invader retired, than they descended once more into the plain and returned to their usual occupations. The Assyrian victories thus rarely produced the decisive results which are claimed for them; they almost always left the conquered people with sufficient energy and resources to enable them to resume the conflict after a brief interval, and the supremacy which the suzerain claimed as a result of his conquests was of the most ephemeral nature. A revolt would suffice to shake it, while a victory would be almost certain to destroy it, and once more reduce the empire to the limits of Assyria proper.
Tukultiabalesharra, familiar to us under the name of Tiglath-pileser,* is the first of the great warrior-kings of Assyria to stand out before us with any definite individuality.
* Tiglath-pileser is one of the transcriptions given in the LXX. for the Hebrew version of the name: it signifies, "The child of Esharra is my strength." By "the child of Esharra" the Assyrians, like the Chaldaeans, understood the child of Ninib.
We find him, in the interval between two skirmishes, engaged in hunting lions or in the pursuit of other wild beasts, and we see him lavishing offerings on the gods and enriching their temples with the spoils of his victories; these, however, were not the normal occupations of this sovereign, for peace with him was merely an interlude in a reign of conflict. He led all his expeditions in person, undeterred by any consideration of fatigue or danger, and scarcely had he returned from one arduous campaign, than he proceeded to sketch the plan of that for the following year; in short, he reigned only to wage war. His father, Assurishishi, had bequeathed him not only a prosperous kingdom, but a well-organised army, which he placed in the field without delay. During the fifty years since the Mushku, descending through the gorges of the Taurus, had invaded the Alzi and the Puru-kuzzi, Assyria had not only lost possession of all the countries bordering the left bank of the Euphrates, but the whole of Kummukh had withdrawn its allegiance from her, and had ceased to pay tribute. Tiglath-pileser had ascended the throne only a few weeks ere he quitted Assur, marched rapidly across Eastern Mesopotamia by the usual route, through Singar and Nisib, and climbing the chain of the Kashiara, near Mardin, bore down into the very heart of Kummukh, where twenty thousand Mushku, under the command of five kings, resolutely awaited him. He repulsed them in the very first engagement, and pursued them hotly over hill and vale, pillaging the fields, and encircling the towns with trophies of human heads taken from the prisoners who had fallen into his hands; the survivors, to the number of six thousand, laid down their arms, and were despatched to Assyria.*
* The king, starting from Assur, must have followed the route through Sindjar, Nisib, Mardin, and Diarbekir -- a road used later by the Romans, and still in existence at the present day. As he did not penetrate that year as far as the provinces of Alzi and Purukuzzi, he must have halted at the commencement of the mountain district, and have beaten the allies in the plain of Kuru-tchai, before Diarbekir, in the neighbourhood of the Tigris.
The Kummukh contingents, however, had been separated in the rout from the Mushku, and had taken refuge beyond the Euphrates, near to the fortress of Shirisha, where they imagined themselves in safety behind a rampart of mountains and forests. Tiglath-pileser managed, by cutting a road for his foot-soldiers and chariots, to reach their retreat: he stormed the place without apparent difficulty, massacred the defenders, and then turning upon the inhabitants of Kurkhi,* who were on their way to reinforce the besieged, drove their soldiers into the Nami, whose waters carried the corpses down to the Tigris. One of their princes, Kilite-shub, son of Kaliteshub-Sarupi, had been made prisoner during the action. Tiglath-pileser sent him, together with his wives, children, treasures, and gods,** to share the captivity of the Mushku; then retracing his steps, he crossed over to the right bank of the Tigris, and attacked the stronghold of Urrakhinas which crowned the summit of Panari.
* The country of the Kurkhi appears to have included at this period the provinces lying between the Sebbeneh-Su and the mountains of Djudi, probably a portion of the Sophene, the Anzanone and the Gordyenc of classical authors.
** The vanquished must have crossed the Tigris below Diarbekir and have taken refuge beyond Mayafarrikin, so that Shirisha must be sought for between the Silvan-dagh and the Ak-dagh, in the basin of the Batman-tchai, the present Nami.
The people, terror-stricken by the fate of their neighbours, seized their idols and hid themselves within the thickets like a flock of birds. Their chief, Shaditeshub, son of Khatusaru,* ventured from out of his hiding-place to meet the Assyrian conqueror, and prostrated himself at his feet. He delivered over his sons and the males of his family as hostages, and yielded up all his possessions in gold and copper, together with a hundred and twenty slaves and cattle of all kinds; Tiglath-pileser thereupon permitted him to keep his principality under the suzerainty of Assyria, and such of his allies as followed his example obtained a similar concession. The king consecrated the tenth of the spoil thus received to the use of his god Assur and also to Ramman;** but before returning to his capital, he suddenly resolved to make an expedition into the almost impenetrable regions which separated him from Lake Van.
* The name of this chief's father has always been read Khatukhi: it is a form of the name Khatusaru borne by the Hittite king in the time of Ramses II.
** The site of Urrakhinas -- read by Winckler Urartinas -- is very uncertain: the town was situated in a territory which could belong equally well to the Kummukh or to the Kurkhi, and the mention of the crossing of the Tigris seems to indicate that it was on the right bank of the river, probably in the mountain group of Tur-Abdin.
This district was, even more than at the present day, a confused labyrinth of wooded mountain ranges, through which the Eastern Tigris and its affluents poured their rapid waters in tortuous curves. As hitherto no army had succeeded in making its way through this territory with sufficient speed to surprise the fortified villages and scattered clans inhabiting the valleys and mountain slopes, Tiglath-pileser selected from his force a small troop of light infantry and thirty chariots, with which he struck into the forests; but, on reaching the Aruma, he was forced to abandon his chariotry and proceed with the foot-soldiers only. The Mildish, terrified by his sudden appearance, fell an easy prey to the invader; the king scattered the troops hastily collected to oppose him, set fire to a few fortresses, seized the peasantry and their flocks, and demanded hostages and the usual tribute as a condition of peace.*
* The Mildish of our inscription is to be identified with the country of Mount Umildish, mentioned by Sargon of Assyria.
