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IN every department of science the theories of yester- 
day are perpetually being displaced by the empirical 
facts of to-day, though the ascertainment of these facts 
is frequently the indirect outcome of the theories which 
the facts themselves dissipate. Hence it is that the works 
of the greatest scholars and experts have no finality, they 
are but stepping-stones towards thegoal of perfect know- 
ledge. Since the publications of Layard, Rawlinson, 
Botta and Place much new material has been made ac- 
cessible for the reconstruction of the historic past of the 
Babylonians and Assyrians, and we are consequently able 
to fill in many gaps in the picture so admirably, and as 
far as it went, so faithfully drawn by the pioneers in the 
field of excavation and research. This work, which owes 
its origin to a suggestion made by Dr. Wallis Budge, 
representsan endeavour on the part of the writer to give 
a brief account of the civilization of ancient Babylonia 
and Assyria in the light of this new material. 

It is hoped that the infinitude of activities and pur- 
suits which go to make up the civilization of any country 
will justify the writer's treatment of so many subjects in 
a single volume. It will be observed that space allotted 
to the consideration of the different arts and crafts varies 
on the one hand according to the relative importance of 
the part each played in the life of the people, and on the 
other hand according to the amount of material available 
for the study of the particular subject. 

No effort has been spared to make the chapters on 
Architecture, Sculpture and Metallurgy as comprehen- 
sive as the limitations of the volume permit, while for 


the sake of those who desire to pursue thestudyof any of 
the subjects dealt with in this book, and to work up the 
sketch into a picture, a short bibliography is given at 
the end. 

It has not been thought desirable to amass avast num- 
ber of references in the footnotes, and the writer is thereby 
debarred from acknowledging his indebtedness to the 
works of other writers on all occasions as he would like 
to have done. 

In addition to the chapters which deal expressly with 
the cultural evolution of the dwellers in Mesopotamia, 
two chapters are devoted to the consideration of the 
Cuneiform writing its pictorial origin, the history of 
its decipherment, and the literature of which it is the 
vehicle, while another chapter is occupied with a histori- 
cal review of the excavations. The short chronological 
summary at the end obviously makes not the slightest 
pretension to even being a comprehensive summary ; it 
merely purports to give the general chronological order 
of some of the better known rulers and kings of Baby- 
lonia and Assyria to whom allusion is made in this 
volume, together with a notice of some of the more sig- 
nificant landmarks in the history of the two countries. 

The writer's thanks are due to the Trustees of the 
British Museum for permission to photograph some of 
the objects in the Babylonian and Assyrian Collections, 
and to Dr. Wallis Budge for facilities and encourage- 
ment in carrying out the work ; to the University of 
Chicago Press for allowing him to reproduce illustra- 
tions from the American Journal of Semitic Languages and 
also diagrams from Harper's Memorial Volumes ; to 
M. Ernest Leroux for permitting him to make use of 
some of the plates contained in the monumental works 
of De Sarzec and Heuzey, and to M. Ch. Eggimann of 
the " Libraire Centrale d'art et d'architecture ancienne 
maison Morel," for his very kind permission to repro- 
duce two of the plates contained in Dieulafoy, LtArt 


Antique de la Perse. He is similarly indebted to the 
Deutsche-Orient Gesellschaft for allowing him to make 
an autotype copy of one of the plates in Andrae's Der 
Anu-Adad Tempel. He further desires to acknowledge 
the generosity of Prof. H. V. Hilprecht in allowing him 
to make use of many of the illustrations contained in 
his numerous publications, and also of Dr. Fisher for 
permitting him to reproduce some of the photographs 
contained in his magnificently illustrated work on the 
excavations at Nippur. He is very sensible of his in- 
debtedness to these two gentlemen, as also to M. Leroux 
and the Deutsche-Orient Gesellschaft, for the photo- 
graphs of excavations in progress are obviously of 
a unique character and admit of no repetition ; he 
further desires to express his obligations to Dr. W. 
Hayes Ward for his most kind permission to copy a 
number of seal-impressions and other illustrations con- 
tained in his recently published work Cylinder-Seals of 
Western Asia. Lastly, he welcomes the opportunity of 
acknowledging the kindness of Mr. Mansell for allow- 
ing him to publish many photographs of objects in the 
British Museum and the Louvre contained in his incom- 
parable collection, and for in other ways facilitating the 
illustration of this volume. Most of the plans and 
drawings used for this volume are the work of Miss 
E. K. Reader, who has performed her task with her 
usual skill. 

P. S. P. H. 

March, 1912. 


P. 6, 

1. 3, 

P. 6, 

1. 1 8, 

P. 43, 

1. 7 

p. 62, 

1. 2, 

p. 89, 

1. 5, 

p. 110, 

1. 2, 

p. 125, 

1. 7 

P- '30, 


P. 155, 


P- 2 35. 

1. 9 

P. 247, 

1. i, 

P- 2 49, 


for 2500 B.C. read 2400 B.C. 
for 2500 B.C. read 2400 B.C. 

from foot, read both French and English explorers 
for considerable read much 
for + read 
for 2500 B.C. read 2400 B.C. 
from foot, for or read and 
for 2400 B.C. read 2350 B.C. 
for having read have 
from foot, for Sumu-la-ilu read Sumu-ilu 
for 2500 B.C. read 2400 B.C. 

after crudeness read these heads 

The reference numbers as printed on Plates VII to XI are inaccurate, and should 
be altered as follows, in agreement with the List ot Illustrations and the references 
in the text : 

Present number 
and position 





VII Facing p. 64 

VIII 78 

IX 106 

X ,,132 

XI 138 

Correct number 

and position 
VIII Facing p. 78 
IX 1 06 

X 132 

XI 138 

VII 64 




(a) Land and People I 

(b) Sketch of Babylonian and Assyrian History 28 

II. EXCAVATIONS ....... 40 


V. ARCHITECTURE . . . . . .119 


VII. METALLURGY ....... 242 

VIII. PAINTING . . . . . . .270 

IX. CYLINDER-SEALS ...... 284 







SUMMARY ....... 408 

INDEX 411 




I. Coloured Lion at Khorsabad . . . Frontispiece 


II. Kouyunjik and Nebi Yunus (two views) . . 42 

Nimrud (Calah) 42 

Khorsabad 42 

III. Excavations at Nimrud (Calah) in Ashur-nasir- 

pal's Palace .44 

IV. " Fish-God," and Entrance Passage, Kouyunjik 48 
V. Doorway at Tello, erected by Gudea . . 54 

South-eastern fa$ade of Ur-Nina's building at 

Tello 54 

VI. Remains of a Stele in a building under that of 

Ur-Nina 58 

The Well of Eannatum 58 

VII. Excavations in the Temple Court, Nippur . 64 
VIII. The Ziggurat and Palace of Ashur-nasir-pal, 

Ashur .78 

IX. Inscriptions on clay illustrating the sizes and 
shapes of the Tablets, etc., used by the Baby- 
lonians and Assyrians . . . . .106 
X. The Ruined Mounds of Nippur . . .132 
Court of the Men from the North-East, Nippur . 132 
XI. Water Conduit of Ur-Engur, Nippur . .138 
XII. Portion of the "Vulture Stele" of Eannatum, 

Patesi of Lagash 1 86 

XIII. Stele of Victory of Naram-Sin . . .192 

XIV. Stele engraved with Khammurabi's Code of 

Laws 198 

The Sun-God Tablet 198 

XV. Bas-relief of Ashur-nasir-pal . . . .202 




XVI. Bas-reliefs of Ashur-nasir-pal (four subjects) 
XVII. Siege of a City by battering-ram and archers 
XVIII. Ashur-bani-pal's Hunting Scenes : Lion and 
lioness in a garden ..... 
XIX. Ashur-bani-pal's Hunting Scenes (two sub- 

XX. Ashur-bani-pal's Hunting Scenes : Hunting 
wild asses with dogs .... 

Ashur-bani-pal pouring out a libation over 
dead lions ...... 

XXI. Ashur-bani-pal reclining at meat 

Musicians and Attendants .... 

XXII. Limestone figure of an early Sumerian 

Three archaic stone heads .... 

XXIII. Head and two diorite statues of Gudea ; 

upper part of female statuette 

XXIV. Statues of Nebo and Ashur-nasir-pal ; torso 

of a woman ...... 

XXV. Winged man-headed genii .... 

XXVI. Stone lion of Ashur-nasir-pal 
XXVII. The Kasr lion . . " . 
XXVIII. Miscellaneous objects of bronze, from 
Nimrud ...... 

XXIX. Bronze bowl, from Nimrud 
XXX. Decorated arch at Khorsabad 

XXXI. Glazed bricks 

XXXII. Ivory panels, from Nimrud 
XXXIII. Pottery, from Nimrud and Nineveh . 




1. Pictographs ....... 

2. Pictographs ....... 

3. Late Babylonian " squeeze" of an early inscription 

4. Brick-stamp of Naram-Sin 

5. Clay covering of the " Sun-Tablet " . 

6. Restoration of the temple at Nippur . 

7. Restoration of the Anu-Adad temple at Ashur 



8. Restoration of Sargon's palace at Khorsabad . 151 

9. Domed roofs in Assyria . . 155 
lo,II. Terra-cotta drains . . 159 

12. Columnar piers at Tello . . . . 161 

13. Large column capital ; small column capital . 165 

14. Columns (various) ...... 166 

15. Early arch at Nippur . .170 

1 6. Early arch at Tello . . . . . .170 

17. Corbelled arch at Nippur 173 

1 8. Round arch at Babylon . . . . .173 
19-22. Arched drains at Khorsabad . . . .174 

23. Burial-vault at Ashur . . . . .176 

24. Burial-vault at Ur (Mukeyyer) . . . .176 
24 a. Ziggurat on Assyrian bas-relief . . .180 
24 . Ziggurat at Khorsabad . . . . 1 80 

25. Six early bas-reliefs . . . . . .182 

26. Stele of Ur-Nina and mace-head of Mesilim . 185 

27. Two fragments of the "Vulture Stele"; little 

sculptured block (Entemena's reign) . .189 

28. Five bas-reliefs, including one of Naram-Sin . 194 

29. Bas-relief of Sargon, king of Assyria . . . 209 

30. Bas-relief of Sennacherib ; removal of stone bull . 213 

31. Sennacherib at Lachish . . . . .215 

32. Statue of Esar, king of Adab . . . .223 

33. Early stone statue of a woman . . . .224 

34. Statue of Manishtusu ; seated figure of a woman ; 

head of a woman ...... 225 

35. Seated figure of Shalmaneser II .... 231 

36. Stone lion-head ; figure of a dog ; stone figure of 

a human-headed bull inlaid with shell . .234 

37. Copper spear-head ; hollow copper tube . . 243 

38. Early copper figures ...... 245 

39. Copper figures of Basket-bearers ; .copper figure 

of Gudea . . . . . . . 247 

40. Figures and heads of animals in copper and bronze 250 

41. Two Assyrian swords; an Assyrian axe . .254 

42. Bronze dish 257 



43, 44. Bronze gate-bands .... 259, 260 

45. Silver vase of Entemena ..... 265 

46. Coloured clay relief lion from Babylon . .274 

47. Coloured bull at Babylon ; coloured bull at Nimrud 

(Calah) 275 

48. Three cylinder seals; clay tablet bearing a seal- 

impression ....... 285 

49-77. Impressions from cylinder-seals . . 289-307 
78-83. Engravings on shells .... 310-312 

84. Carved ivory panel from Nimrud . . .314 

85. Early terra-cotta figures . . . . .318 

86. Terra-cotta figures of later date . . . .320 

87. Terra-cotta figure of a dog .... 323 

88. Terra-cotta plaque showing dog with attendant . 323 

89. Stone vase of Naram-Sin . . . . .328 

90. Decorated stone vase of Gudea ,. . . . 328 

91. Three stone vessels, one of which bears an in- 

scription of Sennacherib, and another the name 
of Xerxes; small glass vessel of Sargon . -33 

92. 93. Two early clay pots from Nippur . . .332 

94. Boomerang-shaped weapons .... 342 

95. Assyrian jewellery. ...... 348 

96. 97. Combs 349 

98, 99. Foot-spearman and Foot-archers of the first 

Assyrian period ...... 350 

IOO-IO2. Archers in the reign of Sargon . . . 351 
103-105. Archers in the reign of Sennacherib . . 352 
106, 107. Assyrian cavalry .... 354, 355 

1 08. Assyrian chariotry ...... 356 

109. Assyrian helmets and head-gears . . -357 

110. Assyrian weapons of offence .... 358 

111. Battering-rams and shields .... 360 

112. Naval equipment of the Assyrians . . . 362 
113-115. Babylonian emblems . . . . 396,398 

(l) Mesopotamia, (2) Babylonia .... Folder at tnd 

Mesopotamian Archaeology 



r I ^HE Mesopotamian civilization shares with the 
Egyptian civilization the honour of being one of 
the two earliest civilizations in the world, and although 
M. J. de Morgan's excavations at Susa the ruined capital 
of ancient Elam, have brought to light the elements of 
an advanced civilization which perhaps even ante-dates 
that of Mesopotamia, it must be remembered that the 
Sumerians who, so far as our present knowledge goes, 
were the first to introduce the arts of life and all that they 
bring with them, into the low-lying valley of the Tigris 
and Euphrates, probably themselves emigrated from the 
Elamite plateau on the east of the Tigris ; at all events 
the Sumerians expressed both "mountain" and "coun- 
try" by the same writing-sign, the two apparently be- 
ing synonymous from their point of view ; in support 
of this theory of a mountain-home for the Sumerians, 
we may perhaps further explain the temple-towers, the 
characteristic feature of most of the religious edifices in 
Mesopotamia, as a conscious or unconscious imitation in 
bricks and mortar of the hills and ridges of their native- 
land, due to an innate aversion to the dead-level mono- 
tony of the Babylonian plain, while it is also a signifi- 
cant fact that in the earliest period Shamash the Sun- 
god is represented with one foot resting on a mountain, 


or else standing between two mountains. However 
this may he, the history of the Elamites was intimately 
wrapped up with that of the dwellers on the other side of 
the Tigris, from the earliest times down to the sack of 
Susa by Ashur-bani-pal, king of Assyria, in the seventh 
century. Both peoples adopted the cuneiform system 
of writing, so-called owing to the wedge-shaped form- 
ation of the characters, the wedges being due to the 
material used in later times for all writing purposes 
the clay of their native soil : both spoke an agglutina- 
tive, as opposed to an inflexional language like our 
own, and both inherited a similar culture. 

A further, and in its way a more convincing argu- 
ment in support of the mountain-origin theory is af- 
forded by the early art of the Sumerians. On the most 
primitive seal cylinders 1 we find trees and animals 
whose home is in the mountains, and which certainly 
were not native to the low-lying plain of Babylonia. 
The cypress and the cedar-tree are only found in moun- 
tainous districts, but a tree which must be identified 
with one or the other of them is represented on the 
early seal cylinders ; it is of course true that ancient 
Sumerian rulers fetched cedar wood from the mountains 
for their building operations, and therefore the presence 
of such a tree on cylinder seals merely argues a certain 
acquaintance with the tree, but ceteris paribus it is more 
reasonable to suppose that the material earthly objects 
depicted, were those with which the people were entirely 
familiar and not those with which they were merely 
casually acquainted. Again, on the early cylinders the 
mountain bull, known as the bison bonasus, assumes the 
role played in later times by the lowland water-buffalo. 
This occurs with such persistent regularity that the 
inference that the home of the Sumerians in those days 
was in the mountains is almost inevitable. Again, as 
Ward points out, the composite man-bull Ea-bani, the 
1 Cf. Ward, Seal Cylinders, p. 24 ff. 


companion of Gilgamesh, has always the body of a bison, 
never that of a buffalo. So too the frequent occurrence 
of the ibex, the oryx, and the deer with branching 
horns, all argues in the same direction, for the natural 
home of all these animals lay in the mountains. 

The Mesopotamian valley may, for the immediate 
purpose of this book, be divided into two halves, a 
dividing-line being roughly drawn between the two 
rivers just above Abu Habba (Sippar) ; the northern 
half embraces the land occupied by the Assyrians, and 
the southern half that occupied by the Babylonians. 
The precise date at which Assyria was colonized by 
Babylonia is not known, but to the first known native 1 
king of Assyria, Irishum, we may assign an approxi- 
mate date of 2000 B.C. Babylonia proper is an alluvial 
plain the limits of which on the east and west are the 
mountains of Persia and the table-land of Arabia re- 
spectively. This valley has been gradually formed at 
the expense of the sea's domain, for in the remote past 
the Persian Gulf swept over the whole plain at least as 
far northward as the city of Babylon where sea-shells 
have been found, and probably a good deal further. It 
owes its formation to the silt brought down by the two 
rivers and deposited at the mouth of the Gulf: the 
amount of land thus yearly reclaimed from the sea in 
early times is not known, but as Spasinus Chorax the 
modern Mohammerah, which is now some forty-seven 
miles inland, was situated on the sea-coast in the time of 
Alexander, we know that the conquest of the land over 
the sea has been progressing since his time at the rate 
of 1 1 5 feet yearly. 

Thus the physical characteristics of the country in 
which Babylonian civilization was developed, if it was 
not actually the place of its origin, form a close 
parallel to those of Lower Egypt ; in Egypt however 

1 Cf. Pinches, Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology 1910, 
p. 42. 


such evidence as there is, would indicate the South, or 
Upper Egypt as the earliest scene of civilization, the 
North being conquered by the Mesniu (Metal-users) 
of the South, not only in the battlefield but also in cul- 
ture and civilization. Both countries have but a small 
sea-board where their rivers find an outlet, the Nile in- 
to the Mediterranean, and the Tigris and Euphrates 
into the Persian Gulf; both countries had emerged 
and were yearly emerging out of the sea, for it is cer- 
tain that at one time the Mediterranean penetrated as 
far south as Esneh, while as already mentioned, the 
Persian Gulf extended at least as far as Babylon ; we 
are accordingly not surprised to find in both the Baby- 
lonian and Egyptian cosmologies a tradition which told 
of the creation of the world out of a primaeval mass 
of water, though this idea looms less conspicuously in 
the Egyptian than in the Babylonian and Hebrew cos- 
mologies. Both countries also were visited by a yearly 
inundation which, while it brought no small amount or 
devastation in its train, at the same time deposited the 
mud so essential to the enrichment of the soil, the 
desolation being checked or at least mitigated in either 
country by an elaborate system of irrigation canals, which 
same canals were in the summer-time the means of con- 
veying the life-giving water to the dry and thirsty land. 
Both Babylonia and Egypt enjoy a warm climate, though 
Egypt is much more dry and therefore healthier, and 
the corresponding dryness of its soil has preserved the 
tangible evidences of its ancient history in a far more 
perfect condition than the marsh-country of Lower 
Mesopotamia ; and lastly the climate of Egypt is not 
subject to the same violent changes of temperature inci- 
dental to the seasons in the Valley of the Euphrates. 

The evidence of any racial connection between the 
earliest known inhabitants of the two countries is very 
precarious ; as regards their art, their customs and their 
language, the Sumerians on the one hand, and the pre- 


dynastic and early dynastic Egyptians on the other, show 
a complete independence of each other ; both countries 
were probably invaded at an early period of their his- 
tories by the Semites, who in the case of Mesopotamia 
completely supplanted their predecessors of different 
stock, but who were at the same time themselves ab- 
sorbed by the higher civilization of the Sumerians to 
which they were the destined heirs, and to the further 
development of which they themselves were to con- 
tribute so largely ; but at what period or periods the 
Semites swept over Egypt and the north coast of Africa, 
impressing their indelible and unmistakable stamp upon 
the foundation-structure of the Egyptian and Libyan 
languages is not known ; whenever it was, we can safely 
assume that their advent took place in prehistoric days, 
for the hieroglyphs and probably also the language 
of the dynastic Egyptians were the natural develop- 
ment of the language and crude picture-signs of their 
predecessors, and the theory of a violent break in the 
continuity of early Egyptian civilization at the com- 
mencement of the first dynasty is daily becoming 
more untenable. We are similarly unable to assign any 
definite date to the arrival of the Semites in the Meso- 
potamian Valley, though the Neo-Babylonian King Na- 
bonidus gives us a traditional date for Shar-Gani-sharri l 
(Sargon) and his son Naram-Sin, kings of Agade, who, 
so far as we know, established the first Semitic em- 
pire in the country. There were indeed Semitic Kings 
of Kish before the time of Shar-Gani-sharri, but the ex- 
tent of their sway was clearly very limited compared 
with the far-reaching empire of the rulers of Agade. 
But there are reasons for doubting the accuracy of the 
traditional date of 3750 B.C. which Nabonidus assigns 
to Naram-Sin, the chief reason being the extraordinary 
gap in the yieldings of Babylonian excavations between 

1 "Sargon" (i.e. Sharru-ukin) was the name given to this ancient king 
by the later Assyrian scribes. 


the time of Shar-Gani-sharri and Naram-Sin, and that of 
Gudea,the priest-king of Lagash in Southern Babylonia, 
who reigned about 2500 B.C. ; that is to say, concerning a 
period of about 1 300 years the excavations have afforded 
us practically no information whatever, while both at 
the beginning and at the close of that period, we have 
abundant evidence of the civilization and history of the 
inhabitants of Babylonia ; secondly, the style of art char- 
acteristic of the time of Gudea and the kings of Ur, as 
also the style of writing found in their inscriptions, 
presuppose no such long interval between the time of 
Sargon and their own day. But there are yet other con- 
siderations which are even more potent, and which de- 
serve greater attention than has been up to the present 
accorded to them, depending as they do upon the stratifi- 
cation of the ruined mounds themselves. Now it is a 
very significant fact that the architectural remains of 
Ur-Engur (circ. 2500 B.C.) at Nippur, are found imme- 
diately above those of Naram-Sin, for such an arrange- 
ment is hardly conceivable if a period of some thirteen 
hundred years separated these two rulers. Again, the 
excavations carried on by Dr. Banks for the University 
of Chicago at Bismaya have been productive of similar 
evidence, for immediately below the ruined ziggurat of 
Dungi,Ur-Engur's successor on the throne of Ur, large 
square bricks of the size and shape characteristic of the 
time of Shar-Gani-sharri were discovered, while among 
the bricks a strip of gold inscribed with the name of 
Naram-Sin was also brought to light. The evidence 
afforded by the excavations on these two sites would 
thus appear to be exceedingly strong against the tradi- 
tional date recorded by Nabonidus. 1 

It is therefore tempting to reason that that long silent 
period, the silence of which cannot be adequately ac- 
counted for, had no existence at all, that Nabonidus' 
statement is therefore to be discredited, and that Shar- 

1 Cf. however Fisher in Records of the Past, Vol. II, part iv, p. 1 16. 


Gani-sharri and Naram-Sin probably lived and reigned 
more than a thousand years later, i.e. about 2650 B.C. 
On the other hand it is important to remember that the 
Babylonians were astronomers and mathematicians of no 
mean order,and that they exercised the greatest possible 
care in calculating dates, that moreover Nabonidus was 
a king of Babylonia, and therefore "a priori " likely to 
be in possession of reliable traditions, if any existed, and 
further, that he lived 2500 years nearer to the time than 
we do. The inscription of Nabonidus in question was 
found in the mound of Sippar near Agade. It says : 
" The foundation corner-stone of the temple E-ulba in 
" the town of the eternal fire (Agade) had not been seen 
" since the times before Sargon King of Babylonia and his 
" son Naram-Sin. . . . The cylinder of Naram-Sin, son 
" of Sargon, whom for 3 200 years, no kingamonghispre- 
" decessors had seen, Shamash the great lord of Sippara 
" hath revealed to him." Thus according to Nabonidus, 
Naram-Sin lived about 3750 B.C. The archaeological 
evidence is however so strong in this particular case, 
both negatively in regard to the absence of any tangible 
evidence of the long interval in question, and positively 
in regard to the stratification of the mounds containing 
the relics of these two kings and also in regard to the 
similarity between the earlier sculptures and inscriptions 
of Shar-Gani-sharri and Naram-Sin and those belonging 
to the latter half of the third millennium B.C., that we are 
no longer able to maintain the implicit confidence in the 
historical accuracy of Nabonidus which early scholars 
once had. 

From the inscriptions of Shar-Gani-sharri and Na- 
ram-Sin that have been brought to light, we gather that 
the authors of these inscriptions were Semites, in 
other words we learn that the empire of Agade was a 
Semitic Empire, and since they extended their empire 
over all Western Asia, the Sumerian power located more 
in the south must have proportionately dwindled. But 


their Sumerian predecessors had established their influ- 
ence and power in Mesopotamia for a long and indefinite 
time before this date, for Sumerian inscriptions which 
are almost certainly to be assigned to the pre-Sargonic 
period give us the names of a large number of early 
kings and rulers of Babylonia ; their early date is shown 
by the writing of these inscriptions which bear a more 
archaicstamp than thoseof Shar-Gani-sharriandNaram- 
Sin. For just as uninscribed sculptures are relatively 
dateable by the style of art to which they conform, so 
that it is possible to provisionally say that this sculpture 
or cylinder-seal is older than that, because it presents a 
morearchaic and less finished style of art, so is it possible 
to approximately date un-named and un-dated inscrip- 
tions by the sty leof writing adopted in those inscriptions. 
We thus have two means at our disposal by which we 
can assign uninscribed monuments of an early period to 
their relatively correct places in the evolution of art and 
culture ; on the one hand the stratum of the ruined 
mound in which the object in question has been found 
can often itself be relatively dated by actually inscribed 
monuments found either in the stratum itself, or in the 
stratum immediately above or below ; or failing these, 
by the depth at which the stratum lies below the top of 
the mound, though this latter alone is a poor criterion 
owing to the fact that such accumulation will obviously 
vary in different places. The value of all such evidence 
however depends on whether or not the strata have 
been disturbed, as is often unfortunately the case. 

The reason why the ruins of Mesopotamian cities 
have assumed the form of mounds lies in the fact that a 
conquering chief demolished the clay walls and buildings 
of his vanquished foe, but instead of clearing the debris 
away, he built on the top of it ; for his new building 
operations the new-comer often utilized part of the old 
material, hence the uncertainty of a date assigned to an 
object, based on the mere assumption that such object 


belongs to the stratum in which it has ultimately found 
itself, without other corroborative evidence. On the 
other hand we are in these days always able to apply the 
purely archaeological test, which depends upon a close 
examination of the style of art or the mode of writing. 

Some of these pre-Sargonic rulers already alluded to 
can be arranged in strictly chronological order, i.e. the 
rulers of the city of Lagash, one of the earliest centres 
of Sumerian civilization in Babylonia. Lagash lies fif- 
teen hours' journey north of Ur and two hours' east of 
Warka (the ancient Erech), and it isj^agash which has 
provided us with more material for our study of early 
Sumerian life and culture than any other city in the 
Euphrates valley. 

The order of the early pre-Sargonic rulers of Lagash 
is as follows : Ux-Nin.a, apparently the founder of the 
dynasty, inasmuch as he bestows no royal title on his 
father or grandfather, and his successors traced them- 
selves back to him ; Akurgal, Eannatum, Enannatum I, 
Entemena, Enannatum II, Enetarzi, Enlitarzi, Lugal- 
anda, and Urukagina. But though their chronological 
order is certain, the length of their reigns is unknown, 
and their dates can only be approximately ascertained, 
and even these approximate and relative dates depend 
entirely on the date of Shar-Gani-sharri. Assuming the 
latter's date to have been about 2650 B.C., Ur-Nina's 
date would be roughly about 3000 B.C. Ur-Nina the 
first member of the dynasty has left us a number of his 
sculptures and stelae, but there are other nameless works 
of art discovered either in the neighbourhood or actually 
in Lagash itself which present a less developed form of 
art,and where inscriptions are concerned,a more archaic 
style of writing, while in certain cases the monuments in 
question were actually discovered in the strata under- 
neath the buildingof Ur-Nina, and with these the history 
of Mesopotamia!! art and of the civilization to which it 
bears such eloquent testimony commences. 



Therace to which the Sumerians belonged is not known, 
but the fact that their language being agglutinative and 
not inflexional, was therefore neither Aryan nor Semitic, 
but at least and in this respect akin to the Mongolian lan- 
guages, of which Turkish, Finnish, Chinese and Japan- 
ese are the most illustrious examples to-day, has led cer- 
tain scholars to seek a connection between some of the 
Sumerian roots and certain Chinese words, it must how- 
ever be admitted that this supposed connection is rather 
hypothetical at present. Further efforts have also been 
made by Lacouperie and others to establish parallels be- 
tween Chinese art and cultureand thoseof the Sumerians, 
but the evidence is not very convincing. 


As the surface-soil of Babylonia did not originate 
there, but was brought down by the rivers and deposited 
by them as their currents lost impetus in approaching the 
sea, and were thus unable to carry their burden further, 
it is well to trace this soil to its original source. Both the 
Euphrates and the Tigris rise in the mountains of 
Armenia, 1 the geological formation of which is chiefly 
granite, gneiss and other feldspathic rocks. These rocks 
were gradually decomposed by the rains, their detritus 
being hurried rapidly down-stream ; the rivers in the 
course of their career travel through a variety of geo- 
logical formations including limestone, sandstone and 
quartz, all of which contribute something to the silt 
which is destined to form part of the delta's soil ; the 
latter being composed mainly of chalk, sand, and clay, is 
extremely fertile, which won for it a reputation testified 
to even by the classical writers : thus Herodotus who 

1 Cf. Fisher, Excavations at Nippur, p. i ; and Prcstwich, Geology 



flourished in the seventh century B.C. tells us (I, 293) 
that " of all the countries that we know, there is none 
which is so fruitful in grain. It makes no pretension in- 
deed, of growing the olive, the vine, or any other trees 
of the kind ; but in grain it is so fruitful as to yield com- 
monly two hundredfold, and when the production is 
greatest even three hundredfold. The blade of the wheat- 
plant and barley is often four fingers in breadth. As for 
millet and the sesame, I shall not say to what height they 
grow, though within my own knowledge, for I am not 
ignorant that what I have already written concerning the 
fruitfulness of Babylonia, must seem incredible to those 
who have never visited the country. . . . Palm trees 
grow in great numbers over the whole of the flat country, 
mostly of the kind that bears fruit, and this fruit sup- 
plies them with bread, wine and honey." However ex- 
aggerated this account may be, all ancient writers agree in 
ascribing to Babylonian soil a fertility and productivity 
surpassing that of any other country with which they 
were acquainted. 

But the present state of the country is very differ- 
ent from what it was, neglect of cultivation having re- 
duced it once more to a desert waste, or, in the im- 
mediate neighbourhood of the rivers, to a pestiferous 
marsh. Therivers have furthermorevaried theircourses 
time and again, though this remark applies more to the 
sluggish stream of the Euphrates with its low banks, 
than to the more swiftly flowing Tigris whose current is 
confined by higher banks, and whose course has conse- 
quently undergone less change. At the present time, 
great efforts are being made to make amends for the 
neglect to which the once fertile plain of Babylonia has so 
long been subject,and in theearlypart of last year (191 1) 
the firm of Sir John Jackson (Limited), contractors and 
engineers, secured thecontract for the building of a great 
dam at the head of the Hindiyah Canal : this latter is a 
channel for which the Euphrates has forsaken its own 


bed, and consequently the Euphrates' bed upon whose 
banks the city of Babylon lies, is in summer-time per- 
fectly dry, all the water flowing down the Hindiyah 
Canal except at the time of the inundation. Thus it is 
that the population have practically ceased to attempt the 
cultivation of the Euphrates' banks, and have for the 
most part migrated across country to this canal. The 
latter however, being quite inadequate for the burden 
thus thrust upon it by the undivided waters of the Eu- 
phrates, has become badly water-logged, and much good 
land has become swamp. The Turks have been endea- 
vouring for a long time to erect a dam which would drive 
back part of the water into the bed of the river, and thus 
at the same time make the regulation of the flow in the 
canal a possibility, but they have not attained their object. 
The engineers of Sir William Willcocks were successful 
in filling up the space between the two arms of the bar- 
rage, but the dam was almost immediately breached at 
another point. When however the scheme now in hand 
is duly realized, the banks of the Euphrates will once 
again be dotted with the fertility of bygone days, while 
the district dependent for its prosperity upon the condi- 
tions of the Hindiyah Canal will be similarly improved. 
By the side of these rivers flourished the acacia, the 
pomegranate and the poplar, but the tree which stoodthe 
Babylonians in best stead, was the date-palm, from the 
sap of which they madesugarand also a fermented liquor, 
while its fibrous barks served for ropes, and its wood, 
being at the same time light and strong, was extensively 
used as a building material. So many and so divers were 
the uses which the date-palm served, that the Babylonians 
had a popular song 1 in which they celebrated the three 
hundred and sixty benefits of this invaluable tree. The 
important part which it played in the life of the early 

1 Cf. Compta Rcndus, Academic da Inscription* et Bella Lettres, 
1894, p. 409. 


Sumerian population is indicated by the epithet applied 
by Entemena to the goddess Nina, whom headdresses as 
the lady " who makes the dates grow," while various 
amphora-shaped vats, and also a kind of oval basin evi- 
dently used in the manufacture or preservation of date- 
wine were discovered by De Sarzec at Tello. 

The date-tree finds a place on the Assyrian bas-reliefs, 
but it must be confessed that the artistic products of the 
Babylonians and Assyrians do not afford us so much in- 
formation as might be expected regarding the flora and 
fauna of the country. Vines and palms are of frequent 
occurrence on the later bas-reliefs, while oaks and tere- 
binths were also known, for Esarhaddon uses them as 
material in his building operations at Babylon, and cedar 
trees were regularly procured for the same purpose. 

Of the various trees represented on early seals, hardly 
any can be identified with any degree of certainty, the 
date-palm perhaps being excepted : the reed of the 
marshes appears fairly soon, but the fig-tree on the 
other hand occurs only in later times, which accords 
with Herodotus* intimation that they were not grown 
in Mesopotamia in his day ; this notwithstanding, they 
must have been known and presumably cultivated 
sufficiently early, for amongst the offerings made by 
Gudea (2450 B.C.) to the goddess Bau, figs are enu- 
merated, while the olive-tree must also have been known 
at an early date, for objects in clay in the form of an 
olive belonging to the time of Urukagina are still ex- 

The Lotus is sometimes engraved on a seal, always 
in the hand of a god, and with other Egyptian elements 
it is frequently found on the ivories and bronze dishes 
from Nimrud. 

Millet and other cereals have been the subject of 
artistic delineation ; flowers of a nondescript character 
appear in later times, though the conventional designs 


of the rosettes, so familiar in Assyrian art, an example 
of which is to be found in PI. XXX, without doubt 
owed its origin to an actual attempt to reproduce a living 
flower, while ivy only occurs on a late Graeco-Egyptian 
cylinder, and on a Syro-Hittite cylinder we find a re- 
presentation of the thistle. 

Reeds are found more often than any other tree or 
plant, alike on cylinder-seals and bas-reliefs. They were 
in great demand for the construction of huts and light 
boats, but the clay of their native soil furnished an all- 
availing and all-abundant material for the buildingopera- 
tions of their palaces, temples and houses ; its possibili- 
ties were recognized at a very early date, and were made 
use of accordingly. Stone is practically unknown in the 
low-lyingplainof Babylonia, and when required, it had to 
be quarried far away in the mountains and transported 
at great cost and labour, hence it was comparatively 
seldom used for artistic or decorative effects pure and 
simple, but was rather employed where the desire for 
durability rendered it necessary ; for this reason the 
stone used in Babylonia is generally basalt, diorite, 
dolerite or some other hard stone of volcanic origin. 
In Assyria on the other hand, both alabaster and various 
kinds of limestone were easily procurable, and were 
used largely for building purposes, while they both, 
also, adapted themselves readily to the chisel of the 
sculptor whose duty it was to record the chief events 
of the king's reign in pictorial form upon the walls of 
his palace. 

Of the cereals, wheat, barley, vetches and millet were 
the most important, and they all grew in large quanti- 
ties, while as regards domestic animals horses, oxen, 
sheep, pigs, goats, asses and dogs were the most familiar ; 
upon the bas-reliefs from Kouyunjik,one of the Mounds 
representing the ancient Nineveh (the other being Nebi 
Yunus (" Prophet Jonah "), so-called by the natives, 
owing to their belief that the prophet Jonah was buried 


there), camels are to be found, while they also form part 
of the tribute brought by tributary princes to Shal- 
maneser II King of Assyria 860-825 B.C., and are re- 
presented accordingly on the bronze gates from Balawdt 
and on the so-called Black Obelisk, principally famous 
for its representation of Jehu and his tribute-bearers. 
The camels represented here belong to the double- 
humped Bactrian breed, which have less staying-power 
than the single-humped dromedaries of Arabia and 
Africa. In Babylonia at the present day, these last- 
named are a most important means of locomotion, but 
in the hilly country of Assyria, they are of less use, 
owing to their tendency to slip on any but the flattest 
of grounds. There is apparently only one isolated 
occurrence of a camel on a cylinder-seal, and that be- 
longs to the Persian period. The Assyrian word used 
for " camel " is probably of Arabic origin, and Arabia 
was doubtless the home of the camel. As for horses, 
oxen, sheep, goats and dogs, they are constantly repre- 
sented in Assyrian art. The horse being native to Asia, 
was in all probability domesticated in Mesopotamia 
earlier than in Egypt ; very early evidence of its exist- 
ence in Mesopotamia was thought to be afforded by an 
archaic seal-cylinder, now in the Metropolitan Museum 
of New York, in which a god is represented driving a 
four-wheeled chariot, in contrast to the Assyrian war- 
chariots which were two-wheeled ; the chariot is drawn 
by an animal of uncertain character, which Ward origi- 
nally regarded as a horse, but in view of a representa- 
tion of a bull drawing a chariot, found on an early 
Assyrian seal which he dates about 2000 B.C., it is 
clear that the bull was used to draw chariots in early 
times, and Ward accordingly regards the ambiguous 
animal alluded to, as also a bull. The Sumerian name 
for the horse was " the ass of the mountains," an in- 
dication that the animal was first known to them in its 
wild state : we find it figured on one of Nebuchad- 


nezzar I's boundary stone (circ. 1120 B.C.), but it was 
certainly known in the valley much earlier. The Hyk- 
sos, or shepherd-kings from Asia introduced the horse 
into Egypt about 1700 B.C., while mention is made of 
horses in a letter from Burraburiash the king of Baby- 
lon to Amenhetep, king of Egypt about 1400 B.C. 

An extremely early fragment from Nippur (cf. Fig. 
2 5, E) published by Hilprechtand quoted and reproduced 
by Ward, 1 shows us a horned animal dragging a plough, 
which Ward thinks may be a gazelle or an antelope ; 
if the latter be the case, we may perhaps infer that an 
animal of that species was used for draft purposes be- 
fore the bull, and certainly before the horse. However 
that may be, in later days the horse seems to have been 
reserved for the battlefield and the chase. The Assyrian 
soldiers both rode them and harnessed them to their 
war-chariots, and it is worth noticing how much more 
successful the Assyrian sculptors were in their repre- 
sentations of the horse than the Egyptians. The 
horses on the bas-reliefs apparently belong to a smaller, 
shorter and more thick-set breed than Arabs, and the 
breed is still supposed to be extant in Kurdistan. The 
Assyrians do not seem to have been in the habit of en- 
dowing the horse with wings or with a human head, as 
they sometimes did the bull and the lion, though some 
of the Pehlevi 2 seals and rings of later days (A.D. 226- 
632) show figures of winged horses. 

The Ox with " long upright and bent horns " seems 
to have been domesticated from the very earliest period, 
and it is represented on cylinder-seals which by their 
inscriptions show that they belong to the early period 
when the line-writing had not as yet been supplanted by 
its later off-shoot cuneiform, while on one of these early 
seals (cf. Fig. 63) the god himself is depicted riding on 
one of these bulls ; it is however to be observed that the 

1 Ward, Cylhuter-Seals, p. 30, Fig. 55. 

2 Cf. note on page 86. 


bull plays a less conspicuous part in the artistic repre- 
sentationsof Mesopotamia than inthose of Egypt, where 
the tombs so often exhibit the daily scenes of agricultural 
life. Only very rarely is the bull represented on cylinder- 
seals or sculptures as a sacrificial victim, the best ex- 
ample being afforded by a fragment of the Vulture Stele 
of Eannatum ; the same king informs us elsewhere that 
he sacrificed bulls to the sun-god in Larsa, and a bull- 
calf to En-lil, the lord of Nippur, who is better known 
under the Semitic name of Bel, a name which however 
he never bore; 1 if however the bull were used but seldom 
in sacrificial worship, there is no doubt that he was re- 
garded throughout Mesopotamian history as the em- 
bodiment of, and therefore the natural symbol for 
strength and fertility, while the winged bulls of Sargor 
(cf. PI. XXV) are the most familiar and perhaps the most 
characteristic monuments of Assyrian art. 

The Mule was used as a beast of burden ; carts were 
drawn by mules, and women and children were borne by 
them, while they were used for carrying merchandise, 
and for menial work of every kind ; they are occasion- 
ally seen on Assyrian bas-reliefs and form one of the 
subjects of Ashur-bani-pal's famous Hunting Scenes, 
where they are in charge of the king's servants. 

The Sheep was domesticated from the earliest times, 
but representations of the goat are more common ; in 
Fig. 62 we have an extremely archaic seal on which a 
man is seen driving a goat followed by two sheep. A 
further example of the goat and sheep is found on the 
early stone relief seen in Fig. 25, F. 

The Goat is of frequent occurrence both on seals and 
also in bas-reliefs. The goat was, as far as we can tell, 
the most commonly used sacrificial victim, the worship- 
per often being represented as bringing a goat in his 
arms. (For an early example of a goat in Babylonian 
art, cf. the copper goat's head from Fara, 40, B.) Fig. 

1 Cf. Clay, American ] ournal of Semitic Language^ XXIII, p. 269. 


The beard is sometimes clearly delineated, 1 thereby 
showing it to be a goat and not an antelope, while 
both the sheep and goat are well represented on the 
bronze gate-sheaths from Balawat. Though the sheep 
however does not appear to have assumed so important 
a part as the goat in sacrificial worship, it played a far 
more conspicuous role in augury,and innumerableomens 
were deduced from an inspection of the various parts of 
its liver. 

The Ass was known from the earliest period, both the 
wild ass, which Ashur-bani-pal seems to have been so 
fond of hunting (cf. PL XX), and also the domesticated 
ass. Ward has only found one example of its early re- 
presentation on cylinder-seals, but the god Ningirsu's 
chariot on the famous Vulture Stele is drawn by an ass, 
and the fact that Urukagina, one of the kings of the 
First Dynasty of Lagash, enacted that if a good ass was 
foaled in the stable of one of the king's subjects, the 
king could only purchase it by offering a fair price, 
and that even then he could not compel the owner to 
part with it, shows that the ass was in common use in 
his day. 

The Dog finds a place on some of the earliest seals 
from Babylonia, and is especially common on those re- 
presenting the legend of Etana and the Eagle (cf. Fig. 
62) : he also appears on the later Babylonian seals, 
and is of very frequent occurrence in the Assyrian bas- 

Here they are seen employed in the chase (cf. PL 
XX). The Assyrian hounds apparently resembled mas- 
tiffs, and according to Layard the breed is still extant 
in Tibet though not in Mesopotamia. We have another 
good reproduction of a dog on a terra-cotta plaque found 
by Sir H. Rawlinson at Birs-Nimrud (cf.Fig. 8 8), while 
Ashur-bani-pal has left us a number of clay models of 
his dogs, made in one piece like the colossal bulls, but 
1 Cf. Ward, Cylinder-Seals, Fig. 289 


rather crude in workmanship. Though we thus know 
little about the breeds of dogs with which the Assyrians 
and Babylonians were familiar, we at all events know, 
that they were acquainted with dogs of various colours, 
for they derived omens from piebald dogs, yellow dogs, 
black dogs, white dogs and the rest. 

The Gazelle was known in Mesopotamia from an early 
day, and he sometimes appears to take the place of the 
goat as a victim for sacrifice. 

The^/////0/><?isoften found represented on early cylin- 
der-seals, and apparently it was occasionally yoked to 
the plough, as may be seen from an early stone relief 
from Nippur, 1 but it is not always easy to distinguish be- 
tween the antelope and the goat in Babylonian art. 

The Ibex is similarly liable to be confused with the 
mountain sheep, owing to the shape of their horns, 
but where correctly depicted, it has a beard. A good and 
very early example of the Ibex is to be found engraved on 
a fragment of shell belonging to the earliest Sumerian 
period (cf. Louvre Cat. No. 222). 

The Boar was not often figured, but was without 
doubt sufficiently common as it is to-day ; it is found 
on an extremely archaic seal (cf. Fig. 54), and numbers 
of little swine are repeated in four registers on a later 
cylinder-seal, while on other seals, the huntsman is seen 
spearing a boar, and lastly a sow with her young are re- 
presented on one of the wall-reliefs from Sennacherib's 
palace at Kouyunjik. It is interesting to note that as 
early as the time of Khammurabi 2 pork was a highly 
valued food, so much so that it frequently formed part 
of the temple offerings, and Ungnad calls attention to 
one case where a certain maleficent person stole one of 
the temple-pigs and paid a heavy penalty for so doing, 
while in the official lists of the provisions for the temple, 
various parts of the pig are specifically enumerated, 

1 Cf. Fig. 25, E. 

2 Cf. Ungnad in Orient. Lit, XI,, 1908, cols. 533-537. 


while from the inspection of pigs favourable and un- 
favourable omens were derived. 

The Rabbit or Hare is rarely found in early sculp- 
tures or engravings, but it occurs on the later so-called 
Syro-Hittite cylinders, and is occasionally portrayed on 
the Assyrian bas-reliefs. 1 

The Oryx, the Mountain-Sheep, the Stag, the Tortoise, 
the Porcupine, the Monkey, all occur occasionally on 
the cylinders, while as regards the monkey, he forms 
part of the tribute brought by subject peoples to Shal- 
maneser II on the Black Obelisk, and is also similarly 
depicted on the bas-reliefs which adorned the walls of 
Ashur-nasir-pal's palace at Nimrud, in both of which 
latter, the monkeys represented appear to belong to an 
Indian species, and were clearly novelties in the eyes of 
the Assyrians, who no doubt valued them accordingly. 

There are solitary instances of the Fox, the Frog and 
the Bear, but none of the foregoing play what may be 
called an important part in the history of the country's 
art. The Lion and the Serpent occupy a prominent posi- 
tion in artistic representations, and were undoubtedly 
familiar and formidable entities in real life, while the 
majesty of the former and the subtlety of the latter were 
alone sufficient to obtain for them a place in the mytho- 
logical and heraldic symbolism of the dwellers of Meso- 
potamia. The lion was known everywhere, in highlands 
and lowlands alike, while he still haunts the low marsh 
country of Babylonia. On the cylinder-seals he generally 
appears engaged in deadly combat with Gilgamesh, the 
hero of Babylonian folk-lore, or his friend Eabani who 
of course on all occasions worsts him; he is figured in 
clayandstone from the earliest (cf. Fig. 26,6) tothe latest 
times, he is embroidered on garments, and decorates 
scabbards, while he plays an all-important part in the 
heraldic device of the ancient city of Lagash, which is 

1 Cf. Botta, Nineveh, II, Plates 108, no; Layard, Series II, 
Plates 9, 32. 


composed of an eagle with outspread wings, clutching 
two lions facing in opposite directions (cf. Fig. 27), 
doubtless emblematic of the dominion exercised by the 
king of Lagash over the peoples of the East and West 
respectively. He enjoys the doubtful honour of being 
the peculiar object of the Assyrian King's attention in 
later days, and afforded him the sport which he loved 
above all others (cf. PL XIX) ; individual kings slew 
great numbers, and Tukulti-Ninib I (1275 B ' c -)> to ta ^e 
a single example, places it on record that he slew some 
920 lions, just as Amenhetep III king of Egypt simi- 
larly boasts that he killed 102 lions in the first ten years 
of his reign. Originally no doubt lions were sufficiently 
plentiful, but as their numbers were thinned, it became 
necessary to capture and preserve them in cages till they 
were required for the royal hunt (cf. PL XXVII). The 
with wings and the head of a man, in which capacity, 
stationed at the portals of the King's palace, his vocation 
is to ward off the advances of malevolent and maleficent 
demons, while at other times, he is less fully equipped, 
and is provided only with a head, bust and hands of a 
man. Always a creature of weight in more ways than 
one, his body is not unfittingly adapted to the require- 
ments of the scales ; a considerable number of bronze 
lion-weights have come down to us, the workmanship 
of which was probably Phoenician (as was also the ivory 
work of the Assyrian empire), while the weight repre- 
sented by each lion was inscribed in Phoenician char- 
acters. Sometimes again the hollow bronze head of a 
lion formed the ornate fitting of the end of a chariot- 
pole. As a general rule, the lion emblematized the 
King's enemies, hence it is that, whenever he is seen 
engaged in conflict, he is always overpowered either 
by sheer bodily strength as in the case of Gilgamesh, 
or transfixed by an arrow, speared, or stabbed as we 
see him so frequently on the bas-reliefs of Assyrian 


palaces. But lions were probably domesticated now and 
again as they are to-day. On Sir Henry Layard's first 
visit to Hillah, he was presented with two lions by 
Osman Pasha ; one of these, he tells us, was a well- 
known frequenter of the bazaars, the butcher-shops of 
which he was in the habit of regularly looting, but apart 
from this amiable little vagary, he appears to have been 
fairly well-behaved. In his description of the animal, 
Layard says that he was " taller and larger than a St. 
Bernard dog, and like the lion generally found on the 
banks of the rivers of Mesopotamia was without the 
dark and shaggy mane of the African species." He 
further informs us that he had however, seen lions with 
a long black mane on the river Karun, which river flows 
into the Gulf not far from Mohammerah in the extreme 
south of Babylonia ; but lions of either class are very 
rarely seen in Mesopotamia to-day, and these as a rule, 
only at a distance. 

The serpent played a smaller part in Mesopotamian 
art than the lion, but at least from some points of view, 
a not less significant one. Two serpents entwined round 
a pole form the centre of the device engraved on the 
famous cup (cf. Fig. 90) dedicated by Gudea, patesi or 
priest-king of Lagash about 2450 B.C., to his god Nin- 
gishzida,who was apparently emblematized by serpents, 
and on either side of the entwined reptiles, are two 
winged and serpent-headed monsters, while in a few 
cylinder-seals of the older period, we find a bearded god 
whose body consists of a serpent's coil. In this connec- 
tion we may compare the device on a cylinder-seal of the 
same Gudea (cf. Fig. 64), where the intermediary god 
who is introducing the patesi to a seated deity, whom 
Ward believes with some reason to be Ea, is character- 
ized by serpents rising from his shoulders. 

But the most familiar example of the serpent in Baby- 
lonian mythological representation is that of the seal on 
which two beings, perhaps divine, perhaps human, are 


seated on either side of a tree, and behind one of the two 
an erect serpent is figured ; this seal owes its fame to the 
opinion held by earlier scholars that this scene represents 
the pictorial counterpart in Babylonia of the Hebrew 
tradition of the Fall. 

Judging from the representations of snakes found on 
vases, boundary-stones, cylinder-seals and elsewhere, 
the snakes prevalent in Mesopotamia at the time when 
these monuments were prepared, must have been of con- 
siderable size, while we know from the literature that 
some of these snakes were poisonous. The Assyrian 
kings further make mention of the prevalence of snakes 
in some of the countries whither they conducted expedi- 
tions, or which were subject to them, thus Esarhaddon 
for example tells us that the land of Bazu swarmed with 
snakes and scorpions like grasshoppers. 

Among other beasts familiar to the inhabitants of 
Mesopotamia may be mentioned, the Bison ("rimu") an 
animal of the mountains and forests, which plays a con- 
spicuous part in the story of Gilgamesh ; the old picto- 
graph for the bison consist of the head of an ox in 
which were inclosed the three diagonal wedges which 
together signify "mountain," and thus indicate the 
place of its origin. Various species of the bovine race 
have been identified on the cylinder-seals of Babylonia, 
showing that at the time of the making of the seals, the 
memory of their existence and probably the actuality of 
their presence were still felt and known. The buffalo 
which haunts the swamps of Southern Babylonia often 
occurs on cylinder-seals belonging to the time of Shar- 
Gani-sharri and his successors, and is found engraved 
on fragments of shell belonging to the earliest Sumerian 
period. Layard tells us that these ugly animals which 
thrive in the marshes to-day supply the Arabs with large 
quantities of milkand butter; they are normally managed 
with ease, but they have a peculiar antipathy to the smell 
of soap,and in consequence the odour of freshly-washed 


clothes is apt to irritate them in no small degree. The 
wild-bull was assiduously hunted by the Sargonid 
Assyrian kings, among whom we may especially mention 
Ashur-nasir-pal in this connection. (For a graphic illus- 
tration of that king's exploits in the chase cf. PL XVI). 
After the Sargonids, the bull-hunt appears no longer as 
one of the principal royal sports, possibly owing to the 
relentlessnesswith which these animals had been hunted 
down by the kings of that dynasty. In the jungles, at all 
events in Layard's day, lions, leopards, lynxes,wild-cats, 
jackals, hyenas, wolves, deer, porcupines and boars still 
abounded, while hyenas are sufficiently common to- 

The Leopard is occasionally figured on the more ar- 
chaic seals, but seldom on those of later date, it is dis- 
tinguished specifically by its spots ; a good example of 
the leopard is afforded by an archaic seal much earlier 
than the time of Shar-Gani-sharri. 1 It will thus be seen 
that the artistic and literary bequests of Mesopotamia 
have aided us in no small degree in our endeavour to 
get a general idea as to the animal-world of that country 
in bygone days. Such however has been the case, only to 
a verylimited extent in regard to birds, where colour is a 
more determining factor in their infinite variations than 
form and shape : here it was that the Egyptian shone forth 
inall his native genius, and succeeded in vividly depicting 
so many different kinds of birds upon the walls of his 
tombs by theaid of his brush andcolours. In Assyria and 
Babylonia, on the other hand, where the artistic genius 
of the people can never reallybe said to haveusedcolours 
alone as the mode of its expression, the only birds fre- 
quently found, are the eagle and the vulture, the eagle 
as the emblem of sovereign royalty, the vulture as the 
ever-ready devourer of the remains of slaughtered foes 
though without doubt a great variety of birds haunted 
the plains and marshes as they do to-day. 
1 Cf. Ward, Cylinder-Seals, Fig. 179. 


The Eagle, the royal bird par excellence, is the em- 
bodiment of kingly rule in the heraldic arms of Lagash 
as early as the time of her first dynasty, and by the time 
of Gudea (2450 B.C.) the double-headed eagle, gene- 
rally characteristic of Hittite art, has made its appear- 
ance. It is upon the eagle's pinions that Etana seeks 
unsuccessfully to ascend to Heaven, which legend is 
pictorially represented (cf. Fig. 62) on various archaic 
seals. In course of time the eagle becomes the aerial 
support of Ashur, the god from whom Assyria derived 
its name, and lends its form to the winged disc, which, 
as M. Heuzey well says, is a " yet more mysterious 
emblem of divinity " ; the Assyrians further deemed it 
worthy to receive the honour of being united with the 
body of a man, the composite creature thus produced 
being accredited with powers more than those enjoyed 
by mere men, and apparently partaking of a semi-divine 
character, while on other occasions we see its wings ap- 
plied to the human-headed body of a bull (cf. PL XXV) 
or a lion, the combined effect of which must have been 
such as to stagger the boldest of subterranean demons. 

