« ElőzőTovább »
bishops were led to yield to the authority of the Council, and to anathematize Nestorius and his heresy; and Bar8umas and other Nestorians took refuge under Firouz, King of Persia. In 495, Baboeus, a staunch Nestorian was elected Primate of Seleucia, and immediately threw off the authority of the Patriarch of Antioch, and assumed the title of "Patriarch of the East." By this act the churches of Chaldea that adhered to him became a separate and independent body.
Of their subsequent history we need say nothing, save that they labored successfully to propagate Christianity in Tartary, Persia, India, and even China. Authentic records are preserved of at least twenty-five sees, subject to their Patriarch. At present, they are reduced to less than onethird of that number. Their converts in Tartary havo disappeared. Those of India have either united themselves to the See of Rome, or have become Eutychians. The last mention made of their converts in China, (which kingdom they entered about A. D. 636) is found in the letter of Sabarjesus, Chaldean Patriarch in 1247, to Pope Innocent IV. seeking a restoration of communion. Under the Tartar rule from 1257 to 1404, the Nestorians were subject to every manner of persecution, nor has their state been much better under the Turks, since that period. Frequent wholesale massacres, and grinding poverty have greatly diminished their numbers. Their present separation into two bodies arose from an effort at recommunion, like that just referred to. Several such efforts are mentioned in Ecclesiastical History, the Roman Pontiff requiring and the Patriarchs and Bishops giving a written profession of Faith deemed satisfactory, and anathematizing Nestorius. None led to durable results; and in a longer or shorter time. the Chaldeans would relapse into Nestorianism, which, perhaps, they had never heartily given up. In 1681, under the Patriarchate of Elias John Maruagi, several bishops re-entered the communion of the See of Rome and elected Joseph I. as Patriarch. His successors have ever borne the same name, while the Nestorian line of Patriarchs take that of Simeon.
The Nestorian Chaldeans are chiefly found near the lake of Ooroomiah, and in the Tiyari mountains. In these last they used to boast of having lived for centuries unsubdued by Arab, Tartar or Turk. They can do so no longer. Twice within ten years have they been subjected to the frightful infliction of oriental warfare. In 1843, Beder Khan Bey made an attack on them, put 10,000 persons to the sword and sold the children as slaves. The warmth of Mr. Layard's reception is due to the fact that it was chiefly through the influence of the English Ambassador. that most of these children were restored to liberty. His companion, Mr. Hassam, had been an agent in effecting their liberation. A second storm was now brewing; and he found them preparing, as best they could, to withstand its shock. Immediately after Mr. Layard's visit, the same blood-thirsty chieftain made a second descent, laying waste fields and destroying villages; and nearly one half of the inhabitants were massacred by the fanatical Kurdish Chief.
Another remnant of the ancient Assyrian race are the Yezidis, or Devil-worshippers, hateful all over the East, alike to Christian and Mussulman. They are the accursed race without a book, with whom, according to the Koran, no terms are to be made, to whom no mercy may be shown. Soon after returning from the Tiyari mountains, Mr. Layard received an invitation to attend their grand yearly religious celebration at the tomb of Sheikh Adi; to which on this occasion over 7000 pilgrims flocked together. He is the only European, to our knowledge, who has been present at these rites, or at least who has published an account of them. Though not present from the commencement, he saw much that was novel and interesting. Two important points he makes out very clearly: that the charge of immoral rites, current throughout the east, has no foundation in fact; and that their doctrines, whatever they may be,—for they sedulously withheld them, even from him—are not, as has been thought, Manichean. He .thinks them a mixture of Christian, Mahometan and Sabean ideas superadded to the earlier doctrines of Zoroaster. They believe in one Supreme Being; but do not worship him by prayer or sacrifice. On the other hand, they cherish a most profound respect for his Satanic Majesty, whom they do worship, and endeavor to conciliate. They never pronounce his name, and carefully eschew all words rhyming with it. Woe to the Christian or Turk, who utters it in their presence. No offence can be more deadly. Mr. Layard nearly broke up one of their universal dances, by letting only the first syllable unguardedly escape his lips. A college companion of ours, from these same mountains, used to tell how he saw Ali Bey, Sheikh of the Yezidis, drive his spear into the heart of a Chaldean youth for muttering something disrespectful to "the accursed Sheitan."
After accompanying Tahyar Pasha on another expedition, commenced with peaceful intentions, but ending in pillage and bloodshed, Mr. Layard returned to Mosul, thinking the season sufficiently advanced to allow him to resume the excavations. Sir S. Canning had made over all his interest in the monuments of Nineveh to the British Museum; and the trustees of that Institution had obtained for Mr. Layard the grant of a farther sum to prosecute the work. An efficient band of labourers was organized without delay, and until Christmas, scarcely a day passed without bringing to light articles equally, if not more interesting than those already excavated. Iron helmets, that unfortunately fell to pieces—fragments of iron and copper armour—vases of alabaster and of glass, inscriptions, sculptures, human headed lions and bulls followed each other rapidly.
