Page:15 decisive battles of the world Vol 1 (London).djvu/41

This page has been validated.
25
BATTLE OF MARATHON.

to exist on the marble monuments at Persepolis, near the site of the ancient Susa, and on the faces of rocks in other places formerly ruled over by the early Persian kings. But for thousands of years they had been mere unintelligible enigmas to the curious but baffled beholder; and they were often referred to as instances of the folly of human pride, which could indeed write its own praises in the solid rock, but only for the rock to outlive the language as well as the memory of the vainglorious inscribers. The elder Niebuhr, Grotefend, and Lassen, had made some guesses at the meaning of the Cuneiform letters ; but Major Rawlinson, of the East India Company's service, after years of labour, has at last accomplished the glorious achievement of fully revealing the alphabet and the grammar of this long unknown tongue. He has, in particular, fully decyphered and expounded the inscription on the sacred rock of Behistun, on the western frontiers of Media. These records of the Acfæmenidæ have at length found their interpreter; and Darius himself speaks to us from the consecrated mountain, and tells us the names of the nations that obeyed him, the revolts that he suppressed, his victories, his piety, and his glory.[1]

VOL. I.
c
 
  1. See the tenth volume of the "Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society."