In his first campaign he thus reduced the upper and eastern half of Kummukh, namely, the part extending to the north of the Tigris, while in the following campaign he turned his attention to the regions bounded by the Euphrates and by the western spurs of the Kashiari. The Alzi and the Purukuzzi had been disconcerted by his victories, and had yielded him their allegiance almost without a struggle. To the southward, the Kashku and the Urumi, who had, to the number of four thousand, migrated from among the Khati and compelled the towns of the Shubarti to break their alliance with the Ninevite kings, now made no attempt at resistance; they laid down their arms and yielded at discretion, giving up their goods and their hundred and twenty war-chariots, and resigning themselves to the task of colonising a distant corner of Assyria. Other provinces, however, were not so easily dealt with; the inhabitants entrenched themselves within their wild valleys, from whence they had to be ousted by sheer force; in the end they always had to yield, and to undertake to pay an annual tribute. The Assyrian empire thus regained on this side the countries which Shalmaneser I. had lost, owing to the absorption of his energies and interests in the events which were taking place in Chaldaea.
In his third campaign Tiglath-pileser succeeded in bringing about the pacification of the border provinces which shut in the basin of the Tigris to the north and east. The Kurkhi did not consider themselves conquered by the check they had received at the Nami; several of their tribes were stirring in Kharia, on the highlands above the Arzania, and their restlessness threatened to infect such of their neighbours as had already submitted themselves to the Assyrian yoke. "My master Assur commanded me to attack their proud summits, which no king has ever visited. I assembled my chariots and my foot-soldiers, and I passed between the Idni and the Ala, by a difficult country, across cloud-capped mountains whose peaks were as the point of a dagger, and unfavourable to the progress of my chariots; I therefore left my chariots in reserve, and I climbed these steep mountains. The community of the Kurkhi assembled its numerous troops, and in order to give me battle they entrenched themselves upon the Azubtagish; on the slopes of the mountain, an incommodious position, I came into conflict with them, and I vanquished them." This lesson cost them twenty-five towns, situated at the feet of the Aia, the Shuira, the Idni, the Shizu, the Silgu, and the Arzanabiu* -- all twenty-five being burnt to the ground.
* The site of Kharia must be sought for probably between the sources of the Tigris and the Batman-tchai.
The dread of a similar fate impelled the neighbouring inhabitants of Adaush to beg for a truce, which was granted to them;* but the people of Saraush and of Ammaush, who "from all time had never known what it was to obey," were cut to pieces, and their survivors incorporated into the empire -- a like fate overtaking the Isua and the Daria, who inhabited Khoatras.**
* According to the context, the Adaush ought to be between the Kharia and the Saraush; possibly between the Batman- tchai and the Bohtan-tchai, in the neighbourhood of Mildish.
** As Tiglath-pileser was forced to cross Mount Aruma in order to reach the Ammaush and the Saraush, these two countries, together with Isua and Daria, cannot be far from Mildish; Isua is, indeed, mentioned as near to Anzitene in an inscription of Shalmaneser II., which obliges us to place it somewhere near the sources of the Batman-tchai. The position of Muraddash and Saradaush is indirectly pointed out by the mention of the Lower Zab and the Lulume; the name of Saradaush is perhaps preserved in that of Surtash, borne by the valley through which runs one of the tributaries of the Lower Zab.
Beyond this, again, on the banks of the Lesser Zab and the confines of Lulumo, the principalities of Muraddash and of Saradaush refused to come to terms. Tiglath-pileser broke their lines within sight of Muraddash, and entered the town with the fugitives in the confusion which ensued; this took place about the fourth hour of the day. The success was so prompt and complete, that the king was inclined to attribute it to the help of Ramman, and he made an offering to the temple of this god at Assur of all the copper, whether wrought or in ore, which was found among the spoil of the vanquished. He was recalled almost immediately after this victory by a sedition among the Kurkhi near the sources of the Tigris. One of their tribes, known as the Sugi, who had not as yet suffered from the invaders, had concentrated round their standards contingents from some half-dozen cities, and the united force was, to the number of six thousand, drawn up on Mount Khirikha. Tiglath-pileser was again victorious, and took from them twenty-five statues of their gods, which he despatched to Assyria to be distributed among the sanctuaries of Belit at Assur, of Anu, Bamman, and of Ishtar. Winter obliged him to suspend operations. When he again resumed them at the beginning of his third year, both the Kummukh and the Kurkhi were so peaceably settled that he was able to carry his expeditions without fear of danger further north, into the regions of the Upper Euphrates between the Halys and Lake Van, a district then known as Nairi. He marched diagonally across the plain of Diarbekir, penetrated through dense forests, climbed sixteen mountain ridges one after the other by paths hitherto considered impracticable, and finally crossed the Euphrates by improvised bridges, this being, as far as we know, the first time that an Assyrian monarch had ventured into the very heart of those countries which had formerly constituted the Hittite empire.
He found them occupied by rude and warlike tribes, who derived considerable wealth from working the mines, and possessed each their own special sanctuary, the ruins of which still appear above ground, and invite the attention of the explorer. Their fortresses must have all more or less resembled that city of the Pterians which flourished for so many ages just at the bend of the Halys;* its site is still marked by a mound rising to some thirty feet above the plain, resembling the platforms on which the Chaldaean temples were always built -- a few walls of burnt brick, and within an enclosure, among the debris of rudely built houses, the ruins of some temples and palaces consisting of large irregular blocks of stone.
* The remains of the palace of the city of the Pterians, the present Euyuk, are probably later than the reign of Tiglath- pileser, and may be attributed to the Xth or IXth century before our era; they, however, probably give a very fair idea of what the towns of the Cappadocian region were like at the time of the first Assyrian invasions.
[Illustration: 216.jpg GENERAL VIEW OF THE RUINS OF EUYUK]
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph.
[Illustration: 217.jpg THE SPHINX ON THE RIGHT OF EUYUK]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph.
Two colossal sphinxes guard the gateway of the principal edifice, and their presence proves with certainty how predominant was Egyptian influence even at this considerable distance from the banks of the Nile. They are not the ordinary sphinxes, with a human head surmounting the body of a lion couchant on its stone pedestal; but, like the Assyrian bulls, they are standing, and, to judge from the Hathorian locks which fall on each side of their countenances, they must have been intended to represent a protecting goddess rather than a male deity. A remarkable emblem is carved on the side of the upright to which their bodies are attached; it is none other than the double-headed eagle, the prototype of which is not infrequently found at Telloh in Lower Chaldaea, among remains dating from the time of the kings and vicegerents of Lagash.