The long and bare-necked Vulture is not of frequent 
occurrence in Mesopotamia!! art, while on cylinder- 
seals, it only occurs on those known as Syro-Hittite. 
The birds of prey from which the " Vulture-stele " de- 
rives its name, no doubt are intended to represent vul- 
tures ; as also are the birds depicted on the bas-reliefs 
which adorned the walls of Ashur-bani-pal's palace at 
Nineveh, 1 for in either case they are busily engaged in 
carrying off the sharply severed limbs and heads of 
fallen foes. 

The Ostrich only appears in Mesopotamian art at a 
late period, though in Elam rows of ostriches are found 
depicted on early pottery, closely and inexplicably re- 
sembling the familiar ostriches on the pre-dynastic pot- 
tery of ancient Egypt. It sometimes however assumes* 

1 Cf. No. 43, Nineveh Gallery, British Museum. 


a conspicuous position in the embroidery of an Assyrian 
king's robe and is found also on a chalcedony seal in 
Paris. 1 

The Stork, which in winter time feeds in the Baby- 
lonian marshes,occurs on the cylinder-seals,but in some 
cases it is difficult to determine the bird figured ; the 
Crane and the Bustard both appear to be represented, 
while we have an undoubted instance of the Swan in a 
soft serpentine seal which Ward regards as early Assy- 
rian. 2 The Cock is confined or practically confined to 
cylinder-seals of the Persian period. 

Ducks are known to have existed by the discovery of 
stone and marble weights in the form of ducks, one of 
which is inscribed with the name of Nabu-shum, and 
another with that of Erba-Marduk. 

Doves were used and appreciated from the earliest 
times, for Eannatum informs us that he offered four 
doves in sacrifice to the god Enzu, while Swallows and 
Ravens abounded, for in the Deluge-story, both the swal- 
low and raven as well as the dove are sent forth by 
Sit-napishtim to ascertain how far the waters were 
abated. 3 

Locusts are found on one or two seals, and also ap- 
pear as articles of diet on the Assyrian bas-reliefs (cf. 
Layard, Series II, PL 9), where they are seen strung 
up on a stick, while the scorpion is of frequent occur- 
rence on the cylinder-seals, and is found on some of the 

Fishes figure alike on seals and on palace walls, but 
their presence generally seems due to the artist's desire 
to remove all doubt from the spectator's mind with 
regard to the water, of the success of his reproduction 

1 Cf. Pcrrot and Chipiez, II, p. 153. 

2 Cf. Ward, Cylinder-Setls, Fig. 93. 

8 For representations of birds on Assyrian bas-reliefs, cf. Hotta, 
Nineveh, II, Plates 108, 109, no, in, 112, 113, 114, and Layard, 
Series II, Plates 9, 32, 40. 


of which he is by no means too sanguine. We have 
one humorous episode in fish-life depicted on the walls 
of Sennacherib's palace at Kouyunjik, where a crab is 
seen effectually pressing its nippers into the body of a 
luckless fish, while it also occurs once on a cylinder-seal. 

Fish were undoubtedly used for food from the earliest 
times ; thus Eannatum records that he presented cer- 
tain fish as offering to his gods, while one of the reforms 
introduced by Urukagina, a king of the First Dynasty 
of Lagash, was the deprivation from office of the ex- 
tortionate fishery inspectors. The marshes still abound 
in fish, some of which attain to a considerable size ; 
they are for the most part barbel or carp, their flesh 
although coarse affording a regular supply of food to 
the Arabs. 

It was not unnatural or unfitting that in a country 
which had been created and was yearly being created 
out of and at the expense of the sea, and in which the 
principal means of transit were the rivers and the canals, 
the fish as the lord of the waters should fulfil an im- 
portant place in the mythological and religious concep- 
tions entertained by the inhabitants of that country : 
thus it was that the god Ea of Eridu, one of the most 
famous and most important of the Babylonian gods, and 
the Oannes of the Greeks, who according to one ac- 
count was the creator of the world, was represented in 
the form of a fish. 

But it is necessary to avoid falling into the danger of 
assuming that all the animals, birds, fish and trees,either 
figured on monuments or mentioned in the literature 
of antiquity, belonged to the fauna or flora of Mesopo- 
tamia at the time when these engravings and sculptures 
were executed ; the only absolutely certain and equally 
obvious inference is that the existence of such fauna or 
flora was known, while the degree of familiarity of the 
artist with the specimen in question may, with a good 
deal of reservation and allowance for the crudeness of 


early art, be inferred from the comparative accuracy 
with which he has reproduced it,and also the frequency 
of its occurrence on contemporaneous works of art. 
With regard to the evidence of the literature, unfortu- 
nately in many cases there is some uncertainty as to the 
identification of the animals and plants alluded to, and 
furthermore, many of the animals represented pictorially 
on the monuments or alluded to in the literature form 
part of the tribute brought by subject states, the precise 
locality of which, to complicate matters yet further, is 
often uncertain. Sometimes, as in the case of the horse 
(cf. p. 1 5), the early ideographic form of writing teaches 
us something about the origin of the object mentioned, 
while the appearance of an animal or tree in early Meso- 
potamian art, and the existence of the same tree or 
animal in Mesopotamia to-day is good argument for 
including it among the ancient fauna and flora of the 
country. Again with exceptions it may be assumed 
that animals offered and accepted as tribute by the kings 
of Babylonia and Assyria were utilized in some way 
other than merely being afforded accommodation in a 
zoological gardens, in which connection we may perhaps 
fairly infer that kings of Assyria who accepted camels 
from vassal chiefs found use for them as a means of 
transit, though in the rough country of Assyria itself 
the camel would not be of great use any more than to- 
day, owing to the tendency of camels to slip on rough 
ground, and the consequently practical necessity of con- 
fining their use to flat sandy ground, such as is found in 
Babylonia, where they are seen by the thousand to-day. 


In the early days of Babylonian history, the country 
was divided up into a number of small principalities or 
city-states, and the practical realization of the approved 



truism that " unity is strength " was only attained at 
a later date. In this respect also, the early history of 
Babylonian civilization presents a parallel to that of an- 
cient Egypt, where we find the country similarly appor- 
tioned out into a series of districts or nomes, which in 
course of time tended to amalgamate and in fact crystal- 
lized into a northern and a southern kingdom. But in 
Egypt theprocess of unification wascarriedastepfurther, 
and at about the time of the First Dynasty, the inhabit- 
ants of Egypt owed allegiance to one lord and one lord 
only the king of the north and the south, his dual 
sovereignty being emblematized by his assumption of 
the crown of the north, and the crown of the south. 

It is of course impossible to fix the date of the first 
appearance of the Sumerians in Babylonia, but the sites 
of their earliest known settlements were all situated in 
Sumer or Southern Babylonia, their principal cities being 
Ur, Erech, Nippur, Larsa, Eridu, Lagash and Umma. 
It is equally impossible to give anything in the nature 
of a definite date for the occupation of Northern Baby- 
lonia or Akkad by the Semites, suffice it to say that at 
the earliest period of which historical records have been 
brought to light, there appears to be evidence of the 
presence of Semites or Akkadians in Akkad alongside 
of the Sumerians in Sumer. The principal centres of 
Semitic occupation were the city of Akkad or Agade^ 
Babylon, Borsippa (Birs-Nimrud), Cutha, Opis, Sippar 
and Kish. 

The city of Kish became an influential factor in Baby- 
lonian politics from the most ancient times. 

Thus a certain Mesilim, king of Kish, whose in- 
scribed mace-head was discovered at Tello (Lagash), 1 
informs us that he had dedicated the same to the god 
Ningirsu, during the patesiate of Lugal-shar-engur at 
Lagash, and that he had further restored the temple of 
this same god. Nothing further is known regarding 
* Cf. p. 185. 


this patesi of Lagash, but Mesilim reigned at Kish at a 
very early date, for Entemena of Lagash commences 
his historical sketch of the relationship which had existed 
between his own city and that of Umma with the period 
of Mesilim. 

Now the racial origin of Mesilim is a matter of doubt, 
but there is no doubt as to the Semitic origin of Sharru- 
Gi, Manishtusu and Urumush, later kings of Kish, 
whose reigns must be assigned to the pre-Sargonic 
period, and it is perhaps therefore reasonable to suppose 
that the earlier Mesilim was also a Semite. If that be 
the case, the mace-head of this ruler contains evidence 
that the early Sumerian city of Lagash was at one 
time under the domination of Semites, and conclusively 
proves that so far as documentary evidence is con- 
cerned Sumerians and Semites existed side by side in 
> Babylonia from the earliest period of Mesopotamia!! 

Some time after, Lagash succeeded in asserting her 
independence, and many of her subsequent rulers style 
themselves " kings." The First Dynasty of Lagash 
which was seemingly founded by Ur-Nina established 
themselves securely for some considerable time, but the 
reign of Urukagina saw the end of the dynasty, and the 
capture and sack of the city by Lugal-zaggisi, a ruler of 
the neighbouring city of Umma. 

The limits of Lugal-zaggisi's empire included Ur, 
Erech, Larsa and Nippur, and he was undoubtedly one 
of the most powerful rulers of his day. Other pre- 
Sargonic kings whose power was specifically associated 
with Erech and Ur, were Lugal-kigub-nidudu and 
Lugal-kisalsi, but the extent of their sway cannot be 
estimated with any degree of certainty. 

In the time immediately preceding the establishment 

of the empire of Shar-Gani-sharri and Naram-Sin, the 

n ( rallying point of the Semitic forces of Akkad seems to 

* I have been the city of Kish, the conquests of whose three 


kings Sharru-Gi Manishtusu and Urumush prepared 
the way for their successors at Agade. Thus both 
Manishtusu and Urumush seem to have extended their 
power southward into the land of Sumer, while both 
these kings warred successfully against Elam. 

The empire of Shar-Gani-sharri and Naram-Sin was 
however destined to entirely eclipse that of their fore- 
runners, for it not only embraced Mesopotamia north 
and south, but also Syria and Palestine, and was in fact 
the first Babylonian empire worthy of the name. 

Meanwhile the power of the Sumerians in the south n 
had received a temporary check, and the patesis of La- > 
gash, and other Sumeriancentres at the time, clearly ruled 
on sufferance and not on the strength of rights which 
they were prepared to assert successfully in the battle- 

But on the accession of Gudea about 2450 B.C., the 
momentarily smoking flame of Sumerian influence in 
Babylonia was kindled anew, and a strong anti-Semitic 
wave set in. This wave does not seem to have been 
characterized by a series of wars or battles,for the records 
of Gudea, the most powerful ruler among the later 
patesis of Lagash, seldom refer to anything in the nature 
of military achievements, but the extensiveness of his * 
building operations testifies to the abundance of re- 
sources at hiscommand, while the names of the countries 
which he laid under contribution for building-materials 
conclusively prove that the influence exercised by La- 
gash during the reign of Gudea was considerable. The. 
list of the places from which he derived wood and stone 
includes the mountains in Arabia and on the Syrian 
coast, while he obtained copper from the mines in the 
Elamite territory east of the Tigris. 

But the importance of Lagash was soon to pass away, 
and Ur became the dominating power in Babylonia. 
The dynasty of Ur (circ. 2400 B.C.), which lasted close on '. ' 
120 years, was founded by Ur-Engur. He included 


the whole of Southern Babylonia within his sphere of 
influence, while in the north, he has left evidence of his 
architectural undertakings at Nippur ; hence he styled 
himself the " King of Sumer and Akkad," but the fact 
that his son and successor Dungi found it necessary 
to reduce Babylon indicates that his authority in Akkad 
was not unquestioned. Dungi reigned 5 8 years, during 
which he reduced the whole of Babylonia beneath his 
sway, and apparently annexed the greater part of Elam. 
So firmly had he established his control over Elam, that 
we find the capital of that country (Susa) still retained 
by his successors, though frequent expeditions had to 
be undertaken to maintain the " status quo." 

The dynasty of Ur would appear to have been brought 
to an end by an invasion of Elamites ; at all events Ibi- 
Sin, the last king of Ur, was carried away by the Elam- 
ites, and the rule in Babylonia then passed to the city 
of Isin. The dynasty of Isin lasted some 225 years, 
during which Babylonia enjoyed great prosperity. 

In the latter part of the first half of this period the 
power in Babylonia seems to have passed temporarily 
into the hands of Gungunu, king of Ur and Larsa, who 
laid claim to rule over the whole of Sumer and Akkad, 
but his supremacy was of short duration, and Isin soon 
recovered her position as the paramount power in Baby- 

Meanwhile the Semitic element in the north was 
gradually regaining its ascendency, and finally asserted 
itself as a concrete fact in the establishment of a dynasty 
by Sumu-abu, at the city of Babylon itself, about 

2OOO B.C. 

At about this time the Elamites established them- 
selves in Southern Babylonia at Ur and Larsa under 
Kudur-Mabuk and his sons Arad-Sin and Rfm-Sin, 
and during the earlier part of the dynasty exercised a 
suzerainty over thewhole of that region. Subsequently 
Rim-Sin met with a severe defeat at the hands of Kham- 


murabi, the most illustrious king of the dynasty and 
the Amraphel of the Book of Genesis, while he met with 
his death at the hands of Samsu-iluna, Khammurabi's 
successor. With the death of Rim-Sin Elamite power 
in Babylonia came to an end. 

Kham murabi consolidated the power of Babylon, and 
extended his influence on all sides, but his chief title to 
fame depends upon his codification of Babylonian law. 
But Babylon's supremacy in the south was soon to be 
successfully challenged by Iluma-ilu who founded a 
kingdom on the shores of the Persian Gulf, and inaugu- 
rated the so-called " Second Dynasty " of the lists of 
the kings. 

Iluma-ilu was a contemporary of Samsu-iluna, whose 
attacks he twice repelled. Abeshu', the successor of 
Samsu-iluna on the throne of Babylon, similarly tried 
to reduce the rebellious " Country of the Sea " beneath 
his sway, but without success, and from this time on, 
Southern Babylonia was ruled over by the kings of the 
" Country of the Sea." 

But Samsu-iluna had another foe to contend with, 
besides the southern rebels, a foe moreover ultimately 
destined to subjugate the whole of Babylonia, under 
whose rule she was governed for several centuries. 

The Kassites were a warlike people whose home lay 
on the east of the Tigris, and to the north of Elam, and 
they apparently commenced raiding Babylonian terri- 
tory in the reign of Samsu-iluna, though they do not 
seem to have materially affected the Babylonian power. 
About a century later however, the dynasty of Babylon 
was brought to an end by an invasion of the Hittites of 
Cappadocia who sacked the city, destroyed the temple 
of the great city-god, Marduk, and carried off his statue 
as a trophy. The Hittite conquest must have paved 
the way for the invasion of the Kassites who established 
themselves securely on the throne of Babylon for a very 
long period. At first their sphere of influence would 


appear to have been confined to the northern half of the 
plain, but later on they extended their power to the 
Country of the Sea. 

Meanwhile, Assyria in Northern Mesopotamia had 
emerged as a separate and independent kingdom, and 
already the signs of her future greatness were visible on 
the horizon. 

The date of the colonization of Assyria is not known, 
but in any case it must have been before the time of 
Khammurabi, for the country bore the name of " Assy- 
ria" in his time, and was embraced within the limits of 
his empire. The struggle for supremacy finally ended 
in a victory for the northerners who under their king 
Tukulti-Ninib (circ. 1275 B.C.) effected the conquest of 
Babylonia. In addition to his title "King of Assyria," 
Tukulti-Ninib styled himself " King of Karduniash(i.e. 
Babylon), King of Sumer and Akkad." From that date 
down to the destruction of Nineveh (circ. 606 B.C.), and 
the foundation of the short-lived Neo-Babylonian em- 
pire by Nabopolassar, Babylonia takes a subsidiary place 
in the political history of Western Asia. 

The immediate successors of Tukulti-Ninib I appear 
to have been perpetually engaged in war with the Baby- 
lonians, who at no period of their history readily sub- 
mitted to the Assyrian yoke. Tiglath-Pileser I's acces- 
sion to the throne about iioo B.C. inaugurated a new 
period in the history of Assyrian expansion. Some of 
the mountain-tribes who had owed allegiance to former 
Assyrian monarchs had revolted, and Tiglath-Pileser 
made it his business to crush them. The northern 
Moschians who sixty years previously had been the 
vassals of Assyria, had under the leadership of five 
kings invaded the territory of Commagene, but they 
were effectively reduced by Tiglath-Pileser, and the 
land of Commagene was conquered " throughout its 
whole extent." 

Various other tribes in the north, of whom the Nairi 


would appear to have been the most important, were 
similarly brought beneath the Assyrian sway. 

In a campaign against Babylonia he was also successful 
for the moment, and effected the reduction of Babylon, 
Sippar, Opis and other cities in Lower Mesopotamia. 
But his triumph here was short-lived, and the Assyrians 
were expelled by Marduk-nadin-akhe, the king of 
Babylon, who further invaded Assyria, and carried off 
the statues of some of the Assyrian gods. 

Ashur-bel-kala, the son and successor of Tiglath- 
Pileser I, retrieved the fortunes of the Assyrian arms 
in the south, and forced Marduk-shapik-zerim the 
successor of Marduk-nadin-akhe to sue for peace. 

But after the reigns of Tiglath-Pileser I's two sons, 
Assyria suffered a severe disaster at the hands of the 
Hittites, and lost the territory gained by Tiglath- 
Pileser. Northern Syria which had been compelled to 
acknowledge the suzerainty of Tiglath-Pileser, now 
asserted her independence, and for some time remained 
the mistress of her own destinies. 

Thus Assyria for the time being lost her position as 
a world-power, and it was only in the reign of Tukulti- 
Ninib II (890-885 B.C.) that her fortunes began to re- 
vive. The Nairi were again reduced by this king, and 
apparently the whole of the valley of the Upper Tigris 
was once more subjugated. Ashur-nasir-pal (885-860 
B.C.) carried on the work of expansion and re-conquest. 
With the further extension of Assyrian power north- 
wards, the need of a capital occupying a more central 
position than ancient Ashur was at once realized, and ac- 
cordingly Ashur-nasir-pal transferred the seat of his 
government to Calah (Nimrud) some forty miles north 
of Ashur. 

Nearly 500 years before, Shalmaneser I had laid the 
foundations of a town at Calah, but the unsettled cir- 
cumstances of the time had retarded its growth. Ashur- 
nasir-pal demolished what remained of the old town, 


and founded a new town on the same site, and for at 
least a century Calah remained the capital of the empire. 

Ashur-nasir-pal also extended his sphere of influence 
in a westerly direction and made a triumphal march 
through Northern Syria, but he appears to have cau- 
tiously refrained from coming into collision with the 
powerful king of Damascus. 

Ashur-nasir-pal's son and successor, Shalmaneser II 
(860-825) consolidated the work of his father and 
grandfather and at the same time made fresh conquests 
himself. His campaigns in the west brought him into 
contact with the Israelites, and we find Ahab, king of 
Israel, mentioned as one of the Syrian allies who re- 
belled against him. Some years later, Shalmaneser 
became the suzerain of Israel, and received tribute from 
Jehu, the usurper. 

After the reigns of Shalmaneser's immediate succes- 
sors, the power of Assyria began temporarily to decline, 
and the subject nations asserted their independence, 
but in 745 B.C. Tiglath-Pileser III, or Pul as he is called 
in 2 Kings xv. 19 and elsewhere, ascended the throne, 
and restored the influence and authority of Assyria in 
Western Asia. His wars in Syria meant disaster to 
Israel and the loss of independence to Judah. Ahaz, 
king of Judah, had sought the help of Tiglath-Pileser 
against the allied forces of Rezin, king of Damascus, 
and Pekah, king of Israel. Tiglath-Pileser at once 
seized this golden opportunity of interfering with the in- 
ternal affairs of Palestine, defeated Israel and Damascus, 
and carried the Israelite tribes of Reuben, Gad and 
the half-tribe of Manasseh into captivity (734 B.C.). 
Hoshea, assassinator and usurper, purchased the right 
to the throne of Israel for ten talents of gold and a 
certain amount of silver, but in the reign of Tiglath- 
Pileser's successor, Shalmaneser IV (727-722 B.C.) he 
became involved in an intrigue with Egypt, which led 
to his deportation to Assyria where he spent the rest of 


his days as a prisoner. Meanwhile Samaria, the capital 
of his kingdom, was beleaguered, and after a two years' 
siege was captured by Sargon, who deported the larger 
half of the population into Assyria. Sargon, " the son 
of a nobody," i.e. a usurper, was one of the greatest of 
the Assyrian kings (722-705 B.C.) and was the first to 
come into actual conflict with the Egyptians. Palestine 
as a whole showed no alacrity to take up arms against 
her powerful overlord, but the Philistine town of Gaza, 
in reliance on the support of Egypt, refused to submit. 
Hannon the Philistine commander, on failing to repulse 
the Assyrian army retreated on Raphia, a town border- 
ing on the Egyptian frontier, where he was joined by 
Shabe the Egyptian general. At Raphia the opposing 
armies joined battle, and after a fierce encounter, the 
allies had to retire before the better equipped and more 
disciplined army of Sargon. On his return, Sargon 
found it necessary to again subdue Babylonia, and he 
also carried on war with Elam. He was succeeded by 
his son Sennacherib (705-68 1 B.C.). After having sup- 
pressed the revolts which always seem to have signalized 
the accession of a new king, Sennacherib invaded Syria, 
established his authority over northern Palestine, re- 
duced the rebellious Philistine city of Askelon, and 
then proceeded to attack the city of Ekron, to whose 
assistance an Egyptian army had rallied. Their com- 
bined forces were routed by Sennacherib at Altaku, and 
Ekron fell. Judah next occupied his attention ; having 
captured numerous small towns and enslaved some 
200,000 of the inhabitants, he proceeded to lay siege 
to Jerusalem. Hezekiah the king of Judah, withstood 
the siege for some time, but pressed by famine, he was 
compelled to yield and purchased the safety of his city by 
stripping theTemple of its treasures. Sennacherib there- 
upon returned to Assyria, but two years after, Heze- 
kiah's repudiation of his suzerainty occasioned another 
expedition to Palestine. The Assyrian troops first sta- 


tioned themselves at Lachish, whence Sennacherib dis- 
patched a messenger to Hezekiah to demand his instant 
surrender. Meanwhile Sennacherib marched westward 
with a view to engaging the Egyptian army lying at 
Pelusium, one of the frontier towns of Egypt. But a 
sudden catastrophe possibly an outbreak of plague- 
overtook the Assyrian host, and Sennacherib returned 
to Nineveh. On his arrival home, he found it necessary 
to once more suppress rebellious Babylon, and to render 
his work more lasting, he completely destroyed the city 
(689 B.C.). Towards the end of his reign he conducted 
a campaign in Cilicia where he defeated the Greeks and 
is said to have laid the foundations of the city of Tarsus. 
In 68 1 B.C. he was murdered by his sons, and the crown 
eventually settled on the head of Esarhaddon (68 1-668 
B.C.). The most striking event of his reign was the con- 
quest of Lower Egypt (672 B.C.), but towards the end 
of his reign Tirhakah, the Ethiopian king of Egypt, re- 
captured Memphis and threatened to put an end to the 
Assyrian domination ; his subjugation was one of the 
first acts of Ashur-bani-pal, the successor of Esarhad- 
don. Judah also became disaffected, but she was speedily 
reduced to submission and her king Manasseh was re- 
moved into captivity. 

Ashur-bani-pal succeeded Esarhaddon in 668 B.C. 
The work of re-establishing the Assyrian power in 
Egypt occupied some time and was finally accomplished 
by the capture of Thebes (666 B.C.). Under Ashur- 
bani-pal Assyria attained the height of her power both 
at home and abroad, and the limits of her empire were 
extended further than ever before. After a lengthy war, 
Elam was subdued, but she subsequently joined Sham- 
ash-shum-ukin, the brother of Ashur-bani-pal, and vice- 
roy of Babylonia, in an organized revolt against Assyria, 
which resulted in the defeat of Shamash-shum-ukin, 
and the ultimate capture and sack of Susa the Elamite 
capital (circ. 640 B.C.). 


While Ashur-bani-pal was thus preoccupied with 
Babylonia and Elam, Lydia on the one hand, and Egypt 
on the other seized the opportunity to throw off the 
yoke of their suzerain. Lydia was reduced, but Egypt 
succeeded in maintaining her independence. Towards 
the close of Ashur-bani-pal's reign, the wheel of fortune 
had already begun to turn, and clouds were already 
gathering on the eastern horizon. The Medes had made 
an inroad into Assyrian territory before his death in 626 
B.C., and a few years after that event, Cyaxares king of 
the Medes inflicted a defeat on the Assyrian army and 
laid siege to Nineveh. But the end was temporarily 
stayed by the advance of the Scythian hordes. 

Shortly afterwards Nineveh was again attacked by 
Cyaxares and Nabopolassar, an Assyrian general in com- 
mand of Babylonia, and after a two years' siege the city 
was taken and destroyed (circ. 606 B.C.). Assyria now 
passed under the power of the Medes, and Babylonia 
fell to Nabopolassar who founded the New or Neo-Baby- 
lonian empire. This late Babylonian empire only lasted 
about seventy years in all. Nabopolassar was succeeded 
by Nebuchadnezzar, who at the time of his father's death 
was engaged in a campaign against Necho king of Egypt, 
upon whom he inflicted a severe defeat at Carchemish. 
His Palestinian expeditions led to the capture of Jeru- 
salem, and the removal of a large part of the population 
of Judah into captivity. Both Jehoiakim, and Zedekiah, 
kings of Judah, strove to throw off the Babylonian yoke 
but without avail. Nebuchadnezzar's successors did 
little deserving of narration, and in the reign of Nabo- 
nidus, Babylon, which was under the command of Bel- 
shazzar, was captured by Cyrus, 539 B.C., and Baby- 
lonia passed under the rule of the Persians. She 
remained under Persian rule until the time of Alexander 
the Great's ascendency when she became a Greek pro- 


r I "HE history of the actual excavations properly 
commences with the first expedition sent out to 
dig, but there is one scholar who, although he did not 
excavate on any large scale, was the first to bring cunei- 
form inscriptions to Europe and on this account de- 
serves special mention. 

, born in 1787 at Dijon, was from the early 

age of nine attracted to the study of Oriental languages, 
and in course of time made himself master of Hebrew, 
Persian, Aramaic and Arabic, while he is said to have 
attempted to read Chinese Hieroglyphics at the pheno- 
menal age of fourteen. In 1803 he became a Cadet in 
the East India Company's service, his military post being 
subsequently exchanged for a civil appointment. After 
visiting Egypt, Palestine, Asia Minor and other coun- 
tries, he returned to Bombay, but was, before the age 
of twenty-four, appointed the East India Company's 
resident at Baghdad. In 1811 he visited the ruins of 
Babylon, an account of which is to be found in his 
" Memoir on the ruins of Babylon," while his visit to 
Nineveh is recorded in his "Narrative of a Residence 
in Koordistan and on the site of ancient Nineveh, with 
Journal of a voyage down the Tigris to Baghdad, and an 
account of a visit to Shiraz and Persepolis" It is more- 
over to Rich that we owe our first accurate plans of both 
-Nineveh and Babylon. In the course of his travels, 
he made large collections consisting chiefly of Arabic, 
Persian, Turkish, Aramaic and Syriac manuscripts, a 
number of Greek and oriental coins, and also many 
antiquities from Babylon and Nineveh, including the 



first cuneiform tablets seen in Europe: his collections 
were acquired by the Trustees of the British Museum, 
after his death from cholera in 1820. 

But as the pioneer in the actual field of excavation, 
M L Bptta,_the French Consul at Mosul, occupied the 
first ~pTace in point of time. In the year 1842, on 
the advice of Mohl, he began the exploration of the 
Mound of Kouyunjik, one of the two mounds which 
mark the site of the city of Nineveh, but meeting with 
scant success, he transferred his attention in 1843 to 
the Mound of Khorsabad (the town of Chosroes) some 
miles north of Mosul, where he laid bare the ruins of 
a palace which proved to be that of Sargon, king of 
Assyria (722-705 B.C.) and the father of Sennacherib. 
In the year 1851 the French Assembly voted the money 
for an expedition to Babylonia, and also for another 
expedition to Assyria, the object of which was to com- 
plete the excavations which had been commenced with 
so much promise at Khorsabad : this expedition was 
directed by Victor Place who at the same time suc- 
ceeded Botta as French Consular agent at Mosul. 
During the years 1851-1855 Place completed the ex- 
cavation of Sargon's palace, and also laid bare the sur- 
rounding buildings and rooms, carrying his work right 
up to the wall of the town ; Khorsabad was found to 
contain the ruins of a whole fortified town, which had 
remained entombed for some 2500 years : the town 
was named Dur-Sharrukln after its founder Sargon. 
The four corners of the city walls were oriented to- 
wards the four cardinal points, the walls themselves 
being pierced by eight enormous gates, each of which 
was named after an Assyrian deity. The palace had 
been built on a terraced mound 45 feet high, which 
was made of crude or unbaked bricks, and was pro- 
tected by a casing-wall of large square stones. The 
palace contained wide halls, adorned with sculptures, 
winged bulls and the like. The floors of the various 


chambers consisted generally of stamped clay, and were 
no doubt hidden from view by elaborate rugs, some- 
times, however, tiles or blocks of marble concealed the 
unsightly clay. 

The walls were of great thickness, i.e. from 9^ to 1 6 
feet, while in one place they measured as much as ifjfeet. 
The inner walls of the less important chambers were only 
covered with a white plaster surrounded by black lines, 
the so-called women's apartments, on the other hand, 
being decorated with frescoes and white or black arab- 
esques. Marble statues were unearthed in the harem 
court, and the remains of a ziggurat or stage-tower 
a characteristic feature in Mesopotamia!! temples- 
were brought to light. Place's excavations were not 
so productive of large sculptures and monuments as 
those of Botta had been, but they were particularly 
fruitful as regards smaller objects of glass, stone, clay, 
and metal. 

The first Englishman to enter the field was J =1 ayjurd 
who in 1845, on ly two y ear s after Botta's first expedi- 
tion, commenced excavating the ruined mounds of 
Nimrud. Nimrud, which proved to be the ancient 
Calah, was built on a rectangular plateau just as Khorsa- 
bad had been, and the exploration of its site yielded a 
rich harvest of new materials for the reconstruction of 
the history of the past. Ashur-nasir-pal, king of Assyria 
(885-860), following the example of Shalmaneser I 
(about 1300), removed the seat of government from 
Ashur forty miles northwards, to Calah, where he built 
a palace for himself, the excavation of which was one of 
Layard's greatest triumphs. This palace occupied the 
north-western portion of the mound and was in part re- 
stored by Sargon ; to the north of this palace of Ashur- 
nasir-pal lay the site of the temple of Ninib or Adar, the 
god of war. Shalmaneser II (860-825) the successor of 
Ashur-nasir-pal, also built a palace at Calah, on the south- 
east of that of his predecessor ; this palace, known as the 





central palace, was almost entirely rebuilt by Tiglath- 
Pileser III, the Biblical Pul (745-727 B.C.). 

At the south-west corner, the palace of Esarhaddon 
(68 1-668) was excavated, in the construction of which, 
that king utilized the materials of the olderpalaces in the 
most unscrupulous fashion, but the building was found 
to have been much damaged by fire. North of Esar- 
haddon's palace and south of that of Ashur-nasir-pal,lay 
the comparatively small palace of Adad-nirari III (812- 
783 B.C.), and in the south-east corner of the parallelo- 
gram the insignificant remains of the palace of Ashur- 
etil-ilani (about 625) one of the last of Assyria's monarchs 
were brought to light. 

Thus Lajrard^discovered and excavated the remains 
of some seven royal palaces at Nimrud ; of these seven 
that of Ashur-nasir-pal was by far the most important 
from the archaeological and historical standpoint. 

Wall bas-reliefs, human-headed winged lions and bulls 
(cf. PI. XXV), obelisks, bronze bowls,iron reaping-hooks 
and spear-heads, carved ivory panels and mirrors, a 
"silver-plated" sceptre-head, and a variety of bells are 
a few among the many valuable finds at Nimrud, each of 
which makes its contribution, be it small or be it great, 
to the restoration of a page of human history and cultural 

But undoubtedly the most impressive monuments 
yielded by Assyrian excavations are the gigantic winged 
bulls and lions which were stationed at the royal palace 
gates. The removal of these monsters of oriental an- 
tiquity was an even more difficult task than their excava- 
tion, and taxed the inventive powers of both French and 
explorers to the utmost. 

Those excavated by the French at Khorsabad were 
embarked piecemeal for Paris, the parts into which they 
had been sawn, with a view to facilitating their transit, 
being fitted together again in the Louvre, the museum 
which they now adorn. Layard however adopted a 


different method in effecting the transport of the 
winged bulls from Nimrud to London, by means of 
which he successfully brought them over intact with- 
out breaking them up in any way ; the extraordinary 
difficulties involved in this feat give us a vivid concep- 
tion of the similar difficulties which the Assyrians must 
have had to overcome in the removal of these solid stone 
masses from the quarry to the entrances of the palaces, 
and in the exact adjustment of them in their specific 
places. Layard gives us a detailed description 1 of the 
plan he devised for the removal of some of these un- 
wieldy monsters, of which thirteen pairs had already 
been discovered. His first efforts were directed towards 
two of the smaller colossi. The first and greatest prob- 
lem to be solved was how to lower them without risk 
of their falling and so being broken. The sculptures 
were first of all wrapped in mats or felt to mitigate the 
effect of any misfortune that might befall them, either 
through the ropes giving way or cutting the soft stone. 
Heavy wooden rollers had been procured from the 
mountains; these were placed upon sleepers laid paral- 
lel to the sculpture, and it only now remained to lower 
the winged creature on to the rollers ; this was effected 
by means of ropes skilfully applied, the descent of the 
gradually sinking monument being checked by thick 
beams which supported it in its fall and were gradually 
withdrawn as the occasion required. As the bull ap- 
proached the rollers the beams had to be entirely re- 
moved, the whole of the weight and strain thus being on 
the cables and ropes, which stretched until finally they 
reached breaking point, and the bull fell some four feet or 
more to the ground, but fortunately without being dam- 
aged. A trench of about 200 feet in length, 1 5 feet wide, 
and in some places 20 feet deep, having been duly made 
through which the bull might proceed on the rollers to 
the edge of the mound thiscourse was necessary owing 

1 Layard, Nineveh, p. 74 ff. 




to the impossibility of lifting such a massive weight 
the giant animal was slowly pulled by a large number 
of Arabs to the end of the trench and down the slope 
of the mound, where it was lowered on to a specially- 
constructed cart, which had been a nine days' wonder 
to the natives ever since its appearance. The cart itself 
was fitted with two strong axles which had been used 
by Botta in the removal of sculptures from Khorsabad. 
" Each wheel was formed of three solid pieces, nearly 
a foot thick, from the trunk of a mulberry tree, bound 
together by iron hoops. Across the axles were laid three 
beams, and above them several cross-beams, all of the 
same wood. A pole was fixed to one axle to which were 
also attached iron rings for ropes to enable men as well 
as buffaloes to draw the cart. The wheels were provided 
with movable hooks for the same purpose." The mul- 
berry wood used had of course to be procured in the 
mountains,there being no wood of therequired substance 
or size in the Mesopotamian valley. Buffaloes were first 
harnessed to the pole, while a number of men tugged 
at the ropes attached to the wheels and the movable 
hooks, but the buffaloes appear to have soon struck, and 
they were consequently taken out, the whole of the work 
now being done by three hundred Arabs. At length, 
after multitudinous efforts, the bull arrived at the river 
where it was landed on a specially-prepared platform 
from which it might slide on to a raft. Thus much for 
the obstacles to be surmounted in the mere removal of 
these enormous blocks of stone by an excavator of the 
nineteenth century, from which we may form a small and 
very inadequate estimate of the indomitable zeal and in- 
vincible energy of the Assyrians some twenty-six or 
twenty-seven centuries ago in quarrying, carving, trans- 
porting and fixing the guardian genii. 

Calah (Nimrud) was the capital of Assyria for 220 
years (885-668), but at the close of that period she had 
to yield her pre-eminence to Nineveh, which Sennacherib 


rebuilt and which was the capital of the empire from his 
time till the end of the chapter, i.e. till about 630 B.C. 
Sennacherib naturally built a palace at his new capital, 
Nineveh, and the discovery and excavation of this palace 
are also due to the indefatigable efforts of the late Sir 
Henry Lavjird and his assistant Hormuzd Jlgssjim. 
This palacebf Sennacherib occupied the south-west 
corner of the northern of the two groups of mounds 
known as Kouyunjik which mark the site of ancient 
Nineveh, Ashur-bani-pal's (668-626 B.C.) palace being 
located immediately to the north of it. Unfortunately 
Sennacherib's palace suffered from fire when the Medes 
took the city in 606 B.C. in consequence of which most 
of his wall bas-reliefs are greatly marred. The com- 
plete excavation of this palace was the great triumph of 
Layard's second campaign (1849-1851), and the bas- 
reliefs taken from the walls of its seventy or more halls 
and chambers now form, in spite of their comparatively 
bad state of preservation, one of the most pricelessposses- 
sions of the British Museum. But one more epoch-mak- 
ing discovery in the annals of Mesopotamian excavations 
must be attributed to this world-renowned excavator. 

One day Layard discovered two chambers connected 
with each other, and after removing the debris, he found 
that " to the height of a foot or more from the floor they 
were entirely filled with cuneiform tablets of baked clay, 
some entire, but the greater part broken into many frag- 

In point of fact he had chanced upon part of the library 
of Ashur-bani-pal, one of Assyria's greatest kings ; the 
library appears to have been stored partly in the north- 
ern palace, that of Ashur-bani-pal proper, and partly in 
the south-western palace built by Sennacherib ; it was 
in the latter that the rooms referred to were found ; the 
other half of this great library of the later Assyrian kings 
was subsequently unearthed by Rassam. The contents 
of these tablets, made of the finest clay and ranging from 


one to fifteen inches, are as varied as the tablets them- 
selves. Some of them contain historical records, others 
astronomical reports, or mathematical calculations : there 
are also letters of a private and public character, but the 
majority of the tablets deal with astrology and medicine, 
both of which subjects were intimately connected in the 
mind of the Babylonian. Prayers, incantations, psalms 
and religious texts in general, formed a considerable part 
of this library, and as a large proportion of the " vol- 
umes " or tablets are not original works but copies from 
earlier Babylonian productions, the value of the library, 
now known under the name of the "Kouyunjik collec- 
tion," for the study of the religious and mythological 
conceptions of both the Babylonians and Assyrians is 
more than can be adequately estimated. Many of the 
tablets are bilingual, the ideographic Sumerianbeingpro- 
videdwith an Assyrian interlinear translation, and these, 
together with other tablets of the collection containing 
syllabaries in which the Sumerian value, the Assyrian 
name, and sometimes the Assyrian meaning of different 
signs are given, have been of the utmost use in the re- 
discovery of the languages of Mesopotamia. Layard 
also visited Babylonia, and began to excavate at Babylon 
and Nippur, but his Babylonian operations were not at- 
tended with the extraordinary success of his excavations 
at Nineveh and Calah. 

In 1851 a French expedition was sent out to Babylonia 
under Fresnel and Jules Oppert : they secured various 
relics from the ruined mounds of Babylon, among which 
may be especially mentioned a fine collection of coloured- 
brick fragments, but unfortunately all was lost through 
a mishap on the Tigris in 1855. 

In 1852 Rassam succeeded Layard in the field, and at ^ 
once had to contend with difficulties resulting from Raw- 
linson's concessions to Victor Place, to whom he had 
transferred the right of excavating what remained to be 
excavated at Kouyunjik, which from Rassam's point of 


view fell within the sphere of British influence, and to 
which therefore British excavators had a prior claim. In 
1853 Rassam commenced operations at Kalat Sherkat, 
but apart from the discovery of two clay prisms in- 
scribed with the annals of Tiglath-Pileser 1 (i 100-1080 
B.C.), the ancient Ashur did not yield much fruit on this 
occasion. At Calah, the scene of Layard's brilliant tri- 
umphs, Rassam discovered Ezida, the temple of Nebo, 
the god who vied with Marduk for the first place in the 
Babylonian pantheon of later days, and whose name is 
commemorated in the names of several of the kings of 
the first Babylonian empire, as also in three of those of 
the second empire, the most familiar of whom is the 
Biblical Nebuchadnezzar ; six large statues of the god 
were brought to light, two of which at all events are by 
their inscriptions shown to be contemporaneous with the 
Assyrian king Adad-nirari III (812-783) ; a stele of 
KingShamshi-Adadll (825-8 1 2 B.c.),and the remainsof 
an inscribed obelisk of Ashur-nasir-pal complete the list 
of his principal finds on this site. But his name will be 
for ever associated with Kouyunjik ; his first efforts were 
productive of no very great results beyond the discovery 
of a limestone obelisk of Ashur-nasir-pal covered with 
bas-reliefs,and now in the Assyrian Transept of the Brit- 
ish Museum, and a female torsofrom the palace of Ashur- 
bel-kala, king of Assyria about 1080 B.C. (cf. Pl.XXIV). 
Rassam however profited by Victor Place's omission to 
make use of the permission accordecTfohim by Rawlin- 
son to explore the northern part of Kouyunjik, but at 
the same time took the precaution of making his initial 
operations under the cover of night. His nocturnal 
labours were crowned with the greatest success which 
the excavators of those days could have the discovery 
of a new palace and after he was satisfied on this point, 
the digging was allowed to proceed during the daytime, 
as it is a recognized rule that the discoverer of a new 
palace has established his claim to the complete excava- 



tion of it, as against the rest of the world. The newly- 
discovered palace turned outto be thatof Ashur-bani-pal, 
king of Assyria (668-626 B.C.), in whose reign Assyria 
attained the height of her power both at homeand abroad, 
extending her sway even as far as Thebes, the capital of 
Upper Egypt, which was taken and sacked by this king 
in B.C. 666. But Ashur-bani-pal as well as being a great 
warrior, was also a great huntsman, and the bas-reliefs 
which he caused to be sculptured upon the walls of his 
palace at Kouyunjik, in commemoration of his exploits 
in the chase, are probably the masterpieces of Assyrian 
art. They thus testify not only to the sportsmanship of 
this king, but also to the encouragement which he gave 
to art, while Rassam's further discovery of the other half 
of Ashur-bani-pal's library has shown that king to have 
been an even greater patron of literature than there had 
hitherto been reason to suppose. 

In the spring of 1854, funds failed and Rassam was 
in consequence obliged to return, but shortly after- 
wards he accepted a political appointment at Aden. 
The meanwhile, work had already been commenced in 
Babylonia by W. K. Loihis- who carried on small ex- 
cavations at Warka, the ancient Erech, the ruins of 
which are the largest in Babylonia, but though many 
interesting antiquities were unearthed, none of them 
are of an epoch-making character, the slipper-shaped 
coffins belonging to the Parthian period, being perhaps 
the best known. Owing to the fact that Erech has been 
occupied during the greater part of its history, i.e. some 
5000 years, it is not a fruitful mine for early antiqui- 
ties. Senkereh (Larsa) on the other hand, which has 
been identified with the Ellasar of Genesis xiv. i , seems 
to have remained more or less unoccupied after the Per- 
sian period, and hence it is a better site for the explora- 
tion and study of the earlier history of Southern Meso- 
potamia. Inscribed bricks from Senkereh show that 
Khammurabi (the Amraphel of Genesis xiv. ?), and the 


most famous king of the first dynasty of Babylon, re- 
paired the ancient temple-tower there, as also did his 
Neo-Babylonian successor, Nabonidus, some fourteen 
centuries later, while the famous Nebuchadnezzar of Old 
Testament fame had also not neglected it in his works 
of restoration. The lower strata of the mound showed 
that Ur-Engur, King of Ur, whose reign may probably 
be assigned to the latter part of the third millennium 
B.C., had also made his presence felt in this ancient city 
of Larsa. Subsequently Larsa shared the fate of other 
early Babylonian cities, and was used as a cemetery : the 
tablets found near the coffins apparently belong to a 
much earlier date, and were probably found by the grave- 
diggers to whom their altered position is to be ascribed. 
Excavations were also conducted at the same time at 
Tell Sifr, which resulted in the discovery of about a 
hundred so-called case-tablets (i.e. tablets protected by 
a clay cover or envelope), belonging to the time of the 
first dynasty of Babylon, which in their turn led to the 
discovery of a hitherto unknown king of this dynasty, 
Samsu-iluna, the successor of Khammurabi. 

When Loftus was excavating at Warka at the be- 
ginning of 1 854, J. E. Taylor, the Vice-Consul at Basra, 
undertook excavations on behalf of the British Museum 
at Mukeyyer, the site of the ancient city of Ur. He 
commenced operations on what appeared at thetime,and 
what ultimately turned out to be, the principal building 
of the city, the temple of the Moon-god Sin, in the 
four corners of which he discovered four clay cylinders, 
and also another barrel-shaped cylinder the inscription 
of which is of even greater importance than those of the 
corner-cylinders. We learn that Ur-Engur, King of 
Ur, built the temple, that his son Dungi repaired it, and 
that Nabonidus the last King of Babylon restored it some 
two thousand years later. These foundation-cylinders 
of Nabonidus proved of great historical interest, the 
inscription on each of them concluding with a prayer for 


Bel-shar-usur, the King's son and heir, the Belshazzar 
of Daniel v., who was in command of Babylon at the 
time of the capture of the city by Cyrus. Taylor also 
conducted excavations on other Babylonian sites, the 
most important of which was Abu Shahrein, the ancient 
Eridu whose god Ea was one of the most illustrious as 
wellasoneof the most time-honoured gods in Babylonia. 
Its ruins are smaller than those of Ur, but they contain 
the remains of a temple-tower, consisting of two storeys, 
which Taylor laid bare. From the inscribed bricks 
recovered, the identification of this site with the ancient 
Eridu was established. 

Towards the end of the year 1854, Sir Henry _ 
Rawlinson commenced excavating Birs-Nimr5cl7~the 
Borsippa of antiquity ; he commenced digging at the 
four corners of what ultimately proved to be the 
famous Ezida, the temple of Nebo, in search of clay 
cylinders such as had been found at the corners of 
other Babylonian buildings ; he recovered two such 
foundation-cylinders which turned out to be duplicates, 
together with fragmentary parts of other cylinders, all 
of which had been deposited there by Nebuchad- 

Soon after Rassam's return from Assyria in the year 
1854, Loftus entered the service of the Trustees of 
the British Museum, and was sent out to continue the 
excavation of Kouyunjik. Loftus ably followed up the 
work of his predecessor ; new reliefs were brought to 
light, the most celebrated of which perhaps is that of 
Ashur-bani-pal and his queen reclining at meat in the 
garden (cf. PL XXI), but again though the spirit was 
willing, the funds were weak, and Loftus had to aban- 
don all hope of completing the excavation of the palace 
of Assyria's most famous king. 

The abundant harvest, yielded by these numerous 
excavations in Mesopotamia, and stored away in the 
Museums, afforded a supply of material copious enough 


to occupy the intellectual acumen of the savants for some 
time to come, while the general public whose interest 
in these archaeological expeditions depended on the 
tangible results forthcoming, were inclined to await the 
decipherment and publication of the accumulated mass 
of clay tablets, monuments and stelae already to hand, 
before furnishing the necessary funds for any fresh ex- 
peditions, and it was not till 1873 that George Smith, 
the able assistant of Sir Henry Rawlinson, whose dis- 
covery of the Babylonian account of the Deluge had 
alike won for him great fame, and also kindled again 
the enthusiasm of the public in the cause of excavation, 
was enabled, thanks to the munificence of the proprietors 
of the "Daily Telegraph, "to personally conduct an expe- 
dition to Mesopotamia. In the January of that year 
Smith set out for Mosul, but on his arrival, he found 
to his dismay that the requisite firman had not as yet 
been granted by the Turkish Government, and he ac- 
cordingly journeyed southward, examining the ruined 
mounds of Nimrud and Kalat Sherkat on the way. In 
northern Babylonia he spent but a short time which he 
employed in visiting the sites of Babylon, Borsippa 
(Birs-Nimrud)and other ancient ruins, but by the begin- 
ning of April, he obtained the necessary permission to 
excavate in Assyria, and accordingly returned at once to 
Mosul. His attention was first of all directed to Nim- 
rud, the scene of So many of Layard's triumphs, but his 
predecessors in the field had reaped their harvest to the 
full, and the gleanings which remained were poor and 

In the following month he transferred the seat of his 
operations to Kouyunjik, with a view to discovering the 
remainder of Ashur-bani-pal's library. The work was 
far from easy owing to the complete state of confusion 
in which the ruins then were, partly owing to the work 
of earlier excavators, partly owing to the builders of the 
bridge at Mosul who had made use of the remains of 


Assyria's ancient buildings for the construction of the 
bridge, and partly owing to the instability of some of 
Layard's tunnels, which had the meanwhile collapsed. 
Here too, the harvest was past and the summer of 
Assyrian excavations was ended, but the objectwhich the 
"Daily Telegraph" proprietors had in view was realized 
in the discovery of another fragment of the Babylonian 
account of the Deluge, which proved to fill in the chief 
lacuna in the story. Smith had entertained the hope 
that this all-important discovery would be an induce- 
ment to his financiers to grant an additional sum for 
the continuation of the work, but they declined. Smith 
accordingly had reluctantly to set his face westward and 
return to London, but before the year was out he was 
on his way back to the Orient, the Trustees of the British 
Museum having voted ^1000 for another expedition 
thither. He arrived at Mosul on New Year's Day 1 874, 
and recommenced his quest for tablets, but the time at 
his disposal was short, his firman expiring in the en- 
suing March ; this notwithstanding, in the three months 
spent at Kouyunjik on these two expeditions, he 
brought to light some three thousand tablets dealing 
with a variety of different subjects, and providing in- 
valuable material for the student of Babylonian and 
Assyrian astronomy, theology and chronology. To him 
is due not only the rediscovery of the Babylonian story 
of the Flood, but also of portions of the Creation 
legends, and of the Epic of Gilgamesh, the hero of 
Babylonian folk-lore, while to the student of Old 
Testament History, his discovery of Sargon's own 
account of his campaign against the city of Ashdod 
recorded in the twentieth chapter of Isaiah is of para- 
mount importance. In the spring of L&7&, Smith 
conducted his third and last expedition to Assyria, 
under the auspices of the British Museum, the value 
of whose collections he had already so greatly enhanced. 
But he arrived to find the cholera rampant all over the' 


country, and confusion and disorder reigned every- 
where. To excavate under such circumstances was an 
impossibility, but Smith spared no effort in his futile 
endeavour to overcome the impossible, boldly facing all 
dangers and difficulties, but he ultimately succumbed 
to the disastrous effects of climate and exposure, and 
died at Aleppo in August 1876, a martyr to the cause 
of science. George Smith was not only an excavator, 
but also a scholar, and his scholastic achievements are 
the more praiseworthy, when it is recollected that he 
was practically a self-educated man, who by dint of his 
extraordinary perseverance and indomitable will suc- 
ceeded where other men of perhaps greater ability failed, 
and who on that account alone is entitled to the promi- 
nent place which he occupies in the annals of Assyri- 

Soon after the death of George Smith in 1876, the 
Trustees of the British Museum requested Rassam to re- 
sume his long-abandoned labours in Assyria, and after 
some unavoidable delay, operations were commenced in 
January 1878. The work was greatly facilitated by the 
presence of Sir Henry Layard as British special repre- 
sentative at Constantinople, for the latter having always 
been on friendly terms with the Turkish Government, 
was consequently able to secure concessions which might 
well have been denied to anyone else. Rassam's march- 
ing orders were sufficiently explicit, he was sent out to 
continue the excavation of Nineveh, but his heart was 
bent on the discovery of palaces and temples rather than 
on the comparatively unexciting task of searching for 
tablets, the importance or non-importance of which could 
never be determined off-hand, without a detailed study 
of the contents. His ambition was satisfied shortly after 
his arrival : a year before his resumption of the work of 
Assyrian exploration two portions of a bronze door- 
panel covered with figures and cuneiform characters had 
been sent to him by a friend, and immediately on his 


Dec. en Cliald., 1'late .,-.?. 



,- -*-* 2 

"^c -a* ^^ . 


.r ^ v .' ' -. / 



return to Assyria he made enquiries as to where these 
pieces of worked metal had been unearthed. He soon dis- 
covered that they formed part of a large bronze door-panel 
discovered quite accidentally by a peasant in a mound, 
some fifteen miles east of Mosul, called galawat. Ac- 
cordingly, his immediate desire was to discover the re- 
mainderof thisunique monument of ancient metallurgy, 
and with that end in view he determined to explore the 
Balawat mound. He discovered that the site had been 
used as a cemetery by the inhabitants of the neigh- 
bourhood, and was consequently outside the limits of 
his firman, but disregarding the risk of a collision with 
the authorities and the still more imminent risk of in- 
citing the native population to open resistance, for no 
people civilized or uncivilized are in the habit of pas- 
sively acquiescing in the disinterment of their dead, he 
determined to hazard everything in pursuit of his prize. 
Success attended his efforts, and very soon after the 
cutting of the first trenches, fragments of bronze plates 
similar to thosewhich had previouslycome to light, were 
unearthed. In the course of a short time, the remaining 
panels were duly restored to the light of day : these 
panels had once upon a time decorated the wooden gates 
of a large building, to which they were affixed. The 
scenes portrayed thereon represent incidents in the 
and campaigns of Shalmaneser II (860-825 B.C.), the 
successor of Ashur-nasir-pal, and the first Assyrian king 
who is known to have come into immediate contact with 
Israel. In the course of his excavation of the mound, he 
came across the ruins of a small temple, and a large 
coffer made of marble containing two tablets made of 
the same material and bearing inscriptions of Ashur- 
nasir-pal. Rassam's work at Kouyunjik and Nimrud 
was also far from fruitless, though Nimrud certainly 
failed to yield a harvest in any way comparable to that of 
bygone days, a few bas-reliefs, a number of clay tablets 
and some enamelled tiles practically comprising all that 


Nimrud contributed to the study of Assyrian antiquity 
on this occasion. So too at Kouyunjik, clay inscriptions 
were the chief and indeed practically the only fruits of 
the excavations carried on by Rassam during his four 
expeditions (1878-1 882). The most epoch-making of 
these inscriptions consisted in a ten-sided baked clay 
prism containing the annals of Ashur-bani-pal, and four 
barrel-shaped cylinders inscribed with an account of 
Sennacherib's various campaigns. Rassam further at- 
tempted the complete exploration of Nebi Ytinus, the 
second large mound which marks the site or part of the 
site of ancient Nineveh, but he did not meet with the 
success which his indefatigable efforts deserved, owing 
to the innate factiousness and aptitude for intrigue which 
lie dormant in the Oriental breast even at the best of 
times, and which on this occasion so far from being dor- 
mant, showed themselves in all their pristine vigour, the 
result of which was the cessation of Rassam's labours, 
and the final dissipation of all his hopes. 