But perhaps the most interesting relic was an obelisk of black marble about seven feet high, bearing twenty basrelief groups and over 120 lines of inscription in most perfect preservation. The groups evidently commemorated the conquest of India by .some Assyrian monarch. There were captives suppliant before him. Elephants, lions, wild bulls, rhinoceroses, Bactrian camels, stags, apes and monkeys are led into his presence, while tribute bearers are loaded with shawls, ivory and precious wood. Several sarcophagi were likewise discovered. The bodies had evidently been doubled up, when forced in. Bracelets, necklaces and the ornaments of women were found in some of them. *
Towards Christmas, Mr. Layard was able to send a second cargo of antiquities to Bagdad. When that festival suspended his labours for a few days, he had already explored eight rooms in one building and several others in other parts of the mound. By the end of April ensuing, he had entered nearly fifty rooms, and had thoroughly explored the greater part of them, reaping every where an abundant harvest. The mound of Nimroud is 1800 feet long and 900 broad, with its sides lying due north and South: at its N. W. corner rises a large conical pyramid 67 feet high. Mr. Layard excavated five palaces on this single mound; two on the western side, near the pyramid, which he terms the N.W. and W. palaces; one at the S.W. corner; one at the S.E. and one in the centre. He likewise sank deep trenches in several other parts of the mound, and in the pyramid, with various results. Yet after all he states that his exploration was by no means complete, and that a rich harvest must await those who will prosecute such works at Nimroud alone.
Some thirty miles lower down the Tigris, and on the opposite or western bank stands the mound of Kalah Shergat, 4685 yards in circuit. This likewise Mr. Layard commenced to explore; but was forced to desist, on account of the disturbed state of the country. The chief object obtained was a mutilated statue—probably of a monarch— in a sitting posture. At Kouyunjik, where both M. Botta and his successor, and Mr. Layard likewise, in his former trial, had been unsuccessful, he now renewed his labours with better fortune. He had learned at Nimroud how the Assyrian Palaces were built. A huge terrace of sufficient length and breath and forty or fifty feet high, was raised on the plain and covered with layers of brick-work. On this platform rose the buildings, every slab and almost every brick, bearing the monarch's name. When these were destroyed, their debris and the sands blown from the neigh bouriug plain formed an upper layer on the mound, sometimes twenty feet thick. To excavate the remains thus overwhelmed, it was necessary to sink a pit, in the first instance, down to the brick platform or floor. From this, trenches to the same level, were led off at right angles. As the rooms are narrow, even when long, one or the other of these trenches would soon reach a wall. Acting on this system, Mr. Layard discovered and explored nine chambers an Kouyunjik, in less than a month. They were lined like those of Nimroud and Khorsabad. The slabs were larger: and the sculptures finished with minuter accuracy, although showing an inferior state of art.
Of the funds placed in his hands, scarcely enough now remained to provide for packing and expediting a portion of the monuments. By labour and skill, the human headed lion, a human headed bull, the obelisk, the statue, and a vast collection of" bas-reliefs, inscribed slabs, vases and minor articles were prepared and floated down the river on rafts of poplar wood, buoyed up by skin sacks inflated with air. Of these articles many have reached England. It is however to be regretted, that some of the smaller and more valuable ones, are missing, while the fragile ones arrived in a broken state and all have been more or less injured, through prying curiosity and careless or unskilful repacking. Those which he had not the means of transporting, Mr. Layard carefully covered over with earth, lest they might be injured by the weather or by any casualty.
It is difficult to understand without examining them, to what extent these remains illustrate the customs, arts and religion of the Assyrians. We look on kings, surrounded by eunuchs, viziers and officials, giving audiences,—promulgating edicts—leading armed hosts to battle—heading the charge—returning in triumph—receiving the long line of captives,—or engaged in hunting the lion or wild bull. Warriors are borne in chariots, or on horses, rider and charger enveloped in mail; or else go forth to the field lightly armed. We see them besieging cities; scaling walls; battering towers: or repelling the fierce and desperate sortie; engaged on the battle field, themselves turning back, Parthian like, to fight even as they retreat, or mercilessly cutting down the fleeing enemy. We may curiously turn and examine fragments of their helmets, swords and shields, and gather scales of their Normanlike coats of mail. Here Idols are borne aloft and victims for the sacrifice are led in the religious procession; there scribes are busy receiving and recording the amount of spoil and the number of captives, men, women and children, before them. On one side, a mountain rises clothes with forests; on the other, a plain lies bathed in the light of the sun, and covered with palms. We behold rafts and boats on rivers, and ships that stem the waves of the sea, all showing the extent to which the power of the Empire was felt to the east and west. In the buildings themselves we have vast halls, with the elevated stand for the throne; other rooms that probably served as temples; beyond are the apartments of the monarch lined with monuments of his prowess, and still other apartments for females in which mirrors, vases and trinkets are yet to be found. It must