[Illustration: 218.jpg TWO BLOCKS COVERED WITH BAS-RELIEFS IN THE EUYUK PALACE]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph.
The court or hall to which this gate gave access was decorated with bas-reliefs, which exhibit a glaring imitation of Babylonian art; we can still see on these the king, vested in his long flowing robes, praying before an altar, while further on is a procession of dignitaries following a troop of rams led by a priest to be sacrificed; another scene represents two individuals in the attitude of worship, wearing short loin-cloths, and climbing a ladder whose upper end has an uncertain termination, while a third person applies his hands to his mouth in the performance of some mysterious ceremony; beyond these are priests and priestesses moving in solemn file as if in the measured tread of some sacred dance, while in one corner we find the figure of a woman, probably a goddess, seated, holding in one hand a flower, perhaps the full-blown lotus, and in the other a cup from which she is about to drink. The costume of all these figures is that which Chaldaean fashion had imposed upon the whole of Western Asia, and consisted of the long heavy robe, falling from the shoulders to the feet, drawn in at the waist by a girdle; but it is to be noted that both sexes are shod with the turned-up shoes of the Hittites, and that the women wear high peaked caps.
[Illustration: 219.jpg MYSTIC SCENE AT EUYUK]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph.
The composition of the scenes is rude, the drawing incorrect, and the general technique reminds us rather of the low reliefs of the Memphite or Theban sculptors than of the high projection characteristic of the artists of the Lower Euphrates. These slabs of sculptured stone formed a facing at the base of the now crumbling brick walls, the upper surface of which was covered with rough plastering. Here and there a few inscriptions reveal the name, titles, and parentage of some once celebrated personage, and mention the god in whose honour he had achieved the work.
[Illustration: 220.jpg AN ASIATIC GODDESS]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph.
The characters in which these inscriptions are written are not, as a rule, incised in the stone, but are cut in relief upon its surface, and if some few of them may remind us of the Egyptian hieroglyphs, the majority are totally unlike them, both in form and execution. A careful examination of them reveals a medley of human and animal outlines, geometrical figures, and objects of daily use, which all doubtless corresponded to some letter or syllable, but to which we have as yet no trustworthy key. This system of writing is one of a whole group of Asiatic scripts, specimens of which are common in this part of the world from Crete to the banks of the Euphrates and Orontes. It is thought that the Khati must have already adopted it before their advent to power, and that it was they who propagated it in Northern Syria. It did not take the place of the cuneiform syllabary for ordinary purposes of daily life owing to its clumsiness and complex character, but its use was reserved for monumental inscriptions of a royal or religious kind, where it could be suitably employed as a framework to scenes or single figures.
[Illustration: 221.jpg THE ASIATIC INSCRIPTION OF KOLITOLU-YAILA]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Hogarth.
It, however, never presented the same graceful appearance and arrangement as was exhibited in the Egyptian hieroglyphs, the signs placed side by side being out of proportion with each other so as to destroy the general harmony of the lines, and it must be regarded as a script still in process of formation and not yet emerged from infancy. Every square yard of soil turned up among the ruins of the houses of Euyuk yields vestiges of tools, coarse pottery, terra-cotta and bronze statuettes of men and animals, and other objects of a not very high civilization. The few articles of luxury discovered, whether in furniture or utensils, were not indigenous products, but were imported for the most part from Chaldaea, Syria, Phoenicia, and perhaps from Egypt; some objects, indeed, came from the coast-towns of the AEgean, thus showing that Western influence was already in contact with the traditions of the East.
[Illustration: 222.jpg DOUBLE SCEND OF OFFERINGS]
Drawn by Paucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Hogarth. It will be remarked that both altars are in the form of a female without a head, but draped in the Assyrian robe.
All the various races settled between the Halys and the Orontes were more or less imbued with this foreign civilization, and their monuments, though not nearly so numerous as those of the Pharaohs and Ninevite kings, bear, nevertheless, an equally striking evidence of its power. Examples of it have been pointed out in a score of different places in the valleys of the Taurus and on the plains of Cappadocia, in bas-reliefs, steke, seals, and intaglios, several of which must be nearly contemporaneous with the first Assyrian conquest.
[Illustration: 223.jpg THE BAS-RELIEF OF IBRIZ]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Hogarth.
One instance of it appears on the rocks at Ibriz, where a king stands in a devout attitude before a jovial giant whose hands are full of grapes and wheat-ears, while in another bas-relief near Frakhtin we have a double scene of sacrifice. The rock-carving at Ibriz is, perhaps, of all the relics of a forgotten world, that which impresses the spectator most favourably. The concept of the scene is peculiarly naive; indeed, the two figures are clumsily brought together, though each of them, when examined separately, is remarkable for its style and execution. The king has a dignified bearing in spite of his large head, round eyes, and the unskilful way in which his arms are set on his body. The figure of the god is not standing firmly on both feet, but the sculptor has managed to invest him with an air of grandeur and an expression of vigour and bonhomie, which reminds us of certain types of the Greek Hercules.
Tiglath-pileser was probably attracted to Asia Minor as much by considerations of mercantile interest as by the love of conquest or desire for spoil. It would, indeed, have been an incomparable gain for him had he been able, if not to seize the mines themselves, at least to come into such close proximity to them that he would be able to monopolise their entire output, and at the same time to lay hands on the great commercial highway to the trade centres of the west. The eastern terminus of this route lay already within his domains, namely, that which led to Assur by way of Amid, Nisibe, Singar, and the valley of the Upper Tigris; he was now desirous of acquiring that portion of it which wound its way from the fords of the Euphrates at Malatiyeh to the crossing of the Halys. The changes which had just taken place in Kummukh and Nairi had fully aroused the numerous petty sovereigns of the neighbourhood. The bonds which kept them together had not been completely severed at the downfall of the Hittite empire, and a certain sense of unity still lingered among them in spite of their continual feuds; they constituted, in fact, a sort of loose confederation, whose members never failed to help one another when they were threatened by a common enemy. As soon as the news of an Assyrian invasion reached them, they at once put aside their-mutual quarrels and combined to oppose the invader with their united forces. Tiglath-pileser had, therefore, scarcely crossed the Euphrates before he was attacked on his right flank by twenty-three petty kings of Nairi,* while sixty other chiefs from the same neighbourhood bore down upon him in front. He overcame the first detachment of the confederates, though not without a sharp struggle; he carried carnage into their ranks, "as it were the whirlwind of Eamman," and seized a hundred and twenty of the enemy's chariots. The sixty chiefs, whose domains extended as far as the "Upper Sea,"** were disconcerted by the news of the disaster, and of their own accord laid down their arms, or offered but a feeble resistance.
