FAILURE OF URARTU AND RE-CONQUEST Of SYRIA -- EGYPT AGAIN UNITED UNDER ETHIOPIAN AUSPICES -- PIONKHI -- THE DOWNFALL OF DAMASCUS, OF BABYLON, AND OF ISRAEL.
Assyria and its neighbours at the accession of Tiglath-pileser III.: progress of the Aramaeans in the basin of the Middle Tigris -- Urartu and its expansion into the north of Syria -- Damascus and Israel -- Vengeance of Israel on Damascus -- Jeroboam II. -- Civilisation of the Hebrew kingdoms, their commerce, industries, private life, and political organisation -- Dawn of Hebrew literature: the two historians of Israel -- The priesthood and the prophets -- The prophecy of Amos at Bethel; denunciation of Israel by Hosea.
Early campaigns of Tiglath-pileser III. in Karduniash and in Media -- He determines to attach Urartu in Syria: defeat of Sharduris, campaign around Arpad, and capture of that city -- Homage paid by the Syrian princes, by Menahem and Rezin II -- Second campaign against the Medes -- Invasion of Urartu and end of its supremacy -- Alliance of Pekah and Rezin against Ahaz: the war in Judaea and siege of Jerusalem.
Egypt under the kings of the XXIIth dynasty -- The Theban principality, its priests, pallacides, and revolts; the XXIIIrd Tanite dynasty -- Tafnakhti and the rise of the Saite family -- The Egyptian kingdom, of Ethiopia: theocratic nature of its dynasty, annexation of the Thebaid by the kingdom of Napata -- Pionkhi-Miamun; his generals in Middle Egypt; submission of Khmunu, of Memphis, and of Tafnalchti -- Effect produced in Asia by the Ethiopian conquest.
The prophet Isaiah, his rise under Aliaz -- Intervention of Tiglath-pileser III. in Hebrew affairs; the campaign of 733 B.C. against Israel -- Capture of Rezin, and the downfall of Damascus -- Nabunazir; the Kaldd and the close of the Babylonian dynasty; usurpation of Ukinzir -- Campaign against Ukinzir; capture of Shapia and of Babylon -- Tiglath-pileser ascends the throne in the last-named city under the name of Fulu (729 B.C.) -- Death of Tiglath-pileser III. (727 B.C.)
Reorganisation of the Assyrian empire; provinces and feudatory states -- Karduniash, Syria -- Wholesale deportation of conquered races -- Provincial administrators, their military and financial arrangements -- Buildings erected by Tiglath-pileser at Calah -- The Bit-Khilani -- Foundation of feudal
Failure of Urartu and re-conquest of Syria -- Egypt again united under Ethiopian auspices -- Pionkhi -- The downfall of Damascus, of Babylon, and of Israel.
* Drawn by Boudier, from Layard. The vignette, also by Boudier, represents a bronze statuette of Queen Karomama, now in the Louvre.
Events proved that, in this period, at any rate, the decadence of Assyria was not due to any exhaustion of the race or impoverishment of the country, but was mainly owing to the incapacity of its kings and the lack of energy displayed by their generals. If Menuas and Argistis had again and again triumphed over the Assyrians during half a century, it was not because their bands of raw recruits were superior to the tried veterans of Ramman-nirari in either discipline or courage. The Assyrian troops had lost none of their former valour, and their muster-roll showed no trace of diminution, but their leaders had lost the power of handling their men after the vigorous fashion of their predecessors, and showed less foresight and tenacity in conducting their campaigns. Although decimated and driven from fortress to fortress, and from province to province, hampered by the rebellions it was called upon to suppress, and distracted by civil discord, the Assyrian army still remained a strong and efficient force, ever ready to make its full power felt the moment it realised that it was being led by a sovereign capable of employing its good qualities to advantage. Tiglath-pileser had, doubtless, held a military command before ascending the throne, and had succeeded in winning the confidence of his men: as soon as he had assumed the leadership they regained their former prestige, and restored to their country that supremacy which its last three rulers had failed to maintain.*
* The official documents dealing with the history of Tiglath-pileser III. have been seriously mutilated, and there is on several points some difference of opinion among historians as to the proper order in which the fragments ought to be placed, and, consequently, as to the true sequence of the various campaigns. The principal documents are as follows: (1) The Annals in the Central Hall of the palace of Shalmaneser III. at Nimroud, partly defaced by Esarhaddon, and carried off to serve as materials for the south-western palace, whence they were rescued by Layard, and brought in fragments to the British Museum. (2) The Tablets, K.3571 and D. T.3, in the British Museum. (3) The Slabs of Nimrud, discovered by Layard and G. Smith.
The empire still included the original patrimony of Assur and its ancient colonies on the Upper Tigris, the districts of Mesopotamia won from the Aramaeans at various epochs, the cities of Khabur, Khindanu, Laqi, and Tebabni, and that portion of Bit-Adini which lay to the left of the Euphrates. It thus formed a compact mass capable of successfully resisting the fiercest attacks; but the buffer provinces which Assur-nazir-pal and Shalmaneser III. had grouped round their own immediate domains on the borders of Namri, of Nairi, of Melitene, and of Syria had either resumed their independence, or else had thrown in their lot with the states against which they had been intended to watch. The Aramaean tribes never let slip an opportunity of encroaching on the southern frontier. So far, the migratory instinct which had brought them from the Arabian desert to the swamps of the Persian Gulf had met with no check. Those who first reached its shores became the founders of that nation of the Kalda which had, perhaps, already furnished Babylon with one of its dynasties; others had soon after followed in their footsteps, and passing beyond the Kalda settlement, had gradually made their way along the canals which connect the Euphrates with the Tigris till they had penetrated to the lowlands of the Uknu. Towards the middle of the eighth century B.C. they wedged themselves in between Elam and Karduniash, forming so many buffer states of varying size and influence. They extended from north to south along both banks of the Tigris, their different tribes being known as the Gambulu, the Puqudu, the Litau, the Damunu, the Ruua, the Khindaru, the Labdudu, the Harilu, and the Rubuu;* the Itua, who formed the vanguard, reached the valleys of the Turnat during the reign of Kamman-nirari III. They were defeated in 791 B.C., but obstinately renewed hostilities in 783, 782, 777, and 769; favoured by circumstances, they ended by forcing the cordon of Assyrian outposts, and by the time of Assur-nirari had secured a footing on the Lower Zab. Close by, to the east of them, lay Namri and Media, both at that time in a state of absolute anarchy. The invasions of Menuas and of Argistis had entirely laid waste the country, and Sharduris III., the king who succeeded Argistis, had done nothing towards permanently incorporating them with Urartu.** Sharduris, while still heir-apparent to the throne, had been appointed by his father governor of the recently annexed territory belonging to Etius and the Mannai:*** he made Lununis his headquarters, and set himself to subdue the barbarians who had settled between the Kur and the Araxes. When he succeeded to the throne, about 760 B.C., the enjoyment of supreme power in no way lessened his activity. On the contrary, he at once fixed upon the sort of wide isthmus which separates the Araxes from Lake Urumiah, as the goal of his incursions, and overran the territory of the Babilu; there he carried by storm three royal castles, twenty-three cities, and sixty villages; he then fell back upon Etius, passing through Dakis, Edias, and Urmes on his way, and brought back with him 12,735 children, 46,600 women, 12,000 men capable of bearing arms, 23,335 oxen, 58,100 sheep, and 2,500 horses; these figures give some idea of the importance of his victories and the wealth of the conquered territory.
* The list of Aramaean tribes, and the positions occupied by them towards the middle of the eighth century, have been given us by Tiglath-pileser III. himself.
** Tiglath-pileser did not encounter any Urartian forces in these regions, as would almost certainly have been the case had these countries remained subject to Urartu from the invasions of Menuas and Argistis onwards.
*** Argistis tells us in the Annals that he had made his son satrap over the provinces won from the Mannai and Etius: though his name is not mentioned, Sayce believes this son must have been Sharduris.
So far as we can learn, he does not seem to have attacked Khubushkia,* nor to have entered into open rivalry with Assyria; even under the rule of Assur-nirari III. Assyria showed a bold enough front to deter any enemy from disturbing her except when forced to do so. Sharduris merely strove to recover those portions of his inheritance to which Assyria attached but little value, and his inscriptions tell us of more than one campaign waged by him with this object against the mountaineers of Melitene, about the year 758. He captured most of their citadels, one after another: Dhumeskis, Zapsas, fourteen royal castles, and a hundred towns, including Milid itself, where King Khitaruadas held his court.**
* It is evident from the account of the campaigns that Tiglath-pileser occupied Khubushkia from the very
** These campaigns must have preceded the descent into Syria, and I believe this latter to have been anterior to the expedition of Assur-nirari against Arpad in 754 B.C. Assur-nirari probably tried to reconquer the tribes who had just become subject to Sharduris. The descent of this latter into Syria probably took place about 756 or 755 B.C., and his wars against Melitene about 758 to 757 B.C.
At this point two courses lay open before him. He could either continue his march westwards, and, penetrating into Asia Minor, fall upon the wealthy and industrious races who led a prosperous existence between the Halys and the Sangarios, such as the Tabal, the Chalybes, and the Phrygians, or he could turn southwards.
[Illustration: 180.jpg A VISTA OF THE ASIANIC STEPPE]
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph by Alfred Boissier.
Deterred, apparently, by the dreary and monotonous aspect of the Asianic steppes, he chose the latter course; he crossed Mount Taurus, descended into Northern Syria about 756, and forced the Khati to swear allegiance to him. Their inveterate hatred of the Assyrians led the Bit-Agusi to accept without much reluctance the supremacy of the only power which had shown itself capable of withstanding their triumphant progress. Arpad became for several years an unfailing support to Urartu and the basis on which its rule in Syria rested. Assur-nirari had, as we know, at first sought to recover it, but his attempt to do so in 754 B.C. was unsuccessful, and merely served to demonstrate his own weakness: ten years later, Carchemish, Grurgum, Kummukh, Samalla, Unki, Kui -- in a word, all the Aramaeans and the Khati between the Euphrates and the sea had followed in the steps of the Agusi, and had acknowledged the supremacy of Sharduris.*
* The minimum extent of the dominions of Sharduris in Syria may be deduced from the list of the allies assigned to him by Tiglath-pileser in 743 in the Annals.
This prince must now haye been sorely tempted to adopt, on his own account, the policy of the Ninevite monarchs, and push on in the direction of Hamath, Damascus, and the Phoenician seaboard, towards those countries of Israel and Judah which were nearly coterminous with far-off Egypt. The rapidity of the victories which he had just succeeded in winning at the foot of Mount Taurus and Mount Amanus must have seemed a happy omen of what awaited his enterprise in the valleys of the Orontes and the Jordan. Although the races of southern and central Syria had suffered less than those of the north from the ambition of the Ninevite kings, they had, none the less, been sorely tried during the previous century; and it might be questioned whether they had derived courage from the humiliation of Assyria, or still remained in so feeble a state as to present an easy prey to the first invader.
The defeat inflicted on Mari by Ramman-nirari in 803 had done but little harm to the prestige of Damascus. The influence exercised by this state from the sources of the Litany to the brook of Egypt * was based on so solid a foundation that no temporary reverse had power to weaken it.
* [Not the Nile, but the Wady el Arish, the frontier between Southern Syria and Egypt. Cf. Josh. xv.47; 2 Kings xxiv.7, called "river" of Egypt in the A.V. -- Tr.]
Had the Assyrian monarch thrown himself more seriously into the enterprise, and reappeared before the ramparts of the capital in the following year, refusing to leave it till he had annihilated its armies and rased its walls to the ground, then, no doubt, Israel, Judah, the Philistines, Edom, and Ammon, seeing it fully occupied in its own defence, might have forgotten the ruthless severity of Hazael, and have plucked up sufficient courage to struggle against the Damascene yoke; as it was, Bamman-nirari did not return, and the princes who had, perhaps, for the moment, regarded him as a possible deliverer, did not venture on any concerted action. Joash, King of Judah, and Jehoahaz, King of Israel, continued to pay tribute till both their deaths, within a year of each other, Jehoahaz in 797 B.C., and Joash in 796, the first in his bed, the second by the hand of an assassin.*
* Kings xii.20, 21, xiii.9; cf.2 Citron, xxiv.22-26, where the death of Joash is mentioned as one of the consequences of the Syrian invasion, and as a punishment for his crime in killing the sons of Jehoiada.
Their children, Jehoash in Israel, Amaziah in Judah, were, at first, like their parents, merely the instruments of Damascus; but before long, the conditions being favourable, they shook off their apathy and initiated a more vigorous policy, each in his own kingdom. Mari had been succeeded by a certain Ben-hadad, also a son of Hazael,* and possibly this change of kings was accompanied by one of those revolutions which had done so much to weaken Damascus: Jehoash rebelled and defeated Ben-hadad near Aphek and in three subsequent engagements, but he failed to make his nation completely independent, and the territory beyond Jordan still remained in the hands of the Syrians.** We are told that before embarking on this venture he went to consult the aged Elisha, then on his deathbed. He wept to see him in this extremity, and bending over him, cried out, "My father, my father, the chariots of Israel and the horsemen thereof!" The prophet bade him take bow and arrows and shoot from the window toward the East. The king did so, and Elisha said, "The Lord's arrow of victory *** over Syria; for thou shalt smite the Syrians in Aphek till thou have consumed them."
* 2 Kings xiii.24, 25. Winckler is of opinion that Mari and Ben-hadad, son of Hazael, were one and the same person.
** 2 Kings xiii.25, The term "saviour" in 2 Kings xiii.5 is generally taken as referring to Joash: Winckler, however, prefers to apply it to the King of Assyria. The biblical text does not expressly state that Joash failed to win back the districts of Gilead from the Syrians, but affirms that he took from them the cities which Hazael "had taken out of the hand of Jehoahaz, his father." Ramah of Gilead and the cities previously annexed by Jehoahaz must, therefore, have remained in the hands of Ben-hadad.
*** [Heb. "salvation;" A.V. "deliverance." -- Tr.]
Then he went on: "Take the arrows," and the king took them; then he said, "Smite upon the ground," and the king smote thrice and stayed. And the man of God was wroth with him, and said, "Thou shouldest have smitten five or six times; then hadst thou smitten Syria till thou hadst consumed it, whereas now thou shalt smite Syria but thrice."* Amaziah, on his side, had routed the Edomites in the Valley of Salt, one of David's former battle-fields, and had captured their capital, Sela.** Elated by his success, he believed himself strong enough to break the tie of vassalage which bound him to Israel, and sent a challenge to Jehoash in Samaria. The latter, surprised at his audacity, replied in a parable, "The thistle that was in Lebanon sent to the cedar that was in Lebanon, saying, Give thy daughter to my son to wife." But "there passed by a wild beast that was in Lebanon and trode down the thistle. Thou hast indeed smitten Edom, and thine heart hath lifted thee up: glory thereof and abide at home; for why shouldest thou meddle to thy hurt that thou shouldest fall, even thou, and Judah with thee?" They met near Beth-shemesh, on the border of the Philistine lowlands. Amaziah was worsted in the engagement, and fell into the power of his rival. Jehoash entered Jerusalem and dismantled its walls for a space of four hundred cubits, "from the gate of Ephraim unto the corner gate;" he pillaged the Temple, as though it had been the abode, not of Jahveh, but of some pagan deity, insisted on receiving hostages before he would release his prisoner, and returned to Samaria, where he soon after died (781 B.C.).***
* 2 Kings xiii.14-19.
** 2 Kings xiv.7; cf.2 Gliron. xxv.11, 12. Sela was rebuilt, and received the name of Joktheel from its Hebrew masters. The subjection of the country was complete, for, later on, the Hebrew chronicler tells of the conquest of Elath by King Azariah, son of Amaziah (2 Kings xiv.22).
*** 2 Kings xiv.8-16. cf.2 Ghron. xxv.17-24.
Jeroboam II. completed that rehabilitation of Israel, of which his father had but sketched the outline; he maintained his suzerainty, first over Amaziah, and when the latter was assassinated at Lachish (764),* over his son, the young Azariah.** After the defeat of Ben-hadad near Aphek, Damascus declined still further in power, and Hadrach, suddenly emerging from obscurity, completely barred the valley of the Orontes against it. An expedition under Shalmaneser IV. in 773 seems to have precipitated it to a lower depth than it had ever reached before: Jeroboam was able to wrest from it, almost without a struggle, the cities which it had usurped in the days of Jehu, and Gilead was at last set free from a yoke which had oppressed it for more than a century. Tradition goes so far as to affirm that Israel reconquered the Bekaa, Hamath, and Damascus, those northern territories once possessed by David, and it is quite possible that its rivals, menaced from afar by Assyria and hard pressed at their own doors by Hadrach, may have resorted to one of those propitiatory overtures which eastern monarchs are only too ready to recognise as acts of submission. The lesser southern states, such as Ammon, the Bedawin tribes of Hauran, and, at the opposite extremity of the kingdom, the Philistines,*** who had bowed themselves before Hazael in the days of his prosperity, now transferred their homage to Israel.
* 2 Kings xiv.19, 20; cf.2 Ghron. xxv.27, 28.
** The Hebrew texts make no mention of this subjection of Judah to Jeroboam II.; that it actually took place must, however, be admitted, at any rate in so far as the first half of the reign of Azariah is concerned, as a necessary outcome of the events of the preceding reigns.
*** The conquests of Jeroboam II. are indicated very briefly in 2 Kings xiv.25-28: cf. Amos vi.14, where the
Moab alone offered any serious resistance. It had preserved its independence ever since the reign of Mesha, having escaped from being drawn into the wars which had laid waste the rest of Syria. It was now suddenly forced to pay the penalty of its long prosperity. Jeroboam made a furious onslaught upon its cities -- Ar of Moab, Kir of Moab, Dibon, Medeba, Heshbon, Elealeh -- and destroyed them all in succession. The Moabite forces carried a part of the population with them in their flight, and all escaped together across the deserts which enclose the southern basin of the Dead Sea. On the frontier of Edom they begged for sanctuary, but the King of Judah, to whom the Edomite valleys belonged, did not dare to shelter the vanquished enemies of his suzerain, and one of his prophets, forgetting his hatred of Israel in delight at being able to gratify his grudge against Moab, greeted them in their distress with a hymn of joy -- "I will water thee with my tears, O Heshbon Elealeh: for upon thy summer fruits and upon thy harvest the battle shout is fallen. And gladness is taken away and joy out of the fruitful fields; and in the vineyards there shall be no singing, neither joyful noise; no treader shall tread out wine in the presses; I have made the vintage shout to cease. Wherefore my bowels sound like an harp for Moab, and my inward parts for Kir-Heres. And it shall come to pass, when Moab presenteth himself, when he wearieth himself upon the high place, and shall come to his sanctuary to pray, he shall not prevail!"*
* Isa. xv.1-9; xvi.1-12. This prophecy, which had been pronounced against Moab "in the old days," and which is appropriated by Isaiah (xvi.13, 14), has been attributed to Jonah, son of Amittai, of Gath-Hepher, who actually lived in the time of Jeroboam II. (2 Kings xiv.25). It is now generally recognised as the production of an anonymous Judsean prophet, and the earliest authentic fragment of prophetic literature which has come down to us.
This revival, like the former greatness of David and Solomon, was due not so much to any inherent energy on the part of Israel, as to the weakness of the nations on its frontiers. Egypt was not in the habit of intervening in the quarrels of Asia, and Assyria was suffering from a temporary eclipse. Damascus had suddenly collapsed, and Hadrach or Mansuati, the cities which sought to take its place, found themselves fully employed in repelling the intermittent attacks of the Assyrian; the Hebrews, for a quarter of a century, therefore, had the stage to themselves, there being no other actors to dispute their possession of it. During the three hundred years of their existence as a monarchy they had adopted nearly all the laws and customs of the races over whom they held sway, and by whom they were completely surrounded. The bulk of the people devoted themselves to the pasturing and rearing of cattle, and, during the better part of the year, preferred to live in tents, unless war rendered such a practice impossible.* They had few industries save those of the potter** and the smith,*** and their trade was almost entirely in the hands of foreigners.
* Cf. the passage in 2 Kings xiii.5, "And the children of Israel dwelt in their tents as beforetime." Although the word ohel had by that time acquired the more general meaning of habitation, the context here seems to require us to translate it by its original meaning tent.
** Pottery is mentioned in 2 Sam. xvii.28; numerous fragments dating from the monarchical period have been found at Jerusalem and Lachish.
*** The story of Tubal-Cain (Gen. iv.22) shows the antiquity of the ironworker's art among the Israelites; the smith is practically the only artisan to be found amongst nomadic tribes.
We find, however, Hebrew merchants in Egypt,* at Tyre, and in Coele-Syria, and they were so numerous at Damascus that they requested that a special bazaar might be allotted to them, similar to that occupied by the merchants of Damascus in Samaria from time immemorial.**
* The accurate ideas on the subject of Egypt possessed by the earliest compilers of the traditions contained in Genesis and Exodus, prove that Hebrew merchants must have been in constant communication with that country about the time with which we are now concerned.
** 1 Kings xx.34; cf. what has been said on this point in vol. vi. pp.432, 441.
[Illustration: 188.jpg SPECIMENS OF HEBREW POTTERY]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from sketches by Warren.
The Hebrew monarchs had done their best to encourage this growing desire for trade. It was only the complicated state of Syrian politics that prevented them from following the example of Solomon, and opening communications by sea with the far-famed countries of Ophir, either in competition with the Phoenicians or under their guidance. Indeed, as we have seen, Jehoshaphat, encouraged by his alliance with the house of Omri, tried to establish a seagoing fleet, but found that peasants could not be turned into sailors at a day's notice, and the vessel built by him at Eziongeber was wrecked before it left the harbour.
[Illustration: 189.jpg ISRAELITES OF THE HIGHER CLASS IN THE TIME OF SHALMANESER III]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from one of the bas-reliefs of the Black Obelisk.
In appearance, the Hebrew towns closely resembled the ancient Canaanite cities. Egyptian influences still predominated in their architecture, as may be seen from what is still left of the walls of Lachish, and they were fortified in such a way as to be able to defy the military engines of besiegers. This applies not only to capitals, like Jerusalem, Tirzah, and Samaria, but even to those towns which commanded a road or mountain pass, the ford of a river, or the entrance to some fertile plain; there were scores of these on the frontiers of the two kingdoms, and in those portions of their territory which lay exposed to the attacks of Damascus, Moab, Edom, or the Philistines.* The daily life of the inhabitants was; to all intents, the same as at Arpad, Sidon, or Gaza; and the dress, dwellings, and customs of the upper and middle classes cannot have differed in any marked degree from those of the corresponding grades of society in Syria.
* 2 Chron. xi.6-10, where we find a list of the towns fortified by Rehoboam: Bethlehem, Etam, Beth-zur, Soco, Adullam, Gath, Mareshah, Ziph, Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah, Zorah, Ajalon, Hebron.
[Illustration: 190.jpg JUDAEAN PEASANTS]
Drawn by Boudier, from Layard. These figures are taken from a bas-relief which represents Sennacherib receiving the submission of Judah before Lachish.
The men wore over their tunic a fringed kaftan, with short sleeves, open in front, a low-crowned hat, and sandals or shoes of pliant leather; * they curled their beards and hair, painted their eyes and cheeks, and wore many jewels; while their wives adopted all the latest refinements in vogue in the harems of Damascus, Tyre, or Nineveh.** Descendants of ancient families paid for all this luxury out of the revenues of the wide domains they had inherited; others kept it up by less honourable means, by usury, corruption, and by the exercise of a ruthless violence towards neighbours who were unable to defend themselves.
* The kaftan met with in these parts seems to correspond to the meil (R.V. "ephod ") of the biblical texts (1 Sam. ii.19; xviii.4, etc.).
** Isa. iii.16-24 describes in detail the whole equipment of jewels, paint, and garments required by the fashionable women of Jerusalem during the last thirty years of the eighth century B.C.
Illustration: 191.jpg WOMEN AND CHILDREN OF JUDAEA
Drawn by Boudier, from Layard.
The king himself set them an evil example, and did not hesitate to assassinate one of his subjects in order that he might seize a vineyard which he coveted;* it was not to be wondered at, therefore, that the nobles of Ephraim "sold the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes;"** that they demanded gifts of wheat, and "turned the needy from their right" when they sat as a jury "at the gate."*** From top to bottom of the social ladder the stronger and wealthier oppressed those who were weaker or poorer than themselves, leaving them with no hope of redress except at the hands of the king.****
* Cf. the well-known episode of Naboth and Ahab in 1 Kings xxi.
** Amos ii.6.
*** Amos v.11, 12.
**** 2 Kings vi.26-30; viii.3-8, where, in both instances, it is a woman who appeals to the king. Cf. for the period of David and Solomon, 2 Sam. xiv.1-20, and 1 Kings iii.16-27.
Unfortunately, the king, when he did not himself set the example of oppression, seldom possessed the resources necessary to make his decisions effective. True, he was chief of the most influential family in either Judah or Israel, a chief by divine appointment, consecrated by the priests and prophets of Jahveh, a priest of the Lord,* and he was master in his own city of Jerusalem or Samaria, but his authority did not extend far beyond the walls.
* Cf. the anointing of Saul (1 Sam. ix.16; x.1; and xiv.1), of David (1 Sam. xvi.1-3, 12, 13), of Solomon (1 Kings i.34, 39, 45), of Jehu (2 Kings ix.1-10), and compare it with the unction received by the priests on their admission to the priesthood (Exod. xxix.7; xxx.22, 23; cf. Lev. viii.12, 30; x.7).
