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be acknowledged that these remains do not lay open the domestic life and occupations of the people as those of Egypt have done. But as yet only royal palaces and temples have been explored. When the inferior mounds throughout this region shall be searched as diligently as sepulchres of Egypt, their revelations may be equally extensive and minute.
As it is, this vast body of remains throws a flood of much needed light on the character and obscure career of the Assyrian Empire. We are told but little of that doubtless eventful history and much of that little is evidently fabulous. That this is the site of Nineveh its capital, does not admit of a doubt. The current traditions of the people, always of value in a case like this; its correspondence with the geographical location of Nineveh on the Tigris and the Lycus or Zab; the character of the monuments showing that here dwelt a line of monarchs renowned in war, and to whom nations from India to the Mediterranean paid tribute; and the fact that Nineveh was the only such capital on the Tigris; must close all controversy on the subject. Taking the mounds of Khorsabad, Karamles, Nimroud and Kouyunjik, at the N. E. S. and W. points of a quadrangle covered with mounds and signs of habitation, we have a city thirty miles long from N. to S. and twenty across. But neither Khorsabad nor Nimroud can be supposed to occupy the extremity of the city. The population would naturally plant itself around the monarch's palace. In fact beyond both, mounds are still found. If we take those of Jeraiyah on the N. and Keshaf on the S. this will give us a city about 60 miles or three day's journey in length, and into which Jonah might enter one day's journey to announce the punishment with which God threatened to visit their sins. Its population—considering the materials that go to make the population of an Eastern capital, and that it contained "more than six score thousand persons, that could not discern between their right hand and their left hand"—must have approached a million.
It is not alone on the vast size of Nineveh, that these monuments coincide with and support the statements of the Holy Scriptures. There is scarcely a reference in the sacred volume, to the manners and customs of Assyria and of Babylon—to their arts of peace or arms of war—to their
usages in civil life, and their religious ceremonials, which is not here confirmed by the testimony of their own sculptures. Most strikingly displayed are those types and emblems, through which they were wont to convey religious ideas—types and emblems, strange, mysterious, and to our minds. united in unnatural combinations; yet of which God was pleased to make use, to impress His revelations on the minds of men. "When the inscriptions which accompany the human-headed lions and bulls and the lion or eagle-headed human figures, and the various religious devices and symbols of Nimroud, shall be decyphered; we may find a key to unlock the mysteries even of Ezekiel's vision. Already, the many illustrations and coincidences, not alone in prominent, but chiefly in the minuter points, casually referred to by the sacred writers, afford a triumphant argument in favor of the authenticity of the Books, written while the children of Israel were in contact with the inhabitants of Assyiia and Mesopotamia.
We are told in Scripture, that Ninveh was built by Assur. What were its early relations, if any, with the neighbouring and powerful city of Babylon, whether those of conqueror or of conquered, we know not. The first Monarch of Assyria named by the Greek Historians is Belus, supposed to have ascended the throne more than two thousand years before Christ. Some have confounded him with Nimrod, as if he and his successors reigned at Babylon. But Babylon did not become the capital of the Assyrian Empire until the time of Nabopalassar 606. B. C. Belus was succeeded by Ninus and he by his widow, Semiramis. Their policy was warlike; and the spoils of conquered nations were used to embellish their capital; the city took its name from the first. Semiramis was succeeded by her son, Ninias; and he by a line of over thirty kings whose names and number are variously stated by different writers, and of whose deeds we know absolutely nothing. Last came Sardanapalus, notorious for his effeminate luxury. Under him Media and Babylonia, which he had received from his predecessors as tributary provinces, revolted. Nineveh was captured by the rebel governors; and the monarch collecting his wives and treasures together in his palace, set fire to the building and with them perished in the flames. This occurred about 876, B. C.
After some years of disturbance, Phul, mentioned in the Scriptures. became sovereign of the now diminished kingdom of Assyria. He was succeeded by Tiglat-philassar, Salmanasar, Sennacherib and Assarhaddon, warlike monarchs, under whose vigorous arms the empire gradually regained several of its former provinces and extended its conquests even to Egypt and Abyssinia. The last named took Babylon, which thus again became subject to Nineveh. In 634 the Scythians made an incursion, and seem to have subjugated the entire country and to have held Nineveh until 607 B.C., when they were expelled. Scarcely had the Ninevites began to breathe freely, ere, in 606, Cyaxares, king of Media, in union with Nabopalassar, governor of Babylon, sacked the city and committed it to the flames. From that day Nineveh has been a heap of ruins. Some two hundred years later a Greek general encamped by the mighty ruins, which covered the plain between the Tigris and the Lycus. He was told that these were the remains of Larissa, an ancient city of the Medes. Sic transit gloria mundi!