* The text of the Annals of the Xth year give thirty instead of twenty-three; in the course of five or six years the numbers have already become exaggerated.
** The site of the "Upper Sea" has furnished material for much discussion. Some believe it to be the Caspian Sea or the Black Sea, others take it to be Lake Van, while some think it to be the Mediterranean, and more particularly the Gulf of Issus between Syria and Cilicia. At the present day several scholars have returned to the theory which makes it the Black Sea.
Tiglath-pileser presented some of them in chains to the god Shamash; he extorted an oath of vassalage from them, forced them to give up their children as hostages, and laid a tax upon them en masse of 1200 stallions and 2000 bulls, after which he permitted them to return to their respective towns. He had, however, singled out from among them to grace his own triumph, Sini of Dayana, the only chief among them who had offered him an obstinate resistance; but even he was granted his liberty after he had been carried captive to Assur, and made to kneel before the gods of Assyria.*
* Dayani, which is mentioned in the Annals of Shalmaneser II., has been placed on the banks of the Murad-su by Schrader, and more particularly in the neighbourhood of Melasgerd by Sayce; Delattre has shown that it was the last and most westerly of twenty-three kingdoms conquered by Tiglath-pileser I., and that it was consequently enclosed between the Murad-su and the Euphrates proper.
Before returning to the capital, Tiglath-pileser attacked Khanigalbat, and appeared before Milidia: as the town attempted no defence, he spared it, and contented himself with levying a small contribution upon its inhabitants. This expedition was rather of the nature of a reconnaissance than a conquest, but it helped to convince the king of the difficulty of establishing any permanent suzerainty over the country. The Asiatic peoples were quick to bow before a sudden attack; but no sooner had the conqueror departed, than those who had sworn him eternal fealty sought only how best to break their oaths. The tribes in immediate proximity to those provinces which had been long subject to the Assyrian rule, were intimidated into showing some respect for a power which existed so close to their own borders. But those further removed from the seat of government felt a certain security in their distance from it, and were tempted to revert to the state of independence they had enjoyed before the conquest; so that unless the sovereign, by a fresh campaign, promptly made them realise that their disaffection would not remain unpunished, they soon forgot their feudatory condition and the duties which it entailed.
Three years of merciless conflict with obstinate and warlike mountain tribes had severely tried the Assyrian army, if it had not worn out the sovereign; the survivors of so many battles were in sore need of a well-merited repose, the gaps left by death had to be filled, and both infantry and chariotry needed the re-modelling of their corps. The fourth year of the king's reign, therefore, was employed almost entirely in this work of reorganisation; we find only the record of a raid of a few weeks against the Akhlami and other nomadic Aramaeans situated beyond the Mesopotamian steppes. The Assyrians spread over the district between the frontiers of Sukhi and the fords of Carchemish for a whole day, killing all who resisted, sacking the villages and laying hands on slaves and cattle. The fugitives escaped over the Euphrates, vainly hoping that they would be secure in the very heart of the Khati. Tiglath-pileser, however, crossed the river on rafts supported on skins, and gave the provinces of Mount Bishri over to fire and sword:* six walled towns opened their gates to him without having ventured to strike a blow, and he quitted the country laden with spoil before the kings of the surrounding cities had had time to recover from their alarm.
* The country of Bishri was situated, as the Annals point out, in the immediate neighbourhood of Carchemish. The name is preserved in that of Tell Basher still borne by the ruins, and a modern village on the banks of the Sajur. The Gebel Bishri to which Hommel alludes is too far to the south to correspond to the description given in the inscription of Tiglath-pileser.
This expedition was for Tiglath-pileser merely an interlude between two more serious campaigns; and with the beginning of his fifth year he reappeared in the provinces of the Upper Euphrates to complete his conquest of them. He began by attacking and devastating Musri, which lay close to the territory of Milid. While thus occupied he was harassed by bands of Kumani; he turned upon them, overcame them, and imprisoned the remainder of them in the fortress of Arini, at the foot of Mount Aisa, where he forced them to kiss his feet. His victory over them, however, did not disconcert their neighbours. The bulk of the Kumani, whose troops had scarcely suffered in the engagement, fortified themselves on Mount Tala, to the number of twenty thousand; the king carried the heights by assault, and hotly pursued the fugitives as far as the range of Kharusa before Musri, where the fortress of Khunusa afforded them a retreat behind its triple walls of brick. The king, nothing daunted, broke his way through them one after another, demolished the ramparts, razed the houses, and strewed the ruins with salt; he then constructed a chapel of brick as a sort of trophy, and dedicated within it what was known as a copper thunderbolt, being an image of the missile which Eamman, the god of thunder, brandished in the face of his enemies. An inscription engraved on the object recorded the destruction of Khunusa, and threatened with every divine malediction the individual, whether an Assyrian or a stranger, who should dare to rebuild the city. This victory terrified the Kumani, and their capital, Kibshuna, opened its gates to the royal troops at the first summons. Tiglath-pileser completely destroyed the town, but granted the inhabitants their lives on condition of their paying tribute; he chose from among them, however, three hundred families who had shown him the most inveterate hostility, and sent them as exiles into Assyria.*
* The country of the Kumani or Kammanu is really the district of Comana in Cataonia, and not the Comana Pontica or the Khammanene on the banks of the Halys. Delattre thinks that Tiglath-pileser penetrated into this region by the Jihun, and consequently seeks to identify the names of towns and mountains, e.g. Mount Ilamuni with Jaur-dagh, the Kharusa with Shorsh-dagh, and the Tala with the Kermes-dagh; but it is difficult to believe that, if the king took this route, he would not mention the town of Marqasi-Marash, which lay at the very foot of the Jaur-dagh, and would have stopped his passage. It is more probable that the Assyrians, starting from Melitene, which they had just subdued, would have followed the route which skirts the northern slope of the Taurus by Albistan; the scene of the conflict in this case would probably have been the mountainous district of Zeitun.