It was not the old tribal organisation that embarrassed him, for the secondary tribes had almost entirely given up their claims to political independence. The division of the country into provinces, a consequence of the establishment of financial districts by Solomon, had broken them up, and they gradually gave way before the two houses of Ephraim and Judah; but the great landed proprietors, especially those who held royal fiefs, enjoyed almost unlimited power within their own domains. They were, indeed, called on to render military service, to furnish forced labour, and to pay certain trifling dues into the royal treasury;* but, otherwise, they were absolute masters in their own domains, and the sovereign was obliged to employ force if he wished to extort any tax or act of homage which they were unwilling to render. For this purpose he had a standing army distributed in strong detachments along the frontier, but the flower of his forces was concentrated round the royal residence to serve as a body-guard. It included whole companies of foreign mercenaries, like those Cretan and Carian warriors who, since the time of David, had kept guard round the Kings of Judah;** these, in time of war,*** were reinforced by militia, drawn entirely from among the landed proprietors, and the whole force, when commanded by an energetic leader, formed a host capable of meeting on equal terms the armies of Damascus, Edom, or Moab, or even the veterans of Egypt and Assyria.
* 1 Kings xv.22 (cf.2 Ohron. xvi.6), where "King Asa made a proclamation unto all Judah; none was exempted," the object in this case being the destruction of Ramah, the building of which had been begun by Baasha.
** The Carians or Cretans are again referred to in the history of Athaliah (2 Kings xi.4).
*** Taking the tribute paid by Menahem to Pul (2 Kings xv.19, 20) as a basis, it has been estimated that the owners of landed estate in Israel, who were in that capacity liable to render military service, numbered 60,000 in the time of that king; all others were exempt from military service.
The reigning prince was hereditary commander-in-chief, but the sharzaba, or captain of the troops, often took his place, as in the time of David, and thereby became the most important person in the kingdom. More than one of these officers had already turned against their sovereign the forces which he had entrusted, to them, and these revolts, when crowned with success, had, on various occasions, in Israel at any rate, led to a change of dynasty: Omri had been shar zaba when he mutinied against Zimri, the assassin of Elah, and Jehu occupied the same position when Elisha deputed him to destroy the house of Omri.
The political constitutions of Judah and Israel were, on the whole, very similar to those of the numerous states which shared the territory of Syria between them, and their domestic history gives us a fairly exact idea of the revolutions which agitated Damascus, Hamath, Carchemish, Arpad, and the principalities of Amanos and Lebanon about the same period. It would seem, however, that none of these other nations possessed a literary or religious life of any great intensity. They had their archives, it is true, in which were accumulated documents relating to their past history, their rituals of theology and religious worship, their collections of hymns and national songs; but none of these have survived, and the very few inscriptions that have come down to us merely show that they had nearly all of them adopted the alphabet invented by the Phoenicians. The Israelites, initiated by them into the art of writing, lost no time in setting down, in their turn, all they could recall of the destinies of their race from the creation of the world down to the time in which they lived. From the beginning of the monarchical epoch onwards, their scribes collected together in the Book of the Wars of the Lord, the Book of Jashar, and in other works the titles of which have not survived, lyrics of different dates, in which nameless poets had sung the victories and glorious deeds of their national heroes, such as the Song of the Well, the Hymn of Moses, the triumphal Ode of Deborah, and the blessing of Jacob.* They were able to draw upon traditions which preserved the memory of what had taken place in the time of the Judges;** and when that patriarchal form of government was succeeded by a monarchy, they had narratives of the ark of the Lord and its wanderings, of Samuel, Saul, David, and Solomon,*** not to mention the official records which, since then, had been continuously produced and accumulated by the court historians.****
* The books of Jashar and of the Wars of the Lord appear to date from the IXth century B.C.; as the latter is quoted in the Elohist narrative, it cannot have been compiled later than the beginning of the VIIIth century B.C. The passage in Numb. xxi. lib, 15, is the only one expressly attributed by the testimony of the ancients to the Book of the Wars of the Lord, but modern writers add to this the Song of the Well (Numb. xxi.17b, 18), and the Song of Victory over Moab (Numb. xxi.27&-30). The Song of the Bow (2 Sam. i.19-27) admittedly formed part of the Book of Jashar. Joshua's Song of Victory over the Amorites (Josh. x.13), and very probably the couplet recited by Solomon at the dedication of the Temple (1 Kings viii, 12, 13, placed by the LXX. after verse 53), also formed part of it, as also the Song of Deborah and the Blessing of Jacob (Gen. xlix.1-27).
** Wellhausen was the first to admit the existence of a Book of Judges prior to the epoch of Deuteronomy, and his opinion has been adopted by Kuenen and Driver. This book was probably drawn upon by the two historians of the IXth and VIIIth centuries B.C. of whom we are about to speak; some of the narratives, such as the story of Abimelech, and possibly that of Ehud, may have been taken from a document written at the end of the Xth or the beginning of the IXth centuries B.C.
*** The revolutions which occurred in the family of David (2 Sam. ix.-xx.) bear so evident a stamp of authenticity that they have been attributed to a contemporary writer, perhaps Ahimaaz, son of Zadok (2 Sam. xv.27), who took part in the events in question. But apart from this, the existence is generally admitted of two or three books which were drawn up shortly after the separation of the tribes, containing a kind of epic of the history of the first two kings; the one dealing with Saul, for instance, was probably written in the time of Jeroboam.
**** The two lists in which the names of the principal personages at the court of David are handed down to us, mention a certain Jehoshaphat, son of Ahilud, who was mazhir, or recorder; he retained his post under Solomon (1 Kings iv.3).
It may be that more than one writer had already endeavoured to evolve from these materials an Epie of Jahveh and His faithful people, but in the second half of the IXth century B.C., perhaps in the time of Jehoshaphat, a member of the tribe of Judah undertook to put forth a fresh edition.*
* The approximate date of the composition and source of this first Jehovist is still an open question., Reuss and Kuenen, not to mention others, believe the Jehovist writer to have been a native of the northern kingdom; I have adopted the opposite view, which is supported by most modern critics.
He related how God, after creating the universe out of chaos, had chosen His own people, and had led them, after trials innumerable, to the conquest of the Promised Land. He showed, as he went on, the origin of the tribes identified with the children of Israel, and the covenants made by Jahveh with Moses in the Arabian desert; while accepting the stories connected with the ancient sanctuaries of the north and east at Shechem, Bethel, Peniel, Mahanaim, and Succoth, it was at Hebron in Judah that he placed the principal residence of Abraham and his descendants. His style, while simple and direct, is at the same time singularly graceful and vivacious; the incidents he gives are carefully selected, apt and characteristic, while his narrative passes from scene to scene without trace of flagging, unburdened by useless details, and his dialogue, always natural and easy, rises without effort from the level of familiar conversation to heights of impassioned eloquence. His aim was not merely to compile the history of his people: he desired at the same time to edify them, by showing how sin first came into the world through disobedience to the commandments of the Most High, and how man, prosperous so long as he kept to the laws of the covenant, fell into difficulties as soon as he transgressed or failed to respect them. His concept of Jahveh is in the highest degree a concrete one: he regards Him as a Being superior to other beings, but made like unto them and moved by the same passions. He shows anger and is appeased, displays sorrow and repents Him of the evil.* When the descendants of Noah build a tower and a city, He draws nigh to examine what they have done, and having taken account of their work, confounds their language and thus prevents them from proceeding farther.** He desires, later on, to confer a favour on His servant Abraham: He appears to him in human form, and eats and drinks with him.*** Sodom and Gomorrah had committed abominable iniquities, the cry against them was great and their sin very grievous: but before punishing them, He tells Abraham that He will "go down and see whether they have done according to the cry of it which is come unto Me; and if not, I will know."****
* Exod. iv.14 and xxxii.10, anger of Jahveh against Moses and against Israel; Gen. vi.6, 7, where He repents and is sorry for having created man; and Exod. xxxii.14, where He repents Him of the evil He had intended to do unto Israel.
** Gen. xi.5-8.
*** Gen. xviii.
**** Gen. xviii. and xix.
Elsewhere He wrestles a whole night long with Jacob;* or falls upon Moses, seeking to kill him, until appeased by Zipporah, who casts the blood-stained foreskin of her child at her husband's feet.** This book, though it breathes the spirit of the prophets and was perhaps written in one of their schools, did not, however, include all the current narratives, and omitted many traditions that were passing from lip to lip; moreover, the excessive materialism of its treatment no longer harmonised with that more idealised concept of the Deity which had already begun to prevail. Consequently, within less than a century of its appearance, more than one version containing changes and interpolations in the narrative came to be circulated,*** till a scribe of Ephraim, who flourished in the time of Jeroboam II., took up the subject and dealt with it in a different fashion.****
* Gen. xxxii.24, 25.
** Exod. iv.24-26.
*** Schrader and Wellhausen have drawn attention to contradictions in the primitive history of humanity as presented by the Jehovist which forbid us to accept it as the work of a single writer. Nor can these inconsistencies be due to the influence of the Elohist, since the latter did not deal with this period in his book. Budde has maintained that the primitive work contained no account of the Deluge, and traced the descent of all the nations, Israel included, back to Cain, and he declares he can detect in the earlier chapters of Genesis traces of a first Jehovist, whom he calls J1. A second Jehovist, J2, who flourished between 800 and 700 B.C., is supposed to have added to the contribution of the first, certain details borrowed from the Babylonian tradition, such as the Deluge, the story of Noah, of Nimrod, etc. Finally, a third Jehovist is said to have thrown the versions of his two predecessors into one, taking J2 as the basis of his work.
**** The date and origin of the Elohist have given rise to no less controversy than those of the Jehovist: the view most generally adopted is that he was a native of the northern kingdom, and flourished about 750 B.C.
Putting on one side the primitive accounts of the origin of the human race which his predecessors had taken pleasure in elaborating, he confined his attention solely to events since the birth of Abraham;* his origin is betrayed by the preference he displays for details calculated to flatter the self-esteem of the northern tribes. To his eyes, Joseph is the noblest of all the sons of Jacob, before whom all the rest must bow their heads, as to a king; next to Joseph comes Reuben, to whom -- rather than to Judah** -- he gives the place as firstborn. He groups his characters round Bethel and Shechem, the sanctuaries of Israel; even Abraham is represented as residing, not at Hebron in Judea, but at Beersheba, a spot held in deep veneration by pilgrims belonging to the ten tribes.*** It is in his concept of the Supreme Being, however, that he differs most widely from his predecessors. God is, according to him, widely removed from ordinary humanity. He no longer reveals Himself at all times and in all places, but works rather by night, and appears to men in their dreams, or, when circumstances require His active interference, is content to send His angels rather than come in His own person.****
* Budde seems to have proved conclusively that the Elohist did not write any part of the primitive history of mankind.
** Gen. xxxvii.21, 22, 29, 30; xlii.22, 27; whereas in Gen. xliii.3, 8-10, where the narrative is from the pen of the Jehovist, it is Judah that plays the principal part: it is possible that, in Gen. xxxvii.21, Reuben has been substituted in the existing text for Judah.
*** Gen. xxi.31, 33; xxii.19; the importance of Beersheba as a holy place resorted to by pilgrims from the northern kingdom is shown in 1 Kings xix.3, and Amos v.5; viii.14.
**** Gen. xx.3-8; xxviii.11-15; xxxi 24; Numb. xxii.8-12, 20.
Indeed, such cases of active interference are of rare occurrence, and He prefers to accomplish His purpose through human agents, who act unconsciously, or even in direct contravention of their own clearly, expressed intentions.* Moreover it was only by degrees that He revealed His true nature and title; the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph, had called Him Elohim, or "the gods," and it was not until the coming of Moses that He disclosed His real name of Jahveh to His worshippers.**
* Gen.1.20, end of the story of Joseph: "And as for you, ye meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring it to pass as it is this day, to save much people alive."
** Exod. iii.13, 14; verse 15 is an interpolation of much later date.
[Illustration: 200.jpg Prayer at Sunset]
After Painting by Gerome
In a word, this new historian shows us in every line that the theological instinct has superseded popular enthusiasm, and his work loses unmistakably in literary interest by the change. We feel that he is wanting in feeling and inspiration; his characters no longer palpitate with life; his narrative drags, its interest decreases, and his language is often deficient in force and colour. But while writers, trained in the schools of the prophets, thus sought to bring home to the people the benefits which their God had showered on them, the people themselves showed signs of disaffection towards Him, or were, at any rate, inclined to associate with Him other gods borrowed from neighbouring states, and to overlay the worship they rendered Him with ceremonies and ideas inconsistent with its original purity. The permanent division of the nation into two independent kingdoms had had its effect on their religion as well as on their political life, and had separated the worshippers into two hostile camps. The inhabitants of Judah still continued to build altars on their high places, as they had done in the time before David; there, the devout prostrated themselves before the sacred stones and before the Asherah, or went in unto the kedeshoth in honour of Astarte, and in Jahveh's own temple at Jerusalem they had set up the image of a brazen serpent to which they paid homage.* The feeling, however, that the patron deity of the chosen people could have but one recognised habitation -- the temple built for Him by Solomon -- and that the priests of this temple were alone qualified to officiate there in an effective manner, came to prevail more and more strongly in Judaea. The king, indeed, continued to offer sacrifices and prayer there,** but the common people could no longer intercede with their God except through the agency of the priests.
* Cf. what we are told of idolatrous practices in Judah under Rehoboam and Abraham (1 Kings xiv.22-24; xv.3), and of the tolerance of high places by Asa and Jehoshaphat (1 Kings xv.14; xxii.44); even at the period now under consideration neither Amaziah (2 Kings xiv.4) nor Azariah (2 Kings xv.4) showed any disposition to prohibit them. The brazen serpent was still in existence in the time of Hezekiah, at the close of the VIIIth century B.C. (2 Kings xviii.4).
** 2 Kings xvi.10-16, where Ahaz is described as offering sacrifice and giving instructions to the high priest Urijah as to the reconstruction and service of the altar; cf.2 Chron. xxvi.16-21, where similar conduct on the part of Uzziah is recorded, and where the leprosy by which he was attacked is, in accordance with the belief of later times, represented as a punishment of the sacrilege committed by him in attempting to perform the sacrifice in person.
The latter, in their turn, tended to develop into a close corporation of families consecrated for generations past to the priestly office; they came in time to form a tribe by themselves, which took rank among the other tribes of Israel, and claimed Levi, one of the twelve sons of Jacob, as its ancestor. Their head, chosen from among the descendants of Zadok, who had been the first high priest in the reign of Solomon, was by virtue of his office one of the chief ministers of the crown, and we know what an important part was played by Jehoiadah in the revolution which led to the deposition of Athaliah; the high priest was, however, no less subordinate to the supreme power than his fellow-ministers, and the sanctity of his office did not avail to protect him from ill-treatment or death if he incurred the displeasure of his sovereign.* He had control over a treasury continually enriched by the offerings of the faithful, and did not always turn his trust to the best uses; in times of extreme distress the king used to borrow from him as a last resource, in order to bring about the withdrawal of an invader, or purchase the help of a powerful ally.** The capital of Israel was of too recent foundation to allow of its chapel royal becoming the official centre of national worship; the temple and priesthood of Samaria never succeeded in effacing the prestige enjoyed by the ancient oracles, though in the reign of both the first and second Jeroboam, Dan, Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah had each its band of chosen worshippers.***
* In order to form an idea of the relative positions occupied by the king and the high priest, we must read what is told of Jehoiadah and Joash (2 Kings xii.6-16), or Urijah and Ahaz (2 Kings xvi.10-16); the story runs that Zechariah was put to death by Joash (2 Chron. xxiv.22).
** Asa did so in order to secure Ben-hadad's help against Baasha (1 Kings xv.18, 19; cf.2 Chron. xvi.2, 3): as to the revenues by which the treasury of the temple was supported and the special dues appropriated to it, cf.2 Kings xii.4, 5, 7-16, and xxii.4-7, 9.
*** In the time of Jeroboam II., Bethel, Gilgal, and Dan are mentioned by Amos (iv.4; v.5, 6; viii.14), by Hosea (iv.15; ix.15; xii.12). Mizpah is mentioned by Hosea (v.1), and so is Tabor. The altar of Jahveh on Mount Carmel was restored by Elijah (1 Kings xviii.30).
At these centres adoration was rendered to the animal presentment of Jahveh,* and even prophets like Elijah and Elisha did not condemn this as heretical; they had enough to do in hunting down the followers of Baal without entering into open conflict with the worshippers of the golden calf. The priesthood of the northern kingdom was not confined to members of the family of Levi, but was recruited from all the tribes; it levied a tithe on the harvest, reserved to itself the pick of the offerings and victims, and jealously forbade a plurality of sanctuaries,** The Book of the Covenant*** has handed down to us the regulations in force at one of these temples, perhaps that of Bethel, one of the wealthiest of them all.
* The golden calves at Dan and Bethel are referred to by Amos (viii.14) and Hosea (x.5), where Bethel is called Beth-aven; as to the golden calf at Samaria, cf. Amos viii.14 and Hos. viii.5, 6.
** Amos iv.4, 5; v.21-23.
*** This is the title given in Exod. xxiv.7 to a writing in which Moses is said to have entered the covenant made between Jahveh and Israel; it is preserved, with certain interpolations and alterations, in Exod. xx.23? -- xxiii.33. It was inserted in its entirety in the Elohist narrative, there taking the place at present occupied by Deuteronomy in the Pentateuch, viz. that of the covenant made between Jahveh and Israel prior to the crossing of the Jordan (Kuenen, H. C. Onderzoek, i. Sec.13, No.32). Reuss tries to make out that it was the code promulgated on the occasion of Jehoshaphat's legal reforms, which is only referred to in 2 Chron. xvii.7-9; cf. xix.5. A more probable theory is that it was the "custom" of one of the great sanctuaries of the northern kingdom reduced to writing at the end of the Xth or during the IXth century B.C.
[Illustration: 202.jpg EGYPTIAN ALTAR AT DEIK-EL-BAHARI]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a restoration by Naville.
The directions in regard to ritual are extremely simple, and the moral code is based throughout on the inexorable lex talionis, "Life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe."* This brief code must have been almost universally applicable to every conjuncture of civil and religious life in Judah no less than in Israel. On one point only do we find a disagreement, and that is in connection with the one and only Holy of Holies to the possession of which the southern kingdom had begun to lay claim: in a passage full of significance Jahveh declares, "An altar of earth thou shalt make unto Me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings and thy peace offerings, thy sheep and thine oxen: in every place where I record My name I will come unto thee and I will bless thee. And if thou make Me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stones: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it. Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto Mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon."**
* Exod. xxi.23-25.
** Exod. xx.24-26.
The patriarchs and early ancestors of the race had performed their sacrifices in the open air, on rude and low altars, differing widely from lofty and elaborately ornamented erections like those at Jerusalem, which seem to have borne a resemblance to the altars of the Egyptians: the author of the Book of the Covenant advises the faithful to follow the example of those great men rather than that of the Levites of Judah. Nevertheless this multiplicity of high places was not without its dangers; it led the common people to confuse Jahveh with the idols of Canaan, and encouraged the spread of foreign superstitions. The misfortunes which had come thick and fast upon the Israelites ever since the division of the kingdom had made them only too ready to seek elsewhere that support and consolation which they could no longer find at home. The gods of Damascus and Assur who had caused the downfall of Gath, of Calneh, and of Hamath,* those of Tyre and Sidon who lavished upon the Phoenicians the wealth of the seas, or even the deities of Ammon, Moab, or Edom, might well appear more desirable than a Being Who, in spite of His former promises, seemed powerless to protect His own people. A number of the Israelites transferred their allegiance to these powerful deities, prostrated themselves before the celestial host, flocked round the resting-places of Kevan, the star of El, and carried the tabernacles of the King of heaven;** nor was Judah slow to follow their example. The prophets, however, did not view their persistent ill-fortune in the same light as the common people; far from accepting it as a proof of the power of other divinities, they recognised in it a mark of Jahveh's superiority.
* Amos vi.2; with regard to the destruction of Gath by Hazael.
** Amos v.26, 27
In their eyes Jahveh was the one God, compared with Whom the pagan deities were no gods at all, and could not even be said to exist. He might, had He so willed it, have bestowed His protection on any one of the numerous races whom He had planted on the earth: but as a special favour, which He was under no obligation to confer, He had chosen Israel to be His own people, and had promised them that they should occupy Canaan so long as they kept free from sin. But Israel had sinned, Israel had followed after idols; its misfortunes were, therefore, but the just penalty of its unfaithfulness. Thus conceived, Jahveh ceased to be merely the god of a nation -- He became the God of the whole world; and it is in the guise of a universal Deity that some, at any rate, of the prophets begin to represent Him from the time of Jeroboam II. onwards.
This change of view in regard to the Being of Jahveh coincided with a no less marked alteration in the character of His prophets. At first they had taken an active part in public affairs; they had thrown themselves into the political movements of the time, and had often directed their course,* by persuasion when persuasion sufficed, by violence when violence was the only means that was left to them of enforcing the decrees of the Most High. Not long before this, we find Elisha secretly conspiring against the successors of Ahab, and taking a decisive part in the revolution which set the house of Jehu on the throne in place of that of Omri; but during the half-century which had elapsed since his death, the revival in the fortunes of Israel and its growing prosperity under the rule of an energetic king had furnished the prophets with but few pretexts for interfering in the conduct of state affairs.
* Cf. the part taken by Nathan in the conspiracy which raised Solomon to the throne (1 Kings i.8, et seq.), and previous to this in the story of David's amour with Bathsheba (2 Sam. xii.1-25). Similarly, we find prophets such as Ahijah in the reign of Jeroboam I. (1 Kings xi.29- 39; cf. xiv.1-18; xv.29, 30), and Shemaiah in the reign of Rehoboam (1 Kings xii.22-24), Jehu son of Hananiah under Baasha (1 Kings xvi.1-4, 7, 12, 13), Micaiah son of Imla, and Zedekiah under Ahab (1 Kings xxii.5-28), not to speak of those mentioned in the Chronicles, e.g. Azariah son of Oded (2 Ghron. xv.1-8), and Hanani under Asa (2 Ghron. xvi.7-10), Jahaziel (2 Ghron. xx.14-19), and Eliezer, son of Dodavahu (2 Ghron. xx.37), in the time of Johoshaphat. No trace of any writings composed by these prophets is found until a very late date; but in Chronicles, in addition to a letter from Elijah to Jehoram of Juda (2 Ghron. xxi.12-15), we find a reference to the commentary of the prophet Iddo in the time of Abijah (2 Ghron. xiii.22), and to the "History of Jehu the son of Hanani, which is inserted in the book of the kings of Israel" (2 Chron. xx.34), in the time of Jehoshaphat.
They no longer occupied themselves in resisting the king, but addressed themselves to the people, pointed out the heinousness of their sins, and threatened them with the wrath of Jahveh if they persisted in their unfaithfulness: they came to be spiritual advisers rather than political partisans, and orators rather than men of action like their predecessors. Their discourses were carefully prepared beforehand, and were written down either by themselves or by some of their disciples for the benefit of posterity, in the hope that future generations would understand the dangers or witness the catastrophes which their contemporaries might not live to see. About 760 B.C., Amos of Tekoa,* a native of Judaea, suddenly made his appearance at Bethel, in the midst of the festivals which pilgrims had flocked to celebrate in the ancient temple erected to Jahveh in one of His animal forms.
* The title of the Book of Amos fixes the date as being "in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel" (i.1), and the state of affairs described by him corresponds pretty closely with what we know of this period. Most critics fix the date somewhere between 760 and 750 B.C., but nearer 760 than 750.
His opening words filled the listening crowd with wonder: "The high places of Isaac shall be desolate," he proclaimed, "and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste; and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword."*
* Amos vii.9.
Yet Jeroboam had by this time gained all his victories, and never before had the King of Samaria appeared to be more firmly seated on the throne: what, then, did this intruder mean by introducing himself as a messenger of wrath in the name of Jahveh, at the very moment when Jahveh was furnishing His worshippers with abundant signs of His favour? Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, interrupted him as he went on to declare that "Jeroboam should die by the sword, and Israel should surely be led away captive out of his land." The king, informed of what was going on, ordered Amos into exile, and Amaziah undertook to communicate this sentence to him: "O thou seer, go, flee thee away into the land of Judah, and there eat bread, and prophesy there: but prophesy not again any more at Bethel: for it is the king's sanctuary, and it is a royal house." And Amos replied, "I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet's son; but I was a herdman, and a dresser of sycomore trees: and the Lord took me from following the flock, and the Lord said unto me, Go, prophesy unto My people Israel. Now therefore hear thou the word of the Lord: Thou sayest, Prophesy not against Israel, and drop not thy word against the house of Isaac: therefore thus saith the Lord: Thy wife shall be an harlot in the city, and thy sons and thy daughters shall fall by the sword, and thy land shall be divided by line; and thou thyself shalt die in a land that is unclean, and Israel shall surely be led away captive out of his land."*
* Amos vii.9-17.