Meanwhile excavations were also going on in Baby- 
lonia, excavations moreover which were destined to 
usher in a new era of Babylonian exploration, and 
which proved of incalculable value both to the archae- 
ologist, and also to the student of early art. In the 
spring of 1877, some few months before Rassam's 
return to Assyria after an interval of a quarter of a 
century, Ernest de Sarzec, the French Vice-Consul at 
Basra, started tentative operations at the ruined mounds 
of JTello, whither his attention had been directed by 
J. Asfar, a native Christian, and formerly a dealer in 
antiquities. Tello had already won for itself a name 
as a site likely to repay the labour entailed in its 
methodical excavation, in consequence of the discovery 
of inscribed cones and bricks in its ruins, and needless 
to say, it has more than lived up to its early reputation, 
for of all the ancient sites of Babylonian civilization, 
Tello has yielded by far the richest harvest of material 


for the reconstruction of Sumerian history, and the 
systematic study of Sumerian art and culture. It would 
be impossible here to chronicle all the far-reaching re- 
sults of De Sarzec's immortal work, and we must 
therefore content ourselves with a notice of the more 
important of his discoveries. On his very first visit 
to Tello he was fortunate enough to find a portion of 

> a dolerite statue lying at the foot of one of the mounds, 
from which he correctly inferred that the statue itself 
must have originally occupied a position in some large 
building, the ruins of which he assumed to be lying 
concealed within the mound in question. He accord- 
ingly commenced excavating the mound, and very 
shortly discovered that it contained a building of no 

> small dimensions, erected upon a large platform of 
crude, or sun-dried bricks : the objects which he un- 
earthed comprised a large statue of dolerite bearing an 
inscription of Gudea, priest-king of Lagash about 2450 
B.C., inscribed door-sockets, sculptures and vases, copper 
statuettes of a votive character, and last but most im- 
portant of all, the first fragments of the Vulture stele of 
Eannatum, one of the most famous works of early Baby- 
lonian art, both in regard to its antiquity and also in 
regard to the manner in which it illustrates not only the 
artistic but also the military operations of the Sumerians 
at this remote period (cf. PI. XII). In his next two cam- 
paigns ( 1 8 80-8 1 ) he systematically excavated the build- 
ing in the mound generally known as "A," in the course 
of which he discovered some nine or ten dolerite statues, 
numerous statuettes, and a stone vase of Naram-Sin, 
son of Shar-Gani-sharri of Agade, who probably lived 
some few centuries before Gudea. The building itself, 
which in the main belongs to the Parthian period, but 
in which part of the old palace of Gudea had been in- 
corporated is briefly discussed on page 149. But as 
Prof. Hilprecht 1 truly says, the dolerite statues- -of 
1 Hilprecht, Explorations, p. 236. 


Gudea " will always remain the principal discovery 
connected with De Sarzec's name," famous alike for 
the animation and life with which they are inspired, 
and also for the skill and dexterity which these early 
Babylonians display in their treatment of the hardest 
stones. Among other valuable or rather invaluable 
finds may be mentioned the well-known silver vase of 
Entemena(cf. Fig. 4 5), the carved mace-head of Mesilim, 
an enormous copper spear-head, and some bas-reliefs 
of Ur-Nina, the founder of the First Dynasty of Lagash. 
In mound " B," De Sarzec's excavations not only laid 
bare the building of Ur-Nina (cf. PI. V) but also re- 
vealed the remains of a yet earlier structure lying be- 
neath the edifice of this ancient ruler, and resting on 
a pavement some 16 feet below Ur-Nina's platform. 
Copper statuettes and stone bas-reliefs of a most archaic 
character were also brought to light on this occasion. 

In 1889 De Sarzec left Babylonia, not to return till 
1 894, when he renewed his excavations in mound " B." 
Two wells and a watercourse of Eannatum's time were 
discovered, while among the small relics of this long- 
forgotten age were various pieces of shell carved with 
pictures of trees and animals. It would be altogether 
impossible to over-estimate the debt which both the 
historian of early Babylonia, and the student of early 
Mesopotamian art owe to the work of that distinguished 
excavator ; if to Layard, Botta, and Place is due the 
opening up of the book of Assyria's ancient history, and 
the breaking of the seals that had kept that book closed 
for so long a period, to De Sarzec we owe the recovery 
of an even earlier page in the history of human life and 
progress. The last quarter of the i9th century which 
embraced the period of De Sarzec's extraordi nary activity 
in the archaeological field (the first of his expeditions 
being conducted in 1877 and the last in 1900) will re- 
main for all time memorable for the epoch-making 
discoveries in Babylonia, discoveries which posterity 

I.. I'll: // 




will for ever associate with the name of the illustrious 
French excavator. 

The meanwhile Rassam, had used to the utmost the 
facilities granted to him under the generous terms of 
the 1878 firman, and had covered as much ground and 
visited as many sites as possible, though whether science 
would have gained more by the systematic exploration 
of a few mounds than by the ransacking of many is a 
question which would probably have to be answered in 
the affirmative. In 1 879, he commenced operations in 
Babylonia, the ruined mounds of Babylon and Borsippa 
being the first to receive his attention. On his arrival 
he found a number of Arabs busily engaged in extract- 
ing building material from the Babil mound, and in the 
course of their digging they came upon four wells, some 
140 feet deep, and made of blocks of red granite, each 
block being about 3 feet high, and fitted to the ad- 
joining block with an extraordinary degree of precision. 
From the general appearance of the mound as well as 
from the magnitude of the ruined walls which it covered, 
Rassam came to the conclusion arrived at by Rich 
nearly a century before, and accepted by Hilprecht some 
years later, that to Babil we must look 'for the world- 
-- renowned hanging gardens of Diodorus and Pliny. 

Rassam's trenches on the Kasr mound were attended 
with no important results, but his work at the Jumjuma 
mound in the South, so called from the name of the 
modern village now situated there, yielded a rich har- 
vest of tablets, mostly of a commercial character. Bor- 
sippa in like manner responded to the appeal made to it 
by the spade of Rassam, many tablets being recovered, 
while a large part of the renowned temple of Ezida, 
dedicated to the god Nebo, once again saw the light of 
day : among the smaller relics, the recovery of a bronze 
step of the famous Nebuchadnezzar is deserving of 
special mention, and also a baked clay cylinder of the 
time of Antiochus Soter 2 70 B.C. , the latter being, accord- 


ing to Hilprecht, "the last royal document composed in 
the Old Babylonian writing and language." But per- 
haps Rassam's most valuable contribution to Assyrio- 
logy was the identification of the site of ancient Sippar. 
Many unsuccessful attempts had previously been made 
to locate this city, so frequently mentioned in the cunei- 
form inscriptions, and already George Smith had tenta- 
tively suggested the moundof Abu Habba, located about 
thirty miles north of the City of Babylon, as its possible 
site, but to Rassam we owe the actual identification of 
the site of this old centre of the worship of Shamash the 
Sun-god in the Babylonian plain. The ruins of AbA 
Habba are low but extensive, the longest of the ancient 
city-walls measuring some 1400 yards, while on the 
western side the remains of an old ziggurat, or temple- 
tower are still to be seen. Rassam's excavations on this 
site were abundantly successful, the most important of 
his discoveries in the ancient building with which he 
was principally concerned, being the famous stone tablet 
of Nabu-aplu-iddina, king of Babylonia, about 870 B.C. 
The inscription which records the restoration of the 
temple of the Sun-god by that king is surmounted on 
the obverse side by a magnificent bas-relief representing 
the worship of the Sun-god (cf. PL XlVand p. 205). The 
recovery of this remarkable tablet, apart from the value 
attaching to it as a work of art and a historical document, 
meant further the identification of one of the earliest 
sites of Mesopotamian civilization, and the rediscovery 
of the time-honoured shrine of Shamash. Among the 
other inscriptions unearthed on this occasion, the large 
clay cylinders of Nabonidus (555-53 8 B.C.), the last king 
of the Neo-Babylonian Dynasty, are of paramount im- 
portance. Allusion has already been made to the tradi- 
tion recorded by Nabonidus on his cylinder regarding 
the date of Shar-Gani-sharri of Agade, and his son 
Naram-Sin, and also to the archaeological evidence cal- 
culated to diminish the historical value of Nabonidus' 


record (cf. p. 5). Rassam reconnoitred many other 
sites in Babylonia, notably that of Tello, from which he 
recovered a few objects, including a number of tablets 
and two gate-sockets inscribed with the name of Gudea, 
during his swift and somewhat stealthy visit in the early 
part of 1879. But the three great triumphs of the ex- 
cavator whose long career came to its natural end in 
1910, were the identification of Sippar's long-forgotten 
site, the discovery of the bronze gates at Balawat, and 
last but far from least, the unearthingof Ashur-bani-pal's 
northern palace at Nineveh, and the disclosure of the 
priceless relics of art and literature which it was found to 

Meanwhile other nations besides the French and the 
English were preparing themselves for the work so re- 
markably commenced, and so full of promise for the 
future. Germany was slow to move, but thanks to 
the munificence of Mr. L. Simon, an expedition was 
sent out to the Orient in the autumn of 1886, under 
the auspices of the Royal Prussian Museums of Berlin, 
and under the directorship of B. Moritz, R. Kolde- 
wey and L. Meyer. But in spite of the tardiness of 
German activity in the field of exploration, it must 
never be forgotten that to Friedrich Delitzsch belongs 
the unique honour and glory of having placed Assyri- 
ology upon a scientific basis, and in a real sense that 
distinguished scholar may be regarded as the father of 
that science. At the same time Delitzsch's predecessor 
Schrader deserves a special mention, as being the first 
to lecture in Germany on this subject, and to whose 
lectures Delitzsch and other scholars doubtless owed 
much. The 1886 expedition commenced operations 
early in 1887 at tne ruins of El-Hibba and Surghul, 
two mounds situated close to each other to the north- 
east of Tello, which resulted in the discovery of build- 
ings innumerable, mostly of a private character ; the 
small relics yielded by the German excavations on these 


two sites were for the most part considerably damaged by 
fire which had played considerable havoc in both places. 

But the chief point of interest in regard to the ex- 
cavations at El-Hibba and Surghul was the discovery 
of a number of early graves. Many of the bodies had 
been burnt, from which Koldewey inferred that crema- 
tion l was one of the ways in which the Sumerians of 
antiquity disposed of their dead. Many of the inscrip- 
tions recovered were published by the lately deceased 
Dr. Messerschmidt. The tablets in question include 
texts belonging both to first and second Dynasties of 
Lagash (Tello). One of the tablets unearthed at 
Surghul and written by Gudea, the most famous ruler 
of the Second Dynasty of Lagash, showed that both 
El-Hibba and Surghul acknowledged Gudea as their 

At about the same time, the excavating spirit in 
America was also gradually fanning itself into life, and 
to-day America is doing more archaeological work than 
any other country in the world. 

The ancient city of Nippur had long been known as 
one of the most famous centres of Babylonian religion, 
and of the worship of the great god Enlil, and it was 
accordingly to this city that the Americans first directed 
their attention, and it was here that they made those 
epoch-making discoveries which have won for them so 
prominent a place in the history of Mesopotamia!! ex- 
cavation, and that in spite of all the controversies which 

1 It has been argued that the burnt condition of human remains dis- 
covered in Mesopotamia is in all cases to be regarded as the effect of a 
general conflagration, and that in fact cremation was never practised. But 
if such be the case, then the pottery buried with the burnt human remains 
would similarly bear the marks of burning. In many cases the pottery 
apparently affords no definite evidence for or against the theory, but 
Dr. Koldewey informs me that the vessels containing the burnt remains 
of human beings at Surghul, showed no trace of their having been in the 
fire themselves, so here at all events we have clear and incontrovertible 
evidence of the practice of cremation in Babylonia. 


ave arisen out of those discoveries. The Americans 
ad indeed sent out an expedition to Babylonia as 
early as 1 884 under the directorship of Dr. W. Hayes 
Ward of the New York " Independent," but the object 
for which it was sent was general exploration rather than 
for actual excavation. The first expedition (1888-89) 
to Nippur, which was organized chiefly by Prof. J. P. 
Peters, who was supported by Dr. Wm. Pepper, Provost 
Harrison, Messrs. E. W. Clay, C. H. Clark, W. W. 
Frazier, and others, was chiefly tentative in character, 
and served rather to show the magnitude of the work 
to be accomplished than to achieve any definite and 
practical results. Peters was the director of the first 
and second (1889-90) expeditions, while Prof. R. F. 
Harper and Prof. H. V. Hilprecht were appointed 
Assyriologists to the first expedition, Mr. Field being 
the architect. The first expedition was engaged in ex- 
cavating for two months and nine days, while the second 
excavated for three months and eleven days. Dr. Haynes 
was the field-director of the third expedition (1893-96), 
and remained at the mounds of Nippur for nearly three 
years without a break. The fourth expedition (1898- 
1 900) was conducted by Hilprecht as scientific director, 
Haynes as field-director, and Messrs. C. S. Fisher and 
H. V. Geere as architects, and during the last campaign 
excavations were carried on for some sixteen months, 
and led to many important discoveries. 

The first expedition, as stated, was of a preparatory 
character, and consequently its results cannot be esti- 
mated merely by the number of discoveries actually 
made. During the short two months in which the ex- 
cavators continued operations, a large building char- 
acterized by enormous buttresses and two round towers 
was brought to light. The building without doubt a 
fortress is of comparatively late date, belonging to 
the Earth ian period, and was built upon the ancient 
temple of* Enlil and its staged tower. 


Bint-el-Amir, the mound which contained the ruins 
of this renowned temple, was conical in shape and cov- 
ered a surface of more than eijJijLacres. 1 A scientific 
examination of a mound of such gigantic proportions 
was in itself no light task, while the exploration of the 
buried temple was a work of pioneering, none of the 
large Babylonian temples having as yet been completely 

The excavation of this temple proved that the stage- 
tower " did not occupy the central part of the temple-- 
court," and though it was undoubtedly the most con- 
spicuous feature of the temple-area, it was not actually 
the temple itself : the latter is to be found in a large 
building adjacent to the stage-tower. This building is 
at all events as early as the time of the Shar-Gani-sharri 
and hissonNaram-Sin. The stage- tower, which probably 
never had more than three stages, owed its latest form to 
Ur-Engur, king of Ur (circ. 2400), though Ashur-bani- 
,pal, King of Assyria nearly two thousand years after, had 
occasion to repair and restore it. The bricks of Ashur- 
bani-pal, which are intermingled with those of Ur-Engur, 
bear the stamped inscription, "To Bel, the King of the 
lands, his King, Ashur-bani-pal, his favourite shepherd, 
the powerful King,King of the four quarters of the earth, 
built Ekur, his beloved temple, with baked bricks." 
Four feet behind the facing-wall of Ur-Engur, large 
bricks characteristic of Naram-Sin's time were discov- 
ered, while the bricks of which the innermost core of 
the tower was formed belong to the pre-Sargonic and 
early Sumerian days. 2 

The extreme antiquity of the lower strata in this 
mound may be gauged from the fact that Haynes in 
descending into the pre-Sargonic period below the 
pavement of Naram-Sin, penetrated through somethirty 
feet of ruins before he arrived at the virgin soil. 

1 Cf. Hilprecht, Explorations, p. 317. 

2 For description of the ziggurat, cf. p. 133 fT. 

1 mm 

"^afl !1 rftWffi):U3\! 5 

< V 



One of the most interesting discoveries in the early 
strata was a vaulted drain (cf. Fig. 15 and p. 170) which 
purports to be the earliest Babylonian arch known, while 
a large number of terra-cotta pipes as well as a terra- 
cotta drain were also brought to light. The smaller ob- 
jects include votive stelae (cf. Fig. 25), tablets, cylinder- 
seals and terra-cotta vases (cf. Figs. 92, 93). But a large 
number of relics contained in the strata above the level 
of Naram-Sin were found to be pre-Sargonic in spite 
of their position in the mound. They included door- 
sockets, fragments of vases, slabs, statues, and more 
than fifty brick-stamps, bearing an inscription of Sargon 
or Naram-Sin. 

But the discovery and partial excavation of the Tem- 
ple " Library f>1 or "archive " at Nippur have produced 
the most far-reaching and epoch-making results, for 
thereby literally thousands of tablets have been un- 
earthed, affording an amount of new material for Assyri- 
ological study seldom paralleled in the history of Baby- 
lonian exploration. 

The greater part of the excavated material 2 is scien- 
tific or literary in character. The majority of the tablets 
are unbaked, and have consequently suffered from the 
detrimental effects of time, climate and other influences, 
among which may be particularly mentioned the havoc 
wrought by the invading Elamites during the third mil- 
lennium B.C. In consequence of this,thedecipherer'stask 
is much more arduous than it would otherwise have 
been, but in spite of the vandalism of the Elamites and 
the work of destruction which they sought to, and to 
some extent did accomplish, the archaeologist probably 
owes the preservation of these tablets to their burial in 
the ruined debris of which they formed a part. These 
unbaked clay tablets seem to have been generally arranged 

1 Cf. however, Jastrow, Journal of the American Oriental Society, 
vol. XXVII, pp. 147 ff. 

2 Clay, Record of the Past, Vol. II, Part II, pp. 47 ff. 


on shelves made of clay and about ij feet wide, while 
they contain every variety of " literature," treating of 
astronomy, astrology, mathematics, geography, history, 
medicine, grammar and religion. One of the tablets 
gives us valuable information regarding the temple it- 
self ; the name of the great hall of the temple was E- 
makh, and though Enlil and his consort were without 
doubt the principal deities of the place, there were some 
twenty-four shrines dedicated to other gods, just as was 
the case in Esagila, the great Temple of Marduk at 
Babylon, recently excavated by the Deutsche Orient- 

The late Assyrian, neo - Babylonian and Persian 
periods are also well represented in the enormous ac- 
cumulation of cuneiform tablets recovered from this site, 
among the most interesting of which are the " Murashft 
Tablets," seven hundred or more of which were un- 
earthed in a ruined building some twenty feet below 
the surface. The care with which these tablets had been 
made, and the numerous seal-impressions which they 
bore, at once attracted Hilprecht's attention. They 
proved to belong to the business archives of Murashu 
Sons, brokers and bankers at Nippur, who flourished in 
the time of the Persian kings, Artaxerxes I (464-424 
B.C.) and Darius II (423-405 B.C.). But apart from or- 
dinary banking business, the firm acted as an agent for the 
Persian kings. Apparently the kingsof Persia were in the 
habit of farming out the taxes like the Roman emperors 
of later days, and Murashu Sons undertook to levy the 
king's taxes from their Babylonian subjects in Nippur 
and elsewhere. The interest of these tablets is not how- 
ever confined to the information which they afford us 
in regard to the mode of conducting business at that 
period ; but they are of even greater value for the in- 
sight which they give us into the ordinary life of the 

It was during the last expedition that the city-walls 


were carefully examined, and also those which enclosed 
the temple-area, the name of the former being Nlmit- 
Marduk and the name of the latter Imgur-Marduk. 
Access to the templewas gained by a gate in the southern 
wall, which was at all events as old as the time of Shar- 
Gdni-sharri of Agade. The " Abullu Rabu," the great 
gate of the city, was situated to the north-east of the 
Temple ; its length is 35 feet, by which we know that 
that was the thickness of the wall itself, though un- 
fortunately nothing remains of the old city-wall at this 
point, the crude bricks of which it was composed hav- 
ing been removed and used for building materials in 
the later Nippur structures. The gateway itself con- 
sisted of a central road some 13 feet wide used for or- 
dinary traffic, on either side of which was a raised pas- 
sage for pedestrians, while the whole structure was built 
of thumb-marked bricks, and is therefore pre-Sargonic. 
Under the central roadway a foundation consisting of 
massive blocks of stone laid in bitumen was discovered. 
Some distance north of this gate a large part of the old 
city wall was discovered, belonging in the main to the 
times of Naram-Sin and Ur-Engur respectively, the 
work of the latter king being of course superimposed on 
that of Naram-Sin. Traces of some hundred feet of 
the wall of Naram-Sin are still visible, and also a water- 
conduit consisting of baked bricks laid in bitumen. The 
wall was rebuilt by Ur-Engur, who adorned its outer 
face with a series of panels 1 1 feet in width, and placed 
at intervals of 30 feet, of which some seventeen were 
found in their original positions ; the excavators were 
unable to ascertain the thickness of the wall, but in one 
place it was found preserved to the thickness of over 25 
feet. Into the inner face of this later wall were built a 
number of small chambers in which were found relics 
of varying interest ; a description of the later Parthian 
fortress, and of the little Parthian palace discovered on 
the other side of the Shatt-en-Nil Canal, would treat 


of a period with which this volume does not profess 
to deal, and the reader must accordingly refer to the 
standard works of some of the excavators themselves 
(Peters, Hilprecht or Fisher) for information concern- 
ing these later buildings, as also for details regarding all 
the structures and discoveries at Nippur. Sufficient 
however has perhaps been recounted to indicate the 
extraordinary importance with which the American ex- 
peditions to Nippur have been fraught, though even 
to-day we are not in a position to adequately appreciate 
the full value of the self-sacrificing labours of the ex- 
cavators, and the ample results with which those labours 
have been and are daily being attended. 

Meanwhile, the Turks themselves, alive to the im- 
portance of the monuments and relics recovered from 
the ruined mounds which ever since Rassam's de- 
parture from Baghdad in 1882 had been exploited with 
considerable success by the agents of antiquity-dealers, 
determined to send out an expedition of their own. 
The expedition was placed under the directorship of 
Father Scheil, a young French Assyriologist, and Bedri 
Bey, the Ottoman Inspector of Antiquities, who com- 
menced operations in the spring of 1 894 at Abti Habba 
(Sippar), the site which had been the particular hunting 
ground of the dealers, and which therefore was calcu- 
lated to be worth scientifically exploring. The most 
important result of the expedition was the discovery of 
about seven hundred tablets, mostly letters or contracts 
belonging to the time of the first Babylonian dynasty, 
and especially to the reign of Samsu-iluna, the son and 
successor of Khammurabi. In 1891 Dr. Wallis Budge 
excavated the neighbouring mound of Der and re- 
covered many texts, etc. ; these are now in the British 

On March 26th, 1899, Dr. Koldewey, whose exca- 
vations at El-Hibba and Surghul had been more than 
successful, commenced operations on the Kasr mound 


at Babylon, the mound which marks the site of the 
world-famed palace of Nebuchadnezzar. 

The German excavations at Babylon undertaken by 
Koldewey, Meissner, Andrae and M. L. Meyer, have 
not indeed yielded so rich a harvest as was expected 
from the important part which that city played in the 
history of the country, from the time of Khammurabi 
onwards, for Sennacherib's destruction of the city in 
689 B.C. had been carried out with such rigour that 
little was left to tell the tale of Babylon's greatness 
before his time, that little consisting chiefly of contract- 
tablets belonging to the time of the First Dynasty, and a 
number of pot-burials belonging to a yet earlier period. 
But however greatly we must regret thedearth of material/ 
yielded by Babylon's ruined mounds, for the reconstruct 
tion of her earlier history, of the period during which she 
was at the height of her power, the period of the great 
king Nebuchadnezzar (604-561 B.C.) the German ex- 
cavations have afforded us much valuable information. 
The Kasr mound which was found to conceal the remains 
of Nebuchadnezzar's famous palace, the palace in which 
he lived during the greater part of his reign and the 
same one in which Alexander the Great died, seems to 
have been a new suburb of Babylon, and contained 
nothing earlier than the seventh century. The massive 
city-wall, which in all was found to be some 136 feet 
in thickness, was discovered, and the palace of Nebu- 
chadnezzar in part excavated, but the two most im- 
portant discoveries of the summer of 1 899 were a stelec 
of dolerite and a sandstone bas-relief. The stele of 
dolerite is 4 feet 2 inches high, and on the smooth side 
of it the figure of a Hittite god is depicted, while the 
reverse contains a Hittite inscription. The god has his 
two arms raised and brandishes a trident in one hand, 
a large hammer in the other, while a sword hangs 
from his side. A long plait of hair hangs down his 
back, his headgear being a Phrygian cap, his footwear 


the pointed shoes so characteristically Hittite, and his 
tunic, decorated with a fringe, reaches just to the knees. 
The second discovery consisted in a sandstone slab 
rather over 4 feet long and about 4^ feet in height, 
showing in relief a group of figures of which the two 
most noteworthy are the god Adad, armed with two 
flashes of lightning in either hand, and the goddess 

In the following year Koldewey was able to give 
more detailed information regarding the general plan 
and arrangement of Nebuchadnezzar's palace. The 
palace contained a great number of rooms, arranged 
around larger central courts. The walls of the various 
buildings rest upon a massive foundation composed of 
bricks and fragments. Upon this foundation-platform 
a rampart-wall running east to west, over 56 feet thick 
and pierced with a single gateway, was discovered, 
while at the corner of this wall, another building, older 
than the wall itself, was brought to light. This build- 
ing was made of burnt brick and asphalt, the bricks 
themselves bearing an Aramaic inscription and a walk- 
ing lion. 

On the east front of the Kasr in Babylon the paving- 
stones of the street are made of white limestone, or red 
and white breccia, but the only part of the street pav- 
ing found in its original position is the layer of burnt 
bricks covered with asphalt which served as a founda- 
tion for the stone pavement above. The enormous 
limestone blocks measure over 3 feet square and about 
13^ inches thick. On some of these limestone blocks an 
inscription was found giving Nebuchadnezzar's name, 
and stating that he had paved the Babel street for the 
procession of the great lord Marduk with "mountain- 
stone " slabs. The breccia slabs, none of which have 
been recovered complete, were apparently of more mod- 
est dimensions, being only about 26 inches square and 
8 inches thick. There is no doubt that these are the 


paving-stones wherewith Nebuchadnezzar paved the 
" Processional street of Marduk" the locus of which is 
now certain. Breccia had been used for building pur- 
poses before the time of Nebuchadnezzar : thus we know 
that Nabopolassar, the founder of the Neo-Babylonian 
Dynasty, had used it for paving the processional street, 
while at the Amran mound a block of breccia was found 
bearing an inscription of Sennacherib. 

The discovery of the processional street of Marduk} 
was of the greatest importance in regard to the topo- 
graphy of ancient Babylon, while the confirmation of; 
the theory held byDelitzsch and others hitherto based 
chiefly on inferences drawn from Nebuchadnezzar's texts 
in the identification of Marduk's temple, E-sagila, 
with the old Babylonian building concealed within the 
Amran mound, during the excavations of May 1900, 
was of even greater moment. 

Koldewey was further fortunate enough to discover 
a temple erected in honour of the goddess Nin-makh 
(Great Lady), who was at all events in later times iden- 
tified with Isjitar. 1 The importance of the discovery 
lay in the completeness_of the building, and not in the 
magnitude of its dimensions, for it is quite small. Dur- 
ing the excavation of this temple a well-preserved Assy- 
rian cylinderwas found,on which Ashur-bani-pal records 
that he has newly built Nin-makh's temple in Babylon, in 
return for which act of piety he clearly expected a rich 
reward, for he begs the " sublime Nin-makh to look 
down compassionately " on his pious deeds, to pro- 
nounce his prosperity daily before Bel and Belit, to pre- 
scribe a " life of many days as his fate," and to estab- 
lish his government firmly. 

Another interesting discovery was that of a terra- 
cotta figure of a naked goddess, doubtless a relic of the 
Nin-makh-cult (cf. Fig. 86). 

1 For a description of the famous Ishtar-Gatc, and for further details 
regarding Nebuchadnezzar's palace, cf. pp. 136, 137, 149. 


The excavations on the Amran hill revealed the pre- 
sence of buildings prior to the time of Nebuchadnez- 
zar. The upper strata of the mound belong for the 
most part to the Parthian and Seleucidian times, but at 
a depth of 68 feet below the surface of the mound, 
the floor of a Babylonian building was uncovered, and 
the clay walls of this building, which were over 9 feet 
thick, were still found in position to a considerable 
height. The floor itself was made of burnt bricks cov- 
ered with asphalt, apparently only the bricks in the 
uppermost layer bearing the impress of Nebuchadnez- 
zar's stamp, in consequence of which it seems probable 
that the foundation of the building was laid before that 
king's time. Underneath the lowest flooring a solid 
foundation of brick some 6 J feet thick was found. On 
the uppermost flooring various objects of interest were 
brought to light, including a thin plate of gold, a silver 
knob, a gold ear-ring,and fragments of engraved shells. 
, But the real importance of the excavations at the Am- 
ran mound centres round the discovery of Marduk's 
famous temple E-sagila,the meaning of which is "the 
house of heaven and earth." The temple was founded 
by King Zabum during the time of the First Dynasty 
ot Babylon (circ. 2000 B.C.), the period, that is to say, 
during which the city of Babylon became the most 
powerful city-state in Southern Mesopotamia. But the 
supremacy of Babylon meant the supremacy of Baby- 
lon's god, and the prestige to which Marduk attained 
at this time is shown by his identification with Bel, the 
ancient god of Nippur. But some few hundred years 
afterwards, when the power and influence of Babylon 
had decreased, and dominion in the Mesopotamian Val- 
ley had passed to the more warlike Assyrians in the 
north, E-sagila and her god suffered with the people of 
Babylon, the temple being looted and the god Marduk 
carried off by Tukulti-Ninib, King of Assyria (circ. 
1275 B.C.) Some six centuries later found the Assy- 


rians still all-powerful, though always engaged in sup- 
pressing rebellions among the discontented Babylonian 
princes, until at last Sennacherib resolved to wipe out 
Babylon from off the face of the earth. E-sagila shared 
in the general catastrophe, and but little remains of the 
early city or of the temple of her time-honoured god, 
though fortunately various documents, vessels and other 
relics belonging to the time before Sennacherib escaped 
that king's fury, and have been recovered recently by 
the German excavators. Esarhaddon however, the suc- 
cessor of Sennacherib, and one of the most humane of 
Assyrian monarchs, which is not perhaps saying a very 
great deal made it his special business to rebuild the 
city of Babylon and the temple of her god, but he did 
not live to see the realization of his project, and the 
completion of the work was thus left to Esarhaddon's 
joint successors, Ashur-bani-pal and Shamash-shum- 
ukin. The temple was roofed with cedar and cypress- 
wood, and was rich with gold, silver and precious stones. 
When all was finished, Marduk's home-coming was 
celebrated with great pomp and splendour, Shamash the 
sun-god, Ea, Marduk's venerable father, Nebo his illus- 
trious son even Nergal the god of the dead, came to 
welcome the exiled deity back. But magnificent as was 
the reconstruction of Marduk's ancient fane by Ashur- 
bani-pal, Assyria's mightiest king, it was surpassed by 
thatof Babylon's native kings Nabopolassar (625-604) 
and his son Nebuchadnezzar. Ashur-bani-pal does not 
seem to have rebuilt the temple-tower, which Sennach- 
erib had of course destroyed, but Nabopolassar reared 
once more the lofty stage-tower the E-temen-an-ki 
("house of the foundations of heaven and earth"), and 
Nebuchadnezzar his son carried on the laudable work. 
He built the walls of the chamber Ekuaof pure gold, 
while the roof he made of cedar-wood which he covered 
with gold and precious stones, the sanctuaries of Nebo 
and Zarpanit being treated in the same luxurious man- 


ner, while all the sacrificial vessels seem to have been 
made of pure gold. Neriglissar (559-556 B.C.) a suc- 
cessor of Nebuchadnezzar further built four gates to 
this temple,and when the city was finally taken byCyrus, 
it will be recalled that that king made obeisance to Mar- 
duk, at whose behests he professed to have taken the 
city " He (Marduk) sought out a righteous prince, a 
man after his own heart, whom he might take by the 
hand ; and he called his name Cyrus." 

Various graves were discovered in the course of the 
excavations at Babylon, but mostly of a late date. A very 
interesting sarcophagus was brought to light in I9IO, 1 
the "head" end of the terra-cotta cover of which bore in 
relief the bearded head of a man with long hair, and 
an Egyptian type of face. Two other sarcophagi were 
found at the same time, and all of these burials were in- 
side ruined houses. 

Of the many other important results attending the 
labours of Koldewey and his confreres, the discovery of 
the ancient canal Arakhtu, the tracing of its quay-walls, 
the excavation of the great wall between the north and 
south castles, and the clearing of the west wall of the 
southern citadel, are especially deserving of mention, 
while for details the reader must refer to the Mittei- 
lungen Der Deutschen Orient-Gesellschaft. 

But Babylon was not the only site in Lower Mesopo- 
tamia to receive the attention of the Germans on this 
expedition. On June I4th, 1902, Koldewey, Delitzsch 
and Baumgarten, with a party of labourers, took a boat 
down the Euphrates, arriving eventually at the ruined 
mounds of FjLra on the 1 8th. Digging was commenced 
in the northern part of the ruin, and it was very soon 
evident that the whole site is of very ancient date, not 
even the uppermost strata of the mounds containing 
anything that can be assigned to a late period. Various 
implements of bone and stone, including a number of 

1 Cf. Mittellungeri) No. 44, p. 1 1 . 


stone hatchets, as well as saws and knives made of flint 
or obsidian, all testified to the antiquity of its occupa- 
tion, and as nothing was discovered at a greater depth 
than 6 to 7 feet, Fara promised at the outset to be one of 
the most important sites for the study of early Sumerian 
civilization. The ruined mounds of other long-forgot- 
ten cities had indeed yielded relics of the past quite as 
old as those excavated at Fara, but in nearly every case 
the upper strata of such mounds were found to contain 
the remains of a later date and a more recent occupa- 
tion ; Fara however stands unique in this respect, as for 
some reasons unknown, it appears only to have been 
occupied in the earliest period of Babylonia's history, 
during which it undoubtedly " had its day," but has 
ever since " ceased to be" until the German excavators 
have at last rescued it from permanent oblivion. Among 
the smaller objects discovered on this site, was a number 
of seal-cylinders, the majority of which were made of 
alabaster, though sometimes of shells, but very rarely of 
the hard stones so frequently employed in later days. 
They were found sometimes amid the general debris, 
sometimes in the tombs ; for the most part they exhibit 
battle-scenes, the combatants being either men, beasts, 
or mythical monstrosities, as the case may be. The 
simpler specimens of the pottery found resemble those 
unearthed by Koldewey at Surghul, while others were 
more elaborately decorated. A few tablets were un- 
earthed, mostly round in shape,and all of them inscribed 
in archaic characters. The citizens of Fara placed the 
bodies of their dead either in clay sarcophagi, or else in 
reed mats. The clay sarcophagi are oval in shape, and 
about six feet in length ; the sides are perpendicular, and 
they are closed with a clay cover. The corpse was gener- 
ally found lying on its side with the legs drawn up 
embryonic-wise, as was the case in pre-Dynastic Egypt, 
and one of the hands is holding to the mouth a cup 
made of stone, shell, copper, or clay, an incidental proof 


of the Babylonian's belief in the reality of the life after 
death even at this remote period. The tombs of the 
better classes contain also the implements, weapons and 
ornaments of the deceased. The arms include spears, 
poniards and hatchets made of " bronze" (?), the jewelry 
taking the form of chains, the beads of which are in the 
case of the more wealthy made of lapis lazuli, and agate, 
while the poorer folk had to content themselves with 
ordinary glass. Bracelets and rings of silver and bronze 
were also discovered, together with "bronze" staffs pro- 
vided with lapis-points at either end. Among the tools 
may be enumerated fishing-hooks and hatchets made of 
" bronze," while colour-boxes made of alabaster or shell 
were usually buried with the corpse, and were therefore 
presumably regarded as toilet requisites in the life be- 
yond just as in the life which now is. The colours in most 
cases were found well preserved, the principal of which 
were black, yellow, red and light green. Many stone ves- 
sels of varying sizes and shapes were brought to light, 
most of them being made of alabaster, in fact alabaster 
was used quite extensively on this site, contrary to the 
usage of the Babylonians of later days, who seldom em- 
ployed thesofter stoneswhich their Assyrian neighbours 
utilized so frequently and for so many divers purposes. 
The excavators report that they were unable to deter- 
mine whether the sarcophagi or the mat-burials were the 
older, both apparently being used synchronously; an 
assumption that the sarcophagi were used by the better 
classes, the mat-interments by the poorer, would in itself 
be sufficiently reasonable, but for the awkward fact that 
the mat-graves are as richly provided with the accoutre- 
ments, ornaments and implements of the deceased as 
are the sarcophagi themselves. Very few sculptures were 
found, most of them being on alabaster and showing 
considerable skill in their general execution. The early 
part of 1 903 was signalized by the discovery of a build- 
ing made of well-baked bricks, in the ruined debris of 


which were discovered a large number of well-preserved 

Meanwhile excavations had been carried on at the 
same time atthe mound of Abu Hatab,Koldewey having 
received a report of the discovery of inscribed bricks on 
this site. Operations were commenced here on Decem- 
ber 24th, 1 902, and resulted in the discovery of a num- 
ber of small buildings, the walls of which were notable 
for their insubstantiality. Some of the bricks were 
found to bear an inscription of Bur-Sin, king of Ur 
(circ. 2350 B.C.). But Abu Hatab yielded little of in- 
terest to the student of early prehistoric remains. The 
tombs here consisted for the most part in two large 
pots " adjusted with their edges in a horizontal posi- 
tion," a form of sarcophagus found also in the early 
strata at Babylon and Mukeyyer (Ur). The corpse lay 
either on its back or side, but in both cases it was con- 
tracted, this being obviously necessitated by the limita- 
tions of the sarcophagus, as was similarly the case in 
the early pot-burials of ancient Egypt. A vessel of clay 
or copper was generally found placed near the head of 
the corpse, doubtless destined to fulfil a purpose similar 
to that of the drinking cups found in the graves at 

At about this time Andrae, Koldewey's assistant, 
completed the excavation of the temple of Nebo at Birs- 
Nimrud (Borsippa), whence Nebo paid his yearly visit 
to Marduk on the first day of the New Year. 

Koldewey and Andrae did not however confine their 
attention to the ruined mounds of Babylonia, but in 
1903 commenced excavations at Kalat Sherkat, the site 
of Ashur, Assyria's ancient capital, and the name of 
the god from whom Assyria derives her name. As early 
as 1852 Sir Henry Layard had conducted excavations 
on this site, the chief tangible result of which was the 
discovery of Tiglath-Pileser I's clay cylinders, though 
fragments of bas-reliefs and other inscriptions were also 


discovered here both by Layard and Rassam. Shalma- 
neser I (circ. 1300 B.C.) had transferred the seat of his 
government from Ashur to Calah, but his successor 
Tukulti-Ninib (circ. 1275 B - c -) restored the capital of 
the empire to Ashur. The mounds which mark the 
site of this ancient city are to a great extent of natural 
formation (cf. PL VIII), thereby differing from most of 
the ruined mounds in Mesopotamia, which owe their 
existence to artificial formation. From September 1903 
to April 1 904 operations were of a tentative character 
and consisted of trial trenches, but in April 1904 the 
Germans commenced excavating the large mound of 
mud-brick, the ziggurat, the eastern plateau, and the 
large court of Ashur's temple, part of the fortification- 
wall also receiving attention, while the main work cen- 
tred round the palace-buildings of Shalmaneser I -(circ. 
1300 B.C.). The great temple of Ashur, built or re- 
stored by Ushpia, an early ruler of the city who ante- 
dates Irishum, is situated in the north-east corner, and 
it adjoins the palace of Shalmaneser I. The ziggurat or 
stage-tower lies to the west-south-west, and the palace 
of Ashur-nasir-pal adjoins the temple of Anu and Adad, 
which would appear to be the best preserved building in 
Ashur. Various other buildings have been discovered, 
of which the temple of Nebo and the palace of Tukulti- 
Ninib I (circ. 1275 B.C.) may be specially mentioned. 
Numerous graves were found of various kinds, those 
with brick walls being undoubtedly Assyrian. Many 
valuable historical inscriptions were found, while the 
discovery of a wall-decoration consisting of a series of 
rosettes was another interesting result. The so-called 
"Mushlala"of Adad-nirari I (circ. 1325 B.C.), according 
to whom it formed a part of the temple of Ashur, was 
found to be identical with that restored by Sennacherib 
with " mountain-stone," and afterwards repaired by 
Esarhaddon (681-668 B.C.) with " pilu "-stone. The 
foundations of the building situated at the southern 

PLATE r/ll 

Kritislt Museum 




side of the eastern plateau proved to be of very great 
depth, while the plan of the building itself is said to 
closely resemble the early Babylonian type. The temple 
of Ashur the great lord of Assyria is alluded to by Iris- 
hum, king of Assyria (circ. 2000 B.C.), by Shamshi-Ad d 
who calls himself builder of the temple of Ashur, by 
Adad-nirari and by Shalmaneser I. In Shalmaneser Fs 
reign it was destroyed by fire, and that king undertook 
its restoration. An inscription of Tiglath-Pileser II in- 
forms us that he decorated the temple with enamelled 
bricks. Some of these inscriptions were found " in 
situ " thus fixing the precise locus of Ashur's famous 
shrine. The temple was situated at the extreme north 
of the city, three of its sides overlooking the open 
country and the fourth over-towered by the ziggurat. 
Remains of Shalmaneser's work have been found in 
the foundation and pavement constructed by that king, 
and some of the enamelled bricks which decorated the 
buildings of Sargon have also been recovered, while 
the pavement of the great court, as well as pieces of 
enamelled brick and the clay cones of Tiglath-Pileser II 
have been brought to light. The temple itself was orig- 
inally high above the level of the street. A second 
smaller ziggurat was further found, which proved to be 
a part of the temple of Anu and Adad, and the work of 
three distinct periods has been traced in this structure. 1 
Of interesting relics here unearthed, we may specifically 
mention a three-pronged thunderbolt of wood sheathed 
with gold. 

The remains of various palaces have been unearthed 
including those of Adad-nirari and Shalmaneser I, 
and the royal residence of Tukulti-Ninib has been also 
excavated. Many tablets were recovered, and a pot 
containing 113 unbaked clay tablets was also brought 
to light : the tablets are written in a script character- 
istic of the time of Tiglath-Pileser I, and are chiefly 

1 For an account of this temple, cf. chapter on Architecture, pp. 1 41 ff. 


concerned with receipts for cattle. Much pottery was 
unearthed, together with a variety of objects including 
some Roman imperial coins of the second century. The 
northern part of the city was that which was favoured 
by the Assyrian kings, and accordingly contains the re- 
mains of several temples and palaces, but the ruins of 
private houses are perhaps of even greater interest than 
the palaces of kings and the abodes of the gods. They 
' are small in size, but were evidently carefully drained. 
Within the houses a number of graves were discovered, 
apparently belonging to the same period as the houses 
themselves. In many cases the excavators state that 
theyfound clear traces of cremation in the graves. Seven 
distinctly different kinds of graves were found at Ashur 
vaults, clay sarcophagi, baked clay trays placed over the 
corpse, jars, brick graves, potsherd graves, and earth 
graves. Thevaults 1 areof variousshapesand dimensions, 
are made of burnt brick, and consist generally of a fairly 
spacious chamber and an entrance shaft. The bodies 
always more than one in each vault lay on the floor in 
a contracted position, surrounded with drinking vessels 
of every description, and in all cases there was a small 
niche for a lamp. The clay sarcophagi show even greater 
varieties, including jars into which the bodies were 
pressed, and tubs both high and short into which the 
corpse was placed in a seated position, while both of 
these classes comprise many different types. 

Another class of jar-burial, known as the " capsule," 
consisted in two jars drawn over the feet and head re- 
spectively and pressed together till they met, thus form- 
ing a "capsule." The Brick-graves were practically 
Brick-sarcophagi, the graves being built coffin-wise, but 
few of these have been found. The Potsherd graves 
are so called from the use of potsherds to cover the 
corpse. Apparently these various methods of burial co- 
existed at the same time, and they accordingly cannot 

1 Cf. further, pp. 176 fT. 


be classified into periods, as is the case to some extent in 
early Egypt. 

Concerning the fortifications of the city, the inscrip- 
tions of the various kings who built, repaired, or rebuilt 
these, afford us a good deal of information, but the ex- 
cavations themselves have not up to the present told us 
as much as we could desire. Shalmaneser II's work of re- 
storation on the southern wall has been identified by the 
clay-cones of that king found in the upper part of the 
wall, while in some of his inscriptions Shalmaneser calls 
himself the builder of the "D6ru " itself. The quay- wall 
built by Adad-nirari I, restored by Adad-nirari II, and 
later onbyAdad-nirari II I, has been excavated for nearly 
490 yards of its length ; it is built of blocks of limestone 
and is faced with brick on the river-side, coherency 
being added to the whole by an ample employment of 
asphalt and clay-mortar. Part of the city-moat built by 
Tukulti-Ninib I has also been found, the excavations 
having further revealed the restoration of the city-wall, 
for which Ashur-nasir-pal was probably responsible. 

The year 1908 saw the excavation of the temple 
erected in honour of the god Nehp at Ashur by Suv- 
shar-ishkun, the last king of Assyria (circ. 615 n.c.). 1 
The general ground-plan of this late Assyrian temple 
was found to correspond to that of the Anu-Adad 
temple, and also to that of the temple built by Sargon 
at Khorsabad. 2 Numerous stelae and other monuments 
of stone were recovered from the ruins of Ashur ; they 
include a basalt stele of Tukulti-Ninib, 3 a stele of Tig- 
lath-Pileser III, and another of Ashur-resh-ishi II, 4 a 
limestone stele of Ashur-nasir-pal, an alabaster stele 
with the representation of a king adoring a god and 
goddess, which in some way resembles the Bavian re- 
lief of Sennacherib, 5 and fragments of a diorite sculp- 

1 Cf. Andrae, Mitteilungen, No. 38, pp. 23 ff. 

2 Cf. further pp. 144^ 8 Cf. Mittellungen, No. 42, p. 42. 
4 Ibidem, No. 42, p. 35. 6 Ibidem^ No. 43, p. 34. 


ture 1 with small figures recalling the style of art charac- 
teristic of the Khammurabi period. The interest of 
these monuments is chiefly centred in the inscriptions 
which throw new light upon the number and order of 
the Assyrian kings. 

Meanwhile the Americans, whose excavations in 
Babylonia had been inaugurated with so much promise, 
had again taken the field. On Christmas day 1903 an 
expedition sent out by the Oriental Exploration Fund 
of the University of Chicago, under the directorship of 
Professor R. F. Harper (E. J. Banks as field-director) 
commenced excavations at Bismaya, the name of a 
group of mounds situated between the Tigris and ; 
Euphrates, and due south of Bagdad. The mounds are 
very extensive, measuring about a mile in length and 
half a mile in breadth, but their altitude is very low 
compared with that of other mounds, such as Erech, 
Nippur (cf. PL X) or Borsippa. The temple was the 
first building at Bismaya to receive attention, partly 
owing to the fact that it happened to be concealed be- 
neath one of the loftiest of the Bismayan mounds, and 
partly because the general shape of the mound suggested 
the possible existenceof a stage-tower beneath its ruined 
debris. Trenches dug on all sides of the mound to- 
wards the centre soon revealed the lower storey of one 
of these temple towers, the second storey of which had 
disappeared, though some of the burnt bricks which 
formed its outer casing were found lying about. The 
surviving lowerstage consisted in crude bricks and clay, 
but was provided with a facing of burnt brick some four 
feet thick. Many of these casing bricks were inscribed 
with the name of Dungi, king of Ur (circ. 2400 B.C.). 
Beneath the bricks of Dungi was found another layer 
of burnt bricks, some of which bore the name of Ur- 
Engur, Dungi's immediate predecessor on the throne i 
of Ur. Of small objects unearthed, the three most in- 
1 Cf. Mitffi/ungen, No. 44, p. 34. 


teresting were a thin strip of gold found about two feet 
below the baked bricks of Dungi, and bearing the name 
of the renowned Naram-Sin, the son of Shar-Gani- 
sharri ofAgade,and the second was a small white marble 
statuette found at no great distance from the strip of 
gold, and conforming to the style of art characteristic 
of the age of Narem-Sin, while the third was another 
marble statue belongTrigto the earliest Sumerian period, 
and closely resembling those excavated in the lowest 
strata at Tellc A ) (Lagash). This statue (cf. Fig. 32) is 
probably unique as a statue in the round belonging to 
so early a period, and is especially noticeable for the fact 
that the arms are in this case entirely free from the 
body, and carved altogether in the round. 

Just below the place where the gold of Naram-Sin was 
recovered, large bricks about 1 8 inches square and be- 
longing to the age of Shar-Gani-sharri were found,while 
numerous inscriptions of this same king were forth- 
coming from some of the other mounds at Bismaya. 
Beneath the large Sargonic bricks there was a layer of 
thin oblong and finger-marked bricks, while lower still, 
some five feet below the surface, small plano-convex 
bricks set in bitumen were brought to light. 

A great number of vase fragments made of marble, \^ 
porphyry, granite, alabaster and onyx, together with in- 
numerable objects made of ivory, mother of pearl, metal 
and stone were found round about the temple tower. 

In regard to the temple itself, an entrance was dis- 
covered on the south-east side, the principal remaining 
features of which were the marble gate-socket supported 
on two slabs of pink marble. At the south corner, an 
oval-shaped room was brought to light, which was once 
covered with a dome-shaped roof. But the base of the 
temple tower had depths even below the stratum con- 
taining the small plano-convex bricks, which yet re- 
mained to be fathomed. 

Some sixteen or seventeen feet below the surface a 


large metal spike (cf. Fig. 40) terminating in a lion's 
head was recovered, while much lower still, about 
thirty-nine to forty feet below the level of the mound a 
number of fragments of wheel-made black pottery were 
revealed. The date of this wheel-made pottery is of 
course unknown, but judging from the depth at which 
it was found, Dr. Banks, the Field-director of the ex- 
pedition, suggests a date of 10,000 B.C. In the same 
year (1903) in which these successful excavations were 
being carried on at Bismaya, Nineveh, the ruined 
mounds of which once-famous city had already yielded 
such a rich harvest to the great pioneers in the field of 
Mesopotamian exploration, received further attention 
at the hands of the Trustees of the British Museum, 
who sent out an expedition under Messrs. L. W. King 
and R. C. Thompson, with a view to the further exca- 
vation of the Kouyunjik mound. The principal result 
of the excavations carried on there between the years 
1903 and 1905 was the discovery of the site of Nabu's 
temple, which had however been so ruthlessly destroyed 
presumably by the Elamites that no complete plan 
of the temple could be made. 

Meanwhile the excavations at Tello (Lagash) which 
had been brought suddenly to an end by the death of 
the brilliant French excavator (M. de Sarzec) in May, 
1 90 1, were resumed in January, 1903, under the direc- 
torship of Captain Gaston Cros. The principal fresh 
discovery made was a massive fortification wall built 
byGudea (circ. 2450 B.C.). It is about thirty-two and 
a half feet thick, and in places is still in position to 
the height of twenty-six feet. Captain Cros also exca- 
vated a large rectangular building, and brought to light 
variousobjectsof interest,including implements of flint 
and copper, together with a brick-stamp of Naram-Sin, 
which latter maybe regarded as evidence that building 
operations were carried on in Lagash by a Semitic king 
of Agade during the period of Semitic supremacy. 


~^HE first person to bring reports of cuneiform in- 
X scriptions to Europe was Pietro della Valle, an 
Italian belonging to a Roman family of noble birth. In 
the years 1614-26 he made a journey to Turkey, Egypt, 
Palestine, Persia and India, and published an account 
of his travels in 1650, but the first communication of 
his discovery of cuneiform inscriptions at Persepolis 
was contained in a letter written from Shiraz and dated 
October 2ist, 1621. Josafat Barbaro at the end of the 
fifteenth century had already taken notice of the strange 
signs found on the monuments at Persepolis, but Pietro 
della Valle was the first to suspect that the inscriptions 
were something more than mere decorative incisions on 
the rock. But though Pietro della Valle had made copies 
of a few of the inscriptions on the walls of the ruined 
palaces of Persepolis as earlyas 1 62 1 , to Chardin ( 1 674) 
belongs the honour of making the first copy of a com- 
plete cuneiform inscription, the so-called "Window-In- 
scription," the shortest of the trilingual Achaemenian 
inscriptions, and his copy is to be found in the account 
of his travels (published 1711). This same inscription 
was copied in 1694 by Kampfer, who also copied the 
Babylonian text of the "H " inscription found at Perse- 
polis, and who was the first to adopt the term " cunei- 
form." In the work which he published in 1 7 12 he dis- 
cusses whethertheunknown script is alphabetic, syllabic, 
or ideographic, and decides in favour of the last. In 
1701, the Dutchman De Bruin commenced his travels : 



he devoted the year 1 704 to an examination of the ruins 
at Persepolis and ten years later he published two new 
trilingual inscriptions in addition to an Old Persian and 
a Babylonian inscription, but to copy was one thing and 
to decipher was quite another, and well nigh a century 
elapsed before any real progress was made towards the 
unravelling of these cryptic signs, and the reconstruc- 
tion of the languages which they embodied. In 1762 
the inscription on the Vase of Xerxes found by Count 
Cayluswas published, and a quadrilingual inscription of 
this kingwas published the same year. In 1765 Carsten 
Niebuhr, a Dane, copied several Achaemenian inscrip- 
tions at Persepolis, and pointed out that the first of the 
three columns on each of the trilingual inscriptions that 
had been found, contained only forty-two varieties of 
cuneiform characters from which he surmised rightly that 
the system in the first column was neither ideographic 
(each sign representing a word), nor syllabic (each sign 
representing a syllable), but alphabetic. From 1 798 on- 
wards, Tychsen and Milliter, also a Dane, carried on 
the work begun by Niebuhr, and published their results 
in 1 802. Miinter had correctly guessed that the ubiqui- 
tous diagonal wedge ^ served to separate the words 
from each other, and one word which occurred at the 
beginning of each inscription, he rightly adjudged to be 
the word for " king." In the meantime the Zend 1 lan- 
guage of the later Zoroastrian faith had been redis- 
covered, and with the aid of it de Sacy had been able to 
decipher the Pehlevi' 2 inscriptions. Now only the older 

1 The Zend-Avesta is practically the equivalent of the Bible and 
prayer-book of the Zoroastrians. The Zoroastrian faith flourished as 
early as the sixth century B.C., and probably became the religion of the 
later Achaemenian kings. 

2 The Pehlevi language and literature belongs to the middle Persian 
period, i.e. from the third to the ninth century or so A.D. The language 
is related to old Persian on the one hand, and to modern Persian on 
the other. The Zend as it were bridged over the gulf between modern 


Persian inscriptions of the Achaemenian kings awaited 
interpretation. In 1802 G. Friedrich Grotefend, of 
Hanover,a schoolmaster by profession, entered the field, 
and by the following process of reasoning he became the 
pioneer discoverer of part of the Persian cuneiform 
alphabet, and the first decipherer of a complete cunei- 
form inscription. Old writers had provided him with 
the all-important information that the palaces of Perse- 
polis, amid the ruins of which so many of these cunei- 
form inscriptions had been found, were built by the 
Achaemenian kings. The Pehlevi inscriptions more- 
over, which had also been found on this site and had 
been deciphered by de Sacy, led him to expect that the 
cuneiform inscriptions would contain something analo- 
gous. Grotefend had already satisfied himself that the 
inscriptions read from left to right, and selecting two 
short inscriptions, one engraved on a gate-post of a 
building on the second palace-terrace, and the other en- 
graved on the wall of a building on the third palace- 
terrace at Persepolis, he commenced his successful in- 
vestigations. Both inscriptions contained the group 
of signs which Miinter had already rightly inferred re- 
presented "king," though what was the Persian for 
" king " remained as yet unknown, the only difference 
being that in Inscription I "king" was preceded by 
group of signs which may be conveniently designated 
" X," while in Inscription II "king" is preceded by 
a group of signs which may be called " Y," and that 
moreover in Inscription II "X" and the word for 
"king" following it occurred after the "Y" + "king." 
In I on the other hand "X" + "king" was followed 
by another group of signs which may be labelled "Z," 
without however the usual accompanying " king." 

Thus I reads X" + king "Z" 

And II reads "Y" + king "X" + king. 

and ancient Persian, and was of the greatest assistance in the decipher- 
ment of the old Persian language as found in the cuneiform inscriptions. 


