Sargon of Assyria (722-705 B. C. )

The origin of Sargon II.: the revolt of Babylon, Merodach-baladan and Elam -- The kingdom of Elam from the time of the first Babylonian empire; the conquest's of Shutruh-nalkunta I.; the princes of Malamir -- The first encounter of Assyria and Elam, the battle of Durilu (721 B.C.) -- Revolt of Syria, Iaubidi of Hamath and Hannon of Gaza -- Bocchoris and the XXIVth Egyptian dynasty; the first encounter of Assyria with Egypt, the battle of Raphia (720 B.C.).

Urartu and the coalition of the peoples of the north-east and north-west -- Defeat of Zikartu (719 B.C.), of the Tabal (718), of the Khati (717), of the Mannai, of the Medes and Ellipi (716), and of the Modes (715) -- Commencement of XXVth Ethiopian dynasty: Sabaco (716) -- The fall of Urzana and Rusas (714) and the formation of an Assyrian province in Cappadocia (713-710) -- The revolt and fall of Ashdod.

The defeat of Merodach-baladan and of Shutruk-nakhunta II.: Sargon conquers Babylon (710-709 B.C.) -- Success of the Assyrians at Mushhi: homage of the Greeks of Cyprus (710) -- The buildings of Sargon: Dur-sharrukin -- The gates and walls of Dur-sharrukin; the city and its population -- The royal palace, its courts, the ziggurat, the harem -- Revolt of Kummukh (709 B.C.) and of Ellipi (708 B.C.) -- Inauguration of Dur-sharrukin (706 B.C.) -- Murder of Sargon (705 B.C.): his character.

[Illustration: 339.jpg PAGE IMAGE]

Sargon as a warrior and as a builder.

Whether Sargon was even remotely connected with the royal line, is a question which for the present must remain unanswered. He mentions in one of his inscriptions the three hundred princes who had preceded him in the government of Assyria, and three lines further on he refers to the kings his ancestors, but he never mentions his own father by name, and this omission seems to prove that he was not a direct descendant of Shalmaneser V., nor of Tiglath-pileser III. nor indeed of any of their immediate predecessors. It is, however, probable, if not certain, that he could claim some sort of kinship with them, though more or less remote. It was customary for the sovereigns of Nineveh to give their daughters in marriage to important officials or lords of their court, and owing to the constant contraction of such alliances through several centuries, there was hardly a noble family but had some royal blood in its veins; and that of Sargon was probably no exception to the rule. His genealogy was traced by the chroniclers, through several hundred generations of princes, to the semi-mythical heroes who had founded the city of Assur; but as Assur-nazir-pal and his descendants had claimed Bel-kapkapi and Sulili as the founders of their race, the Sargonids chose a different tradition, and drew their descent from Belbani, son of Adasi. The cause and incidents of the revolution which raised Sargon to the throne are unknown, but we may surmise that the policy adopted with regard to Karduniash was a factor in the case. Tiglath-pileser had hardly entered Babylon before the fascination of the city, the charm of its associations, and the sacred character of the legends which hallowed it, seized upon his imagination; he returned to it twice in the space of two years to "take the hands of Bel," and Shalmaneser V. much preferred it to Calah or Nineveh as a place of residence. The Assyrians doubtless soon became jealous of the favour shown by their princes to their ancient enemy, and their discontent must have doubtless conduced to their decision to raise a new monarch to the throne. The Babylonians, on the other hand, seem to have realised that the change in the dynasty presaged a disadvantageous alteration of government; for as soon as the news reached them a movement was set on foot and search made for a rival claimant to set up in opposition to Sargon.*

* The succession of events, as indicated in Pinches' Babylonian Chronicle, seems indeed to imply that the Babylonians waited to ascertain the disposition of the new king before they decided what line to adopt. In fact, Shalmaneser died in the month Tebeth, and Sargon ascended the throne at Assur in the same month, and it was only in the month Nisan that Mero-dach-baladan was proclaimed king. The three months intervening between the accession of Sargon and that of Merodach-baladan evidently represent a period of indecision., when it was not yet known if the king would follow the policy of his predecessors with regard to Babylon, or adopt a different attitude towards her.

Of all the nations who had in turn occupied the plains of the Lower Euphrates and the marshes bordering on Arabia, the Kalda alone had retained their full vitality. They were constantly recruited by immigrants from their kinsfolk of the desert, and the continual infiltration of these semi-barbarous elements kept the race from becoming enervated by contact with the indigenous population, and more than compensated for the losses in their ranks occasioned by war. The invasion of Tiglath-pileser and the consequent deportations of prisoners had decimated the tribes of Bit-Shilani, Bit-Shaali, and Bit-Amuhkani, the principalities of the Kalda which lay nearest to Babylonian territory, and which had borne the brunt of attack in the preceding period; but their weakness brought into notice a power better equipped for warfare, whose situation in their rear had as a rule hitherto preserved it from contact with the Assyrians, namely, Bit-Yakin. The continual deposit of alluvial soil at the mouths of the rivers had greatly altered the coastline from the earliest historic times downwards. The ancient estuary was partly filled up, especially on the western side, where the Euphrates enters the Persian Gulf: a narrow barrier of sand and silt extended between the marshes of Arabia and Susiana, at the spot where the streams of fresh water met the tidal waters of the sea, and all that was left of the ancient gulf was a vast lagoon, or, as the dwellers on the banks called it, a kind of brackish river, Nar marratum. Bit-Yakin occupied the southern and western portions of this district, from the mouth of the Tigris to the edge of the desert. The aspect of the country was constantly changing, and presented no distinctive features; it was a region difficult to attack and easy to defend; it consisted first of a spongy plain, saturated with water, with scattered artificial mounds on which stood the clustered huts of the villages; between this plain and the shore stretched a labyrinth of fens and peat-bogs, irregularly divided by canals and channels freshly formed each year in flood-time, meres strewn with floating islets, immense reed-beds where the neighbouring peasants took refuge from attack, and into which no one would venture to penetrate without hiring some friendly native as a guide. In this fenland dwelt the Kalda in their low, small conical huts of reeds, somewhat resembling giant beehives, and in all respects similar to those which the Bedawin of Irak inhabit at the present day.


Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a bas-relief reproduced in Layard.

Dur-Yakin, their capital, was probably situated on the borders of the gulf, near the Euphrates, in such a position as to command the mouths of the river. Merodach-baladan, who was King of Bit-Yakin at the time of Sargon's accession, had become subject to Assyria in 729 B.C., and had paid tribute to Tiglath-pileser, but he was nevertheless the most powerful chieftain who had borne rule over the Chaldaeans since the death of Ukinzir.*

* Dur-Yakin was situated on the shores of the Persian gulf, as is proved by a passage in the Bull Inscription, where it is stated that Sargon threw into the sea the corpses of the soldiers killed during the siege; the neighbourhood of the Euphrates is implied in the text of the Inscription des Fastes, and the Annals, where the measures taken by Merodach-baladan to defend his capital are described. The name of Bit-Yakin, and probably also that of Dur-Yakin, have been preserved to us in the name of Aginis or Aginne, the name of a city mentioned by Strabo, and by the historians of Alexander. Its site is uncertain, but can be located near the present town of Kornah.

It was this prince whom the Babylonians chose to succeed Shalmaneser V. He presented himself before the city, was received with acclamation, and prepared without delay to repulse any hostilities on the part of the Assyrians.

[Illustration: 344.jpg A REED-HUT OF THE BEDAWIN OF IRAK]

Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph in Peters.

He found a well-disposed ally in Elani. From very ancient times the masters of Susa had aspired to the possession of Mesopotamia or the suzerainty over it, and fortune had several times favoured their ambitious designs. On one occasion they had pressed forward their victorious arms as far as the Mediterranean, and from that time forward, though the theatre of their operations was more restricted, they had never renounced the right to interfere in Babylonian affairs, and indeed, not long previously, one of them had reigned for a period of seven years in Babylon in the interval between two dynasties. Our information with regard to the order of succession and the history of these energetic and warlike monarchs is as yet very scanty; their names even are for the most part lost, and only approximate dates can be assigned to those of whom we catch glimpses from time to time.* Khumban-numena, the earliest of whom we have any record, exercised a doubtful authority, from Anshan to Susa, somewhere about the fourteenth century B.C., and built a temple to the god Kirisha in his capital, Liyan.**

* These names are in the majority of cases found written on stamped and baked bricks. They were first compared with the names contained in the Annals of Sargon and his successors, and assimilated to those of the princes who were
contemporary with Sennacherib and Assur-bani-pal; then they were referred to the time of the great Elamite empire, and one of them was identified with that Kudur-Nakhunta who had pillaged Uruk 1635 years before Assur-bani-pal. Finally, they were brought down again to an intermediate period, more precisely, to the fourteenth or thirteenth century B.C. This last date appears to be justified, at least as the highest permissible, by the mention of Durkurigalzu, in a text of Undasgal.

** Jensen was the first to recognise that Liyan was a place- name, and the inscriptions of Shilkhak-Inshusinak add that Liyan was the capital of the kingdom; perhaps it was the name of a part of Susa. Khumban-numena has left us no monuments of his own, but he is mentioned on those of his son.

His son Undasgal carried on the works begun by his father, but that is all the information the inscriptions afford concerning him, and the mist of oblivion which for a moment lifted and allowed us to discern dimly the outlines of this sovereign, closes in again and hides everything from our view for the succeeding forty or fifty years.


Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Marcel Dieulafoy.

About the thirteenth century a gleam once more pierces the darkness, and a race of warlike and pious kings emerges into view -- Khalludush-In-shushinak, his son Shutruk-nakhunta, the latter's two sons, Kutur-nakhunta and Shilkhak-Inshu-shinak,* and then perhaps a certain Kutir-khuban.

* The order of succession of these princes is proved by the genealogies with which their bricks are covered. Jensen has shown that we ought to read Khalludush-Inshushinak and Shilkhak-Inshushinak, instead of the shorter forms
Khalludush and Shilkhak read previously.

The inscriptions on their bricks boast of their power, their piety, and their inexhaustible wealth. One after another they repaired and enlarged the temple built by Khumban-numena at Liyan, erected sanctuaries and palaces at Susa, fortified their royal citadel, and ruled over Habardip and the Cossaeans as well as over Anshan and Elam. They vigorously contested the possession of the countries on the right bank of the Tigris with the Babylonians, and Shutruk-nakhunta even succeeded in conquering Babylon itself. He deprived Zamama-shumiddin, the last but one of the Cossaean kings, of his sceptre and his life, placed his own son Kutur-nakhunta on the throne, and when the vanquished Babylonians set up Bel-nadinshumu as a rival sovereign, he laid waste Karduniash with fire and sword. After the death of Bel-nadinshumu, the Pashe princes continued to offer resistance, but at first without success. Shutruk-nakhunta had taken away from the temple of Esagilla the famous statue of Bel-Merodach, whose hands had to be taken by each newly elected king of Babylon, and had carried it off in his waggons to Elam, together with much spoil from the cities on the Euphrates.*

* The name of the king is destroyed on the Babylonian document, but the mention of Kutur-nakhunta as his son obliges us, till further information comes to light, to recognise in him the Shutruk-nakhunta of the bricks of Susa, who also had a son Kutur-nakhunta. This would confirm the restoration of Shutruk-nakhunta as the name of a sovereign who boasts, in a mutilated inscription, that he had pushed his victories as far as the Tigris, and even up to the Euphrates.

Nebuchadrezzar I. brought the statue back to Babylon after many vicissitudes, and at the same time recovered most of his lost provinces, but he had to leave at Susa the bulk of the trophies which had been collected there in course of the successful wars. One of these represented the ancient hero Naram-sin standing, mace in hand, on the summit of a hill, while his soldiers forced their way up the slopes, driving before them the routed hosfcs of Susa. Shutruk-nakhunta left the figures and names untouched, but carved in one corner of the bas-relief a dedicatory inscription, transforming this ancient proof of Babylonian victories over Elam into a trophy of Blamite victories over Babylon.


Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph by M. de Morgan.

His descendants would assuredly have brought Mesopotamia into lasting subjection, had not the feudal organisation of their empire tolerated the existence of contemporary local dynasties, the members of which often disputed the supreme authority with the rightful king. The dynasty which ruled Habardip* seems to have had its seat of government at Tarrisha in the, valley of Malamir.**

* The prince represented on the bas-reliefs gives himself the title Apirra, the name of Apir, Apirti, or Habardip.

** Tarrisha is the name of a town, doubtless the capital of the fief of Malamir; it is probably represented by the considerable ruins which Layard identified as the remains of the Sassanid city of Aidej.

Three hundred figures carved singly or in groups on the rocks of Kul-Firaun portray its princes and their ministers in every posture of adoration, but most of them have no accompanying inscription. One large bas relief, however, forms an exception, and from its legend we learn the name of Khanni, son of Takhkhi-khikhutur.*

* The name of Khanni has been explained by Sayce as the desirable, and that of his father, Takhkhi-khikhutur, as help this thy servant.


Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph by Babin and Houssay.

This prince, even if possessed of no royal protocol, was none the less a powerful and wealthy personage. His figure dominates the picture, the central space of which it completely fills;* his expression is calm, but somewhat severe. His head is covered by a low cap, from which long locks escape and flow over his shoulders; the hair on his face is symmetrically curled above the level of his mouth, and terminates in a pointed beard. The figure is clothed from head to foot in a stiff robe and mantle adorned with tufted fringes, and borders of embroidered rosettes; a girdle at the waist completes the misleading resemblance to the gala-dress of a Nine vite, monarch. The hands are crossed on the breast in an attitude of contemplation, while the prince gazes thoughtfully at a sacrifice which is being offered on his behalf. At the bottom of the picture stands a small altar, behind which a priest in a short tunic seems to be accomplishing some ceremonial rite, while two men are cutting the throat of a ram. Higher up the heads of three rams lie beside their headless trunks, which are resting on the ground, feet in the air, while a servant brandishes a short sword with which he is about to decapitate the fourth beast. Above these, again, three musicians march in procession, one playing on a harp, another on a five-stringed lyre, and the third on a tambourine. An attendant holding a bow, and the minister Shutsururazi, stand quietly waiting till the sacrifice is accomplished. The long text which runs across several of the figures is doubtless a prayer, and contains the names of peoples and princes mingled with those of deities.

* Perrot and Chipiez, misled by the analogy of the Hittite bas-relief at Ibriz, took the largest figure for the image of a god. The inscription engraved on the robe, U Khanni shak Takkhi-khikutur, "I am Khanni, son of Takhkhi- khikhutur," leaves no doubt that the figure represents the prince himself, and not a divinity.

The memory of these provincial chiefs would be revived, and more of their monuments discovered, if the mountains and inaccessible valleys of ancient Elam could be thoroughly explored: it is evident, from the small portion of their history which has been brought to light, that they must have been great sources of trouble to the dynasties which reigned in Susa, and that their revolts must often have jeopardised the safety of the empire, in spite of the assistance afforded by the Aramaeans from the tenth or eleventh centuries onwards. All the semi-nomadic tribes which densely peopled the banks of the Tigris, and whose advance towards the north had been temporarily favoured by the weakness of Assyria -- the Gambulu, the Pukudu, the Eutu, and the Itua -- had a natural tendency to join forces with Elam for the purpose of raiding the wealthy cities of Chaldaea, and this alliance, or subjection, as it might be more properly termed, always insured them against any reprisals on the part of their victims. The unknown king who dwelt at Susa in 745 B.C. committed the error of allowing Tiglath-pileser to crush these allies. Khumban-igash, who succeeded this misguided monarch in 742 B.C., did not take up arms to defend Bit-Amuk-kani and the other states of the Kalda from 731 to 729, but experience must have taught him that he had made a mistake in remaining an unmoved spectator of their misfortunes; for when Merodach-baladan, in quest of allies, applied to him, he unhesitatingly promised him his support.*

* The date of his accession is furnished by the passage in Pinches' Babylonian Chronicle, where it is stated that he ascended the throne of Elam in the fifth year of Nabonazir. The Assyrian and Babylonian scribes assimilated the Susian b to the m, and also suppressed the initial aspirate of the Elamite name, writing generally Umman-igash for Khumban- igash.

Assyria and Elam had hitherto seldom encountered one another on the field of battle. A wide barrier of semi-barbarous states had for a long time held them apart, and they would have had to cross the territory of the Babylonians or the Cossaeans before coming into contact with each other. Tiglath-pileser I., however, had come into conflict with the northern districts of Elam towards the end of the twelfth century B.C., and more recently the campaigns of Assur-nazir-pal, Shalmaneser III., and Ramman-nirari had frequently brought these sovereigns into contact with tribes under the influence of Susa; but the wildness and poverty of the country, and the difficulties it offered to the manoeuvres of large armies, had always prevented the Assyrian generals from advancing far into its mountainous regions.* The annexation of Aramaean territory beyond the Tigris, and the conquest of Babylon by Tiglath-pileser III., at length broke through the barrier and brought the two powers face to face at a point where they could come into conflict without being impeded by almost insurmountable natural obstacles, namely, in the plains of the Umliash and the united basins of the Lower Ulai and the Uknu. Ten years' experience had probably sufficed to convince Khumban-igash of the dangers to which the neighbourhood of the Assyrians exposed his subjects. The vigilant watch which the new-comers kept over their frontier rendered raiding less easy; and if one of the border chieftains were inclined to harry, as of old, an unlucky Babylonian or Cossaean village, he ran the risk of an encounter with a well-armed force, or of being plundered in turn by way of reprisal.

* Sargon declares distinctly that Merodach-baladan had invoked the aid of Khumban-igash.

An irregular but abundant source of revenue was thus curtailed, without taking into consideration the wars to which such incidents must perforce lead sooner or later. Even unaided the Elamites considered themselves capable of repelling any attack; allied with the Babylonians or the Kalda, they felt certain of victory in any circumstances. Sargon realised this fact almost as fully as did the Elamites themselves; as soon, therefore, as his spies had forewarned him that an invasion was imminent, he resolved to take the initiative and crush his enemies singly before they Succeeded in uniting their forces. Khumban-igash had advanced as far as the walls of Durilu, a stronghold which commanded the Umliash, and he there awaited the advent of his allies before laying siege to the town: it was, however, the Assyrian army which came to meet him and offered him battle. The conflict was a sanguinary one, as became an engagement between such valiant foes, and both sides claimed the victory. The Assyrians maintained then-ground, forcing the Elamites to evacuate their positions, and tarried some weeks longer to chastise those of their Aramaean subjects who had made common cause with the enemy: they carried away the Tumuna, who had given up their sheikh into the hands of the emissaries of the Kalda, and transported the whole tribe, without Merodach-baladan making any attempt to save his allies, although his army had not as yet struck a single blow.*

* The history of this first campaign against Merodach- baladan, which is found in a mutilated condition in the Annals of Sargon, exists nowhere else in a complete form, but the facts are very concisely referred to in the Fastes and in the Cylinders. The general sequence of events is indicated by Pinches' Babylonian Chronicle, but the author places them in 720 B.C., the second year of Merodach- baladan, contrary to the testimony of the Annals, and attributes the victory to the Elamites in the battle of Durilu, in deference to Babylonian patriotism. The course of events after the battle of Durflu seems to prove clearly that the Assyrians remained masters of the field.

Having accomplished this act of vengeance, the Assyrians suspended operations and returned to Nineveh to repair their losses, probably intending to make a great effort to regain the whole of Babylonia in the ensuing year. Grave events which occurred elsewhere prevented them, however, from carrying this ambitious project into effect. The fame of their war against Elam had spread abroad in the Western provinces of the empire, and doubtless exaggerated accounts circulated with regard to the battle of Durilu had roused the spirit of dissatisfaction in the west. Sargon had scarcely seated himself securely on a throne to which he was not the direct heir, when he was menaced by Elam and repudiated by Chaldaea, and it remained to be seen whether his resources would prove equal to maintaining the integrity of his empire, or whether the example set by Merodach-baladan would not speedily be imitated by all who groaned under the Assyrian yoke. Since the decline of Damascus and Arpad, Hamath had again taken a prominent place in Northern Syria: prompt submission had saved this city from destruction in the time of Tiglath-pileser III., and it had since prospered under the foreign rule; it was, therefore, on Hamath that all hopes of deliverance still cherished by rulers and people now centred. A low-born fellow, a smith named Iaubidi, rose in rebellion against the prince of Hamath for being mean-spirited enough to pay tribute, proclaimed himself king, and in the space of a few months revived under his own leadership the coalition which Hadadezer and Rezon II. had formed in days gone by. Arpad and Bit-Agusi, Zimyra and Northern Phoenicia, Damascus and its dependencies, all expelled their Assyrian garrisons, and Samaria, though still suffering from its overthrow, summoned up courage to rid itself of its governor. Meanwhile, Hannon of Gaza, recently reinstated in his city by Egyptian support, was carrying on negotiations with a view to persuading Egypt to interfere in the affairs of Syria. The last of the Tanite Pharaohs, Psamuti, was just dead, and Bocchoris, who had long been undisputed master of the Delta, had now ventured to assume the diadem openly (722 B.C.), a usurpation which the Ethiopians, fully engaged in the Thebaid and on the Upper Nile, seemed to regard with equanimity. As soon as the petty kings and feudal lords had recognised his suzerainty, Bocchoris "listened favourably to the entreaties of Hannon, and promised to send an army to Gaza under the command of his general Shabe. Sargon, threatened with the loss of the entire western half of his empire, desisted for a time from his designs on Babylon, Khumban-igash was wise enough to refrain from provoking an enemy who left him in peace, and Merodach-baladan did not dare to enter the lists without the support of his confederate: the victory of Durilu, though it had not succeeded in gaining a province for Nineveh, had at least secured the south-eastern frontier from attack, at all events for so long as it should please Sargon to remain at a distance.


Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a sketch by Flandin.

The league formed by Hamath had not much power of cohesion. Iaubidi had assembled his forces and the contingents of his allies at the town of Qarqar as Hadadezer had done before: he was completely defeated, taken prisoner, and flayed alive. His kingdom was annexed to the Assyrian empire, Qarqar was burnt to the ground, the fortifications of Hamath were demolished, and the city obliged to furnish a force of two hundred charioteers and six hundred horsemen, probably recruited from among the families of the upper classes, to serve as hostages as well as auxiliaries. Arpad, Zimyra, Damascus, Samaria, all succumbed without serious opposition, and the citizens who had been most seriously compromised in the revolt paid for their disaffection with their lives. This success confirmed the neighbouring states of Tyre, Sidon, Judah, Ammon, and Moab in their allegiance, which had shown signs of wavering since the commencement of hostilities; but Gaza remained unsubdued, and caused the more uneasiness because it was perceived that behind her was arrayed all the majesty of the Pharaoh. The Egyptians, slow to bestir themselves, had not yet crossed the Isthmus when the Assyrians appeared beneath the walls of Gaza: Hannon, worsted in a preliminary skirmish, retreated on Raphia, where Shabe, the Egyptian general, had at length arrived, and the decisive battle took place before this town. It was the first time that the archers and charioteers of the Nile valley had measured forces with the pikemen and cavalry of that of the Tigris; the engagement was hotly contested, but the generals and soldiers of Bocchoris, fighting according to antiquated methods of warfare, gave way before the onset of the Assyrian ranks, who were better equipped and better led. Shabe fled "like a shepherd whose sheep had been stolen," Hannon was taken prisoner and loaded with chains, and Raphia fell into the hands of the conqueror; the inhabitants who survived the sack of their city were driven into captivity to the number of 9033 men, with their flocks and household goods. The manifest superiority of Assyria was evident from the first encounter, but the contest had been so fierce and the result so doubtful that Sargon did not consider it prudent to press his advantage. He judged rightly that these troops, whom he had not dispersed without considerable effort, constituted merely an advanced guard.4 Egypt was not like the petty kingdoms of Syria or Asia Minor, which had but one army apiece, and could not risk more than one pitched battle. Though Shabe's force was routed, others would not fail to take its place and contend as fiercely for the possession of the country, and even if the Assyrians should succeed in dislodging them and curbing the power of Bocchoris, the fall of Sais or Memphis, far from putting an end to the war, would only raise fresh complications. Above Memphis stretched the valley of the Nile, bristling with fortresses, Khininsu, Oxyrhynchus, Hermopolis, Siut, Thinis, and Thebes, the famous city of Amon, enthroned on the banks of the river, whose very name still evoked in the minds of the Asiatics a vivid remembrance of all its triumphal glories.*

* Thebes was at that time known among the Semites by its popular name of the city of Amon -- which the Hebrew writers transcribed as No-Amon (Nahum iii.8) or No alone (Jer. xlvi.25; Ezek. xxx.14, 15, 16), and the Assyrians by Ni.