This prophecy, first expanded, and then written down with a purity of diction and loftiness of thought which prove Amos to have been a master of literary art,* was widely circulated, and gradually gained authority as portents indicative of the divine wrath began to accumulate, such as an earthquake which occurred two years after the incident at Bethel,* an eclipse of the sun, drought, famine, and pestilence.*** It foretold, in the first place, the downfall of all the surrounding countries -- Damascus, Gaza, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, Moab, and Judah; then, denouncing Israel itself, condemned it to the same penalties for the same iniquities. In vain did the latter plead its privileges as the chosen people of Jahveh, and seek to atone for its guilt by endless sacrifices. "I hate, I despise your feasts," declared Jahveh, "and I will take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Yea, though ye offer Me your burnt offerings and meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts. Take thou away from Me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols. But let judgment roll down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream."****
* S. Jerome describes Amos as "rusticus" and "imperitus sermone," but modern writers are generally agreed that in putting forward this view he was influenced by the statement as to the peasant origin of the prophet.
** Amos i.1; reference is made to it by the unknown prophet whose words are preserved in Zech. xiv.5.
*** The famine is mentioned in Amos iv.6, the drought in Amos iv.7, 8, the pestilence in Amos iv.10.
**** Amos v.21-24.
The unfaithfulness of Israel, the corruption of its cities, the pride of its nobles, had sealed its doom; even at that moment the avenger was at hand on its north-eastern border, the Assyrian appointed to carry out sentence upon it.* Then follow visions, each one of which tends to deepen the effect of the seer's words -- a cloud of locusts,** a devouring fire,*** a plumb-line in the hands of the Lord,**** a basket laden with summer fruits -- till at last the whole people of Israel take refuge in their temple, vainly hoping that there they may escape from the vengeance of the Eternal. "There shall not one of them flee away, and there shall not one of them escape. Though they dig into hell, thence shall Mine hand take them; and though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down. And though they hide themselves in the top of Oarmel, I will search and take them out thence; and though they be hid from My sight in the bottom of the sea, thence will I command the serpent, and he shall bite them. And though they go into captivity before their enemies, thence will I command the sword, and it shall slay them; and I will set Mine eyes upon them for evil and not for good."^
* Most commentators admit that the nation raised up by Jahveh to oppress Israel "from the entering in of Hamath unto the brook of the Arabah" (Amos vi.14) was no other than Assyria. At the very period in which Amos flourished, Assurdan made two campaigns against Hadrach, in 765 and 755, which brought his armies right up to the Israelite frontier (Schrader, Keilinschrift. Bibliothec, vol. i. pp.210- 213).
** Amos vii.1-3.
*** Amos vii.4-6.
**** Amos vii.7-9. It is here that the speech delivered by the prophet at Bethel is supposed to occur (vii.9); the narrative of what afterwards happened follows immediately (Amos vii.10-17).
^ Amos viii.1-3.; Amos ix.1-4.
For the first time in history a prophet foretold disaster and banishment for a whole people: love of country was already giving place in the heart of Amos to his conviction of the universal jurisdiction of God, and this conviction led him to regard as possible and probable a state of things in which Israel should have no part. Nevertheless, its decadence was to be merely temporary; Jahveh, though prepared to chastise the posterity of Jacob severely, could not bring Himself to destroy it utterly. The kingdom of David was soon to flourish anew: "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt. And I will bring again the captivity of My people Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be plucked up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord thy God."*
The voice of Amos was not the only one raised in warning. From the midst of Ephraim, another seer, this time a priest, Hosea, son of Beeri,** was never weary of reproaching the tribes with their ingratitude, and persisted in his foretelling of the desolation to come.
* Amos ix.13-15.
** Hoshea (or Hosea) was regarded by the rabbis as the oldest of the lesser prophets, and his writings were placed at the head of their collected works. The title of his book (Hos. i.1), where he begins by stating that he preached "in the days of Jeroboam, the son of Joash (Jehoash), King of Israel," is a later interpolation; the additional mention of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, is due to an attempted analogy with the title of Isaiah. Hosea was familiar with the prophecies of Amos, and his own
The halo of grandeur and renown with which Jeroboam had surrounded the kingdom could not hide its wretched and paltry character from the prophet's eyes; "for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause the kingdom of the house of Israel to cease. And it shall come to pass at that day that I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel."* Like his predecessor, he, too, inveighed against the perversity and unfaithfulness of his people. The abandoned wickedness of Gomer, his wife, had brought him to despair. In the bitterness of his heart, he demands of Jahveh why He should have seen fit to visit such humiliation on His servant, and persuades himself that the faithlessness of which he is a victim is but a feeble type of that which Jahveh had suffered at the hands of His people. Israel had gone a-whoring after strange gods, and the day of retribution for its crimes was not far distant: "The children of Israel shall abide many days without king and without prince, and without sacrifice and without pillar, and without ephod or teraphim; afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall come with fear unto the Lord and to His goodness in the latter days."**
* Hos. i.4, 5.
**Hos. i.-iii. Is the story of Hosea and his wife an allegory, or does it rest on a basis of actual fact? Most critics now seem to incline to the view that the prophet has here set down an authentic episode from his own career, and uses it to point the moral of his work.
Whether the decadence of the Hebrews was or was not due to the purely moral and religious causes indicated by the prophets, it was only too real, and even the least observant among their contemporaries must have suspected that the two kingdoms were quite unfitted, as to their numbers, their military organisation, and monetary reserves, to resist successfully any determined attack that might be made upon them by surrounding nations. An armed force entering Syria by way of the Euphrates could hardly fail to overcome any opposition that might be offered to it, if not at the first onset, at any rate after a very brief struggle; none of the minor states to be met upon its way, such as Damascus or Israel, much less those of Hamath or Hadrach, were any longer capable of barring its progress, as Ben-hadad and Hazael had arrested that of the Assyrians in the time of Shalmaneser III. The efforts then made by the Syrian kings to secure their independence had exhausted their resources and worn out the spirit of their peoples; civil war had prevented them from making good their losses during the breathing-space afforded by the decadence of Assyria, and now that Nature herself had afflicted them with the crowning misfortunes of famine and pestilence, they were reduced to a mere shadow of what they had been during the previous century. If, therefore, Sharduris, after making himself master of the countries of the Taurus and Amanos, had turned his steps towards the valley of the Orontes, he might have secured possession of it without much difficulty, and after that there would have been nothing to prevent his soldiers from pressing on, if need be, to the walls of Samaria or even of Jerusalem itself. Indeed, he seems to have at last made up his mind to embark on this venture, when the revival of Assyrian power put a stop to his ambitious schemes. Tiglath-pileser, hard pressed on every side by daring and restless foes, began by attacking those who were at once the most troublesome and most vulnerable -- the Aramaean tribes on the banks of the Tigris. To give these incorrigible banditti, who boldly planted their outposts not a score of leagues from his capital, a free hand on his rear, and brave the fortune of war in Armenia or Syria, without first teaching them a lesson in respect, would have been simply to court serious disaster; an Aramaean raid occurring at a time when he was engaged elsewhere with the bulk of his army, might have made it necessary to break off a successful campaign and fall back in haste to the relief of Nineveh or Calah (Kalakh), just as he was on the eve of gaining some decisive advantage. Moreover, the suzerainty of Assyria over Karduniash entailed on him the duty of safeguarding Babylon from that other horde of Aramaeans which harassed it on the east, while the Kalda were already threatening its southern frontier. It is not quite clear whether Nabunazir who then occupied the throne implored his help:* at any rate, he took the field as soon as he felt that his own crown was secure, overthrew the Aramaeans at the first encounter, and drove them back from the banks of the Lower Zab to those of the Uknu: all the countries which they had seized to the east of the Tigris at once fell again into the hands of the Assyrians.
* Nabunazir is the Nabonassar who afterwards gave his name to the era employed by Ptolemy.
This first point gained, Tiglath-pileser crossed the river, and made a demonstration in force before the Babylonian fortresses. He visited, one after another, Sippar, Nipur, Babylon, Borsippa, Kuta, Kishu, Dilbat, and Uruk, "cities without peer," and offered in all of them sacrifices to the gods, -- to Bel, to Zirbanit, to Nebo, to Tashmit, and to Nirgal. Karduniash bowed down before him, but he abstained from giving any provocation to the Kalda, and satisfied with having convinced Nabunazir that Assyria had lost none of her former vigour, he made his way back to his hereditary kingdom.*
* Most historians believe that Tiglath-pileser entered Karduniash as an enemy: that he captured several towns, and allowed the others to ransom themselves on payment of tribute. The way in which the texts known to us refer to this expedition seems to me, however, to prove that he set out as an ally and protector of Nabonazir, and that his visit to the Babylonian sanctuaries was of a purely pacific nature.
The lightly-won success of this expedition produced the looked-for result. Tiglath-pileser had set out a king de facto; but now that the gods of the ancient sanctuaries had declared themselves satisfied with his homage, and had granted him that religious consecration which had before been lacking, he returned a king de jure as well (745 B.C.). His next campaign completed what the first had begun. The subjugation of the plain would have been of little advantage if the highlands had been left in the power of tribes as yet unconquered, and allowed to pour down with impunity bands of rapacious freebooters on the newly liberated provinces: security between the Zab and the Uknu could only be attained by the pacification of Namri, and it was, therefore, to Namri that the sea of war was transferred in 744 B.C. All the Cossaean and Babylonian races intermingled in the valleys on the frontier were put to ransom one after another.
[Illustration: 216.jpg MAP OF CAMPAIGNS OF TIGLATH-PILESER III. IN MEDIA]
These included the Bit-Sangibuti, the Bit-Khamban, the Barrua, the Bit-Zualzash, the Bit-Matti, the Umliash, the Parsua, the Bit-Zatti, the Bit-Zabdadani, the Bit-Ishtar, the city of Zakruti, the Nina, the Bustus, the Arakuttu, by which the conqueror gradually made his way into the heart of Media, reaching districts into which none of his predecessors had ever penetrated. Those least remote he annexed to his own empire, converting them into a province under the rule of an Assyrian governor; he then returned to Calah with a convoy of 60,500 prisoners, and countless herds of oxen, sheep, mules, and dromedaries. Whilst he was thus employed, Assur-dainani, one of his generals to whom he had entrusted the pick of his army, pressed on still further to the north-east, across the almost waterless deserts of Media. The mountainous district on the shores of the Caspian had for centuries enjoyed a reputation for wealth and fertility among the races settled on the banks of the Euphrates and Tigris. It was from thence that they obtained their lapis-lazuli, and the hills from which it was extracted were popularly supposed to consist almost entirely of one compact mass of this precious mineral. Their highest peak, now known as the Demavend, was then called Bikni,* a name which had come to be applied to the whole district.
* The country of Bikni is probably Rhagian Media and Mount Bikni, the modern Demavend.
To the Assyrians it stood as the utmost boundary mark of the known world, beyond which their imagination pictured little more than a confused mist of almost fabulous regions and peoples. Assur-dainani caught a distant glimpse of the snow-capped pyramid of Demavend, but approached no nearer than its lower slopes, whence he retraced his steps after having levied tribute from their inhabitants. The fame of this exploit spread far and wide in a marvellously short space of time, and chiefs who till then had vacillated in their decision now crowded the path of the victor, eager to pay him homage on his return: even the King of Illipi thought it wise to avoid the risk of invasion, and hastened of his own accord to meet the conqueror. Here, again, Tiglath-pileser had merely to show himself in order to re-establish the supremacy of Assyria: the races of the plain, for many years familiar with defeat, made no pretence of serious resistance, but bowed their necks beneath a fresh yoke almost without protest.
[Illustration: 218.jpg PRINCIPAL PAK OF MOUNT BIKNI (DEMAVEND)]
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph by M. de Morgan.
Having thus secured his rear from attack for some years at any rate, Tiglath-pileser no longer hesitated to try conclusions with Urartu. The struggle in which he now deliberately engaged could not fail to be a decisive one; for Urartu, buoyed up and borne on the wave of some fifty years of prosperity, had almost succeeded in reaching first rank among the Asiatic powers: one more victory over Nineveh, and it would become -- for how long none might say -- undisputed mistress of the whole of Asia. Assyria, on the other hand, had reached a. point where its whole future hung upon a single issue of defeat or victory. The prestige with which the brilliant campaigns of Assur-nazir-pal and Shalmaneser III. had invested its name, if somewhat diminished, had still survived its recent reverses, and the terror inspired by its arms was so great even among races who had witnessed them from a distance, that the image of Assyria rose involuntarily before the eyes of the Hebrew prophets as that of the avenger destined to punish Israel for its excesses.*
* Cf. Amos vi.4.
No doubt, during the last few reigns its prosperity had waned and its authority over distant provinces had gradually become relaxed; but now the old dynasty, worn out by its own activity, had given place to a new one, and with this change of rulers the tide of ill-fortune was, perhaps, at last about to turn. At such a juncture, a successful campaign meant full compensation for all past disasters and the attainment of a firmer position than had ever yet been held; whereas another reverse, following on those from which the empire had already suffered, would render their effect tenfold more deadly, and, by letting loose the hatred of those whom fear alone still held in check, complete its overthrow. It was essential, therefore, before entering on the struggle, to weigh well every chance of victory, and to take every precaution by which adverse contingencies might be, as far as possible, eliminated. The army, encouraged by its success in the two preceding campaigns, was in excellent fighting order, and ready to march in any direction without a moment's hesitation, confident in its ability to defeat the forces of Urartu as it had defeated those of the Medes and Aramaeans; but the precise point of attack needed careful consideration. Tiglath-pileser must have been sorely tempted to take the shortest route, challenge the enemy at his most vulnerable point on the shores of Lake Van, and by a well-aimed thrust deal him a blow from which he would never, or only by slow degrees, recover. But this vital region of Urartu, as we have already pointed out, presented the greatest difficulties of access. The rampart of mountain and forest by which it was protected on the Assyrian side could only be traversed by means of a few byways, along which bands of guerrillas could slip down easily enough to the banks of the Tigris, but which were quite impassable to any army in full marching order, hampered by its horses, chariots, and baggage-train: compelled to thread its way, with columns unduly extended, through the woods and passes of an unknown country, which daily use had long made familiar to its adversaries, it would have run the risk of being cut to pieces man by man a dozen times before it could hope to range its disciplined masses on the field of battle. Former Assyrian invasions had, as a general rule, taken an oblique course towards some of the spurs of this formidable chain, and had endeavoured to neutralise its defences by outflanking them, either by proceeding westwards along the basins of the Supnat and the Arzania, or eastwards through the countries bordering on Lake Urumiah; but even this method presented too many difficulties and too little certainty of success to warrant Tiglath-pileser in staking the reviving fortunes of his empire on its adoption. He rightly argued that Sharduris would be most easily vulnerable in those provinces whose allegiance to him was of recent date, and he resolved to seek out his foe in the heart of Northern Syria.
[Illustration: 221.jpg VIEW OF THE MOUNTAINS WHICH GUARD THE SOUTHERN BORDER OF UARTU]
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph by M. Binder. Taken at Julamerk, near the junction of the mountain tracks leading from the Zab valley to the south-eastern corner of the basin of Lake Van.
There, if anywhere, every chance was in his favour and against the Armenian. The scene of operations, while it had long been familiar to his own generals and soldiers, was, on the other hand, entirely new ground to those of the enemy; the latter, though unsurpassed in mountain warfare, lost much of their superiority on the plains, and could not, with all their courage, make up for their lack of experience. Moreover, it must not be forgotten that a victory on the banks of the Afrin or the Orontes would have more important results than a success gained in the neighbourhood of the lakes or of Urartu. Not only would it free the Assyrians from the only one of their enemies whom they had any cause to fear, but it would also bring back the Hittite kings to their allegiance, and restore the Assyrian supremacy over the wealthiest regions of Western Asia: they would thus disable Urartu and reconquer Syria at one and the same time. Tiglath-pileser, therefore, crossed the Euphrates in the spring of 743 B.C., neither Matilu of Agusi, Kushtashpi of Kummukh, nor their allies daring to interfere with his progress. He thus advanced as far as Arpad, and, in the first moment of surprise, the town threw open its gates before him.*
* Different writers have given different versions of this campaign. Some think that Arpad resisted, and that Tiglath- pileser was laying siege to it, when the arrival of Sharduris compelled him to retire; others prefer to believe that Arpad was still in the hands of the Assyrians, and that Tiglath-pileser used it as his base of operations. The formula ina Arpadda in the Eponym Canon proves that Tiglath- pileser was certainly in Arpad: since Arpad belonged to the Bit-Agusi, and they were the allies or vassals of Sharduris, we must assume, as I have done here, that in the absence of the Urartians they did not dare to resist the Assyrians, and opened their gates to them.
There, while he was making ready to claim the homage of the surrounding countries, he learnt that Sharduris was hastening up to the rescue. He at once struck his camp and marched out to meet his rival, coming up with him in the centre of Kummukh, not far from the Euphrates, between Kishtan and Khalpi. Sharduris was at the head of his Syrian contingents, including the forces of Agusi, Melitene, Kummukh, and Gurgum -- a formidable army, probably superior in point of numbers to that of the Assyrians. The struggle lasted a whole day, and in the course of it the two kings, catching sight of one another on the field of battle, engaged in personal combat: at last, towards evening, the chariots and cavalry of Urartu gave way and the rout began. The victors made their way into the camp at the heels of their flying enemies. Sharduris abandoned his chariot, and could find nothing but a mare to aid him in his flight; he threw himself upon her back, careless of the ridicule at that time attached to the use of such a mount in Eastern countries,* fled at a gallop all through the night, hard pressed by a large body of cavalry, crossed the hills of Sibak, and with much difficulty reached the bridge over the Euphrates.
* So, too, later on, in the time of Sargon, Rusas, when defeated, gets on the back of a mare and rides off.
His pursuers drew rein on the river-bank, and Sharduris re-entered his kingdom in safety. He had lost nearly 73,000 men, killed or taken prisoners, in addition to his chariots, and nearly the whole train of horses, asses, servants, and artisans attached to his army; he left his tent still standing, and those who were first to enter it laid hands on his furniture and effects, his royal ornaments, his bed and portable throne, with its cushions and bearing-poles, none of which had he found time to take with him. Tiglath-pileser burnt them all on the spot as a thank-offering, to the gods who had so signally favoured him; the bed alone he retained, in order that he might dedicate it as a trophy to the goddess Ishtar of Nineveh.
He had covered himself with glory, and might well be proud of his achievement, yet the victory was in no way a decisive one. The damage inflicted on the allies, considerable though it was, had cost him dear: the forces left to him were not sufficient to enable him to finish the campaign, and extort oaths of allegiance from the Syrian princes before they had recovered from the first shock of defeat. He returned to Nineveh, and spent the whole winter in reorganising his troops; while his enemies, on the other hand, made preparations to repel the attack energetically. Sharduris could not yet venture outside his mountain strongholds, but the hope of being reinforced by him, as soon as he had got together another army, encouraged the Syrian kings to remain faithful to him in spite of his reverses.*
* The part played by Sharduris in the events of the years which followed, passing mention of which was made by Winckler (Gesch. Bab. und Ass,, pp.224, 225), have been fully dealt with by Belck and Lehmann (Chaldische
Matilu of Agusi, unable to carry the day against the Assyrians in the open field, distributed his men among his towns, and resisted all attacks with extraordinary persistence, confident that Sharduris would at length come to help him, and with this hope he held out for three years in his town of Arpad. This protracted resistance need no longer astonish us, now that we know, from observations made on the spot, the marvellous skill displayed in the fortification of these Asiatic towns. The ruins of Arpad have yet to be explored, but those of Samalla have been excavated, and show us the methods adopted for the defence of a royal residence about the middle of the century with which we are now concerned. The practice of building citadels on a square or rectangular plan, which prevailed so largely under the Egyptian rule, had gradually gone out of fashion as the knowledge of engineering advanced, and the use of mines and military engines had been more fully developed among the nations of Western Asia. It was found that the heavily fortified angles of the enclosing wall merely presented so many weak points, easy to attack but difficult to defend, no matter how carefully they might be protected by an accumulation of obstacles. In the case of fortresses built on a plain, where the plan was not modified by the nature of the site, the enclosing wall was generally round or oval in shape, and free from useless angles which might detract from its strength. The walls were surmounted by battlements, and flanked at short intervals by round or square towers, the tops of which rose but little, if indeed at all, above the level of the curtain. In front of this main wall was a second lower one, also furnished with towers and battlements, which followed the outline of the first all the way round at an interval of some yards, thus acting as a sort of continuous screen to it. The gates were little less than miniature citadels built into each line of ramparts; the gate of the outer wall was often surrounded by lower outworks, two square bastions and walls enclosing an outer quadrangle which had to be crossed before the real gate was reached.
[Illustration: 226a.jpg PLAN OF THE ANCIENT CITY OF ZINJIRLI.]
A reproduction by Faucher-Gudin of the first plan published by Luschan.
When a breach had been made in this double enclosure, though the town itself might be taken, the labours of the attacking force were not yet over. In the very centre of the place, on a sort of artificial mound or knoll, stood the royal castle, and resistance on the part of its garrison would make it necessary for the enemy to undertake a second siege no less deadly and protracted than the first. The keep of Zinjirli had only a single gate approached by a narrow causeway.
[Illustration: 226b.jpg ONE OF THE GATES OF ZINJIRLI RESTORED]
Reproduction by Faucher-Gudin of the sketch published by Luschan.
Within, it was divided by walls into five compartments, each of which was independent of the rest, and had to be attacked separately. Ma-tilu knew he could hope for no mercy at the hands of the Assyrians; he therefore struggled on to the last, and when at length obliged to surrender, in the year 740 B.C., he paid for his obstinacy by the loss of his throne, and perhaps also of his life.*
* Our knowledge of these events is imperfect, our only information being derived from the very scanty details given in the Eponym Canon; up to the present we can do no more than trace the general course of events.
[Illustration: 227.jpg BIRD'S-EYE VIEW OF THE ROYAL CASTLE OF ZINJIRLI AS RESTORED]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from the plan published in Luschan.
The inaction of Sharduris clearly showed that he was no longer in a position to protect his allies, and that the backbone of his kingdom was broken; the kings who had put faith in his help now gave him up, and ambassadors flocked in from all parts, even from those which were not as yet directly threatened. Kushtashpi of Kummukh, Tark-hulara of Gturgum, Pisiris of Carchemish, Uriaik of Kui, came to Arpad in person to throw themselves at the conqueror's feet, bringing with them offerings of gold and silver, of lead and iron, of ivory, carved and in the tusk, of purple, and of dyed or embroidered stuffs, and were confirmed in the possession of their respective territories; Hiram II. of Tyre, moreover, and Eezin of Damascus sent their greetings to him.*
* Annals of Tiglath-pileser III., where the statement at the close indicates that Tiglath-pileser received the tributary kings of Syria "in Arpad," after he had captured that city.
The Patina, who in days gone by had threatened the fortunes of Assur-nazir-pal, once again endeavoured to pose as the rivals of Assyria, and Tutammu, sovereign of Unki, the most daring of the minor states into which the Patina had been split up, declined to take part in the demonstrations made by his neighbours. Tiglath-pileser marched on Kinalua, sacked it, built a fortress there, and left a governor and garrison behind him: Agusi and Unki henceforth sank down to the level of mere provinces, administered by royal officers in the king's name, and permanently occupied by Assyrian troops.
Northern Syria was thus again incorporated with the empire, but Urartu, although deprived of the resources with which Syria had supplied it, continued to give cause for apprehension; in 739 B.C., however, a large proportion of the districts of Nairi, to which it still clung, was wrested from it, and a fortress was built at Ulluba, with a view to providing a stable base of operations at this point on the northern frontier. A rebellion, instigated, it may be, by his own agents, recalled Tiglath-pileser to the Amanus in the year 738. The petty kings who shared with Assyria the possession of the mountains and plains of the Afrin could not succeed in living at peace with one another, and every now and then their disputes broke out into open warfare. Samalla was at that time subject to a family of which the first members known to history, Qaral and Panammu, shared Yaudi equally between them. Barzur, son of Panammu I., had reigned there since about 765 B.C., and there can be little doubt that he must have passed through the same vicissitudes as his neighbours; faithful to Urartu as long as Sharduris kept the upper hand, and to Assyria as soon as Tiglath-pileser had humiliated Urartu, he had been killed in a skirmish by some rival. His son, Panammu IL, came to the throne merely as a nominee of his suzerain, and seems to have always rendered him faithful service; unfortunately, Yaudi was no longer subject to the house of Panammu, but obeyed the rule of a certain Azriyahu, who chafed at the presence of an alien power.*
* Azriyahu of Yaudi was identified with Azariah of Judah by G. Smith, and this identification was for a long time accepted without question by most Assyriologists. After a violent controversy it has finally been shown that the Yaudi of Tiglath-pileser III.'a inscriptions ought to be identified with the Yadi or Yaudi of the Zinjirli inscriptions, and consequently that Azriyahu was not king of Judah, but a king of Northern Syria. This view appears to me to harmonise so well with what remains of the texts, and with our knowledge of the events, that I have had no hesitation in adopting it.
Azriyahu took advantage of the events which kept Tiglath-pileser fully occupied in the east, to form a coalition in favour of himself among the states on the banks of the Orontes, including some seventeen provinces, dependencies of Hamath, and certain turbulent cities of Northern Phoenicia, such as Byblos, Arka, Zimyra, Usnu, Siannu, Coele-Syria, and even Hadrach itself. It is not quite clear whether Damascus and the Hebrews took part in this movement. Jeroboam had died in 740, after a prosperous reign of forty-one years, and on his death Israel seems to have fallen under a cloud; six months later, his son Zechariah was assassinated at Ibleam by Shallum, son of Jabesh, and the prophecy of Amos, in which he declared that the house of Jeroboam should fall beneath the sword of Jahveh,* was fulfilled. Shallum himself reigned only one month: two other competitors had presented themselves immediately after his crime;** the ablest of these, Menahem, son of Gadi, had come from Tirzah to Samaria, and, after suppressing his rivals, laid hands on the crown.*** He must have made himself master of the kingdom little by little, the success of his usurpation being entirely due to the ruthless energy invariably and everywhere displayed by him; as, for instance, when Tappuakh (Tiphsah) refused to open its gates at his summons, he broke into the town and slaughtered its inhabitants.****
* Amos vii.9.