From this, Grotefend concluded that the groups of 
signs " X " " Y " and " Z " represented proper names, 
and that as " X " and " Y " were accompanied by 
" king," they must be king's names, and lastly Achae- 
menian kings' names, for ancient writers stated that 
these palaces at Persepolis were built by Achaemenian 
kings, and furthermore their position suggested that 
these proper names must stand in genealogical rela- 
tion to each other. In I " X " must be the son 
of "Z," and in II Y" must be the son of "X" ; 
" X " und " Y " are accompanied with the sign for 
" king," " Z " is not, therefore " Z " the father of " X " 
is not a king, and consequently " X " is presumably the 
founder of the dynasty. But apart from this hypothesis, 
some of the names of the five kings composing the (for- 
tunately) short Achaemenian Dynasty Cyrus, Camby- 
ses, Darius, Xerxes and Artaxerxes were at once ruled 
out of court : thus Cyrus and Cambyses were out of the 
question, for "X" and u Y"did not commence with the 
same cuneiform letter (it must be remembered that it 
had already been rightly assumed that the system was an 
alphabetic one), and moreover Cyrus' father and son 
were both named Cambyses, and accordingly if " X " 
were Cyrus then " Y " and " Z " should be the same, 
which they are not. Cyrus and Artaxerxes were like- 
wise disqualified, as there was no such discrepancy in 
the length of the words, there thus remained only Darius 
and Xerxes to be considered, and as " X's " father " Z " 
is not called king, and it is further known that Hys- 
taspes the father of Darius is not styled " king " by 
the classical writers, " X " was rightly assumed to be 
Darius. Having ascertained the oldest forms of the 
names of the Achaemenian kings in question from the 
classical writers, and Hebrew and Persian literature, he 
applied these forms to the groups of cuneiform signs 
which he had been led to believe they represented, and 
he found the respective groups contained the same 


number of individual signs as the proper names in ques- 
tion contained letters, and for 

" X " he accordingly read D A R - - U SH = Darius 
Z" he read G O SH T A S P = Hystaspes 
the Zend form of the name. 

But " Y," which on his hypothesis should be Xerxes, 
was not quite so easy to explain. He already knew the 
values of four or five of the seven signscomposinggroup 
" Y," and these known values occurred in the order he 
expected, but the first and third signs in the group re- 
mained to be dealt with. Grotefend observed that the 
first sign was the same as the first sign of the group 
correctly guessed by M (inter to represent " king " : he 
ascertained that the Greek letter " x " was transliterated 
in the Zend by " kh," and rightly inferred that the 
Greek " x " commencing the proper name Xerxes would 
be similarly transliterated by " kh " in old Persian, in 
other words that the first sign in the group should be 
read "Kh." The result of Grotefend's investigations 
was the discovery of the correct values for eight letters 
in the Persian cuneiform alphabet, the letter "a " having 
been already rightly read by Tychsen and M (Inter. 
His method of decipherment was proved to be correct 
by the quadrilingual vase-inscription already alluded to. 
The first version of this latter inscription is written in 
Egyptian hieroglyphics and was deciphered by Cham- 
pollion as the name of Xerxes. The other three ver- 
sions are written in cuneiform characters, the first of 
which, the old Persian, gave precisely the same group 
of signs as that which Grotefend read as Xerxes on the 
inscription from Persepolis. As Sayce 1 well says, the 
decipherment of cuneiform and all the far-reaching con- 
sequences resultant from it, depended upon a successful 
guess, but a guess made " in accordance with scientific 
method," and it was upon Grotefend's discovery that all 

1 Archaeology of the Cuneiform Inscriptions, p. 8. 


subsequent attempts to decipher cuneiform Persian, 
Median, or Assyrian were based. But unfortunately, 
though Grotefend had thus given the clue, and scented 
the track for all future scholars, his own ignorance of 
eastern languages prevented him from reaping himself 
the full harvest of his brilliant commencement, and the 
work so nobly begun was not completed till a later day. 

The next great step forward was taken by the French 
scholar Emile Burnouf in 1836 ; he discovered that 
one inscription contained a list of the satrapies, and as 
the names of the satrapies where known from the Greek 
writers he was able on the partial knowledge of the 
alphabet already attained, to fit in the names to the 
cuneiform signs, and as a result he produced an alpha- 
bet of thirty letters mostly correct. About the same 
time Lassen assigned the correct values to almost all 
the letters in the alphabet, and further demonstrated 
that the language of the inscriptions was akin to the 
language of the Zend and also to the Sanskrit, though 
identical with neither. 

Meanwhile Rawlinson had entered the field, and 
being attached to the British Mission in Persia, he had 
opportunities which others lacked, his position making 
it possible for him to copy and on a subsequent occasion 
take squeezes 1 of the inscription on the sacred rock of 
Behistun, which is filled with proper names. The 
French traveller Otter was apparently the first European 
to draw attention to the inscribed rock of Behistun, 
about the year 1 734, and it is also mentioned by Oliver, 
but the earliest reference to it is contained in the History 
of Diodorus Siculus who flourished in the first century 
A.D. Kinneir who saw it in 1810 states that it is clear 
that the figures portrayed there are of the same age and 
character as those from Persepolis. In 1818 Porter 

1 Squeezes are made by means of a series of layers of thick paper, 
which has been moistened, the impression being gained by applying the 
substance thus formed to the inscription and beating it in with a brush. 


made a sketch of the figures, but did not attempt to 
copy the inscription in spite of the experience he had 
gained in copying the inscription at Persepolis. The 
copying of it was no easy task, for Rawlinson had to 
be lowered in a basket from the top, the ladders which 
he had with him not being long enough to reach the 
upper part of the inscription from below. He sent 
his copy 1 to Edwin Norris, the secretary of the Royal 
Asiatic Society, who carefully revised it, and in 1849 
an analysis and commentary on the text was published. 
With Rawlinson and Norris must be mentioned the 
Irish clergyman Hincks, who with his unrivalled genius 
in the decipherment of inscriptions was the first to 
discover that the alphabet was not a true one, but that 
a vowel-sound was attached to each of the consonants ; 
and also Beer Holtzman and Westergaard, all of whom 
contributed to the work of investigation and made dis- 
coveries in regard to both the grammar and lexicon. 
Rawlinson cannot indeed claim to have actually dis- 
covered the first clue which led to the decipherment 
of cuneiform, but his translation of the Behistun in- 
scription was unquestionably the most valuable con- 
tribution ever made towards the unravelling of the old 
Persian language. His work was moreover at first 
quite independent of Grotefend's, and without any as- 
sistance from the latter he had deciphered the names of 
Cyrus, Hystaspes and Darius on the inscriptions from 
Elvend and Hamadan as early as 1835. Thus the 
efforts of half a century resulted at length in the dis- 
covery of a new alphabet and the resurrection of an old 
language. The Persian texts on the inscriptions were 
accompanied by two other texts, which as Grotefend 
divined must have been the two other principal lan- 
guages used in the Persian Empire. The third text 

1 A partial duplicate of this inscription on the Behistun Rock is 
inscribed on a dolerite block discovered by the German excavators at 
Babylon ; it contains many interesting additions. 


closely resembling the inscriptions on bricks and cylinder 
seals found in Babylon was naturally and correctly as- 
sumed to be Assyrian. 1 The decipherment of this third 
transcript was fraught with difficulties of every descrip- 
tion ; there was such an endless variety of signs of a 
simple and complex order, and there was nothing what- 
ever to indicate where a word or a sentence started or 
finished, and further the characters on the monuments 
from Persepolis differed very considerably from those 
found on the Babylonian monuments, which also varied 
among themselves very greatly. On the seal-cylinders 
they were especially complicated, and it was almost im- 
possible to see any resemblance whatever between the 
characters on the latter and those of the Persepolitan 

But light was to come from another quarter : in 1 842 
Botta, French Consul at Mosul, began excavating on 
the site of Nineveh, but not meeting with success he 
transferred his operations to Khorsabad further north, 
and there excavated a large place which subsequently 
turned out to be that of Sargon. In 1845 Layard entered 
the field, and carried on most successful excavations at 
Nimrud (the ancient Calah) and then at Kouyunjik, one 
of the mounds which represents the site of Nineveh. 

Botta published the inscriptions he had found in 
1 846-50, and also classified the signs, which numbered 
642, while he further demonstrated the identity of the 
cuneiform system of the Nineveh inscriptions with that 
of the third column on the Persepolitan monuments, 
but it was reserved for the incomparable Hincks to dis- 
cover the fact that the Assyrian cuneiform system was 
syllabic and not alphabetic like the Persian. 

1 The term " Assyrian " is used, as a large part of the earlier Baby- 
lonian literature comes down to us through Assyrian hands, being copied 
and as it were rcpublished by Assyrian scribes. Assyrian and Baby- 
lonian were different dialects of the same language ; similarly Assyrian 
and Babylonian cuneiform exhibit great differences in style, Babylonian 
being more cursive and generally therefore more difficult to read. 



The proper names in the Persian columns gave the 
first clue to the decipherment of the Assyrian columns. 
The values thus obtained for some of the Assyrian signs 
made it possible to read many of the words, their mean- 
ings being determined by a comparison with the Persian 
columns. It was then seen that Assyrian was a Semitic 
language and resembled Hebrew in particular ; this was 
proved conclusively by De Saulcy in 1849. / In jJSj^ 
Rawlinson submitted a translation of the inscription on 
the Black obelisk of Shalmaneser II to the Royal Asia- 
tic Society, a translation which was in the main correct, 
and in the following year he published the text and 
translation of the Assyrian transcript on the Behistun 
inscription, and announced two facts, onealready known, 
namely that the Assyrian signs can be used ideographi- 
cally, i.e. to denote an object or idea, as well as to re- 
present merely a syllable, the other fact was that the 
characters were polyphonous, i.e. could represent more 
than one syllable each : this was again proved to de- 
monstration by the redoubtable Hincks. Both facts 
alike argued that the cursive Assyrian cuneiform had 
its origin in picture writing, for in the latest times when 
cuneiform was as it were fully stereotyped, the signs 
were still used alone singly to represent an object or an 
idea, and also the polyphonous character of the indivi- 
dual signs testified to the same origin, for example the 
picture of an arm would signify not merely an " arm" 
but also "strength," "might," " grasp," etc., and thus 
though the sign would at least originally only have 
one general idea attached to it, it would have quite a 
number of phonetic values : these phonetic values would 
in the first be inseparably connected with the root idea, 
but in time when the sign had become cursive and 
developed and no longer resembled the original pic- 
ture, the various phonetic values of the sign would not 
necessarily have anything whatever to do with the origi- 
nal root idea. 


For example, a character with the meaning and phonetic 
value of the word " win" would in later times come to 
represent the syllable " win " quite apart from the basis 
meaning of the word win, thus the sign could be used 
to represent the first syllable in the word win-ter. 

In 1857 the Royal Asiatic Society proposed to test 
the reliability of the translations put forward by scholars 
of the Assyrian inscriptions in the following manner : 
someeight hundred lines of cuneiform writing contained 
on clay cylinders found by Layard at Kalat Sherkat, the 
ancient Ashur, were to be independently translated by 
any scholars who were prepared to accept the proposal ; 
the translations were to be sent under seal to the so- 
ciety's secretary, and were to be opened together and 
examined before a commission on a set day. Rawlin- 
son, Fox Talbot, Hincksand Oppert entered the lists, 
and on May 25th their respective products were opened 
and compared. The great similarity which they all dis- 
played afforded conclusive proof as to the correctness 
of the method of decipherment, and demonstrated fin- 
ally that the investigations carried on, together with the 
results of those investigations, had not been mere specu- 
lative guesses, but were based on sound scientific prin- 

Many other scholars deserve our gratitude for the 
share they took in the decipherment of the cuneiform 
inscriptions, of whom one may perhaps specially name 
Westergaarde, LOwenstern, De Saulcy and Longperier, 
but for an account of the particular achievements of 
each, the reader must refer to general works on the 
subject. 1 

1 Cf. A. J. Booth, Trilingual Inscriptions; Rogers, History, pp. 175 ff.; 
Sayce, Archa-ology of the Cuneiform Inscriptions, pp. 1-35; Harper, 
Biblical World, XVI, pp. 294-7, 371-3 (a short and concise summary). 


A,L alphabets and all modes of writing have their 
ultimate origin in pictures or hieroglyphs, and 
the cuneiform script offers no exception to this univer- 
sal rule. When the early pictorial symbols are used 
to indicate objects and ideas other than the particular 
object of which the sy-mbol is a representation the ac- 
curacy or inaccuracy of the picture becomes a matter of 
small importance, and an inevitable tendency to sketch 
the picture in the most speedy manner possible ends 
finally in the evolution of a purely cursive script. In 
Mesopotamiathiscourseof development or deteriora- 
tion was hastened by the nature of the material used 
in later times for all ordinary writing purposes, i.e. the 
all-abundant clay of the valley, it being impossible to 
draw the lines and curves necessary for the production 
of pictures on so plastic a substance as clay. The shape 
assumed by the signs forming the characters was due 
to the same cause, the point at which the stylus first 
comes in contact with the soft clay being unavoidably 
thicker than the remainder of the stroke which auto- 
matically tapers off into the form of a wedge. But so 
forcible is the influence of habit and so strong the imi- 
tative tendency, that we find the cuneiform characters 
which owed their wedge-shaped formation entirely and 
solely to the adoption of clay as a writing material, faith- 
fully and slavishly copied on the colossal stone bulls, 
stelae and wall-reliefs of later Assyrian kings. 

The early decipherers of cuneiform had no specific 
knowledge of its pictographic origin, for all the inscrip- 
tions at that time discovered showed the same stereo- 



typed and cursive script, but since their day a vast 
number of archaic inscriptions have been brought to 
light which prove conclusively that cuneiform as such 
was no invention of either Semites or Sumerians, but 
was simply the last stage in the process of degeneration 
to which the early picturesof the pre-Semitic Sumerians 
were subject. In the following illustrations (Figs. I and 
2) we have a number of characters taken from actual 
inscriptions and arranged in order of evolution so to 
speak, 1 the sign in the left-hand column containing the 
most archaic form of the sign as yet discovered, the signs 
in the right-hand column showing the gradual transition 
to cursive cuneiform, while the last sign in the column 
is the ordinary late Assyrian ideograph. Thus in "A" 
we have the crude picture of a man recumbent, and one 
can follow the course of its development or deteriora- 
tion from the various forms it has assumed on monu- 
ments and bricks arranged in order of sequence. Given 
the ordinary cuneiform sign for " man " by itself, it 
would be quite impossible to conjecture that it origin- 
ated in the picture of a man at all. Below (" B") we have 
the old Sumerian hieroglyph for " king," consisting in 
a man lying down, surmounted by either a crown or an 
umbrella as part of the insignia of royalty. In " C " we 
have the picture of a man's head in recumbent posture, 
the lips being represented by two slanting lines, while 
the series of characters in the centre illustrates the vari- 
ous forms the sign has assumed on the bricks and 
monuments, and the arrangement shows the process 
whereby the original hieroglyph gradually discarded all 
trace of its pictorial origin, and became a cursive stereo- 
typed sign the principal value of which is "mouth." 
Below we have another rude picture of a man's head, 
but on this occasion he wears a beard, which would 
suggest a full-grown man ; hence the meaning of the 

i For references to texts in which these signs occur, cf. G. A. Bar- 
ton in Harper's Old Testament and Semitic Studies, Vol. II, pp. 241 ff. 


Assyrian ideograph is "strength," "be strong," or "pro- 
tection." In figure "E" there is a representation of a 







iv \ Vv 
i % ryr 

FIG. I. From Harper's Old Testament and Semitic Studies, Vol. II, 
pp. 241 ff. By permission. 

potted plant: this sign, instead of becoming simpler as 
it makes each progressive step towards cuneiform, be- 


comes paradoxically more complex, until it finally sub- 
sides and assumes its normal cursive form, the principal 
value for which is " cypress-tree." Below (" F ") two 
plants are seen, growing likewise in a pot : the progress 
is again obvious, the meanings of the ideogram being 
"plant" and "garment"; this latter meaning is probably 
attached to the sign through the use of flax as a material 
for clothing. " G" appears to be a tree growing by water ; 
the late cuneiform sign has numerous values, but none 
of them suggest any immediate connection with the 
obvious signification of the picture-character from which 
it was developed. " H " gives us a picture of a reed, the 
late cuneiform character being the ideogram for " kanu " 
which means a "reed." 

In Fig. 2, "Q" we have a picture of a fish ; the 
meaning of the Assyrian ideogram derived from it are 
a " fish," to " peel " (from preparing a fish for eating), 
the god Ea, on account of his sometimes being repre- 
sented in the form of a fish, and finally a " prince," and 
" great " from its association with Ea. Below (" R ") is 
another fish, provided with what appears to be a dorsal 
fin, hence the signification of the Assyrian sign is 
" broad " or a " monster." 

Our next illustration ("I") is concerned with water : 
we have here the wavy lines for water which is simi- 
larly represented in both Egyptian and Chinese hiero- 
glyphics. Below (" J" ) we have a representation of the 
little irrigation ditches by which gardens are watered : 
hence the cuneiform ideogram derives the meaning of 
" field " and stands for two distinct Assyrian words 
"ginu" and "iklu," both of which mean "field." It is 
somewhat doubtful what the hieroglyph in "K" is in- 
tended to represent : Hommel regarded it as a picture 
of a leathern bottle which would not unnaturally sug- 
gest the meaning " desert "; Barton, on the other hand, 
with perhaps greater probability regards it as a rude 
outline of the Euphrates valley, with its two rivers and 


its " occasional sections of irrigated and so fertile land," 
indicated by the cross-lines, and he rightly says that 









FIG. 2. From Harper's (9/i/ Testament and Semitic Studies, Vol. II, 
pp. 241 ff. By permission. 

this would account for the meanings " plain " and 
" lands," and by an extension " desert," " elevated 
country," and last of all " back." In "L" we see the 


picture of a house, which however hardly corresponds 
with our conception of what a house should be : the 
cuneiform sign derived from it is the ideogram for 
" bitu " (the Hebrew " Beth " occurring in the proper 
names Bethlehem, " house of bread," Bethshemesh, 
" house of the sun," etc.), the ordinary Assyrian word 
for "house." 

The next figure (" M ") shows us a covered and steam- 
ing pot ; hence the meanings of the later cuneiform sign 
are to "burst forth," "exult," "rejoice." "N" is some- 
what doubtful, but it probably represents a " priestly 
garment," inasmuch as the cuneiform sign derived from 
it is the Assyrian ideogram for " sangu " a " priest." 
" O " is apparently a rude picture of either a crown or 
a ceremonial umbrella, as the emblem of greatness, the 
picture of the Assyrian king attended by a slave whose 
office it is to hold an umbrella over the head of his royal 
master being, through its frequent occurrence on the bas- 
reliefs which adorned the walls of the palaces, sufficiently 
familiar. However that may be, the cuneiform sign is the 
ordinary ideogram for "rabu" (the root which occurs in 
Rabshakeh, Rabsaris, etc.), which means "great" ; we 
have already seen this sign compounded with the picture 
of a man, the two together meaning " king." In " P " 
we see a picture of a bowl in which two tinder-sticks 
have been inserted with a view to their ignition by fric- 
tion ; hence is derived the meaning of the cuneiform 
sign developed from it, " fire." 

As has been already indicated, clay was the material 
mostly used by the Assyrian and Babylonian scribes for 
the purposes of writing ; but stone was also extensively 
used from the earliest to the latest times. Stone obelisks, 
colossal statues of bulls and lions, and last but far from 
least the bas-reliefs which decora ted the walls of the royal 
palaces were generally covered with an inscription, the 
wedges sometimes measuring as much as two inches. 
In writing on sculpture the carved figures were com- 


pletely ignored, the inscription being chiselled regard- 
lessly through every detail of the carving. Stone was 
however sometimes used solely and exclusively as the 
material medium for perpetuating a legal agreement, or 
immortalizing the work of some self-satisfied grandee, 
and tablets of limestone or alabaster exist in large num- 
bers, good examples of which are those of Rim-Sin and 
Sin-Gamil, rulers of the ancient city of Larsa. 

Boundary-stones or land-marks form another inter- 
esting class of inscribed stone objects. The texts refer to 
land-tenure and property conveyancing, while the upper 
part of most of theseboulder-shaped monuments issculp- 
tured in relief with mythological emblems. They be- 
long almost exclusively to the Kassite period. Some- 
times a plan of the field seems to have been chiselled on 
the stone which marked its boundary. A good example 
of such a boundary-stone is that of Nebuchadnezzar I, 
which was discovered at Nippur and is published by 
W. J. Hinke j 1 a further point of interest about this 
stone is that it is inscribed with a hymn to Enlil, the god 
of Nippur. 

But neither the Babylonians nor the Assyrians con- 
fined themselves exclusively to the use of clay and cal- 
careous stone as the material whereon to write their in- 
scriptions. Sometimes the hardest volcanic rocks were 
employed for the purpose, doubtless in consideration 
of their durabilityand power of resisting the devastating 
influences of time and climate. Thus in the course of 
the German excavations at Babylon a plate of dolerite 
measuring about a foot and a half square and bearing 
an inscription of Adad-nirari the son of Ashur-dan was 
discovered. So too Dungi and Bur-Sin, kings of Ur 
(circ. 2350 B.C.), have left us inscriptions chiselled on 
hard diorite, the inscriptions themselves being of a votive 

1 Cf. Babylonian Expedition of the University of Pennsylvania IP, 
Series D, for this Babylonian boundary-stone and for a full discussion 
of the subject generally. 


character, while a club-button made of the same material 
and bearing an inscription of ten lines was found at 
Babylon. The various statues and stelae made of these 
hard igneous stones and found both in Assyria and Baby- 
lonia, though more frequently in the mother country, 
practically always bear an inscription. A good example 
of an Assyrian inscription on basalt is that found on the 
basalt statue of Shalmaneser II (860-825 B.C.), which 
was brought to light in the course of the recent excava- 
tions conducted by the Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft at 
Ashur. Again the numerous stone gate-sockets dis- 
covered in the ruins of early buildings in Babylonia are 
nearly all inscribed with the name and titles of the person 
who erected the building, and sometimes the original 
inscription has been erased or obliterated to make room 
for the inscription of a later ruler, who knowing full well 
the difficulty of procuring stone in the low- lying country 
of Babylonia, was not so short-sighted as to cast away 
the gate-sockets of his vanquished predecessor, but on 
the contrary utilized them for his own new building. 
Thus for example the gate-socket of Lugal-kigub-ni- 
dudu, an early king of Sumer, was subsequently used by 
Shar-Gani-sharri, king of Akkad, in the construction of 
his temple at Nippur. 

But sometimes stones of comparative rarity, such as 
lapis lazuli, were employed as a material whereon to 
engrave inscriptions : thus a tablet made of that mate- 
rial and dedicated by Lugal-tarsi, an early king of 
Kish, to the god Anu and the goddess Ninni, is pre- 
served in the British Museum, and in the course of 
the recent excavations at Babylon two bars of lapis 
lazuli with reliefs and both bearing cuneiform inscrip- 
tions were discovered. One of these showed the pic- 
ture of a god standing up, surmounted with a feather 
crown, and holding the symbol of lightning in each 
hand, while his dress is decorated with three shields, 
and a cuneiform inscription of five lines is further added; 


on the other, a god in similar posture and dress but 
holding a staff and ring on his breast and grasping the 
tail of a double-horned dragon in his right hand is por- 
trayed : the god's girdle is decorated with figures, while 
on one of the three shields adorning the raiment, horses 
are depicted, and there is an accompanying inscription 
of eight lines. 

Metal in like manner was not exempt from being 
drawn into the service, the metals mostly employed 
being bronze and copper. Thus the female statuettes 
from Tello all bear an inscription, Elamite or Baby- 
lonian as the case may be, the general purport of which 
is that the statuette is dedicated with a view to the pre- 
servation of the life of the donor : so too the colossal 
copper lance-head discovered on the same site bears a 
royal inscription, while the famous bronze gate-sheaths 
from Balawat belonging to the time of Shalmaneser II, 
are perhaps the most familiar instance of cuneiform in- 
scriptions engraved on bronze. Many bronze tablets 
of the Assyrian period have been found, and the well- 
known bronze doorstep of Nebuchadnezzar II provides 
us with another excellent example of an inscription en- 
graved on metal. Moreover the more precious metals 
such as silver and gold were occasionally inscribed. 
Inscriptions on gold are very rare, but by no means 
unknown. M. de Sarzec for example found a plate of 
gold bearing a cuneiform inscription at Tello, and a 
strip of gold bearing the name of the illustrious Naram- 
Sin of Agade was brought to light in the course of the 
American excavations at Bismaya. 

But the inscribed clay tablets, countless in number 
and infinitely various in size, shape and contents, far out- 
weigh in importance all other kinds of cuneiform inscrip- 
tions in existence. A detailed treatment of the latter 
would far exceed the necessarylimitsofthislittle volume, 
but a few words may be said regarding the main classes 
of tablets discovered. Their size and shape are some- 


times indicative of the period to which they belong, 
sometimes of the subject-matter with which they deal. A 
very early type is represented by those found below the 
level of Ur-Nina's building at Tello; the tablets in ques- 
tion which have not been baked in an oven, and are round 
in form, deal with the sale and purchase of land. Similar 
round tablets were found by the German excavators at 
Fara, which were however baked and not sun-dried. 
The same rounded baked clay tablets were evidently in 
vogue at the time of Bur-Sin, for several have been 
brought to light which are dated in his reign, and con- 
tain details regarding certain landed property. But the 
commonest type of clay tablet is that characterized by 
its rectangular shape, sometimes square, but more fre- 
quently oblong, and varying greatly in size. The tablets 
in the Kouyunj ik collection, which represents the largest, 
and in one sense the only Assyrian library as yet discov- 
ered, vary from one to fifteen inches in length when com- 
plete, many of them being made from the very finest clay. 
The writing is sometimes exceedingly minute, though 
marvellously clear and sharp, and is more or less stereo- 
typed in character. Astrology, astronomy, history, myth- 
ology, magic, medicine, mathematics, prayers, hymns, 
lists of gods, omens, lexicography and grammar are all 
well represented in this famous library. Many of the 
texts are copies of older Babylonian literature made by 
Ashur-bani-pal's scribes, and stored away in the royal 
archives. Some of the texts are bilingual, the top line 
containing the Sumerian ideographic version, and the 
lower line giving the Assyrian translation, and these 
bilingual inscriptions together with the syllabaries have 
enabled scholars to unravel and elucidate at all events 
to some extent the old Sumerian language. 

By the year 1873 all scholars were agreed that the 
cuneiform script was not invented by the Semitic 
Babylonians, but by a people who spoke an agglutina- 
tive as opposed to an inflexional language, a language 


which was therefore, at least in this respect, akin to 
the Tartar languages. In the following year how- 
ever Joseph Halevy, the famous French Semitist, 
started a theory which denied the existence of a Su- 
merian language altogether, and explained the ideo- 
graphic texts in the bilingual inscriptions already alluded 
to, as a secret writing intelligible only to the priests ; 
but prima facie the theory lacked probability and even 
plausibility. Halevy, it is true, propounded his theory 
at a time when the study of Sumerian was in its in- 
fancy, though it can hardly be said to have grown 
out of its childhood even at the present day, but this 
notwithstanding, it would be indeed singular if the 
priests took the precaution to enshrine their secret lore 
in cryptic language, and then frustrated themselves by 
subscribing an Assyrian translation. Moreover many of 
the Sumerian inscriptions treat of such very ordinary 
matters, that it is extremely difficult to see how it could 
have been necessary to employ a cryptic language to 
conceal them. A more ready explanation is to be found 
in the theory accepted by the majority of scholars 
to-day, that the Sumerian language existed side by 
side with Semitic Babylonian, and was used much as 
Latin is to-day. 

One class of tablet especially easily distinguishable by 
its shape and size is that comprising legal contracts for 
the exchange of land, cattle and property of every de- 
scription. They are small in size, oblong in shape, both 
sides being slightly concave, and the whole not unlike 
a small narrow pillow in general appearance. Many of 
these contract tablets were enclosed in clay envelopes to 
ensure their preservation. When a contract was effected 
by the Babylonians, the contracting parties had recourse 
to a legal or priestly official, and the terms of the agree- 
ment were set forth on a clay tablet which was deposited 
either in the temple or the record chamber : it was 
furthermore protected by a clay envelope upon which 


the terms inscribed on the contract tablet were copied 
in duplicate ; thus every precaution was taken to secure 
the preservation of the original document. Sometimes 
the text on the envelope varies somewhat from that con- 
tained in the document itself, and in such cases the 
envelopes therefore have more than a purely archaic 
interest, and are of actual linguistic value. One or two 
copies were made of the contract and were kept by 
either or both of the contracting parties. The deed was 
subscribed by the witnesses, one of whom was the scribe 
who drew up the document and sealed it. The seal was 
generally affixed by rolling a small cylinder seal over the 
tablet while still moist, though sometimes a three-sided 
clay cone received the impress of the seal, and this cone 
was attached to the tablet by means of a reed inserted in 
the apex of the cone, the other end of the reed being 
joined to the tablet by a piece of moist clay. Many of 
these contract " case " tablets belong to the times of 
Khammurabi, the most celebrated king of the First 
Dynasty of Babylon (circ. 1900 B.C.). Some of the en- 
velopes of these tablets bear the impression of a cylin- 
der-seal, a good example of which is found on a tablet 
recording the sale of a piece of land by Sin-eribam and 
his brother to Sin-ikisham (Brit. Mus. No. 92649). 
The clay of this class of tablet is generally somewhat 
dark in colour, and the characters are often difficult to 

The later, or Neo-Babylonian legal and commercial 
documents show greater variation in size and shape than 
those belonging to the time of the First Dynasty of 
Babylon. They are generally oblong, but on the smaller 
tablets the text is generally written in such a manner that 
each line extends over the length of the tablet instead 
of over its breadth. The larger legal documents of this 
period are sometimes inscribed on tablets of quite ex- 
ceptional thickness, their general size and shape being 
not unlike that of an old Latin prayer-book. 


Till-: KTINKD Mol'Mi.S OK Xll'ITk 


(Both from C. -V. Fisher's " E.ica-'ntiiti at Xifipur," by permission) 


But contracts were not the only kind of inscription 
protected by a clay envelope or " case " ; letters and 
despatches sometimes shared the same consideration. 
Like contracts, letters were inscribed on small oblong 
tablets, such as might be easily transmitted through the 
Babylonian and Assyrian post, that is to say carried by 
the messenger whose duty it was to convey the letter to 
its destination. As might be expected, the envelope in 
this case bore the name of the person to whom the letter 
was addressed, and occasionally also that of the sender, 
just as the envelopes of letters are sometimes initialled 
to-day. Many of these letters are of a royal character, 
and emanate from kings and princes. Quite a number 
of letters and despatches from the early kings of 
Babylon to their officials and governors have come 
down to us. They treat of divers subjects : in one 
Khammurabi writes to Sin-Idinnam commanding him 
to send forty-seven shepherds to Babylon in order that 
they may give an account to the king of the flocks 
under their care (Brit. Mus. No. 23122). In another 
letter the king writes to the same prince with instruc- 
tions to arrest three officials and despatch them to Baby- 
lon, while in yet another Khammurabi writes to Sin- 
Idinnam with orders to restore a certain baker to his 
former position. Some of Sin-Idinnam's official cor- 
respondence has also been preserved. In one communi- 
cation he directs a legal officer to summon a certain man 
to appear in court (Brit. Mus. No. 12868). Sin- 
Idinnam's duties were clearly very varied and must have 
been sufficiently arduous. In one of these despatches 
Khammurabi orders Sin-Idinnam to cut down some 
"Abba" trees required by smelters of metal (Brit. Mus. 
No. 26234). In another he commands the same per- 
sonage to see to the mustering of crews for transport- 
barges (Brit. Mus. No. 27288). Others contain in- 
structions to attend to the repair of the banks of the 
Euphrates at various points. But his duties were not 


exclusively civil ; judicial affairs fell to his charge also ; 
thus it is that to him the king writes regarding a dis- 
pute between a landlord and his tenant concerning the 
payment of rent for land, while he is perpetually re- 
ceiving orders to arrest delinquent officials and other 
misconducted persons. In one letter (Brit. Mus. No. 
12827) Khammurabi directs Sin-Idinnam to postpone 
the date of a certain trial, owing to the presence of the 
plaintiff, one Ili-Ippalzam, in the city of Ur at a certain 

Elsewhere (Brit. Mus. No. 12841) Khammurabi is- 
sues a report to the same overburdened official to the 
effect that certain persons have cancelled a deed of mort- 
gage, and commands the instant presence of Enubi- 
Marduk, who received their lands on mortgage, in 
Babylon. Many of the letters of these early kings of 
Babylon embody the royal wishes regarding the date 
of sheep-shearing, or the reaping of corn, as well as 
instructions concerning the irrigation canals. 

In one letter, Samsu-iluna (Brit. Mus. No. 27269) 
instructs Sin-Idinnam and the judges of Sippar to pro- 
hibit certain fishermen from fishing in forbidden waters ; 
at other times the same judges are directed to send a 
particular case for trial in the capital (cf. Brit. Mus. No. 
27266). Another collection of letters written in cunei- 
form and on clay tablets are the famous Tell el-Amarna 
Letters, generally of somewhat larger size and less 
distinctly oblong than the ordinary Babylonian de- 
spatches. Themajorityof themarerectangular, though a 
few are oval. Some are convex on both sides, some are 
flat on both sides, while others are plano-convex or 
pillow-shaped. These tablets were discovered at Tell 
el-Amarna in Egypt ; they represent nearly all that re- 
mains of theofficial and diplomaticcorrespondence which 
passed between the Pharaohs Amenhetep III and Amen- 
hetep IV of the Eighteenth Dynasty (i.e. they belong 
to the fourteenth or fifteenth century B.C.), and their 


various officials and vassals in Palestine. Some of the 
tablets found at Tell el-Amarna are inscribed with letters 
from the King of Babylon, from the King of Mitani, 
from the King of Alashiya, and other royal potentates, 
but as they are mostly of Palestinian and Egyptian in- 
terest, a detailed consideration of them would be out of 
place in this volume. 

Among the larger rectangular clay tablets in exist- 
ence are those containing syllabaries. Owing to the 
deterioration and simplification which the cuneiform 
characters underwent in the course of ages, the Assy- 
rian scribes found it necessary to make lists of the early 
Babylonian characters adding what they believed to be 
the later Assyrian equivalents. Most of these sylla- 
baries consist of three columns ; in the middle column 
the Assyrian sign to be explained is given, on the left 
the Sumerian value of the same, and in the right-hand 
column either the Assyrian name for the sign, or else 
the Assyrian meaning, and occasionally both. These 
syllabaries are obviously of immense importance in the 
reconstruction of the old Sumerian language. 

Other tablets of abnormally large size are those deal- 
ing with astrology, magic and medicine : the two latter 
subjects are inextricably confused owing to the fact that 
they went hand in hand with each other ; the medicine 
was prescribed and administered,but the medicine alone 
was by no means sufficient to cure the patient, that could 
only be effected by the potent spell of the magician. 

But the largest clay tablets emanate from Babylonia 
and contain lists of accounts mostly concerning grain, 
cattle, assesjlambs, sheep. Some of these tablets are per- 
fectly square, and measure as much as a foot each way, 
while nearly all of them are more square than oblong: 
the clay of which they are made is of fine quality, and 
the Babylonian characters with which they are inscribed 
are singularly clear. Most of them may be assigned to 
the second half of the third millennium B.C., and many 


of them are specifically dated in the reign of Dungi, king 
of Ur about 2500 B.C. But as already mentioned, tablets 
were not always rectangular ; sometimes they assumed 
a circular form. Tablets of this kind are usually in- 
scribed in the Sumerian language, and contain lists of 
landed estates and fields, with information regarding 
their size, their capacity for producing crops and other 
details. Many of these circular tablets are dated, the 
year deriving its name after some noteworthy event, as 
was the regular mode of dating in the early days of Baby- 
lonian civilization. Thus many of these lists are dated 
" in the year after that in which the land of Khukhnuri 
was laid waste," and were drawn up in the reign of Bur- 
Sin and other kings of Ur, i.e. during the second half of 
the third millennium B.C. 

The clay of which these tablets are made is of the 
finest, while the writing is exceedingly clear ; they vary 
from about two to six inches in diameter, and are oval on 
one side and more or less flat on the other. 

Other large rectangular tablets are inscribed with lists 
of the principal events in different kings' reigns and are 
obviouslyof immense importance for the reconstruction 
of Babylonian and Assyrian history. One of the tablets 
belonging to this class (Brit. Mus. No. 92702) gives 
us a list of the chief events, after which the various 
years of Sumu-abu, Sumu-la-ilu, Zabum, Apil-Sin, Sin- 
muballit, Khammurabi and Samsu-iluna, kings of the 
first dynasty of Babylon (about the end of the third and 
beginning of the second millennium B.C.) were named. 
Another of the same class (Brit. Mus. No. 92502) gives 
us a list of the leading events which took place in Baby- 
lonia and Assyria from the third year of Nabonassar, 
king of Babylon 744 B.C., and the first year of Shamash- 
shum-ukln, the contemporary of Ashur-bani-pal (668 
B.C.). One of the most interesting events here alluded 
to is the assassination of Sennacherib by his son on the 
2oth day of the month Tebet, and in the 23rd year of 



his reign. Among other historical documents of prim- 
ary importance, a tablet generally known as "the Syn- 
chronous History" must be placed in the first rank. 
Thisdocument is an agreement drawn up about the time 
of Ashur-bani-pal, and it had as its object the settlement 
of boundary-disputes between Babylonia and Assyria, 
while its historical value lies largely in the short notices 
of the various conflicts and alliances between the two 
countries from about 1600-800 B.C. One other large 
rectangular tablet (K. 3751) of exceptional interest 
alike to the historian and the Biblical student, is the 
document in which Tiglath-Pileser III, king of Assyria 
745-727 B.C., gives us an account of his building opera- 
tions and conquests, and mentions " Ahaz, King of 
Judah " as one of his tributary princes. This tablet 
must have been very large when complete, for what re- 
mains of it measures nine inches by seven and a half. 
The largest tablet in the Kouyunjik collection is not 
however historical in character, but contains a list of 
the names and titles of various gods, and in its present 
fragmentary state measures fifteen inches in length. 

Other cuneiform inscriptions were written on pieces 
of clay shaped like cones. Most of these terra-cotta 
cones date from the time of the dynasty of Ur, i.e. the 
latter half of the third millennium B.C. Two good ex- 
amples of this kind of cuneiform inscription bear the 
name of Sin-gashid, king of Erech, and record the dedi- 
cation of a temple to the god Lugal-banda and the god- 
dess Ninsun, and give the price of wool, grain, oil and 
copper during the reign of Sin-gashid (Brit. Mus. 91, 
150). Another baked clay cone is inscribed with the 
name of Sin-idinnam, king of Larsa about 2300 B.C., 
and likewise records the dedication of a temple in this 
case that of the Sun-god, Larsa being one of the principal 
centres of the worship of the Sun-god. But the conquer- 
ing Elamites, who imitated their subjugated enemies, 
the Babylonians, in so many ways, also adopted the 


practice of writing cuneiform inscriptions on clay cones ; 
for an example of an Elamite cone we may compare 
Brit. Mus. 91, 149, which bears the name of Kudur- 
Mabug. But the habit of writing inscriptions on clay 
cones did not cease at this period, at least not perma- 
nently, for a similar cone exists bearing the name of the 
Neo-Babylonian king Nabopolassar (625-604 B.C.), and 
like the older cones recording the dedication of a temple, 
this time the temple of Marduk at Babylon. (Brit. 
Mus. No. 91,090.) 

But Babylonian and Assyrian inscriptions on clay were 
not always in the form of rectangular or circular tablets ; 
frequently they assumed the form of large hexagonal, 
octagonal, or decagonal prisms, or in the case of Baby- 
lonia of barrel-shaped cylinders. It was customary to 
place these large clay memorials in the four corners of 
the foundation of a building in Babylonia and Assyria, 
a good example of which practice was found at Mukey- 
yer (Ur) : the cylinders from Ur had been deposited at 
the four angles of the foundation of the temple of Sin, 
the Moon-god, by Nabonidus, and they record the re- 
building of the temple by Nabonidus (555-538 B.C.) on 
the site of the ancient temple erected by Ur-Engur and 
his son Dungi, about 2400 B.C. The text finds a fitting 
conclusion in a prayer to the god whose fane he is re- 
storing, on behalf of his eldest son Bal-shar-usur, the 
Biblical Belshazzar. Three octagonal prisms of baked 
clay give us an account of the campaigns and building 
operations of Tiglath-Pileser I, king of Assyria about 
1 100 B.C. (Brit. Mus. 91033-91035). Another prism is 
inscribed with an account of the expeditions of Sargon, 
king of Assyria 721-705 B.C. (Brit. Mus. No. 22505), 
while the fragments of an octagonal prism of the same 
king,andalso preserved intheBritish Museum, (K.i 668, 
etc.) are of peculiar interest in that they give Sargon's 
own account of his campaign against the Philistine city 
of Ashdod, which is referred to in Isaiah xx. i. Judah is 


icntioned as one of the allies of Ashdod,but the Assyri- 
is were ultimately successful in reducing the rebellious 
ity. Sargon's successor, Sennacherib (705-681 B.C.), 
;imilarlycaused his militaryachievements to berecorded 
>n large clay prisms, and the most interesting document 
>f his reign is preserved on the six sides of a hexagonal 
prism now in the British Museum (91032). It records 
the defeat of Merodach-Baladan, king of Babylon, and 
the subjugation of various other peoples, but the par- 
ticular interest attaching to this cylinder lies in the allu- 
sions to the Palestinian campaign of 2 Kings xviii. 
Sennacherib states that he severely punished the rebel- 
lious people of Ekron and restored the banished Padi to 
his throne ; he then proceeded to attack Hezekiah in 
Jerusalem " his royal city " ; he laid siege to Jerusalem, 
and shut Hezekiah up like a bird in a cage, but in spite 
of this demonstration, he was clearly unable to open the 
cage and seize the bird. However, Hezekiah seems to 
have been duly impressed, and he hastened to buy oft 
Sennacherib with gifts and tribute " thirty talents of 
gold, eight hundred talents of silver, precious stones,eye 
paint . . . ivory couches and thrones, hides and tusks, 
precious woods and divers objects," together with his 
daughters, his women - folk and male and female 
musicians apparently being the price. 

Another interesting octagonal prism of this same king 
has been recently acquired by the British Museum (No. 
103,000). It contains information regarding two cam- 
paigns not recorded elsewhere. The first of these, which 
took place in 698 B.C., was undertaken to suppress a re- 
volt in Cilicia ; the campaign was completely successful 
and the Assyrian power was entirely restored in those 
regions. It is interesting to note that the city of Tarsus 
was one of those which Sennacherib sacked on this oc- 
casion. The second campaign took place three years 
later in 695 B.C., and resulted in the siege and capture of 
a certain city called Til-Garimum in the land of Tubal, 


which lay to the north-east of Cilicia. We are also fur- 
nished with an account of the rebuilding and fortifica- 
tion of Nineveh by Sennacherib, which contains valuable 
information regarding the inner and outer wall of the 
city, and the positions and names of the fifteen gates. It 
is dated in the eponymy 1 of Ilu-Ittia, the Assyrian 
governor of Damascus. This cylinder was apparently 
buried as a foundation memorial in the structure of one 
of the city gates referred to in the text. 

Esarhaddon, Sennacherib's son and successor, haslike- 
wise left us a number of hexagonal prisms of historic 
importance. One of the principal events narrated on 
Esarhaddon's cylinders is the siege and capture of Sidon 
and the subjugation of the surrounding country. Ashur- 
bani-pal, Esarhaddon's famous son and successor, has 
left us a number of cylinders and prisms, but by far the 
most important is that upon which an account of the 
principal events of the early part of his reign is inscribed 
(Brit. Mus., No. 91,026). We have here a record of his 
first and second Egyptian campaigns, of the defeat he 
inflicted upon Tirhakah, the Ethiopian king of Egypt, 
and the sack of Thebes, the capital of the country. The 
capture of Tyre is also narrated and the campaign against 
Te-Umman, king of Elam, whom Ashur-bani-pal slew 
and whose severed head is seen hanging from a tree in 
the bas-relief in which Ashur-bani-pal and his wife are 
reclining at meat in their garden. There is also an ac- 
count of the siege and capture of Babylon, whose king 
Shamash-shum-ukm had thrown off the suzerainty of 
Assyria ; the conquest of Arabia is recorded as well as 
the final triumph of the Assyrian arms over Elam, and 
the text concludes with an account of Ashur-bani-pal's 
building operations. 

1 An eponym was an official of high rank sometimes the king him- 
self who held office for a year, and whose name was used to date all 
documents drawn up in that year. He corresponded to the Roman 
consul and the Athenian archon. 


We have already alluded to a clay cylinder belonging 
to the Neo-Blbylonian king Nabunidus, while another 
cylinder of the same king, which has been discussed 
elsewhere (cf. p. 7), is equally notable, as a complete 
system of chronology has been based upon its contents. 
Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylon 604-561 B.C., and 
belonging to the same dynasty has likewise left us a num- 
ber of barrel-shaped cylinders, the inscriptions upon 
which are chiefly concerned with a recital of his building 
achievements, while to the cylinder of Cyrus the Persian 
conqueror of Babylonia (538 B.C.) reference has been 
made elsewhere (cf. p. 74). But the practice of writing 
cuneiform inscriptions on baked clay cylinders did not 
even come to an end with the Persian kings of Baby- 
lonia, for we have a cylinder (Brit. Mus. 36277) bearing 
an inscription in archaic Babylonian characters, of Antio- 
chus Soter, king of Babylonia about 280 B.C. ; it records 
the restoration of the temples E-Sagil, and E-zida in 
Babylon and Borsippa in the year 270 B.C., and concludes 
with a prayer to the god Nebo on behalf of Antiochus, 
his son Seleucus and his wife. 

But besides rectangular, round, barrel-shaped, cylin- 
drical and cone-shaped clay inscriptions, yet other varie- 
ties exist. Among these a four-sided block of clay form- 
ing an elongated kind of cube, the height of which is 
9} inches and the breadth of each of its four sides 3^ 
inches (Brit. Mus. No. 92611), deserves a mention ; 
its date is about 2100 B.C., and it is inscribed with lists 
of the names offish, birds, plants, stones and garments. 

Another unique object is a clay model of an ox-hoof 
(Brit. Mus. No. R. 620), inscribed with forecasts. A 
somewhat similar object is found in a clay model of a 
sheep's liver, also preserved in the British M useum (No. 
92,668); the inscription which it bears is magical in char- 
acter, and the object was probably used for divination 
purposes. Other tablets, though not being moulded in 
the form of a sheep's liver, bear the incised outlines of 


different parts of the liver. Hepatoscopy, or the practice 
of deriving omens from the shape, size, or condition of 
the liver, was one of the most popular forms of magic 
among the Babylonians and Assyrians. 

Plans of cities seem to have sometimes been drawn on 
clay tablets, a good example of which is afforded by a tab- 
let discovered at Nippur, and incised with a plan of that 
city, a plan which in spite of its antiquity seems to have 
helped the work of the excavators in no small degree. 
Another example is the British Museum fragment (No. 
35385), on which a plan of part of the city of Babylon is 
still to be seen. Sometimes the plan was merely that of 
an estate (cf. Brit. Mus. No. 31483), but in one instance 
at all events, the world itself is the subject (Brit. Mus. 
No. 92687), the most interesting feature of which from 
the geographical point of view is the world-encircling 
ocean the Babylonians believing the earth to be sur- 
rounded by and apparently supported on water : the 
earth itself was supposed to resemble an inverted saucer 
in shape, while the heavens bore the same shape, the only 
difference being that they were obviously more exten- 
sive, and the lower edges rested on the earth itself, while 
the edge of the earth rested upon the ocean. 

Sometimes amulets were made of clay, a good example 
of which is Brit. Mus. No. 85-4-8, i ; it is shaped like a 
cylinder-seal, and is inscribed with an incantation for 

Other inscribed clay objects are those known as astro- 
labae or instruments for making astrological calculations. 

Labels again were made of clay : two small clay labels 
(Brit. Mus. K.I 400, K. 1539) give us the titles of two 
series of astrological and omen tablets ; while another 
(K. 3787) gives us the name of Khipa, a female slave; it 
is dated in the nth year of Marduk-aplu-iddina, i.e. circ. 
710 B.C. There are miscellaneous clay objects which do 
not properly come under the heading of terra-cotta 
figures or clay bas-reliefs, and therefore may be men- 


tioned here. Sometimes clay squee/es or impressions 
were made of early inscriptions ; an excellent example of 
such squee/es was acquired some years ago by the Uni- 
versity of Pennsylvania (cf. Fig. 3);' it is a squeeze made 

FK; FIG. 4. (Brit. Mus., 103040.) 

by a Neo-Babylonian scribe of the sixth century B.C. of 
an inscription belonging to Shar-Gani-sharri, king of 
Akkad. The characters of course are raised in relief and 
read backwards. Allusion is elsewhere made to the clay 

Fu;. 5. (Brit. Mus., 91102.) 

brick-stamps with which Babylonian kings were in the 
habit of inscribing their building bricks : an interesting 
specimen of a clay brick-stamp is seen in Fig. 4. It is a 
fragment of a stamp belonging to Naram-Sin, the son of 

1 Cf. Hilprecht, Exploration^ p. 517. 


Shar-Gani-sharri. The characters here are of course in re- 
lief and reversed as in the case of a seal. Another clay ob- 
ject of exceptional interest is seen in Fig. 5 ; it is a clay 
covering made by order of Nabopolassar, king of Baby- 
lon 625-604 B.C., for the preservation of the stone tablet 
of his predecessor Nabu-aplu-iddina (circ. 870 B.C.). It 
was presumably during the course of his work at the 
restoration of the temple of the Sun-god at Sippar that 
he alighted upon this early tablet. The clay cover bears 
an inscription of Nabopolassar on the reverse side and 
records the various offerings he deposited at the shrine 
of the Sun-god. The cover itself was found in a baked 


clay box, also preserved in the British Museum, and pro- 
bably belonging to the same reign. Clay was further 
employed by the sculptor for tentative sketches, and by 
the stone-inscriber for rough drafts. Thus the sculptor 
to whom we are indebted for the portrayal of Ashur-bani- 
pal, king of Assyria, spearing a lion, sketched out his pic- 
ture in clay preparatory to chiselling it on slabs of stone, 
and his original sketch is still extant (cf. Brit. Mus. 
9301 1 ), while we can still see two rough drafts on clay of 
epigraphs inscribed on Ashur-bani-pal's bas-reliefs (cf. 
Brit. Mus. Sm. 1350 and K. 4453 + K. 4515). 


r I ^HE architecture of a country is determined very 
\^ largely by the materials with which nature has 
endowed that country ; it is also influenced by the 
configuration of the country itself as well as by the 
climate whose effects it is the builder's object to either 
regulate or counteract. The physical characteristics of 
the Mesopotamia!! Valley as also the climatic conditions 
which prevail there have already been under considera- 
tion, but it will not perhaps be unfitting to devote a few 
pages to a review of the materials which were used for 
building operations, before we proceed to discuss the 
ruins of the buildings themselves. 

It has been already stated, that practically no stone 
at all is to be found in the low-lying and marshy country 
of Babylonia, hence it never assumed an important place 
in Babylonian architecture; any stone required, had to 
be quarried far away in the mountains and transported 
at great labour, in consequence of which it was only 
employed for exceptional purposes and in cases where 
the desire for permanent durability rendered it neces- 
sary. Accordingly the stone used was generally diorite, 
basalt, or some other hard stone of volcanic origin, con- 
trasting strikingly with the softer stone utilized so 
freely by the Assyrians. Assyria on the other hand : 
was more fortunate in this respect and afforded a 
very fair supply of limestone and alabaster which 
were used extensively by her sculptors and builders, 
though the clay so easily procurable all over the val- 
ley was the one indispensable element in the erection 


of temples, palaces, or houses in both countries. 
The supply of wood again was extremely scanty not 
only in Babylonia but also in Assyria, and any wood 
used for columns, lintels or thresholds was generally 
brought from Lebanon, Amanus, or some other distant 

We thus see that the art of brick-building was almost 
forced upon the dwellers of Mesopotamia from the very 
necessity of the case. 

The clay used for the purpose was by no means 
uniform either as regards its colour, or as regards its 
quality. Sometimes it is of a light yellow colour, some- 
times it is almost black, while the clay from which other 
bricks are made is of a reddish hue. Those made of 
light yellow clay are the best from the point of view of 
durability. The bricks further vary both in size and 
shape according to the period to which they belong, so 
that it is often possible to provisionally assign a date to 
a building or the remains of a building by an examin- 
ation of the style of brick employed. The type of brick 
characteristic of the early periods of Sumerian history 
is that known as the plano-convex 1 type ; thus the kiln- 
burnt bricks of which the storehouse of Ur-Nina, the 
first king of Lagash, was composed, are oblong and 
plano-convex, while each of them also bears the impres- 
sion of a thumb-mark on the convex side. 

But a yet earlier form of brick 2 was found in the 
building: underneath Ur-Nina's storehouse : the bricks 


of which this building was composed were indeed 
plano-convex like those of Ur-Nina, but they were 
smaller, had no thumb- or finger-marks and were also 
unfortunately uninscribed. 

At Mukeyyer (Ur) Taylor came across a pavement 

1 A " plano-convex " brick is a brick which is flat on one side and 
convex or oval on the other, its general appearance resembling an oblong 
cake, or a small pillow. 

2 Cf. De Sarzec et Heuzey, Une Villa. Royale Chaldeennc, p. 47. 


made of plano-convex bricks, the antiquity of which 
was attested alike by the appearance of this type of 
brick and also by the depth below the surface at which 
the platform was found. This excavator discovered 
similar bricks at Abu Shahrein (Eridu), a further 
corroboration of the traditional antiquity of Ea's once 
famous city. The excavations at other early sites have 
also yielded the same results; at.Fara (Shuruppak) 
the traditional scene of the Qeluge, as well as at 
Yokha, Bismaya, and in the pre-Sargonic strata at 
Nippur, the same style of bricks has been found. 

But with the expansion of the Semites, culminating 
in the establishment of the empire of Shar-Gani-sharri 
and his son Naram-Sin, the comparatively small, oblong 
and plano-convex brick fell into disuse, and gave way to 
a large square brick. Immediately beneath the crude- 
brick platform of Ur-Engur (circ. 2400 B.C.) at Nip- 
pur, part of the earlier work of Naram-Sin and Shar- 
Gani-sharri was uncovered, the bricks used being no 
longer plano-convex and oblong, but flat and square, 
and measuring 20 x 20 x 3^ inches ; they are made of 
clay mixed with straw, and are at the same time well- 
dried and very hard ; this type of brick was employed 
in all the buildings of these two kings. 

The next period in the history of Babylonian brick- 
making is that belonging to the times of the second 
dynasty of Lagash and the first dynasty of Ur (i.e. circ. 
2450 B.C.). The type of brick characteristic of this age 
resembles that of the preceding in regard to shape but 
not in regard to size. The bricks of Ur-Engur, king 
of Ur, and of Gudea, the most renowned ruler of the 
second dynasty of Lagash (circ. 2450 B.C.) are square 
like those of their Semitic predecessors, Shar-Gani- 
sharri and Naram-Sin, but very much smaller, measur- 
ing a little over 12 x 12 inches, andthis small square brick 
remained in use, with occasional slight variations, till the 
close of Mesopotamian history. The transition from 


the large brick used by the kings of Agade to the small 
brick in question was doubtless effected only gradually, 
for the bricks of Urbau, ruler of Lagash some time be- 
fore Gudea, are larger than those of the latter king, but 
after the time of Gudea and Ur-Engur, the shape and 
size of the bricks became more or less stereotyped. The 
bricks of Ur-Engur himself vary somewhat from those 
of Gudea, thus the solid mass underlying the temple- 
tower at Nippur, which was constructed by Ur-Engur, 
is composed of bricks measuring only 9 x6 X3 inches, the 
arms of the causewayon the other hand are built of larger 
bricks measuring 14x14x6 inches. Kiln-burnt bricks 
were always used for the important parts of the building 
in Babylonia, the crude sun-dried bricks which as a rule 
formed the coreof the terraced platforms, being re vetted 
with a wall of burnt brick, or sometimes, in the case of 
Assyria with a supporting wall of stone. The reason of 
course for this lay in the inability of sun-dried bricks 
to resist damp, and their corresponding tendency to dis- 
integrate. The bricks were as a rule carried on to the 
ground as soon as they were fairly dry and firm, and 
were laid while still soft. 