Thebes itself formed merely one stage in the journey towards Syene, Ethiopia, Napata, and the unknown regions of Africa which popular imagination filled with barbarous races or savage monsters, and however far an alien army might penetrate in a southerly direction, it would still meet with the language, customs, and divinities of Egypt -- an Egypt whose boundary seemed to recede as the invader advanced, and which was ever ready to oppose the enemy with fresh forces whenever its troops had suffered from his attacks. Sargon, having reached Kaphia, halted on the very threshold of the unexplored realm whose portals stood ajar ready to admit him: the same vague disquietude which had checked the conquering career of the Pharaohs on the borders of Asia now stayed his advance, and bade him turn back as he was on the point of entering Africa. He had repulsed the threatened invasion, and as a result of his victory the princes and towns which had invoked the aid of the foreigner lay at his mercy; he proceeded, therefore, to reorganise the provinces of Philistia and Israel, and received the homage of Judah and her dependencies. Ahaz, while all the neighbouring states were in revolt, had not wavered in his allegiance; the pacific counsels of Isaiah had once more prevailed over the influence of the party which looked for safety in an alliance with Egypt.*

* Sargon probably alludes to homage received at this time, when he styles himself "the subduer of far-off Judah." It is not certain that Ahaz was still King of Judah; it was for a long time admitted that Hezekiah was already king when these events took place, in accordance with 2 Kings xviii.9, 10, where it is stated that Samaria was destroyed in the sixth year of Hezekiah. I consider, in agreement with several historians, that the date of Sennacherib's invasion of Judah must have remained more firmly fixed in the minds of the Jewish historians than that of the taking of Samaria, and as 2 Kings xviii.13 places this invasion in the fourteenth year of Hezekiah, which corresponds, as we shall see, to the third year of Sennacherib, or 702 B.C., it seems better to place the accession of Hezekiah about 715, and prolong the reign of Ahaz till after the campaign of Sargon against Hannon of Gaza.

The whole country from the Orontes to the mountains of Seir and the river of Egypt was again reduced to obedience, and set itself by peaceful labours to repair the misfortunes which had befallen it during the previous quarter of a century. Sargon returned to his capital, but fate did not yet allow him to renew his projects against Babylon. Barely did an insurrection break out in any part of the country on the accession of a new king at Nineveh without awaking echoes in the distant provinces of the empire. The report of a revolt in Chaldaea roused a slumbering dissatisfaction among the Syrians, and finally led them into open rebellion: the episodes of the Syrian campaign, narrated in Armenia or on the slopes of the Taurus with the thousand embellishments suggested by the rancour of the narrators, excited the minds of the inhabitants and soon rendered an outbreak inevitable. The danger would have been serious if the suppressed hatred of all had found vent at the same moment, and if insurrections in five or six different parts of his empire had to be faced by the sovereign simultaneously; but as a rule these local wars broke out without any concentrated plan, and in localities too remote from each other to permit of any possible co-operation between the assailants; each chief, before attempting to assert his independence, seemed to wait until the Assyrians had had ample time to crush the rebel who first took the field, having done which they could turn the whole of their forces against the latest foe. Thus Iaubidi did not risk a campaign till the fall of Elam and Karduniash had been already decided on the field of Durilu; in the same way, the nations of the North and East refrained from entering the lists till they had allowed Sargon time to destroy the league of Hamath and repel the attack of Bharaoh.

They were secretly incited to rebellion by a power which played nearly the same part with regard to them that Egypt had played in Southern Syria. Urartu had received a serious rebuff in 735 B.C., and the burning of Dhuspas had put an end to its ascendency, but the victory had been effected at the cost of so much bloodshed that Tiglath-pileser was not inclined to risk losing the advantage already gained by pushing it too far: he withdrew, therefore, without concluding a treaty, and did not return, being convinced that no further hostilities would be attempted till the vanquished enemy had recovered from his defeat. He was justified in his anticipations, for Sharduris died about 730, without having again taken up arms, and his son Busas I. had left Shalmaneser V. unmolested:* but the accession of Sargon and the revolts which harassed him had awakened in Busas the warlike instincts of his race, and the moment appeared advantageous for abandoning his policy of inactivity.

* The name of this king is usually written Ursa in the Assyrian inscriptions, but the Annals of Sargon give in each case the form Rusa, in accordance with which Sayce had already identified the Assyrian form Ursa or Rusa with the form Rusas found on some Urartian monuments. Belck and Lehmann have discovered several monuments of this Rusas I., son of Sharduris.

The remembrance of the successful exploits of Menuas and Argistis still lived in the minds of his people, and more than one of his generals had entered upon their military careers at a time when, from Arpad and Carchemish to the country of the Medes, quite a third of the territory now annexed to Assyria had been subject to the king of Urartu; Eusas, therefore, doubtless placed before himself the possibility of reconquering the lost provinces, and even winning, by a stroke of fortune, more than had been by a stroke of fortune wrested from his father. He began by intriguing with such princes as were weary of the Assyrian rule, among the Mannai, in Zikartu,* among the Tabal, and even among the Khati.

* Zikruti, Zikirtu, Zikartu, may probably be identified with the Sagartians of Herodotus.

Iranzu, who was at that time reigning over the Mannai, refused to listen to the suggestions of his neighbour, but two of his towns, Shuandakhul and Durdukka, deserted him in 719 B.C., and ranged themselves under Mitatti, chief of the Zikartu, while about the same time the strongholds of Sukkia, Bala, and Abitikna, which were on the borders of Urartu, broke the ties which had long bound them to Assyria, and concluded a treaty of alliance with Rusas. Sargon was not deceived as to the meaning of these events, and at once realised that this movement was not one of those local agitations which broke out at intervals in one or other of his provinces. His officers and spies must have kept him informed of the machinations of Eusas and of the revolutions which the migrations of the last thirty years had provoked among the peoples of the Iranian table-land. A new race had arisen in their rear, that of the Cimmerians and Scythians, which, issuing in irresistible waves from the gorges of the Caucasus, threatened to overwhelm the whole ancient world of the East. The stream, after a moment's vacillation, took a westerly direction, and flooded Asia Minor from one end to the other. Some tribes, however, which had detached themselves from the main movement sought an outlet towards the south-east, on to the rich plains of the Araxes and the country around Lake Urumiah. The native races, pressed in the rear by these barbarians, and hemmed in on either side and in front by Urartu and Assyria, were forced into closer proximity, and, conscious of their individual weakness, had begun to form themselves into three distinct groups, varying considerably in compactness, -- the Medes in the south, Misianda in the north, with Zikartu between them. Zikartu was at that time the best organised of these nascent states, and its king, Mitatti, was not deficient either in military talent or political sagacity. The people over whom he ruled were, moreover, impregnated with the civilisation of Mesopotamia, and by constantly meeting the Assyrians in battle they had adopted the general principles of their equipment, organisation, and military tactics. The vigour of his soldiers and the warlike ardour which inspired them rendered his armies formidable even to leaders as experienced, and warriors as hardened, as the officers and soldiers of Nineveh. Mitatti had strongly garrisoned the two rebel cities, and trusted that if the Assyrians were unable to recapture them without delay, other towns would not be long in following their example; Iranzu would, no doubt, be expelled, his place would be taken by a hostile chief, and the Mannai, joining hands with Urartu on the right and Zikartu on the left, would, with these two states, form a compact coalition, whose combined forces would menace the northern frontier of the empire from the Zagros to the Taurus.

[Illustration: 364.jpg TAKING OF A CASTLE IN ZIKARTU]

Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from the facsimile by Flandin.

Sargon, putting all the available Assyrian forces into the field, hurled them against the rebels, and this display of power had the desired effect upon the neighbouring kingdoms: Busas and Mitatti did not dare to interfere, the two cities were taken by assault, burnt and razed to the ground, and the inhabitants of the surrounding districts of Sukkia, Bala, and Abitikna were driven into exile among the Khati. The next year, however, the war thus checked on the Iranian table-land broke out in the north-west, in the mountains of Cilicia. A Tabal chief, Kiakku of Shinukhta, refused to pay his tribute (718). Sargon seized him and destroyed his city; his family and adherents, 7500 persons in all, were carried away captives to Assyria, and his principality was given to a rival chief, Matti of Atuna, on a promise from the latter of an increased amount of tribute.*

* The name of Atuna is a variant of the name Tuna, which is found in the inscriptions of Tiglath-pileser III., and Tuna recalls the name of the old city of Tyana, or that of Tynna or Tunna, near Tyana, in the Taurus. Shinukhta, not far from Atuna, must be the capital of a district situated on the Karmalas or the Saros, on the borders of Cilicia or Cataonia.

In 717 B.C. more serious dangers openly declared themselves. The Khati had not forgotten that they had once been the allies of Urartu, and that their king, Pisiris, together with Matilu of Agusi, had fought for Sharduris against Tiglath-pileser III. Pisiris conspired with Mita, chief of the Mushki, and proclaimed his independence; but vengeance swiftly and surely overtook him. He succumbed before his accomplice had time to come to his assistance, and was sent to join Kiakku and his adherents in prison, while the districts which he had ruled were incorporated into Assyrian territory, and Carchemish became the seat of an Assyrian prefect who ranked among the limmi from whom successive years took their names. The fall of Pisiris made no impression on his contemporaries. They had witnessed the collapse of so many great powers -- Elam, Urartu, Egypt -- that the misfortunes of so insignificant a personage awakened but little interest; and yet with him foundered one of the most glorious wrecks of the ancient world. For more than a century the Khati had been the dominant power in North-western Asia, and had successfully withstood the power of Thebes; crushed by the Peoples of the Sea, hemmed in and encroached upon by the rising wave of Aramaean invasion, they had yet disputed their territory step by step with the Assyrian generals, and the area over which they spread can be traced by the monuments and inscriptions scattered over Cilicia, Lycaonia, Cappadocia, and Northern Syria as far as the basins of the Orontes and the Litany. So lasting had proved their influence on all around them, and so fresh was the memory of their greatness, that it would have seemed but natural that their vitality should survive this last blow, and that they should enjoy a prosperous future which should vie with their past. But events proved that their national life was dead, and that no recuperative power remained: as soon as Sargon had overthrown their last prince, their tribes became merged in the general body of Aramaeans, and their very name ere long vanished from the pages of history.

