1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Babylonia and Assyria
BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA. I. Geography.—Geographically as well as ethnologically and historically, the whole district enclosed between the two great rivers of western Asia, the Tigris and Euphrates, forms but one country. The writers of antiquity clearly recognized this fact, speaking of the whole under the general name of Assyria, though Babylonia, as will be seen, would have been a more accurate designation. It naturally falls into two divisions, the northern being more or less mountainous, while the southern is flat and marshy; the near approach of the two rivers to one another, at a spot where the undulating plateau of the north sinks suddenly into the Babylonian alluvium, tends to separate them still more completely. In the earliest times of which we have any record, the northern portion was included in Mesopotamia; it was definitely marked off as Assyria only after the rise of the Assyrian monarchy. With the exception of Assur, the original capital, the chief cities of the country, Nineveh, Calah and Arbela, were all on the left bank of the Tigris. The reason of this preference for the eastern bank of the Tigris was due to its abundant supply of water, whereas the great Mesopotamian plain on the western side had to depend upon the streams which flowed into the Euphrates. This vast flat, the modern El-Jezireh, is about 250 miles in length, interrupted only by a single limestone range, rising abruptly out of the plain, and branching off from the Zagros mountains under the names of Sarazūr, Hamrin and Sinjar. The numerous remains of old habitations show how thickly this level tract must once have been peopled, though now for the most part a wilderness. North of the plateau rises a well-watered and undulating belt of country, into which run low ranges of limestone hills, sometimes arid, sometimes covered with dwarf-oak, and often shutting in, between their northern and north-eastern flank and the main mountain-line from which they detach themselves, rich plains and fertile valleys. Behind them tower the massive ridges of the Niphates and Zagros ranges, where the Tigris and Euphrates take their rise, and which cut off Assyria from Armenia and Kurdistan.
The name Assyria itself was derived from that of the city of Assur (q.v.) or Asur, now Qal`at Sherqat (Kaleh Shergat), which stood on the right bank of the Tigris, midway between the Greater and the Lesser Zab. It remained the capital long after the Assyrians had become the dominant power in western Asia, but was finally supplanted by Calah (Nimrūd), Nineveh (Nebi Yunus and Kuyunjik), and Dur-Sargina (Khorsabad), some 60 m. farther north (see Nineveh).
In contrast with the arid plateau of Mesopotamia, stretched the rich alluvial plain of Chaldaea, formed by the deposits of the two great rivers by which it was enclosed. The soil was extremely fertile, and teemed with an industrious population. Eastward rose the mountains of Elam, southward were the sea-marshes and the Kaldā or Chaldaeans and other Aramaic tribes, while on the west the civilization of Babylonia encroached beyond the banks of the Euphrates, upon the territory of the Semitic nomads (or Suti). Here stood Ur (Mugheir, more correctly Muqayyar) the earliest capital of the country; and Babylon, with its suburb, Borsippa (Birs Nimrūd), as well as the two Sipparas (the Sepharvaim of Scripture, now Abu Habba), occupied both the Arabian and Chaldaean sides of the river (see Babylon). The Arakhtu, or “river of Babylon,” flowed past the southern side of the city, and to the south-west of it on the Arabian bank lay the great inland freshwater sea of Nejef, surrounded by red sandstone cliffs of considerable height, 40 m. in length and 35 in breadth in the widest part. Above and below this sea, from Borsippa to Kufa, extend the famous Chaldaean marshes, where Alexander was nearly lost (Arrian, Exp. Al. vii. 22; Strab. xvi. 1, § 12); but these depend upon the state of the Hindiya canal, disappearing altogether when it is closed.
Eastward of the Euphrates and southward of Sippara, Kutha and Babylon were Kis (Uhaimir, 9 m. E. of Hillah), Nippur (Niffer)—where stood the great sanctuary of El-lil, the older Bel—Uruk or Erech (Warka) and Larsa (Senkera) with its temple of the sun-god, while eastward of the Shatt el-Hai, probably the ancient channel of the Tigris, was Lagash (Tello), which played an important part in early Babylonian history. The primitive seaport of the country, Eridu, the seat of the worship of Ea the culture-god, was a little south of Ur (at Abu Shahrain or Nowāwis on the west side of the Euphrates). It is now about 130 m. distant from the sea; as about 46 m. of land have been formed by the silting up of the shore since the foundation of Spasinus Charax (Muhamrah) in the time of Alexander the Great, or some 115 ft. a year, the city would have been in existence at least 6000 years ago. The marshes in the south like the adjoining desert were frequented by Aramaic tribes; of these the most famous were the Kaldā or Chaldaeans who under Merodach-baladan made themselves masters of Babylon and gave their name in later days to the whole population of the country. The combined stream of the Euphrates and Tigris as it flowed through the marshes was known to the Babylonians as the nār marrati, “the salt river” (cp. Jer. l. 21), a name originally applied to the Persian Gulf.
The alluvial plain of Babylonia was called Edin, the Eden of Gen. ii., though the name was properly restricted to “the plain” on the western bank of the river where the Bedouins pastured the flocks of their Babylonian masters. This “bank” or kisad, together with the corresponding western bank of the Tigris (according to Hommel the modern Shatt el-Hai), gave its name to the land of Chesed, whence the Kasdim of the Old Testament. In the early inscriptions of Lagash the whole district is known as Gu-Edinna, the Sumerian equivalent of the Semitic Kisad Edini. The coast-land was similarly known as Gu-ābba (Semitic Kisad tamtim), the “bank of the sea.” A more comprehensive name of southern Babylonia was Kengi, “the land,” or Kengi Sumer, “the land of Sumer,” for which Sumer alone came afterwards to be used. Sumer has been supposed to be the original of the Biblical Shinar; but Shinar represented northern rather than southern Babylonia, and was probably the Sankhar of the Tell el-Amarna tablets (but see Sumer). Opposed to Kengi and Sumer were Urra (Uri) and Akkad or northern Babylonia. The original meaning of Urra was perhaps “clayey soil,” but it came to signify “the upper country” or “highlands,” kengi being “the lowlands.” In Semitic times Urra was pronounced Uri and confounded with uru, “city”; as a geographical term, however, it was replaced by Akkadu (Akkad), the Semitic form of Agadē—written Akkattim in the Elamite inscriptions—the name of the elder Sargon's capital, which must have stood close to Sippara, if indeed it was not a quarter of Sippara itself. The rise of Sargon's empire was doubtless the cause of this extension of the name of Akkad; from henceforward, in the imperial title, “Sumer and Akkad” denoted the whole of Babylonia. After the Kassite conquest of the country, northern Babylonia came to be known as Kar-Duniyas, “the wall of the god Duniyas,” from a line of fortification similar to that built by Nebuchadrezzar between Sippara and Opis, so as to defend his kingdom from attacks from the north. As this last was “the Wall of Semiramis” mentioned by Strabo (xi. 14. 8), Kar-Duniyas may have represented the Median Wall of Xenophon (Anab. ii. 4. 12), traces of which were found by F. R. Chesney extending from Faluja to Jibbar.
The country was thickly studded with towns, the sites of which are still represented by mounds, though the identification of most of them is still doubtful. The latest to be identified are Bismya, between Nippur and Erech, which recent American excavations have proved to be the site of Udab (also called Adab and Usab) and the neighbouring Fāra, the site of the ancient Kisurra. The dense population was due to the elaborate irrigation of the Babylonian plain which had originally reclaimed it from a pestiferous and uninhabitable swamp and had made it the most fertile country in the world. The science of irrigation and engineering seems to have been first created in Babylonia, which was covered by a network of canals, all skilfully planned and regulated. The three chief of them carried off the waters of the Euphrates to the Tigris above Babylon,—the Zabzallat canal (or Nahr Sarsar) running from Faluja to Ctesiphon, the Kutha canal from Sippara to Madain, passing Tell Ibrahim or Kutha on the way, and the King's canal or Ar-Malcha between the other two. This last, which perhaps owed its name to Khammurabi, was conducted from the Euphrates towards Upi or Opis, which has been shown by H. Winckler (Altorientalische Forschungen, ii. pp. 509 seq.) to have been close to Seleucia on the western side of the Tigris. The Pallacopas, called Pallukkatu in the Neo-Babylonian texts, started from Pallukkatu or Faluja, and running parallel to the western bank of the Euphrates as far as Iddaratu or Teredon (?) watered an immense tract of land and supplied a large lake near Borsippa. B. Meissner may be right in identifying it with “the Canal of the Sun-god” of the early texts. Thanks to this system of irrigation the cultivation of the soil was highly advanced in Babylonia. According to Herodotus (i. 193) wheat commonly returned two hundred-fold to the sower, and occasionally three hundred-fold. Pliny (H. N. xviii. 17) states that it was cut twice, and afterwards was good keep for sheep, and Berossus remarked that wheat, sesame, barley, ochrys, palms, apples and many kinds of shelled fruit grew wild, as wheat still does in the neighbourhood of Anah. A Persian poem celebrated the 360 uses of the palm (Strabo xvi. 1. 14), and Ammianus Marcellinus (xxiv. 3) says that from the point reached by Julian's army to the shores of the Persian Gulf was one continuous forest of verdure.
II. Classical Authorities.—Such a country was naturally fitted to be a pioneer of civilization. Before the decipherment of the cuneiform texts our knowledge of its history, however, was scanty and questionable. Had the native history of Berossus survived, this would not have been the case; all that is known of the Chaldaean historian's work, however, is derived from quotations in Josephus, Ptolemy, Eusebius and the Syncellus. The authenticity of his list of 10 antediluvian kings who reigned for 120 sari or 432,000 years, has been partially confirmed by the inscriptions; but his 8 postdiluvian dynasties are difficult to reconcile with the monuments, and the numbers attached to them are probably corrupt. It is different with the 7th and 8th dynasties as given by Ptolemy in the Almagest, which prove to have been faithfully recorded:—
|1. Nabonassar (747 B.C.)||14 years|
|2. Nadios||2 "|
|3. Khinziros and Poros (Pul)||5 "|
|4. Ilulaeos||5 "|
|5. Mardokempados (Merodach-Baladan)||12 "|
|6. Arkeanos (Sargon)||5 "|
|7. Interregnum||2 "|
|8. Hagisa||1 month|
|9. Belibos (702 B.C.)||3 years|
|10. Assaranadios (Assur-nadin-sum)||6 "|
|11. Rēgebelos||1 year|
|12. Mesēsimordakos||4 years|
|13. Interregnum||8 "|
|14. Asaridinos (Esar-haddon)||13 "|
|15. Saosdukhinos (Savul-sum-yukin)||20 "|
|16. Sinēladanos (Assur-bani-pal)||22 "|
The account of Babylon given by Herodotus is not that of an eye-witness, and his historical notices are meagre and untrustworthy. He was controverted by Ctesias, who, however, has mistaken mythology for history, and Greek romance owed to him its Ninus and Semiramis, its Ninyas and Sardanapalus. The only ancient authority of value on Babylonian and Assyrian history is the Old Testament.
III. Modern Discovery.—The excavations of P. E. Botta and A. H. Layard at Nineveh opened up a new world, coinciding as they did with the successful decipherment of the cuneiform system of writing. Layard's discovery of the library of Assur-bani-pal put the materials for reconstructing the ancient life and history of Assyria and Babylonia into the hands of scholars. He also was the first to excavate in Babylonia, where C. J. Rich had already done useful topographical work. Layard's excavations in this latter country were continued by W. K. Loftus, who also opened trenches at Susa, as well as by J. Oppert on behalf of the French government. But it was only in the last quarter of the 19th century that anything like systematic exploration was attempted. After the death of George Smith at Aleppo in 1876, an expedition was sent by the British Museum (1877-1879), under the conduct of Hormuzd Rassam, to continue his work at Nineveh and its neighbourhood. Excavations in the mounds of Balawāt, called Imgur-Bel by the Assyrians, 15 m. east of Mosul, resulted in the discovery of a small temple dedicated to the god of dreams by Assur-nazir-pal III. (883 B.C.), containing a stone coffer or ark in which were two inscribed tables of alabaster of rectangular shape, as well as of a palace which had been destroyed by the Babylonians but restored by Shalmaneser II. (858 B.C.). From the latter came the bronze gates with hammered reliefs, which are now in the British Museum. The remains of a palace of Assur-nazir-pal III. at Nimrūd (Calah) were also excavated, and hundreds of enamelled tiles were disinterred. Two years later (1880-1881) Rassam was sent to Babylonia, where he discovered the site of the temple of the sun-god of Sippara at Abu-Habba, and so fixed the position of the two Sipparas or Sepharvaim. Abu-Habba lies south-west of Bagdad, midway between the Euphrates and Tigris, on the south side of a canal, which may once have represented the main stream of the Euphrates, Sippara of the goddess Anunit, now Dēr, being on its opposite bank.