Generally speaking the bricks bear the name of the 
king who caused the structure to be made, thus the 
majority of the bricks of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Baby- 
lon (604-561 B.C.) are inscribed: "Nebuchadnezzar, 
King of Babylon, restorer of the pyramid and tower, 
eldest son of Nabopolassar, King of Babylon, am I." 
It is interesting to note that though the tiles on the west- 
ern side of Nebuchadnezzar's palace at Babylon bear the 
ordinary stamp of that king, those on the eastern side are 
stamped with a lion and an Aramaic inscription. Kol- 
dewey indeed says that there is no doubt that this part 
of the building was also erected by Nebuchadnezzar, as 
wall-tiles bearing the regular palace-inscription of the 
king have been found there. Prof Euting however, 
from the forms of the Aramaic characters, would as- 


sign these Aramaic-inscribed bricks to the middle of the 
seventh century, i.e. about 650 B.C. None of the 
bricks found on the Kasr mound bear the stamp of 
any Assyrian kings, the latter apparently only having 
left their marks on the floor-bricks of E-sagila, the 
temple of Marduk. The characters were generally im- 
pressed with a stamp, though on both Assyrian and 
Babylonian bricks the inscription was sometimes en- 
graved by hand. The stamps used were made of terra- 
cotta ; a well-preserved specimen of a terra-cotta brick- 
stamp is that of Naram-Sin referred to above (cf. Fig. 4), 
while a terra-cotta brick-stamp of Shar-Gani-sharri, the 
father of Naram-Sin, was discovered at Nippur, and one 
of the minor results of the expedition to Bismaya, di- 
rected by Harper, was the discovery of a number of clay 
brick-stamps. Many Assyrian and Babylonian bricks 
are glazed or enamelled and coloured in the most ornate 
fashion, and with the most striking pictures and designs, 
but an examination of these will naturally find its place 
in the chapter devoted to " Painting/' 

Sometimes the architects of Babylonia contrived to 
adapt the clay employed in their building operations 
to decorative devices. Such was the case at Warka 
(Erech) where Loftus discovered a wall some thirty feet 
long, composed entirely of clay cones fixed in a cement 
made of mud and straw,and laid horizontally with their 
bases outwards. Some of these cones had been coloured 
red or black and were arranged to form various geo- 
metrical designs. They were sometimes inscribed, some- 
times not. But clay cones were apparently not the only 
kind of cone used for architectural decoration, for in the 
course of his excavations at Abu Shahrein, Taylor 1 dis- 
covered cones of limestone and marble, some of which 
had a "rim round the edge filled with copper"; these 
cones vary from four to ten inches in length, their dia- 
meter measuring from one to three inches. 
1 Cf. Loftus, Travels, p. 1 89. 



The layers and courses of clay bricks of which the 
buildings in Mesopotamia were for the most part com- 
posed, were cemented together by mud in the earliest 
times ; this clay-mud is generally distinguishable from 
the bricks which it unites by the difference of its colour. 
Mud-mortar has been found on some of the earliest 
sites and in some of the most ancient buildings, while 
in Assyria it appears to have been the regular form of 
cement used at all times. In the city of Babylon, strange 
to say, clay mortar appears to have been used instead 
of lime or asphalt in the late buildings of Sassanidian 
times. This mud-mortar consisted of clay mixed with 
water and perhaps a little straw, as was the case in the 
cone-wall at Warka, 1 while sometimes reeds embedded 
in clay were laid between the bricks, as was the case at 
both Warka and Hammam, but at an extremely re- 
mote period the Babylonian architect began to avail 
himself of the rich supply of bitumen gratuitously 
yielded by the soil of his native land, for the purpose in 

The most famous bituminous springs in Mesopotamia 
were those at Hit on the Euphrates. Their fame had 
reached Egypt as early as the time of the eighteenth dy- 
nasty, for Thothmes 111 brought bitumen thence to 
Egypt. Herodotus a millennium later about 450 B.C. 
alludes to Hit as famous for her bitumen, and sub- 
sequent writers make similar mention of the springs 
there. A good example of the early use of bitumen in 
Babylonia was found at Abu Shahrein,the site of ancient 
Eridu, where a very early building was excavated by 
Taylor, the antiquity of which was proved by the pre- 
Sargonic plano-convex bricks used in its construction, 
and these bricks were all laid in bitumen ; the same was 

1 Loftus, Travels, p. 187. 


found to be the case in a building composed of finger- 
marked bricks at Ur (Mukeyyer), all of which were em- 
bedded in bitumen. 

The platform upon which Ur-Nina's storehouse at 
Tello was erected consisted of three layers of plano- 
convex and finger-marked bricks, all set in bitumen, 
while in the building underneath that of Ur-Nina, 
bitumen was also freely used. 1 

In like manner at Nippur, the finger-marked bricks 
of which the city-gate was constructed were laid in 
bitumen, though the bricks composing the early arch 
found on this site were set in mud, probably an indica- 
tion that at the time when the arch was built bitumen 
was not used ; around the base of Ur-Engur's ziggurat 
on the other hand there was a coating of bitumen, 
while the crude brick altar found by Haynes in the 
lowest stratum at Nippur had a rim of bitumen ; but in 
later times it was supplemented by the more tenacious 
lime-mortar, though only partially was this the case, 
for even as late as Nebuchadnezzar's time (604-561 
B.C.) its practical utility as a preventive against the de- 
structive forces of rain were still recognized, the burnt 
brick retaining walls of his palace at Babylon being 
actually laid in bitumen. In like manner the bricks 
composing the old fortification wall, are rendered ad- 
hesive by means of a lavish prodigality of asphalt, so 
adhesive in fact, that it is often very difficult to separate 
them. Fortunately the side bearing the stamped in- 
scription has its face downwards and therefore is not 
in immediate contact with the asphalt from which it is 
separated by the layer of reeds or clay already al- 
luded to. 

In the later buildings at Babylon, however, lime-mor- 
tar is also used, the transition period being marked by 
the employment of both in one and the same building, 
and in point of fact Koldewey found that in the case 
1 Cf. Heuzey, Une Villa Royale, p. 48. 


of one of the walls of a building of Nebuchadnezzar, one 
half of the wall was cemented together by means of 
asphalt, while in the other half lime-mortar alone was 
used. But in the new castle which Nebuchadnezzar 
built for himself on the Kasr, the very finest materials 
were employed, the bricks being of a pale yellow colour 
and extremely hard, contrasting with the bricks used 
in his earlier buildings, which are of a reddish-brown 
colour and less durable, while in this new structure, pure 
white lime-mortar alone is used. Lime-mortar, as well 
as mud-cement and bitumen, was employed at Nippur, 
as also at Birs-Nimrud (Borsippa), and the mortar used 
has such adhesive properties that the bricks can only 
be separated by breaking them, while at Mukeyyer 
(Ur) a mortar composed of a mixture of lime and ashes 
was employed. 

In Assyria on the other hand, mortar seems to have 
been used more sparingly ; when stone was employed as 
a building material, generally speaking no cement of any 
kind was used, the stones being carefully dressed so as 
to permit of no interstices, as for example was found to 
be the case with the stone retaining-wall round the zig- 
gurat at Nimriid ; when ordinary crude bricks were em- 
ployed, they were laid in a sufficient state of moisture to 
render them adhesive ; while when burnt brick was the 
material in question, the mortar adopted was a mixture 
of clay and water. Bitumen however was by no means 
unknown in Assyria, but it was used chiefly under pave- 
ments or the limestone floors of sewers, to prevent leak- 
age or infiltration. 


The use of stone in Babylonia, as a building accessory, 
although seldom as a fundamental material, dates from 
the most ancient Sumerian times. A very early example 
of the use of stone for definitely architectural purposes 
in Babylonia is afforded by the pavement upon which a 


building at Lagash, found under the structure of Ur- 
Nina, was erecte3. The pavement l consists of slabs of 
limestone, three or four feet long, one and a half to two 
feet broad, and about six inches thick. The door-sockets, 
again, of some of the earliest rulers of Lagash have been 
brought to light, among which may be mentioned those 
of the illustrious Eannatum and Entemena, all being 
made of marble or some other hard stone, while in Eridu, 
one of the most ancient sites of civilization in the Eu- 
phrates Valley, stone seems to have been quite exten- 
sively used. The terraced artificial platform upon which 
the temple and city of Eridu were built was buttressed 
by a wall of sandstone, and the staircase which led up to 
the first stage of the ziggurat was made of polished mar- 
ble slabs, which are now lying about casually on the 
mound ; pieces of agate and alabaster were discovered, 
and granite was also employed there. Stone gate-sockets 
have been similarly found at Nippur and in the ruins of 
other early cities of Babylonia, while both the Semite 
Naram-Sin, and the Sumerian Gudea a little later, 
brought heavy blocks of diorite from Magan, or Sinai, 
though apparently for sculptural rather than for archi- 
tectural purposes. 

In the Neo-Babylonian era stone was employed to a 
greater extent : the procession pavement of the god 
Marduk at Babylon, discovered recently by the Ger- 
mans, was formed of slabs of limestone, bearing an in- 
scription of Nebuchadnezzar, while Herodotus tells us 
that the bridge which then united the two banks of the 
Euphrates was made of " very large stones," 2 and ac- 
cording to the classical writers, Strabo and Diodorus, the 
famous hanging gardens of Babylon, which Koldewey 
would locate to the east of the palace, were supported by 
stone architraves. But the stone used only for excep- 

1 Heuzey, Une fit/a Royale, pp. 47, 48. 

2 In the northern fortification wall, and according to Koldewey, there 
only on the Kasr, great building blocks of limestone were also discovered. 


tional purposes in Babylonia, was re-used time and 
again, the ruins being regarded as a quarry, and conse- 
quently the stone has for the most part disappeared en- 

In Assyria, on the other hand, stone was easily pro- 
curable and therefore readily used, though not to the 
extent one would expect, the reason being that the As- 
syrian was not an inventor but an imitator of his prede- 
cessor, the Babylonian, who afforded him little or no 
example in the working of stone. Accordingly even in 
Assyria, stone was for the most part used only for pave- 
ments, plinths and the lining of walls : at times however 
it was also used for the retaining walls which enclosed an 
artificial mound. The blocks of stone used for this latter 
purpose were sometimes of colossal size, measuring even 
as much as 6 x 6 x 9 feet and weighing some tons. The 
principal kinds of stone employed by the Assyrian archi- 
tects were limestone, of varying degrees of hardness, and 
alabaster, which latter is often found in Assyria itself a 
little below the surface of the soil. Alabaster is a sul- 
phate of chalk, it is grey in colour, soft, and admits of a 
high polish, but it is brittle and deteriorates in course of 
time. At Nimrud (Calah) some of the drainage channels 
;>were covered with large slabs of limestone, and the zig- 
gurat of N imrud, of which only one storey remains, was 
faced with a massive stone revetment wall, while occa- 
sionally stone columns appear to have been used, and 
one part of a column composed of carved limestone, 
some forty inches high and including both the capital 
and the upper part of the shaft in one piece has been 
actually discovered. Layard further found four bases 
of columns made of limestone, on the northern side of 
Sennacherib's palace at Nineveh (cf. Fig. 14). Some- 
times the lintels of doors were made of stone ; one such 
stone lintel was found by George Smith at the entrance 
to the hall in Sennacherib's palace, while the sill or thres- 
hold generally, or at all events very frequently, consisted 


of alabaster or limestone. Similarly the floors of the more 
important rooms were formed of limestone-slabs. 

The harder stones were notwithstanding sometimes 
employed in Assyria just as limestone was occasionally 
used in Babylonia, but as a general rule, in either case 
for sculptural rather than building purposes. The well- 
-known black obelisk of Shalmaneser II (860-825 B.C.) 
already alluded to, was supposed to afford a good exam- 
ple of the use of volcanic stones in the northern country, 
but the material of which it is made is probably alabas- 
ter. A basalt statue of this same king was however 
brought to light by the German excavations at Ashur 
some few years ago, while the capital of a column found 
on the same site, belonging possibly to the time of Tig- 
lath-Pileser I, gives us an illustration of the use of hard 
stones for purely architectural purposes by the Assyrians. 
It is uncertain from what quarter they obtained these 
harder stones, but basalt and other igneous rocks maybe 
quarried in the valleys of the streams that poured their 
waters into the Tigris and Euphrates, and in the valley 
of the Khabour Layard informs us that he discovered 
many extinct volcanoes. 


Assyria afforded a better supply of wood than Baby- 
lonia, the latter country being as poor in wood as it is 
in stone. The only trees from which beams sufficiently 
long to be of any use could be obtained, were the poplar 
and the palm tree. Wood being more perishable than 
either clay or stone, we naturally do not expect to find 
the same amount of material evidence of its usage ; 
sufficient however has survived the ravages of time to 
establish the certainty of its usage in Mesopotamia as a 
building material from the earliest to the latest times. 
Thus for example at Nippur, Peters found charred beams 
of palm-wood which evidently had at one time formed 
the roof of the corridor in which it was discovered ; 


pieces of tamarisk were in like manner found upon the 
brick threshold of a doorway, which probably repre- 
sented all that remained of the doors and door-posts. 
Similarly at Lagash not far from Ur-Nina's storehouse 
were found the charred remains of pillars made of cedar- 
wood, which doubtless at one time supported a portico 
made of the same material, while Ur-Nina himself re- 
cords that he fetched wood from the mountains, as did 
his descendants of later days. In like manner the roof 
of a temple erected by Enannatum I a successor of Ur- 
Nina was constructed of cedar-wood. So too at Mukey- 
yer (Ur), large quantities of charred wood were dis- 
covered, 1 while at Abu Shahrein (Eridu), the casement 
wall of the ziggurat is studded with square holes three 
inches square, which are filled with wood. 2 After the es- 
tablishment of Babylonian sovereignty over the land of 
Amurru, (i.e. Syria and Palestine) by Shar-Gani-sharri 
and Naram-Sin, the kings of Babylonia regularly ob- 
tained cedar-wood from the Lebanon, as did the early 
kings of Egypt. In a room at Nippur used apparently 
for storing unbaked tablets in the time of Gimil-Sin 
(c. 2400 B.C.) woodenshelves had seeminglybeen used for 
the purpose, while the roof of the famous castle at Baby- 
lon, rebuilt by Nebuchadnezzar, was made of cedar- 
wood, as also were the doors, and the portal-like en- 
trance of one of the buildings at Babylon excavated by 
Koldewey was roofed throughout with a ceiling of 

Of the use of wood in Assyria, the wall reliefs would 
alone afford ample evidence, for parts of some of the 
structures there encountered could only possibly have 
been made of wood. Shalmaneser II (860-825 B.C.) 
in commemorating his reconstruction of the temple 
of Anu and Adad at Ashur, says that he roofed it 
over with beams of cedar, and those of the larger 
rooms of the palaces which were not vaulted must have 
1 J. R. A. S., 1855, p. 266. 2 Ibidem, p. 407. 


been roofed with wood, because there is no evidence 
of the existence of slabs of stone of sufficient size to 
have effected the purpose, and large flat brick roofs 
would be out of the question. In like manner Tiglath- 
Pileser 111 states that he made a palace of cedar-wood 1 
while Esarhaddon says that the doors of one of the 
palaces which he erected for himself were made of cy- 
press-wood and were covered with silver and copper, 2 
while in another passage he states that in his building 
operations at Babylon he used oaks, terebinths and 
palms. At Khorsabad, Place further found fragments of 
cedar-beams which had been clearly used for architec- 
tural purposes, and probably formed part of the lintels of 
the doorways in which they were found ; so too Layard 
in the course of his excavations found the charred re- 
mains of wood together with a beam of cedar-wood, all 
of which are now in the British Museum. The scanti- 
ness of the remains of wood thus used is adequately 
accounted for by the destructibility of that material. 


Metal can hardly be said to have been used for purely 
architectural purposes at all, and when employed seems 
rather to have been added for the adornment of the more 
conspicuous parts of the building, than used as an integ- 
ral part of the structure. There are, however, one or two 
exceptions to this generalization. The sills were some- 
times made of metal in the moreluxurious buildings,and 
a bronze sill measuring 60 x 20 x^ inches, with an in- 
scription of Nebuchadnezzar has actually come to light, 
and is now in the British Museum, while another object 
of a singularly unique character, consisting of a bronze 
gate-socket set in lead, has similarly found its way to 
that famous institution. Herodotus furthermore tells 
us in his account of Babylon that the walls had a hun- 
dred gates " all of bronze ; their jambs and lintels were 
1 Cf. Harper, Assyrian and Babylonian Literature, p. 57. 2 Ibid., p. 87. 


of the same material." Some of the bas-reliefs also ex- 
hibit structures, parts of which must seemingly have 
been made of metal : the royal pavilion carved on the 
tablet from Abu Habba (Si ppar) for example (cf. PL XIV) 
is provided with a curved back wall which at the same 
time is bent right over so as to form a roof; this wall 
and roof may indeed have been constructed of wood, 
but metal would clearly have adapted itself the more 
easily to such a form. Of other minor building mate- 
rials, such as tools, and nails which played a subsidiary 
part in Mesopotamian architecture, we know compara- 
tively little, though a number of nails have been re- 
covered from different sites. 


It would be quite impossible to give an account of 
all the temples and palaces in Mesopotamia, exca- 
vated during the last sixty years, we must there- 
fore confine ourselves to a brief description of a few 
of the better explored buildings, which may with re- 
serve be regarded as typical. The temples have not 
weathered the deteriorating effects of time and climate 
so well as the palaces, the reason for which is to be found 
in the fact that, generally speaking, the object of the 
temple-builder was so far as possible to erect a structure 
whose top should metaphorically " reach unto heaven," 
whereas the culminating glory of palaces lay not in the 
height to which they were reared but in the extent of 
ground which they covered. 

T As to the general plan of Sumerian temples we are still 
in a state of ignorance, for on the earliest sites of Baby- 
lonian occupation, few important buildings have been 
unearthed. The best preserved and most thoroughly 
explored temple in Southern Babylonia is that of JEji- 
lil at Nippur. A Babylonian plan of this once famous 
shrine, drawn on a clay tablet and probably belonging 
to the first half of the second millennium B.C. was dis- 



(From C. .S'. Fisher $ "'Excavations tit \ij>f>ur, by permission) 



of his 

covered by Haynes in the course ot his excavations, 
and has been of no small assistance in determining 
the general character of this Babylonian temple in its 
later reconstructed state, while it may be in reality a 
copy of an earlier plan, 1 as it accords so well with the 
general conclusions to be drawn as to the configuration 
of thetemple in thetimeof Shar-Gani-sharriandNaram- 
Sin, both of whom, and especially the latter, did much 
in the way of repairing this ancient fane. 

The most prominent feature in connection with the 
temple of Nippur as revealed by the excavations, is the 
ziggurat, or stage-tower erected by Ur-Engur, king 
of Ur (circ. 2400 B.C.). The ruined mounds of NufFar, 
or NifFer (cf. PL X), are situated on the eastern side 
of the Shatt-en-Nil canal which at one time formed a 
line of communication between the Persian Gulf and 
the city of Babylon. The mounds in question, the 
principal of which marks the site of Ur-Engur's zig- 
gurat, were excavated by Peters, Harper, Haynes and 
Hilprecht, under the auspices of the University of Penn- 
sylvania, between the years 1889 and 1 900. The tower ^ 
surmounts an artificial platform measuring roughly 1 92 ( t 
x 127 feet, and in accordance with the usual Babylon- 
ian principle of orientation, has its four corners facing 
the cardinal points of the compass. The ziggurat ap- 
parently only had thxee_stages in contradistinction to 
the seven-staged tower characteristic of the Babylonian 
and Assyrian temples of later days, though Gudea's 
temple of E-pa erected in honour of his god Ningirsu 
was seven-zoned, which probably means that it was a 
seven-staged tower. The ziggurat at Mukeyyer 2 (Ur) 
excavated by Taylor similarly appears to have been 
three-storied, or possibly only two-storied. The lower 
storey, protected with a wall of burnt brick four feet in 
thickness, was further strengthened with buttresses, 

1 Cf. King, Sumer and dkkad, p. 88. 

2 Cf. Taylor in J. R. A. S., 1855, pp. 261 ff. 


though it should be mentioned that the so-called " but- 
tresses of the stage towers of Babylonia and Assyria are 
in the majority of cases water-conduits for draining the 
upper platforms. The second storey, the base of which 
is connected with the lower storey by means of a stair- 
case three yards broad, is composed of bricks entirely 
different to those of the lower storey, those of the lower 
storey being 1 1 J x 1 1^ x i\ inches, and bearing a small 
stamp 3! inches square, while those of the second are 
X 3 x T 3 x 3 inches, the stamp measuring 8x4 inches. 
The bricks of the first storey were laid in bitumen,* 
while those of the second the bricks on the northern 
side being excepted are set in a mortar consisting of 
lime and ashes. The ascent to the summit of the second 
storey was effected by means of an inclined pathway : 
from which facts it would appear that the two stories 
were not built at the same time. The ziggurat at Abti 
Shahrein, 1 also excavated by Taylor, is about seventy 
feet high, and like that at Mukeyyer is cased with a wall 
of burnt brick. Here, too, the top of the first storey is 
reached by means of a staircase, fifteen feet broad, access 
to the summit of the second storey being gained by an 
inclined road as at Mukeyyer. 

The approach to En-lil's ziggurat at Nippur is on the 
south-east side, and is marked by two walls of burnt 
brick, some ten or more feet high and over fifty-two feet 
long, a space of about twenty-three feet separating the 
two walls from each other, while the causeway itself 
which led up to the ziggurat was formed of crude bricks. 
~ The whole of the temple enclosure was surrounded by 
a massive wall, and some thirty courses of the bricks 
which composed it, still remain. Below the crude-brick 
platform upon which the tower was erected, another 
pavement of much finer construction, made of large 
well-burnt bricks nearly all of which were inscribed with 
1 Cf. J. R. A. S., 1855, PP- 45 

the stam r 


ie stamps of Shar-Gani-sharri or Nat , was dis- 

covered. Directly to the south-east of the ziggurat, a 
Urge chamber about thirty-six feet long, over eleven feet 
wide and some eight feet high was found, the floor of 
which rested on the platform of Naram-Sin. The in- 
scribed bricks proved that this chamber, like the /ig- 
gurat itself was built by Ur-Engur. Immediately below 
it, a second chamber of the same kind was discovered, 
in which was found a brick stamp of Shar-Gani-sharri : 
around the walls of this chamber ran a narrow shelf on 
which some tablets are said to have been found. Haynes 
excavated right down to the virgin-soil, and states that 
he discovered at least two temples below the pavement 
of Naram-Sin ; in the lowest stratum an altar of crude 
brick measuring 13x8 feet is said to have been 
found, on which there was a large deposit of white 
ashes. Around the " altar " there was a low wall sur- 
rounding the sacred enclosure, on the outside of which 
two clay vases some twenty-five inches high, and de- 
corated with a rope-pattern were brought to light. On 
the south-east of the "altar" is a crude-brick platform 
nearly twenty-three feet square and over nine and a 
half feet thick. Around the base of this, Haynes in- 
forms us that he found a number of water-vents, while 
beneath this solid mass, he found a drain running under- 
neath the platform, in the roof of which a true key-stone 
arch was discovered. This arch was found about 
twenty-three feet below the pavement of Ur -Engur and 
more than fourteen and a half feet below the platform of 
Naram-Sin. Unfortunately the lowest strata in the 
mound have been so much disturbed, and the buildings 
so ruthlessly pillaged, that it is impossible to dogmatize 
about the dates of all that the excavations have revealed. 
With regard to the ziggurat itself, the lowest of its 
three stages would appear to have been some twenty 
and a half feet high : the slope of the sides upwards is 


about one in four, and the second terrace is set back 
some thirteen and a half feet from the surface of the 
one below. The lower terrace is protected with burnt 
brick on the south-east side, while on all the other sides 
the foundation is of burnt brick, four courses high and 
eight courses wide, surmounted by crude bricks covered 
with a plaster consisting of clay and chopped straw, 
which helped to preserve the crude brickwork. In the 
centre of each of these three sides there was a water- 
conduit by which the upper parts of the ziggurat were 
drained (cf. PL XI) ; the conduit was made of burnt 
bricks, and was ten and a half feet in depth and three 
and a half feet span. Around the base of the ziggurat, 
was a coating of bitumen which sloped outwards, with 
gutters to drain off the water, and thus preserve the 
crude bricks from dissolution. 

From this brief description of the architectural re- 
mains discovered at Nippur, it will be seen at once, that, 
though the information afforded is of supreme import- 
ance and of the utmost value, we are still at a loss as to 
the general appearance of an early Babylonian temple, 
the temple-tower of the later LJr-Engur of course being 
excepted. A restoration of the temple as it probably ap- 
peared in the days of Ur-Engur has been made by Hil- 
precht and Fisher, and is reproduced by their kind per- 
mission in Fig. 6. 

Of the temple erected by Gudea to the honour and 
glory of his god Ningirsu, we know comparatively little 
beyond what he tells us, but from his account, it was 
evidently very elaborate, for it contained chambers for 
the priests, treasure-houses, granaries, and enclosures 
for the various sacrificial victims. In later times there 
.> appear to have been two general types of temple in vogue 
in Babylonia, the one having a staged tower as its charac- 
teristic feature, the other being distinguished by its ab- 
sence. Of the latter type, we have a good example in 
the temple of Nin-makh at Babylon, excavated by the 



Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft. The goddess Nin-makh 
had been venerated as early as thefirst dynasty of Lagash, 
for in Entemena's time temples were already erected 
in her honour. Her temple at Babylon was made chiefly 
of sun-dried bricks, the four corners being oriented 
towards the four points of the compass as usual : it 
comprised a courtyard, as well as a number of rooms 
some of which were painted, and traces of white decora- 

FIG. 6. Restoration of the Temple at Nippur. (After Hilprecht 
and Fisher.) 

tion were still visible. Apparently a vestibule led into 
a courtyard or hall, around which were situated various 
rooms and halls, and into which they also opened. The 
inner courtyard offers a point of contrast with the Assy- 
rian temple at Nimrud, which has no such interior hall. 
Near the ruins of this templewas the famous Ishtar-gate, 
the sides of which were formed of massive walls which 
were found still preserved to the height of thirty-nine 
feet. These walls were decorated with reliefs on enam- 
elled bricks representing animals of both normal and ab- 
normal character. There were apparently at least eleven. 


rows of these reliefs portraying bulls or dragons one 
above the other. 

But of all Babylonian temples, that of E-temen-an- 
ki built by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon upon 
the site of an ancient shrine, is by far the most famous. 
This temple is called by Herodotus (I, 181) the 
temple of Belus, and it was undoubtedly a very mag- 
nificent building both in point of size as well as in 
point of splendour. Herodotus in his description states 
that it was formed of a solid block of masonry, upon 
which was superimposed another block of smaller size, 
and so on till there were finally eight blocks in all, 
the first or lowest however, was simply the founda- 
tion of the whole ziggurat, and is not to be regarded as 
a " stage " at all ; it was accordingly a perfect seven- 
staged tower, the topmost block of which supported a 
shrine. The summit was reached by means of an ascent 
going round the structure. According to thelateGeorge 
Smith, whose estimates were based on a Babylonian de- 
scription contained in a tablet at one time in his posses- 
sion, the height was 300 feet, the sides of its square base 
being of the same dimensions ; the second storey mea- 
sured 260 feet square and its height was 60 feet. The 
third, fourth and fifth storeys were each 20 feet high, 
and measured 200, 170 and 140 feet square respectively. 
The variation in height of the different stages forms a 
point of contrast with the regularity exhibited by the 
ziggurat at Khorsabad, of which the remains of four 
stages are still to be seen. Concerning the sixth stage 
the Babylonian tablet was apparently silent, while the top 
storey supporting the sanctuary of the god was stated 
to have measured 80 x 70 feet, and to have been 50 
feet high. The seven stages without doubt at one time 
shone with the seven planetary colours, as was the case 
with the seven-staged tower at Khorsabad, on the lower 
remaining stages of which the colours were still found, 
the order of the colours being,white forthe lowest stage, 



(From C. S. Fishers " Excavations at Nippur," l>y permission) 


black for the next, while the succeeding storeys were 
painted blue, yellow, silver, and gold. The ziggurat was 
surrounded by an enclosure, some 400 yards square, the 
ingress and egress to which was by means of bronze gates. 
A double-winged building on the west, presumably the 
shrine of the god, contained a couch of gold and a throne 
with steps also of gold, while the temple further con- 
tained an image of the god himself, made of solid gold. 
. The Babylonian account informs us that the temple com- 
prised two oblong courts, one within theother,the build- 
ing as a whole consisting in a series of sanctuaries, al- 
though of course the most conspicuous and therefore 
perhaps the most important element in its composition, 
was the ziggurat. 

But Nebuchadnezzar's building operations were not 
confined to the erection of a temple in honour of Belus : 
he rebuilt or restored the great walls of the city of 
Babylon, Imgur-Bel and Nimitti-Bel, he constructed 
temples for Shamash the Sun-god at Sippar and Larsa, 
both of which cities had been ancient centres of the 
cult of this god, while in Babylon he erected a temple 
to the goddess Nin-makh. At Borsippa (Birs-Nimrud), 
he bestowed much attention and care upon the an- 
cient shrine of Nebo, and his work on this site has 
been identified by some scholars with the magnificent 
temple described above, to which Herodotus refers at 
such length, though as Hommel and Pinches both point 
out, the distance of Borsippa from Babylon is rather 
against the identification. On the other hand at Bor- 
sippa there are the remains of what once may well have 
been the magnificent temple in question, while at the 
city of Babylon itself no such remains are to be seen ; 
and in regard to the objection raised to the identifica- 
tion of these remains with the famous temple of Belus 
on the ground that Borsippa was too far distant, it must 
be recollected that we do not really know how far the 
city extended, whether in fact it may not have even in- 


eluded Borsippa within its boundaries, for, according to 
Herodotus, the circuit of the city measured some fifty- 
six miles. Nebuchadnezzar's own account of his archi- 
tectural achievements is inscribed on a number of bar- 
rel-shaped clay cylinders and on the well-known East 
India House Inscription. 

(The Assyrian temples seem for the most part to have 
conformed to the same general type as that prevalent 
in Babylonia. One of the earliest explored, and at 
present perhaps the most famous, is that excavated by 
Layard at Nimrud (Calah). 1 It consisted in an outer 
courtyard, from which the worshipper entered into a 
vestibule measuring 46 feet by 1 9 feet, 2 beyond which 
there was a side chamber and a hall 47 feet long and 3 1 
feet broad, ending in a recess paved with a huge alabaster 
slab, 2 1 feet long, 1 6 feet 7 inches broad and i foot i inch 
thick, in which was probably set the image of the god ; 
many stone slabs of a religious character were found 
within, while upon the stone pavement a history of the 
reign of Ashur-nasir-pal was inscribed. The main en- 
trance was decorated and protected with winged human- 
headed lions 1 6 J feet high and 1 5 feet long, whose role 
of guardianship at the portals of the king's palace is 
thus exchanged for a yet higher and more exalted posi- 
tion of trust, while the entrance into the side room 
was covered with reliefs portraying the god in the act 
of expelling a malicious demon. The side entrance 
was thirty feet to the right of the main entrance, and the 
chamber into which it led was connected by two corri- 
dors with the vestibule and the main hall. It was to 
the right of this smaller entrance that the famous arch- 
topped monolith of Ashur-nasir-pal was discovered 
(cf. PI. III). A short distance from the building just 
described, and on the very edge of the artificial plat- 

1 Cf. however Andrae, Der Anu-Adad Tempel, p. 80. 

2 Cf. Pinches, Hastings Diet., Religion and Morals, "Architec- 
ture," Perrot and Chipiez, II, p. 393 ; Layard, Discoveries, pp. 348 ff. 


form, another temple was discovered. The entrance was 
guarded by two colossal lions (cf. PL XXVI), 8 feet 
high and 13 feet long, and the gateway which was about 
8 feet wide was paved with one inscribed slab. In 
front of the lions were two altars similar to the altar 
in the Khorsabad relief reproduced in Fig. 14, C. The 
gateway led into a room 57 feet long and 25 feet broad, 
ending in a recess paved with an enormous alabaster 
slab inscribed on both sides and measuring 19^- feet by 
12 feet. It was in this temple that the statue of Ashur- 
nasir-pal was discovered (cf. PL XXIV). 

The resemblance which the staged towers of Mesopo- 
tamia bear to the pyramids of Egypt naturally led to an 
interrogation as to whether they resembled them also in 
regard to the use to which they were put. Accordingly 
Layard endeavoured to answer the question, which had 
already been categorically answered by Ctesias and 
Ovid, by making cuttings in a ziggurat at Nimrud 
with a view to ascertaining whether they contained 
voids in which the bodies of kings or heroes might 
have at one time been deposited, whether in fact the 
ziggurats were primarily tombs like the pyramids of 
Misraim. The possibility of such being the case was 
proved by the discovery of a vault, on a level with the 
platform itself, measuring 100 feet in length, 6 feet in 
breadth and 12 feet in height, though if this had ac- 
tually been the last resting-place of a departed king, 
it had been completely rifled. Of the ziggurat in ques- 
tion, but one storey remained, protected by a massive 
facing of stone, and about twenty feet high ; the stones 
seem to have been laid together without any mortar, 
as was so often the case in Assyrian masonry. 

Another excellent example of an Assyrian temple is 
the Anu-Adad temple at Ashur, recently excavated by 
the Deutsche Orient Gesellschaft. The code of Kham- 
murabi shows that this city was in existence at all events 
as early as his time, and the German excavations have 


proved that it did not lose its importance when the seat 
of government was removed thence to Calah (Nimrud) 
about 1300 B.C., but on the contrary continued to be a 
royal city and maintained its importance till the seventh 
century B.C., and possibly later. 

The temple of Anu-Adad was founded by Ashur-resh- 
ishi (circ. 1 140 B.C.). It consisted of a rectangular ter- 
race to which access was gained by a doorway flanked 
by towers : beneath the terrace there were a number of 
rooms. The two temple-towers were separated from 
each other by a long passage, on each side of which were 
four small rooms surrounding a large chamber in the 

O O 

middle, which may well have been the sanctuary. One 
of these large chambers was dedicated to Anu, and the 
other to Adad. The two temple-towers were according 
to Andrae four-staged ziggurats, and no doubt upon the 
topmost storey there was a shrine, as in the temple of 
Belus at Babylon. Many of the bricks composing the 
towers were inscribed as was nearly always the case. 
Tiglath-Pileser I (noo B.C.) the son and successor of 
Ashur-resh-ishi had occasion to repair or rebuild this 
temple, and he records that he raised its towers to heaven 
and made firm its battlements with baked brick. 1 His 
account reads as follows : 

" In the beginning of my government Anu and Adad, 
" the great gods, my lords, who love my priestly dig- 
" nity, demanded of me the restoration of this their 
" sacred dwelling. I made bricks, and I cleared the 
" ground, until I reached the artificial flat terrace upon 
" which the old temple had been built. I laid its founda- 
" tion upon the solid rock and incased the whole place 
" with brick like a fireplace, overlaid on it a layer of 
" fifty bricks in depth, and built upon this the founda- 
" tions of the Temple of Anu and Adad of large square 
" stones. I built it from foundation to roof larger and 
" grander than before, and erected also two great tem- 

1 Cf. Harper, Assyrian and Babylonian Literature, pp. 25, 26. 


" pie towers, fitting ornaments of their great divinities. 
" The splendid temple, a brilliant and magnificent dwell- 
" ing, the habitation of their joys, the house for their 
" delight, shining as bright as the stars on heaven's firma- 
" mentand richly decorated with ornaments through the 
" skill of my artists, I planned, devised and thought out, 
"built and completed. I made its interior brilliant like 
"the dome of the heavens ; decorated its walls, like the 
" splendour of the rising stars, and made it grand with re- 
" splendent brilliancy. Irearedits temple towers to heaven 
" and completed its roof with burned brick ; located 
" therein the upper terrace containing the chambers of 
" their great divinities ; and led into its interior Anu 
" and Adad, the great gods, and made them dwell in 
"this their lofty home, thus gladdening the heart of 
" their great divinities. I also cleared the site of the 
" treasure-house of Adad, my lord, which the same 
" Shamshi-Adad, priest of Ashur, son of Ishme-Dagan, 
" likewise priest of Ashur, had built and which had 
"fallen into decay and ruins, and rebuilt it from founda- 
" tion to roof with burned brick, making it more beauti- 
" ful and much firmer than before. I slaughtered clean 
" animals therein as a sacrifice to Adad, my lord." 

This same king, with the prescience characteristic of 
Assyrian monarchs, prays that, in the event of the 
building falling into disrepair, a future king may re- 
store them, and he further begs that such king may 
anoint his own inscribed tablets and his foundation- 
cylinders with oil. His prayer was justified by after 
events, for in Shalmaneser II's (860-825 B.C.) time, the 
temple had already suffered from the effects of time and 
climate, and that king consequently rebuilt it through- 
out. Shalmaneser's reconstruction was not so aspiring 
in its dimensions as that of Ashur-resh-ishi, the orig- 
inal founder of the temple. He erected two temple- 
towers (cf. Fig. 7) parallel to those of his predecessor, 
differing however from those of Ashur-resh-ishi, ac- 


cording to Andrae, in being panelled instead of plain, 
as was the case with the ziggurat (the so-called " Obser- 
vatory") at Khorsabadand thezigguratof Belus at Baby- 
lon. But Shalmaneser was not the last king to whom 
was accorded the privilege of repairing this ancient 
fane: Sargon (722-705 B.C.) the successor of Shal- 
maneser IV, and the immediate predecessor of Sen- 
nacherib, also found occasion to devote himself to this 
work of piety, and in the court-yard of Shalmaneser 
II, the pavement-tiles nearly all bear the name of Sar- 
gon, a permanent testimony to his sense of religious 

FIG. 7. (After Andrae, Der Anu-Adad Tempel, Tafd IX.) 

obligation in this matter. The unique feature about 
this temple is its double ownership. 

Another temple recently excavated at Ashur by Kol- 
dewey and Andrae, is the temple erected by Sin-shar- 
ishkun in honour of the god Nebo. Sin-shar-ishkun 
was the last king of Assyria and reigned about 615 B.C. 
This temple, which comprised a considerable number of 
rooms of various shapes and sizes, was separated into 
two main divisions, both of which consisted in a group 
of apartments leading into a main court, the two courts 
being connected with each other. Access to the temple 
from outside was gained through a door and vestibule 
leading into the northern court, though possibly the 


southern court with which the latter is connected at 
one time had a similar entrance. 

The southern court measures over ninety feet in 
length and about thirty-seven feet in breadth, and is sur- 
rounded by rooms on its southern, eastern and northern 
sides, while on the northern side it is connected with the 
northern court. But it is on the western side of this 
southern court that the main temple rooms are located. 
Thanks to the excellent state of preservation in which 
the brickwork foundation of the walls was found, the ex- 
cavators were able to determine the ground-plan of two 
parallel series of rooms, to each of which access from the 
court was gained by an entrance-gate provided with a 
tower; both the northern and southern series of rooms 
contained first of all a broad room which communicated 
with a long room, at the extreme end of which was a re- 
cess for the statue of the god. The recess at the end of 
the long room in the northern series is so well preserved 
that the general plan of its reconstruction is quite certain. 
The limestone paved pedestal in the recess was ascended 
by a small double flight of low steps, the steps being 
similarly paved with limestone and numbering four. All 
these rooms including the southern and western corri- 
dors and the southern court were paved with brickwork, 
some of the bricks bearing the building inscription of 
Sin-shar-ish-kun, and the bricks in both the southern 
and the northern broad rooms were inscribed " temple 
of Nebo," thereby proving that this whole part of the 
building belonged to the temple of that god, and that his 
temple was thus double in character. 

Sin-shar-ishkun had evidently not been above utiliz- 
ing the building materials of his predecessors, for one of 
the door-sockets bears the name of Ashur-nasir-pal, while 
among other inscribed objects discovered were frag- 
ments of hollow terra-cotta cylinders and prisms as well 
as clay cones bearing an inscription of Sin-shar-ishkun. 
The ground-plan of the southern division of this temple 


of Nebo corresponds in all essential particulars to that 
of the normal Assyrian temple, of which the outstand- 
ing characteristics apart from the ziggurat were the 
broad-room, the hall with a recess for the god's statue, 
a group of surrounding rooms and a corridor. 

The most famous temple at Ashur was that of the 
god Ashur himself, but unfortunately it is badly pre- 
served,and is consequently of less archaeological import- 
ance than the Anu-Adad temple or the temple of Nebo. 
One point of interest about the ancient temple of Ashur, 
is that the rooms appear to have been broad rather than 
long. In the oldest part of the building, an alabaster 
block 1 bearing an inscription of twenty-four lines written 
in archaic characters was discovered. The characters 
somewhat resemble those found in Irishum's inscrip- 
tions and are similar to the characters used in early 
Babylonian inscriptions, while like them, they read 
longitudinally and not laterally, but the lines run from 
left to right instead of from right to left, and in this they 
resemble a few inscriptions found at Tello. 2 This ala- 
baster block is possibly the oldest Assyrian inscription 
as yet brought to light, [n the fore-court of this same 
temple, some fragments of a diorite sculpture with small 
figures similar to those of the Khammurabi period were 

The best-preserved ziggurat in Mesopotamia is that 
which was discovered at Khorsabad ; four stages of this 
tower still remain, and the colours with which they were 
painted are yet visible. It is in close proximity to 
though not in immediate connection with the group of 
buildings formerly regarded as the harem of the palace, 
but recently shown by Koldewey 3 to be in reality a group 
of temples (cf. Fig. 24 B). The argument upon which 
the harem-theory was based was the fact that this block of 

1 Cf. Mitteilungen, No. 44, p. 30. 

2 Cf. Decouvertes, PI. 22 bis, Figs, zb, ^b. 

3 Cf. Andrae, Der 4uu-Adad Tempel y p. 80. 


buildings is separate from the palace, but this argument 
could be used with even greater force in support of the 
temple theory, while its proximity to the ziggurat, and 
the general correspondence in form and shape of the 
several buildings which it comprises, to the normal 
Assyrian temple as revealed by the excavations, makes 
Koldewey's contention a practical certainty. Further- 
more, though the ziggurat, as is the case at Borsippa, is 
not connected with the theoretical "temple-complex," 
there seems to be no doubt they belong to each other 
as there is no room elsewhere in the neighbourhood 
for a temple proper, and the adjacent parts of the palace 
were certainly used for secular and not religious pur- 
poses. The block would appear to contain three tem- 
ples the entrance to each of which was through a central 
court ; the temples consisted in a broad-room or ves- 
tibule, a long-room or hall at the end of which was 
another room presumably the sanctuary where the 
statue of the god was enshrined. The entrance to the 
sanctuary from the hall was through a broad opening 
and up some stairs. 

In addition to these salient parts of the building there 
were various subordinate rooms, which in one temple 
flanked the right side, in another the left, and in the 
third both sides of the main hall, these rooms being 
connected in one case with the broad-room, the hall and 
the sanctuary, in the second with the hall and sanctuary, 
and in the third with the hall only. Sometimes they 
further have surrounding corridors ; it will be thus 
seen that though they show considerable variation 
among themselves, they exhibit the same general type, 
a type totally different from that to which the Assyrian 
palaces and houses conform, the general shape of which 
was broad rather than long. 

But in spite of the general similarity of Assyrian 
temples, the earlier buildings differ from those of 
later date in at least one important respect ; in the 


former the sanctuary is simply a deep niche in the back 
wall of the main long-room or hall, while in the later 
temples of Sargon, the niche has been developed into a 
special sanctuary chamber. 

It has been already demonstrated that the ziggurats 
in Mesopotamia did not by any means all conform to 
the same plan ; not only did the number of their stages 
vary however, but occasionally their shape also. As a 
rule they were square, or at all events rectangular, but 
the ziggurat excavated at El Hibba by the Deutsche 
Orient Gesellschaft proved to be an exception to this 
general rule. The tower in question is circular in form, 
and comprises two stages ; it is not built on an arti- 
ficial mound, but on the natural soil, and is still stand- 
ing to the height of twenty-four feet. The diameter 
of the first storey l is over four hundred feet, while that 
of the upper storey is only a little over three hundred 
feet. The last-named is protected with a casement- 
wall of burnt bricks laid in bitumen, and the upper sur- 
faces of both stories were coated with the same mate- 
rial in order to protect them from the disintegrating 
effects of the rain. The structure was drained by means 
of canals made of burnt bricks, which served the further 
purpose of strengthening the lower storey, and acted in 
fact as a buttress. A number of clay cones or nails 
were found on the surface of the upper storey, similar 
to those found at the foot of the Nippur ziggurat, but 
none of them apparently bore any inscription. 


Other buildings in Babylonia of a more secular cha- 
racter have been preserved in a more satisfactory state 
than those specifically dedicated to the gods, but the 
royal palaces themselves have for the most part under- 
gone such a course of reconstruction that it is very diffi- 
cult to determine the precise form which the original 
1 Hilprecht, Explorations, p. 286. 


building assumed. Ur-Nina has bequeathed to us the 
remains of an elaborate building which he erected at his 
royal city Lagash, but it appears to be a storehouse 
rather than an integral part of a palace ; Urbau and 
Gudea some centuries later have also left unmistakable 
signs of their building activity at this famous city of 
the past. In the course of the excavation of a large palace 
in one of the ruined mounds of Tello, many bricks in- 
scribed with the name of Gudea were found, and this 
discovery not unnaturally led to the hasty conclusion 
that this elaborate building so wonderfully preserved, 
was actually the royal residence of this long deceased 
ruler, but a closer investigation revealed the presence of 
other bricks bearing the name of one, Hadadnadinakhe, 
in both Greek and Aramaean characters, thereby proving 
conclusively that the building in question belonged to 
the Parthian period and could not be assigned to a date 
earlier than the latter half of the second century B.C. The 
bricks belonging to Gudea's early building had been re- 
used as material for this later structure, a practice to 
which recourse was frequently had in Mesopotamia. 
Parts however of Gudea's early building were actually 
incorporated in the Parthian palace, the best preserved 
of which are a gateway (cf. PL V) and a portion of a 
tower, while underneath one corner of the palace, part 
of a wall erected by Ur-bau, one of Gudea's immediate 
predecessors, was discovered. 

Another palace of great fame was that of Nebuchad- 
nezzar at Babylon, known as the El-Kasr (cf. p. 69). This 
palace has been excavatedbyKoldeweyand Andrae. The 
outer wall was made of bricks stamped with the name 
of Nebuchadnezzar, and was some 23^ feet thick, the 
inner wall also made of brick being over 44 feet thick, 
while the space between the two walls, nearly 70 feet, 
was filled in with sand and other material, the total \^ 
thickness thus being nearly 136^ feet. The burnt bricks 
of which the retaining walls were composed were laid in 


asphalt and are so compactly joined that it is impossible 
to separate them into their layers. The Kasr mound, 
which represents a new suburb of the city of Babylon it- 
self, has revealed nothing earlier than the seventh cen- 
tury. Ashur-bani-pal (668-626 B.C.) built a temple here 
which has been duly excavated, but Nebuchadnezzar's 
palace is the principal building which has been discovered 
on this famous site. Before the time of Nebuchadnezzar 
there had seemingly been a palace here, which had under- 
gone a course of reconstruction at the hands of Nabopo- 
lassar (625-604 B.C.) the founder of the Neo-Babylonian 
dynasty, but it subsequently suffered grievously from 
an inundation of the Euphrates, and was accordingly 
repaired and enlarged by Nebuchadnezzar who rebuilt it 
with burnt brick ; so enduring was his work that the 
lower portions of it have remained in position till our 
own day. 

The interior of the palace consisted in a great number 
of rooms arranged around courtyards. The large hall, 
situated on the south of the main court, had a niche in its 
southern wall and was further provided with three doors 
in its northern wall, where traces were also to be found of 
what may have been at one time a colonnade. The roof 
of the palace was made of cedar-wood, as were also the 
doors, which latter were covered with bronzejust as was 
the case with the famous gates at Bal a wat(cf. Fig. 43). The 
thresholds were made of the same metal, as also were 
the steps in the temple E-zida at Borsippa, one of which 
has come down to us and bears this king's name, while 
gold, silver and precious stones of various kinds were 
used with an unsparing prodigality in the decoration of 
the royal residence. 

Nebuchadnezzar further erected another building 
on the northern side of the wall, which was apparently a 
fortress, and was connected with the palace. According 
to the India House Inscription, and the statement of 
Berosus the Babylonian historian (about 300 B.C.) whose 


history unfortunately is lost, but from which extracts 
have been handed down to us by Josephus, this building 
was completed in the incredibly short period of fifteen 

Assyrian palaces are however in a better state of preser- 
vation than those of Babylonia, and afford more material 
for the study of Mesopotamian architecture. First and 
foremost of these must be mentioned that built by Sar- 
gon (722-705 B.C.) at Khorsabad (cf. Fig. 8). The palace 

FIG. 8. Restoration of " Sargon's Palace " at Khorsabad. (After Place.) 

in question was built upon an artificial mound, like most 
of the important edifices in Babylonia and Assyria, these 
mounds serving a more practical purpose in Southern 
Mesopotamia, as by their means the buildings them- 
selves were thus elevated beyond the reach of the waters 
of the inundating Euphrates. The mounds, sometimes 
formed of a mass of crude brick, sometimes of sand, 
gravel and other material, were kept together and pro- 
tected by a casement wall of either burnt brick or stone. 
The revetment-walls atKhorsabad, which wereformedof 
blocks of stone weighing sometimes as much as twenty- 
three tons and measuring 6x6x9 feet, gradually become 


thinner towards the top. The inner face of this stone 
wall in immediate contact with the crude brick mass, 
was left rough, which added to the general coherency 
of the whole. The total height of the wall at Khorsa- 
bad was some 60 feet, the foundations measuring 9 
feet, and the retaining wall 46 feet, a parapet of 5 feet 
making up the total of 60 feet. When the roof was 
flat, it seems to have generally been surmounted by a 
parapet the top of which was crenelated. Nearly all the 
buildings portrayed on Assyrian bas-reliefs exhibit this 
crenelation, which was apparently a peculiar character- 
istic of Mesopotamian architecture, and indeed so popu- 
lar did this style of arrangement become in later times, 
that even the tops of altars and stelae were sometimes 
crenelated (cf. Fig. 1 4, C). Crenelated buildings are how- 
ever not found in Babylonia till the time of Gudea and 
the dynasty of Ur (circ. 2450 B.C.). The foundation- 
mound upon which the brick town- wall of Dur-sharru- 
kin (Khorsabad) was built was similarly facedwith stone, 
the mound itself consisting of stones and rubble, but 
inside the palace, stone was only used for lining the 
walls, for the flooring of the more important rooms, 
and for the shafts, capitals and bases of columns, and 
other architectural accessories, the main body of the 
edifice being built entirely of brick. The outer walls 
of buildings were as a rule fortified with " buttresses," 
made of stronger and more durable material than the 
walls themselves, while apparently the only foundations 
were the artificial mounds upon which the buildings were 
constructed. Unfortunately but little is known as to the 
internal arrangements of the buildings, and we are in 
considerable.doubt even regarding the manner in which 
the various rooms were roofed. 

The rooms in Sargon's palace are nearly all rectangular 
in shape, sometimes square, but generally very long in 
proportion to their breadth. The walls of the rooms were 
phenomenally thick and vary from twelve to twenty-eight 


feet. The roofs of these long chambers must have either 
been vaulted, or elseconstructed oftimber-beams, though 
the former would have been the more serviceable in a cli- 
mate characterized by extreme heat on the one hand and 
extreme cold on the other, for the thick vaulting would 
alike avert the scorching rays of the summer's sun and 
the penetrating cold of a rigorous winter, while the 
discovery of an enormous quantity of broken bricks, 
d6bris and rubble, and the corresponding absence of 
any trace of wood in the excavated rooms supports the 
theory that the roofs were made of clay rather than of 
wood ; and lastly, the only wood easily procurable 
would seemingly have been quite inadequate to sup- 
port the strain of a superimposed flat roof of mud. 
Victor Place furthermore actually discovered the re- 
mains of vaults which had collapsed, while the exten- 
sive use of the arch both in the city walls of Khorsabad 
as well as in the drainage of the palace furnishes an 
additional argument and increases the probability of 
the theory yet the more. The disappearance of any 
trace of wood in the rooms themselves might have been 
explained by the frailty and non-enduring character of 
that material, but near the doorways, which obviously 
could not have been formed of clay, or stone, fragments 
of wood as well as door panels are said to have been 
found, and without doubt, had the ceilings of the 
rooms been made of wood also, similar evidence of the 
fact would be forthcoming. Place further alludes to 
the discovery of rollers made of limestone in some of 
the chambers : these rollers may have been used to 
flatten and solidify the pise-roofs after a downpour of 
rain, and thereby been the means of preventing the 
dissolution and general collapse of this integral part of 
the structure. But these clay roofs however unsatisfac- 
tory they may have been in days gone by from the archi- 
tectural standpoint, have proved of incalculable value to 
the archaeologist of to-day, for to the softness of the; 


material of which they were composed is due the perfect 
preservation of the sculptures and statues which they 
were destined to entomb for so long a period. 

As already mentioned, the partition-wallsof the rooms 
exhibit the same extraordinary solidity noticeable, alike 
in the outer walls of the palace and in those of the city, 
the thinnest being some ten feet thick. The massive- 
ness of these partition walls bears out the theory that 
the roofs were not formed of wooden beams but of clay 
vaulting, and is thus an additional piece of evidence to 
that afforded by the absence of any trace of wood in 
the chambers themselves on the one hand and the dis- 
covery of fragments of wood in the doorways on the 
other ; for the only available explanation and general 
raison d'etre of such thick interior walls is that vaulted 
roofs made of soft clay could only be supported by walls 
of more than ordinary solidity. Doubtless the vaulted 
roofing was also a determining factor in the shape and 
general contour which the rooms assumed, and it is to 
the dearth of wood suitable for building purposes, and 
the consequent use of clay for roofing as well as for other 
parts of the structure that we are to ascribe the narrow- 
ness of most of the chambers, which in truth resemble 
galleries more than halls or rooms. 

It must not however be supposed that all the rooms in 
Sargon's palace or in the palaces of other Assyrian kings 
were one and all shaped like passages, or that they were 
one and all roofed with barrel-shaped vaults. Square 
rooms were discovered in the palace which we are dis- 
cussing, some of which were of no mean dimensions and 
measured forty-eight feet each way ; these clearly could 
not have been covered with barrel vaulting, while the 
difficulty of procuring timber of sufficient length would 
make itself felt more in the case of a large square cham- 
ber, than in an elongated gallery. The problem there- 
fore resolves itself into an inquiry as to what othermodes 
of roofing were adopted by the Assyrians apart from 



roofs made of wooden beams which were apparently 
only used in exceptional cases, and barrel vaults, 
which would have been out of the question in these 
large square chambers. It is here that the bas-reliefs 
adorning the walls of the royal palaces come to 
our aid. On one of these reliefs from Kouyunjik 
(cf. Fig. 9) are portrayed a number of buildings 
surmounted by domes of varying shapes and sizes, 
which prove conclusively that the Assyrians of Sen- 

FlG. 9. From an Assyrian Bas-relief. (After Layard, Ser. 2, PI. 17.) 

nacherib's time had evolved the art of constructing 
domed roofs, or perhaps we should say borrowed the 
art from their mother-country, as the principle of the 
domed roof seems to have been known in Babylonia 
in the pre-Sargonic times, for the American excavations 
at Bismaya having disclosed an oval-shaped room of the 
Sumerian period, provided with a domed roof of which 
the larger portions still remained, and without doubt the 
square chambers in Sargon's palace at Khorsabad as well 
as those in the palaces of other Assyrian kings were 
roofed in this way. The buildings on the right (cf. Fig. 9) 
have flat roofs, while those on the left have either hemi- 


spherical cupolas, or conical-shaped domes ; most of the 
doors are rectangular in shape, two of them however are 
arched like the famous gates at Khorsabad. These 
rounded roofs are to be seen all over the East even at 
the present day, so persistent is the influence of custom 
and habit when both are but the offspring of the natural 
environment of climate and owe their very origin to the 
great mother of invention. 