With this victory the first half of his reign drew to its close; in five years Tiglath-pileser had subjugated forty-two peoples and their princes within an area extending from the banks of the Lower Zab to the plains of the Khati, and as far as the shores of the Western Seas. He revisited more than once these western and northern regions in which he had gained his early triumphs. The reconnaissance which he had made around Carchemish had revealed to him the great wealth of the Syrian table-land, and that a second raid in that direction could be made more profitable than ten successful campaigns in Nairi or upon the banks of the Zab. He therefore marched his battalions thither, this time to remain for more than a few days. He made his way through the whole breadth of the country, pushed forward up the valley of the Orontes, crossed the Lebanon, and emerged above the coast of the Mediterranean in the vicinity of Arvad.
[Illustration: 230.jpg SACRIFICE OFFERED BEFORE THE ROYAL STELE]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from one of the bas-reliefs on the bronze gates of Balawat.
This is the first time for many centuries that an Oriental sovereign had penetrated so far west; and his contemporaries must have been obliged to look back to the almost fabulous ages of Sargon of Agade or of Khammurabi, to find in the long lists of the dynasties of the Euphrates any record of a sovereign who had planted his standards on the shores of the Sea of the Setting Sun.*
*This is the name given by the Assyrians to the
Tiglath-pileser embarked on its waters, made a cruise into the open, and killed a porpoise, but we have no record of any battles fought, nor do we know how he was received by the Phoenician towns. He pushed on, it is thought, as far as the Nahr el-Kelb, and the sight of the hieroglyphic inscriptions which Ramses had caused to be cut there three centuries previously aroused his emulation. Assyrian conquerors rarely quitted the scene of their exploits without leaving behind them some permanent memorial of their presence. A sculptor having hastily smoothed the surface of a rock, cut out on it a figure of the king, to which was usually added a commemorative inscription. In front of this stele was erected an altar, upon which sacrifices were made, and if the monument was placed near a stream or the seashore, the soldiers were accustomed to cast portions of the victims into the water in order to propitiate the river-deities.
[Illustration: 231.jpg PORTIONS OF THE SACRIFICIAL VICTIMS THROWN INTO THE WATER]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from one of the bas-reliefs on the bronze gates of Balawat.
One of the half-effaced Assyrian stelae adjoining those of the Egyptian conqueror is attributed to Tiglath-pileser.*
*Boscawen thinks that we may attribute to Tiglath-pileser I. the oldest of the Assyrian stelae at Nahr el-Kelb; no positive information has as yet confirmed this hypothesis, which is in other respects very probable.
It was on his return, perhaps, from this campaign that he planted colonies at Pitru on the right, and at Mutkinu on the left bank of the Euphrates, in order to maintain a watch over Carchemish, and the more important fords connecting Mesopotamia with the plains of the Aprie and the Orontes.*
* The existence of these colonies is known only from an inscription of Shalmaneser II.
The news of Tiglath-pileser's expedition was not long in reaching the Delta, and the Egyptian monarch then reigning at Tanis was thus made acquainted with the fact that there had arisen in Syria a new power before which his own was not unlikely to give way. In former times such news would have led to a war between the two states, but the time had gone by when Egypt was prompt to take up arms at the slightest encroachment on her Asiatic provinces. Her influence at this time was owing merely to her former renown, and her authority beyond the isthmus was purely traditional. The Tanite Pharaoh had come to accept with resignation the change in the fortunes of Egypt, and he therefore contented himself with forwarding to the Assyrian conqueror, by one of the Syrian coasting vessels, a present of some rare wild beasts and a few crocodiles. In olden times Assyria had welcomed the arrival of Thutmosis III. on the Euphrates by making him presents, which the Theban monarch regarded in the light of tribute: the case was now reversed, the Egyptian Pharaoh taking the position formerly occupied by the Assyrian monarch. Tiglath-pileser graciously accepted this unexpected homage, but the turbulent condition of the northern tribes prevented his improving the occasion by an advance into Phoenicia and the land of Canaan. Nairi occupied his attention on two separate occasions at least; on the second of these he encamped in the neighbourhood of the source of the river Subnat. This stream, had for a long period issued from a deep grotto, where in ancient times a god was supposed to dwell. The conqueror was lavish in religious offerings here, and caused a bas-relief to be engraved on the entrance in remembrance of his victories.
[Illustration 233.jpg THE STELE AT SEBENNEH-SU]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a sketch by P. Taylor, in G. Rawlinson.
He is here represented as standing upright, the tiara on his brow, and his right arm extended as if in the act of worship, while his left, the elbow brought up to his side, holds a club. The inscription appended to the figure tells, with an eloquence all the more effective from its brevity, how, "with the aid of Assur, Shamash, and Eamman, the great gods, my lords, I, Tiglath-pileser, King of Assyria, son of Assurishishi, King of Assyria, son of Mutakkilnusku, King of Assyria, conqueror from the great sea, the Mediterranean, to the great sea of Nairi, I went for the third time to Nairi."
The gods who had so signally favoured the monarch received the greater part of the spoils which he had secured in his campaigns. The majority of the temples of Assyria, which were founded at a time when its city was nothing more than a provincial capital owing allegiance to Babylon, were either, it would appear, falling to ruins from age, or presented a sorry exterior, utterly out of keeping with the magnitude of its recent wealth. The king set to work to enlarge or restore the temples of Ishtar, Martu, and the ancient Bel;* he then proceeded to rebuild, from the foundations to the summit, that of Anu and Bamman, which the vicegerent Samsiramman, son of Ismidagan, had constructed seven hundred and one years previously. This temple was the principal sanctuary of the city, because it was the residence of the chief of the gods, Assur, under his appellation of Anu.**
* "Bel the ancient," or possibly "the ancient master," appears to have been one of the names of Anu, who is naturally in this connexion the same as Assur.