** The nameless prophet, whose prediction is handed down to us in Zech. ix. -- xi., speaks of three shepherds cut off by Javeh in one month (xi.8); two of these were Zechariah and Shallum; the third is not mentioned in the Book of Kings.
*** 2 Kings xiv.23-29; xv.8-15.
**** 2 Kings xv.16. The Massoretic text gives the name of the town as Tipsah, but the Septuagint has Taphot, which led Thenius to suggest Tappuakh as an emendation of Tipsah: Stade prefers the emendation Tirzah.
All the defects of organisation, all the sources of weakness, which for the last half-century had been obscured by the glories of Jeroboam II., now came to the surface, and defied all human efforts to avert their consequences. "Then," as Hosea complains, "is the iniquity of Ephraim discovered, and the wickedness of Samaria; for they commit falsehood: and the thief entereth in, and the troop of robbers spoileth without. And they consider not in their hearts that I (Jahveh) remember all their wickedness: now have their own doings beset them about; they are before My face. They make the king glad with their wickedness and the princes with their lies. They are all adulterers; they are as an oven heated by the baker.... They... devour their judges; all their kings are fallen; there is none among them that calleth unto Me."* In Judah, Azariah (Uzziah) had at first shown some signs of ability; he had completed the conquest of Idumsea, Edom, and had fortified Elath,** but he suddenly found himself stricken with leprosy, and was obliged to hand over the reins of government of Jotham.***
* Sos. vii.1-4, 7.
** 2 Kings xiv.22; in 2 Ghron. xxvi.6-15 he is credited with the reorganisation of the army and of the Judsean fortress, in addition to campaigns against the Philistines and Arabs.
*** 2 Kings xv.5; cf.2 Ghron. xxvi.19-21. Azariah is also abbreviated into Uzziah. Tappuakh was a town situated on the borders of Ephraim and Manasseh (Josh. xvi.8; xvii.7, 8).
His long life had been passed uneventfully, and without any disturbance, under the protection of Jeroboam; but the very same defects which had led to the ruin of Israel were at work also in Judah, and Menahem, in spite of his enfeebled condition, had nothing to fear in this direction.
[Illustration: 232.jpg TIGLATH-PILESER III. IN HIS STATE CHARIOT]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a sketch published by Layard.
The danger which menaced him came rather from the east and the north, where Damascus, aroused from its state of lethargy by Rezon [Rezin] II., had again begun to strive after the hegemony of Syria.*
* The name of this king, written Rezin in the Bible (2 Kings xv.37; xvi.5, 6, 9), is given as Razunu in the Assyrian texts; he was therefore Ilezon II. A passage in the Annals seems to indicate that Rezin's father was prince of a city dependent on Damascus, not king of Damascus itself; unfortunately the text is too much mutilated to warrant us in forming any definite conclusion on this point.
All these princes, when they found that the ambition of Tiglath-pileser threatened to interfere with their own intrigues, were naturally tempted to combine against him, and were willing to postpone to a more convenient season the settlement of their own domestic quarrrels. But Tiglath-pileser did not give them time for this; he routed Azriyahu, and laid waste Kullani,* the chief centre of revolt, ravaged the valley of the Orontes, and carried off the inhabitants of several towns, replacing them with prisoners taken the year before during his campaign in Nairi.
* Kullani is the Calno or Calneh mentioned by Isaiah (x.9) and Amos (vi.2), which lay somewhere between Arpad and Hamath; the precise spot is not yet known.
After this feat the whole of Syria surrendered. Rezin and Menahem were among the first to tender their homage, and the latter paid a thousand talents of silver for the firman which definitely confirmed his tenure of the throne; the princes of Tyre, Byblos, Hamath, Carchemish, Milid, Tabal, and several others followed their example -- even a certain Zabibi, queen of an Arab tribe, feeling compelled to send her gifts to the conqueror.
A sudden rising among the Aramaean tribes on the borders of Elam obliged Tiglath-pileser to depart before he had time to take full advantage of his opportunity. The governors of Lullumi and Nairi promptly suppressed the outbreak, and, collecting the most prominent of the rebels together, sent them to the king in order that he might distribute them throughout the cities of Syria: a colony of 600 prisoners from the town of Amlati was established in the territory of Damaunu, 5400 from Dur were sent to the fortresses of Unki, Kunalia, Khuzarra, Tai, Tarmanazi, Kulmadara, Khatatirra, and Sagillu, while another 10,000 or so were scattered along the Phoenician seaboard and among the adjacent mountains. The revolt had meanwhile spread to the nations of Media, where it was, perhaps, fomented by the agents of Urartu; and for the second time within seven years (737 B.C.) Tiglath-pileser trampled underfoot the countries over which he had ridden in triumph at the beginning of his career -- the Bit-Kapsi, the Bit-Sangibuti, the Bit-Tazzakki, the Bit-Zulazash, the Bit-Matti, and Umliash. The people of Upash, among the Bit-Kapsi, entrenched themselves on the slopes of Mount Abirus; but he carried their entrenchments by storm. Ushuru of Taddiruta and Burdadda of Nirutakta were seized with alarm, and hid themselves in their mountain gorges; but he climbed up in pursuit of them, drove them out of their hiding-places, seized their possessions, and made them prisoners. Similar treatment was meted out to all those who proved refractory; some he despoiled, others he led captive, and "bursting upon the remainder like the downpour of Bamman," permitted none of them to escape. He raised trophies all along his line of march: in Bau, a dependency of Bit-Ishtar, he set up a pointed javelin dedicated to Ninip, on which he had engraved a panegyric of the virtues of his master Assur; near Shilkhazi, a town founded, in bygone days, by the Babylonians, he erected a statue of himself, and a pillar consecrated to Marduk in Til-ashshur. In the following year he again attacked Urartu and occupied the mountain province of Nal, which formed one of its outlying defences (736). The year after he entered on the final struggle with Sharduris, and led the flower of his forces right under the walls of Dhuspas,* the enemy's capital.
* The name is written Turuspas in the inscriptions of Tiglath-pileser III.
Dhuspas really consisted of two towns joined together. One of these, extending over the plain by the banks of the Alais and in the direction of the lake, was surrounded by fertile gardens and villas, in which the inhabitants spent the summer at their ease. It was protected by an isolated mass of white and red nummulitic chalk, the steep sides of which are seamed with fissures and tunnelled with holes and caverns from top to bottom.
[Illustration: 235.jpg THE ROCK AND CITADEL OF VAN AT THE PRESENT DAY]
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph by M. Binder.
The plateau in which it terminates, and which rises to a height of 300 feet at its loftiest point, is divided into three main terraces, each completely isolated from the other two, and forming, should occasion arise, an independent fortress, Ishpuinis, Menuas, Argistis, and Sharduris II. had laboured from generation to generation to make this stronghold impregnable, and they had succeeded in the attempt.
[Illustration: 236.jpg ENTRANCE TO THE MODERN CITADEL OF VAN FROM THE WESTWARD]
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph by M. Binder.
There can be little or no doubt, however, that this is merely a variant of the name usually written as Tuspas, Tuspana, Dhuspana, the Thospia of classical times; properly speaking, it was the capital of Biainas. The only access to it was from the western side, by a narrow bridle-path, which almost overhung the precipice as it gradually mounted to the summit. This path had been partially levelled, and flanked with walls and towers which commanded the approach throughout its whole length; on the platforms at the summit a citadel had been constructed, together with a palace, temples, and storehouses, in which was accumulated a sufficient supply of arms and provisions to enable the garrison to tire out the patience of any ordinary foe; treason or an unusually prolonged siege could only get the better of such a position. Tiglath-pileser invested the citadel and ravaged its outskirts without pity, hoping, no doubt, that he would thus provoke the enemy into capitulating. Day after day, Sharduris, perched in his lofty eyrie, saw his leafy gardens laid bare under the hatchet, and his villages and the palaces of his nobles light up the country round as far as the eye could reach: he did not flinch, however, and when all had been laid waste, the Assyrians set up a statue of their king before the principal gate of the fortress, broke up their camp, and leisurely retired. They put the country to fire and sword, destroyed its cities, led away every man and beast they could find into captivity, and then returned to Nineveh laden with plunder. Urartu was still undaunted, and Sharduris remained king as before; but he was utterly spent, and his power had sustained a blow from which it never recovered. He had played against Assur with the empire of the whole Asiatic world as the stake, and the dice had gone against him: compelled to renounce his great ambitions from henceforth, he sought merely to preserve his independence. Since then, Armenia has more than once challenged fortune, but always with the same result; it fared no better under Tigranes in the Roman epoch, than under Sharduris in the time of the Assyrians; it has been within an ace of attaining the goal of its ambitions, then at the last moment its strength has failed, and it has been forced to retire worsted from the struggle. Its position prevented it from exercising very wide influence; hidden away in a corner of Asia at the meeting-point of three or four great mountain ranges, near the source of four rivers, all flowing in different directions, it has lacked that physical homogeneity without which no people, however gifted, can hope to attain supremacy; nature has doomed it to remain, like Syria, split up into compartments of unequal size and strength, which give shelter to half a score of independent principalities, each one of them perpetually jealous of the rest. From time to time it is invested with a semblance of unity, but for the most part it drags on an uneventful existence, dismembered into as many fragments as there happen to be powerful states around it, its only chance of complete reunion lying in the possibility of one or other of these attaining sufficient predominance to seize the share of the others and absorb it.
The subjection of Urartu freed Assyria from the only rival which could at this moment have disputed its supremacy on the banks of the Euphrates and the Tigris. The other nations on its northern and eastern frontiers as yet possessed no stability; they might, in the course of a passing outburst, cut an army to pieces or annex part of a province, but they lacked strength to follow up their advantage, and even their most successful raids were sure, in the long run, to lead to terrible reprisals, in which their gains were two or three times outweighed by their losses in men and treasure. For nearly a hundred years Nineveh found its hands free, and its rulers were able to concentrate all their energy on two main points of the frontier -- to the south-west on Syria and Egypt, to the south-east on Chaldaea and Elam. Chaldaea gave little trouble, but the condition of Syria presented elements of danger. The loyalty of its princes was more apparent than real; they had bowed their necks after the fall of Unki, but afterwards, as the years rolled on without any seeming increase in the power of Assyria, they again took courage and began once more to quarrel among themselves. Menahem had died, soon after he had paid his tribute (737 B.c.); his son Pekahiah had been assassinated less than two years later (736)* and his murderer, Pekah, son of Remaliah, was none too firmly seated on the throne. Anarchy was triumphant throughout Israel; so much so that Judah seized the opportunity for throwing off the yoke it had borne for well-nigh a hundred years. Pekah, conscious of his inability to suppress the rebellion, called in Rezin to help him. The latter was already on the way when Jotham was laid with his fathers (736 B.C.), and it was Ahaz, the son of Jotham, who had to bear the brant of the assault. He was barely twenty years old, a volatile, presumptuous, and daring youth, who was not much dismayed by his position.** Jotham had repaired the fortifications of Jerusalem, which had been left in a lamentable state ever since the damage done to them in the reign of Amaziah;*** his successor now set to work to provide the city with the supply of water indispensable for its defence,**** and, after repairing the ancient aqueducts, conceived the idea of constructing a fresh one in the spur of Mount Sion, which extends southwards.
* 2 Kings xv.22-26. The chronology of the events which took place between the death of Menahem and the fall of Samaria, as presented by the biblical documents in the state in which they have been transmitted to us, is radically inaccurate: following the example of most recent historians, I have adhered exclusively to the data furnished by the Assyrian texts, merely indicating in the notes the reasons which have led me to adopt certain dates in preference to others.
** 2 Kings xv.38, xvi.1, 2. Ahaz is called Iaukhazi, i.e. Jehoahaz, in the Assyrian texts, and this would seem to have been the original form of the name.
*** The restoration of the walls of Jerusalem by Jotham is only mentioned in 2 Chron. xxvii.3.
**** We may deduce this from the words of Isaiah (vii.3), where he represents Ahaz "at the end of the conduit of the upper pool, in the highway of the fuller's field." Ahaz had gone there to inspect the works intended for the defence of the aqueduct.
As time pressed, the work was begun simultaneously at each end; the workmen had made a wide detour underground, probably in order to avoid the caves in which the kings of Judah had been laid to rest ever since the time of David,* and they were beginning to despair of ever uniting the two sections of the tunnel, when they suddenly heard one another through the wall of rock which divided them. A few blows with the pick-axe opened a passage between them, and an inscription on the wall adjoining the entrance on the east side, the earliest Hebrew inscription we possess, set forth the vicissitudes of the work for the benefit of future generations. It was scarcely completed when Kezin, who had joined forces with Pekah at Samaria, came up and laid regular siege to Jerusalem.**
* This is the highly ingenious hypothesis put forward and defended with much learning by Clermont-Ganneau, in order to account for the large curve described by the tunnel.
** 2 Kings xvi.5; cf.2 Chron. xxviii.5-8. It was on this occasion that Isaiah delivered the prophecies which, after subsequent revision, furnished the bulk of chaps, vi.1 -- x.4.
The allies did not propose to content themselves with exacting tribute from the young king; they meant to dethrone him, and to set up in his room a son of Tabeel, whom they had brought with them; they were nevertheless obliged to retire without effecting a breach in his defences and leave the final assault till the following campaign. Rezin, however, had done as much injury as he could to Judah; he had laid waste both mountain and plain, had taken Elath by storm and restored it to the Edomites,* and had given a free hand to the Philistines (735).**
* 2 Kings xvi.6, where the Massoretic text states that the Syrians retained the town, while the Septuagint maintain that he restored it to the Edomites.
** Chron. xxviii.18, where a list is given of the towns wrested from Judah by the Philistines. The delight felt by the Philistines at the sight of Judah's abasement seems to be referred to in the short prophecy of Isaiah (xiv.29-32), wrongly ascribed to the year of Ahaz's death.
[Illustration: 241.jpg HEBREW INSCRIPTION ON THE SILOAM AQUEDUCT]
A direct reproduction from a plaster cast now in Paris. The inscription discovered by Schick, in 1880, has since been mutilated, and only the fragments are preserved in the museum at Constantinople. Some writers think it was composed in the time of Hezekiah; for my own part, I agree with Stade in assigning it to the period of Ahaz.
The whole position seemed so hopeless, that a section of the people began to propose surrendering to the mercy of the Syrians.*
* This seems to be an obvious inference from the words of Isaiah (viii.6): "Forasmuch as this people hath refused the waters of Shiloah that go softly, and lose courage because of Rezin and Bemaliali's son." [The R.V. reads "rejoice in" Rezin, etc. -- Tr.]
Ahaz looked around him in search of some one on whom he might call for help. All his immediate neighbours were hostile; but behind them, in the background, were two great powers who might be inclined to listen to his appeal -- Egypt and Assyria. Ever since the expedition of Sheshonq into Asia, Egypt seemed to have lost all interest in foreign politics. Osorkon had not inherited the warlike propensities of his father, and his son, Takeloti I., and his grandson, Osorkon II., followed his example.*
* The chronology of this period is still very uncertain, and the stelae of the Serapseum, which enable us to fix the order of the various reigns, yield no information as to their length. Sheshonq I. did not reign much longer than twenty-one years, which is his latest known date, and we may take the reign of twenty-one years attributed to him by Manetho as being substantially correct. The latest dates we possess are as follows: Osorkon I., twelfth year, and Takeloti I., sixth year or seventh year. Lastly, we have a twenty-ninth year in the case of Osorkon II., with a reference in the case of the twenty-eighth year to the fifth year of a Takeloti whose first cartouche is missing, and who perhaps died before his father and co-regent. In Manetho, Osorkon I. is credited with a reign of fifteen years, and his three next successors with a total of twenty-five years between them, which is manifestly incorrect, since the monuments give twenty-nine years, or twenty-three at the very least, if we take into account the double date in the case of the first two of these kings. The wisest course seems to be to allow forty-five years to Osorkon and his two successors: if Sheshonq, as I believe, died in 924, the fifty years allotted to the next three Pharaohs would bring us down to 880, and it is in this year that I am, for the present, inclined to place the death of Osorkon II.
[Illustration: 242.jpg BRONZE]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from. Lanzone's statuette.
[Illustration: 243.jpg THE GREAT TEMPLE OF BUBASTIS DURINGNAVILLE's EXCAVATIONS]
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph by Naville.
These monarchs regarded themselves as traditionary suzerains of the country of Kharu, i.e. of Israel, Judah, Ammon, and Moab, and their authority may perhaps have been recognised by the Philistines in the main, but they seldom stirred from their own territory, and contented themselves with protecting their frontiers against the customary depredations of the Libyan and Asiatic nomads.*
* Repressive measures of this kind are evidently referred to in passages similar to those in which Osorkon II. boasts of having "overthrown beneath his feet the Upper and Lower Lotanu," and speaks of the exploits of the sons of Queen Kalamait against certain tribes whose name, though
Under their rule, Egypt enjoyed fifty years of profound peace, which was spent in works of public utility, especially in the Delta, where, thanks to their efforts, Bubastis came to be one of the most splendid among the cities of secondary importance.*
* All our knowledge of the history of the temple of Bubastis dates from Naville's excavations.
Its temple, which had been rebuilt by Ramses II. and decorated by the Rames-sides, was in a sorry plight when the XXIInd dynasty came into power. Sheshonq I. did little or nothing to it, but Osorkon I. entirely remodelled it, and Osorkon II. added several new halls, including, amongst others, one in which he celebrated, in the twenty-second year of his reign, the festival of his deification. A record of some of the ceremonies observed has come down to us in the mural paintings. There we see the king, in a chapel, consecrating a statue of himself in accordance with the ritual in use since the time of Amenothes III., and offering the figure devout and earnest worship; all the divinities of Egypt have assembled to witness the enthronement of this new member of their confraternity, and take part in the sacrifices accompanying his consecration. This gathering of the gods is balanced by a human festival, attended by Nubians and Kushites, as well as by the courtiers and populace. The proceedings terminated, apparently, with certain funeral rites, the object being to make the identification of Osorkon with Osiris complete.
[Illustration: 244.jpg PICTURE IN THE HALL OF THE HARPS IN THE FIFTH TOMB]
The Egyptian deities served in a double capacity, as gods of the dead as well as of the living, and no exception could be made in favour of the deified Osorkon; while yet living he became an Osiris, and his double was supposed to animate those prophetic statues in which he appeared as a mummy no less than those which represented him as still alive.
[Illustration: 245.jpg GATE OF THE FESTIVAL HALL AT BUBASTIS]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a restoration by Naville.
Another temple of small size, also dedicated to Bastifc or Pasht, which had been built in the time of Ramses II., was enlarged by Osorkon I., and richly endowed with workshops, lands, cattle, slaves, and precious metals: Tumu-Khopri of Heliopolis, to mention but one of the deities worshipped there, received offerings of gold in value by weight.L120,000, and silver ingots worth L12,000.*
* This is the small temple afterwards described by Herodotus as being dedicated to Hermes.
A country which could afford to indulge in extravagances of this nature must have been in a flourishing condition, and everything goes to prove that Egypt prospered under the rule of the early Bubastite kings.
The very same causes, however, which had ruined the Ramessides and the Tanites were now openly compassing the downfall of the Bubastite dynasty. The military feudalism from which it had sprung, suppressed for a time by Sheshonq I., developed almost unchecked under his successors. They had thought to break it up and turn it to their own advantage, by transferring the more important religious functions and the principal fiefs to their own sons or nephews. They governed Memphis through the high priests of Phtah; a prince of the blood represented them at Khmunu,* another at Khninsu** (Heracleopolis), and others in various cities of the Delta, each of them being at the head of several thousand Mashauasha, or Libyan soldiers on whose fidelity they could entirely rely.
* E.g. Namroti, under Pionkhi-Miamun, whose rights were such that he adopted the protocol of the Pharaohs.
** Stole 1959 of the Serapaeum contains the names of five successive princes of this city, the first of whom was Namroti, son of Osorkon II., and high priest of Thebes; a member of the same family, named Pefzaabastit, had taken cartouches under Osorkon III. of the XXIIIrd dynasty.
Thebes alone had managed to exclude these representatives of the ruling dynasty, and its princes, guided in this particular by the popular prejudice, persistently refused to admit into their bodyguard any but the long-tried Mazaiu. Moreover, Thebes lost no opportunity of proving itself to be still the most turbulent of the baronies. Its territory had suffered no diminution since the time of Hrihor, and half of Upper Egypt, from Elephantine to Siut, acknowledged its sway.1
* It is evident that this was so from the first steps taken by Pionkhi-Miamun's generals: they meet the army and fleet of Tafnakhti and the princes of the north right under the walls of Hormopolis, but say nothing of any feudal princes of the south. Their silence is explained if we assume that Thebes, being a dependency of Ethiopia, retained at that date, i.e. in the time of the XXIInd dynasty, the same or nearly the same boundaries which it had won for itself under the XXIst.
Through all the changes of dynasty its political constitution had remained unaltered; Amon still ruled there supreme as ever, and nothing was done until he had been formally consulted in accordance with ancient usage. Anputi, in spite of his being a son of Sheshonq, was compelled to adopt the title of high priest in order to rule in peace, and had married some daughter or niece of the last of the Painotmu. After his death, good care was taken to prevent the pontificate from passing to one of his children, as this would have re-established a Theban dynasty which might have soon proved hostile to that of Bubastis. To avoid this, Osorkon I. made over the office and fief to his own son Sheshonq. The latter, after a time, thought he was sufficiently powerful to follow the example of Painotmu and adopt the royal cartouches; but, with all his ambition, he too failed to secure the succession to the male line of his descendants, for Osorkon II. appointed his own son Namroti, already prince of Khninsu, to succeed him. The amalgamation of these two posts invested the person on whom they were conferred with almost regal power; Khninsu was, indeed, as we know, the natural rampart of Memphis and Lower Egypt against invasion from the south, and its possessor was in a position to control the fate of the empire almost as he pleased. Osorkon must have had weighty reasons for taking a step which placed him practically at the mercy of his son, and, indeed, events proved that but little reliance could be placed on the loyalty of the Thebans, and that energetic measures were imperative to keep them in the path of duty or lead them back to it. The decadence of the ancient capital had sadly increased since the downfall of the descendants of Hrihor.
[Illustration: 248.jpg SMALL BRONZE SPHINX OF SIAMUN]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from the original now in the Louvre.
The few public works which they had undertaken, and which Sheshonq I. encouraged to the best of his ability, had been suspended owing to want of money, and the craftsmen who had depended on them for support were suffering from poverty: the makers of small articles of a religious or funerary character, carvers of wood or stone, joiners, painters of mummy-cases, and workers in bronze, alone managed to eke out a bare livelihood, thanks to commissions still given to them by officials attached to the temples. Theban art, which in its best period had excelled in planning its works on a gigantic scale, now gladly devoted itself to the production of mere knick-knacks, in place of the colossal figures of earlier days.
[Illustration: 249.jpg RUINS OF THE TEMPLE AT KHNINSU AFTER NAVILLE's EXCAVATIONS]
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph in Naville. The illustration shows what now remains of the portions of the temple rebuilt in the time of Ramses II.
We have statuettes some twelve or fifteen inches high, crudely coloured, wooden stelae, shapeless ushabti redeemed from ugliness by a coating of superb blue enamel, and, above all, those miniature sphinxes representing queens or kings, which present with two human arms either a table of offerings or a salver decorated with cartouches. The starving populace, its interests and vanity alike mortified by the accession of a northern dynasty, refused to accept the decay of its fortunes with resignation, and this spirit of discontent was secretly fomented by the priests or by members of the numerous families which boasted of their descent from the Eamessides. Although hereditary claims to the throne and the pontificate had died out or lost their force in the male line, they were still persistently urged by the women: consecrated from their birth to the service of Amon, and originally reserved to sing his praises or share his nuptial couch, those of them who married transmitted to their children, and more especially to their daughters, the divine germ which qualified them for the throne. They and their followers never ceased to look for the day when the national deity should shake off his apathy, and, becoming the champion of their cause against the Bubastite or Tanite usurpers, restore their city to the rank and splendour from which it had fallen. Namroti married one of these Theban princesses, and thus contrived to ward off the danger of revolt during his lifetime; but on his death or disappearance an insurrection broke out. Sheshonq II. had succeeded Osorkon II., and he, in his turn, was followed by Takeloti II. Takeloti chose Kala-mait, daughter of Namroti, as his lawful wife, formally recognised her as queen, and set up numerous statues and votive monuments in her honour. But all in vain: this concession failed to conciliate the rebellious, and the whole Thebaid rose against him to a man. In the twelfth year of his reign he entrusted the task of putting down the revolt to his son Osorkon, at the same time conferring upon him the office of high priest. It took several years to repress the rising; defeated in the eleventh year, the rebels still held the field in the fifteenth year of the king, and it was not till some time after, between the fifteenth and twenty-second year of Takeloti II., that they finally laid down their arms.* At the end of this struggle the king's power was quite exhausted, while that of the feudal magnates had proportionately increased. Before long, Egypt was split up into a number of petty states, some of them containing but a few towns, while others, following the example of Thebes, boldly annexed several adjacent nomes. A last remnant of respect for the traditional monarchy kept them from entirely repudiating the authority of Pharaoh. They still kept up an outward show of submission to his rule; they paid him military service when called upon, and appealed to him as umpire in their disputes, without, however, always accepting his rulings, and when they actually came to blows among themselves, were content to exercise their right of private warfare under his direction.** The royal domain gradually became narrowed down to the Memphite nome and the private appanages of the reigning house, and soon it no longer yielded the sums necessary for the due performance of costly religious ceremonies, such as the enthronement or burial of an Apis. The pomp and luxury usually displayed on such occasions grew less and less under the successors of Takeloti II., Sheshonq III., Pimi, and Sheshonq IV.***
* The story of these events is told in several greatly mutilated inscriptions to be found at Karnak on the outer surface of the south wall of the Hall of Columns.
