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singularly destitute of stone of any feet by 90) may have been entirely kind, especially in the lower portion open to the sky,-and, as it did not of the valley ; so that the inhabitants contain sculptures, it probably was had to betake themselves to bricks, The rooms ranged from 16 to which they could manufacture in end- 20 feet in height; the side walls being less abundance, by mixing a little covered to twice the height of a straw with the alluvial soil. In Ba. man by the sculptured slabs, and bylonia, where not a slab of stone their upper portion being built of could be got within hundreds of miles, baked bricks richly coloured, or of these bricks were carefully made,- sun-dried bricks covered by a thin being kiln-dried, and often coloured, coat of plaster, on which various ornaand, while the colours were still moist, ments were painted. Of the mode of glazed in the fire. Around Nineveh roofing these palaces we know nothey were, for the most part, merely thing. Probably the roof was formed dried for a day or two in the hot sun, — of beams resting solely on the sideand with bricks of this description the walls; but as this method would not houses of Mesopotamia are built to this have sufficed for the larger rooms, day. Bat Nineveh, being nearer the from 35 to 45 feet in width, we may mountains, had a great advantage over conjecture that the beams in some inBabylon. The plains around it, and stances were made to meet and rest the lowlands lying between the Tigris against each other at a slight angle in and the bill-country, abound in a the centre of the ceiling, or (more kind of coarse alabaster or gypsum, improbably) that wooden pillars or large masses of which protrude in low posts were employed which have since ridges from the alluvial soil, or are entirely mouldered away. No traces exposed in the gullies formed by win- of windows are to be found, even in ter torrents. Ornamental from its the chambers next the outer walls ; so colour and transparency, and offering that, as in the temples of Egypt, there few difficulties to the sculptor, this must have been square openings or alabaster was used by the people of skylights in the ceilings, which may Nineveh in their public buildings. Cut have been closed during the winterinto large slabs, it was used as panels rains by canvass or some such material. to cover the inner surface of the brick The pavement of the chambers was walls,-each slab bearing on its back formed either of alabaster slabs, or of an inscription recording the name, kiln-burnt bricks, covered with intitle, and descent of the king undertak- scriptions relating to the king ;-and ing the work, and being kept in its beneath this pavement, drains led place by cramps and plugs of metal from almost every room, showing that or wood.
After being thus fixed water might occasionally have enteragainst the wall, the face of the slabs ed the rooms from above, by such was covered with sculptures and in- apertures in the ceiling as has been scriptions,-in some edifices, as at conjectured. Kouyunjik, each chamber being re- The interior of these Assyrian served for some particular historical palaces must have been as magpiincident, and each palace, it would ficent as imposing. Mr Layard thus appear, only recording in its sculptures graphically describes the spectacle the exploits of the king who built it. which, in days of old, met the eye of No pillars are to be found in Assyrian those who entered the abode of the architecture; and the difficulty ex- Assyrian kings :perienced by the builders in the construction of expansive roofs is shown “ He was ushered in through the portal by the great narrowness of the rooms guarded by the colossal lions or bulls of
white alabaster. In the first hall he compared with their length; the
found himself surrounded by the sculpmost elaborately ornamented hall at
tured records of the empire. Battles, Nimroud, although above 160 feet in sieges, triumphs, the exploits of the length, being only 35 feet broad. chase, the ceremonies of religion, were Forty-five feet appears to have been portrayed on the walls-sculptured in the greatest width spanned over by a alabaster, and painted in gorgeous roof; for the great central hall in the colours. Under each picture were ennorth-west palace at Nimroud (110 graved, in characters filled up with bright copper, inscriptions describing the racters, the chronicles of the empire. scenes represented. Above the sculptures He who entered them might thus read were painted other events — the king, the history, and learn the glory and attended by his eunuchs and warriors, triumphs of the nations. They served, receiving his prisoners, entering into at the same time, to bring continually to alliances with other monarchs, or per. the remembrance of those who assembled forming some sacred duty. These repre. within them on festive occasions, or for sentations were enclosed in coloured the celebration of religious ceremonies, borders of elaborate and elegant design. the deeds of their ancestors, and the The emblematic tree, winged bulls, and power and majesty of their gods.” monstrous animals were conspicuous
This royal magnificence was well amongst the ornaments. At the upper end of the hall was the colossal figure of guarded. The external walls of the the king in adoration before the supreme Assyrian cities, as we learn from the deity, or receiving from his eunuch the united testimony of ancient authors, holy cup. He was attended by warriors were of extraordinary size and height. bearing his arms, and by the priests or According to Diodorus Siculus, the presiding divinities. His robes, and those walls of Nineveh were one hundred of his followers, were adorned with groups feet high,—so broad that three chaof figures, animals, and flowers, all painted riots might be driven abreast along with brilliant colours. “ The stranger trod upon alabaster fifteen hundred towers, each of which
their summit, — and fortified with slabs, each bearing an inscription, record
was two hundred feet in height. Acing the titles, genealogy, and achievements of the great king. Several door. cording to the same authority, the ways, formed by gigantic winged lions circumference of the city was sixty or bulls, or by the figures of guardian miles,-a statement which exactly deities, led into other apartments which tallies with the dimensions given in again opened into more distant halls. the Book of Jonah, where Nineveh is In each were new sculptures. On the said to have been three days' journey walls of some were processions of colossal round about. This is an immense figures-armed men and eunuchs follow- circuit,—but it must be recollected ing the king, warriors laden with spoil, that the dimensions of an Eastern leading prisoners, or bearing presents city do not bear the same proporand offerings to the gods. On the walls tion to its population as those of an of others were portrayed the winged European city. The custom, prevapriests, or presiding divinities, standing lent to some degree in Southern Asia, before the sacred trees.
