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MESA


210


MESOPOTAMIA


publishing a, number of works on mathematical- Bcienccs. His cliicf merit, however, is rather the en- couragement which he gave to scientists of his time, the interest he took in their work, and the stimulating influence of his suggestions and questions. Gassendi and Galileo were among his friends; but, above all, Mersenne is known to-day as Dcscartes's friend and adviser. In fact, when Descartes began to lead a free and dissipated life, it was Mersenne who lirought him liack to more serious pursuits and directed him toward philosophy. In Paris, Mersenne was Descartes's assid- uous correspondent, auxiliary, and representative, as well as his constant defender' The numerous and ve- hement attacks against the "Meditations" seem, for a moment, to have aroused Malebranche's suspicions; but Descartes's answers to his critics gave him full satisfaction as to his friend's orthodoxy and sincere Christian spirit. Mersenne asked that, after his death, an autopsy be made on his body, so as to serve to the last the interests of science.

Mersenne's works are: "Quaestiones celeberrimae in Genesim" (Paris, 1623), against Atheists and Deists; a part only has been published, the rest being still in manuscript, as also a "Commentary on St. Matthew's Gospel"; "L'impiet^ des deistes et des plus subtils libertins d^couverte ct rdfutee par raisons de th^ologie et dc philosophic" (Paris, 1624); "La v^rit^ des sciences contre les sceptiques et les pyrrhoniens" (Paris, 1625); "Questions theologiques, physiques, morales et math^matiques" (Paris, 1634); "Ques- tions inouies, ou recreations des savants" (Paris, 1634); "Les m^caniques de Galilee" (Paris, 1634), a translation from the Italian; "Harmonie universelle, contenant la th^orie et la pratique de la musique" (Paris, 1636-7); " Nouvelles decouvertes de Galilee", and "Nouvelles pens^es de Galilee sur les m^caniques" (Paris, 1639), both translations; "Cogitata physico- mathematica" (Paris, 1644); "Euclidis elementoruni libri, Apollonii Pergiei conica, Sereni de sectione coni, etc." (Paris, 1626), selections and translations _ of ancient mathematicians, published again later with notes and additions under the title, " Universie geo- metriae mixtseque mathematicse sjTiopsis" (Paris, 1644).

De Coste, Vie du R. P. Mersenne (Paris, 1649); Pote, Eloge de Mersenne (Le Mans, 1816) ; Baillet, Vie de Descartes (Paris, 1691): Haureau, Histoire litlcraire de Maine, I, 321.

C. A. DUBRAY.

Mesa (Gr., Muo-i; Moabite Stone, yco: Heb., JJt"D, meaning "deliverance" according to Gesenius), a King of Moab m the ninth century B. c, whose history is given in IV Kings, iii. He paid tribute to Achab, King of Israel, "a hundred thousand lambs and a hun- dred thousand rams with their fleeces" (verse 4). This seems to have been paid annually, and was possi- ble since Moab was rich m pastures; accordingly Mesa is styled IpJ, which, though left untranslated in the Greek text, means "sheep-owner" (Gesenius). After Aehab's death Mesa refused to pay tribute, on which account Joram, King of Israel, Josaphat, King of Juda and the King of Edom entered into an alliance against him. They went by the southern route passing through aii arid country, where they would have per- ished of drought, had not the prophet Eliseus niiracu- ously supplied them with water. The ditches they had dug by command of the prophet were filled, and at sunrise the Moabites "saw the w-aters over against them red, like blood " (verse 22). Thinking their ene- mies had killed one another, they rushed to the camp with the cry "Moab to the spoils" (verse 23), only to be driven back with great slaughter. The allies fol- lowed. Mesa having tried, with seven hundred war- riors, to cut his way throigh the besiegers and failed, took his eldest son, and upon the wall of the city, in sight of all, put him to death. "There was great in- dignation in Israel", so that, for reasons not given in detail, "they departed from him".