Meanwhile (1877-1881) the French consul, de Sarzec, had been excavating at Tello, the ancient Lagash, and bringing to light monuments of the pre-Semitic age, which included the diorite statues of Gudea now in the Louvre, the stone of which, according to the inscriptions upon them, had been brought from Magan, the Sinaitic peninsula. The subsequent excavations of de Sarzec in Tello and its neighbourhood carried the history of the city back to at least 4000 B.C., and a collection of more than 30,000 tablets has been found, which were arranged on shelves in the time of Gudea (c. 2700 B.C.). In 1886-1887 a German expedition under Dr Koldewey explored the cemetery of El Hibba (immediately to the south of Tello), and for the first time made us acquainted with the burial customs of ancient Babylonia. Another German expedition, on a large scale, was despatched by the Orientgesellschaft in 1899 with the object of exploring the ruins of Babylon; the palace of Nebuchadrezzar and the great processional road were laid bare, and Dr W. Andrae subsequently conducted excavations at Qal`at Sherqat, the site of Assur. Even the Turkish government has not held aloof from the work of exploration, and the Museum at Constantinople is filled with the tablets discovered by Dr V. Scheil in 1897 on the site of Sippara. J. de Morgan's exceptionally important work at Susa lies outside the limits of Babylonia; not so, however, the American excavations (1903-1904) under E. J. Banks at Bismya (Udab), and those of the university of Pennsylvania at Niffer (see Nippur) first begun in 1889, where Mr J. H. Haynes has systematically and patiently uncovered the remains of the great temple of El-lil, removing layer after layer of débris and cutting sections in the ruins down to the virgin soil. Midway in the mound is a platform of large bricks stamped with the names of Sargon of Akkad and his son Naram-Sin (3800 B.C.); as the débris above them is 34 ft. thick, the topmost stratum being not later than the Parthian era (H. V. Hilprecht, The Babylonian Expedition, i. 2, p. 23), it is calculated that the débris underneath the pavement, 30 ft. thick, must represent a period of about 3000 years, more especially as older constructions had to be levelled before the pavement was laid. In the deepest part of the excavations, however, inscribed clay tablets and fragments of stone vases are still found, though the cuneiform characters upon them are of a very archaic type, and sometimes even retain their primitive pictorial forms.
IV. Chronology. The later chronology of Assyria has long been fixed, thanks to the lists of limmi, or archons, who gave their names in succession to their years of office. Several copies of these lists from the library of Nineveh are in existence, the earliest of which goes back to 911 B.C., while the latest comes down to the middle of the reign of Assur-bani-pal. The beginning of a king's reign is noted in the lists, and in some of them the chief events of the year are added to the name of its archon. Assyrian chronology is, therefore, certain from 911 B.C. to 666, and an eclipse of the sun which is stated to have been visible in the month Sivan, 763 B.C., is one that has been calculated to have taken place on the 15th of June of that year. The system of reckoning time by limmi was of Assyrian origin, and recent discoveries have made it clear that it went back to the first days of the monarchy. Even in the distant colony at Kara Euyuk near Kaisariyeh (Caesarea) in Cappadocia cuneiform tablets show that the Assyrian settlers used it in the 15th century B.C. In Babylonia a different system was adopted. Here the years were dated by the chief events that distinguished them, as was also the case in Egypt in the epoch of the Old Empire. What the event should be was determined by the government and notified to all its officials; one of these notices, sent to the Babylonian officials in Canaan in the reign of Samsu-iluna, the son of Khammurabi, has been found in the Lebanon. A careful register of the dates was kept, divided into reigns, from which dynastic lists were afterwards compiled, giving the duration of each king's reign as well as that of the several dynasties. Two of these dynastic compilations have been discovered, unfortunately in an imperfect state. In addition to the chronological tables, works of a more ambitious and literary character were also attempted of the nature of chronicles. One of these is the so-called “Synchronous History of Assyria and Babylonia,” consisting of brief notices, written by an Assyrian, of the occasions on which the kings of the two countries had entered into relation, hostile or otherwise, with one another; a second is the Babylonian Chronicle discovered by Dr Th. G. Pinches, which gave a synopsis of Babylonian history from a Babylonian point of view, and was compiled in the reign of Darius. It is interesting to note that its author says of the battle of Khalulē, which we know from the Assyrian inscriptions to have taken place in 691 or 690 B.C., that he does “not know the year” when it was fought: the records of Assyria had been already lost, even in Babylonia. The early existence of an accurate system of dating is not surprising; it was necessitated by the fact that Babylonia was a great trading community, in which it was not only needful that commercial and legal documents should be dated, but also that it should be possible to refer easily to the dates of former business transactions. The Babylonian and Assyrian kings had consequently no difficulty in determining the age of their predecessors or of past events. Nabonidus (Nabunaid), who was more of an antiquarian than a politician, and spent his time in excavating the older temples of his country and ascertaining the names of their builders, tells us that Naram-Sin, the son of Sargon of Akkad, lived 3200 years before himself (i.e. 3750 B.C.), and Sagarakti-suryas 800 years; and we learn from Sennacherib that Shalmaneser I. reigned 600 years earlier, and that Tiglath-pileser I. fought with Merodach-nadin-akhi (Marduk-nadin-akhē) of Babylon 418 years before the campaign of 689 B.C.; while, according to Tiglath-pileser I., the high-priest Samas-Hadad, son of Isme-Dagon, built the temple of Anu and Hadad at Assur 701 years before his own time. Shalmaneser I. in his turn states that the high-priest Samas-Hadad, the son of Bel-kabi, governed Assur 580 years previously, and that 159 years before this the high-priest Erisum was reigning there. The raid of the Elamite king Kutur-Nakhkhuntē is placed by Assur-bani-pal 1635 years before his own conquest of Susa, and Khammurabi is said by Nabonidus to have preceded Burna-buryas by 700 years.
V. History.—In the earliest period of which we have any Early Sumerian period. knowledge Babylonia was divided into several independent states, the limits of which were defined by canals and boundary stones. Its culture may be traced back to two main centres, Eridu in the south and Nippur in the north. But the streams of civilization which flowed from them were in strong contrast. El-lil, around whose sanctuary Nippur had grown up, was lord of the ghost-land, and his gifts to mankind were the spells and incantations which the spirits of good or evil were compelled to obey. The world which he governed was a mountain; the creatures whom he had made lived underground. Eridu, on the other hand, was the home of the culture-god Ea, the god of light and beneficence, who employed his divine wisdom in healing the sick and restoring the dead to life. Rising each morning from his palace in the deep, he had given man the arts and sciences, the industries and manners of civilization. To him was due the invention of writing, and the first law-book was his creation. Eridu had once been a seaport, and it was doubtless its foreign trade and intercourse with other lands which influenced the development of its culture. Its cosmology was the result of its geographical position: the earth, it was believed, had grown out of the waters of the deep, like the ever-widening coast at the mouth of the Euphrates. Long before history begins, however, the cultures of Eridu and Nippur had coalesced. While Babylon seems to have been a colony of Eridu, Ur, the immediate neighbour of Eridu, must have been colonized from Nippur, since its moon-god was the son of El-lil of Nippur. But in the admixture of the two cultures the influence of Eridu was predominant.
We may call the early civilization of Babylonia Sumerian. The race who first developed it spoke an agglutinative language, and to them was due the invention of the pictorial hieroglyphs which became the running-hand or cuneiform characters of later days, as well as the foundation of the chief cities of the country and the elements of its civilization. The great engineering works by means of which the marshes were drained and the overflow of the rivers regulated by canals went back to Sumerian times, like a considerable part of later Babylonian religion and the beginnings of Babylonian law. Indeed Sumerian continued to be the language of religion and law long after the Semites had become the ruling race.
Arrival of the Semites.—When the Semites first entered the Semitic Influence. Edin or plain of Babylonia is uncertain, but it must have been at a remote period. The cuneiform system of writing was still in process of growth when it was borrowed and adapted by the new comers, and the Semitic Babylonian language was profoundly influenced by the older language of the country, borrowing its words and even its grammatical usages. Sumerian in its turn borrowed from Semitic Babylonian, and traces of Semitic influence in some of the earliest Sumerian texts indicate that the Semite was already on the Babylonian border. His native home was probably Arabia; hence Eridu (“the good city”) and Ur (“the city”) would have been built in Semitic territory, and their population may have included Semitic elements from the first. It was in the north, however, that the Semites first appear on the monuments. Here in Akkad the first Semitic empire was founded, Semitic conquerors or settlers spread from Sippara to Susa, Khana to the east of the Tigris was occupied by “West Semitic” tribes, and “out of” Babylonia “went forth the Assyrian.” As in Assyria, so too in the states of Babylonia the patesi or high-priest of the god preceded the king. The state had grown up around a sanctuary, the god of which was nominally its ruler, the human patesi being his viceregent. In course of time many of the high-priests assumed the functions and title of king; while retaining their priestly office they claimed at the same time to be supreme in the state in all secular concerns. The god remained nominally at its head; but even this position was lost to him when Babylonia was unified under Semitic princes, and the earthly king became an incarnate god. A recollection of his former power survived, however, at Babylon, where Bel-Merodach adopted the king before his right to rule was allowed.
Early Princes.—The earliest monuments that can be approximately Ur-ninā dynasty. dated come from Lagash (Tello). Here we hear of a “king of Kengi,” as well as of a certain Me-silim, king of Kis, who had dealings with Lugal-suggur, high-priest of Lagash, and the high-priest of a neighbouring town, the name of which is provisionally transcribed Gis-ukh (formerly written Gis-ban and confounded with the name of Opis). According to Scheil, Gis-ukh is represented by Jokha, south of Fāra and west of the Shatt el-Hai, and since two of its rulers are called kings of Tē on a seal-cylinder, this may have been the pronunciation of the name. At a later date the high-priests of Lagash made themselves kings, and a dynasty was founded there by Ur-Ninā. In the ruins of a building, attached by him to the temple of Ninā, terra-cotta bas-reliefs of the king and his sons have been found, as well as the heads of lions in onyx, which remind us of Egyptian work and onyx plates. These were “booty” dedicated to the goddess Bau. E-anna-du, the grandson of Ur-Ninā, made himself master of the whole of southern Babylonia, including “the district of Sumer” together with the cities of Erech, Ur and Larsa (?). He also annexed the kingdom of Kis, which, however, recovered its independence after his death. Gis-ukh was made tributary, a certain amount of grain being levied upon each person in it, which had to be paid into the treasury of the goddess Ninā and the god Ingurisa. The so-called “Stele of the Vultures,” now in the Louvre, was erected as a monument of the victory. On this various incidents in the war are represented. In one scene the king stands in his chariot with a curved weapon in his right hand formed of three bars of metal bound together by rings (similar, as M. L. Heuzey has pointed out, to one carried by the chief of an Asiatic tribe in a tomb of the 12th dynasty at Beni-Hasan in Egypt), while his kilted followers with helmets on their heads and lances in their hands march behind him. In another a flock of vultures is feeding on the bodies of the fallen enemy; in a third a tumulus is being heaped up over those who had been slain on the side of Lagash. Elsewhere we see the victorious prince beating down a vanquished enemy, and superintending the execution of other prisoners who are being sacrificed to the gods, while in one curious scene he is striking with his mace a sort of wicker-work cage filled with naked men. In his hand he holds the crest of Lagash and its god—a lion-headed eagle with outstretched wings, supported by two lions which are set heraldically back to back. The sculptures belong to a primitive period of art.