Up to this time Eusas had not directly interfered in these quarrels between the suzerain and his vassals: he may have incited the latter to revolt, but he had avoided compromising himself, and was waiting till the Mannai had decided to make common cause with him before showing his hand openly. Ever since the skirmish of the year 719, Mitatti had actively striven to tempt the Mannai from their allegiance, but his intrigues had hitherto proved of no avail against the staunch fidelity first of Iranzu and then of Aza, who had succeeded the latter about 718. At the beginning of the year 716 Mitatti was more successful; the Mannai, seduced at length by his promises and those of Eusas, assembled on Mount Uaush, murdered their king, and leaving his corpse unburied, hastened to place themselves under the command of Bagadatti, regent of Umildish. Sargon hurried to the spot, seized Bagadatti, and had him flayed alive on Mount Uaush, which had just witnessed the murder of Aza, and exposed the mass of bleeding flesh before the gaze of the people to demonstrate the fate reserved for his enemies. But though he had acted speedily he was too late, and the fate of their chief, far from discouraging his subjects, confirmed them in their rebellion. They had placed upon the throne Ullusunu, the brother of Aza, and this prince had immediately concluded an alliance with Eusas, Mitatti, and the people of Andia; his example was soon followed by other Eastern chiefs, Assurli of Karallu and Itti of Allabria, whereupon, as the spirit of revolt spread from one to another, most of the districts lately laid under tribute by Tiglath-pileser took up arms -- Niksama, Bitsagbati, Bitkhirmami, Kilam-bafci, Armangu, and even the parts around Kharkhar, and Ellipi, with its reigning sovereign Dalta. The general insurrection dreaded by Sargon, and which Eusas had for five years been fomenting, had, despite all the efforts of the Assyrian government, at last broken out, and the whole frontier was ablaze from the borders of Elam to those of the Mushku. Sargon turned his attention to where danger was most urgent; he made a descent on the territory of the Mannai, and laid it waste "as a swarm of locusts might have done;" he burnt their capital, Izirtu, demolished the fortifications of Zibia and Armaid, and took Ullusunu captive, but, instead of condemning him to death, he restored to him his liberty and his crown on condition of his paying a regular tribute. This act of clemency, in contrast with the pitiless severity shown at the beginning of the insurrection, instantly produced the good effects he expected: the Mannai laid down their arms and swore allegiance to the conqueror, and their defection broke up the coalition. Sargon did not give the revolted provinces time to recover from the dismay into which his first victories had thrown them, but marched rapidly to the south, and crushed them severally; commencing with Andia, where he took 4200 prisoners with their cattle, he next attacked Zikartu, whose king, Mitatti, took refuge in the mountains and thus escaped death at the hands of the executioner. Assurli of Karalla had a similar fate to Bagadatti, and was flayed alive. Itti of Allabria, with half of his subjects, was carried away to Hamath. The towns of Niksama and Shurgadia were annexed to the province of Parsuash. The town of Kishisim was reduced to ashes, and its king, Belsharuzur, together with the treasures of his palace, was carried away to Nineveh. Kharkhar succumbed after a short siege, received a new population, and was henceforward known as Kar-Sharrukin; Dalta was restored to favour, and retained his dominion intact. Never had so great a danger been so ably or so courageously averted. It was not without good reason that, after his victory over the Mannai, Sargon, instead of attacking Busas, the most obstinate of his foes, turned against the Medes. Bllipi, Parsuash, and Kharkhar, comprising half the countries which had joined in the insurrection, were on the borders of Elam or had frequent relations with that state, and it is impossible to conjecture what turn affairs might have taken had Elam been induced to join their league, and had the Elamite armies, in conjunction with those of Merodach-baladan, unexpectedly fallen upon the Assyrian rear by the valleys of the Tigris or the Turnat.


Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from the facsimile by Plandin. The figures resembling stags' horns, which crown three of the upper towers, are tongues of flame, as was indicated by the red colouring which still remained on them when the bas- relief was discovered.

Had the Elamites, however, entertained a desire to mingle in the fray, the promptness with which Sargon had re-established order must have given them cause to reflect and induced them to maintain their neutrality. The year which had opened so inauspiciously thus ended in victory, though the situation was still fraught with danger. The agitation which had originated in the east and northeast in 716 reached the north-west in 715, and spread as far as the borders of Southern Syria. Rusas had employed the winter in secret negotiations with the Mannai, and had won over one of their principal chiefs, a certain Dayaukku, whose name seems to be identical with that which the Greeks transliterated as Deiokes.*

* The identity of the name Dayaukku with that of Deiokes is admitted by all historians.

As soon as spring had returned he entered the territory of Ullusunu, and occupied twenty-two strongholds, which were probably betrayed into his hands by Dayaukku. While this was taking place Mita of Mushki invaded Cilicia, and the Arab tribes of the Idumsean desert -- the Thamudites, the Ibadites, the Marsimanu, and Khayapa -- were emboldened to carry their marauding expeditions into Assyrian territory. The Assyrian monarch was thus called on to conduct three distinct wars simultaneously in three different directions; he was, moreover, surrounded by wavering subjects whom terror alone held to their allegiance, and whom the slightest imprudence or the least reverse might turn into open foes.

Sargon resolutely faced the enemy at all three points of attack. As in the previous year, he reserved for himself the position where danger was most threatening, directing the operations against the Mannai. He captured one by one the twenty-two strongholds of Ullusunu which Rusas had seized, and laying hands on Dayaukku, sent him and his family into exile to Hamath. This display of energy determined Ianzu of Nairi to receive the Assyrian monarch courteously within the royal residence of Khubushkia and to supply him with horses, cattle, sheep, and goats in token of homage. Proceeding from thence in an oblique direction, Sargon reached Andia and took prisoner its king Tilusinas. Having by this exploit reduced the province of Mannai to order, he restored the twenty-two towns to Ullusunu, and halting some days in Izirtu, erected there a statue of himself, according to his custom, as a visible witness of Assyrian supremacy, having done which, he retraced his steps to the south-east. The province of Kharkhar, which had been reduced to subjection only a few months previously, was already in open revolt, and the district of Kar-Sharrukin alone remained faithful to its governor: Sargon had to reconquer it completely, town by town, imposing on the four citadels of Kishislu, Kindau, Bit-Bagaia, and Zaria the new names of Kar-Nabu, Kar-Sin, Kar-Rammanu, and Kar-Ishtar, besides increasing the fortifications of Kar-Sharrukin. The Medes once more acknowledged his suzerainty, and twenty-two of their chiefs came to tender the oath of allegiance at his feet; two or three districts which remained insubordinate were given up to pillage as far as Bit-Khamban, and the inhabitants of Kimirra were sent into captivity. The eastern campaign was thus brought to a most successful issue, fortune, meanwhile, having also favoured the Assyrian arms in the other menaced quarters. Mita, after pushing forward at one point as far as the Mediterranean, had been driven back into the mountains by the prefect of Kui, and the Bedawin of the south had sustained a serious reverse.

These latter were mere barbarians, ignorant of the arts of reading and writing, and hitherto unconquered by any foreign power: their survivors were removed to Samaria, where captives from Hamath had already been established, and where they were soon joined by further exiles from Babylon.


Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from the facsimile by Flandin. The tongues of flame which issue from the towers still bore traces of red and yellow colouring when the bas-relief was discovered.

This episode had greater effect than its importance warranted; or perhaps the majority of the neighbouring states made it a convenient pretext for congratulating Sargon on his victories over more serious enemies. He received gifts from Shamshie, the Arabian queen who had formerly fought against Tiglath-pileser, from Itamar the Saboan, and the sheikhs of the desert, from the kings of the Mediterranean sea-board, and from the Pharaoh himself. Bocchoris had died after a troublous reign of seven years.*

* The two dynasties of Tanis and Sais may be for the present reconstituted as follows: --


His real character is unknown, but as he left a deep impression on the memories of his people, it is natural to conclude that he displayed, at times, both ability and energy. Many legends in which the miraculous element prevailed were soon in circulation concerning him. He was, according to these accounts, weak in body and insignificant in appearance, but made up for these defects by mental ability and sound judgment. He was credited with having been simple in his mode of life, and was renowned as one of the six great legislators produced by Egypt. A law concerning debt and the legal rates of interest, was attributed to him; he was also famed for the uprightness of his judgments, which were regarded as due to divine inspiration. Isis had bestowed on him a serpent, which, coiling itself round his head when he sat on the judgment-seat, covered him with its shadow, and admonished him not to forget for a moment the inflexible principles of equity and truth.

Neither Tafnakhti nor any of the local sovereigns mentioned on the stele of Pionkhi wore comprised in the official computation; there is, therefore, no reason to add them to this list.

A collection of the decisions he was reputed to have delivered in famous cases existed in the Graeco-Roman period, and one of them is quoted at length: he had very ingeniously condemned a courtesan to touch the shadow of a purse as payment for the shadowy favours she had bestowed in a dream on her lover.


Drawn by Faucher-Gudin.

An Alexandrian poet, Pancrates, versified the accounts of this juridical collection,* and the artists of the Imperial epoch drew from it motives for mural decoration; they portrayed the king pronouncing judgment between two mothers who disputed possession of an infant, between two beggars laying claim to the same cloak, and between three men asserting each of them his right to a wallet full of food.**

* Pancrates lived in the time of Hadrian, and Athenaeus, who has preserved his memory for us, quotes the first book of his Bocchoreidion.

** Considerable remains of this decorative cycle have been discovered at Pompeii and at Rome, in a series of frescoes, in which Lumbroso and E. Lowy recognise the features of the legends of Bocchoris; the dispute between the two mothers recalls the famous judgment of Solomon (1 Kings iii.16-28).

A less favourable tradition represents the king as an avaricious and irreligious sovereign: he is said one day to have conceived the sacrilegious desire to bring about a conflict between an ordinary bull and the Mnevis adored at Heliopolis. The gods, doubtless angered by his crimes, are recorded to have called into being a lamb with eight feet, which, suddenly breaking into articulate speech, predicted that Upper and Lower Egypt would be disgraced by the rule of a stranger.*

* This legend, preserved by Manetho and Ulian is also known from the fragments of a demotic papyrus at Vienna, which contains the prophecy of the lamb.

[Illustration: 375.jpg SABACO]

Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from Lepsius.

The monuments of his reign which have come down to us tell us nothing of his deeds; we can only conjecture that after the defeat sustained by his generals at Raphia, the discords which had ruined the preceding dynasties again broke out with renewed violence. Indeed, if he succeeded in preserving his crown for several years longer, he owed the fact more to the feebleness of the Ethiopians than to his own vigour: no sooner did an enterprising prince appear at Barkal and demand that he should render an account of his usurpation, than his power came to an end. Kashto having died about 716,* his son Shabaku, the Sabaco of the Greeks, inherited the throne, and his daughter Amenertas the priesthood and principality of Thebes, in right of her mother Shapenuapit.

* The date of the accession of Sabaco is here fixed at 716- 715, because I follow the version of the lists of Manetho, which gives twelve years as the reign of that prince; an inscription from Hammamat mentions his twelfth year.

Sabaco was an able and energetic prince, who could by no means tolerate the presence of a rival Pharaoh in the provinces which Pionkhi had conquered. He declared war, and, being doubtless supported in his undertaking by all the petty kings and great feudal nobles whose jealousy was aroused by the unlooked-for prosperity of the Saite monarch, he defeated Bocchoris and took him prisoner. Tafnakhti had formerly recognised the Ethiopian supremacy, and Bocchoris, when he succeeded to his father's dominions, had himself probably sought investiture at the hands of the King of Napata. Sabaco treated him as a rebel, and either burnt or flayed him alive (715).*

* According to Manetho, he was burnt alive; the tradition which mentions that he was flayed alive is found in John of Antioch.