** It is evident that this was so, from a romance discovered by Krall.
*** One need only go to the Louvre and compare the Apis stelae erected during this period with those engraved in the time of the XXVIth dynasty, in order to realise the low ebb to which the later kings of the XXIInd dynasty had fallen: the fact that the chapel and monuments were built under their direction shows that they were still masters of Memphis. We have no authentic date for Sheshonq II., and the twenty-ninth year is the latest known in the case of Takeloti II., but we know that Sheshonq III. reigned fifty- two years, and, after two years of Pimi, we find a reference to the thirty-seventh year of Sheshonq IV. If we allow a round century for these last kings we are not likely to be far out: this would place the close of the Bubastite dynasty somewhere about 780 B.C.
When the last of these passed away after an inglorious reign of at least thirty-seven years, the prestige of his race had so completely declined that the country would have no more of it; the sceptre passed into the hands of another dynasty, this time of Tanite origin.* It was probably a younger branch of the Bubastite family allied to the Ramessides and Theban Pallacides. Petu-bastis, the first of the line, secured recognition in Thebes,** and throughout the rest of Egypt as well, but his influence was little greater than that of his predecessors; as in the past, the real power was in the hands of the high priests.
* The following list gives the names of the Pharaohs of the XXIIth dynasty in so far as they have been ascertained up to the present: --
[Illustration: 252.jpg TABLE OF PHARAOHS OF THE XXIITH DYNASTY]
** This fact has recently been placed beyond doubt by inscriptions found on the quay at Karnak near the water- marks of the Nile.
One of them, Auiti by name, even went so far, in the fourteenth or fifteenth year, as to declare himself king, and had his cartouches inscribed on official documents side by side with those of the Tanite monarch.* His kingship died with him, just as that of Patnotmu had done in similar circumstances, and two years later we find his successor, Harsiisit, a mere high priest without pretensions to royalty.
* No.26 of Legrain's inscriptions tells us the height of the Nile in the sixteenth year of Petubastit, which was also the second year of King Auiti. Seeing that Auiti's name occurs in the place occupied by that of the high priest of Thebes in other inscriptions of the same king, I consider it probable that he was reigning in Thebes itself, and that he was a high priest who had become king in the same way as Painotmu under the XXIst dynasty.
[Illustration: 253.jpg KING PETUBASTIS AT PRAYER]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a small door now in the Louvre.
Doubtless his was not an isolated case; all the grandees who happened to be nearly related either to the dethroned or to the reigning houses acted in like manner, and for the first time for many years Egypt acknowledged the simultaneous sway of more than one legitimate Pharaoh. Matters became still worse under Osorkon III.; although he, too, introduced a daughter of Anion into his harem, this alliance failed to give him any hold over Thebes, and even the Seven Nomes and the Delta were split up to such an extent that at one time they included something like a score of independent principalities, three of which, Hermopolis, Heracleopolis, and Tentramu, were administered by kings who boasted cartouches similar to those of Tanis and Bubastis.
About 740 B.C. there appeared in the midst of these turbulent and extortionate nobles a man who, by sheer force of energy and talent, easily outstripped all competitors. Tafnakhti was a chief of obscure origin, whose hereditary rights extended merely over the village of Nutirit and the outskirts of Sebennytos. One or two victories gained over his nearest neighbours encouraged him to widen the sphere of his operations. He first of all laid hands on those nomes of the Delta which extended to the west of the principal arm of the Nile, the Saite, Athribite, Libyan, and Memphite nomes; these he administered through officers under his own immediate control; then, leaving untouched the eastern provinces, over which Osorkon III. exercised a make-shift, easygoing rule, he made his way up the river. Maitumu and the Fayum accepted him as their suzerain, but Khninsu and its king, Pefzaabastit, faithful to their allegiance,* offered strenuous resistance.
* Pefzaabastit, King of Heracleopolis, seems to be identical with the Pharaoh Pefzabastit of the Berlin sarcophagus.
He then crossed over to the right bank, and received the homage of Heliopolis and Phebtepahe; he put the inhabitants of Uabu to ransom, established a close blockade of Khninsu, and persuaded Namroti, King of Khmunu, to take an oath of allegiance. At length, those petty kings and princes of the Said and the Delta who still remained unconquered called upon Ethiopia, the only power capable of holding its ground against him, for help. The "vile Kaushu" (Cush) probably rose to be an independent state about the time when Sheshonq and the Bubastite kings came into power.
[Illustration: 255.jpg VIEW OF A PART OF THE RUINS OF NAPATA]
Reproduced by Faucher-Gudin, from a lithograph published in Cailliaud.
Peopled by Theban settlers, and governed by the civil and religious code of Thebes, the provinces which lay between the cataract of Hannek and the confluence of the two Mies soon became a second Thebaid, more barren and less wealthy than the first, but no less tied to the traditions of the past. Napata, its capital, lay in the plain at the foot of a sandstone cliff, which rose perpendicularly to a height of nearly two hundred feet, its summit, when viewed from the southwest, presenting an accidental resemblance to a human profile.* This was the Du-uabu, or Sacred Mount, in the heart of which the god was supposed to have his dwelling; the ruins of several temples can still be seen near the western extremity of the hill, the finest of them being dedicated to a local Amon-Ra.
* The natives believe this profile to have been cut by human hands -- an error which has been shared by more than one modern traveller.
[Illustration: 256.jpg GEBEL-BARKAL, THE SACRED MOUNTAIN OF NAPATA]
Reproduced by Faucher-Gudin, from a lithograph in Cailliaud.
This Amon was a replica of the Theban Amon on a smaller scale, and was associated with the same companions as his prototype, Maut, his consort, and Khonsu, his son. He owed his origin to the same religious concepts, and was the central figure of a similar myth, the only difference being that he was represented in composite shape, with a ram's head; perhaps a survival from some earlier indigenous deity, such as Didun, for instance, who had been previously worshipped in those parts; his priests lived in accordance with the rules of the Theban hierarchy.
[Illustration: 257.jpg RUINS OF THE TEMPLE OF AMON AT NAPATA]
Reproduced by Faucher-Gudin, from a lithograph published by Cailliaud.
We can readily believe that when Hrihor extorted the title of "Royal Son of Kaushu" from the weaklings who occupied the throne at the close of the Ramesside dynasty, he took care to install one of the members of his family as high priest at Napata, and from henceforward had the whole country at his bidding. Subsequently, when Painotmu II. was succeeded by Auputi at Thebes, it seems that the Ethiopian priests refused to ratify his election. Whether they conferred the supreme power on one of their own number, or whether some son of Painotmu, flying from the Bubastite kings, arrived at the right moment to provide them with a master, is not quite clear.
[Illustration: 258.jpg PLAN OF THE TEMPLE OF AMON AT NAPATA]
Reproduced by Faucher-Gudin, from the plan drawn up and published by Cailliaud.
The kings of Ethiopia, priests from the first, never lost their sacerdotal character. They continued to be men of God, and as such it was necessary that they should be chosen by the god himself. On the death of a sovereign, Amon at once became regent in the person of his prophet, and continued to act until the funeral rites were celebrated. As soon as these ceremonies were completed, the army and the people collected at the foot of the Sacred Mount; the delegates of the various orders of the state were led into the sanctuary, and then, in their presence, all the males of the royal family -- "the king's brothers," as they were called -- were paraded before the statue of the god; he on whom the god laid his hand as he passed was considered to be the chosen one of Amon, and consecrated king without delay.*
* This is the ritual described in the Stele of the Enthronement. Perhaps it was already in use at Thebes under the XXIst and XXIInd dynasties, at the election of the high priest, whether he happened to be a king or not; at any rate, a story of the Ptolemaic period told by Synesius in The Egyptian seems to point to this conclusion.
As may be readily imagined, the new monarch thus appointed by divine dictation was completely under the control of the priests, and before long, if he failed to prove sufficiently tractable, they claimed the right to dispense with him altogether; they sent him an order to commit suicide, and he obeyed. The boundaries of this theocratic state varied at different epochs; originally it was confined to the region between the First Cataract and the mouth of the Blue Nile. The bulk of the population consisted of settlers of Egyptian extraction and Egyptianised natives; but isolated, as they were, from Egypt proper by the rupture of the political ties which had bound them to the metropolis, they ceased to receive fresh reinforcements from the northern part of the valley as they had formerly done, and daily became more closely identified with the races of various origin which roamed through the deserts of Libya or Arabia. This constant infiltration of free or slavish Bedawin blood and the large number of black women found in the harems of the rich, and even in the huts of the common people, quickly impaired the purity of the race, even among the tipper classes of the nation, and the type came to resemble that of the tribes of Equatorial Africa.*
* Taharqa furnishes us with a striking example of this degeneration of the Egyptian type. His face shows the characteristic features of the black race, both on the Egyptian statue as well as on the Assyrian stele of Sinjirli.
[Illustration: 260a.jpg A NEARLY PURE ETHIOPIAN TYPE]
[Illustration: 260b.jpg mixed and Ethiopian TYPE]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from Lepsius.
The language fared no better in the face of this invasion, and the written character soon became as corrupt as the language; words foreign to the Egyptian vocabulary, incorrect expressions, and barbarous errors in syntax were multiplied without stint. The taste for art decayed, and technical ability began to deteriorate, the moral and intellectual standard declined, and the mass of the people showed signs of relapsing into barbarism: the leaders of the aristocracy and the scribes alone preserved almost intact their inheritance from an older civilisation. Egypt still attracted them: they looked upon it as their rightful possession, torn from them by alien usurpers in defiance of all sense of right, and they never ceased to hope that some day, when the god saw fit, they would win back their heritage. Were not their kings of the posterity of Sibu, the true representatives of the Ramessides and the solar race, compared with whom the northern Pharaohs, even those whose mothers ranked as "worshippers" of Amon, were but mere mushroom kings? Thebes admitted the validity of their claims: it looked to them for help, and the revolts by which it had been torn ever since the reign of Osorkon II. were, perhaps, instigated by the partisans of Ethiopia. In the time of Petubastis its high priests, Harsiisit and Takeloti, were still connected with the Tanites; after that it placed itself under the immediate orders of Ethiopia, and the pontificate disappeared. The accession of a sovereign who was himself invested by hereditary right with the functions and title of high priest of Amon henceforth rendered the existence of such an office superfluous at Thebes: it would almost have meant an imperium in imperio. The administration of religious, and perhaps also of political, affairs was, therefore, handed over to the deputy prophet, and this change still further enhanced the importance of the "female worshippers of the god." In the absence of the king, who had his capital at Napata, they remained the sole representatives of legitimate authority in the Thebaid: the chief among them soon came to be regarded as a veritable Lady of Thebes, and, subject to the god, mistress of the city and its territory.
It is not quite clear whether it was Pionkhi Miamun or one of his immediate predecessors who took possession of the city. The nomes dependent on Amon followed the example of the capital, and the whole Theban territory as far as Siut had been occupied by Ethiopian troops, when in the twenty-first year of the king's reign the princes of the Delta and Middle Egypt appealed to the court of Napata for help.
[Illustration: 262.jpg MAP OF MIDDLE EGYPT DURING THE CAMPAIGN OF PIONKHI]
Even had they not begged it to do so, it would have been compelled before long to intervene, for Tafnakhti was already on his way to attack it; Pionkki charged Luamarsakni and Pu-arama, the generals he had already stationed in the Thebaid, to hold Tafnakhti in check, till he was able to get together the remainder of his army and descend the Nile to support them. Their instructions were to spare none of the rebellious towns, but to "capture their men and their beasts, and their ships on the river; to allow none of the fellaheen to go out into the fields, nor any labourer to his labour, but to attack Hermopolis and harass it daily." They followed out these orders, though, it would seem, without result, until the reinforcements from Nubia came up: their movements then became more actively offensive, and falling on Tafnakhti's ships, which were making for Thebes heavily laden with men and stores, they sunk several of them.
[Illustration: 262.jpg RUINS OF OXYRRHYNCHOS AND THE MODERN TOWN OF BAHNESA]
Drawn by Boudier, from an engraving in Vivant Denon.
Anxious to profit by this first success, they made straight for Heracleopolis with a view to relieving it. Tafnakhti, accompanied by the two kings Namroti and Auputi, was directing the siege in person; he had under his command, in addition to contingents from Busiris, Mendes, Thoth, and Pharbaithos, all the vassals of Osorkon III., the successor of Petubastis and titular Pharaoh of the whole country. The Ethiopian fleet engaged the Egyptian ships at the end of the island of Heracleopolis, near the mouth of the canal leading from the Nile to the Bahr-Yusuf.* Tafnakhti was defeated, and the remnants of his squadron took refuge in Pipuga under cover of his land forces.** At dawn, the next day, the Ethiopians disembarked and gave battle. The struggle was long and fierce, but indecisive. Luamarsakni and Puarama claimed the victory, but were obliged to effect a retreat on the day following their so-called success, and when they dropped anchor in the harbour of Hermopolis, they found that Namroti had made his way back to the city by land and forestalled them. Powerless to hold the field without support, he collected all the men and cattle he could lay hands on, and awaited the progress of events behind his ramparts. The Ethiopians invested the town, and wrote to inform Pionkhi of what they had done -- not, however, without some misgiving as to the reception which awaited their despatches. And sure enough, "His Majesty became enraged thereat, even as a panther: 'If they have allowed a remnant of the warriors of the north to remain, if they have let one of them escape to tell of the fight, if they make him not to die in their slaughter, then by my life, by the love of Ra, by the praise of Amon for me, I will myself go down and overthrow that which Tafnakhti hath done,*** I will compel him to give up war for ever! Therefore, after celebrating the festivals of the New Year, when I shall have sacrificed to Amon of [Napata], my father, in his excellent festival wherein he appears in his procession of the New Year, when he shall have sent me in peace to look upon the [Theban] Amon in his festivals at Thebes, and when I shall have carried his image in procession to Luxor, in the festival celebrated in his honour among the festivals of Thebes, on the night of the feast appointed in the Thebaid, established by Ra at the creation, when I have led him in the procession and brought him unto his throne, on the day for introducing the god, even the second of Athyr, then will I make the enemy taste the savour of my claws.'"
* The ancient geographers looked upon the nome of
** Pi-puga is probably El-Foka, on the Nile, to the north of Harabshent.
*** The king does not mention his adversary by name in the text; he is content to indicate him by a pronoun in the third person -- "that which he hath done... then will I make him taste," etc.
The generals did their very utmost to appease their master's wrath before he appeared on the scene. They told off a force to keep watch over Hermopolis while they themselves marched against the nome of Uabu; they took Oxyrrhynchos by storm, with "the fury of a water-spout," and informed the king of this achievement; but "his heart was not softened thereby." They crossed over to the right bank; they crushed the people of the north under the walls of Tatehni,* they forced the walls of the town with the battering-ram, and killed many of the inhabitants, amongst others a son of Tafnakhti, whose body they sent to the king; but "his heart was not softened thereby."
They then pushed on as far as Hait Bonua** and sacked it, but still failed to regain favour. On the 9th of Thoth, Pionkhi came down to Thebes, and after hasty attendance at the services to Amon, went to rejoin the vanguard of his army under the walls of Hermopolis.
* The modern Tehneh, on the right bank of the Nile, a little below Minieh.
** Hait-Bonu, or Habonu, is the Hipponon of the Greco-Roman geographers.
[Illustration: 266.jpg KING NAMROTI LEADING A HORSE TO PIONKHI]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from an impression of the stele in the Gizeh Museum.
"No sooner had his Majesty quitted the cabin of his ship, than the horses were harnessed and the charioteers in their places; the fear of his Majesty spread even to the Nomads of Asia, and all hearts trembled before him." Pionkhi drove back the enemy behind their walls, pitched his tent to the south-west of the city, threw up earth-works, and built terraces so as to place his bowmen and sling-ers on a level with the battlements of its towers. At the end of three days, Namroti, finding himself hard pressed on every side, resolved to surrender. He sent envoys to Pionkhi laden with rich presents, and despatched Queen Nsitentmahit after them, to beg for mercy from the women who had accompanied the Ethiopian, his wives, concubines, daughters, or royal sisters. Their entreaties were graciously received, and Namroti ventured to come in person, leading a horse with his right hand and shaking in his left a sistrum of gold and lapis-lazuli; he knelt down and presented with his salutations the long train of gifts which had gone before him. Pionkhi visited the temple of Thoth, and there, amidst the acclamations of soldiers and priests, offered up the customary sacrifices.
[Illustration: 267.jpg RUINS OF THE TEMPLE OF THOTH, AT HERMOPOLIS THE GREAT]
Drawn by Boudier, from an engraving in Vivant Denon. The portico was destroyed about 1820 by the engineers who constructed the sugar refinery at Rodah, and now only a few shapeless fragments of it remain.
He then made his way to the palace and inspected its courts, chambers, treasury, and storehouses, and reviewed the whole household, including even Namroti's own wives and daughters, though "he turned not his face towards any one of them." He next went on to the stud-farms, and was indignant to find that the horses had suffered from hunger during the siege. Thoroughbreds were probably somewhat scarce at Napata, and he had, no doubt, reckoned on obtaining new blood and a complete relay of chargers from the Egyptian stables; his chances of doing so seemed likely to vanish if brood mares and stallions had everywhere been debilitated by the hardships of war. He reserved a part of the booty for himself, handed over the balance to the priests of Amon at Karnak, and also, before he left, received tribute from Heracleopolis. Pefzaabastit brought him horses, the pick of his stables, slaves laden with gold and silver and precious stones; then burying his face in the dust, he offered worship to his liberator: "Hell had swallowed me up, I was plunged into darkness, and lo, now a light has been given me. Since I have found no man to love me in the day of adversity, or to stand by me in the day of battle, save only thee, O victorious king, who hast torn away the night from above me, I will be thy servant, I and all my house, and Khninsu shall pay tribute into thy treasury. For, as to thee, thou art Harmakhis, chief of the imperishable stars, thou art king, even as he is king, and even as he doth not destroy himself, neither shalt thou destroy thyself!"
The downfall of Khmunu led all who might still have shown resistance in Middle Egypt to lay down their arms also. The fortress of Pisakhmakhpirri* dominated the gorges of Lahunit, and thus commanded the entrance to the Fayum; but the son of Tafnakhti agreed to surrender it, provided he were allowed to march out with the honours of war.
* This fortress, which bears a name compounded with that of Osorkon I., must have been rebuilt by that monarch on the site of an earlier fort; the new name remained in use under the XXIInd and XXIIIth dynasties, after which the old one reappears. It is Illahun, where Petrie discovered the remains of a flourishing town of the Bubastite epoch.
Shortly after, Maitumu threw open its gates, and its example was followed by Titaui; at Maitumu there was rioting among the Egyptians in the streets, one party wishing to hold out, the other to surrender, but in the end the latter had their way.* Pionkhi discharged his priestly duties wherever he went, and received the local taxes, always being careful to reserve a tenth for the treasury of Amon-Ra; the fact that his army was kept under rigid control, and that he showed great clemency to the vanquished, helped largely to conciliate those who were not bound by close ties of interest to the cause of Tafnakhti. On reaching Memphis, Pionkhi at once had recourse to the persuasive methods which had hitherto served him so well, and entered into negotiations with the garrison. "Shut not yourselves up in forts, and fight not against the Upper Country,** for Shu the god of creation, when I enter, he entereth, and when I go out, he goeth out, and none may repel my attacks. I will present offerings to Phtah and to the divinities of the White Wall, I will honour Sokari in his mysterious coffer, I will contemplate Eisanbuf,*** then I will return from thence in peace. If ye will trust in me, Memphis shall be prosperous and healthy, even the children shall not cry therein. Behold the nomes of the South; not a soul has been massacred there, saving only the impious who blasphemed God, and these rebels have been executed."
* Maritumu, or Maitumu, is the modern Meidum, associated in the inscription with the characteristic epithet, Pisokari- Nibu-Suazu, or "temple of Sokari, master of the
** I.e. against Pionkhi, who was master of the Upper Country, that is, of Thebes and Ethiopia, and the forces from the whole of the valley to the south of Memphis who accompanied him.
*** Lit., "He who is on the South of his Wall," a name given to one of the quarters of Memphis, and afterwards applied to the god Phtah, who was worshipped in that quarter.
This eloquence, however, was of no avail. A detachment of archers, sailors, and engineers sent to make a reconnaissance of the harbour was taken by surprise and routed with loss, and on the following night Tafnakhti suddenly made his appearance on the spot. He had the 8000 men who were defending it paraded before him, and made them a speech, in which he pointed out the great natural strength of the position, the stoutness of the walls and the abundance of provisions; he then mounted his horse, and making his way a second time through the enemy's outposts, headed straight for the Delta in order to levy reinforcements there. The next day, Pionkhi went in person to examine the approaches of the city in which his ancestors had once been throned. There was a full Nile, and the river came right up to the walls. He sailed close in along the whole of the eastern front, and landed on the north, much vexed and discomfited at finding it so strongly fortified. Even the common soldiers were astonished, and began to discuss among themselves the difficulties of the undertaking with a certain feeling of discouragement. It would be necessary, they declared, to open a regular siege, "to make an inclined plane leading to the city, throw up- earthworks against its walls, bind ladders, set up masts and erect spars all around it." Pionkhi burst into a rage when these remarks were repeated to him: a siege in set form would have been a most serious enterprise, and would have allowed the allied princes time to get together fresh troops. He drove his ships full speed against the line of boats anchored in the harbour, and broke through it at the first onset; his sailors then scaled the bank and occupied the houses which overlooked it. Reinforcements concentrated on this point gradually penetrated into the heart of the city, and after two days' fighting the garrison threw down their arms. The victor at once occupied the temples to save them from pillage: he then purified Memphis with water and natron, ascended in triumph to the temple of Phtah, and celebrated there those rites which the king alone was entitled to perform. The other fortresses in the neighbourhood surrendered without further hesitation. King Auputi of Tentramu,* prince Akaneshu,** and prince Petisis tendered the homage of their subjects in person, and the other sovereigns of the Delta merely waited for a demonstration in force on the part of the Ethiopians before following their example.
* Probably the original of the statue discovered by Naville at Tel-el-Yahudiyeh. Tentramu and Taanu, the cities of Auputi, are perhaps identical with the biblical Elim (Exod. xvi.1) and the Daneon Portus of Pliny on the Red Sea, but Naville prefers to identify Daneon with the Tonu of the Berlin Papyrus No.1. I believe that we ought to look for the kingdom of Auputi in the neighbourhood of Menzaleh, near Tanis.
** Akaneshu ruled over Sebennytos and in the XVIIth nome. Naville discovered at Samannud the statue of one of his descendants, a king of the same name, perhaps his grandson, who was prince of Sebennytos in the time of Psammetichus I.
Pionkhi crossed the Nile and marched in state to Heliopolis, there to receive the royal investiture.
He offered up prayers at the various holy places along the route, such as the sanctuary of Tumu at Khriahu and the temple of the Ennead who dwelt in the cavern from which the Northern Nile was supposed to spring; he then crossed over Mount Ahu, bathed his face in the reputed source of the river, and at length penetrated into the dwelling-place of Ra. He ascended the steps leading to the great chapel in order that he might there "see Ra in Hait-Banbonu even himself. All unattended, he drew the bolt, threw open the doors, contemplated his father Ra in Hait-Banbonu, adjusted Ra's boat Madit and the Saktit of Shu, then closed the doors again, affixed a seal of clay, and impressed it with the royal signet." He had thus submitted his conduct for the approval of the god in whom all attributes of royalty were vested, and the god had legitimatised his claims to universal rule: he was henceforth the master, not merely de jure but de facto as well, and the kings who had hitherto declined to recognise him were now obliged to bow reverently before his authority.
Osorkon was the first to submit, and did so before the close of Pionkhi's stay at Heliopolis; when the latter pitched his camp near Kahani* in the Athribite nome, the nobles of the Eastern Delta, both small and great, came one after another with their followers; among them Patinifi of Pisapti, Paimau of Busiris, Pabisa of Khriahu and of Pihapi,** besides a dozen others.
* Kahani is, perhaps, the modern Kaha, some distance to the north of Qaliub.
** Pisapti stood on the present site of Shaft-el-iiineh. Khriahu, as we know, formed part of the Heliopolitan nome, and is, very possibly, to be identified with Babylon of Egypt, the Postat of the Arabs; Pihapi was a place not far from the supposed source of the Southern Nile.