E-anna-du's campaigns extended beyond the confines of Babylonia. He overran a part of Elam and took the city of Az on the Persian Gulf. Temples and palaces were repaired or erected at Lagash and elsewhere, the town of Ninā—which probably gave its name to the later Ninā or Nineveh—was rebuilt, and canals and reservoirs were excavated. He was succeeded by his brother En-anna-tum I., under whom Gis-ukh once more became the dominant power. As En-anna-tum has the title only of high-priest, it is probable that he acknowledged Ur-lumma of Gis-ukh as his suzerain. His son and successor Entemena restored the prestige of Lagash. Gis-ukh was subdued and a priest named Illi was made its governor. A tripod of silver dedicated by Entemena to his god is now in the Louvre. A frieze of lions devouring ibexes and deer, and incised with great artistic skill, runs round the neck, while the eagle crest of Lagash adorns the globular part. The vase is a proof of the high degree of excellence to which the goldsmith's art had already attained. A vase of calcite, also dedicated by Entemena, has been found at Nippur.
The eighth successor of Ur-Ninā was Uru-duggina, who was overthrown and his city captured by Lugal-zaggisi, the high-priest of Gis-ukh. Lugal-zaggisi was the founder of the first empire in Asia of which we know. He made Erech his capital and calls himself king of Kengi. In a long inscription which he caused to be engraved on hundreds of stone vases dedicated to El-lil of Nippur, he declares that his kingdom extended “from the Lower Sea of the Tigris and Euphrates,” or Persian Gulf, to “the Upper Sea” or Mediterranean. It was at this time that Erech received the name of “the City,” which it continued to bear when written ideographically.
Semitic Empire of Sargon of Akkad.—The next empire founded Sargon. in western Asia was Semitic. Semitic princes had already established themselves at Kis, and a long inscription has been discovered at Susa by J. de Morgan, belonging to one of them, Manistusu, who like Lugal-zaggisi was a contemporary of Uru-duggina. Another Semitic ruler of Kis of the same period was Alusarsid (or Urumus) who “subdued Elam and Barahsē.” But the fame of these early establishers of Semitic supremacy was far eclipsed by that of Sargon of Akkad and his son, Naram-Sin. The date of Sargon is placed by Nabonidus at 3800 B.C. He was the son of Itti-Bel, and a legend related how he had been born in concealment and sent adrift in an ark of bulrushes on the waters of the Euphrates. Here he had been rescued and brought up by “Akki the husbandman”; but the day arrived at length when his true origin became known, the crown of Babylonia was set upon his head and he entered upon a career of foreign conquest. Four times he invaded Syria and Palestine, and spent three years in thoroughly subduing the countries of “the west,” and in uniting them with Babylonia “into a single empire.” Images of himself were erected on the shores of the Mediterranean in token of his victories, and cities and palaces were built at home out of the spoils of the conquered lands. Elam and the northern part of Mesopotamia were also subjugated, and rebellions were put down both in Kazalla and in Babylonia itself. Contract tablets have been found dated in the years of the campaigns against Palestine and Sarlak, king of Gutium or Kurdistan, and copper is mentioned as being brought from Magan or the Sinaitic peninsula.
Sargon's son and successor, Naram-Sin, followed up the Naram-Sin. successes of his father by marching into Magan, whose king he took captive. He assumed the imperial title of “king of the four zones,” and, like his father, was addressed as a god. He is even called “the god of Agadē” (Akkad), reminding us of the divine honours claimed by the Pharaohs of Egypt, whose territory now adjoined that of Babylonia. A finely executed bas-relief, representing Naram-Sin, and bearing a striking resemblance to early Egyptian art in many of its features, has been found at Diarbekr. Babylonian art, however, had already attained a high degree of excellence; two seal cylinders of the time of Sargon are among the most beautiful specimens of the gem-cutter's art ever discovered. The empire was bound together by roads, along which there was a regular postal service; and clay seals, which took the place of stamps, are now in the Louvre bearing the names of Sargon and his son. A cadastral survey seems also to have been instituted, and one of the documents relating to it states that a certain Uru-Malik, whose name appears to indicate his Canaanitish origin, was governor of the land of the Amorites, as Syria and Palestine were called by the Babylonians. It is probable that the first collection of astronomical observations and terrestrial omens was made for a library established by Sargon.
Bingani-sar-ali was the son of Naram-Sin, but we do not yet Ur dynasty. know whether he followed his father on the throne. Another son was high-priest of the city of Tutu, and in the name of his daughter, Lipus-Eaum, a priestess of Sin, some scholars have seen that of the Hebrew deity Yahweh. The Babylonian god Ea, however, is more likely to be meant. The fall of Sargon's empire seems to have been as sudden as its rise. The seat of supreme power in Babylonia was shifted southwards to Isin and Ur. It is generally assumed that two dynasties reigned at Ur and claimed suzerainty over the other Babylonian states, though there is as yet no clear proof that there was more than one. It was probably Gungunu who succeeded in transferring the capital of Babylonia from Isin to Ur, but his place in the dynasty (or dynasties) is still uncertain. One of his successors was Ur-Gur, a great builder, who built or restored the temples of the Moon-god at Ur, of the Sun-god at Larsa, of Ishtar at Erech and of Bel at Nippur. His son and successor was Dungi, whose reign lasted more than 51 years, and among whose vassals was Gudea, the patesi or high-priest of Lagash. Gudea was also a great builder, and the materials for his buildings and statues were brought from all parts of western Asia, cedar wood from the Amanus mountains, quarried stones from Lebanon, copper from northern Arabia, gold and precious stones from the desert between Palestine and Egypt, dolerite from Magan (the Sinaitic peninsula) and timber from Dilmun in the Persian Gulf. Some of his statues, now in the Louvre, are carved out of Sinaitic dolerite, and on the lap of one of them (statue E) is the plan of his palace, with the scale of measurement attached. Six of the statues bore special names, and offerings were made to them as to the statues of the gods. Gudea claims to have conquered Anshan in Elam, and was succeeded by his son Ur-Ningirsu. His date may be provisionally fixed at 2700 B.C.
This dynasty of Ur was Semitic, not Sumerian, notwithstanding the name of Dungi. Dungi was followed by Bur-Sin, Gimil-Sin, and Ibi-Sin. Their power extended to the Mediterranean, and we possess a large number of contemporaneous monuments in the shape of contracts and similar business documents, as well as chronological tables, which belong to their reigns.
After the fall of the dynasty, Babylonia passed under foreign Khammurabi. influence. Sumuabi (“Shem is my father”), from southern Arabia (or perhaps Canaan), made himself master of northern Babylonia, while Elamite invaders occupied the south. After a reign of 14 years Sumuabi was succeeded by his son Sumu-la-ilu, in the fifth year of whose reign the fortress of Babylon was built, and the city became for the first time a capital. Rival kings, Pungun-ila and Immerum, are mentioned in the contract tablets as reigning at the same time as Sumu-la-ilu (or Samu-la-ilu); and under Sin-muballidh, the great-grandson of Sumu-la-ilu, the Elamites laid the whole of the country under tribute, and made Eri-Aku or Arioch, called Rim-Sin by his Semitic subjects, king of Larsa. Eri-Aku was the son of Kudur-Mabug, who was prince of Yamutbal, on the eastern border of Babylonia, and also “governor of Syria.” The Elamite supremacy was at last shaken off by the son and successor of Sin-muballidh, Khammurabi, whose name is also written Ammurapi and Khammuram, and who was the Amraphel of Gen. xiv. 1. The Elamites, under their king Kudur-Lagamar or Chedor-laomer, seem to have taken Babylon and destroyed the temple of Bel-Merodach; but Khammurabi retrieved his fortunes, and in the thirtieth year of his reign (in 2340 B.C.) he overthrew the Elamite forces in a decisive battle and drove them out of Babylonia. The next two years were occupied in adding Larsa and Yamutbal to his dominion, and in forming Babylonia into a single monarchy, the head of which was Babylon. A great literary revival followed the recovery of Babylonian independence, and the rule of Babylon was obeyed as far as the shores of the Mediterranean. Vast numbers of contract tablets, dated in the reigns of Khammurabi and other kings of the dynasty, have been discovered, as well as autograph letters of the kings themselves, more especially of Khammurabi. Among the latter is one ordering the despatch of 240 soldiers from Assyria and Situllum, a proof that Assyria was at the time a Babylonian dependency. Constant intercourse was kept up between Babylonia and the west, Babylonian officials and troops passing to Syria and Canaan, while “Amorite” colonists were established in Babylonia for the purposes of trade. One of these Amorites, Abi-ramu or Abram by name, is the father of a witness to a deed dated in the reign of Khammurabi's grandfather. Ammi-ditana, the great-grandson of Khammurabi, still entitles himself “king of the land of the Amorites,” and both his father and son bear the Canaanitish (and south Arabian) names of Abēsukh or Abishua and Ammi-zadok.
One of the most important works of this “First Dynasty of Babylon,” as it was called by the native historians, was the compilation of a code of laws (see Babylonian Law). This was made by order of Khammurabi after the expulsion of the Elamites and the settlement of his kingdom. A copy of the Code has been found at Susa by J. de Morgan and is now in the Louvre, The last king of the dynasty was Samsu-ditana the son of Ammi-zadok. He was followed by a dynasty of 11 Sumerian kings, who are said to have reigned for 368 years, a number which must be much exaggerated. As yet the name of only one of them has been found in a contemporaneous document. They were overthrown and Babylonia was conquered by Kassites or Kossaeans from the mountains of Elam, with whom Samsu-iluna had already come into conflict in his 9th year. The Kassite dynasty was founded by Kandis, Gandis or Gaddas (about 1780 B.C.), and lasted for 576¾ years. Under this foreign dominion, which offers a striking analogy to the contemporary rule of the Hyksos in Egypt, Babylonia lost its empire over western Asia, Syria and Palestine became independent, and the high-priests of Assur made themselves kings of Assyria. The divine attributes with which the Semitic kings of Babylonia had been invested disappeared at the same time; the title of “god” is never given to a Kassite sovereign. Babylon, however, remained the capital of the kingdom and the holy city of western Asia, where the priests were all-powerful, and the right to the inheritance of the old Babylonian empire could alone be conferred.
Rise of Assyria.—Under Khammurabi a Samsi-Hadad (or Samsi-Raman) seems to have been vassal-prince at Assur, and the names of several of the high-priests of Assur who succeeded him have been made known to us by the recent German excavations. The foundation of the monarchy was ascribed to Zulilu, who is described as living after Bel-kapkapi or Belkabi (1900 B.C.), the ancestor of Shalmaneser I. Assyria grew in power at the expense of Babylonia, and a time came when the Kassite king of Babylonia was glad to marry the daughter of Assur-yuballidh of Assyria, whose letters to Amenophis (Amon-hotep) IV. of Egypt have been found at Tell el-Amarna. The marriage, however, led to disastrous results, as the Kassite faction at court murdered the king and placed a pretender on the throne. Assur-yuballidh promptly marched into Babylonia and avenged his son-in-law, making Burna-buryas of the royal line king in his stead. Burna-buryas, who reigned 22 years, carried on a correspondence with Amenophis IV. of Egypt. Shalmaneser I. After his death, the Assyrians, who were still nominally the vassals of Babylonia, threw off all disguise, and Shalmaneser I. (1300 B.C.), the great-great-grandson of Assur-yuballidh, openly claimed the supremacy in western Asia. Shalmaneser was the founder of Calah, and his annals, which have recently been discovered at Assur, show how widely extended the Assyrian empire already was. Campaign after campaign was carried on against the Hittites and the wild tribes of the north-west, and Assyrian colonists were settled in Cappadocia. His son Tukulti-In-aristi conquered Babylon, putting its king Bitilyasu to death, and thereby made Assyria the mistress of the oriental world. Assyria had taken the place of Babylonia.
For 7 years Tukulti-In-aristi ruled at Babylon with the old imperial title of “king of Sumer and Akkad.” Then the Babylonians revolted. The Assyrian king was murdered by his son, Assur-nazir-pal I., and Hadad-nadin-akhi made king of Babylonia. But it was not until several years later, in the reign of the Assyrian king Tukulti-Assur, that a reconciliation was effected between the two rival kingdoms. The next Assyrian monarch, Bel-kudur-uzur, was the last of the old royal line. He seems to have been slain fighting against the Babylonians, who were still under the rule of Hadad-nadin-akhi, and a new dynasty was established at Assur by In-aristi-pileser, who claimed to be a descendant of the ancient prince Erba-Raman. Tiglath-pileser I. His fourth successor was Tiglath-pileser I., one of the great conquerors of Assyria, who carried his arms towards Armenia on the north and Cappadocia on the west; he hunted wild bulls in the Lebanon and was presented with a crocodile by the Egyptian king. In 1107 B.C., however, he sustained a temporary defeat at the hands of Merodach-nadin-akhi (Marduk-nadin-akhē) of Babylonia, where the Kassite dynasty had finally succumbed to Elamite attacks and a new line of kings was on the throne.
