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head of the kings, typifies the Supreme Deity of the Assyrian nation?
Emblem of the Deity. (N. W. Palace, Nimroud.)
To the left of the great bas-relief at the eastern end of the hall is a fourth outlet formed by another pair of lions. We pass between them, and find ourselves on the edge of a deep ravine, to the north of which rises, high above us, the lofty pyramid. Figures of captives bearing objects of tribute, — ear-rings, bracelets, and monkeys,— are sculptured on the walls; and two enormous bulls, with two winged figures above fourteen feet high, are lying prostrate on the ground.
As the ravine bounds the ruins on this side, we must return to the yellow bulls. The entrance formed by them, leads us into a large chamber surrounded by eagle-headed figures : at one end of it is a doorway guarded by two priests or divinities, and in the centre another portal with winged bulls. Whichever way we turn, we find ourselves in the midst of a nest of rooms; and without an acquaintance with the intricacies of the place, we should soon lose ourselves in this labyrinth. The accumulated rubbish being generally left in the centre of the chambers, the whole excavation consists of a number of narrow passages, panelled on one side with slabs of alabaster; and shut in on the other by a high wall of earth, half buried in which may here and there he seen a broken vase, or a brick painted with brilliant colors. We may wander through these galleries for an hour or two, examining the marvellous sculptures, or the numerous inscriptions that surround us.
Here we meet long rows of kings, attended by their eunuchs and priests, there lines of winged figures, carrying fir-cones and religious emblems, and seemingly in adoration before the mystic tree. Other entrances, formed by winged lions and bulls, lead us into new chambers. In every one of them are fresh objects of curiosity and surprise. At length, wearied, we issue from the buried edifice by a passage on the side opposite to that by which we entered, and find ourselves again upon the naked platform. We look around in vain for any traces of the wonderful remains we have just seen, and are half inclined to believe that we have dreamed a dream, or have been listening to some tale of Eastern romance. Some, who may hereafter tread on the spot when the grass again grows over the ruins of the Assyrian palaces, may indeed suspect that I have been relating a vision
DEPARTURE FROM NIMROUD. - EXCAVATIONS AT KOUYUNJIK.-DISCOVERY
OF A PALACE. BAS-RELIEFS. - GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF THE SCULPTURES. --EXCAVATIONS CARRIED ON BY MR. ROSS.-HIS DISCOVERIES. —
A SCULPTURED SLAB AND SARCOPHAGUS. — PREPARATIONS FOR MY REI TURN TO CONSTANTINOPLE. — LEAVE MOSUL.
The chambers at Nimroud had been filled up with earth, and the sculptures once more concealed from the eye of man. The surrounding country became daily more dangerous from the incursions of the Arabs of the desert, who now began to encamp even on the east bank of the Tigris. It was time, therefore, to leave the village. As a small sum of money still remained at my disposal, I resolved to devote it to an examination of the ruins opposite Mosul; particularly of the great mound of Kouyunjik. Although excavations on a small scale had already been made there, I had not hitherto had time to superintend them myself, and in such researches the natives of the country cannot be trusted. It is well known that almost since the fall of the Assyrian Empire, a city of some extent, representing the ancient Nineveh, although no longer the seat of government, nor a place of great importance, has stood on the banks of the Tigris in this part of its course. The modern city may not have been built above the ruins of the ancient ; but it certainly rose in their immediate vicinity, either to the east of the river, or to the west, as the modern Mosul. The slabs, which had once lined the walls of the old palaces, and still remained concealed within mounds of earth, had been frequently exposed by accident or by design. Those who were settling in the neighbourhood soon found that the ruins were an inexhaustible mine of building materials. The alabaster was dug out to be either used in the construction of houses, or to be burnt for lime. A few years before, a bas-relief had been discovered in one part of the ruins, during a search after stones for the repair
of a bridge. The removal of slabs, and the destruction of sculptures, for similar purposes, may have been going on for centuries. There was, therefore, some reason to doubt whether any edifice, except in a very imperfect state, still existed in Rouyunjik. I knew that under the village, containing the tomb of the prophet Jonah, there were remains of considerable importance, probably as entire as those at Nimroud. They owe their preservation to the existence, from a very remote period, of the tomb and village above them. Portions of sculpture, and inscriptions, had frequently been found, when the inhabitants of the place had made the foundations of their dwellings; and when Ali Pasha of Baghdad caused a well to be dug for the benefit of the mosque, a pair of winged bulls had been discovered at a considerable depth beneath the surface. But the prejudices of the people of Mosul forbade any attempt to explore a spot so venerated for its sanctity. The palaces of Nimroud, being far distant from any large town, when once buried were not disturbed. It does not appear that after the fall of the Empire any place of importance rose near them, except Selamiyah. This village is three miles from the ruins, and there are no remains near it to show that, at any time since the Assyrian period, it was anything more than a small market-town. It may, consequently, be inferred that the great mound of Nimroud has never been opened, and its contents carried away for building purposes, since the destruction of the latest palace; except, as it has already been mentioned, when a Pasha of Mosul endeavoured to remove one or two slabs to repair the tomb of a Mussulman saint. There can, I think, be little doubt that the edifices of which the remains exist at Nimroud, Kouyunjik, and Khorsabad, at one time formed part of the same great city. Each of these palace-temples (for such they appear to have been) was probably the centre of a separate quarter, built at a different period, and having a different name. Thus on the inscribed bricks we find distinct names applying to the localities from which they are derived; and this will explain the names of Mespila and Larissa assigned by Xenophon, respectively, to the ruins at Kouyunjik and Nimroud, and that of Evorita given to the palace in which Saracus, the last of the Assyrian kings, is said to have destroyed himself. Each quarter being, at one time, a royal residence, was surrounded by a wall and fortifications, and probably contained rather hunting grounds and gardens than fixed habitations. They resembled, in fact, the paradises or parks of the later Persian kings. The space between these quarters was occupied by private houses standing in the midst of gardens, orchards, and corn-land. I know no other way of reconciling the unanimous statements of ancient historians, as well as of the inspired writers, as to the extent of Nineveh, nor of explaining the fact that each of the great edifices explored owed their foundation to different kings, and that there are no remains, either at Kouyunjik or Khorsabad, of the same early period as those at Nimroud. The dimensions of the city given by Diodorus Siculus were 150 stadia for the two longest sides of the quadrangle, and 90 for the shortest, the square being 480 stadia or about 60 miles. Jonah calls it “an exceeding great city of three days’ journey,” the number of inhabitants, who did not know their right hand from their left, being six score thousand.” It is certainly remarkable that the three days’ journey of Jonah should correspond exactly with the sixty miles of the Geographer, and that a square formed by the great ruins on the east bank of the Tigris, taking Nimroud, Kouyunjik, Khorsabad, and Karamless as the four corners, should give very nearly the same result.f These fortified
* Various meanings have been assigned to this statement. Some suppose that young children are intended, who would form about one fifth of the population, which would then have been about six hundred thousand. Others i. that this is a mere allusion to the general ignorance of the inha*#. distance from Kouyunjik to Nimroud is about eighteen miles; that from Nimroud to Karamless about twelve, the opposite sides of the square the same; these measurements correspond accurately with the elongated quadrangle of Diodorus. Twenty miles is a day's journey in the East, and we have, therefore, exactly three days’ journey for the circum
ference of the city. These coincidences are at least, very remarkable. Within this space was fought the great battle between Heraclius and