** This was the great temple of which the ruins still exist.
The soil was cleared away down to the bed-rock, upon which an enormous substructure, consisting of fifty courses of bricks, was laid, and above this were erected two lofty ziggurats, whose tile-covered surfaces shone like the rising sun in their brightness; the completion of the whole was commemorated by a magnificent festival. The special chapel of Bamman and his treasury, dating from the time of the same Samsiramman who had raised the temple of Anu, were also rebuilt on a more important scale.*
* The British Museum possesses bricks bearing the name of Tiglath-pileser I., brought from this temple, as is shown by the inscription on their sides.
These works were actively carried on notwithstanding the fact that war was raging on the frontier; however preoccupied he might be with warlike projects, Tiglath-pileser never neglected the temples, and set to work to collect from every side materials for their completion and adornment.
[Illustration: 235.jpg TRANSPORT OF BUILDING MATERIALS BY WATER]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a bas-relief on the bronze doors at Balawat.
He brought, for example, from Nairi such marble and hard stone as might be needed for sculptural purposes, together with the beams of cedar and cypress required by his carpenters. The mountains of Singar and of the Zab furnished the royal architects with building stone for ordinary uses, and for those facing slabs of bluish gypsum on which the bas-reliefs of the king's exploits were carved; the blocks ready squared were brought down the affluents of the Tigris on rafts or in boats, and thus arrived at their destination without land transport.
[Illustration: 236.jpg RARE ANIMALS BROUGHT BACK AS TROPHIES BY THE KING]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from the cast in the Louvre. The original is in the British Museum.
The kings of Assyria, like the Pharaohs, had always had a passion for rare trees and strange animals; as soon as they entered a country, they inquired what natural curiosities it contained, and they would send back to their own land whatever specimens of them could be procured.
[Illustration: 237.jpg MONKEY BROUGHT BACK AS TRIBUTE]
Drawn by Boudier, from the bas-relief in Layard.
The triumphal cortege which accompanied the monarch on his return after each campaign comprised not only prisoners and spoil of a useful sort, but curiosities from all the conquered districts, as, for instance, animals of unusual form or habits, rhinoceroses and crocodiles,* and if some monkey of a rare species had been taken in the sack of a town, it also would find a place in the procession, either held in a leash or perched on the shoulders of its keeper.
* A crocodile sent as a present by the King of Egypt is mentioned in the Inscription of the Broken Obelisk. The animal is called namsukha, which is the Egyptian msuhu with the plural article na.
The campaigns of the monarch were thus almost always of a double nature, comprising not merely a conflict with men, but a continual pursuit of wild beasts. Tiglath-pileser, "in the service of Ninib, had killed four great specimens of the male urus in the desert of Mitanni, near to the town of Araziki, opposite to the countries of the Khati;* he killed them with his powerful bow, his dagger of iron, his pointed lance, and he brought back their skins and horns to his city of Assur. He secured ten strong male elephants, in the territory of Harran and upon the banks of the Khabur, and he took four of them alive: he brought back their skins and their tusks, together with the living elephants, to his city of Assur." He killed moreover, doubtless also in the service of Ninib, a hundred and twenty lions, which he attacked on foot, despatching eight hundred more with arrows from his chariot,** all within the short space of five years, and we may well ask what must have been the sum total, if the complete record for his whole reign were extant. We possess, unfortunately, no annals of the later years of this monarch; we have reason to believe that he undertook several fresh expeditions into Nairi,*** and a mutilated tablet records some details of troubles with Elam in the Xth year of his reign.
* The town of Araziki has been identified with the Eragiza (Eraziga) of Ptolemy; the Eraziga of Ptolemy was on the right bank of the Euphrates, while the text of Tiglath- pileser appears to place Araziki on the left bank.
** The account of the hunts in the Annals is supplemented by the information furnished in the first column of the "Broken Obelisk." The monument is of the time of Assur-nazir- pal, but the first column contains an abstract from an account of an anonymous hunt, which a comparison of numbers and names leads us to attribute to Tiglath-pileser I.; some Assyri-ologists, however, attribute it to Assur-nazir-pal.
* The inscription of Sebbeneh-Su was erected at the time of the third expedition into Nairi, and the Annals give only one; the other two expeditions must, therefore, be
We gather that he attacked a whole series of strongholds, some of whose names have a Cossaean ring about them, such as Madkiu, Sudrun, Ubrukhundu, Sakama, Shuria, Khirishtu, and Andaria. His advance in this direction must have considerably provoked the Chaldaeans, and, indeed, it was not long before actual hostilities broke out between the two nations. The first engagement took place in the valley of the Lower Zab, in the province of Arzukhina, without any decisive result, but in the following year fortune favoured the Assyrians, for Dur-kurigalzu, both Sipparas, Babylon, and Upi opened their gates to them, while Akar-sallu, the Akhlame, and the whole of Sukhi as far as Eapiki tendered their submission to Tiglath-achuch-sawh-akhl-pileser.
[Illustration: 239.jpg MERODACH-NADIN-AKHI]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from the heliogravure in Pr. Lenormant. The original is in the British Museum. It is one of the boundary stones which were set up in a corner of a field to mark its legal limit.
Merodach-nadin-akhi, who was at this time reigning in Chaldaea, was like his ancestor Nebuchadrezzar I., a brave and warlike sovereign: he appears at first to have given way under the blow thus dealt him, and to have acknowledged the suzerainty of his rival, who thereupon assumed the title of Lord of the four Houses of the World, and united under a single empire the valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates. But this state of things lasted for a few years only; Merodach-nadin-akhi once more took courage, and, supported by the Chaldaean nobility, succeeded in expelling the intruders from Sumir and Akkad. The Assyrians, however, did not allow themselves to be driven out without a struggle, but fortune turned against them; they were beaten, and the conqueror inflicted on the Assyrian gods the humiliation to which they had so often subjected those of other nations. He took the statues of Eamman and Shala from Ekallati, carried them to Babylon, and triumphantly set them up within the temple of Bel. There they remained in captivity for 418 years.* Tiglath-pileser did not long survive this disaster, for he died about the year 1100 B.C.,** and two of his sons succeeded him on the throne. The elder, Assur-belkala,*** had neither sufficient energy nor resources to resume the offensive, and remained a passive spectator of the revolutions which distracted Babylon.
