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lion hunts. Nowhere were the walls standing more than fourteen feet high. No trace of windows were found—it seemed that the light entered either through the doors or through apertures in the roof. The chief portals were each guarded by a pair of winged lions or bulls, that still frowned on the spectator. M.M. Botta and Flandin copied as accurately as possible all the sculptures and inscriptions thus discovered. And well was it that they did so. The palace had been originally destroyed by fire, and so fiercely had the flames raged, that the slabs, thoroughly calcined by the heat, required now, after a burial of 2500 years, but a brief exposure to the atmosphere to fall to powder and to be irreparably lost. No eye shall henceforth catch that glimpse of Assyrian grandeur which they enjoyed, as they gazed on the freshly excavated walls of Khorsabad. From his first visit in 1842, Mr. Layard was strongly impressed with the propriety of excavating some of those mounds, and had urged the subject on many. The immense mound of Nimroud, 1800 feet long and 900 broad, distant twenty miles south-east from Mosul, had drawn his special attention. Its size, shape and position clearly marked it out among the other mounds as the site of some principal temple or palace. He was confirmed in his design by the labors and unlooked for success of M. Botta, with which, as we saw, he was made acquainted at an early date. If Khorsabad yielded such treasures, what might not be expected from the far nobler Nimroud! After applying in vain to several persons, he was at length furnished with a certain amount of funds by Sir Stratford Canning, English Ambassador at Constantinople, and without delay set out for Mosul. Having secretly procured a few tools and engaged a workman, he left that city on the 8th November, 1845, as if on a hunting expedition. He spent the night in the hut of Awad or Abd-Allah, an Arab sheikh, whose tribe had lately been scattered and who was now the solitary inhabitant of Naifa, a ruined village near the mound. Of the ruins, Awad knew all that the Arabs could tell. “The palace was built by Athur, the Kiayah or lieutenant of Nimrod. Here the holy Abraham, peace be with him cast down and brake in pieces the idols which were worshipped by the unbelievers.” Mr. Layard engaged him at once as the superintendant of his future workmen, and found him intelligent, active and faithful. We will let Mr. Layard himself describe the commencement of his labours next day.
“The lofty cone and broad mound of Nimroud broke like a distant mountain on the morning sky. But how changed since my former visit ! The ruins were no longer clothed with verdure and many . colored flowers; no signs of habitation, not even the black tent of the Arab, was seen upon the plain. The eye wandered over a parched and barren waste, across which occasionally swept the whirlwind, dragging with it a cloud of sand. About a mile from us was the small village of Nimroud, like Naifa, a heap of ruins. Twenty minutes walk brought us to the principal mound. The absence of all vegetation enabled me to examine the remains with which it was covered. Broken pottery and fragments of bricks were strewed on all sides. The Arabs watched my motions as I wandered to and fro, and observed with surprize the objects I had collected. They joined, however, in the search and brought me handfuls of rubbish, amongst which I found with joy the fragment of a bas-relief. The material on which it was carved, had been exposed to fire, and resembled in every respect the burnt gypsum of Khorsabad. Convinced from this discovery that sculptured remains must still exist in some part of the mound, I sought for a place where excavations might be commenced with a prospect of success. Awad led me to a piece of alabaster which appeared above the soil. We could not remove it, and on digging downward, it proved to be the upper part of a large slab. I ordered all the men to work around it, and they shortly uncovered a second slab to which it had been united. Continuing in the same line, we came upon a third * and in the course of the morning, laid bare ten more, the whole forming a square, with one stone missing at the N.W. corner. It was evident that the top.of a chamber had been discovered, and that the gap was its entrance.” I. 44.
On excavating to the floor of the room, these slabs and other smaller ones forming its pavement, were found to be plain tablets, all bearing the same inscription, and in perfect preservation. An excavation into the steep side of the mound near the S.W. corner led to a wall lined with similarly inscribed tablets, probably adorning the exterior of a building. But these had been calcined by fire, and threatened to fall to pieces as soon as exposed to the air. The first day's labour had been successful. For four days more Mr. Layard prosecuted his search at the same points of the mound, and in the conical pyramid at its N. W. corner. In the rubbish at the bottom of the chamber,
several ivory ornaments and fragments of gold leaf were discovered. These last Awad faithfully gathered and brought with a mysterious air of importance to Mr. Layard. He could not believe that all this labour had been undertaken merely for the sake of finding stones; and gratitude was lost in astonishment, when Mr. Layard made him a present of all the gold that had been or might be found. “Yia, Rubbi !” he exclaimed, and seemed unable to fathom the designs of his Frankish employer. On the 14th, Mr. Layard returned to Mosul to have an understanding with the Pasha, who by this time had probably been informed of his proceedings. Mahommed Pasha, Keritli Oglu (son of a Cretan) was any thing but prepossessing in his personal appearance, and the outward matched the inward man. He had but one eye and one ear, was short, fat, and strongly pitted by the small-pox. His voice was harsh, and his motions awkward and uncouth. Sundry ancient Turkish usages were venerable in his eyes. He was careful to revive the dish parassi, or tooth money, a liberal compensation for the wear and tear
of his teeth, as he honored the inhabitants of a village by
eating a portion of their food. His fame had preceded him to Mosul, and on his approach, many of the principal Aghas fled. He was profuse in oaths and assurances of safety, until they returned, when he at once cut their throats, •and seized their property. In course of time, the people murmured and wished him dead or removed. At least he began to suspect as much. Soon after Mr. Layard's advent, Mahommed Pasha was suddenly taken ill, one afternoon, and was borne almost lifeless to his harem. Next morning the palace was closed, and the attendants were silent and sad. The Pasha must be dying. The inhabitants could not, at first believe the good news; but finally commenced to breathe freely, and were congratulating each other publicly on their deliverance, when out walked Keritli Oglu in perfect health. His indignation may be imagined. It could only be appeased by the Turkish panacea—fines and imprisonment. Such was the man with whom Mr. Layard had to act. After some dissimulation on the part of the Pasha, it was arranged that he should appoint an agent to be present at the excavations, and to take charge of all the precious metals that might be discovered. The work was now commenced in earnest. Directing excavations to be undertaken in six other mounds at diffe-' rent points, Mr. Layard returned to superintend in person the operations at Nimroud. For some time nothing but inscribed slabs were met; but on the 28th of November their labors were rewarded by the much coveted sight of sculptures.
