« ElőzőTovább »
the cavalry of the enemy. The conquered people wore high boots, turned up at the toes, and conical caps, probably of felt or linen. One of the horsemen turned back, whilst his horse was at full speed, to discharge an arrow against his pursuers. This mode of fighting is described by ancient authors as peculiar to the Parthian and Persian tribes, and is still practised by the irregular cavalry of Persia. *
The Arabs employed in removing the rubbish from the chamber with the kneeling winged figures f, discovered a quantity of iron, in which I soon recognised the scales of the armour represented on the sculptures. These scales were from two to three inches in length, rounded at one end, and square at the other, with a raised or embossed line in the centre, and had probably been fastened to a vest of linen or felt. The iron was so eaten by rust, that I had much difficulty in detaching it from the soil. Two or three baskets were filled with these relics.
As the earth was removed, other portions of armour were found. At length a perfect helmet of iron inlaid with copper bands, resembling in shape and in the ornaments the pointed helmet represented in the bas-reliefs, was discovered.
Several helmets of other shapes, some with the arched crest, were also dug out; but they fell to pieces as soon as exposed to the air; and I was only able to collect a few of the fragments.
Several slabs in this chamber had fallen from their places, and were broken. Beneath them were the fragments of a number of alabaster vases, and of several vessels of baked clay. The name and title of the Khorsabad king, accompanied by the figure of a lion, were still preserved on some of the fragments. Upon the pottery were painted characters re
* Anab. lib. iii. ch. 3.
"Fidentemque fuga Parthum, versisque sagittis."
Virg. Georg. 3. and Hor. Carm. lib. i. ode xix. f Chamber I, plan 2.
sembling the rounded letters of Babylonia and Phoenicia, probably a cursive writing in common use, whilst the cuneiform
was reserved for monuments. The earthen vases were of a light yellow color, ornamented with bars, zig-zag lines, and simple designs in black.
Whilst I was collecting and examining these curious relics, a workman found a perfect vase; but unfortunately broke the upper part by striking it with his pick. I took the instrument, and, working cautiously myself, was rewarded by the discovery of two perfect vases, one in alabaster, the other in glass. Each bore the name and title of the Khorsabad king, in cuneiform characters, with the figure of a lion.
A kind of exfoliation had taken place on the surface of the glass vase, which was incrusted with thin, semi-transparent lamina, glowing with the brilliant colors of the opal. This beautiful appearance is a well-known result of age, and is found on glass from Egyptian, Greek, and other early tombs. It is remarkable that this vase has been turned from a block and not blown, the marks left by the instrument being perfectly preserved in the interior. Both these interesting relics are now in the British Museum.
In the lower compartment of a slab in the same chamber, were two beardless figures, which, from a certain feminine character in the features, and from a clustre of long curls falling down their backs, appeared to be women. They wore the usual horned cap and had wings. They faced one another, and between them was the sacred tree. In one hand they held a garland or chaplet; and wore round their necks a necklace, with seven stars.*
* This bas-relief is in the British Museum.
The adjoining chamber was panelled with unsculptured slabs, and contained no object of particular interest.
One of the most remarkable discoveries was made in the centre of the mound, where, as I have already mentioned*, a pair of gigantic winged bulls appeared to form the entrance to a building. The inscriptions upon them contained a name, differing from that of the king of the N. W. palace. On digging further I found a brick, on which was a genealogy, the new name occurring first, as that of the son of the founder of the earlier edifice.
I dug round these sculptures, expecting to find the remains of walls, but there were no other traces of building. As the backs of the slabs were completely covered with inscriptions, in large and well-formed characters, it was possible that these bulls might originally have stood alone. Suspecting that there must have been other sculptures near them, I directed a deep trench to be opened, at right angles, behind the northern bull. After digging about ten feet, the workmen came upon a colossal winged figure in low relief, lying flat on the brick pavement. Beyond was a similar figure, still more gigantic in its proportions, being about fourteen feet high. The beard and part of the legs of a winged bull, in yellow limestone, were next found. The trench was carried in the same direction to the distance of fifty feet, but without any other result. I had business in Mosul, and was giving directions to the workmen to guide them during my absence. Standing on the edge of the hitherto unprofitable trench, I doubted whether I should carry it any further; but made up my mind at last not to abandon it until my return, which would be on the following day. I mounted my horse; but had scarcely left the mound when the corner of a monument in black marble was uncovered, which proved to be an obelisk, about six feet six inches in height, lying on its side, ten feet below the surface.
An Arab was sent after me without delay, to announce the discovery; and on my return I found, completely exposed to * P. 32.
view, an obelisk terminated by three steps or gradines and flat at the top. I descended eagerly into the trench, and was immediately struck by the singular appearance, and evident antiquity, of the remarkable monument before me. We raised it
and speedily dragged it out of the ruins. On each side were five small bas-reliefs, and above, below, and between them was carved an inscription 210 lines in length. The whole was in the best preservation. The king was twice represented followed
by his attendants; a prisoner was at his feet, and his vizir and eunuchs were introducing captives and tributaries carrying
vases, shawls, bundles of rare wood, elephant's tusks, and other objects of tribute, and leading various animals, amongst which were the elephant, the rhinoceros, the Bactrian or two-humped camel, the wild bull, and several kinds of monkeys. In one
Bactrian or Two-humped Camels. (Obelisk, Nimroud.)
bas-relief were two lions hunting a stag in a wood, probably to denote the nature of one of the countries conquered by the king. From the animals portrayed, particularly the double-humped