The Moabite Stone, perhaps the greatest Biblical discovery of modern times, tlirows some light on the period referred to. Through the learning and enter- prise of M. C'lermont-Cianneau, the inscription on the stone was published, and the stone itself is now one of the treasures of the Louvre, Paris. The monument, discovered in 1868 at Dhibiln (Dibon) in the land of Moab, is of basalt, about three feet eight inches by two feet three inches and fourteen inches thick. It resem- bles a head-stone, and is inscribed with thirty-four lines of writing, in which Mesa gi\es us the chief e\ents of his reign. The stone was unfortuiialcly I)](iken by the Arabs as soon as they saw Euroiicans taking an in- terest in it; but squeezes had been taken previously, so that the inscription is almost intact. The fragments were collected, and missing parts supplied by plaster, the inscription on which was written from the squeezes. A writer in Smith's " Diet, of the Bilile" (s. v. Moab), knowing nothing about the Moabite Stone, says: "From the origin of the nation and other considera- tions, we may perhaps conjecture that their language was more a dialect of Hebrew than a different tongue ". This conjecture the Moabite Stone makes a certainty. "The historical allusions and geographical names which we find in this inscription of Mesha tally so well with the O. T. that a suspicion could be aroused as to the genuineness of the stone " (Jour, of the Am. Or. Soc, XXII, 61). Suspicions have been aroused, but scholars almost unanimously set them aside as ground- less. From the evidence furnished by the stone we may conclude that Josaphat, King of Juda, and Me.sa, King of Moab, might have con^-ersed, each in his own tongue, and understood each other. The old Phoeni- cian character (found also in the Siloam inscription), the words, the grammatical forms and peculiarities of sjaitax in the two languages are nearly identical. The difference of pronunciation we cannot, of course, esti- mate since the vowels were not written. While the stone seems to be somewhat at variance with Scrip- ture, yet the two substantially agree : Mesa says " Omri (Amri) King of Israel oppressed Moab", mentions his own revolt and adds, "Chemosh (C'hamos) delivered me from all kings ". He also describes his work of for- tifying Moab, and as this made the north very strong, we see why the allies took the route south of the Dead Sea to attack him. The Bible hints at some disaster to the invaders, who withdrew suddenly on the very point of taking the city; while Mesa, like all Oriental monarchs in their records, may have magnified his vic- tories and either omitted or minimized his defeats. The discrepancies therefore are only apparent, and chronological difficulties would be explained witli bet- ter knowledge of the history of the period.

Clermont-Ganneau, La Stele de Mesa, Roi de Moab (1870): the first public notice of the stone; Ginsburg, The Moabite Stone (2nd ed., London, 1871); Bennett in HAeTiNGs. Diet, o/ the Bible, s. v. Moab, gives inscription, linguistic features, vari- ous readings, etc.; Geikie, Hours with the Bible: chap. IV, /?e- hoboam to Hezekiah: Vigouroux, La Bible et les Drcouvertes Modemes, 3rd ed., IV, Book II, ch. iv; Satce, The Higher Criti- cism and the Verdict of the Monuments (1894) ; Hommel, The An- cient Heb. Trad, (tr, 1897), 273 sq.; 361 sq.; Driver in Ency. Bib., 3. V. Mesha, gives history of inscription, text, references, etc.; JosEPHUs, Ant., IX, iii.

John J. Tierney.

Mesha. See Mesa.

Mesopotamia, Kurdistan, and Annenia, Dele- gation Apostolic ok, created by Gregory XVI, 17 Dec, 1S32. Mgr. Trioche, ArchbLshop of Babylon or Bagdad, became its first titular; he resided habitually in Bagdad. Resigning in 1850, Mgr. Trioche returned to France, retaining his title of Archbishop of Bagdad, but losing that of Apostolic delegate which passed to other bishops. These, wliile having charge of the ad- ministration of the Archdiocese of Bagdad, resided at Mosul, where they could better discharge their duties as Apostolic delegates in behalf of the Chaldeans, Syri- ans, and Armenians. Four out of six, from 185(5 to 1887, were Dominicans. When Mgr. 'Trioche died in