The monuments which Mr. Layard disinterred must of necessity all date as far back as 634 B.C. But it is clear from the monuments themselves that they belong to widely different periods, and that, while the most recent may boast of an age of 2500 years, there are others which go back perhaps a thousand years deeper into the recesses of antiquity. We are first struck by the difference of style in the sculpture. On the works of some palaces it is bold, free and untrammelled by precise rules, by no means exempt from faults, even gross ones; yet animated by a vigor and life which belong only to the youth of art. Elsewhere, it is cold and stiff, finished with minute precision, and even elegance, showing a chisel guided by precept more than by genius: the faults are those of conception rather than of execution. Here the art had reached its maturity and had entered on its downward course of decline. This view of the sculptures is confirmed by the inscriptions always accompanying them. With those of the first class, the characters are formed with simplicity and uniformity; with those of the later period, on the contrary, this simple character has been replaced by one, the same, it would seem, in substance, yet varied in the most arbitrary and artificial manner. It is further confirmed by the fact, that 3 Vol. xvi.—No. 31.
the religious emblems and figures in the buildings assigned to the different epochs vary very much, and prove that a considerable change in the modes of religious thought and of worship had taken place between them—a revolution, in fact, so great as to require an interval of several generations and a change of dynasty.
The buildings afford a very striking proof of the same view. We stated that on the mound of Nimroud Mr. Layard had opened five palaces, the N.W., the W., the S.W., the S.E. and the central one. The S.W. palace had been destroyed, like that of Khorsabad, by fire. The N.W. and W. had escaped the conflagration. The position of those buildings is remarkable and deserves to be noticed. The brick platform or flooring of the S.W. edifice is level with the top of the walls of the N.W. and W. palaces. Much of the work of that edifice is incomplete. There are walls without any traces of slabs; walls where the slabs lie on the floor ready to be raised up as panelling; panels not yet sculptured and inscribed; panels on which the work was commenced and not finished, and portions on which it has been completed. This building was therefore in an unfinished state when Cyaxares and Nabopalassar sacked and destroyed the city in 606. It could not have been so far constructed during the few months that had passed since the Scythians were driven out. Neither is there the slightest trace of its having been their work. On the contrary, they ruled the country "in licentiousness and neglect." This building was therefore commenced and labored at before 634 B.C. In procuring slabs for its walls, the older palaces were partially stript of their panelling, and these spoils were obtained, even at that time, by excavations, such as Mr. Layard prosecuted. The slabs were first cut to the necessary size, and then placed, with their previously sculptured or inscribed face to the wall, presenting the former back to the room, to serve now as a face, on which the artist might cut his inscription or chisel a relief, describing the glories of the reigning monarch. Mr. Layard came upon many parts of the north-western and western buildings, and other walls, which had been despoiled, and in one place—a large room or perhaps courtyard—he discovered over one hundred such slabs piled side by side, as in a stone cutter's yard, and ready to be used. These slabs had been procured by excavations, and it was evident that the S.W. builders were as much at a loss how or where to dig as Mr. Layard was when he commenced operations. In some instances they cut through ten or fifteen feet of brick work to Teach slabs which they could have procured with a hundredth part of the labor by digging on the other side of the wall, into the comparatively loose soil which filled the interior of the room.
Magnificent and mighty palaces had been erected on this mound,—had shone in splendor, it may be, for centuries, and were deserted or destroyed when the dynasty that built them was overturned. The decayed roofs fell in, every wind brought its tribute of sand to fill the open chambers and halls, until all was buried from the sight and lost to the memory of man. In after ages, another king resolved to build him another stately palace on the same site. He built it. It stood for a time, and, like the first, was deserted, fell to ruin, and was buried. The earth above served as a cemetery. In yet later ages, still another monarch commenced to build palaces on the same spot. Ere they were completed, Nineveh had passed away.
How long the interval which elapsed between the date of the earliest and that of the latest palace of Nimroud, we know not. It was sufficiently long, however, to allow a very singular and important stratification. In the upper portion of the earth covering the earliest buildings, and in the debris filling chambers of a later period, and likewise at Khorsabad and Konyunjik, many Egyptian remains were discovered. The Assyrian works of art accompanying them had an unmistakeable Egyptian character, and even a cartouche of Egyptian hieroglyphs was brought to light. To this class of remains must likewise be referred the numerous sepulchres found in the accumulated debris, five feei above the floor of the older buildings.
It would appear that the remains may be referred to three, if not four, distinct periods. To the first belong the north-west, central and western palaces, filled with magnificent sculptures. To the second, other ruins below the tombs, of apparently a different style of art, and adorned chiefly with painting. To the third, the Egyptianizing Assyrian monuments, comprising those of Khorsabad, Konyunjik and the south-west palace, rivalling the earlier