Of the immediate successors of Tiglath-pileser I. we know Assur-nazir-pal III. little, and it is with Assur-nazir-pal III. (883-858 B.C.) that our knowledge of Assyrian history begins once more to be fairly full. The empire of Assyria was again extended in all directions, and the palaces, temples and other buildings raised by him bear witness to a considerable development of wealth and art. Calah became the favourite residence of a monarch who was distinguished even among Assyrian conquerors for his revolting cruelties. Shalmaneser II. His son Shalmaneser II. had a long reign of 35 years, during which the Assyrian capital was converted into a sort of armed camp. Each year the Assyrian armies marched out of it to plunder and destroy. Babylon was occupied and the country reduced to vassalage. In the west the confederacy of Syrian princes headed by Benhadad of Damascus and including Ahab of Israel (see Jews, § 10) was shattered in 853 B.C., and twelve years later the forces of Hazael were annihilated and the ambassadors of Jehu of Samaria brought tribute to “the great king.” The last few years of his life, however, were disturbed by the rebellion of his eldest son, which well-nigh proved fatal. Assur, Arbela and other places joined the pretender, and the revolt was with difficulty put down by Samsi-Raman (or Samsi-Hadad), Shalmaneser's second son, who soon afterwards succeeded him (824 B.C.). In 804 B.C. Damascus was captured by his successor Hadad-nirari IV., to whom tribute was paid by Samaria.
With Nabu-nazir, the Nabonassar of classical writers, the so-called Nabu-nazir. Canon of Ptolemy begins. When he ascended the throne of Babylon in 747 B.C. Assyria was in the throes of a revolution. Civil war and pestilence were devastating the country, and its northern provinces had been wrested from it by Ararat. In 746 B.C. Calah joined the rebels, and on the 13th of Iyyar in the following year, Pulu or Pul, who took the name of Tiglath-pileser III., seized the crown and inaugurated a new and vigorous policy.
Second Assyrian Empire.—Under Tiglath-pileser III. arose the Tiglath-pileser III. second Assyrian empire, which differed from the first in its greater consolidation. For the first time in history the idea of centralization was introduced into politics; the conquered provinces were organized under an elaborate bureaucracy at the head of which was the king, each district paying a fixed tribute and providing a military contingent. The Assyrian forces became a standing army, which, by successive improvements and careful discipline, was moulded into an irresistible fighting machine, and Assyrian policy was directed towards the definite object of reducing the whole civilized world into a single empire and thereby throwing its trade and wealth into Assyrian hands. With this object, after terrorizing Armenia and the Medes and breaking the power of the Hittites, Tiglath-pileser III. secured the high-roads of commerce to the Mediterranean together with the Phoenician seaports and then made himself master of Babylonia. In 729 B.C. the summit of his ambition was attained, and he was invested with the sovereignty of Asia in the holy city of Babylon.
|STELE OF VICTORY OF NARAM-SIN,
KING OF AGADE. Louvre.
|FIGURE OF GUDEA, PATESI OF LAGASH.
|SCULPTURE FROM THE STELE ENGRAVED|
WITH KHAMMURABI'S CODE OF LAWS.
|COPPER VOTIVE FIGURE OF ARAD-SIN,
KING OF LARSA.
WITH EMBLEMS OF THE GODS; REIGN
OF NEBUCHADREZZAR I.
|COLOSSAL WINGED AND HUMAN-HEADED|
LION FROM THE PALACE OF ASSUR-NAZIR-PAL
STATUE OF ASSUR-NAZIR-PAL, KING OF ASSYRIA.
RELIEF REPRESENTING ASSUR-
FIGURE OF A DYING LION, FROM THE
STATUE OF THE GOD NEBO; REIGN OF ADAD-NIRARI III.
SCULPTURED RELIEF OF THE REIGN OF ASSUR-NAZIR-PAL; FOREIGNERS BRINGING TRIBUTE.
IVORY PANELS WITH LINE ENGRAVING; FROM NIMRUD.
ARCHITECTURAL ORNAMENTS OF PAINTED TERRA-COTTA; FROM NIMRUD.
SECTION OF BRONZE SHEATHING FROM GATES OF SHALMANESER II.
SCULPTURED RELIEF OF THE REIGN OF ASSUR-BANI-PAL; MYTHOLOGICAL BEINGS IN CONFLICT.
PORTION OF SCULPTURED PAVING SLAB FROM A DOORWAY IN ASSUR-BANI-PAL'S PALACE AT KUYUNJIK (NINEVEH).
STAMPED BRICK-INSCRIPTION OF BŪR-SIN, KING OF UR.
LETTER FROM TUSHRATTA, KING OF MITANI, TO AMENOPHIS III.
PRISM OF SENNACHERIB, INSCRIBED WITH HISTORICAL ANNALS OF HIS REIGN.
TABLET FROM ASSUR-BANI-PAL'S LIBRARY, INSCRIBED WITH MYTHOLOGICAL TEXT.
Esar-haddon, who succeeded him, was of different calibre from Esar-haddon. his father. He was commanding the army in a campaign against Ararat at the time of the murder; forty-two days later the murderers fled from Nineveh and took refuge at the court of Ararat. But the Armenian army was utterly defeated near Malatia on the 12th of Iyyar, and at the end of the day Esar-haddon was saluted by his soldiers as king. He thereupon returned to Nineveh and on the 8th of Sivan formally ascended the throne.
One of his first acts was to restore Babylon, to send back the image of Bel-Merodach (Bel-Marduk) to its old home, and to re-people the city with such of the priests and the former population as had survived massacre. Then he was solemnly declared king in the temple of Bel-Merodach, which had again risen from its ruins, and Babylon became the second capital of the empire. Esar-haddon's policy was successful and Babylonia remained contentedly quiet throughout his reign. In February (674 B.C.) the Assyrians entered upon their invasion of Egypt (see also Egypt: History), and in Nisan (or March) 670 B.C. an expedition on an unusually large scale set out from Nineveh. The Egyptian frontier was crossed on the 3rd of Tammuz (June), and Tirhaka, at the head of the Egyptian forces, was driven to Memphis after fifteen days of continuous fighting, during which the Egyptians were thrice defeated with heavy loss and Tirhaka himself was wounded. On the 22nd of the month Memphis was entered by the victorious army and Tirhaka fled to the south. A stele, commemorating the victory and representing Tirhaka with the features of a negro, was set up at Sinjirli (north of the Gulf of Antioch) and is now in the Berlin Museum. Two years later (668 B.C.) Egypt revolted, and while on the march to reduce it, Esar-haddon fell ill and died (on the 10th of Marchesvan or October). Assur-bani-pal. Assur-bani-pal succeeded him as king of Assyria and its empire, while his brother, Samas-sum-yukin, was made viceroy of Babylonia. The arrangement was evidently intended to flatter the Babylonians by giving them once more the semblance of independence. But it failed to work. Samas-sum-yukin became more Babylonian than his subjects; the viceroy claimed to be the successor of the monarchs whose empire had once stretched to the Mediterranean; even the Sumerian language was revived as the official tongue, and a revolt broke out which shook the Assyrian empire to its foundations. After several years of struggle, during which Egypt recovered its independence, Babylon was starved into surrender, and the rebel viceroy and his supporters were put to death.
Egypt had already recovered its independence (660 B.C.) with the help of mercenaries sent by Gyges of Lydia, who had vainly solicited aid from Assyria against his Cimmerian enemies. Next followed the contest with Elam, in spite of the efforts of Assur-bani-pal to ward it off. Assyria, however, was aided by civil war in Elam itself; the country was wasted with fire and sword, and its capital Susa or Shushan levelled with the ground. But the long struggle left Assyria maimed and exhausted. It had been drained of both wealth and fighting population; the devastated provinces of Elam and Babylonia could yield nothing with which to supply the needs of the imperial exchequer, and it was difficult to find sufficient troops even to garrison the conquered populations. Assyria, therefore, was ill prepared to face the hordes of Scythians—or Manda, as they were called by the Babylonians—who now began to harass the frontiers. A Scythian power had grown up in the old kingdom of Ellip, to the east of Assyria, where Ecbatana was built by a “Manda” prince; Asia Minor was infested by the Scythian tribe of Cimmerians, and the death of the Scythian leader Dugdammē (the Lygdamis of Strabo i. 3. 16) was regarded by Assur-bani-pal as a special mark of divine favour.
When Assur-bani-pal died, his empire was fast breaking up. Scythian influence. Under his successor, Assur-etil-ilani, the Scythians penetrated into Assyria and made their way as far as the borders of Egypt. Calah was burned, though the strong walls of Nineveh protected the relics of the Assyrian army which had taken refuge behind them; and when the raiders had passed on to other fields of booty, a new palace was erected among the ruins of the neighbouring city. But its architectural poverty and small size show that the resources of Assyria were at a low ebb. A contract has been found at Sippara, dated in the fourth year of Assur-etil-ilani, though it is possible that his rule in Babylonia was disputed by his Rab-shakeh (vizier), Assur-sum-lisir, whose accession year as king of Assyria occurs on a contract from Nippur (Niffer). The last king of Assyria was probably the brother of Assur-etil-ilani, Sin-sar-iskun (Sin-sarra-uzur), who seems to have been the Sarakos (Saracus) of Berossus. He was still reigning in Babylonia in his seventh year, as a contract dated in that year has been discovered at Erech, and an inscription of his, in which he speaks of restoring the ruined temples and their priests, couples Merodach of Babylon with Assur of Nineveh. Babylonia, however, was again restless. After the over throw of Samas-sum-yukin, Kandalanu, the Chineladanos of Ptolemy's canon, had been appointed viceroy. Nabopolassar. His successor was Nabopolassar, between whom and the last king of Assyria war broke out. The Scythian king of Ecbatana, the Cyaxares of the Greeks, came to the help of the Babylonians. Nineveh was captured and destroyed by the Scythian army, along with those cities of northern Babylonia which had sided with Babylonia, and the Assyrian empire was at an end.