“ The ceilings above him were divided even in the earliest times, of seclud. into square compartments, painted with ing the women in apartments reflowers, or with the figures of animals. moved from those of the men, as Some were inlaid with ivory, each com- well as the heat of the climate, renpartment being surrounded by elegant ders a separate house for each family borders and mouldings. The beams, as well as the sides of the chambers, may incompatible with that economy of
almost indispensable, and is perfectly have been gilded, or even plated with gold and silver ; and the rarest woods, ings, which we witness in the cities of
space, and close aggregation of dwellin which the cedar was conspicuous, were used for the wood-work. Square
the West. Moreover, within the ciropenings in the ceilings of the chambers
cuit of those old cities there used to be a admitted the light of day. A pleasing paradise" or hunting-ground for the shadow was thrown over the sculptured king, and orchards, gardens, and an walls, and gave a majestic expression to extensive tract of arable land; so that the human features of the colossal forms the inhabitants, behind tbeir impregwhich guarded the entrances. Through nable walls, could bid defiance alike these apertures was seen the bright blue to force and to famine. From the of an eastern sky, enclosed in a frame on which were painted, in vivid colours, the much cattle within the walls of
expression of Jonah, that there was winged circle, in the midst of elegant Nineveh, it may be inferred that there ornaments, and the graceful forms of ideal animals.
was also pasture for them. Many “ These edifices, as it has been shown, cities of the East-as, for instance, were great national monuments, upon
Damascus and Ispahan — are still the walls of which were represented in built in this manner; the amount of sculpture, or inscribed in alphabetic cha- their population being greatly disproportionate, according to our Western allowed to fall into decay. The notions, to the site which they occupy. largest palaces would probably have
If we take the four great mounds remained uudiscovered, bad not slabs of Nimroud, Kouyunjik, Khorsabad, of alabaster marked the walls. There and Karamles, as the corners of an is, however, sufficient to indicate that elongated quadrangle (eighteen miles buildings were once spread over the by twelve), it will be found that the space above described ; for, besides form as well as the circumference of the vast number of small mounds the city correspond pretty accurately everywhere visible, scarcely a huswith the statements of ancient writers. bandman drives his plough over the Each quarter of this vast city, says soil without exposing the vestiges of Mr Layard, may have had its pecu- former habitations." liar name; hence the palace of Evo- From the numerous large moundrita, where Saracus destroyed himself— ruins visible on the Mesopotamian and the Mespila and Larissa of Xeno- plains, it is evident that the work of phon, which names the Greek general excavation is only commenced. The applies respectively to the mound- long-sealed book of Assyrian history ruins at Konyunjik and Nimroud. It and antiquities has only begun to be is certain that large fortified enclo- unrolled ; and in the course of another sures existed within the outer walls, generation the labours of Layard will surrounding the principal buildings or probably be as far exceeded as those palaces, and capable of defence after of Belzoni in Egypt have been by the the rest of the city was stormed. recent investigations of Lepsius and These four great mounds, the scene of Champollion-le-Jeune. It is needless, Mr Layard's excavations, mark the site then, at present to waste time in the of the principal public buildings of discussion of moot points in Assyrian Nineveh,-apparently at once temples history, which in a few years fresh and palaces, built upon elevated discoveries may at once set definitiveplatforms of masonry, like the temples ly at rest. As yet, Assyrian chronoof the ancient Mexicans, and, from logy has been but little advanced by their great strength, always placed so the recent researches,-and this prinas to form part of the external de- cipally owing to the circumstance, fences of the city. But these were