The struggle was hardly over, when the news of Sargon's victories reached Egypt. It was natural that the new king, not yet securely seated on his throne, should desire to conciliate the friendship of a neighbour who was so successful in war, and that he should seize the first available pretext to congratulate him. The Assyrian on his part received these advances with satisfaction and pride: he perceived in them a guarantee that Egyptian intrigues with Tyre and Jerusalem would cease, and that he could henceforth devote himself to his projects against Busas without being distracted by the fear of an Ethiopian attack and the subversion of Syria in his rear.

Sargon took advantage of these circumstances to strike a final blow at Urartu. He began in the spring of 714 by collecting among the Mannai the tribute due from Ullusuna, Dalta, and the Median chiefs; then pushing forward into the country of the Zikartu, he destroyed three forts and twenty-four villages, and burnt their capital, Parda. Mitatti escaped servitude, but it was at the price of his power: a proscribed fugitive, deserted by his followers, he took refuge in the woods, and never submitted to his conqueror; but he troubled him no further, and disappeared from the pages of history. Having achieved this result, Sargon turned towards the north-west, and coming at length into close conflict with Eusas, did not leave his enemy till he had crushed him. He drove him into the gorges of Uaush, slaughtered a large number of his troops, and swept away the whole of his body-guard -- a body of cavalry of two hundred men, all of whom were connected by blood with the reigning family. Eusas quitted his chariot, and, like his father Sharduris on the night of the disaster at Kishtan, leaped upon a mare, and fled, overwhelmed with shame, into the mountains. His towns, terror-stricken, opened their gates at the first summons to the victor; Sargon burnt those which he knew he could not retain, granted the district of Uaush to his vassal Ullusunu as a recompense for his loyalty, and then marched up to rest awhile in Nairi, where he revictualled his troops at the expense of Ianzu of Khubushkia. He had, no doubt, hoped that Urzana of Muzazir, the last of the friends of Eusas to hold out against Assyria, would make good use of the respite thus, to all appearances unintentionally, afforded him, and would come to terms; but as the appeal to his clemency was delayed, Sargon suddenly determined to assume the aggressive. Muzazir, entrenched within its mountain ranges, was accessible only by one or two dangerous passes; Urzana had barricaded these, and believed himself in a position to defy every effort of the Assyrians. Sargon, equally convinced of the futility of a front attack, had recourse to a surprise.


Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from the drawing by Botta.

Taking with him his chariots and one thousand picked horsemen, he left the beaten track, and crossing the four or five mountain chains -- the Shiak, the Ardinshi, the Ulayau, and the Alluria -- which lay between him and Muzazir, he unexpectedly bore down upon the city. Urzana escaped after a desperate resistance, but the place was taken by assault and sacked, the palace destroyed, the temple overthrown, and the statues of the gods Khaldia and Bagbartu dragged from their sanctuary. The entire royal family were sent into slavery, and with them 20,170 of the inhabitants who had survived the siege, besides 690 mules, 920 oxen, 100,225 sheep, and incalculable spoils in gold, silver, bronze, iron, and precious stones and stuffs, the furniture of Urzana, and even his seal, being deposited in the treasury at Nineveh.

[Illustration: 379.jpg THE SEAL OF URZANA, KING OF MUZAZIR]

Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from an impression of the original seal which is preserved at the Hague.

The disaster at Muzazir was the final blow to Urartu; it is impossible to say what took place where Eusas himself was, and whether the feudatories refused him any further allegiance, but in a short time he found himself almost forsaken, without friends, troops, or a place of refuge, and reduced to choose between death or the degradation of appealing to the mercy of the conqueror. He stabbed himself rather than yield; and Sargon, only too thankful to be rid of such a dangerous adversary, stopped the pursuit. Argistis II. succeeded to what was left of his father's kingdom,* and, being anxious above all things to obtain peace for his subjects, suspended hostilities, without however disarming his troops.

* No text states positively that Argistis II. immediately succeeded his father; but he is found mentioned as King of Urartu from 708 onwards, and hence it has been concluded, not without some reason, that such was the fact. The Vannic inscriptions have not as yet given us this sovereign's name.

As was the case under Tiglath-pileser III., Urartu neither submitted to Assyria, nor was there any kind of treaty between the belligerents to prescribe the conditions of this temporary truce. Both sides maintained their positions on their respective territories: Sargon kept the frontier towns acquired by him in previous years, and which he had annexed to the border provinces, retaining also his suzerainty over Muzazir, the Mannai, and the Median states implicated in the struggle; Argistis, on his side, strengthened himself in the regions around the sources of the Euphrates and Lake Van -- in Biainas, in Etius, and in the plains of the Araxes. The material injuries which he had received, however considerable they may appear, were not irreparable, and, as a fact, the country quickly recovered from them, but the people's confidence in their prince and his chiefs was destroyed. The defeat of Sharduris, following as it did on a period of advantageous victories, may have seemed to Argistis one of those unimportant occurrences which constantly take place in the career of the strongest nations; the disaster of Rusas proved to him that, in attempting to wipe out his first repulse, he had only made matters worse, and the conviction was borne in upon his princes that they were not in a position to contest the possession of Western Asia with the Assyrians. They therefore renounced, more from instinct than as the result of deliberation, the project of enlarging their borders to the south, and if they subsequently reappeared on the Mesopotamian plains, it was in search of booty, and not to acquire territory. Any attempt to stop their incursions, or to disturb them in their mountain fastnesses, found them prepared to hold their own with the same obstinacy as of old, and they were quite able to safeguard their independence against an intruder. Besides this, the Cimmerians and the Scythians were already pressing on their frontier, and were constantly harassing them.


Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from the facsimile by Flandin. It seems that this town was called Amkaru, and its name appears, as far as I know, in none of the accounts which we possess of the campaigns. The town was apparently situated in Karalla or in Median territory.

This fresh danger absorbed their entire attention, and from this time forward they ceased to play a part in general history; the century which had seen the rise and growth of their power was also a witness of their downfall under the attacks of Assyria. During the last months of 714, the tribes which had formerly constituted the kingdom of Karalla mutinied against the tyranny of their governor, and invited Ami-tashshi, the brother of their ancient lord Assurli, to rule over them. Sargon attacked them in the spring of 713, dispersed their troops, held them to ransom, and after having once more exacted homage from Bit-Dayaukku,* Ellipi, and Allabria.

* The Dayaukku who gave his name to this province was at first confounded with the personage who was entangled in the affairs of Ullusunu, and was then banished by Sargon to Hamath. A good number of historians now admit that they were different persons. Bit-Dayaukku is evidently the district of Ecbatana.

He made a raid extending as far as the confines of the Iranian desert, the barren steppes of Eastern Arabia,* and the district of Nagira belonging to the "powerful" Manda.*

* The Eastern Arabs mentioned here were nomadic, and inhabited the confines of the Great Desert to the south-east of Media, or the steppes of Northern Iran. They are those mentioned in a passage of Appian, together with Parthians, Bactrians, and Tapyraeans, as having submitted to Seleucus.

** The "powerful" Manda, encamped in the mountain and desert, and who were named after the Eastern Arabs, must be the peoples situated between the Caspian and the steppes of the Iranian plateau, and a branch of the Scythians who are soon to appear in Asiatic history.

While he was thus preparing the way for peace in his Median domains, one of his generals crossed the Euphrates to chastise the Tabal for their ill deeds. The latter had figured, about the year 740 B.C., among the peoples who had bowed before the supremacy of Urartu, and their chief, Uassarmi, had been the ally or vassal of Sharduris. Contemptuously spared at the taking of Arpad, he had not been able to resign himself to the Assyrian yoke, and had, in an ill-timed moment, thrown it off in 731; he had, however, been overcome and forced to surrender, and Tiglath-pileser had put in his place a man of obscure birth, named Khulli, whose fidelity had remained unshaken throughout the reign of Shalmaneser V. and the first years of Sargon. Khulli's son, Ambaridis, the husband of a Ninevite princess, who had brought him as dowry a considerable part of Cilicia, had been unable to resist the flattering offers of Kusas; he had broken the ties which attached him to the new Assyrian dynasty, but had been left unmolested so long as Urartu and Muzazir remained unshaken, since his position at the western extremity of the empire prevented him from influencing in the smallest degree the issue of the struggle, and it was well known that when the fall of Kusas took place Ambaridis would be speedily brought to account. He was, in fact, seized, banished to the banks of the Tigris, and his hereditary fief of Bit-Burutash annexed to Cilicia, under the rule of an Assyrian. The following year was signalised by a similar execution at which Sargon himself deigned to preside in person. Tarkhunazi, the King of Miliddu, not only had taken advantage of the troubles consequent on the Armenian war to rebel against his master, but had attacked Gunzinanu, who held, and had ruthlessly pillaged, the neighbouring district of Kammanu.* Sargon overcame him in the open field, took from him his city of Miliddu, and stormed the town of Tulgarimme in which he had taken refuge.**

* Kammanu is probably not the Kammanenc of the Greek geographers, which is too far north relatively to Melitene, but is probably Comana of Cappadocia and its district.

** Tulgarimme has been connected with the Togarmah of the Bible (Gen. x.3) by Halevy and Delitzsch, and their views on this subject have been adopted by most historians.

Here again the native kingdom disappeared, and was replaced by an Assyrian administration. Kammanu, wedged in between Urartu and Mushki, separated these two countries, sometimes rivals to each other, but always enemies to Nineveh. Its maintenance as an independent kingdom prevented them from combining their efforts, and obtaining that unity of action which alone could ensure for them, if not a definite triumph, at least preservation from complete extinction and an opportunity of maintaining their liberty; the importance of the position, however, rendered it particularly perilous to hold, and the Assyrians succeeded in so doing only by strongly fortifying it. Walls were built round ten cities, five on the Urartian frontier, three on that of Mushki, and two on the north, and the country which they protected was made into a new province, that of Tulgarimme, the district of Miliddu being confided to the care of Mutallu, Prince of Kummukh (710). An incident which took place in the following year furnished a pretext for completing the organisation and military defence of this western border province. Gurgum had been for thirty years or more in the possession of Tarkhulara; this prince, after having served Sharduris, had transferred his homage to Tiglath-pileser, and he had thenceforward professed an unwavering loyalty to the Assyrian sovereigns. This accommodating personage was assassinated by his son Mutallu; and Sargon, fearing a revolt, hastened, at the head of a detachment of picked troops, to avenge him. The murderer threw down his arms almost without having struck a blow, and Gurgum was thenceforward placed under the direct rule of Nineveh. The affair had not been brought to a close before an outbreak took place in Southern Syria, which might have entailed very serious consequences had it not been promptly dealt with. Egypt, united from end to end under the sceptre of Sabaco, jealously kept watch over the political complications in Asia, and though perhaps she was not sure enough of her own strength to interfere openly before the death of Eusas, she had renewed negotiations with the petty kingdoms of the Hebrews and Philistines. Ashdod had for some time past showed signs of discontent, and it had been found necessary to replace their king, Azuri, who had refused to pay tribute, by his brother Akhimiti; shortly after this, however, the people had risen in rebellion: they had massacred Akhimiti, whom they accused of being a mere thrall of Assyria, and had placed on the throne Yamani, a soldier of fortune, probably an adventurer of Hellenic extraction.* The other Philistine cities had immediately taken up arms; Edom and Moab were influenced by the general movement, and Isaiah was striving to avert any imprudent step on the part of Judah. Sargon despatched the Tartan,** and the rapidity with which that officer carried out the campaign prevented the movement from spreading beyond Philistia. He devastated Ashdod, and its vassal, Gath, carried off their gods and their inhabitants, and peopled the cities afresh with prisoners from Asia Minor, Urartu, and Media. Yamani attempted to escape into Egypt, but the chief of Milukhkha intercepted him on his way, and handed him over in chains to the conqueror.***

* This prince's name, usually written Yamani, is also written Yatnani in the Annals, and this variation, which is found again in the name of the island of Cyprus and the Cypriotes, gives us grounds for believing that the Assyrian scribe took the race-name of the prince for a proper name: the new king of Ashdod would have been a Yamani, a Greek of Cyprus.