The seat of empire was now transferred to Babylonia. Nabopolassar Nabonidus. was followed by his son Nebuchadrezzar II., whose reign of 43 years made Babylon once more the mistress of the civilized world. Only a small fragment of his annals has been discovered relating to his invasion of Egypt in 567 B.C., and referring to “Phut of the Ionians.” Of the reign of the last Babylonian king, Nabonidus, however, and the conquest of Babylonia by Cyrus, we now have a fair amount of information. This is chiefly derived from a chronological tablet containing the annals of Nabonidus, which is supplemented by an inscription of Nabonidus, in which he recounts his restoration of the temple of the Moon-god at Harran, as well as by a proclamation of Cyrus issued shortly after his formal recognition as king of Babylonia. It was in the sixth year of Nabonidus (549 B.C.)—or perhaps in 553—that Cyrus, “king of Anshan” in Elam, revolted against his suzerain Astyages, king of “the Manda” or Scythians, at Ecbatana. The army of Astyages betrayed him to his enemy, and Cyrus (q.v.) established himself at Ecbatana, thus putting an end to the empire of the Scythians, which the Greek writers called that of the Medes, through a confusion of Madā or “Medes” with Manda. Invasion by Cyrus. Three years later we find that Cyrus has become king of Persia and is engaged in a campaign in the north of Mesopotamia. Meanwhile Nabonidus has established a camp at Sippara, near the northern frontier of his kingdom, his son—probably the Belshazzar of other inscriptions—being in command of the army. In 538 B.C. Cyrus invaded Babylonia. A battle was fought at Opis in the month of June, in which the Babylonians were defeated, and immediately afterwards Sippara surrendered to the invader. Nabonidus fled to Babylon, whither he was pursued by Gobryas, the governor of Kurdistan, and on the 16th of Tammuz, two days after the capture of Sippara, “the soldiers of Cyrus entered Babylon without fighting.” Nabonidus was dragged out of his hiding-place, and Kurdish guards were placed at the gates of the great temple of Bel, where the services continued without intermission. Cyrus did not arrive till the 3rd of Marchesvan (October), Gobryas having acted for him in his absence. Gobryas was now made governor of the province of Babylon, and a few days afterwards the son of Nabonidus, according to the most probable reading, died. A public mourning followed, which lasted six days, and Cambyses accompanied the corpse to the tomb. Cyrus now claimed to be the legitimate successor of the ancient Babylonian kings and the avenger of Bel-Merodach, who was wrathful at the impiety of Nabonidus in removing the images of the local gods from their ancestral shrines to his capital Babylon. Nabonidus, in fact, had excited a strong feeling against himself by attempting to centralize the religion of Babylonia in the temple of Merodach (Marduk) at Babylon, and while he had thus alienated the local priesthoods the military party despised him on account of his antiquarian tastes. He seems to have left the defence of his kingdom to others, occupying himself with the more congenial work of excavating the foundation records of the temples and determining the dates of their builders. The invasion of Babylonia by Cyrus was doubtless facilitated by the existence of a disaffected party in the state, as well as by the presence of foreign exiles like the Jews, who had been planted in the midst of the country. One of the first acts of Cyrus accordingly was to allow these exiles to return to their own homes, carrying with them the images of their gods and their sacred vessels. The permission to do so was embodied in a proclamation, in which the conqueror endeavoured to justify his claim to the Babylonian throne. The feeling was still strong that none had a right to rule over western Asia until he had been consecrated to the office by Bel and his priests; and from henceforth, accordingly, Cyrus assumed the imperial title of “king of Babylon.” A year before his death, in 529 B.C., he associated his son Cambyses (q.v.) in the government, making him king of Babylon, while he reserved for himself the fuller title of “king of the (other) provinces” of the empire. It was only when Darius Hystaspis, the representative of the Aryan race and the Zoroastrian religion, had re-conquered the empire of Cyrus, that the old tradition was broken and the claim of Babylon to confer legitimacy on the rulers of western Asia ceased to be acknowledged (see Darius). Darius, in fact, entered Babylon as a conqueror; after the murder of the Magian it had recovered its independence under Nidinta-Bel, who took the name of Nebuchadrezzar III., and reigned from October 521 B.C. to August 520 B.C., when the Persians took it by storm. A few years later, probably 514 B.C., Babylon again revolted under the Armenian Arakha; on this occasion, after its capture by the Persians, the walls were partly destroyed. E-Saggila, the great temple of Bel, however, still continued to be kept in repair and to be a centre of Babylonian patriotism, until at last the foundation of Seleucia diverted the population to the new capital of Babylonia and the ruins of the old city became a quarry for the builders of the new seat of government.
VI. Assyria and Babylonia contrasted.—The sister-states of Babylonia and Assyria differed essentially in character. Babylonia was a land of merchants and agriculturists; Assyria was an organized camp. The Assyrian dynasties were founded by successful generals; in Babylonia it was the priests whom a revolution raised to the throne. The Babylonian king remained a priest to the last, under the control of a powerful hierarchy; the Assyrian king was the autocratic general of an army, at whose side stood in early days a feudal nobility, and from the reign of Tiglath-pileser III. onwards an elaborate bureaucracy. His palace was more sumptuous than the temples of the gods, from which it was quite separate. The people were soldiers and little else; even the sailor belonged to Babylonia. Hence the sudden collapse of Assyria when drained of its fighting population in the age of Assur-bani-pal.
VII. Assyro-Babylonian Culture.—Assyrian culture came from Babylonia, but even here there was a difference between the two countries. There was little in Assyrian literature that was original, and education, which was general in Babylonia, was in the northern kingdom confined for the most part to a single class. In Babylonia it was of very old standing. There were libraries in most of the towns and temples; an old Sumerian proverb averred that “he who would excel in the school of the scribes must rise with the dawn.” Women as well as men learned to read and write, and in Semitic times this involved a knowledge of the extinct Sumerian as well as of a most complicated and extensive syllabary. A considerable amount of Semitic Babylonian literature was translated from Sumerian originals, and the language of religion and law long continued to be the old agglutinative language of Chaldaea. Vocabularies, grammars and interlinear translations were compiled for the use of students as well as commentaries on the older texts and explanations of obscure words and phrases. The characters of the syllabary were all arranged and named, and elaborate lists of them were drawn up. The literature was for the most part inscribed with a metal stylus on tablets of clay, called laterculae coctiles by Pliny; the papyrus which seems to have been also employed has perished. Under the second Assyrian empire, when Nineveh had become a great centre of trade, Aramaic—the language of commerce and diplomacy—was added to the number of subjects which the educated class was required to learn. Under the Seleucids Greek was introduced into Babylon, and fragments of tablets have been found with Sumerian and Assyrian (i.e. Semitic Babylonian) words transcribed in Greek letters.
Babylonian Literature and Science.—There were many literary works the titles of which have come down to us. One of the most famous of these was the Epic of Gilgamesh, in twelve books, composed by a certain Sin-liqi-unninni, and arranged upon an astronomical principle. Each division contains the story of a single adventure in the career of Gilgamesh. The whole story is a composite product, and it is possible that some of the stories are artificially attached to the central figure. (See Gilgamesh, Epic of.)
Another epic was that of the Creation, the object of which was to glorify Bel-Merodach by describing his contest with Tiamat, the dragon of chaos. In the first book an account is given of the creation of the world out of the primeval deep and the birth of the gods of light. Then comes the story of the struggle between the gods of light and the powers of darkness, and the final victory of Merodach, who clove Tiamat asunder, forming the heaven out of one half of her body and the earth out of the other. Merodach next arranged the stars in order, along with the sun and moon, and gave them laws which they were never to transgress. After this the plants and animals were created, and finally man. Merodach here takes the place of Ea, who appears as the creator in the older legends, and is said to have fashioned man out of the clay.
The legend of Adapa, the first man, a portion of which was found in the record-office of the Egyptian king Amenophis IV. (Akhenaton) at Tell-el-Amarna, explains the origin of death. Adapa while fishing had broken the wings of the south wind, and was accordingly summoned before the tribunal of Anu in heaven. Ea counselled him not to eat or drink there. He followed the advice, and thus refused the food which would have made him and his descendants immortal.
Among the other legends of Babylonia may be mentioned those of Namtar, the plague-demon, of Urra, the pestilence, of Etanna and of Zu. Hades, the abode of Nin-erisgal or Allat, had been entered by Nergal, who, angered by a message sent to her by the gods of the upper world, ordered Namtar to strike off her head. She, however, declared that she would submit to any conditions imposed on her and would give Nergal the sovereignty of the earth. Nergal accordingly relented, and Allatu became the queen of the infernal world. Etanna conspired with the eagle to fly to the highest heaven. The first gate, that of Anu, was successfully reached; but in ascending still farther to the gate of Ishtar the strength of the eagle gave way, and Etanna was dashed to the ground. As for the storm-god Zu, we are told that he stole the tablets of destiny, and therewith the prerogatives of Bel. God after god was ordered to pursue him and recover them, but it would seem that it was only by a stratagem that they were finally regained.
Besides the purely literary works there were others of the most varied nature, including collections of letters, partly official, partly private. Among them the most interesting are the letters of Khammurabi, which have been edited by L. W. King. Astronomy and astrology, moreover, occupy a conspicuous place. Astronomy was of old standing in Babylonia, and the standard work on the subject, written from an astrological point of view, which was translated into Greek by Berossus, was believed to go back to the age of Sargon of Akkad. The zodiac was a Babylonian invention of great antiquity; and eclipses of the sun as well as of the moon could be foretold. Observatories were attached to the temples, and reports were regularly sent by the astronomers to the king. The stars had been numbered and named at an early date, and we possess tables of lunar longitudes and observations of the phases of Venus. In Seleucid and Parthian times the astronomical reports were of a thoroughly scientific character; how far the advanced knowledge and method they display may reach back we do not yet know. Great attention was naturally paid to the calendar, and we find a week of seven and another of five days in use. The development of astronomy implies considerable progress in mathematics; it is not surprising, therefore, that the Babylonians should have invented an extremely simple method of ciphering or have discovered the convenience of the duodecimal system. The ner of 600 and the sar of 3600 were formed from the soss or unit of 60, which corresponded with a degree of the equator. Tablets of squares and cubes, calculated from 1 to 60, have been found at Senkera, and a people who were acquainted with the sun-dial, the clepsydra, the lever and the pulley, must have had no mean knowledge of mechanics. A crystal lens, turned on the lathe, was discovered by Layard at Nimrud along with glass vases bearing the name of Sargon; this will explain the excessive minuteness of some of the writing on the Assyrian tablets, and a lens may also have been used in the observation of the heavens.
Art and Architecture.—The culture of Assyria, and still more of Babylonia, was essentially literary; we miss in it the artistic spirit of Egypt or Greece. In Babylonia the abundance of clay and want of stone led to the employment of brick; the Babylonian temples are massive but shapeless structures of crude brick, supported by buttresses, the rain being carried off by drains, one of which at Ur was of lead. The use of brick led to the early development of the pilaster and column, as well as of frescoes and enamelled tiles. The walls were brilliantly coloured, and sometimes plated with bronze or gold as well as with tiles. Painted terra-cotta cones were also embedded in the plaster. Assyria in this, as in other matters, the servile pupil of Babylonia, built its palaces and temples of brick, though stone was the natural building material of the country, even preserving the brick platform, so necessary in the marshy soil of Babylonia, but little needed in the north. As time went on, however, the later Assyrian architect began to shake himself free from Babylonian influences and to employ stone as well as brick. The walls of the Assyrian palaces were lined with sculptured and coloured slabs of stone, instead of being painted as in Chaldaea. We can. trace three periods in the art of these bas-reliefs; it is vigorous but simple under Assur-nazir-pal III., careful and realistic under Sargon, refined but wanting in boldness under Assur-bani-pal. In Babylonia, in place of the bas-relief we have the figure in the round, the earliest examples being the statues from Tello which are realistic but somewhat clumsy. The want of stone in Babylonia made every pebble precious and led to a high perfection in the art of gem-cutting. Nothing can be better than two seal-cylinders that have come down to us from the age of Sargon of Akkad. No remarkable specimens of the metallurgic art of an early period have been found, apart perhaps from the silver vase of Entemena, but at a later epoch great excellence was attained in the manufacture of such jewellery as ear-rings and bracelets of gold. Copper, too, was worked with skill; indeed, it is possible that Babylonia was the original home of copper-working, which spread westward with the civilization to which it belonged. At any rate the people were famous from an early date for their embroideries and rugs. The ceramic history of Babylonia and Assyria has unfortunately not yet been traced; at Susa alone has the care demanded by the modern methods of archaeology been as yet expended on examining and separating the pottery found in the excavations, and Susa is not Babylonia. We do not even know the date of the spirited terra-cotta reliefs discovered by Loftus and Rawlinson. The forms of Assyrian pottery, however, are graceful; the porcelain, like the glass discovered in the palaces of Nineveh, was derived from Egyptian originals. Transparent glass seems to have been first introduced in the reign of Sargon. Stone as well as clay and glass were employed in the manufacture of vases, and vases of hard stone have been disinterred at Tello similar to those of the early dynastic period of Egypt.
Social Life.—Castes were unknown in both Babylonia and Assyria, but the priesthood of Babylonia found its counterpart in the military aristocracy of Assyria. The priesthood was divided into a great number of classes, among which that of the doctors may be reckoned. The army was raised, at all events in part, by conscription; a standing army seems to have been first organized in Assyria. Successive improvements were introduced into it by the kings of the second Assyrian empire; chariots were superseded by cavalry; Tiglath-pileser III. gave the riders saddles and high boots, and Sennacherib created a corps of slingers. Tents, baggage-carts and battering-rams were carried on the march, and the tartan or commander-in-chief ranked next to the king. In both countries there was a large body of slaves; above them came the agriculturists and commercial classes, who were, however, comparatively little numerous in Assyria. The scribes, on the other hand, formed a more important class in Assyria than in Babylonia. Both countries had their artisans, money-lenders, poets and musicians.
The houses of the people contained but little furniture; chairs, tables and couches, however, were used, and Assur-bani-pal is represented as reclining on his couch at a meal while his wife sits on a chair beside him. After death the body was usually partially cremated along with the objects that had been buried with it. The cemetery adjoined the city of the living and was laid out in streets through which ran rivulets of “pure” water. Many of the tombs, which were built of crude brick, were provided with gardens, and there were shelves or altars on which were placed the offerings to the dead. As the older tombs decayed a fresh city of tombs arose on their ruins. It is remarkable that thus far no cemetery older than the Seleucid or Parthian period has been found in Assyria.
