Open main menu
This page has been validated.
870
ISHIM—ISHTAR


commerce, encouraging arts and manufactures, and introducing luxurious habits, to attract visitors to his favourite capital. He built several magnificent palaces in the richest style of Oriental decoration, planted gardens and avenues, and distributed amongst them the waters of the Zendeh-rūd in an endless series of reservoirs, fountains and cascades. The baths, the mosques, the colleges, the bazaars and the caravanserais of the city received an equal share of his attention, and European artificers and merchants were largely encouraged to settle in his capital. Ambassadors visited his court from many of the first states of Europe, and factories were permanently established for the merchants of England, France, Holland, the Hanseatic towns, Spain, Portugal and Moscow. The celebrated traveller Chardin, who passed a great portion of his life at Isfahān in the latter half of the 17th century, has left a detailed and most interesting account of the statistics of the city at that period. He himself estimated the population at 600,000, though in popular belief the number exceeded a million. There were 1500 flourishing villages in the immediate neighbourhood; the enceinte of the city and suburbs was reckoned at 24 m., while the mud walls surrounding the city itself, probably nearly following the lines of the Buyid enclosure, measured 20,000 paces. In the interior were counted 162 mosques, 48 public colleges, 1802 caravanserais, 273 baths and 12 cemeteries. The adjoining suburb of Julfa was also a most flourishing place. Originally founded by Shah Abbas the Great, who transported to this locality 3400 Armenian families from the town of Julfa on the Arras, the colony increased rapidly under his fostering care, both in wealth and in numbers, the Christian population being estimated in 1685 at 30,000 souls. The first blow to the prosperity of modern Isfahān was given by the Afghan invasion at the beginning of the 18th century, since which date, although continuing for some time to be the nominal head of the empire, the city has gradually dwindled in importance, and now only ranks as a second or third rate provincial capital. When the Kajar dynasty indeed mounted the throne of Persia at the end of the 18th century the seat of government was at once transferred to Teherān, with a view to the support of the royal tribe, whose chief seat was in the neighbouring province of Mazenderān; and, although it has often been proposed, from considerations of state policy in reference to Russia, to re-establish the court at Isfahān, which is the true centre of Persia, the scheme has never commanded much attention. At the same time the government of Isfahān, owing to the wealth of the surrounding districts, has always been much sought after. Early in the 19th century the post was often conferred upon some powerful minister of the court, but in later times it has been usually the apanage of a favourite son or brother of the reigning sovereign.[1] Fath Ali Shāh, who had a particular affection for Isfahān, died here in 1834, and it became a time-honoured custom for the monarch on the throne to seek relief from the heat of Teherān by forming a summer camp at the rich pastures of Gandumān, on the skirts of Zardeh-Kuh, to the west of Isfahān, for the exercise of his troops and the health and amusement of his courtiers, but in recent years the practice has been discontinued.  (H. C. R.) 

ISHIM, a town of West Siberia, in the government of Tobolsk, 180 m. N.W. of Omsk, on a river of the same name, tributary, on the left, of the Irtysh. Pop. (1897) 7161. The town, which was founded in 1630, has tallow-melting and carries on a large trade in rye and rye flour. The fair is one of the most important in Siberia, its returns being estimated at £500,000 annually.

ISHMAEL (a Hebrew name meaning “God hears”), in the Bible, the son of Abraham by his Egyptian concubine Hagar, and the eponym of a number of (probably) nomadic tribes living outside Palestine. Hagar in turn personifies a people found to the east of Gilead (1 Chron. v. 10) and Petra (Strabo).[2] Through the jealousy of Sarah, Abraham’s wife, mother and son were driven away, and they wandered in the district south of Beersheba and Kadesh (Gen. xvi. J, xxi. E); see Abraham. It had been foretold to his mother before his birth that he should be “a wild ass among men,” and that he should dwell “before the face of” (that is, to the eastward of) his brethren. It is subsequently stated that after leaving his father’s roof he “became an archer,[3] and dwelt in the wilderness of Paran, and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt.” But the genealogical relations were rather with the Edomites, Midianites and other peoples of North Arabia and the eastern desert than with Egypt proper, and this is indicated by the expressions that “they dwelt from Havilah unto Shur that is east of Egypt, and he settled to the eastward of his brethren” (see Mizraim). Like Jacob, the ancestor of the Israelites, he had twelve sons (xxv. 12-18, P), of which only a few have historical associations apart from the biblical records. Nebaioth and Kedar suggest the Nabataei and Cedrei of Pliny (v. 12). the first-mentioned of whom were an important Arab people after the time of Alexander (see Nabataeans). The names correspond to the Nabaitu and Kidru of the Assyrian inscriptions occupying the desert east of the Jordan and Dead Sea, whilst the Massa and Tema lay probably farther south. Dumah may perhaps be the same as the Domata of Pliny (vi. 32) and the Δούμεθα or Δουμαίθα of Ptolemy (v. 19, 7, viii. 22, 3)—Sennacherib conquered a fortress of “Aribi” named Adumu,—and Jetur is obviously the Ituraea of classical geographers.[4]

