lent proceedings, and desired to learn their cause. I asked one of the most active of the party. "0 Bey," they exclaimed almost all together, "God be praised, we have eaten butter and wheaten bread under your shadow, and are content—but an Arab is an Arab. It is not for a man to carry about dirt in baskets, and to use a spade all his life; he should be with his sword and his mare in the desert. We are sad as we think of the days when we plundered the Aneyza, and we must have excitement, or our hearts would break. Let us then believe that these are the sheep we have taken from the enemy, and that we are driving them to our tents!" And off they ran, raising their wild cry and flourishing their swords, to the no small alarm of the shepherd, who, seeing his sheep scampering in all directions, did not seem inclined to enter into the joke.

By the middle of December, a second cargo of sculptures was ready to be sent to Baghdad. I was again obliged to have recourse to the buffalo-carts of the Pasha; and as none of the bas-reliefs and objects to be moved were of great weight, these rotten and unwieldy vehicles could be patched up for the occasion. On Christmas-day I had the satisfaction of seeing a raft, bearing twenty-three cases, in one of which was the obelisk, floating down the river. I watched them until they were out of sight, and then galloped into Mosul to celebrate the festivities of the season, with the few Europeans whom duty or business had collected in this remote corner of the globe.








As I was drawing one morning at the mound, Ibrahim Agha came to me, with his eyes full of tears, and announced the death of Tahyar Pasha. The Cawass had followed the fortunes of the late Governor of Mosul almost since childhood, and was looked upon as a member of his family. Like other Turks of his class, he had been devoted to the service of his patron, and was treated more like a companion than a servant. In no country in the world are ties of this nature more close than in Turkey; nowhere does there exist a better feeling between the master and the servant, and the master and the slave.

I was much grieved at the sudden death of Tahyar; for he was a man of gentle and kindly manners, just and considerate in his government, and of considerable information and learning for a Turk. The cause of his death showed his integrity. His troop had plundered a friendly tribe, falsely represented to him aa rebellious by his principal officers, who were anxious to have an opportunity of enriching themselves with the spoil. When he learnt the truth, and that the tribe, so far from being hostile, were peaceably pasturing their flocks on the banks of the Khabour, he exclaimed, "You have destroyed my house," (i.e. its honor); and, without speaking again, died of a broken heart. He was buried in the court-yard of the principal mosque at Mardin. A simple but elegant tomb, surrounded by flowers and evergreens, was raised over his remains; and an Arabic inscription records the virtues and probable reward of one of the most honest and amiable men that it has been my lot, in a life of some experience amongst men of various kinds, to meet. I visited his monument during my journey to Constantinople. From the lofty terrace, where it stands, the eye wanders over the vast plains of Mesopotamia, stretching to the Euphrates, — in spring one great meadow, covered with the tents and flocks of innumerable tribes.

The Kiayah, or chief secretary, was chosen Governor of the province by the council, until the Porte could name a new Pasha, or take other steps for the administration of affairs, Essad Pasha, who had lately been at Beyrout, was at length appointed to succeed Tahyar, and soon after reached his Pashalic. These changes did not affect my proceedings. Armed with my Vizirial letter I was able to defy the machinations of the Cadi and the Ulema, who did not cease their endeavours to throw obstacles in my way.

After the celebration of Christmas I returned to Nimroud, and the excavations were again carried on with activity.

The N. W. palace was naturally the most interesting portion of the ruins, and to it were principally directed my researches. I had satisfied myself beyond a doubt that it was the most ancient building yet explored in Assyria; although, not having been destroyed by fire, it was in a better state of preservation than any edifice hitherto discovered.

When the excavations were resumed after Christmas, eight chambers had been opened. There were now so many outlets, and entrances, that I had no trouble in finding new chambers — one leading into another. By the end of the month of April I had explored almost the whole building; and had opened twenty-eight rooms cased with alabaster slabs. Although many new sculptures of considerable interest were found in them, still the principal part of the edifice seems to have been that to the north, where the best artists had evidently been employed upon the walls of the chambers, and the bas-reliefs excelled all those that had yet been discovered, in the elegance and finish of the ornaments, and in the spirited delineation of the figures. In the other chambers were either winged figures, separated by the sacred tree, and resembling one another in every respect, or the standard inscription alone was carved upon the slabs.

[graphic][merged small]

The colossal figure of a female with four wings, carrying a garland, now in the British Museum, was discovered in a chamber on the south side of the palace*, as was also the fine bas-relief of the king leaning on a wand or staff, one of the best preserved and most highly finished specimens in the national collection.

In the centre of the palace was a great hall, nearly square, with entrances on the four sides formed by colossal humanheaded lions and bulls. The slabs which panelled the walls were unsculptured, but upon each was the standard inscription.

To the south of this hall, was a cluster of small chambers, opening into each other. At the entrance to one of them were winged figures wearing garlands, and carrying a wild goat and an ear of corn.t In another chamber were discovered the beautiful ivory ornaments now in the British Museum. These interesting relics adhered so tenaciously to the soil, and were so completely decomposed, that it was a task of great difficulty to remove them even in fragments. The ivory separated in flakes, or fell into powder. Consequently many interesting objects were irretrievably lost, notwithstanding the care which was taken to collect the smallest pieces. Those preserved were restored in England by an ingenious process, which, replacing the gelatinous matter, and thus reuniting the decaying particles into one solid body, gave them the appearance and consistency of recent ivory.

The most interesting of these ivories are two small tablets, one nearly entire, the other much injured, on which are carved two sitting figures, holding in one hand the Egyptian sceptre or symbol of power. Between the figures is a cartouche, containing a name in hieroglyphics, and surmounted by a feather or plume, such as is found in monuments of the eighteenth, and subsequent dynasties of Egypt. The robes of the figures, the chairs on which they are seated, the hieroglyphics in the cartouche,

* In chamber L (plan 2). In front of this figure was an earthen pipe connecting the floor of the chamber with a drain—the whole cemented with bitumen. It may have been used to carry off the blood of the sacrifice.

t One of these figures is in the British Museum.

« ElőzőTovább »