** The Assyrian narratives, as usual, give the honour of conducting the campaign to the king. Isaiah (xx.1) distinctly says that Sargon sent the Tartan to quell the revolt of Ashdod.

*** The Annals state that Yamani was made prisoner and taken to Assyria. The Fastes, more accurate on this point, state that he escaped to Muzri, and that he was given up by the King of Milukhkha. The Muzri mentioned in this passage very probably here means Egypt.

The latter took care not to call either Moab, Edom, or Judah to account for the part they had taken in the movement, perhaps because they were not mentioned in his instructions, or because he preferred not to furnish them, by an untimely interference, with a pretext for calling in the help of Egypt. The year was doubtless too far advanced to allow him to dream of marching against Pharaoh, and moreover that would have been one of those important steps which the king alone had the right to take. There was, however, no doubt that the encounter between the two empires was imminent, and Isaiah ventured to predict the precise date of its occurrence. He walked stripped and barefoot through the streets of Jerusalem -- a strange procedure which he explained by the words which Jahveh had put into his lips: "Like as My servant Isaiah hath walked naked and barefoot three years for a sign and a wonder upon Egypt and upon Kush (Ethiopia); so shall the King of Assyria lead away the captives of Egypt and the exiles of Kush, young and old, naked and barefoot, and with buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt. And they shall be dismayed and ashamed, because of Kush their expectation, and of Egypt their glory. And the inhabitants of this coastland shall say in that day, Behold, such is our expectation, whither we fled for help to be delivered from the King of Assyria: and we, how shall we escape?"*

* Isa. xx.

The fulfilment of this prophecy did not take place as quickly as the prophet perhaps desired. Egypt appeared too strong to be openly attacked by a mere section of the battalions at the disposal of Assyria, and besides, it may have been deemed imprudent to involve the army to any serious extent on so distant a field as Africa, when Babylon was ready and waiting to fall upon the very heart of Assyria at the first news of a real or supposed reverse. Circumstances seemed, moreover, to favour a war against Merodach-baladan. This sovereign, who had been received with acclamation by the Babylonians, had already lost the popularity he had enjoyed at his accession. The fickle character of the people, which made them nearly always welcome a fresh master with enthusiasm, soon led them from love and obedience to hatred, and finally to revolt. Merodach-baladan trusted to the Kalda to help him to maintain his position, and their rude barbarity, even if it protected him against the fickleness of his more civilised subjects, increased the discontent at Kutha, Sippar, and Borsippa. He removed the statues of the gods from these towns, imprisoned the most turbulent citizens, confiscated their goods, and distributed them among his own followers; the other cities took no part in the movement, but Sargon must have expected to find in them, if not effective support, at least sympathies which would facilitate his work of conquest. It is true that Elam, whose friendship for the Aramaean was still undiminished, remained to be reckoned with, but Elam had lost much of its prestige in the last few years. The aged Khumban-igash had died in 717,* and his successor, Shutruk-nakhunta, had not apparently inherited all the energy of his father,** and it is possible that troubles had arisen among the vassals of his own kingdom which prevented him from interfering on behalf of his ally. Sargon took account of all these circumstances in arranging his plan of campaign. He divided his army into two forces, one of which, under his own command, was to be directed against Merodach-baladan, while the other was to attack the insurgent Aramaeans on the left bank of the Tigris, and was to be manoeuvred so as to drive Shutruk-nakhunta back on the marshes of the Uknu.*** The eastern force was the first to be set in movement, and it pushed forward into the territory of the Gambulu. These latter had concentrated themselves round Dur-Atkharas, one of their citadels;**** they had increased the height of the walls, and filled the ditches with water brought from the Shurappu by means of a canal, and having received a reinforcement of 600 horsemen and 4000 foot soldiers, they had drawn them up in front of the ramparts.

* The date of the death of Khumban-igash is indirectly given in the passage of the Babylonian Chronicle of Pinches, where it is said that in the first year of Ashshur-nadin- shumu, King of Babylon, Ishtar-khundu (= Shutruk-nakhunta) was dethroned by his brother, Khallushu, after having reigned over Elam eighteen years: these events actually took place, as we shall see below, about the year 699 before our era.

** Shutruk-nakhunta is the Susian form of the name; the Assyrian texts distort it into Shutur-nankhundi, and the Babylonian Chronicle of Pinches, into Ishtar-khundu, owing to a faint resemblance in the sound of the name of the goddess Ishtar with the form Shutur, Sthur, itself derived from Shutruk, with which the name began.

*** The earlier historians of Assyria, misled in the first place by the form in which the scribes have handed down the account in the Annals and the Fastes, assumed the existence of a single army, led by Sargon himself, and which would have marched on all the above-mentioned places of the country, one by one. Tiele was the first to recognise that Sargon must have left part of his forces to the command of one of his lieutenants, and Winckler, enlarging on this idea, showed that there were then two armies, engaged at different seats of war, but manoeuvring as far as possible by mutual arrangement.

**** The site of Dur-Atkharas is unknown. Billerbeck places it hypotheti-cally on the stream of Mendeli, and his conjecture is in itself very plausible. I should incline, however, to place it more to the south, on account of the passage in which it is said that the Kalda, to complete the defences of the town, brought a canal from the Shurappu and fortified its banks. The Shurappu, according to Delitzsch, would be the Shatt Umm-el-Jemal; according to Delattrc, the Kerkha; the account of the campaign under consideration would lead me to recognise in it a watercourse like the Tib, which runs into the Tigris near Amara, in which case the ruins of Kherib would perhaps correspond with the site of Dur-Atkharas.

A single morning sufficed to disperse them, and the Assyrians, entering the city with the fugitives, took possession of it on the same day. They made 16,490 prisoners, and seized horses, mules, asses, camels, and both sheep and oxen in large numbers. Eight of the chiefs of the neighbourhood, who ruled over the flat country between the Shurappu and the Uknu, begged for mercy as soon as they learned the result of the engagement. The name of Dur-Atkharas was changed to that of Dur-Nebo, the territory of the Gambulu was converted into a province, and its organisation having been completed, the army continued its march, sweeping before it the Eua, the Khindaru, the Puqudu, in short, all the tribes occupying the district of Yatbur. The chiefs of these provinces sought refuge in the morasses of the lower Kerkha, but finding themselves surrounded and short of provisions, they were forced by famine to yield to the enemy, and came to terms with the Assyrians, who imposed a tribute on them and included them within the new province of Gambulu. The goal of this expedition was thus attained, and Blam separated from Karduniash, but the issue of the war remained undecided as long as Shutruk-nakhunta held the cities at the edge of the plain, from which he could emerge at will into the heart of the Assyrian position. The conqueror therefore turned in that direction, rapidly took from him the citadels of Shamuna and Babduri, then those of Lakhirimmu and Pillutu, and pitched his camp on the bank of the Naditi, from whence he despatched marauding bands to pillage the country. Dismay spread throughout the district of Rashi; the inhabitants, abandoning their cities -- Til-Khumba, Durmishamash, Bubi, and Khamanu -- migrated as far as Bit-Imbi; Shutruk-nakhunta, overcome with fear, took refuge, so it was said, in the distant mountains to preserve his life.*

* None of these places can be identified with certainty. So far as I can follow the account of this campaign on the map, it seems that the attacks upon Shutruk-nakhunta took place on the plain and in the mountains between the Ab-i-Gengir and the Tib, so that the river Naditi would be the Aftah or one of its tributaries. If this were so, Lakhirimmu and Pillutu would be situated somewhere near the Jughai ben Ruan and the Tope Ghulamen of de Morgan's map of Elam, Shamuna near Zirzir-tepi, Babduri near Hosseini-yeh. But I wish it to be understood that I do not consider these comparisons as more than simple conjectures. Bit-Imbi was certainly out of the reach of the Assyrians, since it was used as a place of refuge by the inhabitants of Rashi; at the same time it must have been close to Rashi, since the people of this country fled thither. The site of Ghilan which de Morgan has adopted on his map seems to me to be too far north to comply with these conditions, and that of Tapa, approved by Billerboek, too southerly. If, as I believe, Rashi corresponds to the regions of Pushti-kuh which lie on both sides of the upper waters of the Mendeli stream, we ought to look for Bit-Imbi somewhere near the Desht-i-Ghoaur and the Zenjan, near a point where communication with the banks of the Ab-i-Kirind would be easy.

Sargon, meanwhile, had crossed the Euphrates with the other force, and had marched straight upon Bit-Dakkuri; having there noticed that the fortress of Dur-Ladinu was in ruins, he rebuilt it, and, firmly installed within the heart of the country, he patiently waited until the eastern force had accomplished its mission. Like his adversary, Merodach-baladan, he had no desire to be drawn into an engagement until he knew what chance there was of the latter being reinforced by the King of Elam. At the opening of hostilities Merodach-baladan claimed the help of the Elamite king, and lavished on him magnificent presents -- a couch, a throne, a portable chair, a cup for the royal offerings, and his own pectoral chain; these all reached their destination in good condition, and were graciously accepted. But before long the Elamite prince, threatened in his own domain, forgot everything except his own personal safety, and declared himself unable to render Merodach-baladan any assistance. The latter, on receiving this news, threw himself with his face in the dust, rent his clothes, and broke out into loud weeping; after which, conscious that his strength would not permit of his meeting the enemy in the open field, he withdrew his men from the other side of the Tigris, escaped secretly by night, and retired with his troops to the fortress of Ikbibel. The inhabitants of Babylon and Borsippa did not allow themselves to be disconcerted; they brought the arks of Bel, Zarpanit, Nebo, and Tashmit out of their sanctuaries, and came forth with chanting and musical instruments to salute Sargon at Dur-Ladinu. He entered the city in their company, and after he had celebrated the customary sacrifices, the people enthroned him in Merodach-baladan's palace. Tribute was offered to him, but he refused to accept any part of it for his personal use, and applied it to a work of public utility -- the repairing of the ancient canal of Borsippa, which had become nearly filled up. This done, he detached a body of troops to occupy Sippara, and returned to Assyria, there to take up his winter quarters.