Of the arrangement of private houses in Babylonia 
we know comparatively little. Taylor excavated a small 
house of uncertain date at Mukeyyer, and a plan of 
some chambers at Abu Shahrein was also made out. 
The house at Mukeyyer was erected on an artificial 
mound of crude brick upon which a pavement of burnt 
brick was laid, the house itself being built of the same 
material. The walls were very irregular, but the general 
plan of the building seems to have been cruciform. The 
outer layer of bricks was apparently set in bitumen, mud- 
mortar being used for the remainder, while the floor 
which was made of burnt brick like the walls, was laid in 
bitumen. In regard to the doorways, two of them con- 
sisted in arched vaults, the arch being semicircular and 
made of wedge-shaped bricks, and the charred remains 
of wooden rafters or beams were found within. The out- 
side of the house was decorated with perpendicular 
grooves, or "stepped recesses," 1 and many of the bricks 
were coated with enamel or gypsum, and were inscribed. 

The external decoration of a building at Warka 
(Erech) excavated by Loftus consisted on the other hand 
of series of coloured clay cones 2 embedded in mud or 
plaster and arranged in various patterns, with their cir- 
cular bases outwards. The patterns were mostly triangu- 
lar, striped, diamond-shaped, or zigzags, and the wall 

1 Loftus, Chaldcea and Susiana, p. 133; J. R. A. S., XV, pp. 265, 
266. 2 Loftus, pp. 187 ff. 


of which they formed a part measured thirty feet in 
length. The flat part of this wall projected one foot nine 
inches beyond the semicircular half columns which oc- 
curred at intervals as in the Wuswas facade. 

The rooms excavated at Abu Shahrein were built of 
crude brick, the walls being covered with a plaster on 
the inside and painted. In one of these chambers the 
walls were decorated with white, black, and red bands, 
about three inches broad, while in another there was a 
crude red picture of a man holding a bird on his wrist, 
and a smaller figure standing close by. 

The buildings uncovered by the German excavations 
at Fara appear to be chiefly characterized by the feeble- 
ness of the walls and the elaboration of the drainage 
system. The general plan of these brick buildings con- 
sisted in a central court surrounded by chambers of very 
small dimensions. Private houses, like palaces, were 
often occupied over and over again : thus at Nippur 
some of the houses excavated by Haynes had been 
occupied at least three times over, while in one of 
them three distinctly different doorways were visible, 
the lowest and therefore the earliest being roofed by a 
segmental arch. But other buildings of quite a different 
shape and character were found both at Surghul and 
Fara ; these buildings are not rectangular but circular 
in form, and measure from six and a half to sixteen 
feet across. These rotundas, which are particularly 
numerous at Fara, were surmounted by arched vaults, 
and one of them was found to contain four skulls. 
For what these circular structures were used it is diffi- 
cult to say. We know something about the ordinary 
houses of later times from the classical writers : 
Herodotus for example informs us that the houses 
were generally lofty, having three or even four stories 
(Herod. I, 1 80), while Strabo tells us that the roofs of 
the houses were vaulted. The latter writer informs us 
that the pillars of the house when such existed con- 


sisted in the trunks of palm trees, around which wisps 
of rushes were entwined, the whole being thus coated 
with some kind of plaster and then painted (Strab. 
XVI, I, 85). 

Of the private houses in Assyria we are little better 
informed than of those in Babylonia. The German ex- 
cavationsat Kalat Sherkat (Ashur) have however thrown 
some light on the subject. The foundation-walls of 
the houses discovered on this site showed that they con- 
formed in general plan to that of the old Babylonian 
house as illustrated at Fara. The foundations them- 
selves present some novel varieties to the student of 
Mesopotamian architecture ; the foundation-walls re- 
ferred to were sunk down through the amassed debris 
with which the plateau had been covered, to the rock 
bottom ; and these walls were covered with a layer of 
stones, upon which the actual walls of the building were 
superimposed. One of the houses in question measured 
roughly 86 x 6 1 feet, and is rectangular in shape. As at 
Fara the rooms surround a central court. On the south 
side of the building two narrow corridors run east and 
west, and are traceable in the foundations, access to the 
court being gained only by passing through the outer 
corridor and turning two corners. 

In the debris beneath this house were found various 
graves of the capsule type. 1 

The drains of the early Babylonians were either made 
of bricks, or else of baked clay rings. Of the larger type 
of drain or water conduit generally used to drain the 
upper stages of ziggurats, we have a good example in PI. 
XI. Similar drains were discovered by Loftus at Erech, 
though he mistook them for supporting buttresses, 2 to 
which they bear a striking resemblance. In the temple 
court at Nippur numerous drains of the second class 
were discovered. These were constructed of terra-cotta 
rings set one on the top of the other, and sometimes 

1 Cf. p. 80. 2 Cf. Hilprecht, Explorations, p. 372. 



provided with a bell-shaped top, while occasionallyitwas 
surmounted by a terra-cotta floor, 1 as in Fig. 10. The 
average diameter of the rings composing this drain was 
two feet and three-quarters, and it descended some six 
and a half feet. At Bismaya a drain consisting of round 
tiles about eight inches in diameter was discovered, 
while similar drains made of terra-cotta rings superim- 
posed one on the top of the other were discovered by 
Taylor at Mukeyyer (Ur). Frequently these shafts were 
double as in the illustration (Fig. 1 1). The rings com- 

FIG. 10. (After Hilprecht.) FIG. n. (After Taylor.) 

posing this drain were two feet in diameter and about 
a foot and a half broad, and in some instances they were 
cemented together by means of a thin layer of bitumen. 
" For about a foot right round these drain-pipes and 
throughout their whole length, were pieces of broken 
pottery, the more effectually, to drain the mound.'* 2 
Over the mouth of the top ring, which is of a differ- 
ent shape to the others, were layers of perforated bricks 
leading up to the top of the mound. Sometimes these 
drains consist of as many as forty of these rings. Num- 
erous drains made of both bricks and tiles were dis- 

1 Ibidem, p. 402. 

2 Cf. Taylor, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1853, p. 269. 


covered at Bismaya, while the drainage system atFara 
and other early Babylonian sites seems to have been very 

The main drains in Babylonia and Assyria fre- 
quently assumed the form of vaulted aqueducts. Con- 
cerning the drainage of the inner rooms, the palace 
of Sargon at Khorsabad is our best source of informa- 
tion. Nearly all of the rooms were drained by a hole 
cut in a stone in the centre of the floor towards which the 
brick floor gradually sloped ; the water passed through 
the hole into a circular brick conduit, which descended 
into a horizontal drain connected with the main vaulted 
drain to which reference will be made later on (cf. p. 1 74). 

Windows, which to our idea form one of the most 
important parts of a building, were apparently taken in- 
to little account by the Babylonians and Assyrians. In 
the case of one-storied buildings the only windows seem 
to have been skylights. At all events Place discovered 
terra-cotta cylinders in several of the rooms at Khorsa- 
bad, which according to him, must have formed a part 
of the roof through which air and a modicum of light 
was admitted into the chamber. The buildings repre- 
sented on the bas-reliefs are indeed provided with small 
openings, but these appear to be embrasures rather than 
windows properly so-called. But in any case, even if 
windows were cut in the walls, the extreme thickness of 
the latter would have excluded nearly all light. 


The column never seems to have occupied a promi- 
nent position in the history of Mesopotamian architec- 
ture, a fact which was again due to the dearth of stone 
and wood ; there is however sufficient evidence to 
prove that it was certainly not unknown, though it was 
not very frequently employed. In modern architecture 
the column forms the main support of arches, but in 
Babylonian and Assyrian architecture the archivolts and 



pendentives of the arch are generally supported by thick 
walls ; this fact is testified to alike by the remains of 
ancient buildings and also by the figured representations 
of such buildings found on the bas-reliefs. 

Probably the best examples of an early Babylonian 
column are those discovered by De Sarzec at Tello in 
1 88 1, though strictly speaking they are not columns, 
but piers formed by the union of four circular columns 
(cf. Fig. 1 2). The piers are composed of circular, semi- 
circular, or triangular bricks, which bear an inscrip- 
tion, from which 
we gather that the 
new construction 
of which they pre- 
sumably formed 
a part was largely 
made of cedar- 
wood, a statement 
confirmed by the 
discovery of frag- 
ments of this 
wood amid the 

ru - ns FIG. 12. (Cf. Dtc. en Chald., PL 53, 2.) 

Evidence of the very early use of the column on the 
same site was forthcoming in the discovery of a series of 
eight brick bases, situated some thirteen feet from the 
ancient building of Ur-Nina, the charred remains of 
pillars of cedar-wood by which these bases were once sur- 
mounted being still visible. Probably the most familiar 
example of the use of the column in Babylonia, afforded 
by the excavations, is that of the Court of columns at Nip- 
pur (cf. PL X). This court is over forty-eight feet square ; 
its floor consists of a thick pavement made of unburnt 
bricks, and is over six feet in depth ; around three of 
the sides of this square, Peters tells us, ran a kind of 
edging formed by a double row of burnt bricks, out of 
which arose four brick columns, round in shape, but rest- 



ing on square brick pillars which descended some three 
feet or so below the surface ; the fourth side was without 
doubt similarly occupied with columns, but nearly every 
trace of even the foundations of them has been washed 
away owing to the slope of the hill. On the other sides of 
the platform the columns remain standing to a height of 
about three feet ; they appear to have tapered upwards, 
the diameterat the base being just overthree feet. They 
were built of bricks especially made for the purpose : these 
bricks, in shape, are segments of circles, the apexes of 
which are truncated, and the hollow thus left in the centre 
of the circle compounded of these deformed segments 
was filled in with fragments of bricks. The segmentary 
bricks are well baked though somewhat brittle, and they 
were laid in mortar. According to Peters, these columns 
were carefully dressed with a sharp instrument, to re- 
move any irregular projections there might be owing 
to the mal-formation of any of the component bricks. 
The columns are moreover not arranged with mathema- 
tical accuracy, being only roughly equidistant from one 
another. The corner-columns differ from the others 
in being half-round and half-square. Peters dates this 
colonnade in the second millennium and assigns it to the 
Cassite period. Hilprecht however believes it to be a 
product of the Parthian times, and dates it about 300 B.C. 
But yet other columns were found at Nippur, some 
rectangular and oblong in shape, others assuming an 
oval form, both kinds however being made of brick 
like the columns in the court. In one room in a build- 
ing close to the court, two columns were found built 
into the wall, and two more round columns on square 
bases, the latter being composed of four courses of 
bricks, and resting on a foundation of mud-brick. The 
circumference of these round columns is over twelve 
feet. On the south-east of the court the remains of 
another pair of round columns of gigantic size were 
discovered ; the base of one of these was found still 


in its original position, while the remains of the shafts 
lay strewn about promiscuously. The diameter of these 
columns at the base must have been between six and 
seven feet, that is to say more than double the size of 
the columns in the court itself. 

Tello and Nippur are however not the only sites 
which have yielded evidence of the use of the column 
in the Babylonia of antiquity. Loftus in his excava- 
tions at the Wuswas mound at Warka (Erech) came 
across the remains of seven half-columns repeated 
seven times, 1 and used for the decoration of a fa$ade; 
these half-columns were made of semicircular bricks. 
There is no trace of capital, base, cornice or any of the 
features which columns generally exhibit, they therefore 
occupy an early place in the development of columnar 
architecture, and Loftus assigns the building in which 
they were discovered to the second millennium B.C., not 
later than 1 500 B.C. The excavations at Abu Adham, a 
mound situated near Tello, revealed a building with 
brick columns exactly like those found by Peters at Nip- 
pur, while at Abu Shahrein (Eridu) Taylor discovered the 
remains of a column 2 consisting, in contradistinction to 
those mentioned above, of "slabs of sandstone twenty 
inches square and four inches thick, which disposed in a 
circular form, and joined together by lime, formed the 
chief material ; between each layer were cylindrical pieces 
of marble, and the whole had a thick coating of lime ; suc- 
cessive layers of which, mixed with small stone and peb- 
bles, were laid on till it had attained the desired size and 
thickness. Its base was shaped like a bowl, and rested 
upon a layer of sun-dried bricks, under which again was 
fine sand." No doubt the column was used in Babylonia 
more frequently than might be inferred from the paucity 
of the cases in which the excavations have actually pro- 
duced tangible evidence of its employment, and the fact 

1 Loftus, Travels, pp. 174 ff. 

2 Cf. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1855, p. 406. 


that Nebuchadnezzar represented columns with great 
voluted capitals on coloured tiles in the Kasr shows that 
they must have been a comparatively familiar architec- 
tural feature in his day, in spite of the fact that, as 
Koldewey points out, their pictorial representation on 
coloured tiles was probably an artistic substitute for the 
real things, for which there was apparently neither place 
nor use, as in every place where one might expect them, 
simple doors are found ; two column-shafts consisting 
in palm-trunks, sunk into the ground and surrounded 
at the foot, by a circular brick walling strengthened with 
asphalt and lime, were however actually found in one of 
the courts, but Koldewey assigns the restored building 
of which they form a part to the Persian period. In the 
Amran 1 mound at Babylon Koldewey discovered the 
truncated remains of twenty-two brick columns, which 
evidently formed part of a columned building, but the 
date of this building seems to be uncertain. 

It is here however that the bas-reliefs come to our aid ; 
in PL XIV we have a reproduction of the famous Sun- 
god Tablet which was made by Nabu-aplu-iddina, king 
of Babylonia in the first half of the ninth century B.C., in 
which there is a shrine, the roof of which is supported by 
a column in the form of a palm-trunk which was probably 
overlaid with plates of metal, for plain unadorned wood 
would hardly be suitable for the shrine of Shamash, and 
moreover the capital and base, both of which are much 
the same, could only have assumed this form in metal, the 
one material that would easily adapt itself to such motifs. 
Similarly the curved back wall and roof were probably 
made of metal, for wood of the kind procurable in Baby- 
lonia would not readily bend in this manner. But this 
notwithstanding, the column always appears to have 
occupied a subordinate position in Babylonian architec- 

Such also appears to have been the case in Assyria: 
1 Cf. Mittcilungen, No. 43, p. 7. 



there too the excavations have done little in the way of 
recovering the actual columns used by the Assyrian 
monarchs, and for our knowledge of the general form 
and appearance of Assyrian columns we are in the main 
dependent on the information afforded us by the wall bas- 
reliefs. Another source of great fruitfulncss would be 
the series of ivories found in the north-west palace of 
Nimrud (Calah), but as these are the work of either 
Egyptian orPhcenicianartists,thecolumnstherein repre- 
sented can hardly be regarded as illustrations of Assyrian 

FIG. 13, a. Capital of large Column. 
(Place, Nineve, PI. 35.) 

FIG. 13, b. Capital of small Column. 
(Brit. Mus.) 

Of remains of actual columns, the best-preserved is 
probably that discovered by Victor Place at Khorsabad ; 
it comprises the capital and a portion of the shaft (cf. 
Fig. 13, a) both in one piece; it is made of limestone, 
and the surviving fragment is some forty inches high. 
The decoration of the capital proper is a variety of the 
volute, a device which probably originated in a more or 
less accurate imitation of the horns of the goat, and which 
is a characteristic feature of Babylonian and Assyrian 

Sometimes columns represented on the bas-reliefs are 
actually surmounted by goats (cf. Fig. 14, G) but more 
often, the horn-shaped volutes (cf. Fig. 1 4, F) are the only 


artistic elements borrowed by the Assyrians from the 
animal world, in the formation of their column capitals. 
A variety of the same design is seen on the four circu- 

FIG. 14. A, cf. Layard Discoveries, p. 590. 

B, cf. Layard, Mon. Scr. I, PI. 95. 

C, cf. BotU, Ruincs dc Ninive, II, p. 114. 
D, E, Bas-reliefs from Kouyunjik. 

lar limestone pedestals discovered by Layard at Nine- 
veh l (cf. Fig. 14, A) which doubtless at one time sup- 
ported wooden pillars ; the diameter of these bases 
varied from eleven and a half inches in the narrowest 
to two feet seven inches in the broadest part. 

1 Cf. Layard, Discoveries, p. 590 ; Dieulafoy, VArt Antique, V, 
pp. 57 fT.; Perrot and Chipiez, p. 214. 


Sometimes the backs of lions (cf. Fig. 14, E), 
sphinxes or other composite monsters formed the bases 
of columns, and two such bases in the form of winged 
sphinxes were found by Layard in the south-west palace 
at Nimrud, but they were in such a state of decay that 
they crumbled soon after excavation, though not before 
Layard was able to take a sketch of one of them (cf. 
Fig. 14, B). 

An interesting example of a capital of a column is the 
small stone capital preserved in the British Museum 
(cf. Fig. 13,^). It probably formed the upper part of one 
of the diminutive columns adorning a balustrade, and 
doubtless when complete was a more or less faithful 
miniature replica of the full-sized capital discovered by 
Place (Fig. 13, a). 

Until recently, owing to the fact that the columns 
portrayed on Assyrian bas-reliefs, and also the scant 
remains of actual columns which had been recovered, 
yielded no examples of shafts other than round, 1 or pos- 
sibly square (cf. Fig. 14, C) it was thought that poly- 
gonal-shafted columns were unknown, but the German 
excavations at Ashur have brought to light a capital of 
a column made of black basalt, 2 together with a portion 
of the shaft which is sixteen-sided, and probably belongs 
to about the time of Tiglath-Pileser I (uoo B.C.). 

This column at one time bore an inscription, but 
unfortunately it is worn away. The remains of another 
polygonal-shaped basalt column 3 was discovered on the 
same site. It is eight-sided, and bears an inscription of 
Shamhsi-Adad, the son of Tiglath-Pileser I. 

Two interesting column-bases made of limestone were 
also discovered at Ashur, 4 under the brick-pavement 
of a late Assyrian dwelling-house. One of these con- 

1 tlace discovered an eight-sided column at Karambs, but it appar- 
ently belonged to the Parthian period (Place, Nineveh, IT, pp. 169 ff.). 

2 Cf. Mittei/ungen, No. 40, p. 25. 3 Cf. Ibid., No. 40, p. 24. 
4 Cf. Ibid., No. 42, p. 40. 


sists in a plinth, a torus and a thin over-plate, all made 
in one piece, while in the other case a part of the shaft 
is preserved with the torus. 

Judging from the bas-reliefs the corner columns of a 
building were generally more massive than those which 
were intermediate (cf. Fig. 14, C, D), a circumstance 
which added not only to the stability of the building 
itself, but also to the elegance of its appearance. But in 
both Babylonia and Assyria the column was used more 
often as an adornment to the facades of buildings than as 
an actual support for the structure itself. As we have so 
little positive evidence of the use of stone columns in 
Mesopotamia, it seems probable that as a rule columns 
were made of wood or bricks, the disappearance of 
almost all trace of which would be adequately accounted 
for by the natural destructibility of such materials, 
though the disappearance of stone columns, for such 
were clearly used, at all events sometimes, might be 
readily explained on the supposition that they had been 
subsequently used as rollers or for some other purpose. 


It has been truly said that the arch was first invented 
by people whose building materials were of a small size, 
and however open to objection this generalization may 
be, it is certainly true in the case of Babylonian archi- 
tecture, and also in a somewhat lesser degree in that of 
the later Assyrian architecture. Strabo informs us that 
" all the houses in Babylonia were vaulted " &a TYJV 
av\iav " because of the dearth of wood," XVI, i, 5 
but however reliable or unreliable his statement may 
be, the dearth of wood and stone in the alluvial plain 
of Lower Mesopotamia of necessity taxed the inventive 
powers of the Babylonian architect to the utmost, when 
hewas confrontedwith the problem of roofing the build- 
ings he had erected, and the various rooms which they 


rere destined to contain. But his genius seems to have 
arisen to the occasion, and evolved the principle of the 
arch as the best, and indeed the only means of coping 
with an otherwise insurmountable difficulty, for the 
construction of flat roofs depended on the existence 
of slabs of stones or timber-beams, alike large in size 
and durable, but both stone and wood of the kind 
wanted were not to be found in Babylonia, and the 
architect would clearly be unable to fetch wood or stone 
from the distant mountains for the purpose of roofing 
the chambers of an ordinary house. His inventive 
faculties were thus stimulated by the urgency of the 
case, and the result produced by these combined factors 
is to be seen in the early appearance of the arch, crude 
indeed as regards its structure, but none the less in- 
volving the same principles upon which all arches are 

The early arches in the tomb-passages in Egypt are 
supposed to owe their origin to the removal of the lower 
part of the buttress-walls erected to keep the side walls 
of the passages from collapsing : such buttress-walls 
would of course fulfil their function in preventing the 
side walls from falling in, but they would frustrate their 
own ends by completely blocking the passage, thus ren- 
dering it perfectly useless. Accordingly the lower por- 
tion of the buttress-wall was removed, the upper part 
being allowed to remain, and forming in fact a rudi- 
mentary arch, and it is possible that the Babylonian 
arch owes its origin to like fortuitous circumstances. It 
is perhaps more probable, however, that the origin of 
the arch-shaped structure, if not the discovery of the 
principle of the arch, is to be traced to the peculiar 
form assumed by the native reed-huts, which doubtless 
bore a close resemblance to those commonly used in 
the Euphrates valley to-day. This view is advocated by 
Heuzey, and is the one which Hilprecht is disposed to 


Most of the ancient buildings of Babylonia have suc- 
cumbed to the concurrent ravages of time and climate, 
and have consequently bequeathed to us very little 
material for the study of Babylonian architecture ; the 
roofs of buildings, and of the chambers comprised there- 
in, have long since ceased to be, and we can thus only 
theorize as to the general mode of roofing adopted, but 
the drains and aqueducts constructed beneath the build- 
ings have luckily survived to tell their tale, and we owe 

Fig. 15. Early T-shaped Arch Fig. 16. Arch at Tell6. 

at Nippur. (Cf. Dtc. en Chald., PI. 57 (bis), I.) 

(Cf. Hilprecht, Explorations, p. 399.) 

our knowledge of the early existence of the arch in 
Babylonia chiefly to these comparatively insignificant 

One of the most ancient arches as yet discovered is 
that which was brought to light during the course of the 
excavations carried on by Peters, Harper, Haynes and 
Hilprecht at the ancient city of Nippur (cf. Fig. 15). 
It was found at a great depth below the surface of the 
mound, being more than twenty-two and a half feet below 
the pavement of Ur-Engur (circ. 2400 B.c.),and fourteen 
feet below that of Naram-Sin (circ. 2700 B.C.); it is a true 


key-stone arch pointed in shape, made of well-burnt 
plano-convex bricks, and measuring a little over two feet 
in height and having a span of about one foot eight 
inches, while its length is about three feet, but it seems 
probable that originally the tunnel was vaulted through- 
out. The irregularity of its construction somewhat 
diminishes the significance that itwould otherwise have, 
but it is of supreme interest as testifying to the fact 
that the principle of the arch was known at this very 
remote period, however crude the embodiment of that 
principle may happen to be. The plano-convex bricks 
composing this arch measure 12 x 6 x 2j inches and bear 
the impress of finger-marks on their convex side, a 
characteristic feature of pre-Sargonic bricks at Nippur, 
Tello and elsewhere, while the clay from which the bricks 
are made is of a light yellow colour. The tunnel itself 
seems to have been "a protecting structure for a drain," 1 
rather than a drain itself, for below the pavement two 
terra-cotta pipes were discovered, the existence of which 
can only be explained on this hypothesis. At the top 
of the arch were found the remains of another terra- 
cotta pipe, the object of which must have been to drain 
off the percolating rain-water, and thus prevent it pene- 
trating through and disintegrating the vaulted structure 
below. The T-shaped centre-piece, which was similarly 
made of plano-convex bricks, doubtless served the pur- 
pose of keeping the sides of the arch from falling in. 
Haynes further informs us that in one of the private 
houses at Nippur which had been occupied at least three 
times, the earliest of the three doorways traceable in the 
ruins, consisted in a segmental arch. 

Another very early arch was discovered by M. De 
Sarzec at Tello, close to the building of Ur-Nina (cf. 
Fig. 1 6), having much the same shape as the Nippur 
arch illustrated in Fig. 15 and doubtless used for a 
similar purpose, while vaulted passages of which the arch 
1 Cf. Hilprecht, Explorations, pp. 397 ff. 


was semicircular, were discovered by Taylor 1 in his ex- 
cavations at Mukeyyer (Ur), as early as 1855. 

Again the German excavations at Fara (Shuruppak) 
in 1902 and 1903 revealed a number of circular rooms, 
each of which was roofed by means of an arch formed 
by overlapping bricks placed horizontally, somewhat 
after the fashion of the later corbelled arch at Nippur 
seen in Fig. 1 7, to which Hilprecht assigns a provisional 
date of 2500 B.C. We know that the dome was invented 
in Babylonia at a very early date, thanks to Dr. Banks' 
discovery at Bismaya of an oval-shaped room in the 
vicinity of the temple, the lower parts of the domed 
roof of which were found still in place. Its antiquity 
is attested by the date of the temple itself which would 
appear to have belonged to the pre-Sargonic period, as 
the ziggurat was faced with the plano-convex bricks 
characteristic of that period, and the pottery furnace, not 
far distant, was composed of bricks of the same kind. 

In later times the arch was doubtless used more fre- 
quently in Babylonia. A good example of a late Baby- 
lonian arch was discovered by the German excavators 
on the Kasr at Babylon ; the arch in question (cf. Fig. 1 8) 
which is Roman in character, forms the roofing of a 
lofty gate cut in the fortification wall. Koldewey 2 is of 
opinion that the wall in which this arched gate occurs, 
is a good deal older than the Nebuchadnezzar period. 

But Assyria, the more or less faithful imitator of 
Babylonia in all matters great or small, is also known 
to have employed the arch as an architectural device, 
though, as in Babylonia, most of the Assyrian arches 
which the excavations have brought to light are con- 
nected with the drainage system with which all the 
principal buildings were provided. The best examples 
of an Assyrian arch of ordinary dimensions are those 
found at Khorsabad, the gateways of which town were 

1 Cf. J. R. A. S., 1855, p. 266. 

2 Cf. Mitteilungen, No. 8, p. 4. 


roofed with semicircular vaults. One of these gateways 
was pulled down by Place in order to make a close ex- 
amination of its construction. The height from the pave- 
ment to the top of the arch was found to be twenty-four 
and a half feet, the width being a little over fourteen feet. 
The arch was made of crude bricks, all of which were 
of the same size, and had the same shape, the bricks 
being cemented together with soft clay. The vault it- 
self had long since become disintegrated, but the ma- 

Fig. 17. Corbelled Arch at Nippur. 
(Cf. Hilprecht, Explorations, p. 420.) 

Fig. 18. Arch at Babylon. 
(Cf. Mitteil.^.Abb. i.) 

terials of which it was made were discovered in the 
ruins. Of the brilliantly painted friezes which adorned 
these rounded openings (cf. PL XXX), something will 
be said in the chapter on Painting. 

But in regard to the study of what may be called the 
arch-principle, the subterranean channels which formed 
part of the system of drainage employed by the Assyrians 
are of greater importance. These aqueducts are found in 
all the palaces, both at Nimrud and Kouyunjik, but Khor- 
sabad furnished the best preserved examples, and there- 
fore afforded the most valuable material for the care- 
ful examination of this architectural contrivance. At 


Khorsabad, Place discovered several arched drains of 
different shapes, some of them being round, others 
elliptical, while others again were pointed, but appar- 
ently in every case the stones or bricks were set at an 
angle, so that each course had the support of the course 

FIG. 19. (Place, Nineveh, PI. 38.) FIG. 20. (Place, Nineveh, PI. 38.) 

FIG. 21. (Place, Nineveh, PI. 39.) FIG. 22. (Place, Nineveh, PI. 39.) 

preceding it, and thus the pressure on the centre of 
the arch was reduced to the minimum. In the case of 
the pointed arched aqueducts found by Place, the arches 
in question are no true keystone arches, indeed they 
have no keystones of any kind as will be seen in Figs. 1 9, 
20; this arched drain measures four feet eight inches 
from the ground to the centre of the vault, its width is 


about three feet nine inches, while its original length is 
unfortunately not known, though Place succeeded in 
tracing it for some two hundred and twenty feet. The 
floor was made of large slabs of limestone set in as- 
phalt, while the ends of the stone-slabs extended be- 
yond the walls of the vault on either side. The rounded 
type of arch is seen in Fig. 21 ; it is semicircular in 
shape and is formed of three voussoirs on each side, 
which together with the key, thus make seven in all, 
but owing to some miscalculation, the keystone appears 
to have been too small, in consequence of which there 
was a gap between it and the top voussoir on the right, 
which was filled in by means of a stone wedge which 
can be seen in the figure. Its width and height vary 
at different points, in some places it is said to be wide 
enough for two men to walk abreast in it. 1 The floor 
was composed of slabs of limestone which were laid in 
asphalt just like the floor of the pointed arch described 
above. An elliptical-shaped arch, also found at Khor- 
sabad, is illustrated in Fig. 22 : it is formed of eight 
voussoirs and a keystone, the gap on either side of 
which is filled in by means of two stone wedges. The 
failure to make the keystones sufficiently large, and the 
consequent necessity for these supplementary wedges 
may be due to the architects not having allowed for the 
shrinkage of the bricks. 

In regard to the arched structures at Nimrud (Calah) 
Layard says he found a vaulted room and more than 
one arch. He tells us that " the arch was constructed 
upon the well-known principle of vaulted roofs, the 
bricks being placed sideways, one against the other, and 
having been probably sustained by a framework until 
the vault was completed." Knowledge of the principle 
of dome-shaped roofs in Assyria as well as in the mother- 
country, is evidenced both by the discovery of rooms 
whose dimensions would have rendered any other mode 
1 Cf. Perrot and Chipie^ p. 231. 


of roofing impossible, and also by the representations 
on Assyrian bas-reliefs, as we have already seen. 1 

The arch-principle is further embodied in some of 
the Babylonian and Assyrian graves, and as there is no 
other opportunity of discussing the burial-places of the 
Babylonians and Assyrians in this volume, it may be per- 
missible to give here a brief and general description of 
one or two of the best preserved of these burial-vaults. 
At Mukeyyer (Ur) Taylor found a number of arched 
vaults (cf. Fig. 24) which in most cases measured about 
5 feet in height,and 3 feet 7 inches in breadth, while they 

FIG. 23. (After Andrae.) FIG. 24. (After Taylor.) 

were about 7 feet long at the bottom and 5 feet long at 
the top. The arch is formed by successive layers of over- 
lapping bricks. It is interesting to compare the burial 
vaults discovered by Andrae at Kalat Sherkat (Ashur), 
one of the best preserved of which is seen in Fig. 23. 2 
This vault was discovered about 1 6 feet below the level 
of the floor of a Parthian door in the neighbourhood, 
and over 13 feet below a later Assyrian pavement. At 
the time of its construction the vault would appear to 
have been about 9 feet beneath the surface of the soil. 
1 Cf. Fig. 9. 2 Cf. Andrae, Mitteilungen, No. 27, pp. 29-32. 


The perpendicular walls forming the sides of the lower 
part of the tomb are set upon a brick pavement, the 
bricks being about 10^ inches square and nearly 1\ 
inches thick. The height of these perpendicular walls 
is approximately 30^ inches and the layers of bricks 
which each contains number 13. The vault itself, which 
of course commences where the perpendicular walls 
cease, is more or less oval in shape, has a span of 5 feet 
2 inches, and is 2 feet 1 1 inches high, the total height 
of the tomb from the floor to the top of the arch thus 
being nearly 5.^ feet. The arch, upon the construction 
of which much care had evidently been bestowed, was 
formed of forty-six courses of quasi-wedge-shaped 
bricks, each resembling a truncated segment of a circle. 
The interstices between the courses were filled in with 
stones, broken pieces of clay and clay mortar. The out- 
side of the vault was coated with clay, but the inside 
was left plain. The walls at either end incline inwards, 
while they are built separately from the arch and are also 
rather higher. Access to the tomb from outside is 
gained by a slanting and somewhat winding entrance- 
shaft built close to the western wall, in which there is a 
small arched opening. The threshold of this opening, 
which was filled in with loosely laid bricks, lies 23-^ 
inches above the floor of the tomb. In the eastern wall 
the usual recess was found, the floor of which was some 
35 inches above the floor of the burial chamber. This 
recess was about 19 inches in height and 13 inches in 
breadth, while the depth of the recess was greater than 
that of the wall, and it was therefore necessary to build 
another wall on the outside to close it up. In the re- 
cess of another double grave found by Andrae on the 
same site, a clay lamp was found, but this was not the 
case here ; possibly there was at one time a lamp in 
the recess of this tomb, its disappearance being due to 
the disintegration to which the long infiltration of damp 
subjects all articles of unburnt clay. The entrance-shaft 


was 39 inches square, while its bottom was level with 
the threshold of the small opening in the western wall ; 
4 feet 2 inches above this floor was a second floor made 
of gypsum blocks which were supported by the walls of 
the shaft. The interstices between these blocks were 
filled in with stones and pieces of clay, while the upper 
part of the shaft (i.e. the part above these blocks), the 
walls of which had only half the thickness of the walls 
below, was similarly filled in right up to the surface 
level. The uppermost part of the shaft had been dis- 
turbed by a later building. In the vault, Andrae found 
three skeletons, one of which apparently belonged to a 
man, and the other two to women. The arms of these 
skeletons were at right angles to the bodies, and the 
legs were contracted and apart, while the man lies on 
his right side and the two women on their left. Traces 
of a decayed whitish material were found in the tomb, 
which Andrae believes to be the remains of grave- 
clothes. Bone needles and pottery had also been de- 
posited with the corpses. The most interesting articles 
of pottery were three wide-necked bottles, two of which 
were decorated with dark horizontal lines, while the 
neck of the third was adorned with white painting on a 
dark ground, a technique well known in early Assyrian 
times. What were the contents of the vessels we do 
not know ; rams' bones were found near the door as 
well as elsewhere, and without doubt these vessels once 
contained meat offerings and drink offerings for the 
dead. There was evidence for at least three different 
periods of occupation in the strata above the grave, two 
of which belonged to the Assyrian era and one to the 
Parthian times. 

The vaulted graves at Ashur do not however all 
belong to the same time ; some of them may be assigned 
to the early Assyrian period, while others were built at 
a later date. One of these later brick burial-vaults was 
excavated and carefully examined by Andrae in the 


spring of I9O9- 1 The construction of this vault appar- 
ently involved the demolishment of an earlier Assyrian 
building. The bricks of which the vault was composed 
in some cases bore the inscription of Tukulti-Ninib I, 
but in spite of this fact, the grave itself was not built 
till a later date. Access to the vault was gained by means 
of an entrance-shaft the lower end of which was con- 
nected by means of a passage with the door of the 
burial-chamber. A few inches above the ruined debris 
of the entrance-shaft the remains of a Parthian build- 
ing were discovered. The passage was entirely de- 
stroyed, though the shape of the displaced bricks led 
to the conclusion that it was roofed by a barrel-vault. 
The arched door into the grave-room which measures 
nearly 4 feet in height and has a span of about 22^ 
inches is composed of very small bricks 6^ x 2^ inches. 
It is built into one of the small walls of the grave-room, 
and the threshold is made of bricks like its other parts. 

The bricks composing the barrel-vaulted roof of the 
grave-room are i if inches square and 2f inches thick. 
At the other end of the burial-chamber is a small arched 
door leading into another room, also barrel-vaulted. 
This latter room which measures nearly 5 feet in length, 
and 35-! inches in breadth, is built with less care and 
regularity than the main burial-chamber. The side- 
walls of the annexed room are 5^ inches thick, but the 
thickness of the back wall is only 2 inches. The thres- 
hold of the entrance-door to the main burial-chamber 
is 2of inches lower than the pavement of the entrance- 
shaft, and nearly 19 inches above the floor of the burial- 
chamber. Asphalt and plaster were both used exten- 
sively in the interior. 

North-east of the entrance-door, there was a lamp- 
niche, 3 feet 1 1|- inches above the floor, and measuring 
I2 Jx J 3f inches in size, and I2|- inches in depth. In 
this niche, three terra-cotta pots were discovered, and 

1 Cf. Mitteilungen, No. 40, p. 29. 


Andrae thinks that these pots were probably used as 
lamps. The burial-chamber contained two bath-shaped 
sarcophagi, one of which measured 6 feet 7^- inches 
in length, 28 inches in breadth and 1 8-| inches in height, 
while the other was just over 6 feet 6 inches long, 31 
inches wide, and 17 inches deep. The lids of both 
these sarcophagi were slightly arched and were tightly 
cemented. The top end of one of the covers bore the 
rough outline of two flowers. 

Upon the brick floor of the annex was the extended 
skeleton of a man, while in one of the sarcophagi four 
skulls aiid three skeletons were found. Two of the 
skeletons belonged to men, but the third and best- 
preserved was that of a woman, while the skeleton to 
which the fourth skull belonged was not found. The 
funeral furniture was of the ordinary type and con- 
sisted chiefly in terra-cotta dishes and vases, copper 
bangles and glass beads. 

Fig. 24 A. Ziggurat on 
an Assyrian Bas-relief. 

Fig. 24 B. Actual remains of 

Ziggurat at Khorsabacl. 

(After Place.) 


A CHAPTER on Sculpture naturally divides itself 
/^ into two parts, the one dealing with those works 
which are wrought in the round, and the other with 
those fashioned in relief, or by incision, upon a flat sur- 
face. It was in the latter department that both the Baby- 
lonians and Assyrians excelled, and their chefs-d'oeuvres 
belong to the bas-relief order. It is accordingly not un- 
fitting that a consideration of their bas-reliefs should 
precede a treatment of their works in the round. 


The bas-relief was the favourite, and undoubtedly the 
most successful expression of the artistic genius of both 
Babylonians and Assyrians from the earliest to the latest 
times. Their first efforts in this direction were crude 
indeed, but this is a fault incidental to the beginnings of 
any art. One of the most ancient bas-reliefs yielded by 
Babylonian excavations is reproduced in Fig. 25, A. We 
have here a representation of a man apparently engaged 
in some act of worship, or in the performance of some 
unknown ceremony. His large, almond-shaped eyes are 
portrayed full face, his aquiline nose stands forth in an 
altogether aggressive fashion, his long hair hangs down 
his back, while a fillet surrounds his head, from which 
two long feathers emanate ; these feathers sometimes 
adorn the heads of Asiatic princes represented on early 
Egyptian monuments. His otherwise nude bust is to 
some extent relieved by the presence of a somewhat 
lengthy beard, and his clothing consists in the character- 
istically Sumerian square shawl arranged skirt-wise. 



FIG. 25. 

A, Musee du Louvre. (Cf. Cat., p. 77, No. I ; Dec. en Chald., PI. I (bis).) 
B, C, Musee du Louvre. (Cf. Cat., pp. 87, 89, No. 5 ; Dtc. en Chald., PI. i (bis, 

D. (From Hilprecht, Explorations, p. 475.) [tert).) 

E, F. (From Old Bab. Inscr., II, PI. XVI.) 


With his left hand hegrasps one of the three sacred poles 
before which he stands : the poles are surmounted by 
a knob, more or less identical in shape with the early 
Babylonian mace-heads. The inscription, written in 
very archaic line characters, which still preserve in part, 
traces of their pictorial origin, contains a list of offer- 
ings and also a mention of the god Ningirsu and of his 
temple E-ninnu. This most ancient sculpture was 
found by De Sarzec on the site of the earliest build- 
ings at Tello. It is made of white limestone and is about 
seven inches in height. 

Two of the fragments of another very archaic bas- 
relief found in the same neighbourhood are seen in Figs. 
25, B, C. In all the faces portrayed in these two frag- 
ments we observe the same prominent nose, and the 
same large, lozenge-shaped eyes already alluded to, but 
in other respects they differ from the type illustrated in 
Fig. 25, A. The most striking and probably the most 
consequential individual in the present group occupies 
the left end of Fig. 25, B. His importance is evi- 
denced by the excessive length of his long hair, and by 
the hooked sceptre which he carries on his shoulder, pro- 
bably in token of his royal attributes. In his left hand 
he holds what appears to be a fillet, which he is present- 
ing to the trusty warrior who stands before him, lance 
in hand. On the other fragment (Fig. 25,0) we have two 
other types represented, one characterized by the luxuri- 
ancy of his hair and the profusion of his beard, the other 
beingdistinguished by the completeabsence of hair from 
both the head and face. In both cases they are clad after 
the same fashion, their one and only garment consist- 
ing in a short skirt, the lower portion of which is repre- 
sented in a most archaic fashion by a series of tongue- 
shaped strips, and the upper portions of which are in- 
scribed in archaic line characters, while their hands are 
clasped across their breast in an attitude of submissive 
if not subservient obedience. The why and the where- 


fore of the absence of hair from the head and face of one 
of these figures is of course unknown, but M. Heuzey 
suggests with some plausibility that the figure is thus 
represented in virtue of his sacerdotal character. Both 
of these fragments once formed part of a round socket 
which probably served to support a votive stave or 
weapon ; they are made of hard limestone, and were 
found amid the debris of a building belonging to the 
time before Ur-Nina. 

In Fig. 2 5, F, we have a reproduction of an early lime- 
stone votive tablet from Nippur, 1 in the upper register 
of which a naked and clean-shaven worshipper is offer- 
ing a libation to a seated and bearded god, the whole 
being represented in duplicate. Below, a goat and a 
sheep are followed by two men, one of whom bears a 
vessel on his head and the other holds a stick in his right 
hand, while both are clad in the ordinary Sumerian skirt. 
Another interesting votive-tablet (cf. Fig. 25, E) from 
Nippur shows us a similar scene a naked worshipper 
standing before a seated god is offering a libation, the 
god being reversed on the left, but the unique interest 
attaching to this fragment is in the ploughing-scene 
represented below ; we see a man ploughing with a 
horned animal, probably a gazelle or an antelope, which 
appears to indicate that this archaic fragment dates from 
a period when neither the ox nor the ass were used as 
beasts of labour, while a third 2 bas-relief (cf. Fig. 25,0), 
also religious in character and emanating from the same 
site shows a seated goddess accompanied by a bird, while 
a burning altar, and a lighted candlestick stand before 
her. She holds a pointed cup in her right hand and be- 
hind her we see a long-bearded priest leading a clean- 
shaven worshipper who carries a goat in his right arm, 
into the presence of the goddess. 

1 Cf. Hilprecht, Babylonian Expedition of the University of 'Pennsyl- 
vania, Vol. I, part ii, PI. XVI. 

2 Hilprecht, Explorations^ pp. 474, 475- 



The extraordinary popularity of what may be termed 
the bas-relief mode of sculpture among the Sumerians 
is strikingly illustrated by its employment in the decor- 
ation of mace-heads and other objects ; in Fig. 26, B we 
have a large mace-head made of hard white limestone, 
seven and a half inches in height, and having a diam- 
eter of little over six inches. The scheme of decoration 
takes the form of a procession of lions, six in number, 
all following in the same direction, and each burying 

FIG. 26. Musee du Louvre. (Cat. pp. 81, 96 ; Dtc. en Chald,, PI. I tert, 2 bis. ) 

his teeth in the back of the lion going before. The 
bodies of the lions are portrayed side-wise, but the colos- 
sal-eyed heads are seen full face. These lions are, despite 
their crudeness, already surprisingly true to life ; the 
top of the mace-head (A) is not left unadorned, but has 
been made good use of by the sculptor who has carved 
the heraldic lion-headed eagle of Lagash upon its smooth 
surface. It bears an inscription of Mesilim, king of 
Kish, who is known from another inscription to have 
flourished and ruled over the country some time before 
the foundation of the first dynasty of Lagash by Ur- 
Nina, in the neighbourhood of whose building this mace/* 


head was actually found, though at a slightly lower 

We now come to the time of Ur-Nina, the most 
interesting of whose monuments, at least from the 
pictorial point of view, is the sculpture reproduced in 
Fig. 26. This relief, which is divided into two regis- 
ters, introduces us to Ur-Nina, his family and his 
courtiers. The king himself is of colossal size, indicative 
doubtless of his colossal power ; in the upper register 
he is portrayed standing, his left hand on his nude bust 
as in the lower register, while with his right hand he is 
balancing a basket, which, as M. Heuzey has pointed 
out, probably contains the clay and foundation brick for 
the temple of Ningirsu, rather than offerings for the god. 
This view is further supported by the inscription writ- 
ten alongside the figure of the basket carrier, the first 
line of which contains a mention of the temple of Nin- 
girsu. Ur-Nina is thus represented as the servant of 
his god, and the honour attaching to the menial task 
in which he is engaged may be judged by the fact that 
he alone is apparently accounted worthy, his sons and 
followers merely standing by, their hands clasped in a 
reverential attitude. Below, the king is seen in a more 
comfortable and homely pose, though here too he would 
seem to be attending to his religious duties ; he is rais- 
ing his cup either to drink to the honour of the gods, 
or else to offer a libation, but in either case the task must 
have been less arduous and possibly more pleasant than 
that which occupies him in the upper register. With 
one exception all the heads and faces are devoid of hair, 
and all are clad in the Sumerian short woollen skirt, 
though the king's skirt is more flounced than those of 
his courtiers, as becomes royalty. The type of vesture 
met with here, as well as on the Vulture Stele and on 
so many of the early Sumerian sculptures, was called 
" Kaunakes." The figure immediately in front of the 
standing king in the upper register is distinguished from 


Mn see du Louvre : Dec. en Ckahi., ft. j, u 



the others not only by being taller, and wearing a skirt 
resembling the king's garment, but also by having long 
hair. Opinion differs as to whether we are to see in this 
figure the daughter of the king, or whether, on the con- 
trary, we have here a portrait of the king's eldest son, 
as both Heuzey and Radau think, and in support of their 
view, the improbability of assigning such a leading part 
to a woman at this period has been aptly urged ; the 
dress differs from that of Ur-Nina in being suspended 
over the left shoulder, and in this respect recalls Ean- 
natum's mantle on the Vulture Stele (cf. PL XII). The 
round or square hole in the centre of many of these 
early plaques was without doubt destined to serve as a 
socket for some votive stave or weapon, and the plaques 
pierced with such holes must accordingly have been laid 
in a horizontal and not in a vertical position. Ur-Nina 
was succeeded by Akurgal, who in turn gave place to 
Eannatum, whose famous Stele of Victory we now come 
to consider. 

This monument was unfortunately not found intact 
and complete, but six fragments, some small, others com- 
paratively large, but all full of interest, were unearthed at 
Tello by M. de Sarzec. The scenes depicted and the 
events portrayed on the surviving fragments of this re- 
nowned stele, are instructive both from a religious as 
well as from a historical point of view. In PL XII we 
have a reproduction of perhaps the most interesting of 
these fragments. The scene here is divided into two 
registers, in both of which the troops of Eannatum are 
seen engaged on active service. The king leads the van- 
guard in person and on foot ; above his head the title 
" Conqueror for the god Ningirsu " is inscribed. His 
apparel consists in the "kaunakes " skirt, to which allu- 
sion has already been made, while over it is a mantle sus- 
pended over the left shoulder and passing under the 
right arm. His head is protected by a helmet, pointed at 
the top like those of his warriors, but differing from 


theirs in being furnished with ear-pieces ; his long hair 
for the most part hangs down his back, some of it how- 
ever is gathered up and bound by a fillet at the back of 
his head. In his right hand he holds what purports to be 
a species of boomerang. 

His troops are drawn up in a wedge-shaped formation, 
and if this representation is intentional, it is a surprising 
testimony to the skill in military tactics to which the 
Sumerians had attained at this extremely early date, but 
it may on the other hand be merely due to ignorance of 
perspective on the part of the artist. Their offensive 
weapons consist of lances some six or eight feet in length, 
while for defence they hold large rectangular shields 
which cover the whole of their bodies from neck to ankle. 
Were there any doubt as to the fortunes of this army 
of Eannatum, it would be immediately dispelled by a 
glance at the feet of the troops engaged, who are ruth- 
lessly trampling on the prostrate bodies of their van- 
quished foes. 

Below we have another battle-scene : the king again 
leads his troops to action, but here he is mounted in his 
chariot, his dress is identical with that worn by him in 
the upper half of this relief, and in his right hand he 
grasps a boomerang similar to the one with which he is 
armed above, but in his left hand he poises a long stave, 
the end of which is unfortunately not visible owing to 
the poor preservation of this part of the sculpture, but 
without doubt the point of this formidable weapon was 
once in immediate contact with the shaven head of a 
conquered enemy, while before him there is a quiver 
packed with arrows. 

His followers in this instance are armed with a long 
lance and a battleaxe, but are protected by no shields, 
though their heads are covered with the same conical- 
shaped helmets, and they are clad in the familiar "kaun- 
akes" skirts. Perhaps we are to see in these troops a de- 
tachment of the king's personal bodyguard. What 



FIG. 27. Musee du Louvre. 

A, B. (Cf. Cat., pp. 105, 107.) 

C. (Cf. Cat., p. 123 ; Dtc. en Chald., Plate 5, bis.) 


strikes one at once about this sculpture is the extraordi- 
nary disparity between the crudeness of the art on the 
one hand, and the elaborate equipment and arrangement 
of Eannatum's army on the other, from which it is clear 
that the energy of the Sumerians at this time was spent 
in the battlefield rather than in the pursuit of the peace- 
ful arts. 

Another fragment of this remarkable sculpture is 
reproduced in Fig. 27, A. We have here a veritable 
heap of corpses piled on top of each other. They are 
entirely naked, and their heads are shaven in apparent 
contradistinction to the troops of Eannatum. The bodies 
are extended and are arranged so that the head of each 
lies in contiguity with the feet of his next door neigh- 
bour ; two figures clad in short archaically-fringed skirts 
are ascending this heap by means of a rope ; the free 
hand of each is engaged in balancing a basket on the 
head which may contain offerings for the fallen, but 
more probably earth wherewith to bury their corpses. 
It is a matter of dispute as to whether these super- 
imposed corpses represent the fallen warriors of Ean- 
natum's army, or the smitten foes of Lagash ; but the 
fact that the bodies are naked, and the further fact that 
in none of the Babylonian or Assyrian battle-scenes is 
there a single example of a warrior of the victor's army 
being represented as killed, and lastly the improbability 
of the artist having accentuated the losses of Eannatum 
in such a conspicuous manner, and especially upon a 
stele of victory, all militate against the former and for 
the latter view. In that case we have a striking testi- 
mony to the clemency exhibited by the Sumerians of the 
earliest times, the enemy bei ng apparently allowed some- 
times the privilege of burying their dead. 

In Figure 27 B we have another fragment of this 
unique specimen of Sumerian art. The representative 
of Lagash is here portrayed on a colossal scale ; his head 
has a profusion of hair, and from his face hangs a long 


streaked beard similar to that worn by Gilgamesh on the 
cylinder-seals. Possibly,as Heuzey suggests, this figure 
is a representation of that hero of Babylonian folk-lore, 
but it is probably a picture of the god Ningirsu himself. 
In any case, it can hardly be Eannatum, as the latter is 
on this same stele portrayed clean shaven. This colossal 
figure grasps in his left hand the heraldic arms of La- 
gash, while in his right hand he holds a round-headed 
mace similar to that seen in other early bas-reliefs. 
Before him lie a number of prisoners confined in a net or 
a cage (cf. Hab. 1.15); one of these unhappy victims has 
thrust his head through the meshes of his prison with a 
view to evading the next blow, but this laudable attempt 
does not seem to have met with the success which it 
deserved, for the head of the mace is seen in immediate 
contact with that of the individual in question. All the 
figures here portrayed, whether belonging to Eanna- 
tum's army, or to that of the enemy, exhibit the same 
type efface, the most distinguishing characteristics of 
which are the large almond-shaped eyes and the aquiline 
nose. The stele is known as the " Vulture Stele" and \S 
derives its name from another fragment on which are 
portrayed a number of vultures making off with the 
heads, and sharply severed limbs of the slain. Eanna- 
tum, whose victories are here depicted, was succeeded 
by Enannatum, and after him Entemena, the nephew 
of Eannatum ascended the throne. Unfortunately the 
artistic relics of his time are few in number, but those 
that have survived are peculiarly interesting. In a sub- 
sequent chapter (cf. Fig. 45) we shall devote some space to 
an examination of the silver vase of this ancient ruler, 
but here (cf. Fig 27, C) we have a specimen of the sculp- 
ture of his reign. 

This little sculptured block, which is made of a mix- 
ture of clay and bitumen, and in appearance resembles 
black stone, was found in the neighbourhood of a build- 
ing composed of bricks bearing the name of Entemena. 


In the upper register we see the heraldic device of 
the city of Lagash a lion-headed eagle grasping two 
lions facing in opposite directions, doubtless indicative 
of the power exercised by Lagash over the peoples 
of Sumer and Akkad. We have already seen it on the 
Vulture Stele, and it occurs also on the yet earlier 
monuments of Ur-Nina, but a comparison of the royal 
arms as here represented with the device on the Vulture 
Stele (cf. Fig. 27, B) shows a marked advancement from 
the artistic point of view. The eagle is still sufficiently 
stereotyped, and the extraordinary amount of detail with 
which the artist has treated his subject has had the un- 
desirable effect of making it even more formal than it 
would otherwise be, but the lions are much more ani- 
mated and vigorous in conception than in the earlier 
sculptures. Instead of walking along in an impassive, 
lifeless manner, they literally writhe under the grip of 
their victorious foe, whose wings they seek to gnaw 
with their teeth. Below, we have a representation of 
a crouching calf or heifer, one of whose front legs is 
raised as though about to leap up. As Heuzey says, 
the pose of this animal is wonderfully natural, and must 
have been studied from nature ; it at once recalls the 
procession of animals engraved on the silver vase of 
Entemena (cf. Fig. 45). No doubt the animal here 
portrayed is a sacrificial victim. To the right of the 
central hole found so frequently in these early sculptures, 
stands the worshipper, of gigantic size, holding a staff 
in his left hand. He is clean shaven, and is nude down 
to the waist, from which hangs the usual kaunakes 
skirt. The lower part of this little block is decorated 
with the scroll design so frequently encountered on 
cylinder-seals. The size of its reproduction here how- 
ever is entirely out of proportion to the rest of the 
sculpture, and it may therefore in this case represent a 
skein of wool as another form of offering. The men- 
tion of the priest Dudu, whose name also occurs on the 




silver vase of Entemena, removes any uncertainty there 
might be as to the period to which we should assign 
this little block, though a judgment based on an exami- 
nation of the style of art here exhibited would have 
independently placed it in the same category as the silver 
vase of Entemena. The line-characters in which the 
inscription is written are more developed than those 
found on the monuments of Ur-Nina and Eannatum, 
many of them already betraying the wedge-shaped for- 
mation characteristic of the writing called " cuneiform." 
Sufficient perhaps has been said to give a general idea 
of the artistic merits or demerits of the old Sumerian 
bas-reliefs of the first dynasty of Lagash. The next 
Babylonian school of art which specifically compels both 
attention and admiration is that to which the era of the 
kings of Akkad or Agade gave birth. From some points 
of view Mesopotamian art reached her climax at this 
period ; neither before nor after was the same success 
in the reproduction of human figures attained, and the 
sculptures belonging to this period are in some ways 
unique in the history of oriental art. The most famous 
of these monuments of Babylonian genius is reproduced 
in PL XIII. This stele, which was found atjSjisa in the 
course of M. G. de Morgan's epoch-making excavations 
on that site, was fashioned to commemorate some no- 
table victory achieved by Naram-Sin of Agade. The 
king is seen in the act of ascending a high mountain ; 
behind him march his trusty warriors armed with spears 
or lances, and apparently carrying standards. The king 
himself is armed with a bow and arrow, and also a battle- 
axe, while his head is protected by a horned helmet ; 
before him crouches one of the enemy, into whose neck 
an arrow has sunk deep, while another grasps the broken 
end of a spear. The figure of the king is full of vitality 
and animation, and offers a very striking contrast to the 
lifeless conventionalism characteristic of the older Baby- 
lonian and the later Assyrian representations of human 


beings. The whole scene is alive with action, and the 
effect is not marred byanyundue disproportion between 
the figure of the king and those of his followers. Above 

FIG. 28. A. (Hilprecht, Old Bab. Inscr., II, p. 63, No. 120.) 