He extended his favour to all alike, merely stipulating that they should give him the best of their horses, and undertake to keep careful watch over the prosperity of their stud farms. But Tafnakhti still held out, and seemed determined to defy him to the end; he had set fire to his palace and taken refuge in the islands on the river, and had provided a hiding-place for himself at Masudit among the marshes on the coast in case of final defeat. A victory gained over him by the Ethiopian generals suddenly induced him to sue for peace. He offered to disband his men and pay tribute, provided he was guaranteed undisturbed possession of Sais and of the western districts of the Delta; he refused, however, to sue for pardon in person, and asked that an envoy should be sent to receive his oath of allegiance in the temple of Nit. Though deserted by his brother princes and allies, he still retained sufficient power to be a thorn in his conqueror's side; his ultimate overthrow was certain, but it would have entailed many a bloody struggle, while a defeat might easily have shaken the fidelity of the other feudatory kings, and endangered the stability of the new dynasty. Pionkhi, therefore, accepted the terms offered him without modification, and asked for no guarantee beyond the oath taken in the presence of the gods. News was brought him about this time that Cynopolis and Aphroditopolis had at last thrown open their gates, and accordingly he summoned his vassals for the last time to his camp near Athribis. With the exception of Tafnakhti, they all obeyed the call, including two minor kings of Upper and two of Lower Egypt, together with barons of lesser rank; but of these, Namroti alone was admitted to the royal apartments, because he alone was circumcised and ate no fish; after this the camp was broken up, and the Ethiopians set out on their return journey southwards. Pionkhi may well have been proud of the result of this campaign, both for himself and for his country. The empire of the Pharaohs, which had for the last hundred and fifty years been divided, was now re-established from the confluence of the Niles to the shores of the Mediterranean, but it was no longer Egypt that benefited by the change. It was now, after many years of slavery, the turn of Ethiopia to rule, and the seat of power was transferred from Thebes or Memphis to Napata. As a matter of fact, the fundamental constitution of the kingdom underwent no great modification; it had merely one king the more to rule over it -- not a stranger, as we are often tempted to conclude, when we come to measure these old-world revolutions by our modern standards of patriotism, but a native of the south, who took the place of those natives of the north who had succeeded one another on the throne since the days of Smendes. In fact, this newly crowned son of Ra lived a very long way off; he had no troops of his own further north than Siut, and he had imposed his suzerainty on the rival claimants and reigning princes without thereby introducing any change in the constitution of the state. In tendering their submission to him, the heads of the different nomes had not the slightest intention of parting with their liberty; they still retained it, even though nominally dependent, and continued, as in the past, to abuse it without scruple. Namroti was king at Khmunu, Pefzaabastit at Khninsu, Auputi at Tentramu, and Osorkon III. at Bubastis; the prestige investing the Tanite race persisted so effectively that the annalists give to the last-named precedence over the usurpers of the Ethiopian dynasty; the Tanites continued to be the incarnate representatives of legitimate power, and when Osorkon III. died, in 732, it was his son Psamutis who was regarded as the Lord of Egypt. Tafnakhti had, in his defeat, gained formal recognition of his royalty. He was no longer a mere successful adventurer, a hero of the hour, whose victories were his only title-deeds, whose rights rested solely on the argument of main force. Pionkhi, in granting him amnesty, had conferred official investiture on him and on his descendants. Henceforth his rule at Sais was every whit as legitimate as that of Osorkon at Bubastis, and he was not slow in furnishing material proof of this, for he granted himself cartouches, the uraeus, and all the other insignia of royalty. These changes must have been quickly noised abroad throughout Asia. Commercial intercourse between Syria and Egypt was maintained as actively as ever, and the merchant caravans and fleets exported with regularity the news of events as well as the natural products of the soil or of industry. The tidings of an Ethiopian conquest and of the re-establishment of an undivided empire in the valley of the Nile, coming as they did at the very moment when the first effects of the Assyrian revival began to be so keenly felt, could not fail to attract the attention and arouse the hopes of Syrian statesmen. The Philistines, who had never entirely released themselves from the ties which bound them to the Pharaohs of the Delta, felt no repugnance at asking for a renewal of their former protection.
[Illustration: 276.jpg KING TAFNAKHTI PRESENTS A FIELD TO TUMU AND TO BASTIT]
Drawn by Boudier, from Mallet's photograph of the stele in the Museum at Athens.
As for the Phoenicians, the Hebrews, Edom, Moab, Ammon, and Damascus, they began to consider whether they had not here, in Africa, among the members of a race favourably disposed towards them by the memories of the past and by its ambition, hereditary allies against Nineveh. The fact that Egypt was torn by domestic dissensions and divided into a score of rival principalities in no way diminished their traditional admiration for its wealth or their confidence in its power; Assyria itself was merely an agglomeration of turbulent provinces, vassal cities, and minor kingdoms, artificially grouped round the ancient domain of Assur, and yet the convulsions by which it was periodically shaken had not prevented it from developing into the most formidable engine of war that had ever threatened the peace of Asia. The African hosts, whether led by ordinary generals or by a king of secondary rank, formed none the less a compact army well fitted by numbers and organisation to hold its own against any forces which Tiglath-pileser might put into the field; and even should the supreme Pharaoh be unwilling to throw the full weight of his authority into the balance, yet an alliance with one of the lesser kings, such as the lord of Sais or of Bubastis, would be of inestimable assistance to any one fortunate enough to secure it. It is true that, in so far as the ultimate issue was concerned, there was little to be gained by thus pitting the two great powers together and persuading one to fight against the other; the victor must, in the long run, remain master alike of those who had appealed for help and of those who had fought against him, and if Egypt emerged triumphant, there would be nothing for it but to accept her supremacy. In either event, there could be no question of independence; it was a choice between the hegemony of Egypt or that of Assyria.
From the moment that Tiglath-pileser had made his appearance on the northern horizon, the nations of Southern Syria had instinctively looked to Pharaoh for aid. There seems to have been an Egyptian faction in Samaria, even during the disorders which broke out after the death of Jeroboam II., and perhaps it was a hope of overcoming it easily which led Menahem of his own accord to invoke the still remote suzerainty of Nineveh, after the fall of Unki in 738;* later on, when Pekah had assassinated Pekahiah and entered into alliance with Eezin, he adopted the view of those who saw no hope of safety save from the banks of the Nile, his only reason for doing so being, apparently, because the kings of the fallen dynasty had received support from the valley of the Tigris. Hosea continually reproached his countrymen with this vacillating policy, and pointed out the folly of it: "Ephraim is like a silly dove without understanding; they call unto Egypt, they go unto Assyria; when they shall go I will spread My net upon them," said the Eternal.**
* The existence of an Egyptian faction at this period has been admitted by Kittel. Winckler has traced to the Arabian or Idumaean Muzri everything previously referred to Egypt. His arguments seem to me to be, in many cases, convincing, as I shall point out where necessary, but I think he carries his theory too far when he systematically excludes Egypt and puts Muzri in its place. Egypt, even in its decadent state, was a far more important power than the Arabian Muzri, and it seems unreasonable to credit it with such a limited share in the politics of the time. I cannot believe that any other power is intended in most of those passages in the Hebrew writings and Assyrian inscriptions in which the words Mizraim and Muzri occur.
** Hos. vii.11, 12.
They were to be given up to Assyria and dispersed, and while some were to go into Assur and eat unclean food, Ephraim was to return into Egypt; "for, lo, they are gone away from destruction, yet Egypt shall gather them up, Memphis shall bury them."* Nevertheless, they persisted in negotiating with Egypt, and though there was as yet no formal alliance between Samaria and Sais or Tanis, their relations were so close that no enemy of Israel could look for protection from Psamuti or his vassals. Ahaz had, therefore, nothing to hope from this quarter, and was compelled by the force of circumstances to throw himself into the arms of Assyria, if he decided to call in outside aid at all. His prophets, like those of Pekah, strenuously forbade him to do so, and among them was one who was beginning to exert a marvellous influence over all classes of society -- Isaiah, the son of Amoz. He had begun his career in the year that Uzziah died,** and had continued to prophesy without interruption during the brief reign of Jotham.***
* Hos. ix.3-6.
** Isa. vi.1.
*** The fragments which can be assigned to this period now occur as follows: chap. ii.2-5 (verses 2-4 are also found in Micah iv.1-3, and were, perhaps, borrowed from some third prophet), ii.6-22, iii., iv., v.1-24 (the Parable of the Vineyard), and lastly, chap, vi., in so far as the substance is concerned; it seems to have been put into its present form long after the events.
When Jahveh first appeared to him, in the smoke of the altar, seated on a throne and surrounded by seraphim, a sense of his own unworthiness filled him with fear, but an angel purified his lips with a live coal, and he heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" and he replied, "Here am I; send me," whereupon Jahveh gave him this message: "Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and turn again and be healed." Then the prophet asked, "Lord, how long?" And Jahveh answered, "Until cities be waste without inhabitant and houses without man, and the land become utterly waste, and Jahveh have removed men far away, and the forsaken places be many in the midst of the land. And if there be yet a tenth in it, it shall be eaten up; as a terebinth, and as an oak, whose stock remaineth when they are felled, so the holy seed is the stock thereof."*
* An explanatory gloss, "the fierce anger of Rezin and Syria and of the son of Remaliah," which formed no part of the original prophecy, is here inserted in the text.
Judah, though less powerful, was quite as corrupt as his brethren of Israel, and the divine wrath threatened him no less than them; it rested with himself, however, to appease it by repentance, and to enter again into divine favour after suffering his punishment; the Eternal would then gather together on Mount Sion those of His faithful people who had survived the crisis, and would assure them a long period of prosperity under His law. The prophet, convinced that men could in no wise alter the decrees of the Highest, save by repentance alone, was astonished that the heads of the state should strive to impede the progress of events that were happening under their very eyes, by the elaborately useless combinations of their worldly diplomacy. To his mind, the invasion of Pekah and Eezin was a direct manifestation of the divine anger, and it filled him with indignation that the king should hope to escape from it by begging for an alliance against them with one of the great powers: when Jahveh should decide that the punishment was sufficient for the crime, He would know how to shatter His instruments without any earthly help. Indeed, Isaiah had already told his master, some days before the allied kings appeared, while the latter was busy superintending the works intended to supply Jerusalem with water, to "Take heed, and be quiet; fear not, neither let thy heart be faint, because of these two tails of smoking firebrands.... Because Syria hath counselled evil against thee, Ephraim also, and the son of Bemaliah, saying, Let us go up against Judah, hem it in, carry it by storm, and set up the son of Tabeel as king: thus saith the Lord God, It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass." If, however, the course of the divine justice was to be disturbed by the intervention of a purely human agency, the city would doubtless be thereby saved, but the matter would not be allowed to rest there, and the people would suffer even more at the hands of their allies than they had formerly endured from their enemies. "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel -- God with us.... For before the child shall know to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land whose two kings thou abhorrest shall be forsaken," and yet "Jahveh shall bring upon thee, and upon thy people, and upon thy father's house, days that have not come, from the day that Ephraim departed from Judah."* And then, employing one of those daring apologues, common enough in his time, the prophet took a large tablet and wrote upon it in large letters two symbolical names -- Spoil-speedeth, Prey-hasteth -- and set it up in a prominent place, and with the knowledge of credible witnesses went in unto the prophetess his wife. When the child was born in due course, Jahveh bade him call it Spoil-speedeth, Prey-hasteth, "for before he shall have knowledge to cry, My father and, My mother, the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria shall be carried away before the King of Assyria." But the Eternal added, "Forasmuch as this people hath refused the waters of Shiloah that go softly, and rejoice in Rezin and Remaliah's son; now therefore, behold, the Lord bringeth up upon them the waters of the river [the Euphrates], strong and many:* and he shall come up over all his channels, and go over all his banks: and he shall sweep onward into Judah; he shall overflow and pass through; he shall reach even to the neck, and the stretching of his wings shall fill the breadth of thy land, O Immanuel [God-with-us]!"*** Finding that Egypt was in favour of his adversaries, Ahaz, in spite of the prophet's warnings, turned to Assyria.****
* Isa. vii.10-17.
** A marginal gloss has here been inserted in the text, indicating that it was "the King of Assyria and all his glory " that the prophet referred to
*** Isa. viii.1-8.
**** The following portions of Isaiah are accepted as belonging to the period of this Syrian war: in addition to chap, vii., chaps, viii.-ix 6. xi 1-9. xxii.1-11; i.4-9, 18-32; to these Kuenen adds chap, xxiii.1-8
[Illustration: 282.jpg MAP THE KINGDOM OF DAMASCUS]
At one time he had found himself so hard pressed that he invoked the aid of the Syrian gods, and made his eldest son pass through the fire in order to propitiate them:* he collected together all the silver and gold he could find in his own treasury or in that of the temple and sent it to Tiglath-pileser, with this message: "I am thy servant and thy son: come up and save me out of the hand of the King of Syria, and out of the hand of the King of Israel, which rise up against me."**
* 2 Kings xvi.3 (cf.2 Chron. xxviii.3). There is nothing to indicate the date, but most historians place the event at the beginning of the Syrian war, a little before or during the siege.
** Kings xvi.7, 8; cf.2 Chron. xxviii.16, 20, 21.
Tiglath-pileser came in haste, and Rezin and Pekah, at the mere tidings of his approach, desisted from their attack on Jerusalem, separated, and retired each to his own kingdom. The Assyrian king did not immediately follow them up. He took the road leading along the coast, after leaving the plains of the middle Orontes, and levied tribute from the Phoenician cities as he passed; he then began by attacking the western frontier of Israel, and sent a body of troops against the Philistines, who were ceaselessly harassing Judah. Hannon, King of Gaza, did not await the attack, but fled to Egypt for safety, and Ahaz breathed freely, perhaps for the first time since his accession. This, however, was only a beginning; the real struggle took place in the following year, and was hotly contested. In spite of the sorry pass to which its former defeats and present discords had brought it, Damascus still possessed immense wealth, and its army, when reinforced by the Arabian and Israelite contingents, was capable of holding its own for a long time against the battalions of Assyria, even if it could not hope to conquer them. Unfortunately for its chances, Eezin had failed to inherit the military capacity of his great predecessors, Ben-hadad and Hazael; he allowed Tiglath-pileser to crush the Hebrews without rendering them any effective assistance. Pekah fought his best, but he lost, one after another, the strongholds which guarded his northern frontier -- Ijon, Abel-beth-maacah, Janoah, Kedesh, and Hazor; he saw the whole of Naphtali and Gilead laid waste, and their inhabitants carried off into Assyria without his being able to prevent it; he himself being obliged to evacuate Samaria and take refuge in the mountains almost unattended. Judah followed, with mingled exultation and disquietude, the vicissitudes of the tragic drama which was thus enacted before its eyes, and Isaiah foretold the speedy ruin of the two peoples who had but yesterday threatened to enslave it. He could already see the following picture in his mind's eye: "Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap. The cities of Aroer are forsaken: they shall be for flocks, which shall lie down, and none shall make them afraid."*
* Both of these Aroers lay beyond Jordan -- one in Reuben, afterwards Moab (Judg. xi.26; Jer. xlviii.19); the other in Amnion, afterwards Gad (Josh. xiii.25; 2 Sam. xxiv.5); here they stand for the countries beyond Jordan which Tiglath-pileser had just laid waste. The tradition preserved in 1 Citron, v.26 stated that these inhabitants of Gad and Reuben were led into captivity by Pul, i.e. Tiglath-pileser.
"The fortress also shall cease from Ephraim, and the kingdom from Damascus, and the remnant of Syria: they shall be as the glory of the children of Israel, saith the Lord of hosts! And it shall come to pass in that day, that the glory of Jacob shall be made thin, and the fatness of his flesh shall wax lean. And it shall be as when the harvestman gathereth the standing corn, and his arm reapeth the ears; yea, it shall be as when one gleaneth ears in the valley of Ephraim. Yet there shall be left therein gleanings, as the shaking of an olive tree, two or three berries in the top of the uppermost bough, four or five in the outmost branches of a fruitful tree, saith Jahveh, the God of Israel!... In that day shall his strong cities be as the forsaken places in the wood, and on the mountain top, which were forsaken from before the children of Israel:* and it shall be as a desolation. For thou hast forgotten the God of thy salvation."**
* This is probably an allusion to the warlike exploits performed during Rezin and Pekah's invasion of Judaea, a year or two previously.
** Isa. xvii.1-6, 9, 10.
Samaria was doomed to helplessness for many a day to come, if not for ever, but it had taken a whole year to lay it low (733); Tiglath-pileser returned in 732, and devoted yet another year to the war against Damascus. Eezin had not been dismayed by the evil fortune of his friends, and had made good his losses by means of fresh alliances. He had persuaded first Mutton II. of Tyre, then Mitinti of Askalon, and with the latter a section of the Philistines, to throw in their lot with him; he had even won over Shamshieh, queen of the Arabs, and with her a number of the most warlike of the desert tribes; for himself, he had taken up a position on the further side of Anti-Lebanon, and kept strict watch from Mount Hermon on the roads leading from the valley of the Jordan to the plains of the Abana, in order to prevent the enemy from outflanking him and taking him in the rear. But all to no purpose; Tiglath-pileser bore directly down upon him, overwhelmed him in a pitched battle, obliged him to take refuge behind the walls of Damascus, and there besieged him.
[Illustration: 288.jpg MOUNT HERMON]
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph brought back by Lortet.
The city was well fortified, amply supplied with provisions, and strongly garrisoned; the siege was, therefore, a long one, and the Assyrians filled up the time by laying waste the fertile country at the foot of Anti-Lebanon. At last Rezin yielded, gave himself up unconditionally, and was forthwith executed: eight thousand of his followers were carried off to Kir, on the confines of Elam,* his kingdom was abolished, and a Ninevite governor was installed in his palace, by whom the former domain of Damascus and the territory lately wrested from Israel were henceforth to be administered.
* 2 Kings xvi.9. Kir is generally located in Armenia, Media, or Babylonia; a passage in Isaiah (xxii.6), however, seems to point to its having been somewhere in the direction of Elam, and associated with the Aramaeans on the banks of the Tigris. The Assyrian monuments have not, as yet, yielded confirmation of the details given by the Book of the Kings in regard to the captivity of the inhabitants of Damascus. A fragmentary tablet, giving an account of the death of Rezin, was discovered by H. Raw-linson, but it was left in Assyria, and no one knows what has since become of it.
[Illustration: 289.jpg AN ARAB]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from Layard.
The coalition he had formed did not long survive its leader.* Mutton hastily came to an understanding with the conqueror; Mitinti, like Hannon, fled into Egypt, and his place was taken by Kukibtu, a partisan of Assyria. Hoshea, son of Elah, rebelled against Pekah, assassinated him, and purchased the right to reign over what was left of Israel for ten talents of gold.** Shamshieh alone held out.
* The following is a list of the kings of Damascus from the time of David, as far as is known up to the present time: --
[Illustration: LIST OF THE KINGS OF DAMASCUS]
** 2 Kings xv.30. The inscription published by H.
She imagined herself to be safe among the sands of the desert, and it never occurred to her that the heavy masses of the Assyrian army would dream of venturing into these solitudes. Detachments of light cavalry were sent in pursuit of her, and at first met with some difficulties; they were, however, eventually successful; the Armenian and Cappadocian steeds of the Ninevite horsemen easily rode down the queen's meharis.
[Illustration: 290.jpg ARAB MEHARIS RIDDEN DOWN BY THE ASSYRIAN CAVALRY]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from the bas-relief reproduced by Layard.
Their success made a great impression on the Arab tribes, and induced the Mashai, Timai Sabasans, Khaiapaeans, Badanaeans, and Khattiaeans to bend the knee before Assyria. They all sent envoys bearing presents of gold and silver, camels, both male and female, and spices:* even the Muzri, whose territory lay to the south of the Dead Sea, followed their example, and a certain Idibiel was appointed as their chief.**
* Delitzsch has identified the names of several of these races with names mentioned in the Bible, such as the Temah, Massah, Ephah, Sheba.
** The name Muzri, as Winckler has shown, here refers, not to Egypt, but to a canton near Edom, the Nabatsea of the Greco-Roman geographers.
While his lieutenants were settling outstanding issues in this fashion, Tiglath-pileser held open courts at Damascus, where he received the visits and homage of the Syrians. They came to assure themselves by the evidence of their own eyes of the downfall of the power which had for more than one hundred years checked the progress of Assyria. Those who, like Uassarmi of Tabal, showed any sign of disaffection were removed, the remainder were confirmed in their dignities, subject to payment of the usual tribute, and Mutton of Tyre was obliged to give one hundred talents of gold to ransom his city. Ahaz came to salute his preserver, and to obtain a nearer view of the soldiers to whom he owed continued possession of Jerusalem;* the kings of Ammon, Moab, Edom, and Askalon, the Philistines and the nomads of the Arabian desert, carried away by the general example, followed the lead of Judah, until there was not a single prince or lord of a city from the Euphrates to the river of Egypt who had not acknowledged himself the humble vassal of Nineveh.
* 2 Kings xvi.10-12. The Nimroud Inscrip. merely mentions his tribute among that of the Syrian kings.
With the downfall of rezin, Syria's last hope of recovery had vanished; the few states which still enjoyed some show of independence were obliged, if they wished to retain it, to make a parade of unalterable devotion to their Ninevite master, or -- if they found his suzerainty intolerable -- had to risk everything by appealing to Egypt for help.
Much as they may have wished from the very first to do so, it was too early to make the attempt so soon after the conference at Damascus; Tiglath-pileser had, therefore, no cause to fear a rebellion among them, at any rate for some years to come, and it was just as well that this was so, for at the moment of his triumph on the shores of the Mediterranean his interests in Chaldaea were threatened by a serious danger. Nabonazir, King of Karduniash, had never swerved from the fidelity which he had sworn to his mighty ally after the events of 745, but the tranquillity of his reign had been more than once disturbed by revolt. Borsippa itself had risen on one occasion, and endeavoured to establish itself as an independent city side by side with Babylon.
When Nabonazir died, in 734, he was succeeded by his son Nabunadinziri, but at the end of a couple of years the latter was assassinated during a popular outbreak, and Nabushumukin, one of his sons, who had been implicated in the rising, usurped the crown (732). He wore it for two months and twelve days, and then abdicated in favour of a certain Ukinzir.*
* The following is as complete a list as can at present be compiled of this Babylonian dynasty, the eighth of those registered in Pinches' Canons (cf. Rost, Untersucli. zur altorient. Gesch., p.27): --
[Illustration: 292.jpg TABLE OF THIS BABYLONIAN DYNASTY]
It included twenty-two kings, and lasted for about three hundred and fifty years.
The latter was chief of the Bit-Amukkani, one of the most important among the Chaldaean communities;* the descendants of the Aramaean nomads were thus once more placed upon the throne, and their accession put an end to the relations which had existed for several centuries between Assyria and Karduniash.
* The chronicle is silent with regard to the origin of Ukinzir, but Tiglath-pileser, who declines to give him the title of "King of Babylon," says that he was mar Amuhlcani = son of Amukkani. Pinches' Canon indicates that Ukinzir belonged to a dynasty the name of which may be read either Shashi or Shapi. The reading Shapi at once recalls the name of Shapia, one of the chief cities of the Bit Amukkani; it would thus confirm the evidence of the Nimroud Inscription.
These marauders, who had always shown themselves impatient of any settled authority, and had never proffered more than a doubtful submission to even the most triumphant invader, were not likely to accept the subordinate position which members of the presiding dynasty had been, for the most part, content to occupy. It was more probable that they would, from the very first, endeavour to throw off the suzerainty of Nineveh. Tiglath-pileser gave the new dynasty no time to settle itself firmly on the throne: the year after his return from Syria he got together an army and marched against it. He first cleared the right bank of the Tigris, where the Pukudu (Pekod) offered but a feeble resistance; he annexed their territory to the ancient province of Arrapkha, then crossed the river and attacked the Kaldi scattered among the plains and marshes of the Shatt el-Hai.
[Illustration: 294.jpg A KALDU]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a woodcut published by Tomkins.
The Bit-Shilani were the first to succumb; their king Nabushabshi was impaled before one of the gates of his capital, Sarrabanu, the town itself was taken by storm, plundered and dismantled, and 55,000 of its inhabitants were led captive into Assyria. After the Bit-Shilani, came the turn of the Bit-Shaali. Dur-Illatai, their capital, was razed to the ground, and its population, numbering 50,400 men and women, was deported. Their chief, Lakiru, who had shown great bravery in the struggle, escaped impalement, but was sent into captivity with his people, a Ninevite governor being appointed in his place. Ukinzir, who was, as we know, hereditary prince of the Bit-Amuk-kani, came up in haste to defend his appanage, and threw himself into his fortress at Shapia: Tiglath-pileser cut down the gardens and groves of palms which lent it beauty, burnt the surrounding farms and villages, and tried, without success, to make a breach in the walls; he still, however, maintained the siege, but when winter came on and the place still held out, he broke up his camp and retreated in good order, leaving the districts which he had laid waste occupied by an Assyrian force. Before his departure, he received homage and tribute from most of the Aramaean chiefs, including those of Balasu and the Bit-Dakkuri, of Nadinu, and even of the Bit-Yakin and Merodach-baladan, whose ancestors had never before "kissed the foot" of an Assyrian conqueror. In this campaign he had acquired nearly three-fourths of the whole Babylonian kingdom; but Babylon itself still refused to yield, and it was no easy task to compel it to do so. Tiglath-pileser spent the whole of the year 730 in preparing for another attack, and in 729 he again appeared in front of Shapia, this time with greater success: Ukinzir fell into his hands, Babylon opened its gates, and he caused himself to be proclaimed King of Sumir and Akkad within its walls.* Many centuries had passed since the two empires had been united under the rule of a single master, or an Assyrian king had "taken the hands of Bel." Tiglath-pileser accepted the condition attached to this solemn investiture, which obliged him to divide his time between Calah and Babylon, and to repeat at every festival of the New Year the mystic ceremony by which the god of the city confirmed him in his office.**
* Contemporary documents do not furnish us with any information as to these events. The Eponym Canon tells us that "the king took the hands of Bel." Pinches'
** The Eponym Canon proves that in 728 B.C., the year of his death, he once more took the hands of Bel.
His Babylonian subjects seem to have taken a liking to him, and perhaps in order to hide from themselves their dependent condition, they shortened his purely Assyrian name of Tukulti-abal-esharra into the familiar sobriquet of Puru or Pulu, under which appellation the native chroniclers later on inscribed him in the official list of kings: he did not long survive his triumph, but died in the month of Tebeth, 728 B.C., after having reigned eighteen years over Assyria, and less than two years over Babylon and Chaldaea.