VIII. Chronological Systems.—The extreme divergence in the chronological schemes employed by different writers on the history of Babylonia and Assyria has frequently caused no small perplexity to readers who have no special knowledge of the subject. In this section an attempt is made to indicate briefly the causes which have led to so great a diversity of opinion, and to describe in outline the principles underlying the chief schemes of chronology that have been suggested; a short account will then be given of the latest discoveries in this branch of research, and of the manner in which they affect the problems at issue. It will be convenient to begin with the later historical periods, and then to push our inquiry back into the earlier periods of Babylonian and Sumerian history.
Up to certain points no difference of opinion exists upon the dates to be assigned to the later kings who ruled in Babylon and in Assyria. The Ptolemaic Canon (see sect. II.) gives a list of the Babylonian, Assyrian and Persian kings who ruled in Babylon, together with the number of years each of them reigned, from the accession of Nabonassar in 747 B.C. to the conquest of Babylon by Alexander the Great in 331 B.C. The accuracy of this list is confirmed by the larger List of Kings and by the principal Babylonian Chronicle; the latter, like the Canon, begins with the reign of Nabonassar, who, it has been suggested, may have revised the calendar and have inaugurated a new epoch for the later chronology. The Ptolemaic Canon is further controlled and its accuracy confirmed by the Assyrian Eponym Lists, or lists of limmi (see sect. II.), by means of which Assyrian chronology is fixed from 911 B.C. to 666 B.C., the solar eclipse of June 15th, 763 B.C., which is recorded in the eponymy of Pur-Sagale, placing the dead reckoning for these later periods upon an absolutely certain basis.
Thus all historians are agreed with regard to the Babylonian chronology back to the year 747 B.C., and with regard to that of Assyria back to the year 911 B.C. It is in respect of the periods anterior to these two dates that different writers have propounded differing systems of chronology, and, as might be imagined, the earlier the period we examine the greater becomes the discrepancy between the systems proposed. This variety of opinion is due to the fact that the data available for settling the chronology often conflict with one another, or are capable of more than one interpretation.
Since its publication in 1884 the Babylonian List of Kings has furnished the framework for every chronological system that has been proposed. In its original form this document gave a list, arranged in dynasties, of the Babylonian kings, from the First Dynasty of Babylon down to the Neo-Babylonian period. If the text were complete we should probably be in possession of the system of Babylonian chronology current in the Neo-Babylonian period from which our principal classical authorities (see sect. II.) derived their information. The principal points of uncertainty, due to gaps in the text, concern the length of Dynasties IV. and VIII.; for the reading of the figure giving the length of the former is disputed, and the summary at the close of the latter omits to state its length. This omission is much to be regretted, since Nabonassar was the last king but two of this dynasty, and, had we known its duration, we could have combined the information on the earlier periods furnished by the Kings' List with the evidence of the Ptolemaic Canon. In addition to the Kings' List, other important chronological data consist of references in the classical authorities to the chronological system of Berossus (q.v.); chronological references to earlier kings occurring in the later native inscriptions, such as Nabonidus's estimate of the period of Khammurabi (or Hammuribi); synchronisms, also furnished by the inscriptions, between kings of Babylon and of Assyria; and the early Babylonian date-lists.
|Dyn. I.||Dyn. II.||Dyn. III.|
|" (1905)||c. 2400-2100||c. 2100-1700||c. 1700-1150|
|Delitzsch (1907)||c. 2420-2120||c. 2120-(1752)||(1752-1176)|
|" " (1903)||2296-2009/8||2008/7-1691||1690-1115|
In view of the uncertainty regarding the length of Dynasties IV. and VIII. of the Kings' List, attempts have been made to ascertain the dates of the earlier dynasties by independent means. The majority of writers, after fixing the date at which Dynasty III. closed by means of the synchronisms and certain of the later chronological references, have accepted the figures of the Kings' List for the earlier dynasties, ignoring their apparent inconsistencies with the system of Berossus and with the chronology of Nabonidus. Others have attempted to reconcile the conflicting data by emendations of the figures and other ingenious devices. This will explain the fact that while the difference between the earliest and latest dates suggested for the close of Dynasty III. is only 144 years, the difference between the earliest and latest dates suggested for the beginning of Dynasty I. is no less than 622 years. A comparison of the principal schemes of chronology that have been propounded may be made by means of the preceding table. The first column gives the names of the writers and the dates at which their schemes were published, while the remaining columns give the dates they have suggested for Dynasties I., II. and III. of the Kings' List. The systems with the highest dates are placed first in the list; where a writer has produced more than one system, these are grouped together, the highest dates proposed by him determining his place in the series.
Omitting that of Oppert, which to some extent stands in a category by itself, the systems fall into three groups. The first group, comprising the second to the sixth names, obtains its results by selecting the data on which it relies and ignoring others. The second group, comprising the next four names, attempts to reconcile the conflicting data by emending the figures. The third group, consisting of the last two names, is differentiated by its proposals with regard to Dynasty II. It will be noted that the first group has obtained higher dates than the second, and the second group higher dates on the whole than the third.
Oppert's system represents the earliest dates that have been suggested. He accepted the figures of the Kings' List and claimed that he reconciled them with the figures of Berossus, though he ignored the later chronological notices. But there is no evidence for his “cyclic date” of 2517 B.C., on which his system depended, and there is little doubt that the beginning of the historical period of Berossus is to be set, not in 2506 B.C., but in 2232 B.C. The two systems of Sayce, that of Rogers, the three systems of Winckler, both those of Delitzsch, and that of Maspero, may be grouped together, for they are based on the same principle. Having first fixed the date of the close of Dynasty III., they employed the figures of the Kings' List unemended for defining the earlier periods, and did not attempt to reconcile their results with other conflicting data. The difference of eighteen years in Sayce's two dates for the rise of Dynasty I. was due to his employing in 1902 the figures assigned to the first seven kings of the dynasty upon the larger of the two contemporary date-lists, which had meanwhile been published, in place of those given by the List of Kings. It should be noted that Winckler (1905) and Delitzsch (1907) gives the dates only in round numbers.
A second group of systems may be said to consist of those proposed by Lehmann-Haupt, Marquart, Peiser, and Rost, for these writers attempted to get over the discrepancies in the data by emending some of the figures furnished by the inscriptions. In 1891, with the object of getting the total duration of the dynasties to agree with the chronological system of Berossus and with the statement of Nabonidus concerning Khammurabi's date, Peiser proposed to emend the figure given by the Kings' List for the length of Dynasty III. The reading of “9 soss and 36 years,” which gives the total 576 years, he suggested was a scribal error for “6 soss and 39 years”; he thus reduced the length of Dynasty III. by 177 years and effected a corresponding reduction in the dates assigned to Dynasties I. and II. In 1897 Rost followed up Peiser's suggestion by reducing the figure still further, but he counteracted to some extent the effects of this additional reduction by emending Sennacherib's date for Marduk-nadin-akhē's defeat of Tiglath-pileser I. as engraved on the rock at Bavian, holding that the figure “418,” as engraved upon the rock, was a mistake for “478.” Lehmann-Haupt's first system (1898) resembled those of Oppert, Sayce, Rogers, Winckler, Delitzsch and Maspero in that he accepted the figures of the Kings' List, and did not attempt to emend them. But he obtained his low date for the close of Dynasty III. by emending Sennacherib's figure in the Bavian inscription; this he reduced by a hundred years, instead of increasing it by sixty as Rost had suggested. Lehmann-Haupt's influence is visible in Marquart's system, published in the following year; it may be noted that his slightly reduced figure for the beginning of Dynasty I. was arrived at by incorporating the new information supplied by the first date-list to be published. When revising his scheme of chronology in 1900, Rost abandoned his suggested emendation of Sennacherib's figure, but by decreasing his reduction of the length of Dynasty III., he only altered his date for the beginning of Dynasty I. by one year. In his revised scheme of chronology, published in 1903, Lehmann-Haupt retained his emendation of Sennacherib's figure, and was in his turn influenced by Marquart's method of reconciling the dynasties of Berossus with the Kings' List. He continued to accept the figure of the Kings' List for Dynasty III., but he reduced the length of Dynasty II. by fifty years, arguing that the figures assigned to some of the reigns were improbably high. His slight reduction in the length of Dynasty I. was obtained from the recently published date-lists, though his proposed reduction of Ammizaduga's reign to ten years has since been disproved.
A third group of systems comprises those proposed by Hommel and Niebuhr, for their reductions in the date assigned to Dynasty I. were effected chiefly by their treatment of Dynasty II. In his first system, published in 1886, Hommel, mainly with the object of reducing Khammurabi's date, reversed the order of the first two dynasties of the Kings' List, placing Dynasty II. before Dynasty I. In his second and third systems (1895 and 1898), and in his second alternative scheme of 1901 (see below), he abandoned this proposal and adopted a suggestion of Halévy that Dynasty III. followed immediately after Dynasty I.; Dynasty II., he suggested, had either synchronized with Dynasty I., or was mainly apocryphal (eine spätere Geschichtskonstruction). Niebuhr's system was a modification of Hommel's second theory, for, instead of entirely ignoring Dynasty II., he reduced its independent existence to 143 years, making it overlap Dynasty I. by 225 years. The extremely low dates proposed by Hommel in 1898 were due to his adoption of Peiser's emendation for the length of Dynasty III., in addition to his own elimination of Dynasty II. In 1901 Hommel abandoned Peiser's emendation and suggested two alternative schemes. According to one of these he attempted to reconcile Berossus with the Kings' List by assigning to Dynasty II. an independent existence of some 171 years, while as a possible alternative he put forward what was practically his theory of 1895.
Such are the principles underlying the various chronological schemes which had, until recently, been propounded. The balance of opinion was in favour of those of the first group of writers, who avoided emendations of the figures and were content to follow the Kings' List and to ignore its apparent discrepancies with other chronological data; but it is now admitted that the general principle underlying the third group of theories was actually nearer the truth. The publication of fresh chronological material in 1906 and 1907 placed a new complexion on the problems at issue, and enabled us to correct several preconceptions, and to reconcile or explain the apparently conflicting data.
From a Babylonian chronicle in the British Museum we now know that Dynasty II. of the Kings' List never occupied the throne of Babylon, but ruled only in the extreme south of Babylonia on the shores of the Persian Gulf; that its kings were contemporaneous with the later kings of Dynasty I. and with the earlier kings of Dynasty III. of the Kings' List; that in the reign of Samsu-ditana, the last king of Dynasty I., Hittites from Cappadocia raided and captured Babylon, which in her weakened state soon fell a prey to the Kassites (Dynasty III.); and that later on southern Babylonia, till then held by Dynasty II. of the Kings' List, was in its turn captured by the Kassites, who from that time onward occupied the whole of the Babylonian plain. The same chronicle informs us that Ilu-shūma, an early Assyrian patesi, was the contemporary of Su-abu, the founder of Dynasty I. of the Kings' List, thus enabling us to trace the history of Assyria back beyond the rise of Babylon.
Without going into details, the more important results of this new information may be summarized: the elimination of Dynasty II. from the throne of Babylon points to a date not much earlier than 2000 or 2050 B.C. for the rise of Dynasty I., a date which harmonizes with the chronological notices of Shalmaneser I.; Nabonidus's estimate of the period of Khammurabi, so far from being centuries too low, is now seen to have been exaggerated, as the context of the passage in his inscription suggests; and finally the beginning of the historical period of Berossus is not to be synchronized with Dynasty I. of the Kings' List, but, assuming that his figures had an historical basis and that they have come down to us in their original form, with some earlier dynasty which may possibly have had its capital in one of the other great cities of Babylonia (such as the Dynasty of Isin).
New data have also been discovered bearing upon the period before the rise of Babylon. A fragment of an early dynastic chronicle from Nippur gives a list of the kings of the dynasties of Ur and Isin. From this text we learn that the Dynasty of Ur consisted of five kings and lasted for 117 years, and was succeeded by the Dynasty of Isin, which consisted of sixteen kings and lasted for 225½ years. Now the capture of the city of Isin by Rīm-Sin, which took place in the seventeenth year of Sin-muballit, the father of Khammurabi, formed an epoch for dating tablets in certain parts of Babylonia, and it is probable that we may identify the fall of the Dynasty of Isin with this capture of the city. In that case the later rulers of the Dynasty of Isin would have been contemporaneous with the earlier rulers of Dynasty I. of the Kings' List, and we obtain for the rise of the Dynasty of Ur a date not much earlier than 2300 B.C.