Once again, therefore, the ancient metropolis of the Euphrates was ruled by an Assyrian, who united in one protocol the titles of the sovereigns of Assur and Kar-duniash. Babylon possessed for the kings of Nineveh the same kind of attraction as at a later date drew the German Caesars to Rome. Scarcely had the Assyrian monarchs been crowned within their own domains, than they turned their eyes towards Babylon, and their ambition knew no rest till the day came for them to present themselves in pomp within the temple of its god and implore his solemn consecration. When at length they had received it, they scrupulously secured its renewal on every occasion which the law prescribed, and their chroniclers recorded among the important events of the year, the ceremony in which they "took the hand of Bel." Sargon therefore returned, in the month Nisan of the year 709, to preside over the procession of the god, and he devoutly accomplished the rites which constituted him the legitimate successor of the semi-fabulous heroes of the old empire, foremost among whom was his namesake Shargani of Agade. He offered sacrifices to Bel, Nebo, and to the divinities of Sumir and Akkad, and he did not return to the camp until he had fulfilled all the duties incumbent on his new dignity. He was involved that year in two important wars at opposite points of his empire. One was at the north-western extremity, against the Mushki and their king Mita, who, after having supported Eusas, was now intriguing with Argistis; the other in the south-east, against the Kalda, and probably also against Elam. He entrusted the conduct of the former to the governor of Kui, but reserved to himself the final reckoning with Merodach-baladan. The Babylonian king had made good use of the respite given him during the winter months. Too prudent to meet his enemy in the open plain, he had transformed his hereditary principality into a formidable citadel. During the preceding campaign he had devastated the whole of the country lying between the marshes and the territory occupied by the Assyrians, and had withdrawn the inhabitants. Most of the towns -- Ikbibel, Uru, Uruk, Kishik, and Nimid-laguda -- were also deserted, and no garrisons were left in them. He had added to the fortifications of Dur-Yakia, and enlarged the moat till it was two hundred cubits wide and eighteen deep, so as to reach the level of infiltration; he then turned into it the waters of the Euphrates, so that the town appeared to be floating on a lake, without either bridges or quays by means of which the besiegers might have brought their machines within range and their troops been able to approach for an assault. Merodach-baladan had been careful not to shut himself within the town, but had taken up a position in the marshes, and there awaited the arrival of the Assyrians. Sargon, having left Babylon in the month of Iyyar, encountered him within sight of Dur-Yakin. The Aramaean infantry were crushed by repeated charges from the Mnevito chariotry and cavalry, who pursued the fugitives to the outer side of the moat, and seized the camp with all its baggage and the royal train, including the king's tent, a canopy of solid silver which protected the throne, his sceptre, weapons, and stores of all kinds. The peasants, to the number of 90,580, crowded within the lines, also fell into their hands, together with their flocks and herds -- 2500 horses, 610 mules, and 854 camels, as well as sheep, oxen, and asses; the remainder of the fugitives rushed within the outworks for refuge "like a pack of wild boars," and finally were driven into the interior of the place, or scattered among the beds of reeds along the coast. Sargon cut down the groves of palm trees which adorned the suburbs, and piled up their trunks in the moat, thus quickly forming a causeway right up to the walls. Merodach-baladan had been wounded in the arm during the engagement, but, nevertheless, fought stubbornly in defence of his city; when he saw that its fall was inevitable, he fled to the other side of the gulf, and took refuge among the mud flats of the Lower Ulai. Sargon set fire to Dur-Yakin, levelled its towers and walls with the ground, and demolished its houses, temples, and palaces. It had been a sort of penal settlement, to which the Kalda rulers used to consign those of their subjects belonging to the old aboriginal race, who had rendered themselves obnoxious by their wealth or independence of character; the number of these prisoners was considerable, Babylon, Borsippa, Nipur, and Sippar, not to speak of Uni, Uruk, Eridu, Larsam, and Kishik, having all of them furnished their share. Sargon released them all, and restored their gods to the temples; he expelled the nomads from the estates which, contrary to all justice, had been distributed among them in preceding years, and reinstated the former owners. Karduniash, which had been oppressed for twelve long years by a semi-barbarian despot, now breathed again, and hailed Sargon as its deliverer, while he on his part was actively engaged in organising his conquest. The voluntary submission of Upiri, King of Dilmun, who lived isolated in the open sea, "as though in a bird's nest," secured to Sargon possession of the watercourses which flowed beyond the Chaldaean lake into the Persian Gulf: no sooner had he obtained it than he quitted the neighbourhood of Dur-Yakin, crossed the Tigris, and reinforced the garrisons which lined his Elamite frontier on this side. He had just finished building a strongly fortified citadel on the site of Sagbat,* when ambassadors arrived from Mita.

* This Sagbat, which must not be confused with the district of Bit-Sagbati mentioned in the reign of Tiglath-pileser III., seems to correspond with a post to the south of Durilu, perhaps the ruins of Baksayeh, on the Tchengula.

The governor of Kui had at length triumphed over the obstinacy of the Mushki, and after driving them from village to village, had compelled them to sue for terms: the tidings of the victories over the Kalda had doubtless hastened their decision, but they were still so powerful that it was thought wiser not to impose too rigorous conditions upon them. Mita agreed to pay tribute, and surrendered one or two districts, which were turned into an Aramaean settlement: the inhabitants were transferred to Bit-Yakin, where they had to make the best they could of lands that had been devastated by war. At this juncture the Greeks of Cyprus flattered the pride of the Assyrians in a most unexpected way: after the manner of their race they scoured the seas, and their fleets persistently devastated the coasts of Syria and Cilicia.

[Illustration: 396.jpb STELE AT LARNAKA]

Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from the plaster cast in the Louvre.

Seven of their kings were so far alarmed by the report of Sargon's achievements as to dread punishment for their misdeeds. They therefore sent him presents, and, for the moment, abandoned their piratical expeditions in Phoenician waters. The homage of these inveterate robbers raised Sargon in his own eyes and in those of his subjects. Some years later, about 708 B.C., he presented them with a stele of black marble, on which he had engraved his own portrait, together with a long inscription setting forth his most glorious exploits. They set it up at Kition (Citium), where it has been preserved amongst the ruins, a priceless witness to the greatness of Assyria.

While war thus raged around him, Sargon still found time for works of a peaceful character. He set himself to remodel and complete the system of irrigation in the Assyrian plain; he repaired the dykes, and cleaned out and made good the beds of the canals which had been neglected during the troublous times of the last generation. He erected buildings at Calah* and at Nineveh, but in these cities everything seemed to recall too vividly the memory of the sovereigns who had gone before him: he wished for a capital which should belong to himself alone, where he would not be reminded of a past in which he had no part. After meditating day and night, his choice fell upon the village of Maganubba, a little to the north-east of Nineveh, in a wide plain which extends from the banks of the Khuzur to the hills of Muzri, and by a single decree he expropriated all its inhabitants. He then built on the land which he had purchased from them a city of unrivalled magnificence, which he called by his own name, Dur-Sharrukin.**

* At Calah, he lived in an old palace of Assur-nazir-pal restored and adapted for his use, as shown by the
inscription published by Layard.

** In most of the texts the village of Maganubba is not named; it is mentioned in the Cylinder Inscription, and this document is the only one which furnishes details of the expropriation, etc. The modern name of the place is Khorsabad, the city of Khosroes, but the name of its founder was still associated with its ruins, in the time of Yakut, who mentions him under the name of Sarghun. It was first explored in 1843 by Botta, then by Place and Oppert. The antiquities collected there by Botta and Place
constitute the bulk of the Assyrian Museum in the Louvre; unfortunately, a part of the objects collected by Place went to the bottom of the Tigris with the lighter which was carrying them.

The ground plan of it is of rectangular shape, the sides being about 1900 yards long by 1800 yards wide, each corner exactly facing one of the four points of the compass. Its walls rest on a limestone sub-structure some three feet six inches high, and rise fifty-seven feet above the ground; they are strengthened, every thirty yards or so, by battlemented towers which project thirteen feet from the face of the wall and stand sixteen feet higher than the ramparts.*

* Place reckoned the height of the wall at 75 feet, a measurement adopted by Perrot and Chipiez; Dieulafoy has shown that the height of the wall must be reduced to 47 feet, and that of the towers about 65 feet.


Reduction by Faucher-Gudin, from the plan published in Place.

Access was gained to the interior by eight gates, two on each side of the square, each of them marked by two towers separated from one another by the width of the bay. Every gate had its patron, chosen from among the gods of the city; there was the gate of Shamash, the gate of Ramman, those of Bel and Beltis, of Ami, of Tshtar, of Ea, and of the Lady of the Gods. Each of them was protected externally by a migdol, or small castle, built in the Syrian style, and flanked at each corner by a low tower thirteen yards in width; five allowed of the passage of beasts as well as men. It was through these that the peasants came in every morning, driving their cattle before them, or jolting along in waggons laden with fruit and vegetables. After passing the outposts, they crossed a paved courtyard, then made their way between the two towers through a vaulted passage over fifty yards long, intersected at almost equal intervals by two transverse galleries. The other three gates had a special arrangement of their own; a flight of twelve steps built out in front of the courtyard rendered them inaccessible to animals or vehicles. At the entrance to the passage towered two colossal bulls with human heads, standing like sentinels -- their faces and foreparts turned outward, their hind-quarters ranged along the inner walls -- as though gazing before them into space in company with two winged genii. The arch supported by their mitred heads was ornamented by a course of enamelled bricks, on which other genii, facing one another in pairs, offered pine-cones across a circular ornament of many colours. These were the mystic guardians of the city, who shielded it not only from the attacks of men, but also from invasions of evil spirits and pernicious diseases. The rays of the sun made the forecourt warm in winter, while it was always cool under the archway in summer; the gates served as resorts for pleasure or business, where old men and idlers congregated to discuss their affairs and settle the destinies of the State, merchants bargained and disposed of their goods, and the judge and notables of the neighbouring quarter held their courts.


Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a drawing published in Place.

It was here that the king generally exposed to view the chieftains and kings whom he had taken captive; here they lay, chained like dogs in cages, dependent on the pity of their guards or of passers-by for such miserable fare as might be flung to them, and, the first feeling of curiosity once passed, no longer provoking even the jeers of the crowd, until a day came when their victor took it into his head to remove them from their ignominious position, and either restored them to their thrones or sent them to the executioner.* The town itself, being built from plans drawn up by one mind, must have presented few of the irregularities of outline characteristic of ancient cities.

* To mention but a single instance, it was in this way that Assur-bani-pal treated the Arab kings captured by him.

The streets leading from the gates were of uniform breadth throughout, from one side of the enclosure to the other. They were paved, had no sideways or footpaths, and crossed one another at right angles. The houses on either side of them seem, for the most part, to have consisted of a single story. They were built of bricks, either baked or unbaked, the outer surfaces of which were covered with white or tinted rough-casting. The high and narrow doors were nearly always hidden away in a corner of the front; the bare monotony of the walls was only relieved here and there at long intervals by tiny windows, but often instead of a flat roof the building was surmounted by a conical dome or by semi-cupolas, the concave sides of which were turned inwards. The inhabitants varied greatly in race and language: Sargon had filled his city with prisoners collected from all the four quarters of his empire, from Elam, Chaldaea, and Media, from Urartu and Tabal, Syria and Palestine, and in order to keep these incongruous elements in check he added a number of Assyrians, of the mercantile, official, or priestly classes. He could overlook the whole city from the palace which he had built on both sides the north-eastern wall of the town, half within and half without the ramparts. Like all palaces built on the Euphratean model, this royal castle stood on an artificial eminence of bricks formed of two rectangles joined together in the shape of the letter T. The only entrance to it was on the city side, foot-passengers being admitted by a double flight of steps built out in front of the ramparts, horsemen and chariots by means of an inclined plane which rose in a gentle gradient along the right flank of the masonry work, and terminated on its eastern front. Two main gates corresponded to these two means of approach; the one on the north-east led straight to the royal apartments, the other faced the city and opened on to the double staircase. It was readily distinguishable from a distance by its two flagstaffs bearing the royal standard, and its two towers, at the base of which were winged bulls and colossal figures of Gilgames crushing the lion.

[Illustration: 402.jpg bird's eye view of sargon's palace at dur-sharrukin]

Drawn by Boudier, from the restoration by Thomas in Place.

Two bulls of still more monstrous size stood sentry on either side of the gate, the arch was outlined by a course of enamelled bricks, while higher up, immediately beneath the battlements, was an enamelled mosaic showing the king in all his glory. This triumphal arch was reserved for his special use, the common people being admitted by two side doors of smaller size less richly decorated.


Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from the restoration by Thomas, in Place.

Saragon resided at Caleh, where he had taken up his quarters in the former palace of Assur-nazir-pal, while his new city was still in the hands of the builders. Every moment that he could spare from his military and administrative labours was devoted to hastening on the progress of the work, and whenever he gained a victory or pillaged a district, he invariably set aside a considerable part of the booty in order to meet the outlay which the building involved. Thus we find that on returning from his tenth campaign he brought with him an immense convoy laden with timber, stone, and precious metals which he had collected in the neighbourhood of Mount Taurus or among the mountains of Assyria, including coloured marbles, lapis-lazuli, rock crystal, pine, cedar, and cypress-wood, gold, silver, and bronze, all of which was destined for Dur-Sharrukin; the quantity of silver included among these materials was so great that its value fell to a level with that of copper.


Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from the plan by Thomas, in Place.

The interior of the building, as in the case of the old Chaldaean palaces, was separated into two well-marked divisions. The larger of these was used by the king in his public capacity, and to this the nobles and soldiers, and even the common people, were admitted under certain conditions and on certain days prescribed by custom. The outer court was lined on three sides by warehouses and depots, in which were stored the provisions, commodities, and implements required for the host of courtiers and slaves who depended on the sovereign for support. Each room had, as may still be seen, its own special purpose. There were cellars for wine and oil, with their rows of large oblong jars; then there were store-rooms for implements of iron, which Place found full of rusty helmets, swords, pieces of armour, maces, and ploughshares; a little further on were rooms for the storage of copper weapons, enamelled bricks, and precious metals, and the king's private treasury, in which were hidden away the spoils of the vanquished or the regular taxes paid by his subjects; some fine bronze lions of marvellous workmanship and lifelike expression were found still shut up here.


Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from the original in the Louvre.

The kitchens adjoined the pantries, and the stables for horses and camels communicated direct with the coach-houses in which the state chariots were kept, while the privies were discreetly hidden in a secluded corner. On the other side, among the buildings occupying the southern angle of the courtyard, the menials of the palace lived huddled together, each family quartered in small, dark rooms. The royal apartments, properly so called, stood at the back of these domestic offices, facing the south-east, near the spot where the inclined plane debouched on to the city ramparts. The monumental entrance to these apartments was guarded, in accordance with religious custom, by a company of winged bulls; behind this gate was a lawn, then a second gate, a corridor and a grand quadrangle in the very centre of the palace.


Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a drawing by Flandin, in Botta.

The king occupied a suite of some twenty rooms of a rather simple character; here he slept, ate, worked, and transacted the greater part of his daily business, guarded by his eunuchs and attended by his ministers and secretaries. The remaining rooms were apartments of state, all of the same pattern, in which the crowd of courtiers and employes assembled while waiting for a private audience or to intercept the king as he passed. A subdued light made its way from above through narrow windows let into the massive arches. The walls were lined to a height of over nine feet from the floor with endless bas-reliefs, in greyish alabaster, picked out in bright colours, and illustrating the principal occupations in which the sovereign spent his days, such as the audiences to ambassadors, hunting in the woods, sieges and battles. A few brief inscriptions interspersed above pictures of cities and persons indicated the names of the vanquished chiefs or the scenes of the various events portrayed; detailed descriptions were engraved on the back of the slabs facing the brick wall against which they rested. This was a precautionary measure, the necessity for which had been but too plainly proved by past experience. Every one -- the king himself included -- well knew that some day or other Dur-Sharrukin would be forsaken just as the palaces of previous dynasties had been, and it was hoped that inscriptions concealed in this manner would run a better chance of escaping the violence of man or the ravages of time; preserved in them, the memory of Sargon would rise triumphant from the ruins. The gods reigned supreme over the north-east angle of the platform, and a large irregular block of buildings was given up to their priests; their cells contained nothing of any particular interest, merely white walls and black plinths, adorned here and there with frescoes embellished by arabesques, and pictures of animals and symbolical genii. The ziggurat rose to a height of some 141 feet above the esplanade. It had seven storeys dedicated to the gods of the seven planets, each storey being painted in the special colour of its god -- the first white, the second black, the third purple, the fourth blue, the fifth a vermilion red; the sixth was coated with silver, and the seventh gilded. There was no chamber in the centre of the tower, but a small gilded chapel probably stood at its base, which was used for the worship of Assuf or of Ishtar. The harem, or Bit-riduti, was at the southern corner of the enclosure, almost in the shadow of the ziggurat. Sargon had probably three queens when he founded his city, for the harem is divided into three separate apartments, of which the two larger look out on the same quadrangle.

[Illustration: 408.jpg THE ZIGGURAT AT DUR-SHARRUKIN]

Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from the restoration by Thomas, in Place.

Two courses of enamelled bricks ran along the base of the facade, while statues were placed at intervals against the wall, and the bay of the gateway was framed by two bronze palm trees gilt: the palm being the emblem of fruitfulness and grace, no more fitting decoration could have been chosen for this part of the building. The arrangement was the same in all three divisions: an ante-chamber of greater width than length; an apartment, one half of which was open to the sky, while the other was covered by a half-dome, and a flight of twelve steps, leading to an alcove in which stood a high wooden couch. The queens and princesses spent their lives in this prison-like bit-riduti: their time was taken up with dress, embroidery, needlework, dancing and singing, the monotony of this routine being relieved by endless quarrels, feuds, and intrigues. The male children remained in the harem until the age of puberty, when they left it in order to continue their education as princes and soldiers under the guidance of their father.*

* An inscription of Assur-bani-pal, gives a summary description of the life led in the harem by heirs to the throne, and describes generally the kind of education received by them from their earliest childhood.

[Illustration: 409.jpg SECTION OF A BEDROOM IN THE HAREM]

Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from the restoration by Thomas, in Place.

This group of buildings was completed by a park, in which cedars of Lebanon, pines, cypresses, gazelles, stags, wild asses and cattle, and even lions, were acclimatised, in addition to a heterogeneous collection of other trees and animals. Here, the king gave himself up to the pleasures of the chase, and sometimes invited one or other of his wives to come thither and banquet or drink with him.

After Mita's surrender, Sargon had hoped to be allowed to finish building his city in peace; but an ill-advised movement in Kummukh obliged him to don his harness again (708 B.C.). King Mutallu had entered into an alliance with Argistis of Urartu, and took the field with his army; but when details of what had taken place in Chaldaea reached his ears, and he learnt the punishment that had been inflicted on the people of Bit-Yakin, his courage failed him.


Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from the restoration by Thomas, in Place.

He fled without waiting for the Assyrians to appear, and so great was his haste that he had no time to take his family and treasure with him. Sargon annexed his kingdom, placed it under the government of the tartan, and incorporated into his own the whole army of Kummukh, including 150 chariots, 1500 horsemen, 20,000 archers, and 10,000 pikemen. In the following year (707) his vassal Dalta died, leaving two sons, Nibi and Ishpabara, both of whom claimed possession of the fief of Ellipi; Nibi appealed to Elam for help, and Ishpabara at once turned for aid to Assyria. Sargon sent him a body of troops, commanded by seven of his generals, while Shutruk-nakhunta lent his protege 4500 bowmen; Ishpabara won the day, took the city of Marubishti by storm, and compelled his brother to take refuge in Susian territory. The affair wras over so quickly that it caused practically no delay in the completion of the works at the capital. The consecration of a new city necessitated the observance of a host of complicated ceremonies, which extended over several months. First of all provision had to be made for its religious worship; the omens were consulted in order to determine which of the gods were to be invoked, and, when this was decided, there followed the installation of the various statues and arks which were to preside over the destinies of the city and the priests to whom they were intrusted; the solemn inauguration took place on the 22nd day of Tisri, in the year 707 B.C., and from that day forward Dur-Sharrukin occupied the rank officially assigned to it among the capitals of the empire. Sargon, however, did not formally take up his residence within it till six months later, on the 6th day of Iyyar, 706. He must, by this time, have been advancing in years, and even if we assume him to have been a young man when he ascended the throne, after the sixteen years of bodily fatigue and mental worry through which he had passed since coming into power, he must have needed repose. He handed over the government of the northern provinces to his eldest son Sin-akhe-irba, better known to us as Sennacherib, whom he regarded as his successor; to him he transferred the responsibility of keeping watch over the movements of the Mannai, of Urartu, and of the restless barbarians who dwelt beyond the zone of civilised states on the banks of the Halys, or at the foot of the distant Caucasus: a revolt among the Tabal, in 706, was promptly suppressed by his young and energetic deputy. As for Sargon himself, he was content to retain the direct control of the more pacific provinces, such as Babylon, the regions of the Middle Euphrates, and Syria, and he doubtless hoped to enjoy during his later years such tranquillity as was necessary to enable him to place his conquests on a stable basis. The envious fates, however, allowed him but little more than twelve short months: he perished early in 705 B.C., assassinated by some soldier of alien birth, if I interpret rightly the mutilated text which furnishes us with a brief mention of the disaster. Sennacherib was recalled in haste from the frontier, and proclaimed king immediately on his arrival, thus ascending unopposed to the throne on the 12th day of Ab. His father's body had been left unburied, doubtless in order that he might verify with his own eyes the truth of what had been told him concerning his death, and thus have no ground for harbouring suspicions that would have boded ill for the safety of the late king's councillors and servants. He looked upon his father's miserable ending as a punishment for some unknown transgression, and consulted the gods to learn what it was that had aroused their anger, refusing to authorise the burial within the palace until the various expiatory rites suggested by the oracle had been duly performed.*

* This is my interpretation of the text published and translated by Winckler. Winckler sees in it the account of a campaign during which Sargon was killed by mountaineers, as was Cyprus in later times by the Massagetse; the king's body (according to him) remained unburied, and was recovered by Sennacherib only after considerable delay. In support of his version of this event Winckler cites the passage in Isa. xiv.4-20, which he takes as having been composed to exult over the death of Sargon, and then afterwards adapted to the death of a king of Babylon.

Thus mysteriously disappeared the founder of the mightiest dynasty that ever ruled in Assyria, perhaps even in the whole of Western Asia. At first sight, it would seem easy enough to determine what manner of man he was and to what qualities he owed his greatness, thanks to the abundance of documents which his contemporaries have bequeathed to us; but when we come to examine more closely, we soon find the task to be by no means a simple one. The inscriptions maintain so discreet a silence with regard to the antecedents of the kings before their accession, and concerning their education and private life, that at this distance of time we cannot succeed in forming any clear idea as to their individual temperament and character. The monuments record such achievements as they took pride in, in terms of uniform praise which conceal or obliterate the personality of the king in question; it is always the ideal Assyrian sovereign who is held up for our admiration under a score of different names, and if, here and there, we come upon some trait which indicates the special genius of this or that monarch, we may be sure that the scribe has allowed it to slip in by accident, quite unconscious of the fact that he is thus affording us a glimpse of his master's true character and disposition. A study of Sargon's campaigns as revealed in his annals will speedily convince us that he was something more than a fearless general, with a keen eye to plunder, who could see nothing in the most successful expedition but a means of enriching his people or adding to the splendours of his court. He was evidently convinced that certain nations, such as Urartu and Elam, would never really assimilate with his own subjects, and, in their case, he adhered strictly to the old system of warfare, and did all he could to bring about their ruin; other nations, on the contrary, he regarded as capable of amalgamation with the Assyrians, and these he did his best to protect from the worst consequences of their rebellion and resistance. He withdrew them from the influence of their native dynasties, and converted their territories into provinces under his own vigilant administration, and though he did not scruple to send the more turbulent elements among them into exile, and did his best to weaken them by founding alien colonies in their midst, yet he respected their religion, customs, and laws, and, in return for their obedience to his rule, guaranteed them an equitable and judicious government. Moreover, he took quite as much interest in their well-being as' in his own military successes, and in the midst of his heroic struggles against Rusas and Merodach-baladan he contrived to find time for the consideration of such prosaic themes as the cultivation of the vine and of corn; he devoted his attention to the best methods of storing wine, and sought to prevent "oil, which is the life of man and healeth wounds, from rising in price, and the cost of sesame from exceeding that of wheat." We seem to see in him, not only the stern and at times cruel conqueror, but also the gracious monarch, kind and considerate to his people, and merciful to the vanquished when policy permitted him to indulge his natural leaning to clemency.


chapter iitiglath-pileser iii and the
Top of Page
Top of Page