The formulae employed by the scribes in recording historical events vary so little from one reign to another, that it is, in most cases, a difficult matter to make out, under the mask of uniformity by which they are all concealed, the true character and disposition of each successive sovereign. One thing, however, is certain -- the monarch who now came upon the scene after half a century of reverses, and in a brief space restored to his armies the skill necessary to defeat such formidable foes as the Armenians or the Syrians of Damascus, must have been an able general and a born leader of men. Yet Nineveh had never suffered long from a lack of capable generals, and there would be little to distinguish Tiglath-pileser from any of his predecessors, if we could place nothing more than a few successful campaigns to his credit. His claim to a pre-eminent place among them rests on the fact that he combined the talents of the soldier with the higher qualities of the administrator, and organised his kingdom in a manner at once so simple and so effective, that most of the Oriental powers down to the time of the Grecian conquest were content to accept it as a model. As soon as the ambition of the Assyrian kings began to extend beyond the region confined between the Khabur and the Greater Zab, they found it necessary to parcel out their territory into provinces under the authority of prefects for the purpose of preserving order among the vanquished peoples, and at the same time of protecting them from the attacks of adjacent tribes; these representatives of the central power were supported by garrisons, and were thus enabled to put down such minor insurrections as broke out from time to time. Some of these provinces were already in existence in the reigns of Shalmaneser or Tiglath-pileser I.; after the reverses in the time of Assurirba, their number decreased, but it grew rapidly again as Assur-nazir-pal and Shalmaneser III. gradually extended the field of their operations and of their victories. From this epoch onwards, the monuments mention over a score of them, in spite of the fact that the list thus furnished is not a complete one; the provinces of which we know most are those whose rulers were successively appointed to act as limmi, each of them giving their name to a year of a reign. Assyria proper contained at least four, viz. Assur (called the country, as distinguished from all others), Calah, Nineveh, and Arbela. The basin of the Lesser Zab was divided into the provinces of Kakzi, Arrapkha, and Akhizukhina;* that of the Upper Tigris into those of Amidi, Tushkhan, and Gozan. Kirruri was bounded by Mazamua, and Mazamua by Arrapkha and Lake Urumiah. We hear of the three spheres of Nazibina (Nisibis), Tela, and Kazappa in Mesopotamia,** the two former on the southern watersheds of the Masios, on the highways leading into Syria; the latter to the south of the Euphrates, in the former kingdom of the Laqi.
* Akhizukhina is probably identical with Arzukhina = "the City of Zukhma," which is referred to as being situated in the basin of the Lesser Zab.
** Razappa is the biblical Rezeph (2 Kings xix.12; Isa. xxxvii.12) and the Resapha of Ptolemy, now Er-Rasafa, to the south of the Euphrates, on one of the routes leading to Palmyra.
Most of them included -- in addition to the territory under the immediate control of the governor -- a number of vassal states, kingdoms, cities, and tribes, which enjoyed a certain measure of independence, but were liable to pay tribute and render military service.
[Illustration: 298.jpg MAP OF THE ASSYRIAN EMPIRE UNDER TIGLATH-PILESER III.]
Each new country was annexed, as soon as conquered, to the nearest province, or, if necessary, was converted into a distinct province by itself; thus we find that Assur-nazir-pal, after laying hands on the upper valleys of the Radanu and the Turnat, rebuilt the ruined city of Atlila, re-named it Dur-Assur, placed a commandant, cavalry, and eunuchs there, and established within it storehouses for the receipt of contributions from the neighbouring barbarians. He followed the same course on each occasion when the fortune of war brought him fresh subjects;* and his successors, Shalmaneser III., Samsi-ramman IV., and Ramman-nirari did the same thing in Media, in Asia Minor, and in Northern Syria;** Tiglath-pileser III. had only to follow their example and extend the application of their system to the countries which he gradually forced to submit to his rule.***
* We read of the appointment of a governor in Bit-Khalupi, at Tush-khan, in Nairi, and in the country of the Patina.
** The territory of the Bit-Adini was converted into a province by Shalmaneser III.
*** We find the formation of an Aramaean province, with Kar- Assur as its capital, mentioned in the Annals of Tiglatli- pileser III. Provinces were also established in Media, in Unki, in the basin of the Orontes, and in Lebanon, from nineteen districts formerly belonging to Hamath, six maritime provinces in Northern Phoenicia and in Coele-Syria, in Galilee, at Gaza.
In his case, however, certain elements came into play which forced him to modify several of their methods, and to have recourse to others which they had seldom or never employed. The majority of the countries hitherto incorporated had been near enough to the capital -- whether it were Assur, Calah, or Nineveh -- to permit of strict watch being kept for any sign of disaffection, and they could be promptly recalled to order if they attempted to throw off the yoke. These provinces were, moreover, of moderate area and sparsely populated: once drawn within the orbit of Assyria's attraction, they were unable to escape from its influence by their own unaided efforts; on the contrary, they gradually lost their individuality, and ended by becoming merged in the body of the nation. The Aramaean tribes of the Khabur and the Balikh, the Cossaeans of the Turnat, the marauding shepherds of the Gordyaean hills and the slopes of the Masios, gradually became assimilated to their conquerors after a more or less protracted resistance, till at length -- in spite of differences of origin, creed, and speech -- they became the best of Assyrians, every whit as devoted to the person of their king and as jealous of his honour as the aboriginal Assyrians themselves. A similar result could not be looked for in the case of the cities recently subdued. It was not to be expected that Babylon and Damascus -- to name but two of the most important -- would allow themselves to be influenced and to become reconciled to their lot by artifices which had been successful enough with the Medes and in the country of Tul-Abni.
To take the case of Babylon first. It was no mere conglomeration of tribes, nor a state of minor importance, but an actual empire, nearly as large as that of Assyria itself, and almost as solidly welded together. It extended from the Turnat and the mountains of Blam to the Arabian desert and the Nar-Marratutn, and even though the Cossaeans, Elamites, Kalda, Sumerians, Akkadians, and other remnants of ancient peoples who formed its somewhat motley population, had dwelt there for centuries in a state of chronic discord, they all agreed -- in theory, at any rate -- in recognising the common suzerainty of Babylon. Babylon was, moreover, by general acknowledgment, the ancient metropolis to which Assyria owed its whole civilisation; it was the holy city whose gods and whose laws had served as a prototype for the gods and laws of Assyria; from its temples and its archives the Assyrian scribes had drawn such knowledge as they had of the history of the ancient world, their religious doctrines and ceremonies, their methods of interpreting the omens and of forecasting the future -- in short, their whole literature, both sacred and profane. The King of Nineveh might conquer Babylon, might even enter within its gates in the hour of triumph, and, when once he had it at his mercy, might throw down its walls, demolish its palaces, destroy its ziggurat, burn its houses, exterminate or carry off its inhabitants, and blot out its name from the list of nations; but so long as he recoiled from the sacrilege involved in such irreparable destruction, he was not merely powerless to reduce it to the level of an ordinary leading provincial town, such as Tela or Tushkhan, but he could not even deprive it in any way of its rank as a capital, or hope to make it anything less than the second city of his empire. As long as it remained in existence, it necessarily took precedence of all others, thanks to its extensive area, the beauty and antiquity of its buildings, and the number of its inhabitants. The pride of its nobles and priests, subdued for a moment by defeat, would almost instantly have reasserted itself, had the victor sought to lower the dignity of their city; Babylon only consented to accept an alien master provided he bowed himself respectfully before its superiority, and was willing to forget that he was a stranger within its gates, and was ready to comply with its laws and masquerade as a Babylonian. Tiglath-pileser III. never dreamt, therefore, of treating the Babylonians as slaves, or of subordinating them to their Assyrian descendants, but left their liberties and territory alike unimpaired. He did not attempt to fuse into a single empire the two kingdoms which his ability had won for him; he kept them separate, and was content to be monarch of both on similar terms. He divided himself, as it were, into two persons, one of whom reigned in Calah, while the other reigned in Karduniash, and his Chaldaean subjects took care to invest this dual role -- based on a fiction so soothing to their pride -- with every appearance of reality; he received from them, together with all the titles of the Babylonian kings, that name of Pulu, which later on found its way into their chronicles, and which was so long a puzzle to historians, both ancient and modern. Experience amply proved that this was the only means by which it was possible to yoke temporarily together the two great powers of the Euphrates and the Tigris. Among the successors of Tiglath-pileser, the only sovereigns to rule over Babylon without considerable difficulty were those who followed the precedent set by him and were satisfied to divide their functions and reign as dual kings over a dual kingdom.*
* This was so in the case of Tiglath-pileser III.'s immediate successor, Shalmaneser V., of Esarhaddon, and of Assur-bani-pal; Shalmaneser was known at Babylon by the name of Ululai, Assur-bani-pal by that of Kanda-lanu.
This combination, while gratifying to the ambition of its rulers, was, perhaps, more a source of loss than of gain to Assyria itself. It is true that the power of Karduniash had decreased under the previous dynasty, but it had still been strong enough to hold back the Aramaeans of the Persian Gulf on one side, and the Elamite hordes on the other. It lay like a broad barrier between these barbarians and the cities of the Middle Tigris; when an unusually vigorous attack compelled it to give way at some point, it appealed to Nineveh for help, and an Assyrian army, entering the country at the fords of the Zab, hastened to drive back the aggressors to the place from which they had set out. When, however, the kings of Assyria had become kings of Babylon as well, the situation was altered. Several branches of the Kalda had hitherto held possession of the city, and still possessed representatives and allies among the other tribes, especially among the Bit-Yakin, who believed themselves entitled to reassert their supremacy within in. The Elamite princes, on their part, accustomed to descend at will into the plains that lay between the Tigris and the Euphrates, and to enrich themselves by frequent raids, could not make up their minds to change the habits of centuries, until they had at least crossed swords with the new despot, and put his mettle to the test. The Ninevite King of Babylon was thus in duty bound to protect his subjects against the same enemies that had ceaselessly harassed his native-born predecessors, and as the unaided resources of Karduniash no longer enabled him to do so effectively, he was, naturally, obliged to fall back on the forces at his disposal as King of Assyria. Henceforward it was no longer the Babylonian army that protected Nineveh, but rather that of Nineveh which had to protect Babylon, and to encounter, almost every year, foes whom in former days it had met only at rare intervals, and then merely when it chose to intervene in their affairs. Where the Assyrian sovereigns had gained a kingdom for themselves and their posterity, Assyria itself found little else but fresh battle-fields and formidable adversaries, in the effort to overcome whom its energies were all but exhausted. In Syria and on the shores of the Mediterranean, Tiglath-pileser had nations of less stubborn vitality to deal with, nor was he bound by the traditions of a common past to show equal respect to their prejudices. Arpad, Unki, the Bekaa, Damascus, and Gilead were all consecutively swallowed up by Assyria, but, the work of absorption once completed, difficulties were encountered which now had to be met for the first time. The subordinate to whom he entrusted the task of governing these districts* had one or two Assyrian regiments assigned him as his body-guard,** and these exercised the same ascendency over the natives as the Egyptian archers had done in days gone by: it was felt that they had the whole might of Assyria behind them, and the mere fact of their presence in the midst of the conquered country was, as a rule, sufficient to guarantee the safety of the Assyrian governor and ensure obedience to his commands.
* The governor was called Shaknu = "he whom the king has established in his place," and pekhu = "the pilot," "the manager," whence pikhatu = "a district," and bel-pikhati = "the master of a district." It seems that the shaknu was of higher rank than the bel-pikhati, and often had the latter under his command.
** Thus Assur-nazir-pal selected the horsemen and other soldiers who were to form the body-guard of the governor of Parzindu.
This body-guard was never a very numerous one, for the army would have melted away in the course of a campaign or two, had it been necessary, after each fresh conquest, to detach from it a sufficient force to guard against rebellion. It was strengthened, it is true, by auxiliaries enlisted on the spot, and the tributary chiefs included in the provincial district were expected to furnish a reasonable quota of men in case of need;* but the loyalty of all these people was, at the best, somewhat doubtful, and in the event of their proving untrustworthy at a critical moment, the little band of Assyrian horse and foot would be left to deal with the revolt unaided until such time as the king could come and relieve them.
* In a despatch from Belibni to Assur-bani-pal we find Aramaeans from the Persian Gulf submitting to the authority of an Assyrian officer, and fighting in Elam side by side with his troops. Again, under Assur-bani-pal, an army sent to repress a revolt on the part of Kedar and the Nabatseans included contingents from Ammon, Moab, and Edom, together with the Assyrian garrisons of the Hauran and Zobah.
The distance between the banks of the Jordan or Abana and those of the Tigris was a long one, and in nearly every instance it would have been a question of months before help could arrive. Meanwhile, Egypt was at hand, jealous of her rival, who was thus encroaching on territory which had till lately been regarded as her exclusive sphere of influence, and vaguely apprehensive of the fate which might be in store for her if some Assyrian army, spurred by the lust of conquest, were to cross the desert and bear down upon the eastern frontiers of the Delta. Distrustful of her own powers, and unwilling to assume a directly offensive attitude, she did all she could to foment continual disturbances among the Hebrews and Phoenicians, as well as in Philistia and Aram; she carried on secret intrigues with the independent princes, and held out tempting hopes of speedy intervention before the eyes of their peoples; her influence could readily be traced in every seditious movement. The handful of men assigned to the governors of the earlier provinces close to the capital would have been of little avail against perils of this kind. Though Tiglath-pileser added colony to colony in the distant regions annexed by him, he organised them on a different plan from that which had prevailed before his time. His predecessors had usually sent Assyrians to these colonies, and filled the villages vacated by them with families taken from the conquered region: a transfer of inhabitants was made, for instance, from Nairi or from Media into Assyria, and vice versa. By following this system, Tiglath-pileser would soon have scattered his whole people over the dependencies of his empire, and have found his hereditary states peopled by a motley and incoherent collection of aliens; he therefore left his Assyrians for the most part at home, and only effected exchanges between captives. In his earlier campaigns he brought back with him, on one occasion, 65,000 prisoners from the table-land of Iran, in order to distribute them over a province which he was organising on the banks of the Turnat and the Zab: he levied contributions of this kind without mercy from all the states that he conquered from year to year, and dispersed the captives thus obtained over the length and breadth of his empire; he transplanted the Aramaeans of the Mesopotamian deserts, and the Kalda to the slopes of Mount Amanus or the banks of the Orontes, the Patinians and Hamathaeans to Ulluba, the inhabitants of Damascus to Kir or to the borders of Elam,* and the Israelites to some place in Assyria.**
* 2 Kings xvi.9.
** 2 Kings xv.29.
He allowed them to take with them their wives and their children, their herds, their chattels, their gods, and even their money. Drafted into the towns and country districts in batches sufficiently numerous to be self-supporting, but yet not large enough to allow of their at once re-establishing themselves as a distinct nation in their new home, they seem to have formed, even in the midst of the most turbulent provinces, settlements of colonists who lived unaffected by any native influence or resentment. The aborigines hated them because of their religion, their customs, their clothing, and their language; in their eyes they were mere interlopers, who occupied the property of relations or fellow-countrymen who had fallen in battle or had been spirited away to the other end of the world. And even when, after many years, the native owners of the soil had become familiarised with them, this mutual antipathy had struck such deep root in their minds that any understanding between the natives and the descendants of the immigrants was quite out of the question: what had been formerly a vast kingdom, occupied by a single homogeneous race, actuated by a common patriotic spirit, became for many a year a region capriciously subdivided and torn by the dissensions of a number of paltry antagonistic communities. The colonists, exposed to the same hatreds as the original Assyrian conquerors, soon forgot to look upon the latter as the oppressors of all, and, allowing their present grudge to efface the memory of past injuries, did not hesitate to make common cause with them. In time of peace, the governor did his best to protect them against molestation on the part of the natives, and in return for this they rallied round him whenever the latter threatened to get out of hand, and helped him to stifle the revolt or hold it in check until the arrival of reinforcements. Thanks to their help, the empire was consolidated and maintained without too many violent outbreaks in regions far removed from the capital and beyond the immediate reach of the sovereign.* We possess very few details with regard to the administration of these prefects.**
* This was the history of the only one of those colonies whose fate is known to us -- that founded at Samaria by Sargon and his successors.
** The texts contain a certain number of names of offices, the precise nature of which it is not easy to ascertain, e.g. the Khazanu, the Labuttu, and others. One of them, apparently, should be read Shuparshak, and identical with one of the titles mentioned in Ezra (v.6, vi.6) as being in existence during the Persian epoch.
The various functionaries, governors of towns, tax-collectors, heads of stations, and officers whose duty it was to patrol the roads and look after the safety of merchants, were, for the most part, selected from among natives who had thrown in their lot with Assyria, and probably few Assyrians were to be found outside the more turbulent cities and important fortresses. The kings and chiefs whose territory was attached to a given province, either took their instructions direct from Nineveh, or were sometimes placed under the control of a resident, or kipu, with some sort of escort at his back, who kept watch over their movements and reported them to the suzerain, and saw that the tribute was paid regularly, and that the military service provided for in the treaties was duly rendered. Governors and residents alike kept up a constant correspondence with the court, and such of their letters as have chanced to come down to us show what a minute account of even the most trifling occurrences was required of them by the central authorities. They were not only obliged to report any fluctuation in the temper or attitude of their subordinates, or any intrigues that were being entered into across the frontier; they had also to record the transfer of troops, the return of fugitives, the pursuit of deserters, any chance scuffle between soldiers and natives, as well as the punishment inflicted on the rebellious, the appearance of a portent in the heavens, or omens noticed by the augurs. There were plenty of envious or officious tongues among their followers to report to headquarters the slightest failure of duty, and to draw attention to their negligence. Moreover, it seems certain that the object of thus compelling them to refer to the king at every turn, was not merely in order to keep him informed of all that took place in his dependencies, but also to lay bare the daily life of his prefects before his eyes. The latter were entrusted with the command of seasoned troops; they had considerable sums of money passing through their hands, and were often obliged to take prompt decisions and enter into diplomatic or military transactions on their own responsibility; in short, most of them, at any rate, who were stationed at the furthest confines of the empire were really kings in all but title, insignia, and birth. There was always the danger lest some among them should be tempted to reassert, in their own interest, the independence of the countries under their rule, and seek to found a dynasty in their midst. The strict supervision maintained over these governors generally nipped any ambition of this kind in the bud; in some cases, however, it created the very danger it was intended to prevent. If a governor who had been recalled to Nineveh or Calah in order to explain his conduct failed to clear himself completely, he at once fell into disgrace; and disgrace in Assyria, as in other countries of the East, meant, nine times out of ten, confiscation of property, mutilation and lifelong imprisonment, or death in its most hideous form. He would, therefore, think twice before quitting his post, and if he had any reason to suppose himself suspected, or viewed with disfavour in high quarters, he would be in no hurry to obey a summons to the capital. A revolt was almost certain to be crushed without fail, and offered merely a very precarious chance of escape, but the governor was seldom likely to hesitate between almost certain condemnation and the vague possibility of a successful rising; in such a case, therefore, he staked everything on a single throw.
[Illustration: 312.jpg TIGLATH-PILESER III. BESIEGING A REVELLIOUS CITY.]
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph by Mansell.
The system was a defective on, in that it exposed to strong temptation the very functionaries whose loyalty was most essential to the proper working of the administration, but its dangers were out weighed by such important advantages that we cannot but regard it as a very real improvement on the haphazard methods of the past. In the first place, it opened up a larger recruiting-ground for the army, and, in a measure, guaranteed it against that premature exhaustion which had already led more than once to an eclipse of the Assyrian power. It may be that the pick of these provincial troops were, preferably, told off for police duties, or for the defence of the districts in which they were levied, and that they seldom left it except to do battle in the adjacent territory;* but, even with these limitations they were none the less of inestimable value, since they relieved the main army of Assyria from garrison duties in a hundred scattered localities, and allowed the king to concentrate it almost in its entirety about his own person, and to direct it en masse upon those points where he wished to strike a decisive blow.
* Thus, in the reign of Assur-bani-pal, we find the militia of the governor of Uruk marching to battle against the Gambulu.
On the other hand, the finances of the kingdom were put on a more stable and systematic basis. For nearly the whole of the two previous centuries, during which Assyria had resumed its victorious career, the treasury had been filled to some extent by taxes in kind or in money, and by various dues claimed from the hereditary kingdom and its few immediate dependencies, but mainly by booty and by tribute levied after each campaign from the peoples who had been conquered or had voluntarily submitted to Assyrian rule. The result was a budget which fluctuated greatly, since all forays were not equally lucrative, and the new dependencies proved so refractory at the idea of perpetual tribute, that frequent expeditions were necessary in order to persuade them to pay their dues. We do not know how Tiglath-pileser III. organised the finances of his provinces, but certain facts recorded here and there in the texts show that he must have drawn very considerable amounts from them. We notice that twenty or thirty years after his time, Carchemish was assessed at a hundred talents, Arpad and Kui at thirty each, Megiddo and Manzuatu at fifteen, though the purposes to which these sums were applied is not specified.
[Illustration: 314.jpg A HERD OF HORSES BROUGHT IN AS TRIBUTE]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from one of the bronze bas-reliefs on the gates of Balawat. The breed here represented seems to have been common in Urartu, as well as in Cappadocia and Northern Syria.
On the other hand, we know the precise object to which the contributions of several other cities were assigned; as, for instance, so much for the maintenance of the throne in the palace, or for the divans of the ladies of the harem; so much for linen garments, for dresses, and for veils; twenty talents from Nineveh for the armaments of the fleet, and ten from the same city for firewood. Certain provinces were expected to maintain the stud-farms, and their contributions of horses were specially valuable, now that cavalry played almost as important a part as infantry in military operations. The most highly prized animals came, perhaps, from Asia Minor; the nations of Mount Taurus, who had supplied chargers to Israel and Egypt five centuries earlier, now furnished war-horses to the squadrons of Nineveh. The breed was small, but robust, inured to fatigue and hard usage, and in every way similar to that raised in these countries at the present day. In war, horses formed a very considerable proportion of the booty taken; in time of peace, they were used as part of the payment of the yearly tribute, and a brisk trade in them was carried on with Mesopotamia.
[Illustration: 315.jpg A TYPICAL CAPPADOCIAN HORSE]
Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph by M. Alfred Boissier.
After the king had deducted from his receipts enough to provide amply for the wants of his family and court, the salaries of the various functionaries and officials, the pay and equipment of his army, the maintenance and construction of palaces and fortresses, he had still sufficient left over to form an enormous reserve fund on which he and his successors might draw in the event of their ordinary sources of income being depleted by a series of repeated reverses.
Tiglath-pileser thus impressed upon Assyria the character by which it was known during the most splendid century of its history, and the organisation which he devised for it was so admirably adapted to the Oriental genius that it survived the fall of Nineveh, and served as a model for every empire-maker down to the close of the Macedonian era and even beyond it.
[Illustration: 316.jpg A SYRIAN BIT-KHILANI]
Reproduced by Faucher-Gudin, from the restoration published by Luschan.
The wealth of the country grew rapidly, owing to the influx of capital and of foreign population; in the intervals between their campaigns its rulers set to work to remove all traces of the ruins which had been allowed to accumulate during the last forty years. The king had built himself a splendid palace at Calah, close to the monuments of Assur-nazir-pal and Shalmaneser III., and its terraces and walls overhung the waters of the Tigris. The main entrance consisted of a Bit-khilani, one of those porticoes, flanked by towers and supported by columns or pillars, often found in Syrian towns, the fashion for which was now beginning to spread to Western Asia.*
* The precise nature of the edifices referred to in the inscriptions under the name of Bit-khilani is still a matter of controversy. It has been identified with the pillared hall, or audience-chamber, such as we find in Sargon's palace at Khorsabad, and with edifices or portions of edifices which varied according to the period, but which were ornamented with columns. It seems clear, however, that it was used of the whole series of chambers and buildings which formed the monumental gates of Assyrian palaces, something analogous to the Migdol of Ramses III. at Medinet-Habu, and more especially to the gates at Zinjirli.
Those discovered at Zinjirli afford fine examples of the arrangements adopted in buildings of this kind; the lower part of the walls was covered with bas-reliefs, figures of gods and men, soldiers mounted or on foot, victims and fantastic animal shapes; the columns, where there were any, rested on the back of a sphinx or on a pair of griffins of a type which shows a curious mixture of Egyptian and Semitic influences.