B, C, D, E, F, Museedu Louvre. (Cf. Cat., pp. 131, 133, 139, 151, 147; Dfc. en 

Chald. , Plates 5, 22, 23, 24. ) 

the king's head are the remains of an inscription by 
Naram-Sin, but upon the cone intended to represent 
the mountain which the king is scaling, is an inscrip- 
tion occupying seven lines and bearing the name of 
Shutruk-Nakhkhunte, king of Elam, which seems to 
indicate that the stele had been captured by the Elam- 


ites and carried off to Susa as a trophy. An interesting 
basalt bas-relief of this same king was discovered near 
Diarbekr (cf. Fig. 28 "A"). Naram-Sin is standing on 
the right of the inscription, clad in a kind of plaid and 
wearing a conical hat. His beard is long and pointed, 
while bracelets encircle his wrists, and he carries a short 
staff in each hand. 

The remains (cf. Fig. 28 " B," C") of another very 
interesting stele belonging to about the same epoch or 
a little earlier, and military in character, were discovered 
by De Sarzec at Tello. In the top register of fragment 
" B " three warriors are seen proceeding in file, two of 
whom are archers and carry quivers which are decorated 
with large leaves, while a leg is all that remains of the 
third. In the second register an archer is seen in the act 
of drawing his bow ; his attitude is fixed and steady, 
and his bow is bent to the utmost, while his quiver 
hangs over his shoulder; before him a smitten foe lies 
prostrate on his back,and in contradistinction to his van- 
quisher who is clad in a long tunic, is entirely naked, 
while his right hand is raised in supplication. We next 
come to another warrior clad in a short fringed skirt 
and wearing a conical helmet : with his left hand he is 
seizing the beard of an enemy, who is also naked like 
his prostrate brother in the same register, and his right 
hand is raised, about to bring down his knotted club 
upon the face of his defeated prisoner. Below, is the 
figure of another warrior armed with a long pike. In 
"C" we have another fragment of this interesting sculp- 
ture, in the top register of which two warriors are seen 
marching in file ; the one behind is carrying a battle- 
axe at the trail. In the register below, a warrior clad in 
a short skirt and wearing a helmet is engaged with a 
prostrate enemy ; one of his feet is firmly planted in 
the unfortunate man's stomach, and with his right hand 
he is further punishing him with the aid of his knotted 
club. Behind these two figures we have another like 


scene represented ; here the all-powerful warrior is 
armed with a long lance, which he is carrying at the 
port ; with his right arm he is marching along a prisoner 
much shorter than himself, whose arms are bound be- 
hind his back ; the prisoner is naked, like most of the 
defeated enemies of Sumer and Akkad as portrayed by 
the sculptor. All that remains of the third register is the 
head and the upper part of the bow of an archer. 

Apart from the spirit which animates these little fig- 
ures, the chief point of interest in connection with them 
lies in the general scheme of artistic representation here 
adopted. No longer is the conquering army portrayed 
en masse as on the Vulture Stele of Eannatum, but the 
idea conveyed and the event commemorated are pre- 
cisely the same in either case. The all-prevailing idea 
is that of victory, only the picture of a phalanx of armed 
troops trampling the nude bodies of their foes beneath 
their feet, has given place to a series of selected incidents 
of individual combat, represented after the Homeric 
fashion. This sculpture clearly belongs to the same 
school as Naram-Sin's stele of Victory, which, however, 
it probably somewhat antedates, as the cuneiform signs 
found on the second fragment are of a more archaic char- 
acter than those used on the monuments of Shar-Gani- 
sharri and Naram-Sin. The little that remains of the 
inscription is of considerable interest as it contains a 
mention of the city of Agade, the centre of the Semitic 
Empire established by the two last-named kings. 

We must nowpass from the epoch of the Semitic kings 
of Agade or Akkad, to the later period of Sumerian civi- 
lization, the age in which Ur-Engur and Dungi, kings 
of Ur, and Ur-Bau and Gudea, rulers of Lagash, lived 
and reigned. We are unable to assign a definite date to 
any of these rulers, but they probably flourished some- 
where about the middle of the third millennium B.C. 
One of the most interesting bas-reliefs belonging to this 
time is reproduced in Fig. 28, " D." We have here a 


representation of a god seated on a throne. He wears 
a long square beard, and his head is surmounted by the 
horned cap emblematic of divinity ; his mantle covers 
nearly the whole of his body, the right arm alone being 
excepted. The head, which in Its contour and general 
appearance recalls the heads of the Assyrian winged 
human-headed lions and bulls of some fifteen or six- 
teen centuries later (cf. Plate XXV), is like them, de- 
picted full face, the seated body being sculptured in 
profile ; in his left hand the god holds a sceptre, the 
end of which is fashioned like a leaf. In Fig. 28, " E," 
we have a reproduction of what is probably the largest 
fragment of an early Babylonian bas-relief in existence. 
It was excavated at Tello and measures about four feet 
in length. The upper part of the relief is occupied 
with a procession of four figures apparently engaged in 
the service of the gods, while below, a seated figure is 
seen playing an elaborate instrument of eleven strings, 
the lower part of the frame of which is decorated with 
a horned head and the figure of a bull. This relief would 
appear to have formed part of a stone socket. 

As might be expected, the material used for most of 
the Babylonian as well as the later Assyrian bas-reliefs 
was a species of limestone and alabaster, as this kind of 
stone lends itself readily to the impress of the chisel, but 
the harder stones were also sometimes utilized for the 
purpose. 1 Thus in Fig. 2 8, F, we have a sketch of what re- 
mains of a black steatite relief belonging to this period. 
The fragmentary inscription gives us the name of the 
goddess Ningal, who is here portrayed in a singularly 
attractive manner, and with an extraordinary amount of 
detail. An elaborate robe covers the whole of her body, 
and a necklace adorns her throat ; her hair hangs over 
her shoulders, while the crown of her head is encircled 
by a fillet. The general technique of this little sculpture 
is surprising in its fidelity to nature ; the attitude of the 
1 Cf. also above, Fig. 2 8, A. 


goddess, her body half turned and her left arm resting 
negligently on the back of her chair is life-like, and the 
face itself is not without a beauty of its own. The diffi- 
culty involved in the portrayal of a human eye in pro- 
file, so painfully manifest on the Vulture Stele and other 
earlier Sumerian monuments, where the eye is portrayed 
full-face, the rest of the head being done in profile, has 
here been surmounted, and we have before us a perfectly 
naturally conceived and executed face and head. 

Some few centuries after the time of Gudea the city 
of Babylon became the centre of the chief power in 
Southern Mesopotamia. Unfortunately the excavations 
have not yielded us a rich harvest for the study of the 
artistic development of sculpture during this period, but 
the material at hand would tend to show that there was 
far less development in the interval between the later 
dynasty of Lagash, the age in which Gudea lived, and 
the establishment of the first Semitic dynasty of the city 
of Babylon, than there was in the period separating the 
first dynasty of Lagash from the epoch of Sargon and 
Naram-Sin, the Semitic kings of Agade. 

In PI. XIV we have a reproduction of the sculptured 
stele of black basalt upon which is inscribed the world- 
renowned legal code of Khammurabi, the most illus- 
trious king of this first dynasty of Babylon. The king 
is seen standing in reverential attitude before the Sun- 
god Shamash, from whom he is receiving the laws in- 
scribed below. The king wears a long robe reaching 
down to his ankles, but leaving his right arm, which 
is raised in adoration, untrammelled by the folds of his 
mantle. The seated deity likewise has a long beard, but 
his high horned cap differentiates him at once from his 
adoring servant, while from his shoulders tongues of 
fire are seen shooting forth, doubtless representing the 
rays of the sun. In his right hand he holds the ring and 
staff emblematic of dominion and power. He is simi- 
larly represented in Nabu-aplu-iddina'stablet(cf.Pl. XIV) 

ri ATE xi 

Photo. Mansell British Muse 




and also on two contemporaneous stelae in the Louvre, 
in one of which he is in a standing position. Beneath 
his feet are the mountains portrayed in miniature. The 
laws enacted on this stele, which is now one of the trea- 
sures of the Louvre, number about two hundred and 
eighty, and deal with all kinds of subjects. It was set 
up in E-sagila, the temple of the chief god Marduk in 
Babylon, so that every aggrieved party at law could go 
andconsult it. Like so many of the monuments of Baby- 
lonian antiquity, this stele was captured by the Elamites 
and removed to Susa, where it remained until the French 
excavations on that site brought it once more to light. 

As we have already seen 1 the dynasty to which Kham- 
rnurabi belonged was brought to an end some time later 
by an invasion of the Hittites, a powerful mountainous 
people whose home lay in Cappadocia. A century or so 
afterwards, i.e. about 1800 B.C., another mountainous 
nation known as the Kassites swept down from their 
strongholds in the Elamite territory on the east of the 
Tigris into the defenceless Babylonian plain, where they 
established and maintained their supremacy for a long 
time to come. Unfortunately the artistic relics of the 
Kassite period are few, and for the most part unimpor- 
tant. Meanwhile, however, the Assyrians in the north 
had asserted their independence, and ultimately (i.e. 
about 1275 B.C.) succeeded in reducing Babylonia and 
establishing their sway over the whole of Mesopotamia. 
In spite of this fact, we have practically no specimen of 
the sculptor's art during the long interval separating the 
fall of the First Dynasty of Babylon and the ninth cen- ; 
tury B.C., and it is not till the time of Ashur-nasir-pal, 
king of Assyria,and Nabu-aplu-iddina,king of Babylon, 
that we are able again to study in detail the work of the i 
sculptor in the Tigro-Euphratian valley. To the former 
king we are indebted for a large series of bas-reliefs 
taken from the walls of his palace at Nimrud (Calah), 

1 Cf. above, p. 33. 


while to the latter we owe one of the most interesting 
and instructive Babylonian bas-reliefs in existence (cf. 

One of the earliest specimens of Assyrian bas-relief 
as yet discovered is that which was found by Taylor at 
a village called Korkhar, situated some fifty miles north 
of Diarbekr. The relief in question was sculptured on 
the natural rock, which had been smoothed for the pur- 
pose by order of Tiglath-Pileser I (circ. iioo B.c.). 1 
The king is represented in a standing posture, his right 
arm is extended and he is pointing with his forefinger, 
while in his left hand he holds a mace ; the king's figure 
and general appearance are already quite stereotyped, 
and show no more originality or vigour than the repre- 
sentations of the later Assyrian kings. This same 
monarch has further left us the upper part of an obelisk 
erected to commemorate his feats in the chase, on one 
side of which there is a small relief in which Tiglath- 
Pileser is seen receiving the submission of various 
vassal-chiefs, while above their heads are the emblems 
of certain deities, the most interesting of which is the 
. winged human-headed disc of Ashur, the patron god 
of Assyria. But these reliefs, interesting as they are, 
afford us little material upon which to form an esti- 
mate of the sculptural ability of the Assyrians at this 
period ; the chief inference which they permit us to 
draw is that Assyrian art seems to have neither ad- 
vanced nor declined appreciably, during the interval 
of two hundred or more years which lapsed between 
the time of Tiglath-Pileser and Ashur-nasir-pal. The 
latter king succeeded his father Tukulti-Ninib II as 
king of Assyria (885 B.C.). Tukulti-Ninib had largely 
restored the fallen fortunes of the northern country, 
thus paving the way for the successes of future reigns, 
but Ashur-nasir-pal extended the power of Assyria in 

1 For a rough sketch, cf. Rawlinson, The Five Great Monarchies^ 
II, 79- 


every direction, as well as consolidating her rule over 
the districts reduced by his father. It is accordingly by 
no means unnatural that he should have desired to com- 
memorate and perpetuate the record of his triumphs in 
pictorial fashion upon the walls of his palace at Nimrud, 
and it is with his reign that the history of Assyrian bas- 
reliefs really commences, so far as our present material 

Assyria was in some ways the natural home of the bas- 
relief, for she contained a plentiful supply of alabaster 
and limestone, the softness of which facilitated the 
work of the artist and reduced his difficulties to a 
minimum : Babylonia on the other hand yielded prac- 
tically no stone, and all that was used had to be 
quarried at a distance and transported at great cost and 
labour, and that fact makes the early efforts of the 
Babylonians in this direction all the more praise-wor- 
thy, and the proficiency to which those efforts gave 
birth, as seen for example in Naram-Sin's stele of 
Victory, the more astonishing. But this notwithstand- 
ing, the bas-relief was more highly developed in the 
northern country, where it played an all-important part 
in the artistic life of the people. The general object 
of these bas-reliefs was to commemorate the king's 
victories over his enemies and his conquests in the 
chase, rather than to produce a purely aesthetic effect. 
In other words they are pictorial records rather than 
artistic products, and that fact is further borne witness 
to by the cuneiform texts with which they are gener- 
ally inscribed. At the same time however, they afford 
material for the study of Assyrian sculpture. The art 
of sculpture in Assyria suffered all the drawbacks which 
befall every art once it becomes professionalized ; it lacks 
spontaneity which is the very connotation of art, it is 
made to order, and therefore it inevitably knows no 
freedom but is the dull slave of conventionalism. But 
in spite of all this, the bas-reliefs of Ashur-nasir-pal 


and his successors, hampered as they are by those 
universal enemies of human art, professionalism and 
conventionalism, still enshrine, or imprison if you will, 
the artistic genius of the people, and on this account, 
if for no other, are deserving of careful attention. 

The reliefs which covered the walls of the palace of 
Ashur-nasir-palatNimrud(Calah)consisteither of single 
figures of gigantic size, or else in a series of small scenes 
divided into two friezes by cuneiform inscriptions. In 
PL XV we see Ashur-nasir-pal followed by a winged 
mythological being ; both are engaged in the per- 
formance of a religious ceremony, the king with the 
bow and the arrow which he holds in his hands, the at- 
tendant with the cone which he holds up in his right 
hand. The semi-divine character of the winged crea- 
ture is evidenced by his head-gear which consists of 
the horned cap, but the faces of both figures are more 
or less identical, a lamentable characteristic of all Assy- 
rian portrayals of human or semi-humanly conceived 
beings. The chief peculiarities of this type of face are 
the large eyes, the curved nose, and the profusion of 
hair on both head and face. Both figures are clad in a 
long robe and deeply fringed mantle which extend to 
the feet. The footwear consists of sandals fastened by 
thongs passing over the instep and round the big toe. 
The muscular arms of both are adorned with bracelets, 
the pattern of the decoration on which is a replica of 
the ubiquitous rosette so characteristic of Assyrian art. 
The king's head-gear consists of a helmet from which 
two tails hang, and in its appearance generally, is not 
unlike a bishop's mitre. Both king and divine attend- 
ant carry what appear to be two daggers tucked into 
their waistbands. The muscularity noticeable in the 
arms is yet more aggressive in the left leg of the mytho- 
logical being, which, unlike that of the king, is left ex- 
posed. This grotesquely realized conception of strength 
is but the decadent descendant of the naturally ex- 

/'/.,/ 77: X 

rhoto. Man sell 

British Mnstittn 



pressed vigour so noticeable in the statues of Gudea. 
And here may be mentioned one characteristic peculiar- 
ity of Assyrian sculpture ; it will be observed that a long 
cuneiform inscription is chiselled right across the relief, 
pursuing the even or uneven tenor of its way quite| 
recklessly through wings, garments, bodies and hands,j 
and there is no obstacle which it fails to overcome, not 
even excepting the deep fringe on the mantles. 

The subjects of the smaller reliefs of Ashur-nasir-pal 
are many and various, though they all revolve round 
one of two themes, the battle-field or the chase. In 
one, Ashur-nasir-pal has alighted from his chariot and 
is receiving the submission of the enemy ; in another 
we see a number of fugitives swimming to a fortress on 
inflated skins. Here we see tributary chiefs bringing 
offerings to lay them at the feet of their imperious lord, 
while further on we see the bowmen of Ashur-nasir- 
pal mounted in their chariots and discharging arrows 
against the enemy. In one relief the king himself is seen 
erect in his chariot with his bow fully drawn ; elsewhere 
Ashur-nasir-pal is represented in the act of crossing a 
river ; the king has not however dismounted from his 
chariot, but is being rowed over, chariot and all. 

One of the most luminous of these small bas-reliefs is 
reproduced in PL XVI(2). Ashur-nasir-pal and his army 
are storming a beleaguered city ; the walls of the city 
are crenelated after the regular Mesopotamia!! fashion. 
Immediately before the walls the movable tower resting 
on six small wheels and containing the battering ram is 
stationed, the efficacy of which may be judged from 
the bricks falling from the battered walls. Mounted 
on the top of the tower is an archer with bow bent, 
whose person is protected by another warrior bearing 
a shield. The king is portrayed behind the movable 
tower in the act of drawing his bow ; his head-gear 
differs from that of the warriors, who wear a conical 
helmet. InPl.XVI(3),weseethewarriorsof Ashur-nasir- 


pal returning victorious from the battle-field. On the 
right of the picture are two three-horse chariots, both 
of which carry standard-bearers ; above them we see a 
vulture making off with his prey, which in this instance 
consists in a human head,and infrontare the infantry who 
appear to be gloating over the gory heads of their smitten 
adversaries, while to add to the ghastliness of the scene 
two musicians are playing on stringed instruments. 

Ashur-nasir-pal was however quite as proud of his 
victories in the chase as he was of his conquests in the 
battle-field, as is attested by thenumeroushuntingscenes 
which he caused to be carved in relief on his palace walls. 
In PI. XVI (4) wesee Ashur-nasir-pal, erect in his chariot, 
in the act of dispatching a lion by the aid of his bow and 
arrow. The lion is treated with considerable boldness, 
and the skill of the artist in the portrayal of animal life 
or death, as here when compared with the stereo- 
typed lifelessness of the king, is sufficiently striking. 
But Assyrian art does not reach its climax here, as we 
shall see when we come to consider the lions on Ashur- 
bani-pal's bas-reliefs; the latter show a certain delicacy 
in the handling, and an intuition into all those infinite 
subtleties and varying nuances which are the hall-mark 
of life, animal or human as the case may be, and which 
apparently are not felt or at all events not successfully 
realized in the earlier works. The portrayal of the lion 
here is strong and life-like, but the spectator can never 
get away from the consciousness of the fact that it is a pic- 
torial representation ; he can never abandon the thought 
of the sculptor and the excellence of his art, or lose him- 
self, be it only for a moment, in the reality itself. But 
in the reliefs of Ashur-bani-pal, one can for a brief space 
forget the artist and his work, and see the lion itself; 
one can catch a faint note of his dying gasp as he lies 
there motionless, his body transfixed with arrows, and 
it is in the effacement of the artist and the material which 
he uses that art attains the zenith of her power. 


>-; - -.^ -^ y $& 
' , : : I ' <J>. ' ; ^ - .?J 

rhotos. Manx-It Kritish MnsfxtH . 



But Ashur-nasir-pal's love for sport did not deter 
him from his religious obligations, on the contrary he 
appears to have attributed his triumphs in the chase to 
his god, for on his return he offers a libation over the 
body of the lion or bull which providence has delivered 
into his hand (cf. PL XVI (i)). The cup he holds in his 
hand resembles the top of a champagne glass, while his 
left hand is leaning on a bow in the usual characteristic 
manner. Before him is an officer, evidently of high 
rank, for his dress is an exact replica of the king's, but 
his head is bare and his hands are clasped in a defer- 
ential manner. By the side of this high official is an 
attendant or eunuch with a fly-flap, while behind him 
is another attendant, and last of all are two musicians 
playing stringed instruments. On the other side of 
the picture, immediately behind the king is an atten- 
dant with a ceremonial umbrella, followed by two ser- 
vants with bows on their shoulders. 

Although Ashur - nasir - pal's contemporary Nabil - 
aplu-iddina king of Babylon has left us but few me- 
morials of his reign, we are nevertheless indebted to 
him for one unique specimen of Mesopotamian sculp- 
ture (cf. PL XIV). Reference has already been made 
to this tablet on account of the light which it throws 
on certain architectural problems, it now remains for 
us to consider it as a work of art and an historical 
monument. The text records the restoration of the 
temple of Shamash by two kings called Simmash- 
shipak and Eulmash - shakin - shum, both of whose 
reigns took place some time in the eleventh century 
B.C. It then proceeds to describe the condition into 
which the temple, its ornaments and accessories sub- 
sequently fell ; the shrine of the god had been denuded 
of its treasures which had been misappropriated in one 
way or another ; the sculptures which adorned the 
walls and the image of the deity himself had suffered 
violence at the hands of the godless. All this Nabu- 


aplu-iddina set about to rectify ; he restored the glory 
which the fane had enjoyed in early days, in particular 
he enriched the time-honoured statue of the god with 
gold and lapis lazuli, he re-established the temple wor- 
ship in all its former pomp and splendour, and took 
vengeance upon the enemies of Shamash and the king 
who had perpetrated this sacrilegious outrage. The king 
himself celebrated the occasion of the temple's re-dedica- 
tion by a munificent supply of offerings, and issued de- 
tailed regulations as to the ceremonial vestments of the 
priests, and the days upon which in each case they were 
to be worn in future. In the scene above, Shamash 
is portrayed enthroned in his shrine at Sippar, holding 
a disc and rod in his right hand ; the sides of the throne 
are sculptured with mythological beings, whose role 
seems to be to support the throne, while above and in 
front of the god's head are three astrological emblems. 
The roof and supporting pillar of the shrine itself have 
been discussed elsewhere (cf. p. 1 64) : two divine beings 
are stationed on the top of the shrine ; they hold in 
their hands two taut ropes which are attached to a large 
disc, emblematic of the sun, placed on an altar immed- 
iately in front of the shrine, and by means of which the 
disc is kept in position. Approaching the altar and ad- 
vancing towards the shrine are seen three worshippers, 
the first of whom is the high-priest of Shamash, who 
is introducing the king into the presence of the divine 
symbol in a manner so frequently seen on Babylonian 
cylinder-seals, while last of all comes a goddess. One of 
the interesting points about this little sculptured tablet 
is that though it was made by a ninth century king of 
Babylon the style of art to which it conforms would 
indicate that it is not an original work of Nabu-aplu- 
iddina, but a copy of a much older archetype. The head- 
dress of the god for example is characterized by four tiers 
of horns, and is practically identical with that found even 
as early as the time of Gudea, the later Assyrian divine 


Photo. ManseU 


(Reign of Tiglath-Pileser 111) 


head-dress on the other hand generally having but two 
or three horns on either side : Shamash here too holds 
the disc and rod in his hand in precisely the same man- 
ner as he is represented doing on the famous stele of 
Khammurabi (cf. PL XIV) ; his long beard is likewise 
depicted in much the same way as it is there. In short, 
there seems little doubt that the original of this ninth 
centuryproduct must be soughtforsomewhereabout the 
commencement of the second millennium B.C. Another 
particularly interesting feature about the discovery of 
this sculpture was the simultaneous discovery of two 
clay coverings for it. One of these was found to be 
broken, and was probably made by Nabu-aplu-iddina 
himself, but the other bears an inscription of Nabopo- 
lassar, king of Babylon from 625-604 B.C. During the 
two centuries which had elapsed between the time of 
Nabu-aplu-iddina and the reign of Nabopolassar, the 
oft-restored temple had again fallen into disrepair, and 
it fell to the lot of the last-named king to once more re- 
store the time-honoured fane ; he too, like his prede- 
cessor two hundred years before, made " offerings rich 
and rare" to the immortal Shamash. The object of these 
clay coverings was of course to preserve the sculpture 
from damage (cf. Fig. 5). 

To return to Assyria, Ashur-nasir-pal was succeeded 
by his son Shalmaneser II : we unfortunately possess 
but few bas-reliefs belonging to the time of this king, 
the best-known being those sculptured on the Black 
Obelisk ; these reliefs have been illustrated and dealt 
with in detail in so many works, owing chiefly to the 
historic importance of the inscription on this monu- 
ment, that it seems hardly necessary nor desirable to 
discuss them here. Shalmaneser's immediate successors 
have left us few memorials of themselves, artistic or 
otherwise, and after their reigns a general decadence 
seems to have set in, from which Assyria did not re- 
cover till the reign of Tiglath-Pileser III, or Pul as he 


is called in 2 Kings xv. 19 and elsewhere. This king 
restored the fortunes of the empire, and extended his 
power on every side, and happily for our subject he has 
immortalized his exploits in picture-fashion on hard 
stone, as well as in writing on clay cylinders and tablets, 
though unfortunately the bas-reliefs of this king which 
have survived are few in number. One of the best 
preserved is that in which Tiglath-Pileser III is seen 
conducting a siege (cf. PL XVII). The details of this 
sculpture vividly recall the words Isaiah is reported to 
have used in his endeavour to rally the failing courage 
of Hezekiah, king of Judah, who was inclined to sur- 
render himself and his city to Sennacherib " Thus 
saith the Lord concerning the King of Assyria, he shall 
not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor 
come before it with shields nor cast a bank against it." 
All the means of attack here mentioned are represented 
in our bas-relief. The warriors have their bows bent, 
and doubtless have already dispatched many an arrow 
with deadly effect : their persons are protected by large 
wicker shields which cover the whole of their bodies. 
The " bank " in this case has clearly been " cast against " 
the besieged city, and the purpose that the " bank " was 
destined to serve is at once manifest. It consisted in 
an artificial mound up which the movable tower con- 
taining the battering-ram was advanced. On the top 
of the wall of the besieged city, a man is seen with 
hands outstretched suing for mercy. The defeat of the 
enemy and the reduction of their city is signalized in 
a highly realistic fashion ; beneath the " bank " some of 
the vanquished are seen prostrate and naked, while 
above, on a level with the top of the wall a number of 
captives, also naked, are impaled on stakes. The in- 
scription refers to the various articles of tribute brought 
by conquered peoples, but is not possessed of any 
especial interest. 

Tiglath-Pileser III was succeeded byShalmaneser IV, 




the most noteworthy event of whose reign was the siege 
of Samaria ; the city held out two years, and fell in 
722 B.C., after Shalmaneser had been dethroned by Sar- 
gon the usurper. Sargon reigned some eighteen years 
and achieved many victories, the most momentous of 
which was that gained over the united Egyptians and 
Philistines at Raphia, near the Egyptian frontier. His 
sculptural bequests are many, and they comprise the 
gigantic winged human-headed bulls and lions which 
are in some ways the most impressive and the most 
characteristic specimens of oriental art. These winged 
monsters are neither bas-reliefs, nor are they perfect 
round sculptures, but a mixture of the two, and will 
accordingly receive consideration in the second half of 
this chapter. 

But the palace erected by Sargon at Khorsabad, which 
was excavated by Botta more than half a century ago 
has yielded a rich harvest of bas-reliefs pure and simple, 
one of which is reproduced in Fig. 29. The scene is a 
familiar one in Assyrian sculpture ; a fortress is being 
attacked, of course successfully, by Assyrian soldiers. 
The fortress appears to have been built on the top of 
a height, doubtless with a view to rendering it the more 
impregnable. It consists of three rows of towers, super- 
imposed one on the top of the other, the largest row 
being at the base and the smallest at the top, the general 
contour not being unlike that of azigguratwith its re- 
ceding stages. - One wing of the fortress is protected 
by two towers, with which it is connected by means of a 
wall, while the other wing apparently extends right down 
the slope of the height. Access to the fortress is gained 
by arched doorways, one of the many incidental proofs 
of the frequency with which the arch was used in Assyrian 
architecture. A number of small rectangular houses lie 
at the foot of the hill, the doorways of which are arched 
like those of the flanking towers, while in both cases 
the doors or gates themselves are double-leaved. The 


windows, or embrasures, which are very numerous, 
are all square, and the battlements are crenelated as 
usual. Three pairs of colossal horns crown the fortress, 
which Botta is inclined to think may be actual horns, 
the disproportion of their size being of course no argu- 
ment against that view, for disproportion is a charac- 
teristic of early oriental art. In such case they could be 
only emblematic, and presumably indicative of strength, 
but it seems infinitely more probable that the horns re- 
present the sculptor's attempt to portray flames of fire, 
which are thus seen leaping up from the fired fortress. 
Some of the besieged are suing for mercy with out- 
stretched hands, while others are evidently determined 
to fight to the last : they are armed with long spears and 
rectangular shields, while their backs are covered with 
the skins of animals. The enemy are literally at the 
gate, and it is impossible to tell when they will effect an 
entrance. Three of them are attempting to undermine 
the wall by means of long-handled prongs, two more 
are at work with their short swords, while to the left 
are two Assyrian spearmen of superhuman size, whose 
symbolic presence at once removes even the faintest 
shadow of doubt there might be as to the issue of the 
conflict. The attack is a strenuous one, as a mere walk- 
over would bring no glory to the Assyrian arms, but at 
the same time, in spite of the severity of the battle 
raging round the fortress, the irresistible might of the 
Assyrian colossus is grimly suggested by the two giant 
warriors. The artistic treatment of the two heroes de- 
serves some notice ; the aggressive muscularity so 
characteristic of Assyrian representations of kings and 
warriors is not indeed altogether wanting in the legs, 
but the arms are wholly free from this all but universal 
defect, while the pose of both arms and legs is excep- 
tionally natural and singularly true to life. They are 
armed with spears of the same type as those used by 
the beleaguered army, but their shields are round in con- 


tradistinction to the oblong shields of the enemy, and 
they are girded with short swords. Their clothing and 
helmets are of a frequently recurring type, while both of 
them wear armlets and one of them wears a plain bracelet 
on his left wrist. 

Sargon was succeeded in 705 B.C. by his famous son 
Sennacherib, the principal event of whose reign was pro- 
bably the destruction of Babylon in 689 B.C. But the 
name of Sennacherib is famous rather on account of his 
close relations with the kingdom of Judah, and the un- 
successful siege of Jerusalem during the reign of Heze- 
kiah, than for the conquests which he made, consider- 
able as they were. The excavation of his palace^at 
Nineveh has led to the discovery of a large number of 
bas-reliefs, many of which had been fractured as well 
as damaged by fire when the city was sacked by the com- 
bined forces of the Medes and the Babylonians about 
609 B.C. For the most part they illustrate the cam- 
paigns undertaken by Sennacherib. What is noticeable 
at once in the bas-reliefs of this king is their complexity, 
as contrasted with the simplicityof those of Ashur-nasir- 
pal. We have already observed that entire scenes are 
sometimes portrayed upon the bas-reliefs of the last- 
named monarch, though more often the relief is mono- 
polized by two or three large and striking figures, one 
of which generally represents the king, but by Senna- 
cherib's time what had hitherto been the exception now 
becomes the rule, and the bas-reliefs of this king are 
practically all scenic in their effect and most elaborate 
in their composition. This exaggerated complexity is 
due not so much to thevariety of subjects treated in each 
relief, as to the ignorance of perspective on the part of 
the artist, for the treatment of even a limited number 
of subjects or objects within the scope of a single picture 
demands that these objects be seen and represented in 
perspective, and if that demand is not met, confusion 
worse confounded is the inevitable result of the artist's 



abortive attempt. This confusion is seen to perfection, 
if the "oxymoron" may be allowed, in the reliefs which 
adorned the palace walls of Sennacherib king of Assyria. 
A portion of one of the most instructive of these sculp- 
tured slabs is reproduced in Fig. 30. 

The scene is one of great interest, not merely for the 
student of Assyrian art, but for the light which it throws 

FIG. 30. Bas-relief of Sennacherib. (After Layard.) 

upon the mechanical resources of which the Assyrians 
of that day availed themselves, resources which the very 
existence of the gigantic human-headed bulls and lions 
presupposes, but which are here illustrated in a specific 
manner by Sennacherib's sculptors. The safe transport 
of a gigantic mass of solid stone was no easy matter even 
for the excavator of the nineteenth century, 1 how much 
greater the difficulties to be surmounted by a people 
whose mechanical knowledge was some two and a half 
* Cf. P . 45. 


millenniayounger ! Inthe artistic treatment ofthis sculp- 
ture there are of course obvious defects. There is the 
usual ignorance of perspective on the part of the sculp- 
tor, though this is less pronounced than elsewhere ; the 
trees in the foreground and background are arranged in 
lines in a somewhat conventional manner, though the 
intentional or accidental diminution of size in the trees 
in the background as compared with those in the front 
of the sculpture, makes the general setting of the scene 
appear much more true in its arrangement than would 
otherwise be the case. Unfortunately it has not been 
possible to include the back row of trees without sacri- 
ficing the more important parts of the sculpture, hence 
their omission here. 

All interest is centred round the bull, Assyrians and 
war-captives alike having but one work and that is 
the transport of this awe-inspiring monster. In the 
right-hand corner we see two carts, each being drawn 
by two prisoners and containing ropes and timber. 
The carts have two wheels, each wheel containing eight 
spokes in contradistinction to the four spokes of the 
early Babylonian wheels. The bull has been care- 
fully laid on its side upon a sledge which is shaped 
like a boat in the front. Both ends of the sledge 
are pierced with round holes for the reception of the 
ropes. The latter, tightly secured to the sledge and bull, 
are about to be pulled by a number of prisoners who 
succeed under the gentle stimulus of the taskmaster's 
lash in gradually moving the colossal monster. Before 
starting, however, it was seemingly necessary to give the 
sledge some assistance by means of a huge lever, one end 
of which is placed under the stern while to the other end 
three ropes are attached, by means of which a number 
of workmen are doing their utmost to move the lever 
on its fulcrum. To gain a greater leverage one of the 
workmen is engaged in inserting a wedge between the 
upper surface of the fulcrum and the under side of the 


lever, while the movement of the sledge is further facili- 
tated by means of rollers which workmen are seen busily 
putting in position. Upon the top of the recumbent bull 
kneels the foreman engineer giving the signal for each 
successive and united effort to the men on the towing- 
ropes. The presence of three soldiers was apparently 
necessary to enforce the admonitions of the foreman 

FIG. 31. Sennacherib at Lachish. (After Layard.) 

an early example of the invocation of the military to sup- 
port civil authority. Below in the foreground, a number 
of captives are seen carrying rollers to be set down as the 
bull advances. Theyareaccompanied by taskmasters who 
appear to have been wholly devoid of any sense of mercy. 

But the best known, because from certain points of , 
view the most interesting, bas-relief from Sennacherib's 
palace at Kouyunjik is that in which Sennacherib is seen 
receiving the submission of the conquered inhabitants of 
Lachish (Tell el-Hesy) (cf. Fig. 3 1 ). The king is seated 


on a throne of great magnificence, and his feet repose on 
a high footstool. The side of the throne is divided into 
three registers, each of which is occupied by a row of men 
with armsupstretched to support the bar above: the bars 
themselves are decorated with various geometrical de- 
vices, while the throne stands upon four large cone- 
shaped feet. The king's robes are as elaborate as his 
throne, both mantle and tunic being richly embroidered 
and fringed with tassels, while his head-gear consists in 
a kind of mitre, apparently the usual state head-gear of 
Assyrian monarchs. Behind him are two attendants, pro- 
bably eunuchs, each holding a fly-flap in his right hand 
and a bandlet in his left; their dress consists in a long 
robe reaching down to the ankle and tied round the waist 
with a girdle, while a variegated sash passing from the left 
shoulder across the chest relieves the monotony of the 
comparatively inornate costume. Their hair is long, and 
the ends are curled as in the other figures here repre- 
sented, but they are beardless and hatless. Behind these 
two attendants is the royal pavilion, the roof-canvas of 
which is apparently raised either for ventilation or to 
keep off the sun. The king with a bow in his left hand 
and an arrow in his right, is listening to his chief officers 
who are reporting the incidents of the siege of Lachish. 
The personage who leads the procession carries no arms, 
but has his head bared and is clad more sumptuously 
than the attendant officers, as befitteth the king's vizier ; 
the warriors are armed with maces, short swords, bows 
and arrows, or spears as the case may be. At a respectful 
distance from the royal throne three representatives of 
the conquered inhabitants of the city are making their 
obeisance before the king, one of them literally grovelli ng 
on all fours. The prisoners have a thick, though not a 
long, crop of hair, while their beards are also thick and 
short, in contradistinction to those of the Assyrians. 
Their dress consists of a perfectly plain, short-sleeved 
tunic reaching from neck to ankle, while their feet are 


unshod. The dress of the Assyrian warriors will be con- 
sidered inasubsequent chapter (Chap. XIII). The scene 
of this somewhat dramatic spectacle is outside the cap- 
tured city, under the grateful shade of vinesand fig-trees, 
while mountains covered with trees form a fitting back- 
ground to the picture. The purport of the four-lined 
cuneiform inscription in front of the king is that Sen- 
nacherib, king of hosts, king of Assyria, sat upon his 
throne of state, and the spoil of the city of Lachish passed 
before him. But magnificent as is the throne upon which 
Sennacherib ishere seated, it must have been far surpassed 
in splendour by his royal throne at Nineveh ; the latter 
was apparently made of rock crystal, some of the frag- 
ments of which are still preserved. 

Sennacherib was succeeded after some intestine feuds 
by his son Esarhaddon ; Esarhaddon carried on the tradi- 
tions of his predecessors in warringagainst Phoenicia, and 
reducing Babylonia, but the distinguishing feature of his 
reign was the occupation of Lower Egypt by the Assyrians 
in 672 B.C. Unfortunately we have very few sculptural 
monuments of this king, though it must not be assumed 
from this that he was a whit less proud of his feats than his 
father, but his reign has practically no interest for the 
student of art and affords us little material for the pursuit 
of our present subject. This remark, however, is very 
far from applying to Ashur-bani-pal, his all-glorious son, 
whose triumphs in the field of art were as great in their 
way as those achieved in the battle-field. Ashur-bani-pal 
came to the throne in 668 B.C. and ruled some forty-two 
years, during which he raised the power of Assyria to a 
point never reached before and never reached again. The 
more noteworthy events of Ashur-bani-pal's reign as 
well as the consequential effects of his taste for litera- 
ture have been treated of elsewhere ; suffice it to say 
here that this outburst of military, intellectual and ar- 
tistic activity was but the supreme effort of an empire 
whose strength was exhausted and whose vitality was 


impaired, and even before the death of Ashur-bani-pal 
the meteoric splendour of her glory had begun to 
pale. It was as it were the final sickness of an aged 
man who had weathered many storms and whose re- 
cuperative power had hitherto risen to every occasion, at 
last however the final crisis comes and all is over. But 
that golden era of Assyrian art, so brief and short-lived, 
has nevertheless been immortalized by the artists of that 
day in those stone slabs which now form one of the most 
precious possessions of the British Museum. 

Ashur-bani-pal's exploits in the hunting field have 
been already referred to, and it is these that he chose 
to record pictorially upon his palace-walls rather than 
his victories on the field of battle, and it is to this choice 
that we owe those masterpieces of animal representation, 
which otherwise might never have been crystallized into 
concrete and permanent results. 

A large number of these bas-reliefs are concerned 
with lion-hunting ; from PI. XVIII it would appear that 
lions sometimes suffered themselves to become domesti- 
cated ; we here see a lion and lioness, the one standing, 
the other lying carelessly stretched at its ease upon the 
ground, in a kind of garden, the cultivated character of 
which is manifest from the presence of a vine. The lion 
stands before the crouching lioness with head and fore- 
paws outstretched, in a manner well-illustrative of that 
dignity and majesty which is always and has always been 
associated with the king of animals. Unfortunately 
most of the head and the entire hindquarters of the lion 
are missing, but sufficient remains of the animal for us 
to imagine the rest without much risk of our imagina- 
tion leading us astray. 

But the animals which were the victims of the royal 
sport must clearly have been wild ; sometimes they 
admitted of being hunted in their natural state, but in 
Ashur-bani-pal's time it was evidently necessary to 
capture them beforehand and keep them in cages till 

PLATE xvm 

/'/..//A ,\7 

Photos. Matt sell British. Mi 



required for the hunt. In PI. XIX we see one such 
captive specimen emerging from his temporary prison 
at the instance of the attendant who has pulled up 
the wicker gate of the cage. The lion's satisfaction 
at his release is shown by the alacrity with which he 
sallies forth, little conscious of the doom in front of 
him. Though the end seems always to have been the 
same, the method by which the end was accomplished 
varied from time to time. Thus on one occasion the 
king is seen thrusting his long-shafted spear into the 
lion's back, himself securely mounted in his chariot ; 
at another time he is on foot, and is almost playfully 
stabbing the lion in the neck with his dagger, but the 
more usual way no doubt, because the safest of dis- 
patching big game, and lions in particular, seems to have 
been by means of the bow and arrow which could be 
brought into play at a respectful distance. In PI. XIX we 
see a number of lions thus transfixed; their various posi- 
tions, some of which are sublimely natural, while others 
appear rather imaginative, all speak eloquently and in 
moving terms of that common tragedy to which all the 
animal world, whether human or bestial must some day 
become victims, the tragedy of death. One lion is 
seen transfixed by four arrows, two of which are deeply 
lodged in the lion's neck, a third in the centre of the 
head, and the last in the middle of the back. The lion 
is prostrate, his four legs dragging helplessly behind and 
underneath his massive body, while his face bespeaks 
the death-agony in which he lies convulsed. Above, on 
the left, another animal has been incapacitated, if not 
mortally wounded, by two arrow wounds, one in the 
neck and the other in the back, while a little lower down 
to the right, a lioness smitten through the lungs has 
rolled over helplessly on her back. At the bottom of 
this unique scene we have another lion transfixed by 
some five arrows, most of which are lodged in or 
about the animal's head ; like the lioness he has sunk 


over on his back, his limbs being contorted almost be- 
yond recognition. To the left we have the full hind- 
quarters of a lion who is springing up in a frenzy 
of rage excited by an arrow- wound in the back. Last 
of all in the bottom left-hand corner another lion is 
seen in the act of expiring as the result of his wounds. 
But whatever end befell the unfortunate lion, he seems 
to have been attended with ceremonial rites at the last, 
his body was conveyed home by three or four male ser- 
vants, and stretched upon the ground, after which the 
king himself pours a libation over the silent, motionless 
animal, whose grandeur in death is only surpassed by 
his energy in life (cf. PL XX). 

The large majority of the visitors to the Assyrian 
Saloon in the British Museum, where these master- 
pieces of animal reproduction are arranged, have never 
witnessed a lion hunt in real life, but none can go away 
without having an ineffaceable impression left on his 
mind of the grimness of such a scene, of which the 
reality is here so graphically portrayed. Lion-hunting 
f was doubtless the favourite sport of the Assyrian 
kings, but other game also engaged the royal patron- 
age, notably deer, wild asses and bulls. Ashur-nasir- 
pal has left us a sculpture in which he is represented 
hunting wild bulls from his chariot, and in PL XX we 
have a bas-relief from Ashur-bani-pal's palace on which a 
wild-ass hunt is seen in full progress. In the upper part 
of the scene a wild-ass lies helpless on his back, pierced 
by three arrows, while a fourth arrow is on the wing, 
though swiftly nearing its appointed goal. To the right 
we see another ass rushing away in hot haste before the 
double onslaught of dogs and arrows. To the left two 
dogs resembling mastiffs are busily engaged in checking 
the headlong course of a wild ass whose flight has already 
been retarded by the arrow which has pierced his fore- 
quarters. Below, a hound of the type already alluded to 
is in mad pursuit of a young foal. The foal is preceded 


Photos. Mansell 



by a full-grown ass who is turning its head solicitously, 
possibly in anxiety for its own safety, possibly for that of 
the young foal behind. The manner in which this latter 
action has been portrayed by the artist is surprising in its 
fidelity to nature and its artistic merits. To enable the 
reader to form a fair and correct estimate of the genius 
of the Assyrians in the art of animal representation it 
would be necessary to give reproductions of the whole 
series of Ashur-bani-pal's hunting scenes, but it is hoped 
that sufficient has here been shown to demonstrate their 
extraordinary ability in this direction. 

Not only however are we indebted to Ashur-bani-pal 
for the animal masterpieces of Assyrian art, but also for 
one of the few scenes which give us a glimpse into the 
private and non-official life of the king (cf. PL XXI). The 
king is reclining on a magnificently carved couch, while 
his queen sits bolt upright on a chair immediately oppo- 
site ; the chair is as elaborate in its way as the couch, as 
is also the stool upon which her feet repose. In spite of 
the tropical appearance of the garden in which the feast 
is spread, the king is covered with a rug, while the queen 
is clad in richly-woven robes which look anything but 
cool. A table is set by the side of the couch and in front 
of the queen's chair, upon which are laid the royal dain- 
ties. Both their majesties are about to quaff the ambro- 
sial nectar with which their low but capacious cups are 
without doubt filled, but the scene of their banquet is in 
itself an appetizer : the thick palm trees, the rich clusters 
of grapes, and the hovering birds all adding a stimulus 
to the royal digestive faculties. Behind the king stand 
two attendants with fly-flappers, and another richly 
carved table upon which the royal weapons are laid. 
The queen is similarly protected by fly-flappers, be- 
hind the bearers of which are other servants laden with 
oriental luxuries, while in the distance the musicians are 
playing their voluptuous eastern melodies. The instru- 
ments are stringed, as are most of the musical instru- 


ments portrayed on Babylonian and Assyrian bas-reliefs, 
though tambourines, double-pipes, cymbals, drums and 
trumpets were also apparently known. 1 In spite how- 
ever of all these intoxicating influences, there remained 
one other item in the programme an item which doubt- 
less had the most stimulating effect of all upon the appe- 
tite of the great king, i.e. the head of Te-umman of Elam, 
which hangs from a tree in the king's immediate line of 
vision, and no doubt was a most gratifying spectacle to 
his majesty. 

With Ashur-bani-pal Assyrian art as well as her litera- 
ture reached its climax ; with him the limits of the em- 
pire were extended further than ever before ; but after 
his reign no slow decadence, but a swift collapse set in 
which was alike tragic in its significance and momentous 
in its consequences. It is however not altogether un- 
fitting, either in the case of empires, or in that of indi- 
viduals, that when the climax is reached, and the highest 
possibilities are realized, life should not be prolonged 
for retrogressive purposes, and Assyria was in a large 
degree saved from this misfortune. The memory of her 
greatness and of her wide influence was in no way marred 
by a long period of decline, her time was up and her end 
came, but the reason was to be found rather in those in- 
domitable circumstances of fate and external environ- 
ment than in a radical and internal demoralization. We 
have no reliefs of the Neo-Babylonian period worth re- 
cording, with the exception of the coloured clay reliefs 
which we shall consider in the chapter on painting. 


For the study of early Sumerian sculpture in the 
round, we unfortunately have not much material at 
hand. As has been already stated, both the Babylonians 
and Assyrians excelled in bas-relief work rather than in 
full rounded sculpture, and what they excelled in, that 

1 Cf. Rawlinson, Five Monarchies, pp. 151-62. 






they practised most ; in spite of this fact however, both 
peoples were alive to the superiority of sculpture in the 
round, but the difficulties involved in producing work 
of this kind prevented such work being undertaken save 
for exceptional purposes, hence they never attained a 
very high degree of excellence in this department of art. 
Of the earlier Sumerian period we have hardly any com- 
plete statues, and the paucity of 
such makes those that have sur- 
vived the more valuable. One of 
the most interesting of these is that 
/of Esar king of Adab (Bismaya), 
which was discovered during the 
course of the American excavations 
on that site, 1 and is now preserved 
in the Imperial Ottoman Museum, 
Constantinople (cf. Fig. 32). It is 
made of marble and weighs two 
hundred pounds. In height it meas- 
ures just under thirty-five inches, 
the circumference of the skirt being 
close upon thirty-two inches. The 
latter is heavily plaited and is a 
replica of the garment in which ^f l 

the Sumerians portrayed on the 4^* 

earliest monuments are always FIG. 32. (A.j. s. z.,xxi, 
clad. The type of face in like PP- 59. *) 

manner attests its great antiquity ; the bald head, the 
aquiline nose forming a straight line with the forehead, 
the triangular eye-sockets which were at one time inlaid 
with ivory, all being characteristic features of the most 
ancient Sumerian attempts at human portraiture. The 
king bears an inscription upon his right shoulder written 
in a very archaic and semi-pictorial script, from which 
we learn the name of the king, and also of the city over 

1 Cf. E. J. Banks, Scientific American, Aug. 19, 1905, p. 137; 
American Journal of Semitic Languages, XXI, p. 59. 


which he ruled. It was discovered at a great depth below 
the surface of the mound, among the ruins of a temple 
constructed of the small plano-convex bricks character- 
istic of the pre-Ur-Nina buildings. A particularly in- 
teresting feature about this unique monument is that 
the arms are free from the body, whereas in nearly all 
Mesopotamian statues they are joined up to the sides. 
The hands are clasped in front as is the case in so many 
Sumerian statues and reliefs of all 
periods, while the feet are embed- 
ded in the pedestal to enable them 
to support the short, thick-set and 
heavy body, which was apparently 
a peculiarity of the Sumerian phy- 

Unfortunately we have hardly 
any complete figures of early Su- 
merian women, the little stone 
statuette in Fig. 33 gives us how- 
ever some idea of the appearance 
I and dress of women in early Baby- 
lonia. Her features conform to the 
usual Sumerian type, while her 
long hair is tied with a fillet which 
surrounds her head and gathers 
up her flowing tresses at the back. 
But the three archaic stone heads (cf. PI. XXI I) which 
were unearthed at Tello enable us to form a somewhat 
more complete estimate of the artistic ability of the 
sculptors of that age in regard to the portrayal of the 
human face and head. The head on the right closely 
resembles the central one, both of which exhibit a more 
advanced style of art than that exhibited in the head on 
the left, which is, however, the most interesting of the 
three. It was discovered on the other side of the Shatt- 
el-Hai, the canal which connects the Tigris with the 
Euphrates ; unlike the others, the aquiline nose is per- 

FlG. 33. (Dt'c. en Chald., 
PI. I, ter. No. 3.) 

I'lioto. Mamed />' itish Mttteinn 


a/wA </ /.owz/r,? ; ZVr. < CA<j/</. . (), 1-3 




foctly preserved, the eyes are as usual large and shaped 
like almonds, and were doubtless at one time inlaid with 
shell and coloured, while the lips betray a suppressed 
smile ; the type of face is exactly the same as that seen 
on the Vulture Stele, though the details are of course 
more precise, as might be expected from a work in the 

In Fig. 34, A, we have an alabaster head of an early 

FIG. 34. A. (Louvre, Cat., p. 217; Dtc. en Chald., PI. 6, Fig. 3.) 

B. (Comptes Rendus, 1907, p. 398; DfUg. en Perse Mtm. , X, PI. I.) 

C. (Louvre, Cat., p. 227; Dtc. en Chald., PI. 8 (bis), 4.) 

Sumerian woman ; the face belongs to the same type as 
that to which the male heads in PL XXII conform. The 
ears, so prominent in the case of the clean-shaven male 
heads, are here entirely concealed by the tresses of hair 
which hang in thick horizontally streaked lines about her 
forehead, head and neck. The hair is kept in its place 
by means of a fillet fastened at the back. The large eye- 
holes must have at one time been inlaid, probably with 
lapis lazuli in the case of a woman as here. The eye- 
brows are sculptures in relief, and not incised as is the 
case in other early Sumerian sculptures. 


Other early specimens of Babylonian sculpture are to 
be found in the various statues of Manishtusu discov- 
ered during the course of the excavations carried on by 
the French Mission to Susa, one of which is reproduced 
in Fig. 34, B. Manishtusu was a Semitic king of Kish 
and probably reigned about 2700 B.C. ; the statue here 
shown is consequently one of the earliest examples of 
Semitic sculpture in the round as yet known, and accord- 
ing to De Morgan 1 is the most ancient work of art as 
yet discovered on the old Persian sites. Even at this 
early date we see traces of that Semitic conventionalism 
so prevalent in the later Assyrian era. The square face, 
the large eyes, the coiffure and the long symmetrically 
arranged beard here seen, all being prominent features 
in Assyrian representations of kings and potentates. 
The pupils of the eyes were black and were fixed in their 
sockets by means of bitumen, as was frequently the case 
in these early sculptures. The statue is made of alabas- 
ter, and the inscription on the back is written in archaic 
line characters. 

This age was followed by a period during which the 
sculptor's art gradually made itself master of the means 
at its disposal. This transition period is well illustrated 
by an alabaster statuette of a seated woman reproduced 
in Fig. 34, C. The advance which the configuration of her 
face shows on the archaic head in Fig. 34, A, is at once 
obvious : the stereotyped eyes have become less ex- 
aggerated and more natural, the lips are more womanly, 
the nose less obtrusive. Her long hair hangs naturally 
and loosely down her back, while a thick fillet encircles 
her head. Her long robe covers the whole of her body 
from neck to ankle, and she holds in her hands a round- 
shaped vase which probably contains a libation for the 
gods. This little statuette is just over seven inches high. 

But it was not till the middle of the third millennium 
R.C. i.e. the age of Gudea,patesi of Lagash,that sculpture 

1 Comftcs trtif/Hfy 1907, p. 399. 


in the round assumed a prominent part in the artistic life 
of the people, and it was not till then that the sculptor 
seems to have regularly aspired to reproducing human 
figures at quasi-life size, fashioning them at the same 
time outof the hardest volcanic rocks. In PL XXI 1 1, A, B 
we have reproductions of two of the decapitated statues 
,> found by De Sarzec at Tello. Eight of these statues, 
some of which are in a standing posture, while others 
are seated, bear inscriptions of Gudea, patesi of Lagash ; 
one of the remaining two being inscribed with the name 
of his predecessor, Ur-Bau. The majority of these 
statues are under life-size, but the dimensions of one of 
them at least considerably exceed those of an ordinary 
man. The statue here represented (PL XXIII, A) is the 
most artisticallyconceived of the series; it possesses both 
grace and force, and shows very little trace of the con- 
ventionalism so noticeable in later Assyrian sculptures, 
the feet being the only inanimate and truly conventional 
part of the production. The arms are strong and sinewy, 
but the muscles are perfectly naturally executed, and 
contrast very favourably with the exaggerated muscles 
of the royal statues of Assyria. The hands are folded in 
token of submission to the goddess Nin-harsag, to whom 
this statue was seemingly dedicated. Among the epithets 
applied to this goddess here, are " Lady of the Moun- 
tains," "protectressof the town and mother of its inhabit- 
ants," and lastly, " mother of the gods." This statue is 
made of green diorite and is just over four feet high. 

In PL XX III, B we have another statue of Gudea, this 
time seated. The chief peculiarity about this and its 
companion statue, both of which are in the Louvre, lies 
in the flat tablet which each of them carries on their 
knees. On one of these tablets a regular plan of Gudea's 
buildings has been engraved, showing various doors, 
crenelated towers, and so forth, together with the car- 
penter's rule and stylus, which are similarly engraved 
on the knee-tablet of the statue reproduced here. 