“Ishmael,” therefore, is used in a wide sense of the wilder, roving peoples encircling Canaan from the north-east to the south, related to but on a lower rank than the “sons” of Isaac. It is practically identical with the term “Arabia” as used by the Assyrians. Nothing certain is known of the history of these mixed populations. They are represented as warlike nomads and with a certain reputation for wisdom (Baruch iii. 23). Not improbably they spoke a dialect (or dialects) akin to Arabic or Aramaic.[5] According to the Mahommedans, Ishmael, who is recognized as their ancestor, lies buried with his mother in the Kaaba in Mecca. See further, T. Nöldeke, Ency. Bib., s.v., and the articles Edom, Midian.  (S. A. C.) 

ISHPEMING, a city of Marquette county, Michigan, U.S.A., about 15 m. W. by S. of Marquette, in the N. part of the upper peninsula. Pop. (1890) 11,197; (1900) 13,255, of whom 5970 were foreign-born; (1904) 11,623; (1910) 12,448. It is served by the Chicago & North Western, the Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic, and the Lake Superior and Ishpeming railways. The city is 1400 ft. above sea-level (whence its name, from an Ojibway Indian word, said to mean “high up”), in the centre of the Marquette Range iron district, and has seven mines within its limits; the mining of iron ore is its principal industry. Ishpeming was settled about 1854, and was incorporated as a city in 1873.

ISHTAR, or Ištar, the name of the chief goddess of Babylonia and Assyria, the counterpart of the Phoenician Astarte (q.v.). The meaning of the name is not known, though it is possible that the underlying stem is the same as that of Assur (q.v.), which would thus make her the “leading one” or “chief.” At all events it is now generally recognized that the name is Semitic in its origin. Where the name originated is likewise uncertain, but the indications point to Erech where we find the worship of a great mother-goddess independent of any association with a male counterpart flourishing in the oldest period of Babylonian history. She appears under various names, among which are Nanā, Innanna, Ninā and Anunit. As early as the days of Khammurabi we find these various names which represented originally different goddesses, though all manifest as the chief trait the life-giving power united in Ishtar. Even when the older names are employed it is always the great mother-goddess who is meant. Ishtar is the one goddess in the pantheon who retains her independent position despite and throughout all changes that the Babylonian-Assyrian religion undergoes. In a certain sense she is the only real goddess in the pantheon, the rest being mere reflections of the gods with whom they are associated as consorts. Even when Ishtar is viewed as the consort of some chief—of Marduk occasionally in the south, of Assur more frequently in the north—the consciousness that she has a personality of her own apart from this association is never lost sight of.

  1. Zill es Sultan, elder brother of Muzafar ed d-n Shah, became governor-general of the Isfahān province in 1869.
  2. On Paul’s use of the story of Hagar (Gal. iv. 24-26), see Ency. Bib. col. 1934; and H. St J. Thackeray, Relation of St Paul to contemporary Jewish Thought (London, 1900), pp. 196 sqq.; Hagar typifies the old Sinaitic covenant, and Sarah represents the new covenant of freedom from bondage. The treatment of the concubine and her son in Gen. xvi. compared with ch. xxi. illustrates old Hebrew customs, on which see further S. A. Cook, Laws of Moses, &c. (London, 1903), pp. 116 sqq., 140 sq.
  3. The Ituraean archers were of Jetur, one of the “sons” of Ishmael (Gen. xxv. 15), and were Roman mercenaries, perhaps even in Great Britain (Pal. Expl. Fund, Q.S., 1909, p. 283).
  4. With Adbeel (Gen. xxv. 13) may be identified Idibi’il (-ba’il) a tribe employed by Tiglath-Pileser IV. (733 B.C.) to watch the frontier of Musri (Sinaitic peninsula or N. Arabia?).
  5. This is suggested by the fact that Ashurbanipal (7th century) mentions as the name of their deity Atar-Samain (i.e. “Ishtar of the heavens”).