* We know this fact from the inscription of Bavian, in which Sennacherib boasts of having brought back these statues to Assyria after they had been 418 years in the possession of the enemy. I have followed the commonly received opinion, which places the defeat of Tiglath-pileser after the taking of Babylon; others think that it preceded the decisive victory of the Assyrians. It is improbable that, if the loss of the statues preceded the decisive victory, the Assyrian conquerors should have left their gods prisoners in a Babylonian temple, and should not have brought them back immediately to Ekallati.
** The death of Tiglath-pileser must have followed quickly on the victory of Babylon; the contents of the inscription of Bavian permit us to fix the taking of Ekallati by the Chaldaeans about the year 1108-1106 B.C. We shall not be far wrong in supposing Tiglath-pileser to have reigned six or eight years after his defeat.
*** I followed the usually received classification. It is, however, possible that we must reverse the order of the sovereigns.
Merodach-nadin-akhi had been followed by his son Merodach-shapik-zirim,* but this prince was soon dethroned by the people, and Bamman-abaliddin, a man of base extraction, seized the crown.
* The name of the Babylonian king has been variously read Merodach-shapik-zirat, Merodach-shapik-kullat, Merodach- shapik-zirmati and Merodach-shapik-zirim.
Assur-belkala not only extended to this usurper the friendly relations he had kept up with the legitimate sovereign, but he asked for the hand of his daughter in marriage, and the rich dowry which she brought her husband no doubt contributed to the continuation of his pacific policy. He appears also to have kept possession of all the parts of Mesopotamia and Kammukh conquered by his father, and it is possible that he may have penetrated beyond the Euphrates. His brother, Samsi-ramman III., does not appear to have left any more definite mark upon history than Assur-belkala; he decorated the temples built by his predecessors, but beyond this we have no certain record of his achievements. We know nothing of the kings who followed him, their names even having been lost, but about a century and a half after Tiglath-pileser, a certain Assurirba seems to have crossed Northern Syria, and following in the footsteps of his great ancestor, to have penetrated as far as the Mediterranean: on the rocks of Mount Amanus, facing the sea, he left a triumphal inscription in which he set forth the mighty deeds he had accomplished. This is merely a gleam out of the murky night which envelops his history, and the testimony of one of his descendants informs us that his good fortune soon forsook him: the Aramaeans wrested from him the fortresses of Pitru and Mutkinu, which commanded both banks of the Euphrates near Carchemish. Nor did the retrograde movement slaken after his time: Assyria slowly wasted away down to the end of the Xth century, and but for the simultaneous decadence of the Chaldaeans, its downfall would have been complete. But neither Ramman-abaliddin nor his successor was able to take advantage of its weakness; discord and want of energy soon brought about their own ruin. The dynasty of Pashe disappeared towards the middle of the Xth century, and a family belonging to the "Countries of the Sea" took its place: it had continued for about one hundred and thirty-two years, and had produced eleven kings.*
* It is no easy matter to draw up an exact list of this dynasty, and Hilprecht's attempt to do so contains more than one doubtful name. The following list is very imperfect and doubtful, but the best that our present knowledge enables us to put forward.
[Illustration: 242.jpg TABLE OF KINGS]
What were the causes of this depression, from which Babylon suffered at almost regular intervals, as though stricken with some periodic malady? The main reason soon becomes apparent if we consider the nature of the country and the material conditions of its existence. Chaldaea was neither extensive enough nor sufficiently populous to afford a solid basis for the ambition of her princes. Since nearly every man capable of bearing arms was enrolled in the army, the Chaktean kings had no difficulty in raising, at a moment's notice, a force which could be employed to repel an invasion, or make a sudden attack on some distant territory; it was in schemes which required prolonged and sustained effort that they felt the drawbacks of their position. In that age of hand-to-hand combats, the mortality in battle was very high, forced marches through forests and across mountains entailed a heavy loss of men, and three or four consecutive campaigns against a stubborn foe soon reduced an army to a condition of dangerous weakness. Recruits might be obtained to fill the earlier vacancies in the ranks, but they soon grew fewer and fewer if time was not given for recovery after the opening victories in the struggle, and the supply eventually ceased if operations were carried on beyond a certain period.
The total duration of the dynasty was, according to the Royal Canon, 72 years 6 months. Peiser has shown that this is a mistake, and he proposes to correct it to 132 years 6 months, and this is accepted by most Assyri-ologists.
A reign which began brilliantly often came to an impotent conclusion, owing to the king having failed to economise his reserves; and the generations which followed, compelled to adopt a strictly defensive attitude, vegetated in a sort of anaemic condition, until the birth-rate had brought the proportion of males up to a figure sufficiently high to provide the material for a fresh army. When Nebuchadrezzar made war upon Assurishishi, he was still weak from the losses he had incurred during the campaign against Elam, and could not conduct his attack with the same vigour as had gained him victory on the banks of the Ulai; in the first year he only secured a few indecisive advantages, and in the second he succumbed. Merodach-nadin-akhi was suffering from the reverses sustained by his predecessors when Tiglath-pileser provoked him to war, and though he succeeded in giving a good account of an adversary who was himself exhausted by dearly bought successes, he left to his descendants a kingdom which had been drained of its last drop of blood. The same reason which explains the decadence of Babylon shows us the cause of the periodic eclipses undergone by Assyria after each outburst of her warlike spirit. She, too, had to pay the penalty of an ambition which was out of all proportion to her resources. The mighty deeds of Shalmaneser and Tukulti-ninip were, as a natural consequence, followed by a state of complete prostration under Tukultiassurbel and Assurnirari: the country was now forced to pay for the glories of Assurishishi and of Tiglath-pileser by falling into an inglorious state of languor and depression. Its kings, conscious that their rule must be necessarily precarious as long as they did not possess a larger stock of recruits to fall back on, set their wits to work to provide by various methods a more adequate reserve. While on one hand they installed native Assyrians in the more suitable towns of conquered countries, on the other they imported whole hordes of alien prisoners chosen for their strength and courage, and settled them down in districts by the banks of the Tigris and the Zab. We do not know what Eammanirani and Shalmaneser may have done in this way, but Tiglath-pileser undoubtedly introduced thousands of the Mushku, the Urumseans, the people of Kummukh and Nairi, and his example was followed by all those of his successors whose history has come down to us. One might have expected that such an invasion of foreigners, still smarting under the sense of defeat, might have brought with it an element of discontent or rebellion; far from it, they accepted their exile as a judgment of the gods, which the gods alone had a right to reverse, and did their best to mitigate the hardness of their lot by rendering unhesitating obedience to their masters. Their grandchildren, born in the midst of Assyrians, became Assyrians themselves, and if they did not entirely divest themselves of every trace of their origin, at any rate became so closely identified with the country of their adoption, that it was difficult to distinguish them from the native race. The Assyrians who were sent out to colonise recently acquired provinces were at times exposed to serious risks. Now and then, instead of absorbing the natives among whom they lived, they were absorbed by them, which meant a loss of so much fighting strength to the mother country; even under the most favourable conditions a considerable time must have passed before they could succeed in assimilating to themselves the races amongst whom they lived. At last, however, a day would dawn when the process of incorporation was accomplished, and Assyria, having increased her area and resources twofold, found herself ready to endure to the end the strain of conquest. In the interval, she suffered from a scarcity of fighting men, due to the losses incurred in her victories, and must have congratulated herself that her traditional foe was not in a position to take advantage of this fact.