These considerable reductions in the dates of the earlier dynasties of Babylonia necessarily react upon our estimate of the age of Babylonian civilization. The very high dates of 5000 or 6000 B.C., formerly assigned by many writers to the earliest remains of the Sumerians and the Babylonian Semites, depended to a great extent on the statement of Nabonidus that 3200 years separated his own age from that of Narām-Sin, the son of Sargon of Agade; for to Sargon, on this statement alone, a date of 3800 B.C. has usually been assigned. But even by postulating the highest possible dates for the Dynasties of Babylon and Ur, enormous gaps occurred in the scheme of chronology, which were unrepresented by any royal name or record. In his valiant attempt to fill these gaps Radau was obliged to invent kings and even dynasties, the existence of which is now definitely disproved. The statement of Nabonidus has not, however, been universally accepted. Lehmann-Haupt suggested an emendation of the text, reducing the number by a thousand years; while Winckler has regarded the statement of Nabonidus as an uncritical exaggeration. Obviously the scribes of Nabonidus were not anxious to diminish the antiquity of the foundation-inscription of Narām-Sin, which their royal master had unearthed; and another reason for their calculations resulting in so high a figure is suggested by the recent discoveries: they may in all good faith have reckoned as consecutive a number of early dynasties which were as a matter of fact contemporaneous. But, though we may refuse to accept the accuracy of this figure of Nabonidus, it is not possible at present to fix a definite date for the early kings of Agade. All that can be said is that both archaeological and epigraphic evidence indicates that no very long interval separated the empire of the Semitic kings of Agade from that of the kings of Sumer and Akkad, whose rule was inaugurated by the founding of the Dynasty of Ur.
To use caution in accepting the chronological notices of the later kings is very far removed from suggesting emendations of their figures. The emenders postulate mechanical errors in the writing of the figures, but, equally with those who accept them, regard the calculations of the native scribes as above reproach. But that scribes could make mistakes in their reckoning is definitely proved by the discovery at Shergat of two totally conflicting accounts of the age and history of the great temple of Assur. This discovery in itself suggests that all chronological data are not to be treated as of equal value and arranged mechanically like the pieces of a Chinese puzzle; and further, that no more than a provisional acceptance should be accorded any statement of the later native chronologists, until confirmed by contemporary records. On the other hand, the death-blow has been given to the principle of emendation of the figures, which for so long has found favour among a considerable body of German writers. (L. W. K.)
IX. Proper Names.—In the early days of the decipherment of the cuneiform inscriptions, the reading of the proper names borne by Babylonians and Assyrians occasioned great difficulties; and though most of these difficulties have been overcome and there is general agreement among scholars as to the principles underlying both the formation and the pronunciation of the thousands of names that we encounter in historical records, business documents, votive inscriptions and literary productions, differences, though mostly of a minor character, still remain. Some time must elapse before absolute uniformity in the transliteration of these proper names is to be expected; and since different scholars still adopt varying spellings of Babylonian and Assyrian proper names, it has been considered undesirable in this work to ignore the fact in individual articles contributed by them. The better course seems to be to explain here the nature of these variations.
The main difficulty in the reading of Babylonian and Assyrian proper names arises from the preference given to the “ideographic” method of writing them. According to the developed cuneiform system of writing, words may be written by means of a sign (or combination of signs) expressive of the entire word, or they may be spelled out phonetically in syllables. So, for example, the word for “name” may be written by a sign MU, or it may be written cut by two signs shu-mu, the one sign MU representing the “Sumerian” word for “name,” which, however, in the case of a Babylonian or Assyrian text must be read as shumu—the Semitic equivalent of the Sumerian MU. Similarly the word for “clothing” may be written SIG-BA, which represents again the “Sumerian” word, whereas, the Babylonian-Assyrian equivalent being lubushtu it is so to be read in Semitic texts, and may therefore be also phonetically written lu-bu-ush-tu. This double method of writing words arises from the circumstance that the cuneiform syllabary is of non-Semitic origin, the system being derived from the non-Semitic settlers of the Euphrates valley, commonly termed Sumerians (or Sumero-Akkadians), to whom, as the earlier settlers, the origin of the cuneiform script is due. This script, together with the general Sumerian culture, was taken over by the Babylonians upon their settlement in the Euphrates valley and adapted to their language, which belonged to the Semitic group. In this transfer the Sumerian words—largely monosyllabic—were reproduced, but read as Semitic, and at the same time the advance step was taken of utilizing the Sumerian words as means of writing the Babylonian words phonetically. In this case the signs representing Sumerian words were treated merely as syllables, and, without reference to their meaning, utilized for spelling Babylonian words. The Babylonian syllabary which thus arose, and which, as the culture passed on to the north—known as Assyria—became the Babylonian Assyrian syllabary, was enlarged and modified in the course of time, the Semitic equivalents for many of the signs being distorted or abbreviated to form the basis of new “phonetic” values that were thus of “Semitic” origin; but, on the whole, the “non-Semitic” character of the signs used as syllables in the phonetic method of writing Semitic words was preserved; and, furthermore, down to the latest days of the Babylonian and Assyrian empires the mixed method of writing continued, though there were periods when “purism” was the fashion, and there was a more marked tendency to spell out the words laboriously in preference to using signs with a phonetic complement as an aid in suggesting the reading desired in any given instance. Yet, even in those days, the Babylonian syllabary continued to be a mixture of ideographic and phonetic writing. Besides the conventional use of certain signs as the indications of names of gods, countries, cities, vessels, birds, trees, &c., which, known as “determinants,” are the Sumerian signs of the terms in question and were added as a guide for the reader, proper names more particularly continued to be written to a large extent in purely “ideographic” fashion. The conservatism which is a feature of proper names everywhere, in consequence of which the archaic traits of a language are frequently preserved in them, just as they are preserved in terms used in the ritual and in poetic diction, is sufficient to account for the interesting fact that the Semitic settlers of the Euphrates valley in handing down their names from one generation to another retained the custom of writing them in “Sumerian” fashion, or, as we might also put it, in “ideographic” form. Thus the name of the deity, which enters as an element in a large proportion of the proper names, was almost invariably written with the sign or signs representing this deity, and it is only exceptionally that the name is spelled phonetically. Thus the name of the chief god of the Babylonian pantheon, Marduk, is written by two signs to be pronounced AMAR-UD, which describe the god as the “young bullock of the day”—an allusion to the solar character of the god in question. The moon-god Sin is written by a sign which has the force of “thirty,” and is a distinct reference to the monthly course of the planet; or the name is written by two signs to be pronounced EN-ZU, which describe the god as the “lord of wisdom.” The god Nebo appears as PA—the sign of the stylus, which is associated with this deity as the originator and patron of writing and of knowledge in general,—or it is written with a sign AK, which describes the god as a “creator.”
Until, therefore, through parallel passages or through explanatory lists prepared by the Babylonian and Assyrian scribes in large numbers as an aid for the study of the language, the exact phonetic reading of these divine names was determined, scholars remained in doubt or had recourse to conjectural or provisional readings. Even at the present time there are many names of deities, as, e.g. Ninib, the phonetic reading of which is still unknown or uncertain. In most cases, however, these belong to the category of minor deities or represent old local gods assimilated to some more powerful god, who absorbed, as it were, the attributes and prerogatives of these minor ones. In many cases they will probably turn out to be descriptive epithets of gods already known rather than genuine proper names. A peculiar difficulty arises in the case of the god of storms, who, written IM, was generally known in Babylonia as Ramman, “the thunderer,” whereas in Assyria he also had the designation Adad. In many cases, therefore, we may be in doubt how the sign IM is to be read, more particularly since this same god appears to have had other designations besides Ramman and Adad.
Besides the divine element, proper names as a rule in the Babylonian-Assyrian periods had a verbal form attached and a third element representing an object. Even when the sign indicative of the verb is clearly recognised there still remains to be determined the form of the verb intended. Thus in the case of the sign KUR, which is the equivalent of naṣāru, “protect,” there is the possibility of reading it as the active participle nāṣir, or as an imperative uṣṣur, or even the third person perfect iṣṣur. Similarly in the case of the sign MU, which, besides signifying “name” as above pointed out, is also the Sumerian word for “give,” and therefore may be read iddin, “he gave,” from nadānu, or may be read nādin, “giver”; and when, as actually happens, a name occurs in which the first element is the name of a deity followed by MU-MU, a new element of doubt is introduced through the uncertainty whether the first MU is to be taken as a form of the verb nadānu and the second as the noun shumu, “name,” or vice versa.
Fortunately, in the case of a large number of names occurring on business documents as the interested parties or as scribes or as witnesses—and it is through these documents that we obtain the majority of the Babylonian-Assyrian proper names—we have variant readings, the same name being written phonetically in whole or part in one instance and ideographically in another. Certain classes of names being explained in this way, legitimate and fairly reliable conclusions can be drawn for many others belonging to the same class or group. The proper names of the numerous business documents of the Khammurabi period, when phonetic writing was the fashion, have been of special value in resolving doubts as to the correct reading of names written ideographically. Thus names like Sin-na-di-in-shu-mi and Bel-na-di-in-shu-mi, i.e. “Sin is the giver of a name” (i.e. offspring), and “Bel is the giver of a name,” form the model for names with deities as the first element followed by MU-MU, even though the model may not be consistently followed in all cases. In historical texts also variant readings occur in considerable number. Thus, to take a classic example, the name of the famous king Nebuchadrezzar occurs written in the following different manners:—(a) Na-bi-um-ku-du-ur-ri-u-ṣu-ur, (b) AK-DU-u-ṣu-ur, (c) AK-ku-dur-ri-SHES, and (d) PA-GAR-DU-SHES, from which we are permitted to conclude that PA or AK (with the determinative for deity AN) = Na-bi-um or Nebo, that GAR-DU or DU alone = kudurri, and that SHES = uṣṣur. The second element signifies “boundary” or “territory”; the third element is the imperative of naṣāru, “protect”; so that the whole name signifies, “O, Nebo! protect my boundary” (or “my territory”).
It is not the purpose of this note to set forth the principles underlying the formation of proper names among the Babylonians and Assyrians, but it may not be out of place to indicate that by the side of such full names, containing three elements (or even more), we have already at an early period the reduction of these elements to two through the combination of the name of a deity with a verbal form merely, or through the omission of the name of the deity. From such names it is only a step to names of one element, a characteristic feature of which is the frequent addition of an ending -tum (feminine), ān, ā, um, atum, atija, sha, &c., most of these being “hypocoristic affixes,” corresponding in a measure to modern pet-names.
Lastly, a word about genuine or pseudo-Sumerian names. In the case of texts from the oldest historical periods we encounter hundreds of names that are genuinely Sumerian, and here in view of the multiplicity of the phonetic values attaching to the signs used it is frequently difficult definitely to determine the reading of the names. Our knowledge of the ancient Sumerian language is still quite imperfect, despite the considerable progress made, more particularly during recent years. It is therefore not surprising that scholars should differ considerably in the reading of Sumerian names, where we have not helps at our command as for Babylonian and Assyrian names. Changes in the manner of reading the Sumerian names are frequent. Thus the name of a king of Ur, generally read Ur-Bau until quite recently, is now read Ur-Engur; for Lugal-zaggisi, a king of Erech, some scholars still prefer to read Ungal-zaggisi; the name of a famous political and religious centre generally read Shir-pur-la is more probably to be read Shir-gul-la; and so forth. There is reason, however, to believe that the uncertainty in regard to many of these names will eventually be resolved into reasonable certainty. A doubt also still exists in regard to a number of names of the older period because of the uncertainty whether their bearers were Sumerians or Semites. If the former, then their names are surely to be read as Sumerian, while, if they were Semites, the signs with which the names are written are probably to be read according to their Semitic equivalents, though we may also expect to encounter Semites bearing genuine Sumerian names. At times too a doubt may exist in regard to a name whose bearer was a Semite, whether the signs composing his name represent a phonetic reading or an ideographic compound. Thus, e.g. when inscriptions of a Semitic ruler of Kish, whose name was written Uru-mu-ush, were first deciphered, there was a disposition to regard this as an ideographic form and to read phonetically Alu-usharshid (“he founded a city,” with the omission of the name of the deity), but scholarly opinion finally accepted Uru-mu-ush (Urumush) as the correct designation.
