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quarters were not all enclosed within one wall: it is probable that in the event of a siege, the population of the intermediate spaces and suburbs took refuge within the different fortifications. It would appear from existing monuments that the city was originally founded on the spot now occupied by the ruins of Nimroud. No better position could be chosen than the Delta formed by the junction of two large rivers, the Tigris and the Zab. The N.W. palace was the first built; successive monarchs added the centre palace, and other edifices which rose by its side. As the population increased, and conquered nations were brought, like the people of Samaria, from distant lands and settled around the Assyrian capital, the dimensions of the city increased also. A king founding a new dynasty, or anxious to perpetuate his fame, and to record his conquests, chose a new site for the erection of a palace. The city, gradually spreading, at length embraced all these buildings. Thus Nimroud represents the original site of Nineveh. The son of the builder of the oldest palace founded a new edifice at Baashiekhah. At a much later period subsequent monarchs erected their temple-palaces at Khorsabad and Kouyunjik. Their descendants returned to Nimroud, the principal buildings of which had been allowed to fall to decay, and were probably already concealed by a mass of ruins and rubbish. The city had now attained the dimensions assigned to it by the Greek geographers, and by the sacred writings. The numerous royal residences, surrounded by gardens and parks, and enclosed by fortified walls, each being a distinct quarter known by a different name, formed together the great city of Nineveh. It is not difficult to account for the total disappearance of the dwelling places which occupied the space between the palaces. They were probably little superior to the huts of the present inhabitants of the country, and, like them, constructed entirely
Rhazates (A. D. 627.) “The city, and even the ruins of the city, had long since disappeared : the vacant space afforded a spacious field for the operations of the two armies.”—Gibbon's Decline and Fall, ch. xlvi.
of sun-dried bricks. As soon as they were allowed to fall to decay, the materials of which they were built became again mingled with the soil, and after the lapse of a very few years scarcely a trace of them would exist. Thus a modern village of Assyria, when once deserted, is rapidly replaced by a mere inequality in the plain. There is, however, still sufficient to indicate that buildings were once spread over the space I have described; for scarcely a husbandman drives his plough over the soil without turning up the vestiges of former habitations. The larger and more important monuments are fully represented by the numerous mounds which are scattered over the plain. It must be remembered that even the palaces would have remained undiscovered had not slabs of alabaster marked the walls. We cannot identify in any other way than that I have suggested, all the ruins described with the site of Nineveh; unless, indeed, we suppose that there were more than one city of that name, the later rebuilt on a new site after the destruction of the earlier. In this case Nimroud and Kouyunjik may each represent the Nineveh of a different epoch. The size, which I have assigned to the city at the time of its greatest prosperity, cannot, I think, be deemed extravagant when the nature of Eastern cities is taken into consideration. They do not bear the same proportion to their populations as those of Europe. A place as extensive as London or Paris would not contain one-third of the inhabitants of either. The custom, prevalent from the earliest period in the East, of secluding women in apartments removed from those of the men, renders a separate house for each family almost indispensable.* It was probably as rare, in the time of the Assyrian monarchy, to find more than one family residing under one roof, unless com
* We learn from the book of Esther that such was the custom amongst the early Persians, although the intercourse between the sexes was at that time much less circumscribed than after the spread of Mohammedanism. Ladies were even admitted to public banquets, and received strangers in their own apartments, whilst they resided habitually in dwellings separate from the men.
posed of persons very intimately related, such as father and son, as it is at present in an Arab or Turkish city. Moreover, that gardens and arable land were enclosed by the houses, we learn from Diodorus Siculus and Quintus Curtius, who state that there was space enough, even within the precincts of Babylon, to cultivate corn for the sustenance of the whole population in case of siege, besides orchards and gardens.” From the expression of Jonah that there was much cattle within the city f, it may be inferred that there was also pasture for them; and we learn from the sculptures that a large portion of the population even resided in tents within the walls, — a custom still prevailing in Baghdad, Mosul, and the neighbouring towns; and a far larger space must have been required for such encampments than for huts or cottages. The cities of Isfahan and Damascus, with their gardens and suburbs, must, during the time of their greatest prosperity, have been little inferior in size to Nineveh.
Existing ruins show that Nineveh had acquired its greatest extent and prosperity in the time of the kings of the second dynasty, that is to say, of the kings mentioned in the Scriptures. It was then that Jonah visited it, and that reports of its size and magnificence were carried to the west, and gave rise to those traditions from which the Greeks mainly derived the information handed down to us. It was then, too, that the wealth, luxury, and power of its inhabitants called forth the indignant protests of the prophets, and led to those vices and that effeminacy which ultimately brought about the destruction of the city and the fall of the empire. By the middle of May, I had finished my work at Nimroud. My house was dismantled. The windows and doors, which had been temporarily fitted up, were taken out; and, with the little furniture that had been collected together, were placed on the backs of donkeys and camels to be carried to the town. The Arabs struck their tents and commenced their march. I remained behind until every one had left, and then turned my back upon the deserted village. We were the last to quit the plains of Nimroud; and, indeed, nearly the whole country to the south of Mosul, as far as the Zab, became, after our departure, a wilderness. Halfway between Mosul and Nimroud the road crosses a low hill. From its crest, both the town and the ruins are visible. On one side, in the distance, rises the pyramid, in the midst of the broad plain of the Jaif, and on the other may be faintly distinguished the great artificial mound of Kouyunjik, and the surrounding remains. The leaning minaret of the old mosque of Mosul may also be seen springing above the dark patch which marks the site of the town. The river can be traced for many miles, winding in the midst of the plain, suddenly losing itself amongst low hills, and again emerging into the level country. The whole space over which the eye ranges from this spot, was probably once covered with the buildings and gardens of the Assyrian capital—that great city of three days' journey. At an earlier period, that distant pyramid directed the traveller from afar to Nineveh, when the limits of the city were small. It was then one of those primitive settlements
* Diod. Sic. lib. ii. c. 9. Quint. Curt. v. cap. 1. f Ch. iv. 11. f This house appears to resemble the model of an Egyptian dwelling in the British Museum. (See also Sir Gardner Wilkinson's Ancient Egyptians, vol. ii., woodcuts 98 and 99.) From a bas-relief discovered in ^ the centre of the mound at Nimroud, it would appear that the upper part was sometimes of canvass.
which, for the first time, had been formed by the congregated