The first wave of the Assyrian invasion had barely touched Syria; it had swept hurriedly over the regions in the north, and then flowed southwards to return no more, so that the northern races were able to resume the wonted tenor of their lives. For centuries after this their condition underwent no change; there was the same repetition of dissension and intrigue, the same endless succession of alliances and battles without any signal advantage on either side. The Hittites still held Northern Syria: Carchemish was their capital, and more than one town in its vicinity preserved the tradition of their dress, their language, their arts, and their culture in full vigour. The Greek legends tell us vaguely of some sort of Cilician empire which is said to have brought the eastern and central provinces of Asia Minor into subjection about ten centuries before our era.*
* Solinus, relying on the indirect evidence of Hecatseus of Miletus, tells us that Cilicia extended not only to the countries afterwards known as Cataonia, Commagene, and Syria, but also included Lydia, Media, Armenia, Pamphylia, and Cappadocia; the conquests of the Assyrian kings must have greatly reduced its area. I am of opinion that the tradition preserved by Hecatous referred both to the kingdom of Sapalulu and to that of the monarchs of this second epoch.
Is there any serious foundation for such a belief, and must we assume that there existed at this time and in this part of the world a kingdom similar to that of Sapalulu? Assyria was recruiting its forces, Chaldaea was kept inactive by its helplessness, Egypt slumbered by the banks of its river, there was no actor of the first rank to fill the stage; now was the opportunity for a second-rate performer to come on the scene and play such a part as his abilities permitted. The Cilician conquest, if this be indeed the date at which it took place, had the boards to itself for a hundred years after the defeat of Assurirba. The time was too short to admit of its striking deep root in the country. Its leaders and men were, moreover, closely related to the Syrian Hittites; the language they spoke was, if not precisely the Hittite, at any rate a dialect of it; their customs were similar, if, perhaps, somewhat less refined, as is often the case with mountain races, when compared with the peoples of the plain. We are tempted to conclude that some of the monuments found south of the Taurus were their handiwork, or, at any rate, date from their time. For instance, the ruined palace at Sinjirli, the lower portions of which are ornamented with pictures similar to those at Pteria, representing processions of animals, some real, others fantastic, men armed with lances or bending the bow, and processions of priests or officials. Then there is the great lion at Marash, which stands erect, with menacing head, its snarling lips exposing the teeth; its body is seamed with the long lines of an inscription in the Asiatic character, in imitation of those with which the bulls in the Assyrian palaces are covered. These Cilicians gave an impulse to the civilization of the Khati which they sorely needed, for the Semitic races, whom they had kept in subjection for centuries, now pressed them hard on all the territory over which they had formerly reigned, and were striving to drive them back into the hills.
[Illustration: 248.jpg LION AT MAKASH]
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph of the cast shown at the Paris Exhibition of 1889.
The Aramaeans in particular gave them a great deal of trouble. The states on the banks of the Euphrates had found them awkward neighbours; was this the moment chosen by the Pukudu, the Eutu, the Gambulu, and a dozen other Aramaean tribes, for a stealthy march across the frontier of Elam, between Durilu and the coast? The tribes from which, soon after, the Kaldi nation was formed, were marauding round Eridu, Uru, and Larsa, and may have already begun to lay the foundations of their supremacy over Babylon: it is, indeed, an open question whether those princes of the Countries of the Sea who succeeded the Pashe dynasty did not come from the stock of the Kaldi Aramaeans. While they were thus consolidating on the south-east, the bulk of the nation continued to ascend northwards, and rejoined its outposts in the central region of the Euphrates, which extends from the Tigris to the Khabur, from the Khabur to the Balikh and the Aprie. They had already come into frequent conflict with most of the victorious Assyrian kings, from Eammanirari down to Tiglath-pileser; the weakness of Assyria and Chaldaea gave them their opportunity, and they took full advantage of it. They soon became masters of the whole of Mesopotamia; a part of the table-land extending from Carchemish to Mount Amanus fell into their hands, their activity was still greater in the basin of the Orontes, and their advanced guard, coming into collision with the Amorites near the sources of the Litany, began gradually to drive farther and farther southwards all that remained of the races which had shown so bold a front to the Egyptian troops. Here was an almost entirely new element, gradually eliminating from the scene of the struggle other elements which had grown old through centuries of war, and while this transformation was taking place in Northern and Central, a similar revolution was effecting a no less surprising metamorphosis in Southern Syria. There, too, newer races had gradually come to displace the nations over which the dynasties of Thutmosis and Ramses had once held sway. The Hebrews on the east, the Philistines and their allies on the south-west, were about to undertake the conquest of the Kharu and its cities. As yet their strength was inadequate, their temperament undecided, their system of government imperfect; but they brought with them the quality of youth, and energies which, rightly guided, would assure the nation which first found out how to take advantage of them, supremacy over all its rivals, and the strength necessary for consolidating the whole country into a single kingdom.
[Illustration: 250.jpg TAILPIECE]