- For a survey of the chronological systems adopted by different modern scholars, see below, section viii. “Chronological Systems.”
- The compiler of the more complete one seems to have allowed himself liberties. At all events he gives 30 years of reign to Sin-muballidh instead of the 20 assigned to him in a list of dates drawn up at the time of Ammi-zadok's accession, 55 years to Khammurabi instead of 43, and 35 years to Samsu-iluna instead of 38, while he omits altogether the seven years' reign of the Assyrian king Tukulti-In-aristi at Babylon.
- They are also called high-priests of Gunammidē and a contract-tablet speaks of “Tē in Babylon,” but this was probably not the Tē of the seal. It must be remembered that the reading of most of the early Sumerian proper names is merely provisional, as we do not know how the ideographs of which they are composed were pronounced in either Sumerian or Assyrian.
- For the events leading up to the conquests of Cyrus, see Persia: Ancient History, § v. The chronology is not absolutely certain.
- The following is a list of the later dynasties and kings of Babylonia and Assyria so far as they are known at present. For the views of other writers on the chronology, see § viii., Chronological Systems.
The Babylonian Dynasties from cir. 2500 B.C. Dynasty of Ur. Gungunu, cir. 2500 B.C. Ur-Gur. Dungi, more than 51 years. Bur-Sin, more than 12 years. Gimil-Sin, more than 9 years. Ibi-Sin. Idin-Dagan. Sumu-ilu. First Dynasty of Babylon. 2350 B.C. Sumu-abi, 14 years. Sumu-la-ilu, 36 years. Zabium, 14 years. Abil-Sin, 18 years. Sin-muballidh, 20 years. Khammurabi, 43 years. Samsu-iluna, 38 years. Abesukh, 25 years. Ammi-ditana, 25 years. Ammi-zadoq, 21 years. Samsu-ditana, 31 years. Dynasty of Sisku (?) for 368 years. 2160 B.C. Anman, 60 years. Ki-Nigas, 56 years. Damki-ilisu, 26 years. Iskipal, 15 years. Sussi, 27 years. Gul-ki[sar], 55 years. Kirgal-daramas, 50 years. Ā-dara-kalama, 28 years. Akur-duana, 26 years. Melamma-kurkura, 8 years. Ea-ga(mil), 9 years. Kassite Dynasty of 36 kings for 576 years 9 months. 1780 B.C. Gandis, 16 years. Agum-sipak, 22 years. Bitilyasu I., 22 years. Ussi (?), 9 years. Adu-metas. Tazzi-gurumas. Agum-kakrime. . . . . Kara-indas. Kadasman-Bel, his son, corresponded with Amon-hotep (Amenophis) III. of Egypt, 1400 B.C. Kuri-galzu II. Burna-buryas, his son, 22 years. Kuri-galzu III., his son, 26 years. Nazi-Maruttas, his son, 17 years. Kadasman-Turgu, his son, 13 years. Kudur-bel, 6 years. Sagarakti-suryas, his son, 13 years. Bitilyasu II., 8 years. Tukulti-In-aristi of Assyria (1272 B.C.) for 7 years, native vassal kings being— Bel-sum-iddin, 1½ years. Kadasman-Bel II., 1½ years. Hadad-sum-iddin, 6 years. Hadad-sum-uzur, 30 years. Meli-sipak, 15 years. Merodach-baladan I., his son, 13 years. Zamama-sum-iddin, 1 year. Bel-sum-iddin, 3 years. Dynasty of Isin of 11 kings for 132½ years. 1203 B.C. Merodach-... 18 years. . . . . Nebuchadrezzar I. Bel-nadin-pal. Merodach-nadin-akhi, 22 years. Merodach-... 1½ years. Hadad-baladan, an usurper. Merodach-sapik-zer-mati, 12 years. Nabu-nadin, 8 years. Dynasty of the Sea-coast. 1070 B.C. Simbar-sipak, 18 years. Ea-mukin-zeri, 5 months. Kassu-nadin-akhi, 3 years. Dynasty of Bit-Bazi. 1050 B.C. Ē-Ulmas-sakin-sumi, 17 years. Ninip-kudur-uzur I., 3 years. Silanim-Suqamuna, 3 months. Dynasty of Elam. 1030 B.C. An Elamite, 6 years. Second Dynasty of Babylon. 1025 B.C. Nebo-kin-abli, 36 years. Ninip-kudur-uzur II. (?) 8 months 12 days. Probably 5 names missing. B.C. Samas-mudammiq cir. 920 Nebo-sum-iskun cir. 900 Nebo-baladan cir. 880 Merodach-nadin-sumi cir. 860 Merodach-baladhsu-iqbi cir. 830 Bau-akhi-iddin cir. 810 Probably 2 names missing. Nebo-sum-iskun, son of Dakuri cir. 760 Nabonassar, 14 years 747 Nebo-nadin-suma, his son, 2 years 733 Nebo-sum-yukin, his son, 1 month 12 days 731 End of "the 22nd dynasty." Dynasty of Sape. B.C. Yukin-zera or Chinziros, 3 years. 730 Pulu (Pul or Poros), called Tiglath-pileser III. in Assyria, 2 years 727 Ululā, called Shalmaneser IV. in Assyria 725 Merodach-baladan II. the Chaldaean 721 Sargon of Assyria 709 Sennacherib, his son 705 Merodach-zakir-sumi, 1 month 702 Merodach-baladan III., 6 months 702 Bel-ebus of Babylon 702 Assur-nadin-sumi, son of Sennacherib 700 Nergal-yusezib 694 Musezib-Merodach 693 Sennacherib destroys Babylon 689 Esar-haddon, his son 681 Samas-sum-yukin, his son 668 Kandalanu (Kineladanos) 648 Nabopolassar 626 Nabu-kudur-uzur (Nebuchadrezzar II.) 605 Amil-Marduk (Evil-Merodach), his son 562 Nergal-sarra-uzur (Nergal-sharezer) 560 Labasi-Marduk, his son, 3 months 556 Nabu-nahid (Nabonidus) 556 Cyrus conquers Babylon 538 Cambyses, his son 529 Gomates, the Magian, 7 months 521 Nebuchadrezzar III., native king 521 Darius, son of Hystaspes 520 Nebuchadrezzar IV., rebel king 514 Darius restored 513 Kings of Assyria. Zulilu "founder of the monarchy." . . . . Assur-rabi. Assur-nirari, his son. Assur-rim-nisesu, his son. . . . . Erba-Hadad, Assur-nadin-akhi I., his son. Assur-yuballidh I., his son. B.C. Assur-bil-nisi-su cir. 1450 Buzur-Assur 1440 Assur-nadin-akhi II. 1410 Assur-yuballidh, his son 1390 Bel-nirari, his son 1370 Arik-den-ilu, his son 1350 Hadad-nirari I., his son 1330 Shalmaneser I., his son (built Calah) 1310 Tiglath-In-aristi I., his son, 1280 conquers Babylon cir. 1270 Assur-nazir-pal I., his son 1260 Assur-narara and his son Nebo-dan 1250 Assur-sum-lisir 1235 In-aristi-tukulti-Assur 1225 Bel-kudur-uzur 1215 In-aristi-pileser, descendant of Erba-Hadad 1200 Assur-dan I., his son 1185 Mutaggil-Nebo, his son 1160 Assur-ris-isi, his son 1140 Tiglath-pileser I., his son 1120 Assur-bil-kala, his son 1090 Samsi-Hadad I., his brother 1070 Assur-nazir-pal II., his son 1060 Assur-irbi — Hadad-nirari II. cir. 960 Tiglath-pileser II., his son 950 Assur-dan II., his son 930 Hadad-nirari III., his son 911 Tukulti-In-aristi, his son 889 Assur-nazir-pal III., his son 883 Shalmaneser II., his son 858 Assur-danin-pal (Sardanapallos), rebel king 825 Samsi-Hadad II., his brother 823 Hadad-nirari IV., his son 810 Shalmaneser III. 781 Assur-dan III. 771 Assur-nirari 753 Pulu, usurper, takes the name of Tiglath-pileser III. 745 Ululā, usurper, takes the name of Shalmaneser IV. 727 Sargon, usurper 722 Sennacherib, his son 705 Esar-haddon, his son 681 Assur-bani-pal, his son 668 Assur-etil-ilani-yukin, his son ? Assur-sum-lisir ? Sin-sarra-uzur (Sarakos) ? Destruction of Nineveh 606
- These three dynasties are usually known as the First Dynasty of Babylon, the Dynasty of Sisku or Uruku, and the Kassite Dynasty; see sect. v.
- See Oppert, Comptes rendus de l'Acad. des Inscr. et Belles-Lettres (1888), xvi. pp. 218 ff., and Bab. and Or. Rec. ii. pp. 107 ff.
- See Sayce, Early Israel, pp. 281 ff., and Encyc. Brit., 10th ed., vol. xxvi. p. 45 (also his account above).
- See Rogers, History of Babylonia and Assyria (1900).
- See Winckler, Geschichte Babyloniens und Assyriens (1892), Altorientalische Forschungen, i. Hft. 2 (1894), and Auszug aus der Vorderasiatischen Geschichte (1905).
- See Delitzsch and Mürdter, Geschichte Babyloniens und Assyriens (1891), and Delitzsch, Mehr Licht (1907).
- See Maspero, Histoire ancienne des peuples de l'Orient classique, tome ii.
- See Peiser, Zeits. für Assyr. vi. pp. 264 ff.
- See Rost, Mitteil. der vorderas. Gesellschaft (1897), ii.
- See Lehmann-Haupt, Zwei Hauptprobleme (1898).
- See Marquart, Philologus, Supplbd. vii. (1899), pp. 637 ff.
- See Rost, Orient. Lit.-Zeit., iii. (1900), No. 6.
- See Lehmann-Haupt, Beiträge zur alten Geschichte (Klio), Bd. iii. Heft 1 (1903).
- See Hommel, Geschichte Babyloniens und Assyriens.
- See Ancient Hebrew Tradition, p. 125, and Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible, i. pp. 226 f.
- See Niebuhr, Chronologie (1896).
- See Hommel, “Sitzungsberichte der königl. böhmischen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften,” Phil.-hist. Classe (1901), v.
- Published and discussed by L. W. King, “Chronicles concerning early Babylonian Kings” (Studies in Eastern History, vols. ii. and iii., 1907), and History of Egypt, vol. xiii. (published by the Grolier Society, New York, in the spring of 1906), pp. 244 ff.
- Published and discussed by Hilprecht, “Mathematical, Metrological and Chronological Texts” (Bab. Exped., Ser. A, xx. 1, dated 1906, published 1907), pp. 46 ff.
- See L. W. King, Letters and Inscriptions of Khammurabi, vol. iii. pp. 228 ff.
- Cf., e.g., Hilprecht, Old Babylonian Inscriptions, pt. ii. p. 24.
- See Radau, Early Babylonian History (1900).
- See Lehmann-Haupt, Zwei Hauptprobleme, pp. 172 ff.
- See Winckler in Schrader's Keilinschriften und das Alte-Testament (3rd ed.), i. pp. 17 f., and cf. Mitteil. der vorderas. Gesellschaft (1906), i. p. 12, n.l.
- Cf. L. W. King, Chronicles, i. pp. 15 ff., 61 f.
- See Mitteilungen der deutschen Orientgesellschaft, Nos. 21 and 22, and cf. L. W. King, Chronicles, i. pp. 114 ff.
- The Assyrian language is practically identical with the Babylonian, just as the Assyrians are the same people as the Babylonians with some foreign admixtures.
- In many names the divine element is lopped off, but was originally present.
- Aramaic endorsements on business documents repeating in Aramaic transliteration the names of parties mentioned in the texts have also been of service in fixing the phonetic readings of names. See e.g. Clay's valuable article, Aramaic Endorsements on the Documents of Murashū Sons (Persian period) in Old Testament and Semitic Studies in Memory of William Rainey Harper (Chicago, 1908, vol. i.), pp. 285-322.
- Even in the case of the “Semitic” name of the famous Sargon I. (q.v.), whose full name is generally read Sharru-kēnu-sha-āli, and interpreted as the “legitimate king of the city,” the question has recently been raised whether we ought not to read “Sharru-kēnu-shar-ri” and interpret as “the legitimate king rules”—an illustration of the vacillation still prevailing in this difficult domain of research.