[Illustration: 317.jpg THE FOUNDATINS OF A Bit-khilani]
Drawn by Boudier, from a sketch published by Luschan.
[Illustration: 318.jpg BASE OF A COLUMN AT ZINJIRELI]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a photograph published by Luschan.
The wood-work of the Ninevite Bit-khilani was of cedar from Mount Amanus, the door-frames and fittings were of various rare woods, inlaid with ivory and metal. The entrance was guarded by the usual colossal figures, and the walls of the state reception-rooms were covered with slabs of alabaster; on these, in accordance with the usual custom,* were carved scenes from the royal wars, with explanatory inscriptions. The palace was subsequently dismantled, its pictures defaced and its inscriptions obliterated,** to mark the hatred felt by later generations towards the hero whom they were pleased to regard as a usurper; we can only partially succeed in deciphering his annals by the help of the fragmentary sentences which have escaped the fury of the destroyer.
* The building of Tiglath-pileser's palace is described in the Nimroud Inscription. It stood near the centre of the platform of Nimroud.
** The materials were utilised by Esarhaddon, but it does not necessarily follow that the palace was dismantled by that monarch; this was probably done by Sargon or by Sennacherib.
The cities and fortresses which he raised throughout the length and breadth of Assyria proper and its more recently acquired provinces have similarly disappeared; we can only conjecture that the nobles of his court, fired by his example, must have built and richly endowed more than one city on their hereditary estates, or in the territories under their rule. Bel-harran-beluzur, the marshal of the palace, who twice gave his name to years of the king's reign, viz. in 741 and 727 B.C., possessed, it would seem, an important fief a little to the north of Assur, near the banks of the Tharthar, on the site of the present Tel-Abta. The district was badly cultivated, and little better than a wilderness; by express order of the celestial deities -- Marduk, Nabu, Shamash, Sin, and the two Ishtars -- he dug the foundations of a city which he called Dur-Bel-harran-beluzur. The description he gives of it affords conclusive evidence of the power of the great nobles, and shows how nearly they approached, by their wealth and hereditary privileges, to the kingly rank. He erected, we are told, a ziggurat on a raised terrace, in which he placed his gods in true royal fashion; he assigned slaves, landed property, and a yearly income to their priests, in order that worship might be paid to them in perpetuity; he granted sanctuary to all freemen who settled within the walls or in the environs, exemption from forced labour, and the right to tap a water-course and construct a canal. A decree of foundation was set up in the temple in memory of Bel-harran-beluzur, precisely as if he were a crowned king. It is a stele of common grey stone with a circular top. The dedicator stands erect against the background of the carving, bare-foot and bare-headed, his face cleanshaven, dressed in a long robe embroidered in a chessboard pattern, and with a tunic pleated in horizontal rows; his right elbow is supported by the left hand, while the right is raised to a level with his eyes, his fist is clenched, and the thumb inserted between the first and second fingers in the customary gesture of adoration.
[Illustration: 320.jpg stele or bel-Harran-beluzur.]
Drawn by Boudier, from the photograph published by Father Scheil.
What the provost of the palace had done on his land, the other barons in all probability did on theirs; most of the departments which had fallen away and languished during the disturbances at the close of the previous dynasty, took a new lease of life under their protection. Private documents -- which increase in number as the century draws to an end -- contracts, official reports, and letters of scribes, all give us the impression of a wealthy and industrious country, stirred by the most intense activity, and in the enjoyment of unexampled prosperity. The excellent administration of Tiglath-pileser and his nobles had paved the way for this sudden improvement, and had helped to develop it, and when Shalmaneser V. succeeded his father on the throne it continued unchecked.* The new-comer made no changes in the system of government which had been so ably inaugurated. He still kept Assyria separate from Karduniash; his Babylonian subjects, faithful to ancient custom, soon devised a nickname for him, that of Ululai, as though seeking to persuade themselves that they had a king who belonged to them alone; and it is under this name that their annalists have inscribed him next to Pulu in the list of their dynasties.**
His reign was, on the whole, a calm and peaceful one; the Kalda, the Medes, Urartu, and the races of Mount Taurus remained quiet, or, at any rate, such disorders as may have arisen among them were of too trifling a nature to be deemed worthy of notice in the records of the time. Syria alone was disturbed, and several of its independent states took advantage of the change of rulers to endeavour to shake off the authority of Assyria.
* It was, for a long time, an open question with the earlier Assyriologists whether or not Shalmaneser and Sargon were different names for one and the same monarch. As for monuments, we possess only one attributed to Shalmaneser, a weight in the form of a lion, discovered by Layard at Nimroud, in the north-west palace. The length of his reign, and the scanty details we possess concerning it, have been learnt from the Eponym Canon and Pinches' Babylonian Chronicle, and also from the Hebrew texts (2 Kings xvii.3- 6; xviii.9-12).
** The identity of Ululai and Shalmaneser V., though still questioned by Oppert, has been proved by the comparison of Babylonian records, in some of which the names Pulu and Ululai occur in positions exactly corresponding with those occupied, in others, by Tiglath-pileser and Shalmaneser. The name Ululai was given to the king because he was born in the month of Ulul; in Pinches' list we find a gloss, "Dynasty of Tinu," which probably indicates the Assyrian town in which Tiglath-pileser III. and his son were born.
Egypt continued to give them secret encouragement in these tactics, though its own internal dissensions prevented it from offering any effective aid. The Tanite dynasty was in its death-throes. Psamuti, the last of its kings, exercised a dubious sovereignty over but a few of the nomes on the Arabian frontier.*
* He is the Psammous mentioned by Manetho. The cartouches attributed to him by Lepsius really belong to the Psammuthis of the XXIXth dynasty. It is possible that one of the marks found at Karnak indicating the level of the Nile belong to the reign of this monarch.
His neighbours the Saites were gradually gaining the upper hand in the Delta and in the fiefs of middle Egypt, at first under Tafnakhti, and then, after his death, under his son Bukunirinif, Bocchoris of the Greek historians. They held supremacy over several personages who, like themselves, claimed the title and rank of Pharaoh; amongst others, over a certain Rudamanu Miamun, son of Osorkon: their power did not, however, extend beyond Siut, near the former frontier of the Theban kingdom. The withdrawal of Pionkhi-Miamun, and his subsequent death, had not disturbed the Ethiopian rule in the southern half of Egypt, though it somewhat altered its character. While an unknown Ethiopian king filled the place of the conquerer at Napata, another Ethiopian, named Kashta, made his way to the throne in Thebes.
[Illustration: 322.jpg MANUSCRIPT ON PAPYRUS IN HIEROGLYPHICS]
It is possible that he was a son of Pionkhi, and may have been placed in supreme power by his father when the latter reinstated the city in its place as capital. With all their partiality for real or supposed descendants of the Ramesside dynasty, the Thebans were, before all things, proud of their former greatness, and eagerly hoped to regain it without delay. When, therefore, they accepted this Kushite king who, to their eyes, represented the only family possessed of a legitimate claim to the throne, it was mainly because they counted on him to restore them to their former place among the cities of Egypt. They must have been cruelly disappointed when he left them for the Sacred Mountain. His invasion, far from reviving their prosperity, merely served to ratify the suppression of that pontificate of Amon-Ra which was the last remaining evidence of their past splendour.
[Illustration: 323.jpg CONE BEARING THE NAME of kashta and of his DAUGHTER AMENERTAS]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, after Prisse d'Avennes.
All hope of re-establishing it had now to be abandoned, since the sovereign who had come to them from Napata was himself by birth and hereditary privelege and hereditary sole priest of Anion: in his absence the actual head of the Theban religion could lay claim only to an inferior office, and indeed, even then, the only reason for accepting a second prophet was that he might direct the worship of the temple at Karnak. The force of circumstances compelled the Ethiopians to countenance in the Thebaid what their Tanite or Bubastite predecessors had been obliged to tolerate at Hermopolis, Heracleopolis, Sais, and in many another lesser city; they turned it into a feudatory kingdom, and gave it a ruler who, like Auiti, half a century earlier, had the right to use the cartouches. Once installed, Kashta employed the usual methods to secure his seat on the throne, one of the first being a marriage alliance. The disappearance of the high priests had naturally increased the importance of the princesses consecrated to the service of Amon. From henceforward they were the sole visible intermediaries between the god and his people, the privileged guardians of his body and his double, and competent to perpetuate the line of the solar kings. The Theban appanage constituted their dowry, and even if their sex prevented them from discharging all those civil, military, and religious duties required by their position, no one else had the right to do so on their behalf, unless he was expressly chosen by them for the purpose. When once married they deputed their husbands to act for them; so long as they remained either single or widows, some exalted personage, the prophet of Amon or Montu, the ruler of Thebes, or the administrator of the Said, managed their houses and fiefs for them with such show of authority that strangers were at times deceived, and took him for the reigning monarch of the country.*
* Thus Harua, in the time of Amenertas, was prince and chief over the servants of the "Divine Worshipper." Mantumihait, in the time of Taharqa and of Tanuatamanu, was ruler of Thebes, and fourth prophet of Amon, and it is he who is described in the Assyrian monuments as King of Thebes.
The Pharaohs had, therefore, a stronger incentive than ever to secure exclusive possession of these women, and if they could not get all of them safely housed in their harems, they endeavoured, at any rate, to reserve for themselves the chief among them, who by purity of descent or seniority in age had attained the grade of Divine Worshipper. Kashta married a certain Shapenuapit, daughter of Osorkon III. and a Theban pallacide;* it is uncertain whether he eventually became king over Ethiopia and the Sudan or not. So far, we have no proof that he did, but it seems quite possible when we remember that one of his children, Shabaku (Sabaco), subsequently occupied the throne of Napata in addition to that of Thebes. Kashta does not appear to have possessed sufficient energy to prevent the Delta and its nomes from repudiating the Ethiopian supremacy. The Saites, under Tafnakhti or Bocchoris, soon got the upper hand, and it was to them that the Syrian vassals of Nineveh looked for aid, when death removed the conqueror who had trampled them so ruthlessly underfoot. Ever since the fall of Arpad, Hadrach, and Damascus, Shabarain, a town situated somewhere in the valley of the Orontes or of the Upper Litany,** and hitherto but little known, had served as a rallying-point for the disaffected Aramaean tribes: on the accession of Shalmaneser V. it ventured to rebel, probably in 727 B.C., but was overthrown and destroyed, its inhabitants being led away captive.
* It may be that, in accordance with a custom which obtained during the generations that followed, and which possibly originated about this period, this daughter of Osorkon III. was only the adoptive mother of Amenertas.
** Shabarain was originally confounded with Samaria by the early commentators on the Babylonian Chronicle. Halevy, very happily, referred it to the biblical Sepharvaim, a place always mentioned in connection with Hamath and Arpad (2 Kings xvii.24, 31; xviii.34; xix.13: cf. Isa. xxxvi.19; xxxvii.13), and to the Sibraim of Ezekiel (xlvii.16), called in the Septuagint Samareim. Its identification with Samaria has, since then, been generally rejected, and its connection with Sibraim admitted. Sibraim (or Sepharvaim, or Samareim) has been located at Shomeriyeh, to the east of the Bahr-Kades, and south of Hamath.
This achievement proved, beyond the possibility of doubt, that in spite of their change of rulers the vengeance of the Assyrians was as keen and sharp as ever. Not one of the Syrian towns dared to stir, and the Phonician seaports, though their loyalty had seemed, for a moment, doubtful, took care to avoid any action which might expose them to the terrors of a like severity.* The Israelites and Philistines, alone of the western peoples, could not resign themselves to a prudent policy; after a short period of hesitation they drew the sword from its scabbard, and in 725 war broke out.**
* The siege of Tyre, which the historian Menander, in a passage quoted by Josephus, places in the reign of
** The war cannot have begun earlier, for the Eponym Canon, in dealing with 726, has the words "in the country," thus proving that no expedition took place in that year; in the case of the year 725, on the other hand, it refers to a campaign against some country whose name has disappeared. The passages in the Book of Kings (2 Kings xvii.1-6, and xviii.9-12) which deal with the close of the kingdom of Israel, have been interpreted in such a way as to give us two campaigns by Shalmaneser against Hoshea: (1) Hoshea having failed to pay the tribute imposed upon him by Tiglath-pileser, Shalmaneser made war upon him and compelled him to resume its payment (2 Kings xvii.1-3); (2) Hoshea having intrigued with Egypt, and declined to pay tribute, Shalmaneser again took the field against him, made him prisoner, and besieged Samaria for three years (2 Kings xvii.4-6; xviii.9-12). The first expedition must, in this case, have taken place in 727, while the second must have lasted from 725-722. Most modern historians believe that the Hebrew writer has ascribed to Shalmaneser the subjection of Hoshea which was really the act of Tiglath-pileser, as well as the final war against Israel. According to Winckler, the two portions of the narrative must have been borrowed from two different versions of the final war, which the final editor inserted one after the other, heedless of the contradictions contained in them.
Hoshea, who had ascended the throne with the consent of Tiglath-pileser, was unable to keep them quiet. The whole of Galilee and Gilead was now an Assyrian province, subject to the governor of Damascus; Jerusalem, Moab, Ammon, and the Bedawin had transferred their allegiance to Nineveh; and Israel, with merely the central tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Benjamin left, was now barely equal in area and population to Judah. Their tribute weighed heavily on the Israelites; passing armies had laid waste their fields, and townsmen, merchants, and nobles alike, deprived of their customary resources, fretted with impatience under the burdens and humiliations imposed on them by their defeat; convinced of their helplessness, they again looked beyond their own borders for some nation or individual who should restore to them their lost prosperity. Amid the tottering fortunes of their neighbours, Egypt alone stood erect, and it was, therefore, to Egypt that they turned their eyes. Negotiations were opened, not with Pharaoh himself, but with Shabi, one of the petty kings on the eastern frontier of the Delta, whose position made him better qualified than any other to deal with Syrian affairs.*
* This individual is called Sua, Seveh, and So in the Hebrew text (2 Kings xvii.4), and the Septuagint gives the transliteration Sebek side by side with Segos. He is found again under the forms Shibahi, Shabi, Shabe, in Sargon's inscriptions.
Hannon of Gaza had by this time returned from exile, and it was, doubtless, owing to Shabi's support that he had been able to drive out the Assyrian generals and recover his crown.* The Israelite aristocracy was led away by his example, but Shalmaneser hastened to the spot before the Egyptian bowmen had time to cross the isthmus. Hoshea begged for mercy, and was deported into Assyria and condemned to lifelong imprisonment.** Though deserted by her king, Samaria did not despair; she refused to open her gates, and, being strongly fortified, compelled the Assyrians to lay regular siege to the city. It would seem that at one moment, at the beginning of operations, when it was rumoured on all sides that Pharaoh would speedily intervene, Ahaz began to fear for his own personal safety, and seriously considered whether it would not be wiser to join forces with Israel or with Egypt.***
* This seems to be the inference from Sargon's inscription, in which he is referred to as relying on the army of Shabi, the tartan of Egypt.
** 2 Kings xvii.4.
*** The Second Book of Kings (xviii.9,10; cf. xvii.6) places the beginning of the siege of Samaria in the seventh year of Hoshea ( = fourth year of Hezekiah), and the capture of the town in the ninth year of Hoshea ( = sixth year of Hezekiah); further on it adds that Sennacherib's campaign against Hezekiah took place in the fourteenth year of the latter's reign (2 Kings xviii.13; cf. Isa. xxxvi.1). Now, Sennacherib's campaign against Hezekiah took place (as will be shown later on, in vol. viii. Chapter I.) in 702 B.C., and Samaria was captured in 722. The synchronisms in the Hebrew narrative are therefore fictitious, and rest on no real historical basis -- at any rate, in so far as the king who occupied the throne of Judah at the time of the fall of Samaria is concerned; Ahaz was still alive at that date, and continued to reign till 716 or 715, or perhaps only till 720.
[Illustration: 328.jpg The Sword Dance]
After Painting by Gerome
The rapid sequence of events, however, backed by the counsel of Isaiah, speedily recalled him to a more reasonable view of the situation. The prophet showed him Samaria spread out before him like one of those wreaths of flowers which the guests at a banquet bind round their brows, and which gradually fade as their wearers drink deeper and deeper. "Woe to the crown of pride of the drunkards of Ephraim, and to the fading flower of his glorious beauty, which is on the head of the fat valley of them that are overcome with wine. Behold, the Lord hath a mighty and strong one; as a tempest of hail, a destroying storm, as a tempest of mighty waters overflowing, shall be cast down to the earth with violence. The crown of the pride of the drunkards of Ephraim shall be trodden underfoot, and the fading flower of his glorious beauty, which is on the head of the fat valley, shall be as the first ripe fig before the summer; which when he that looketh upon it seeth, while it is yet in his hand he eateth it up." While the cruel fate of the perverse city was being thus accomplished, Jahveh Sabaoth was to be a crown of glory to those of His children who remained faithful to Him; but Judah, far from submitting itself to His laws, betrayed Him even as Israel had done. Its prophets and priests were likewise distraught with drunkenness; they staggered under the effects of their potations, and turned to scorn the true prophet sent to proclaim to them the will of Jehovah. "Whom," they stammered between their hiccups -- "whom will He teach knowledge? and whom will He make to understand the message? them that are weaned from the milk and drawn from the breasts? For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little and there a little!" And sure enough it was by the mouth of a stammering people, by the lips of the Assyrians, that Jahveh was to speak to them. In vain did the prophet implore them: "This is the rest, give ye rest to him that is weary;" they did not listen to him, and now Jahveh turns their own gibes against them: "Precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little and there a little," -- "that they may go and fall backward, and be broken and snared and taken." There was to be no hope of safety for Jerusalem unless it gave up all dependence on human counsels, and trusted solely to God for protection.*
* Isa. xxviii. Giesebrecht has given it as his opinion that only verses 1-6, 23-29 of the prophecy were delivered at this epoch: the remainder he believes to have been written during Sennacherib's campaign against Judah, and suggests that the prophet added on his previous oracle to them, thus diverting it from its original application. Others, such as Stade and Wellhausen, regard the opening verses as embodying a mere rhetorical figure. Jerusalem, they say, appeared to the prophet as though changed into Samaria, and it is this transformed city which he calls "the crown of pride of the drunkards of Ephraim."
Samaria was doomed; this was the general belief, and men went about repeating it after Isaiah, each in his own words; every one feared lest the disaster should spread to Judah also, and that Jahveh, having once determined to have done with the northern kingdom, would turn His wrath against that of the south as well. Micah the Morashtite, a prophet born among the ranks of the middle class, went up and down the land proclaiming misery to be the common lot of the two sister nations sprung from the loins of Jacob, as a punishment for their common errors and weaknesses. "The Lord cometh forth out of His place, and will come and tread upon the high places of the earth. And the mountains shall be molten under Him, and the valleys shall be cleft, as wax before the fire, as waters that are poured down a steep place. For the transgression of Jacob is all this, and for the sins of the house of Israel. What is the transgression of Jacob? is it not Samaria? and what are the high places of Judah? are they not Jerusalem?" The doom pronounced against Samaria was already being carried out, and soon the hapless city was to be no more than "an heap of the field, and as the plantings of a vineyard; and I will pour down the stones thereof into the valley," saith the Lord, "and I will discover the foundations thereof. And all her graven images shall be beaten to pieces, and all her hires shall be burned with fire, and all her idols will I lay desolate; for of the hire of an harlot hath she gathered them, and into the hire of an harlot shall they return." Yet, even while mourning over Samaria, the prophet cannot refrain from thinking of his own people, for the terrible blow which had fallen on Israel "is come even unto Judah; it reacheth unto the gate of my people, even to Jerusalem." Doubtless the Assyrian generals kept a watchful eye upon Ahaz during the whole time of the siege, from 724 to 722, and when once the first heat of enthusiasm had cooled, the presence of so formidable an army within striking distance must have greatly helped the king to restrain the ill-advised tendencies of some of his subjects. Samaria still held out when Shalmaneser died at Babylon in the month of Tebeth, 722. Whether he had no son of fit age to succeed him, or whether a revolution, similar to that which had helped to place Tiglath-pileser on the throne, broke out as soon as he had drawn his last breath, is not quite clear. At any rate, Sargon, an officer who had served under him, was proclaimed king on the 22nd day of Tebeth, and his election was approved by the whole of Assyria. After some days of hesitation, Babylon declined to recognise him, and took the oath of allegiance to a Kaldu named Marduk-abalidinna, or Merodach-baladan. While these events were taking place in the heart of the empire, Samaria succumbed; perhaps to famine, but more probably to force. It was sacked and dismantled, and the bulk of its population, amounting to 27,280 souls, were carried away into Mesopotamia and distributed along the Balikh, the Khabur, the banks of the river of Gozan, and among the towns of the Median frontier.*
* Sargon does not mention where he deported the Israelites to, but we learn this from the Second Book of Kings (xvii.6; xviii.11). There has been much controversy as to whether Samaria was taken by Shalmanoser, as the Hebrew chronicler seems to believe (2 Kings xvii.3-6; xviii.9, 10), or by Sargon, as the Assyrian scribes assure us. At first, several scholars suggested a solution of the difficulty by arguing that Shalmaneser and Sargon were one and the same person; afterwards the theory took shape that Samaria was really captured in the reign of Shalmaneser, but by Sargon, who was in command of the besieging army at the time, and who transferred this achievement, of which he was naturally proud, to the beginning of his own reign. The simplest course seems to be to accept for the present the testimony of contemporary documents, and place the fall of Samaria at the beginning of the reign of Sargon, being the time indicated by Sargon in his inscriptions.
Sargon made the whole territory into a province; an Assyrian governor was installed in the palace of the kings of Israel, and soon the altars of the strange gods smoked triumphantly by the side of the altars of Jahveh (722 B.C.).*
* Kings xvii.24-41, a passage to which I shall have occasion to refer farther on in the present volume. The following is a list of the kings of Israel, after the division of the tribes: --
[Illustration: 333.jpg TABLE OF KINGS OF ISRAEL]
[In this table father and son are shown by a perpendicular line. The king's name in italics signifies that he died a violent death. -- Tr.]
Thus fell Samaria, and with Samaria the kingdom of Israel, and with Israel the last of the states which had aspired, with some prospect of success, to rule over Syria. They had risen one after another during the four centuries in which the absence of the stranger had left them masters of their own fate -- the Hittites in the North, the Hebrews and the Philistines in the South, and the Aramaeans and Damascus in the centre; each one of these races had enjoyed its years of glory and ambition in the course of which it had seemed to prevail over its rivals. Then those whose territory lay at the extremities began to feel the disadvantages of their isolated position, and after one or two victories gave up all hope of ever establishing a supremacy over the whole country. The Hittite sphere of influence never at any time extended much further southwards than the sources of the Orontes, while that of the Hebrews in their palmiest days cannot have gone beyond the vicinity of Hamath. And even progress thus far had cost both Hebrews and Hittites a struggle so exhausting that they could not long maintain it. No sooner did they relax their efforts, than those portions of Coele-Syria which they had annexed to their original territory, being too remote from the seat of power to feel its full attraction, gradually detached themselves and resumed their independence, their temporary suzerains being too much exhausted by the intensity of their own exertions to retain hold over them. Damascus, which lay almost in the centre, at an equal distance from the Euphrates and the "river of Egypt," could have desired no better position for grouping the rest of Syria round her.
[Illustration: 334.jpg SARGON OF ASSYRIA AND HIS VIZIER]
Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a sketch by Flandin.
If any city had a chance of establishing a single kingdom, it was Damascus, and Damascus alone. But lulled to blissful slumbers in her shady gardens, she did not awake to political life and to the desire of conquest until after all the rest, and at the very moment when Nineveh was beginning to recover from her early reverses. Both Ben-hadads had had a free hand given them during the half-century which followed, and they had taken advantage of this respite to reduce Coele-Syria, the Lebanon, Arvadian Phoenicia, Hamath, and the Hebrews -- in fact, two-thirds of the whole country -- to subjection, and to organise that league of the twelve kings which reckoned Ahab of Israel among its leaders. This rudimentary kingdom had scarcely come into existence, and its members had not yet properly combined, when Shalmaneser III. arose and launched his bands of veterans against them; it however successfully withstood the shock, and its stubborn resistance at the beginning of the struggle shows us what it might have done, had its founders been allowed time in which to weld together the various elements at their disposal. As it was, it was doomed to succumb -- not so much to the superiority of the enemy as to the insubordination of its vassals and its own internal discords. The league of the twelve kings did not survive Ben-hadad II.; Hazael and his successors wore themselves out in repelling the attacks of the Assyrians and in repressing the revolts of Israel; when Tiglath-pileser III. arrived on the scene, both princes and people, alike at Damascus and Samaria, were so spent that even their final alliance could not save them from defeat. Its lack of geographical unity and political combination had once more doomed Syria to the servitude of alien rule; the Assyrians, with methodical procedure, first conquered and then made vassals of all those states against which they might have hurled their battalions in vain, had not fortune kept them divided instead of uniting them in a compact mass under the sway of a single ruler. From Carchemish to Arpad, from Hamath to Damascus and Samaria, their irresistible advance had led the Assyrians on towards Egypt, the only other power which still rivalled their prestige in the eyes of the world; and now, at Gaza, on the frontier between Africa and Asia, as in days gone by on the banks of the Euphrates or the Balikh, these two powers waited face to face, hand on hilt, each ready to stake the empire of the Asiatic world on a single throw of the dice.
[Illustration: 336.jpg TAILPIECE]