already mentioned, that the sculptures not the only great buildings in Nine- and inscriptions of each palace relate veh ; for within the quadrangle de- only to the career of the particular scribed by these ruins, many other king who erected or embellished it. large mounds are to be seen, and the All we know is, that the palaces at face of the country is strewed with Nimroud (if we except the unfinished the remains of pottery, bricks, and one) must have been built at least other fragments. The space between niné centuries B.C.; but that the the great public buildings was doubt- earliest of them may have been reared less occupied by private houses, stand by the great Ninus himself * (2000 ing in the midst of gardens, and built B.C.), a most unsatisfactory state at distances from each other; or form- of knowledge ; and that the palaces ing streets which enclosed gardens of at the other angles of the city-nameconsiderable extent, and even arable ly, Kouyunjik, Karamles, and Khorland. The absence of the remains of sabad—were erected, to all appearthese houses, says Mr Layard, is ance, between the ninth and sixth easily accounted for. “ They were centuries B.C. We know, however, constructed almost entirely of sun- with all certainty, that a great crisis dried bricks, and, like the houses now and convulsion in the fortunes of the built in the country, soon disappeared State occurred between the erection altogether when once abandoned, and of the earlier and later series of pal
* Ctesias and other writers speak of the Bactrian and Indian expedition of Ninus and Semiramis ; and in connection with this it is important to notice, that upon the obelisk discovered at Nimroud—which belongs to the period of the earliest palace, having been erected by the son of the founder of that building-are represented the Bactrian camel, the elephant, and the rhinoceros-(all animals from India and Central Asia)-brought as tribute by a conquered people to the Assyrian king.
VOL, LXXVI.-NO. CCCCLXVIII.
aces. This convulsion was probably customs of Assyria, as may be witoccasioned by the successful revolt of nessed in the introduction of the sitthe Medes under Arbaces, and the ting sphinxes of Nimroud, and the capture of Nineveh, about 930 B.C., lotus-shaped ornaments of Khorsawhich brought to an end the ancient bad and Kouyunjik. On the earliest dynasty of Ninus and Semiramis, monuments of Nineveh we read of exafter thirteen centuries of power, and peditions undertaken against Babylon, established a new family on the which city was at first unquestionably throne.
independent of the Assyrian princes, Ninus-whose character as a great but which ere long became subject to hunter of the lion and panther tallies them-wearing their chains, however, with the scriptural accounts of Nim- unwillingly, and occasionally in name rod-is said, by the general consent rather than in fact. When the Medes of many ancient writers, to have revolted under Arbaces, the governor founded the Assyrian monarchy more of Babylon took part with the rebels, than two thousand years before Christ, and in alliance with them succeeded -doing so in the midst of a people in capturing Nineveh, and destroying far advanced in civilisation, whose its public buildings—if not depopulatworks, says Moses of Chorene, the ing it. Under the new or later dynew-comers endeavoured to destroy, pasty, however-which counts in its and whose knowledge of the arts was brief roll the great names of Sargon taken advantage of by the conquerors and Sennacherib — Nineveh rose in in the erection and embellishment of renewed splendour and power : the their palaces. In corroboration of this palaces of Kouyunjik, Karamles, and it may be stated, that of all the speci- Khorsabad were built, the last of mens of Assyrian art which have been which excelled all its predecessors in discovered, the most ancient are in- magnificence; and the city attained variably the best, - a curious fact, those vast dimensions described by agreeing with, but not establishing, Diodorus and the prophet Jonah. the hypothesis that the builders of the But the days of this great city and most ancient edifices at Nineveh were ancient empire were fast drawing to assisted by a people of skill superior a close. Headed by Cyaxares and to their own.
