Page:1902 Encyclopædia Britannica - Volume 26 - AUS-CHI.pdf/72

This page needs to be proofread.


44

BABYLONIA

AND

ASSYRIA

Assur-etil-ilani, though it is possible that his rule in One of his first acts was to restore Babylon, to send of Babylonia was disputed by his Rab-shakeh or vizier, Assurback the image of Bel-Merodach to its old home, and to sum-lisir, whose accession year as king of Assyria has been repeople the city with such of the priests and the former found on a contract from Niffer. The last king of Assyria population as had survived massacre. Then he was probably the brother of Assur-etil-ilani, Sin-sar-iskun, solemnly declared king in the temple of Bel-Merodach, was who seems to have been the Sarakos of Berossos. He was which had again risen from its ruins, and Babylon became still reigning in Babylonia in his seventh year, as a contract the second capital of the empire. Esar-haddon’s policy dated in that year has been discovered at Erech, and an was successful, and Babylonia remained contentedly quiet inscription of his, in which he speaks of restoring the throughout his reign. In February (674 B.c.) the Assyrians entered upon their invasion of Egypt. But two ruined temples and their priests, couples Merodach of Conquest inore campaigns were needed before its conquest Babylon with Assur of Nineveh. Babylonia, however, was of Egypt. coujq pe completed. At last in Nisan (or again restless. After the overthrow of Samas-sum-yukin, Kandalanu, the Chineladanos of Ptolemy’s canon, had been March) 670 b.c., an expedition on an unusually large scale appointed viceroy. His successor was Nabopolassar, beset out from Nineveh. The Egyptian frontier was crossed tween whom and the last king of Assyria war broke out. on the 3rd of Tammuz (June), and Tirhakah, at the head The Scythian king of Ekbatana, the Kyaxares of the of the Egyptian forces, was driven to Memphis after fifteen Greeks, came to the help of the Babylonians. Nineveh was days of continuous fighting, during which the Egyptians captured and destroyed by the Scythian army, along with were thrice defeated with heavy loss and Tirhakah himselt those cities of Northern Babylonia which had sided with was wounded. On the 22nd of the month Memphis was Babylonia, and the Assyrian empire was at an end. entered by the victorious army, and Tirhakah fled to the But little addition has been made to our knowledge of south. A stele commemorating the victory and repre- the political events that marked the reign of Nebuchadsenting Tirhakah with the features of a negro was set rezzar. Only a small fragment of his annals onquest up at Sinjirli (north of the Gulf of Antioch), and is now m has been discovered relating to his invasion of of Babythe Berlin Museum. Two years later (668 b.c.) Egypt Egypt in 567 b.c., and referring to “Phut of revolted, and while on the march to reduce it Esar-haddon the lonians.” Of the reign of the last Baby- y fell ill and died (on the 10th of Marchesvan or October). Ionian king, Nabonidos, however, and the conquest of Assur-bani-pal succeeded him as king of Assyria and its Babylonia by Cyrus, we now have a fair amount of empire, while his brother, Samas-sum-yukin, was made information. This is chiefly derived from a chronological viceroy of Babylonia. The arrangement was evidently tablet containing the annals of Nabonidos, which is supintended to flatter the Babylonians by giving, them once plemented by an inscription of Nabonidos in which he more the semblance of independence. But it failed to recounts his restoration of the temple of the Moon-god at work. Samas-sum-yukin became more Babylonian than Harran, as well as by a proclamation of Cyrus issued his subjects ; the viceroy claimed to be the successor of the shortly after his formal recognition as king of Babylonia. monarchs whose empire had once stretched to the Medi- It was in the sixth year of Nabonidos (549 .b.c.) that Cyrus, terranean ; even the Sumerian language was revived as the “ king of Anzan ” in Elam, revolted against his suzerain official tongue, and a revolt broke out which shook the Astyages, king of “ the Manda ” or Scythians at Ekbatana. Assyrian empire to its foundations. After several years of The army of Astyages betrayed him to his enemy, and struggle, during which Egypt recovered its independence, Cyrus established himself at Ekbatana, thus putting an Babylon was starved into surrender, and the rebel viceroy end to the empire of the Scythians, which the Greek and his supporters were put to death. Then followed the writers called that of the Medes, through a confusion of contest with Elam, in spite of the efforts of Assur-bani-pal Mada or “ Medes ” with Manda. Three years later we find to ward it off. Assyria, however, was aided by civil war that Cyrus has become king of Persia and is engaged in in Elam itself; the country was wasted with fire and a campaign in the north of Mesopotamia. Meanwhile sword, and its capital Shushan levelled with the ground. Nabonidos has established a camp at Sippara, near the But the long struggle left Assyria maimed and. exhausted. northern frontier of his kingdom, his son—probably the It had been drained of both wealth and fighting popu a- Belshazzar of other inscriptions—being in command of the tion • the devastated provinces of Elam and Babylonia could army. In 538 b.c. Cyrus invaded Babylonia. A battle yield nothing with which to supply the needs of the imperial was fought at Opis in the month of June, in which the exchequer, and it was difficult to find sufficient troops even Babylonians were defeated, and immediately afterwards to garrison the conquered populations. Assyria, there- Sippara surrendered to the invader. Nabonidos fled to fore was ill prepared to face the hordes of Scythians—or Babylon, whither he was pursued by Gobryas, the governor Manda, as they were called by the Babylonians Scythian who now began to harass the frontiers. A of Kurdistan, and on the 16 th of Tammuz, two days after invasion, power had grown up in the old king- the capture of Sippara, “the soldiers of Cyrus entered Babylon without fighting.” Nabonidos was dragged out dom of Ellip, to the east of Assyria, where Ekbatana was of his hiding-place, and Kurdish guards were placed at built by a “ Manda ” prince; Asia Minor was infested by the gates of the great temple of Bel, where the services the Scythian tribe of Kimmerians, and the death of . the continued without intermission. Cyrus did not arrive till Scythian leader Dugdamme (the Lygdamis of Strabo, i. 3 the 3rd of Marchesvan (October), Gobryas having acted for 16) was regarded by Assur-bani-pal as a special mark ot him in his absence. Gobryas was now made governor of divine favour. When Assur-bani-pal died, his empire was the province of Babylon, and a few days afterwards the fast breaking up. Under his successor, Assur-etil-ilam, wife or son of Nabonidos—the reading is unfortunately the Scythians penetrated into Assyria and made their way uncertain—died. A public mourning followed, which as far as the borders of Egypt. Calah was burned, tbough lasted six days, and Cambyses accompanied the. corpse to the strong walls of Nineveh protected the relics of the the tomb. Cyrus now claimed to be the legitimate sucAssyrian army which had taken refuge behind them; and cessor of the ancient Babylonian kings and the avenger when the raiders had passed on to other fields of booty, a of Bel-Merodach, who was wrathful at the impiety of new palace was erected among the ruins of the neighbour- Nabonidos in removing the images of the local gods from ing city. But its architectural poverty and small size their ancestral shrines to his capital Babylon. N.abonidos, show that the resources of Assyria were at a low ebb. A in fact, had excited a strong feeling against himself by contract has been found at Sippara, dated in the fourth year