“The Arabs were no less excited than myself by the discovery; and, notwithstanding a violent shower of rain, working until dark, they completely exposed to view two slabs. On each slab were two basreliefs separated from one another by a band of inscriptions. The subject on the upper part of No. 1. was a battle scene. Two chariots, drawn by horses richly caparisoned, were each occupied by a group of three warriors; the principal person in both groups was beardless and evidently an eunuch. He was clothed in a complete suit of mail and wore a pointed helmet on his head, from the sides of which fell lappets covering the ears, the lower part of the face and the neck. The left hand, the arm being extended, grasped a bow at full stretch; whilst the right, drawing the string to the ear, held an arrow ready to be discharged. A second warrior urged with reins and whip to the utmost of their speed three horses, who were galloping over the plain. A third, without helmet, and with flowing hair and beard, held a shield for the defence of the principal figure. Under the horses’ feet, and scattered about the relief, were the conquered, wounded by the arrows of the conquerors + + + °. The lower bas-relief on No. 1. represented the siege of a castle or walled city. To the left were two warriors, each holding a circular shield in one hand, and a short sword in the other. A tunic confined at the waist by a girdle and ornamented with a fringe or tassel, descended to the knee ; a quiver was suspended at the back, and the left arm was passed through the bow, which was thus kept by the side ready for use. They wore the pointed helmets, before described. The foremost warrior was ascending a ladder placed against the castle. Three turrets with angular battlements rose above walls similarly ornamented. In the first turret were two warriors, the one in the act of discharging an arrow, the other raising a shield and casting a stone at the assailants, from whom the besieged were distinguished by their head-dress—a simple fillet binding the hair above the temples. Their beards at the same time were less carefully arranged. The second turret was occupied by a slinger preparing his sling. In the interval between this turret and the third and over an arched gateway, was a female figure known by her hair descending upon the shoulders in curls. Her right hand was elevated, as if in the act of asking for mercy. In the third turret were two more of the besieged, the first discharging an arrow, the second elevating his shield and endeavoring with a torch to burn an instrument resem
, bling a catapult, which had been brought up to the wall by an inclined plane built on a heap of boughs and rubbish. These figures were out of all proportion with the size of the building. A warrior with a pointed helmet, bending on one knee, and holding a torch in his right hand, was setting fire to the gate of the castle, whilst another in full armour was forcing the stones from the foundation with an instrument probably of iron, resembling a blunt spear. Between them was a wounded man falling headlong from the walls.” I. 55, 56.
It was when filled with hopes and stimulated to new exertions by this discovery, that Mr. Layard experienced his first reverse. The tortuous Pasha, in the pure wantonness of malice, and for no other conceivable motive than to enjoy a joke, caused tombstones to be secretly brought to the mound, as his agent afterwards acknowledged, and then peremptorily forbade Mr. Layard to disturb the sanctity of these fictitious sepulchres; and his mandate was law. However, under pretext of guarding the sculptures, a few men were employed, with the connivance of the Pasha's officers, to open other trenches by way of experiment. Of course, but little could be done in this mode: but enough had already been done to authorise Mr. Layard to report to Sir S. Canning, a successful commencement, and to ask for a firman or order from the Sublime Porte, in virtue of which he would be able to prosecute the work without the interference of arbitrary Pashas. Not long after this, Keritli Oglu, to his own great chagrin and the ecstacy of the Mosuleeans, was ejected from office. Ismael Pasha, who succeeded him, was not personally hostile to Mr. Layard's work; but he shrank, at least in the beginning, from stemming the opposition raised by the fanaticism of the Cadi and the Mufti, who spread abroad the most absurd tales as to the designs of the Frank. To his great regret Mr. Layard saw himself forced to suspend operations until the middle of February. The interim was spent—not lost—in a trip to Badgad to make arrangements for sending some of the monuments to England, and in conciliating the Sheikhs of the Arab tribes, which, relieved from their fears of the late Pasha, and trusting to the assurances of Ismael, now began to gather around Nimroud, and to engage in their rude tillage along the banks of the Tigris and the Zab.
At length recommencing his labours, each day brought