Nabopolassar, the combined armies The boundaries of the Assyrian mon- of the Persians and Babylonians again archy, like that of every other long- approached its walls ; and after a proestablished empire, fluctuated from tracted siege of pearly three years, age to age. At the epoch of its greatest they at length (606 B.c.) captured the power, it appears to have maintained city at a time when the river had an ascendancy over Persia and Media, overflowed its bed and carried away and from thence westwards to the a portion of the wall. The city was shores of the Levant; while it is in then utterly destroyed-the torch was disputable that its rule was for long put to its noble palaces, and its inhadominant in Asia Minor, where towns bitants were compulsorily distributed were built and colonies founded by the among the adjoining towns and vilAssyrian monarchs,-Troy itself, ac- lages. Nineveh was no more. Twelve cording to Plato, having been one of centuries afterwards (A.D. 627), the their dependencies. The prowess of the great battle between Heraclius and Assyrian armies in later times made Rbazates was fought within the space itself felt even in Egypt; but in the once compassed by its walls. wars between these two great antago- city, and even the ruins of the city," nists, there is reason to believe that says Gibbon, "bad long ago disapthe balance of success lay chiefly with peared : the vacant space afforded a the Egyptians. It would appear that spacious field for the operations of the for a considerable period, between the two armies." 14th and 9th centuries B.C., a close con- The primitive religion of the Assynection, either by conquest or friendly rians appears to have been a form of intercourse, existed between these two Sabæanism. It appears to have conempires,—which connection produced sisted in the worship of the sun-not considerable changes in the arts and as the Deity, but as an emblem of
the Deity-as the greatest, most glo- were thus lost, big with the fortunes rious, and most beneficent of His of the campaign; and the consequence works in the eye of man, and the mys- was, that when the Turks did at last tery of whose unbeholdable splendours advance, they found not only that the not unaptly symbolised the presence Russian detachment had rejoined the of Him“ who dwelleth in light that main body, but that the Russian genis inaccessible and full of glory.” But eral had been fully apprised by his the peculiar part of the Chaldean spies of the meditated night-march of faith or philosophy was the influence his enemies. which it ascribed to the planets over We have not space here to underthe life and fortunes of men. The take an investigation of the old Chalbelief in astrology is one of the oldest, dean faith, nor to point out the prinif not absolutely the very oldest, which ciples in human nature by a rash one meets with in the history of post- reasoning upon which astrology seems diluvian mankind. It was not con- to bave arisen. We would remark, fined to any one nation, or any one however, that the convulsion which era of the world. It has lived from intervened between the fall of the the earliest times, down through seve- first Assyrian dynasty and the rise of ral thousand years, to the middle ages the second, occasioned, or was at least of Europe, and still lingers even at the accompanied by, a change in the present day. To take the last spots State-religion of the country. In the in the world where one is likely to palaces at Khorsabad and Kouyunjik, find old-world notions lingering — built by the second dynasty, we find " Raphaels” and “ Zadkiels are to no traces of the religious emblems so be found even in the capitals of England frequent in the sculptures of the and France, where astrological alma- earliest palaces at Nimroud. The nacs are at this moment yearly pub- emblem of the great Divinity - the lished, containing predictions of the fu- winged figure within the circle - has ture-one of which modern Magi boasts never been found in the later-built that he correctly predicted the death palaces; and from the frequent repreof the “hero of Waterloo," and both sentations of the fire-altar in the basof whom, we believe, prophesied two reliefs from those ruins, and on cylinyears ago that 1854 is to be the death- ders, evidently of the same period, year of Louis Napoleon! Bat the East there is reason to believe that a fireis the native land of astrology; and worship, like that introduced by there, to this day, it is believed Zoroaster among the Persians, had in as firmly as if it belonged to the succeeded to the purer forms of Sadomain of the positive sciences. It bæanism. Although eagle - headed is curious to know that one of the figures, and other mythic forms, exist causes of the disastrous issue of the in the earliest sculptures at Nineveh, last battle (August 5) between the in no case do they appear to have Turks and Russians in Asia, was the been objects of worship. The king is obstinate adhesion of the Turkish only seen in adoration before one general to an astrological crotchet. symbol of the Deity-the figure of The Russians had detached a divi- which we have already spoken, with sion of their army to Bayazid, where the wings and tail of a bird enclosed they surprised and defeated a Turkish in a circle, resembling the Ormuzd of corps ; but no sooner did General the Persian monuments. He is geneGayon learn of this movement, than rally standing or kneeling beneath he counselled the Tarkish comman- this circled figure with his hand raised der, Zarif Pasha, immediately to ad- in sign of prayer or adoration. This vance and attack the main body of symbol of the Deity is never reprethe Russians while thus weakened. sented above any person of inferior The Pasha, bowever, while assenting rank, but appears to watch specially to the plan, would not move at the over the king-who among the Assytime required, alleging that neither rians, as among all the old nations, that day nor the morrow would do for was regarded as the type and representhe attack, “ because the stars were tative of the nation. It is seen above unpropitious.” Eight-and-forty hours him on all occasions, in the sculptures,