The most striking feature in the sculpture itself is 
the boldness with which the nude limbs are carved, 
and the nervous vitality with which they abound. This 
is especially noticeable in the treatment of the right arm 
and shoulder, which the arrangement of the mantle 
leaves exposed. The cartouche on the shoulder contains 
the name and titles of Gudea. The lengthy inscription 
below records that this statue has been dedicated to the 
goddess Gatumdug, who is styled " the mother of Shir- 
purla " ( = Lagash), it then treats of the various rites 
and ceremonies with which the building of the temple 
of this goddess was accompanied. This statue, like the 
standingoneinPl.XXIIlA,ismadeofdiorite. Several of 
the heads belonging to these statues have been brought 
to light, one of which is seen in PL XXIII, C. The head 
which is decked with a variegated turban is again remark- 
able for its strength and the boldness with which it is exe- 
cuted ; the eyes are large and wide open, a noticeable 
characteristic in all Mesopotamian art, whether early or 
late ; the eyebrows are heavy, and the chin firm, while the 
jaws are thick-setand make thegeneral contour of the face 
square. The absence of due proportion in all these early 
Babylonian sculptures is at once manifest : they one and 
all have a more or less squat appearance, the breadth 
being always too great proportionally for the height, 
while the head is too large for the body and the latter 
is too thin from back to front. But when all the failings 
incidental to the products of an inexperienced art are 
duly taken into consideration, there is a certain fidelity 
to nature, and consequently a degree of life observable 
in the crudest of these early Babylonian sculptures which 
at once raises them to a higher level than the Assyrian 
statues to which they unconsciously gave birth. The 
accentuation of the strong lines and curves of the earlier 
sculptures in the later products of Assyrian times, has 
merely led to exaggeration, and the effect is inevitably 
stereotyped and unnatural. 

/'/ ///-. A.V/// 

Mn^'tdu 1. 01 






In PI. XX III, D, however, we have the upper part of a 
diorite figure of a woman belonging to about the same 
period as Gudea, which has to a great extent lost the 
heavy and massive appearance so noticeable in the 
statues of the patesi, and possesses both grace and 
beauty. The dress will be considered in a subsequent 
chapter, and it will be sufficient to here call attention to 
the singularly natural manner in which the folds of the 
garment are represented . During the interval between 
the epoch associated with the name of Gudea and that 
rendered illustrious by Ashur-nasir-pal and the Assyrian 
kings, the practice of sculpturing in the round appears 
to have fallen largely into desuetude, if we may judge 
from the extreme paucity of the material that has come 
down to us, and it is not till the time of the Assyrian 
Empire that we are able again to make a detailed study 
of the sculptor's art in Mesopotamia. 

One of the earliest examples of Assyrian sculpture 
in the round is reproduced in PL XXIV, B. It is a torso 
of a female figure, who bears upon her back an inscrip- 
tion of Ashur-bel-kala, kingof Assyria, whose reign may 
be assigned to the first half of the eleventh century B.C. 
It was discovered at Kouyunjik,and is now in the British 
Museum. The size is somewhat below that of life ; but 
in spite of the fact that the proportions are bad, the body 
between the legs and arms being too short, this sculp- 
ture, when compared with the generality of Assyrian 
attempts to reproduce human beings, is at once striking 
for the natural manner in which the artist's conception 
of feminine beauty is realized, and as such is entirely 
unique in the realm of Assyrian sculpture. 

The remains of another very early Assyrian sculp- 
ture 1 in the round were discovered in the course of the 
German excavations at Ashur. Unfortunately the head, 
hands and feet of this statue are missing, but the small 
part of the head which is preserved, though having an 
1 Cf. Mitteilungen, No. 29. 


abundance of hair shows no trace of the elaborate curls 
of later days, the beard being represented by a series of 
twelve or more corrugated strands, thereby recalling the 
Babylonian statues of the Khammurabi period. The 
clothing consists of a close-fitting garment made of a 
simple fine-textured material, and is decorated with a 

Of Assyrian royal statues that of Ashur-nasir-pal (cf. 
PL XXIV, C) is the best preserved and the most success- 
ful. It is made of hard limestone, and measures three 
feet four inches in height ; it was found in a broken 
condition along with the limestone pedestal upon which 
it once stood, and it now stands upon the same original 
pedestal in the Nimrud Gallery of the British Museum. 
The total height of the statue with the pedestal is five 
feet eleven and a half inches. Fortunately none of the 
fragments of the figure were missing, and consequently 
it was possible to restore the statue so perfectly as to 
render it one of the finest Assyrian statues in existence. 
The king stands there, the very incarnation of impas- 
sive dignity and imperturbable majesty, and it is strange 
how impressive the motionless can at times be. It would 
perhaps be hardly true to employ such words as " life " 
or " animation " in attempting to describe this sculp- 
ture, but it possesses something even higher than ex- 
ternal vigour and vitality, it has a force, an indescribable 
" reserve of strength," which the absence of anything 
like aggressive activity only serves to enhance. The king 
is clad in long and elaborately made robes which reach 
down to his toes. The beard and hair, both of which are 
rich and profuse, are curled with much care and pre- 
cision. The king holds in his right hand a sickle-shaped 
object, which is presumably meant to be a sceptre, while 
in his left he holds a mace with a tassel at the lower end. 
His left arm is concealed by the fold of his outer mantle, 
but the right is bare with the exception of a wrist- 
bracelet. The type of face bears all the acknowledged 

< ^ 
o ^ 

- i 

< .5- 


c ^ 

c ^ 


Assyrian characteristics; large, wide-open eyes, a curved 
nose, and the wealth of hair to which we have just re- 
ferred. The proportions are fairly accurate, though the 
depth or thickness of the body from back to front is as 

FIG. 35. Shaltnaneser II. (British Museum.) 

usual, not sufficiently great. The king has an inscription 
carved upon his breast, the text of which, after having 
given the name and genealogy of Ashur-nasir-pal, goes 
on to recount the triumphant achievements of the king 
in the extension of his dominion over the whole country 
between the river Tigris and Lebanon, and concludes 


by stating that he has made all the countries from the 
rising of the sun to the setting of the sun to submit to 
his feet. 

Ashur-nasir-pal's son and successor, Shalmaneser II, 
has bequeathed to us one of the comparatively few ex- 
amples of an Assyrian seated figure sculptured in the 
round (cf. Fig. 35). The decapitated figure, which is a 
representation of Shalmaneser II himself, is made of 
black basalt, and it was discovered at Kalat Sherkat 
(Ashur). The inscription on the throne, which is par- 
tially effaced, gives the name and titles of the king, 
enumerates his various conquests in Babylonia, and 
also contains an allusion to the statue itself. It is in- 
teresting to compare this figure with the seated and 
likewise decapitated figures of Gudea a millennium or 
so earlier (cf. PL XXII1,B). Both are made of a hard vol- 
canic stone, and the garment in which each of these 
Eastern rulers is clad reaches down to the ankles, 
though the end of Shalmaneser's skirt is however deco- 
rated with a fringe, while Gudea's is quite plain. Both 
figures are seated on a simple kind of throne such as 
is very frequently encountered on cylinder- seals, but 
there are certain striking points of difference between 
the two statues. The Sumerian Gudea has no beard, 
while the Semitic king of Assyria has a long square 
beard, and Gudea's arms are moreover clasped in a 
reverential attitude across his breast, while Shal- 
maneser's arms are apparently resting easily upon his 
lap. The feet which in each case rest upon a plinth, are 
well portrayed in both figures, though what advantage 
there is is clearly on the side of the earlier Babylonian 

Another good example of Mesopotamia!! sculpture 
in the round at about this time is afforded by the two 
statues of the god Nebo which were excavated by 
Rassam in the ruined temple of Adar at Nimrud, one of 
which is reproduced in Plate XXIV, A. They were made 


by a certain governor of the city of Calah (Nimrud), 
and were dedicated to the god in the hope of thereby 
ensuring length of days to Adad-nirari III, king of 
Assyria from 812-783 B.C., the queen Sammuramat, 
and incidentally to himself also. The mention of 
Sammuramat is interesting as she is supposed to be 
the original of the Semiramis of later Greek and 
Roman writers. The god is apparelled in a simple robe 
confined at the waist, the arms being left uncovered and 
free. He wears both a moustache and a beard, the 
latter being curled and waved, as is also the long hair of 
his head. The horned cap of the gods furnishes his 
natural head-gear, and his wrists are encircled with the 
rosette-patterned bracelets in which both kings and gods 
seem to have delighted, while his hands are clasped upon 
his breast. The inscription chiselled all round the lower 
part of his robe, is chiefly concerned with a rehearsal of 
all the wonderful attributes and gracious deeds of Nebo, 
and ends with an exhortation to all future generations to 
put their trust in Nebo, and not in any other god. 

But neither the Babylonian northe Assyrian sculptors 
confined their attention to human beings, any more than 
did the bas-relief artists. They also attempted the repro- * 
duction of animals, mythical or real as the case may be, 
with varying degrees of success. The animal that seems 
to have more or less monopolized their artistic capa- 
city in this direction was the lioji. We have already seen 
the important part played by the lion in the heraldic 
arms of Lagash, in the coloured decoration of walls, 
and in the bas-reliefs which adorned the interiors of 
Assyrian palaces, as well as in the decoration of various 
objects such as mace-heads and stone bowls, and we are 
accordingly not surprised to find examples of the lion 
realized in hard stone and worked in the round. The 
early specimens are for the most part small, and as a 
rule only the heads are preserved. The dates of most 
of these heads are uncertain as there is generally no 


inscription, but fortunately there are some exceptions. 
Like the majority of the earlier specimens of Sumerian 
art, they nearly all come from Tello and were excavated 
by M. De Sarzec. One of the best preserved is repro- 
duced in Fig. 36, A. Only one side of the lion's head 
has survived, but it is sufficient to demonstrate the suc- 
cess with which the Sumerian sculptor treated his sub- 

FlG. 36. A (Die, en ChahL, Plate 24, l); B, C (after Heuzcy). 

ject. The arrogance and impassive majesty of the lion 
are here realized more impressively than is the case with 
the lions of many a European artist ; this notwithstand- 
ing, the spirit of conventionalism has already crept in 
as a thief, though it has as yet only made its presence 
felt in the hem of the garment so to speak. The head 
itself isentirelyunmarred by any deteriorating influence, 
but the treatment of the mane is in a measure the 
victimof the force of habit, which, inspiteof thecommon 
saying that it is " second nature," is as a matter of fact as 


unnatural as it can be in its effect upon art. It is formed 
somewhat after the pattern of the " kaunakcs " material 
used in the manufacture of early Sumerian garments. 

The remains of another stone lion bearing an inscrip- 
tion of Gudea, from which we gather that the lion in 
question formed part of the decoration of the door 
through which access was gained to the sanctuary of the 
goddess Gatumdug were recovered from the same site. 
This lion l shows still further the subtle influence of 
conventionalism in the manner in which the hair on the 
lower part of the belly is portrayed, a series of triangles, 
such as is often seen in the figures of lions on the cylin- 
der-seals, representing a fringe of long hair. Many of 
the lion-heads discovered at Tello were provided with 
holes for the insertion of a peg, and probably served for 
lower supports of the back of thrones. One of these 
lion-heads is of especial interest as it bears the name of 
Ur-Nina, the founder of the first dynasty of Lagash, 2 
while a second mentions Magan, the uncertain district 
whence the Babylonians procured their stone. Another 
early animal sculpture of some considerable interest was 
discovered by Captain Cros at Tello in 1904 (cf. Fig. 
36, B). It represents a recumbent dog apparently of 
the mastiff breed, and identical in species with those 
figured on Ashur-bani-pal's bas-reliefs : the length of 
the dog is only about four inches, its height just under 
three and a half inches, and it is two inches thick, but 
the interest attaching to it lies in the fact that it bears an 
inscription of one Sumu-la-ilu, a king of Urwho prob- 
ably reigned towards the close of the third millennium 
B.C., but of whom little else is known, and whose name 
had not even been heard of before the discovery of this 
little black stone dog. The material used for this sculp- 
ture is steatite, and the dog's back is pierced with a hole 
which served as a stand for a cylindrical steatite vase. 

1 Cf. Decouvertes, PI. 24, Fig. 2. 

2 Revue Archeologiquc, 189;, I, 108. 


The hole and the vase are apparently of later date than 
the dog itself. 1 

Another very interesting example of early Babylonian 
sculpture in the round is that of a small human-headed 
bull 2 (cf. Fig. 36, C) now preserved in the Louvre. It is, 
as it were, the archetype or prototype of those winged 
human-headed bulls and lions placed at the entrances of 
palaces to guard against maleficent demons. The pose 
of the bull is one that is entirely natural, and recalls the 
semi-recumbent calves on Entemena's silver vase (cf. 
Figure 45), but the body of the animal lacks the in- 
tense realism of the earlier animal representations. He 
wears a long vertically streaked beard, which is flanked 
on either side by plaits of hair, and his head is sur- 
mounted by a cap with four pairs of horns. 

In the centre of his back there is a hole which doubt- 
less once served as a socket for some votive object or 
figure as seems so frequently to have been the case ; 
but the particular interest of this little sculpture lies in 
the shell inlay work on the back. The figure itself is 
made of black steatite, the inlay work consisting of yel- 
low shell, and we have as a result a somewhat gro- 
tesquely marked bull. Sometimes animals were carved 
inwood,agood example of which is the little wooden lion 
in the Louvre, but the remains of Babylonian or Assy- 
rian wood-carving are far too scanty to enable us to 
undertake a study of their work in this direction. 

In later times sculpture in the round, which had never 
been popular with the artists of Mesopotamia owing 
to the obvious difficulty of procuring the necessary 
material in the first instance, and in the second to the 
nature of the work itself and the obstacles which had 
to be surmounted in the realization of that work, went 
almost entirely out of fashion. There remain, however, 

1 Cf. Heu2cy, in Mon. Mem. Acad. Insc. Fondation Plot, XII, pp. 
19-28, and C. R. A cad. Inscr., 1905, p. 75. 

2 Cf. Mon. Plot., t. VII, PI. i, Fig. i, and Louvre Cat., p. 324. 

//..///; xxv 


a few examples of sculptured animals to be considered, 
among the first and foremost of which are those colossal 
human-headed winged-bulls and lions which guarded 
the entrances of the palaces of Ashur-nasir-pal and Sar- 
gon (cf. PI. XXV). They are, it is true, neither bas-reliefs 
nor round sculptures, but a combination of the two, 
whereby the artist has endeavoured to create a perfectly 
natural and complete effect from every point of vision, 
and his efforts have met with the success which they de- 
served. The means he has employed to produce this satis- 
factory result is the provision of each of these extraor- 
dinary monsters with a fifth leg, though all these winged 
monsters were not so provided, the principal exceptions 
being the four-legged bulls in Sennacherib's palace at 
Kouyunjik. The difficulty with which the artist found 
himself encountered, and which was obviated by the 
above-mentioned device, lay in the inability of four legs 
of natural proportions to support a stone body of the 
gigantic sizedemanded by the architectural requirements 
for which these creatures were destined to be used. In 
short, a pure round sculpture of a lion or bull of the 
portentous size desired wasa literal impossibility, and re- 
lief accordingly had to come into play, it being merely a 
question of how far the relief should be low or high, 
and the higher it was the more it of course approxi- 
mated to the round, and realized what was presumably 
the artist's real intention. The creation of a satisfactory 
front view of these animals involved no difficulty, for 
the visibility of the two front legs was all that was neces- 
sary, and the drawback of the space between the legs 
being occupied with the solid mass of stone which sup- 
ported the animal and out of which it was sculptured 
in high relief, was comparatively slight and negligible. 
But the satisfactory portrayal of the animal from the 
side aspect was fraught with much greater difficulty. 
Normally the two near legs of a quadruped viewed from 
the side,by no means exclude the two legs on the off-side 


from one's vision. The artist was clearly conscious of 
the difficulty which here confronted him and he has de- 
vised an ingenious means, indeed the only means under 
the circumstances for surmounting this inherent diffi- 
culty. He has provided the lion or the bull, as the case 
may be, with a fifth leg with the satisfactory result that 
viewed from either standpoint the animal's action or in- 
action is conceived in a perfectly natural fashion. From 
the front the winged monster is seen in a stationary 
attitude, his two fore legs firmly planted together on the 
ground, while from the side, on the other hand, the ani- 
mal is walking along in an entirely normal and lifelike 
manner. These winged monsters were placed on either 
side of the portals of the king's palace and they helped 
to support the palace walls. But the object which they 
were supposed to serve, and the duties which they were 
expected to perform, were not of the purely architec- 
tural or even of the decorative order, their vocation, 
though embracing all these minor functions, involved 
the fulfilment of yet higher obligations, for they were 
destined to ward off the attacks of malicious spirits from 
the nether world. Esarhaddon, king of Assyria from 
681-668 B.C. specifically states for what purpose these 
" shedi " or " lamassi " the Assyrian names for these 
semi-mythical monsters were created and made, for 
example, in one passage to quote the translation given 
by Perrot and Chipiez (p. 266) Esarhaddon says 
that " the shedi and lamassi are propitious, are the 
guardians of my royal promenade and the rejoicers of 
my heart, may they ever watch over the palace and never 
quit its walls," and again in another passage he says, " I 
caused doors to be made in cypress, which has a good 
smell, and I had them adorned with gold and silver and 
fixed in the doorways. Right and left of these doorways 
I caused shedi and lamassi of stone to be set up, they 
are placed there to repulse the wicked." The front parts 
of these monsters always projected beyond the general 



line of the wall, the human head and the chest at all 
events being outside the arch which these animals 

Sometimes the winged human-headed monster is 
flanked by a mythical creature with wings, holding 
a basket in his left hand, and a cone in his right (ci. 
PI. XXV), at other times he stands in isolated glory 
alone. The head is of the familiar type to which 
one-half of the Assyrian representations of men so 
rigidly conform, the type characterized by a beard, the 
other type being beardless : all the royalty and nobility 
seem to have worn beards, and, according to the Assy- 
rian sculptors, to have had precisely the same features, 
the numerous beardless figures portrayed on the bas- 
reliefs representing the humbler classes, and no doubt 
in some instances eunuchs. The head of this winged 
colossus is surmounted by a lofty head-dress richly 
decorated with rosettes, and furnished with two pairs 
of horns, the ever-present mark of sacro-sanctity. The 
hair and beard are profuse in their luxuriance, and 
elaborate in their dressing, while the tail is treated with 
the like punctilious care. Two enormous wings cover 
the back,extendingtheirovershadowingprotection some 
way beyond it. The relief in which the body and specific- 
ally the legs are raised is very high, and they stand out 
almost in the round. Many of these gigantic stone ani- 
mals have been found at Nimrud, Khorsabad, the capital 
of Sargon, and Nineveh. 

But although the Assyrians show a marked predilec- 
tion for mythical monsters in their large sculptural 
achievements in the round or semi-round, they showed 
themselves capableof conceiving and admirably realizing 

limals of the normal order ; one of the best examples of 
in Assyrian carved animal is the colossal lion of Ashur- 

iasir-pal(cf. PI. XXVI), which is now in the British Mu- 

:um and once formed part of an entrance to a building. 

'his lion is about eight feet high and thirteen feet long, 


and bears an inscription like many of the winged human- 
headed bulls and lions. The lion also has five legs like so 
many of the latter. The head is carved with great bold- 
ness and vigour, although it is a little conventional. The 
jaws are extended, the upper lip and nostrils being drawn 
up, and even an unimaginative person may well fancy he 
can hear a deep roar proceeding from that fierce, wide- 
opened mouth. His neck is covered with a thick mane 
and ruffles of stiff hair. To obtain the best view of the 
sculpture, the view, that is to say, in which the spectator 
will accord the full measure, or even an over-measure, 
of justice to the skill of the artist, one must make one's 
point of observation on the side. The front aspect is 
disappointing, as the lion is too thin for its length and 
height, and is consequently deficient not only in artis- 
tic merit, but also in the dignified majesty of which he 
has ever been the symbolic incarnation. But in spite of 
these obvious drawbacks, the work as a whole compels 
admiration and inevitably arrests the attention, for 
it possesses the "one thing needful" life. A com- 
parison between the lion's head, and that of any of the 
winged human-headed monsters, at once demonstrates 
the point to which allusion has so frequently been made, 
the genius which the Assyrians at all times and all 
periods show in the delineation of animals, and the con- 
trasting laboriousness with which all their representa- 
tions of human faces are invariably marked. But there 
is at least one general remark which may fairly be made 
of Assyrian sculpture,a remark applicable both to human 
as well as animal sculptures, and that is that whether the 
subject be natural or mythical, human or bestial, the 
artist's product is never without force and never lacks 
impressiveness, a quality which in our own day is gener- 
ally made conspicuous by its absence. Other interest- 
ing animal-sculptures have been found in Lower Meso- 
potamia, the most famous ofwhich is the immense black 
basalt lion on the Kasr mound at Babylon(cf. PI. XXVII). 

* 5 
j-. .^ 



It consists of a lion towering over a nude human being 
lyingon the ground, thewhole piece beingmadeof basalt. 
The remains of another stone lion of large proportions 
were discovered in the course of the recent German ex- 
cavations at Babylon ; thirty fragments of the dolerite 
of which it was composed have been recovered including 
a portion of one of the claws, which measures over three 
inches in length, and proves that the lion must have been 
of abnormal size, while its general form and appearance 
would seem to indicate a great age. 

It is indeed well for us that the aesthetic genius of the 
Babylonians and Assyrians should have found expres- 
sion in durable stone rather than in some other more 
perishable material ; the difficulties involved in sculpture 
are admittedly sufficiently great, and we owe a debt of 
gratitude to the perseverance and determination of those 
ancient peoples, which led them to conquer and mould 
for the ultimatization of their ideas, a material which a 
less determined and a less persevering nation mightwell 
have shrunk from attacking. 


IN the art of working metals the Babylonians showed 
no small degree of proficiency : evidence has already 
been given of the way in which metal was made to con- 
tribute her share to the perfected work of the architect, 
as also of its employment as a material whereon the 
scribe might engrave his comparatively imperishable 
memorials, but the part which it played in the history 
of the country's art, as well as in the growth of her civili- 
zation, remains to be considered. The metals which ap- 
pear to have been most in use among the dwellers in 
Mesopotamia are copper and bronze. As in every other 
country, before metal became known and utilized in the 
Euphrates valley, stone was employed as the material for 
making knives, axes, and implements of every kind. 
Various flints were found by Taylor at Abu Shahrein 
(Eridu). 1 At Fara (Shuruppak) also, numerous flint 
knives and saws, together with some hatchets and tools 
made of the same material, were discovered by the Ger- 
man excavators, and tools made of bone were further 
found on the same site. But the copper age com- 
menced at a very early period in the history of Baby- 
lonian civilization, at a time previous to the appearance 
of cuneiform, and while even the earlier picture-signs 
were still untrammelled by the stereotyped formalism of 
later days, copper had already been adapted to the needs 
and requirements of humanity. 2 

At Ur (Mukeyyer) Taylor discovered a large cop- 
per spear-head and two arrow-heads made of the same 

1 Cf. Journal of the Hoy al Asiatic Society, XV, p. 410. 

2 Cf. Saycc, drcha-ology of the Cuneiform Inscriptions, p. 58. 



metal, while in the early strata at Tello, M. De Sar/.ec 
discovered a copper blade some thirty-one and a half 
inches in length, and belonging to a votive-lance ; un- 
fortunately the name of the king by whom it was dedi- 
cated is lost owing to the oxydization of the metal, but 
the title " King of Kish " is still clearly legible, Kish 
being one of the most ancient sites of Euphratean civili- 
zation (cf. Fig. 37, A). The tang of the blade is pierced 
with four holes, and one of the flat surfaces of the blade 
itself is engraved with the figure of a lion, crude indeed, 
but spirited. This unique object was found at a great 
depth, and only six inches above the stratum in which the 

FIG. 37. A (Cat., p. 367 ; Dt'f. en Chald. y PI. 5 tert. Musee du Louvre.) 
B (Ileuzey, Une Villa Roy ale, Fig. 19.) 

architectural remains of Ur-Nina were buried. Not 
far distant, De Sarzec discovered an immense hollow 
pipe of beaten copper (cf. Fig. 37, B) over ten feet long 
and having a diameter of four inches ; a number of cop- 
per nails by means of which this long tube was fastened 
to a wooden pole being also found. The pipe itself tapers 
upwards and the top of it is crowned with a hollow ball 
of hardened bitumen, a little below which there is a large 
semicircular handle, or what purports to be a handle, 
consisting in a hollow tube and likewise made of copper. 
The use to which this strange implement was put is un- 
known, but it is exactly reproduced on some of the early 
cylinder-seals as well as on the well-known vase of 
Gudea. Various suggestions have been made as to the 
purpose which it served ; onetheory is that it is a chariot 


pole, another that it is a part of a standard, but the 
former is ruled out of court by the position which it 
occupies on the seals and on the aforementioned vase. 
The latter, however, may be near the truth. 

Among the earliest specimens of Babylonian metal- 
lurgy may be mentioned a number of very small copper 
representations of animals in a crouching attitude, and 
all apparently belonging to the domestic order, though 
in some cases they are so covered with vert-de-gris that 
it is difficult to determine with precision what animals 
they are intended to represent. They are probably to 
be regarded as sacrificial offerings to the gods, being in 
fact economical substitutes for actual victims. They 
were found by De Sarzec in the lowest and therefore 
earliest strata of the ruined mounds of Tello. Another 
class of metal objects to which we must also assign a 
date earlier than the time of Ur-Nina, the founder of 
the first dynasty of Lagash, comprises a number of cop- 
per statuettes, all much the same in shape, contour and 
style, though not in size. They all show a woman's bust, 
her hands clasped across her chest, and her hair hanging 
about her neck like a heavy wig, while the waviness of 
the hair is indicated by strongly-marked horizontal 
lines (cf. Figure 38, C). The style at once recalls the 
figures on the crude bas-reliefs belonging to the same 
period. A further peculiarity of these little figures is the 
manner in which they all terminate in the point of a nail, 
by means of which they were destined to be fixed in the 
ground with a view to deterring the advance of demons 
from the nether world. 

So too Ur-Nina employed copper extensively as the 
material for his votive statuettes. A number of these 
statuetteswere found at Tello by De Sarzec ; they all ex- 
hibit much the same characteristics as the earlier figures 
referred to above, and represent a woman whose hands 
are clasped across her breast,and whose hair hangs down 
her back in strongly marked perpendicular streaks, 


2 4S 

while the body similarly finds its termination in a nail- 
point destined to be stuck in the ground (cf. Fig. 38, A). 
But the chief pointwhich distinguishesUr-Nina's statu- 
ettes from those belonging to the earlier period lies in 
the additional role which they were expected to play ; not 
only were they protective amulets, but they were also re- 
quired to carry stone tablets on their heads. To enable 

FIG. 38. A, C (cf. Cat., p. 295). Musee du Louvre. 
B (cf. DL'C. en Chald., PI. 2 tert., No. 3). 

them to bear their burden the more easily, they were 
fixed into a kind of flat ring, the end of which was made 
to resemble the tail of a bird, which thus assisted the head 
in its otherwise arduous task (cf. Fig. 38, B). Five of 
these little figures still carried on their heads a thick tab- 
let of greyish stone, convex on the uppermost side, like 
the bricks of this same king. They were generally found 
buried in hollows about twenty-eight inches in breadth, 
length, and height, and walled in with bricks and bitu- 
men. Later on in the dynasty the practice of providing 


these statuettes with bird-tailed rings to assist in sup- 
porting the inscribed stone tablet appears to have fallen 
into disuse ; at all events the statuettes of Entemena, 
the fourth successor of Ur-Nina, show no such rings ; 
the alabaster tablets are simply bored with holes, into 
which the head of the statuette was firmly inserted. 

Another class of copper statuettes of somewhat later 
date is that comprising the so-called " Kanephores " or 
basket-carriers. The oldest of these likewise come from 
Tello: they are sometimes male, sometimes female 
figures, but they all carry baskets on their heads. One 
of them is seen in Fig. 39, B. In this case the garment is 
arranged in such a manner as to show the formation of 
the legs. The inscription informs us that this statuette 
was dedicated by Gudea to Nin-girsu. Regarding the 
assumed contents of the baskets it is impossible to dog- 
matize : possibly they are supposed to contain offerings, 
but De Sarzec regarded these figures as representations 
of the patesi himself, conveying clay in the sacred basket 
for the construction of the temple. 

The directions issued by the god Nin-girsu to Gudea 
in a dream regarding the building of his temple, have 
direct reference to a symbolical action which certainly 
has a close resemblance to that in which these Kane- 
phorous figures appear to be engaged. Gudea was pre- 
sented with a sacred brick on a cushion, which, after 
the performance of various rites and ceremonies, he 
placed upon his head and carried to the temple an out- 
ward and visible sign of his obedience to the divine will 
and of his determination to restore the time-honoured 
fane of his god. But whatever the correct interpre- 
tation of these Kanephorous figures be, they certainly 
recall the task in which Ur-Nina is engaged on the 
famous bas-relief in which he is portrayed surrounded 
by his family and the court (cf. Fig. 26). 

Another of the same class of figures and also repro- 
duced in Heuzey and De Sarsec's monumental work, 



bears aninscriptionof Dungi,king of Ur (f/Vr. 2500 B.C.), 
but the lower limbs instead of being modelled out, are 
in the form of a cone ; the other statuette illustrated on 
the same plate ! is on the contrary very carefully 

FIG. 39. A, B, C (cf. Cat., pp. 315, 307, 301 ; Nos. 164, 158, 146). 
Musee du Louvre. 

modelled, and is clad in a short garment reaching to 
the knees, but unfortunately bears no inscription. 

Some centuries later the Elamite conquerors, Kudur- 
Mabug and his son Rim-Sin, who established their 
supremacy over the whole of Sumer and Akkad and 
1 Cf. Decouvertes, PI. 28, Figs, i and 2. 


maintained their position till Khammurabi, the then 
king of Babylon, defeated Rim-Sin in his thirty-first 
year, caused their names to be inscribed on similar statu- 
ettes (cf. Fig. 39, A). 

The figure here reproduced is that of a woman ; her 
garment, which is of the nature of a skirt, allows us no 
view of the feet, and itself tapers downwards and recalls 
the earlier nail-pointed statuettes. The nudity of the 
bust, and the absence of hair on the head, are indica- 
tions that the woman in question is a slave, and her 
vocation was probably to assist in the building of the 
temples of the gods. In style this figure is more boldly 
executed than the earlier statuette of Gudea seen in 
Fig. 39, B. It bears an inscription in which mention is 
made of Kudur-Mabug and his son Rim-Sin. 

Sometimes male Kanephores occur, a good example 
of which is preserved in the British Museum ; it came 
from Tello like so many of these early works of art. 
Another excellent specimen was presented some few 
years ago to the Berlin Museum ; it is rather more than 
ten inches in height, and bears a very clearly written Su- 
merian inscription ; the names of Kudur-Mabug and 
Rim-Sin occur, and the statuette was dedicated "for the 
preservation of life," as was always the case with these 

Another interesting class of copper figures was fur- 
ther discovered by De Sarsec at Tello : it consisted in a 
number of small statuettes most of which were dedicated 
by the patesi Gudea ; each is in a kneeling posture and 
holds a cone between his hands, while the head-dress 
consists in the horned cap characteristic of all Mesopo- 
tamian deities, whether early or late. These little figures 
are about eight or nine inches high. The cones are in- 
scribed with a votive inscription, and the cones them- 
selves must probably be regarded as religious symbols. 
Cones made of clay or stone belonging to this period are 
common enough, their occurrence however in copper 


and in immediate contact with the statue of a human 
being is very rare. A plain long copper cone measuring 
i foot i ^inches in length, and bearing an archaic inscrip- 
tion, is now preserved in the British Museum, this is 
however an exception, metal cones being, on their rare 
occurrence in Babylonian art, in nearly all cases associ- 
ated with human or quasi-divine figures. 

One of the best and also earliest examples of these cop- 
per cone-statuettes is that of Ur-bau (circ. 2500 B.C.) 
patesi of Lagash, now preserved in the Louvre, and re- 
produced in figure 39, C. This figure was found en- 
closed in a clay vase in the bottom of which three holes 
had been bored, and it was accompanied by a fine white 
marble tablet, the inscription upon which is a kind of 
resume of the text found on the statue of this patesi. 
The god is kneeling on one knee, and his hands are 
fixed firmly on an elongated cone which resembles the 
nail-pointed terminations of the earlier figures. The 
head-dress consists in the horned cap. The features are 
full of expression and force in spite of their heaviness, 
and the statuette as a whole shows a great advance on 
the artistic products of the time of the first dynasty of 
Lagash, and also compares very favourably with the later 
work of Gudea's time. 

Among other early copper objects of interest we may 
especially mention two bulls' heads the casting of which 
is not solid, as is the case with all the figures hitherto 
referred to, but hollow, and a curious vase, all found 
together at Tello in the stratum immediatelyabove that 
representing the age ofUr-Nina. 1 The bulls' heads 
(cf. Fig. 40, A) are practically identical in type though 
not in size ; the horns are long and the muzzle short, but 
notwithstanding their crudeness are full of vitality, and 
are not without a charm of their own. The larger of the 
two, which is seen in Fig. 40, A, has its eyes inlaid with 
mother-of-pearl, while the pupils of the eyes are made 
1 Cf. Hilprccht, Explorations, \>. 539. 


of lapis lazuli ; it is some seven and a half inches high 
(including the horns), the smaller head being only five 
and a half inches in height. 

At Fara an exquisite head of a Markhur goat was dis- 
covered (cf. Fig. 40, B); the head itself is made of copper, 
but the eyes were made of shell, the white of them 
being represented by white shell, and the pupils by dark 

FIG. 40. A, C, D (Musee du Louvre) Cat., pp. 318, 310, 324. 
B (from Hilprecht, Explorations, p. 540). 
E (from Harper, A. J. S. ., XX, p. 266). 

brown. Between the eyes there is a three-cornered 
ornament of mother-of-pearl inlaid with white and brown 
shells. The gazelle's neck is hollow, and its head was 
attached to a wooden body overlaid with copper. 

Another interestingrepresentation of the animal world 
in metal, has been bequeathed to us by Dungi, king of 
Ur, and consists in a bull reclining on the top of a long 
nail (cf. Fig. 40, C). The bull recalls the sacrificial 
animal portrayed on the little sculptured block repro- 
duced in Fig. 27. The horns are short as there, but the 


thick neck and inflated throat at once give us the idc.i of 
a bellowing bull, the attitude being wonderfully natural, 
and the whole work full of vigour and animation. It is 
about twenty-six inches in height. 

In Fig. 40, D 1 we have an illustration of another little 
metal bull, the metal in this case being bronze an indi- 
cation of a somewhat later date and the posture a stand- 
ing one. The place of its discovery is uncertain, but as 
M. Heuzey says, it shows no trace of hard Assyrian 
conventionalism, but on the contrary has all the charac- 
teristics proper to early Babylonian art. The bull, which 
is twelve inches in height and thirteen inches in length, 
stands on a narrow plinth to the bottom of which a nail 
was apparently fixed, recalling the nail-pointed statuettes 
from Tello. The particular interest of this little figure 
lies in the fact that it is inlaid with silver, the object of 
which was clearly to represent the markings of a certain 
breed of bulls. The eyes were once inlaid with this metal, 
and the thin plates of silver with which the body of the 
animal was inlaid are still in place. This little figure thus 
proves that the Babylonians had not only acquired the 
art of inlaying objects made of stone, but also those that 
were made of metal. 

Among other early Babylonian representations of ani- 
mals in metal, may be mentioned a " bronze lion-headed 
object " (cf . Fig. 40, E) discovered at Bism aya. 2 The spike 
itself, apart from the lion, measures nineteen inches. As 
it was found over eight feet below a platform of plano- 
convex bricks, its antiquity must be very great, and in 
the light of subsequer/: research it may probably be as- 
sumed that it is bronze only in appearance, like so many 
of the products of early Sumerian metallurgy, any alloy 
there may be in the copper being at this date accidental 
and not intentional. The lion is crude, but the artist's 


1 Cf. Louvre Cat., No. 173 ; and Mon. Wot., t. VII, PI. I, Fig. i. 

2 Cf. Harper, American Journal of Semitic Languages, XX, pp. 266, 


inexperience has not prevented him from producing an 
animal both natural in its pose, and therefore artistic in 
its effects. 

Various other objects and weapons made of copper 
have been discovered at Nippur, Fara, Tell Sifr, and 
other Babylonian sites, and they include hammers, 
knives, daggers, hatchets, fetters, mirrors, fish-hooks, 
net-weights, spear-heads, vases, dishes and caldrons, the 
weapons sometimes having rivets for wooden handles, 
which have long since perished. 1 

The moulds in which all these copper objects, both 
hollow and solid, were cast were probably made of 
clay, though in later times stone was frequently used as 
a material for making moulds for metal-casting, and 
various examples of such moulds made of steatite, 
wherein were cast ear-rings and other articles of jewel- 
lery, are now in the British Museum, while at the same 
late period bronze itself seems to have been em- 
ployed, and bronze moulds for arrow-heads are still 
extant. But there is no evidence for the use of either 
stone or metal moulds among the Sumerians, and it is to 
their use of clay moulds that we must doubtless ascribe, 
at least in part, the extraordinary animation which these 
early Babylonian figures exhibit, for obviously the 
fashioning of the head of a bull or of a human being in 
clay would be a comparatively easy work to chiselling 
it in stone, and the work would consequently lack the 
heavy laboriousness which is so often the outstanding 
characteristic of early stone sculptures. The copper re- 
mains of this age are far from being as ample as one might 
wish, but many weapons, tools and other objects which 
must undoubtedly have been made of metal, and there- 
fore probably of copper at this time, are portrayed on 
some of the earliest Babylonian reliefs and seals, and give 
us some idea of the extensive use which the Babylonians 

1 Cf. King, Sumcr and Akkad, p. 26 ; and Hilprecht, Explorations, 
p. 156. 


of this remote period must have made of metal, and of 
the numerous purposes for which they employed it. 
Sometimes it would appear that instead of fashioning 
the required objects by means of moulds, they relied en- 
tirely on the hammer : evidence of this was forthcoming 
by the discovery of a portion of the horn of an ox by De 
Sarzec at Tello. Unfortunately no other part of the 
animal to which this horn belonged was brought to light, 
but the horn is life-size and well made. The core con- 
sisted of wood upon which the copper plates were fixed 
by means of small nails. 

Theexact time when the Mesopotamians acquired and 
practised the art of adding a percentage of tin to the 
copper, thereby making it bronze a metal possessed of 
greater strength than copper is not known, but a judg- 
ment based on the evidence afforded by the cases which 
have been actually chemically analysed, would indicate 
that the artificial combination of copper and tin was not 
known till the Assyrian era, and that any percentage of 
tin or antimony found in the copper objects of earlier 
date is a natural and not an artificial alloy. It is however 
worthy of note that apparently as early as the time of 
Bur-Sin, king of Ur (circ. 2400 B.C.), the art of mixing 
metals was not unknown. At all events a copper statu- 
ette of the Kanephorous order, and bearing an inscrip- 
tion of this king, contains an alloy of lead, the percentage 
of lead being as much as eighteen per cent. But with 
the rise of Assyrian power, bronze gradually supplanted 
copper ; copper was indeed still used, and Esarhaddon, 
for example, informs us that he made the doors of one of 
the palaces which he erected for himself, of cypress wood, 
and that he further overlaid them with silverandcopper; 
it was also used for subordinate purposes, as for example 
in the manufacture of colour, 1 but it ceased to occupy 
an important place in the life of the people, though of 
course as the principal contributor to the artificially- 

1 Layard, Discoveries, p. 357. 


composed bronze it was still used extensively, though in 
a less conspicuous manner. 

A good example of the use of bronze in the early 
Assyrian period is to be found in a scimitar (cf. Fig. 4 1 , A) 
bearing an inscription of Adad-nirari I, king of Assyria 
about 1325 B.C. The whole length of the sword is just 
over twenty-one inches, the length of the blade being 
sixteen inches, and that of the hilt about five, while its 
width varies from just over one to just under two inches. 
The sword was evidently a ceremonial one, and possibly 
was at one time placed in the hand of a god's statue ; 

FIG. 41. A (cf. T. S. B. A., vol. IV, PI. 2, p. 347). 

B (cf. Andrae, Der Anu-Adad Tempel, p. 53). 

its hilt was apparently jewelled and inlaid with ivory, 1 
and it resembles that found by Macalister at Gezer in 
Southern Palestine. It is interesting to compare the 
scimitar of Adad-nirari with the sword found by Andrae 
at Ashur (cf. Fig. 41,6) from which it differs entirely in 
character and design, the latter being perfectly straight. 
Another interesting discovery made by Andrae on the 
same site is a bronze axe (cf. Fig. 41, C), which is quite 
modern in its appearance, and is not unlike a short- 
handled ice-axe. 

Many other weapons, implements, dishes, bowls and 

1 Cf. Boscawcn, Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archeology, 1876, 
P- 347- 



rings of bronze were discovered at Nineveh, Nimrud 
and elsewhere. In Plate XXVI II, we have a bronze 
ox-hoof, which apparently formed the leg of a throne, 
and two other bronze fittings of a throne. Below 
are two of the bronze lion-weights from Nimrud. 
Many of these weights are inscribed in cuneiform 
with the names of the kings in whose reigns they 
were made, e.g. Tiglath-Pileser, Shalmaneser IV and 
Sennacherib, the amounts they weighed being inscribed 
in Phoenician. They were possibly made by Phoeni- 
cian immigrants. The specific gravity required in the 
case of each weight was normally arrived at by chisel- 
ling pieces off the base, but in one case, the gravity had 
to be increased and not diminished, and this was effected 
by filling the hollow body of the lion with lead, until 
it weighed the necessary amount. Immediately above 
the head of the larger of the two lions here represented, 
we see the bronze head of a Babylonian demon. 

Assyrian bronze generally contains one part of tin to 
ten of copper, but in the case of the bronze bells found 
by Layard at Nimrud (one of which is reproduced in 
Plate XXVIII), it was found by analysis that the percent- 
age of tin was about fourteen. This was doubtless to 
make their ring more resonant. The bells in question 
vary in size, the largest being about three and a quarter 
inches in height and two and a quarter in diameter, 1 while 
the smallest is one and three-quarter inches high and one 
and a quarter inches in diameter. The clappers of these 
bells are made of iron. 

But the bronze dishes from Nimrud show the Assyrian 
metal-engravers' work perhaps at its highest, and offer 
more material for the study of that branch of Assyrian 
metallurgy than any other class of objects. The general 
style of decoration to which they conform is that deter- 
mined by concentric circles cuttingup the upper surfaceof 
the dish into so many registers, though sometimes nearly 
1 Layard, Discoveries, p. 177. 


the whole of the field is occupied with one scene. The 
figures portrayed frequently exhibit a very strong Egyp- 
tian influence, and are sometimes entirely Egyptian in 

In Plate XXIX we have a reproduction of one of the 
best preserved of these bronze dishes found by Layard at 
Nimrud. Thegriffins which occupy the principal place in 
the scheme of decoration are entirely Egyptian in con- 
ception, while they further wear on their heads the 
familiar double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt. The 
front left hoof of each griffin rests in an almost parental 
fashion upon the head of a child, who is also clearly 
Egyptian. Both before, between and behind the griffins, 
tapering columns such as are frequently found in Egyp- 
tian architecture are observable, and in the centre of the 
space separating the back of one griffin from the back of 
the nearestanimal in theadjoining group, there is a more 
substantial pillar, the capital of which is shaped to repre- 
sent a winged scarab. The animals are all beaten out in 
relief, but the finely chased circles of fleurettes which 
form the sole decoration of the centre, are the work of 
the engraver. 

In Fig. 42 on the other hand we have a dish also made of 
bronze, and found on the same site as the one described 
above, but it betrays not the slightest trace of Egyptian 
influence. The motif is one frequently employed in 
Mesopotamia ; the decoration of circular objects by con- 
secutive chains of animals following each other round in 
a circle was no invention of the Assyrians, for it may be 
traced back to the earliest Sumerian times. It occurs on 
the famous silver vase of Entemena (cf. Fig. 45) as well 
as on the stone mace-head of Mesilim (cf. Fig. 26), which 
is decorated with a group of wonderfully life-like lions 
pursuing each other round the mace. In the innermost 
circle, a troop of gazelles, such as are often seen depicted 
on cylinder-seals (cf. Fig. 51), march along in file; the 
middle resister forms the circus for a variety of animals 

Photo, .1 ' 

N/.K Hmvi.. i ROM N' 



all marching in the same direction as thegazelles. A bull, 
a winged griffin, an ibex and a gazelle, are followed by two 
bulls who are being attacked by lions, and a griffin, a 
bull, and a gazelle, who are all respectively being attacked 

FIG. 42. (After Layard.) 

by leopards. In the outermost zone there is a stately 
procession of realistically conceived bulls marching in 
the opposite direction to the animals parading in the two 
inner circles, and thus relieving the otherwise aggressive 
monotony of the decorations. The preservation of the 
handle by which it was held or suspended is an additional 


point of interest. Unfortunately these platters bear no 
cuneiform inscriptions, though a few of them contain an 
inscription written in Phoenician characters on the re- 
verse, which is probably an indication that they were 
fashioned by Phoenician artists, if they were not actually 
made in Phoenicia itself. As has been already stated, 
some of the dishes under consideration are clearly As- 
syrian in art and conception, while others are as certainly 
Egyptian, but notwithstanding this fact, there is evi- 
dence to show that those betokening the greatest Egyp- 
tian influence did not originate in Egypt, and were pro- 
bably not the work of Egyptian artists. One of these 
dishes for example is decorated with a circle of cartouches 
containing Egyptian hieroglyphs: but the hieroglyphs 
are placed together quite haphazard, they mean nothing, 
and this fact alone would suggest that the artist, whoever 
he was, was not an Egyptian but a plagiarist. 

The varying and distinct styles of art to which the 
decorations of these different dishes conform, are illus- 
trated again in an equally conspicuous manner in the 
carved ivories, which were discovered on the same site 
and in the same palace. 

As has been already seen, engraving was not the 
only manner in which the Assyrians utilized metal 
for artistic and pictorial purposes ; they also learned 
to excel in metal repousse work, a process whereby 
the figures are beaten out in relief on the reverse, 
though they are sometimes finished off with a graver 
on the right side. The bronze gate-bands discovered 
by Rassam at Balawat are by far the largest and 
most important monument of this branch of Assyrian 
metallurgy. Balawat is situated about fifteen miles 
south-east of Nineveh, and on this site Rassam dis- 
covered the remains of four pairs of large folding-doors. 
Of two pairs of these doors the cedar- wood backing still 
remained, but all that remained of the other two were 
the bronze bands which were nailed on to the doors 



themselves for decorative purposes. These bands were 
fashioned and affixed to the wooden doors by Shalma- 
neser II, king of Assyria from 860 to 825 n.c. The 
largest of these doors was nearly twenty-two feet in 
height, six feet in width and three inches thick. Each of 
these doors was attached to a rounded post, the diameter 
of which was about eighteen inches, and the foot of 

'Q "~" ''U 1 

FIG. 43. Bronze gate-band from Balawat. (British Museum.) 

which was covered with bronze with a view to facilitat- 
ing its revolution in the stone gate-socket which was 
destined to hold it and the affixed door. 

In Fig. 43 we have a reproduction of a portion of one 
of these bands. In the upper register we have a pro- 
cession of foot-soldiers armed with maces, swords, 
bows and quivers, and also a charioteer, all in attend- 
ance on the king, who goes before ; in the lower 
register a number of chariots are seen crossing a river by 
means of a bridge of boats. The whole is beaten out in 


relief on the reverse, with the exception of fine lines 
representing the horses' trappings or the decoration of 
garments. Strange to say, the reins of the chariot horses 
on these gate-sheaths are sometimes raised in relief by 
the repousse method, sometimes on the other hand they 
are incised. At the top and bottom of each register a 
row of the ubiquitous rosettes are introduced as a deco- 

O Q Q. 

FIG. 44. Bronze gate-band from Balawat. (British Museum.) 

rative accessory, and the nails which fastened the metal 
bands to the woodwork transfixed the rosettes. In 
Fig. 44 we have another scene in which is represented 
the capture of a certain city called Dabigu. The centre 
of the upper register is occupied with a representation 
of the Assyrian camp, within which the king is seen 
seated before the royal pavilion and attended by two 
eunuchs, while behind the camp there is another band 
of eunuchs, and in front to the right of the register there 
is a detachment of bowmen. Below, the assault of the 


city " by the assault of engines and the attack of foot 
soldiers and mines and breaches " 1 is vividly repre- 
sented. The city itself has apparently an outer and an 
inner wall, both of which are crenelated as usual. The 
outer wall has an arched gate to the left, while within 
the city there are various conical shaped objects which 
recall the domed and conical roofs seen in Fig. 9. Three 
archers are defending the inner wall of the city, while 
only one archer and another warrior remain at their 
posts on the outer wall, the lower part of which appears 
to be speedily succumbing to the irresistible attack of the 
battering-ram. The latter has six wheels and seems to 
bear a kind of platform on which some Assyrian soldiers 
have taken their stand and from which they are dis- 
charging their unerring shafts ; behind are a troop of 
archers actively engaged though very passively por- 
trayed, as is always the case with Assyrian representa- 
tions of human beings. 2 

In the recent excavations conducted by the Deutsche 
Orient-Gesellschaft at Ashur, bronze plates for over- v 
laying and decorating doors, precisely similar to those 
found by Rassam at Balawat, were brought to light. 

But bronze found its natural sphere of use in the 
necessities of daily life, and afforded a first-class material 
wherefrom to fashion knives, tools, swords, and imple- 
ments of all kinds ; many of these have been brought 
to light by Layard and other excavators, while without 
doubt the innumerable spears, swords, shields and 
arrows depicted on the Assyrian bas-reliefs were made 
of this metal. It was used also in the manufacture of 
personal ornaments, such as finger rings and bracelets. 
Bronze was similarly used in Babylonia during theNeo- 

1 Cf. the Taylor Cylinder of Sennacherib. 

2 For ;m admirable reproduction of the best half of the Balawat Gates, 
a good introduction, and translation of text, cf. Birch and Pinches, The 
Bronze Ornaments of the Palace Gates of Balaw}'. Cf. also Delitzsch, 
Bcltriige zur Assyriologie. 


Babylonian dynasty, and was employed for building as 
well as for other purposes ; doorsteps were sometimes 
made of bronze, and one such bronze step bearing an 
inscription of Nebuchadnezzar II (cf. above, p. 131) is 
preserved in the British Museum. It is interesting to 
note the discovery of similar bronze doorsteps by the 
French excavators at Susa, especially bearing in mind 
the close relationship which existed between the two 
countries and peoples throughout their history, though 
unfortunately Mesopotamia has at present offered no 
parallel to the life-size statue in bronze of Napir-asu, 
the wife of Untash-gal king of Elam about 1600 B.C. 
A small bronze plaque bearing in relief the four-winged 
demon of the south-west winds was discovered by 
Layard, and is now preserved in the British Museum 
(No. 86262), while a statuette of the same picturesque 
creature and made of the same material now adorns the 
galleries of the Louvre. The demon in question is of 
a highly composite character like so many of the Baby- 
lonian and Assyrian genii. His body resembles that of 
a dog, his arms find their natural or unnatural termina- 
tion in lion's claws, his head is a caricature of a human 
skeleton, which is in its turn crowned with the horns 
of a goat, his tail is that of a scorpion, and his back is 
protected with four huge wings, which in their extended 
position form a grim and fitting background to the 
whole. But this demon, hideous as it is, was constructed 
for distinctly beneficent purposes, and was used as a 
talisman. One perhaps might not have at once con- 
jectured that this fascinating personage was really the 
embodiment of the south-west wind, but fortunately 
he bears an inscription on his back which removes all 
doubt on the point. He was destined to be suspended 
from the door or window of a house in order to scare 
away any spirits of evil or doubtful intentions. The 
figure is unnatural in its conception, but it is grimly 
realistic and full of life, if not life-like, and in some 


ways recalls the hideous wicker-work and feather- 
covered war-gods of the Hawaiians. 

Gold has not been found as frequently as one could 
wish in the course of Babylonian and Assyrian excava- 
tions; doubtless this is in part due to the depredations 
of booty-hunters, but it is nevertheless an indication 
that it was only used for exceptional purposes as is 
indeed the case with us to-day. It was regularly used 
for commercial transactions ; a good example of its use 
in this connection is afforded by a tablet belonging to 
the Kassite period, the text of which is to be found in 
Vol. XIV (40) of the University of Pennsylvania's 
publication. 1 A woman agrees to adopt a girl, tend her 
during life, and after death offer libations of water for 
the repose of her soul, and as consideration she receives 
the sum of seven shekels of gold. One of the earliest 
pieces of gold actually discovered in Babylonia is the 
narrow strip inscribed with the name of Naram-Sin of 
Agade, to which we have already had occasion to allude 
(cf. p. 103). 

But gold was also employed for decorative pur- 
poses ; at Abu Shahrein (Eridu) for example, Taylor 
found various fragments of gold on the base of the 
second storey of the ziggurat, apparently the remains 
of the ornamentation of the sanctuary which doubtless 
crowned the tower ; gold-headed nails and fragments 
of gold leaf were also found on the same site. In the 
course of the recent excavations at Ashur, a repre- 
sentation of lightning in gold, about a foot and a half 
in length, which doubtless was once in the grasp of the 
hand of a life-size statue of Adad, the storm-god, was 
brought to light. The handle was made of wood, but 
was covered with a thin sheath of pure gold. The 
three-pronged end, of which only two remain, was 
welded to this covering. The whole is said to weigh 
about 290 grains, 250 of which represent the weight 

1 For translation, cf. Ungnad, Or. Lif. 9 IX (1906), 534-8. 


of the gold. At Babylon, the most famous of all the 
cities in the Euphrates valley, gold was employed with 
great prodigality. As early as the first dynasty of 
Babylon it was used in the service of the gods, and 
Samu-la-ilu, the second king of this dynasty, built a 
throne of gold and silver for the great lord Marduk, 1 
while the statues of the gods themselves were fre- 
quently made wholly or in part of pure gold ; thus for 
example Nabu-aplu-iddina, king of Babylon circ. 8 70 B.C., 
tells us that he carefully prepared the image of Shamash, 
the Sun-god, with pure gold and lapis lazuli, while the 
famous statue of Marduk of Babylon would also appear 
to have been made of pure gold. 

The temple of E-sagil erected at Babylon in honour 
of this same god was covered with gold, silver and 
precious stones by Ashur-bani-pal, 2 king of Assyria 
from 668 to 626 B.C. Yet later Nebuchadnezzar added 
his contribution to the great work of restoration ; he 
built a certain magnificent chamber called Ekua, the 
walls of which he made of pure gold, and the cedar-wood 
roof of which he also covered with the same precious 
metal, while he similarly decorated the cedar-wood 
roof of Nabu's shrine with gold. Gold was further used 
for personal adornment ; in the Amran mound at Baby- 
lon, which represents the site of the world-renowned 
E-sagil, a gold ear-ring was found upon a platform com- 
posed of bricks bearing the name of Nebuchadnezzar, 
and therefore possibly belonging to his time, while a 
plate of gold was also found in the same neighbourhood, 
and rings of gold are perpetually mentioned in Baby- 
lonian and Assyrian literature. 

Many golden face-masks, ear-rings, necklaces and 
other pieces of jewellery have been found in Babylonia, 
but for the most part their date is uncertain, the only 
certainty about them being their comparative lateness : 

1 Cf. Delitzsch, Records of the Ptist, 1903, pp. 3Z3 ff. 
* Cf. Harper, Assyrian and Babylonian Literature, p. 129. 



they may probably be assigned to the Sassanidian 
period, and consequently their treatment will be out- 
side the scope of the present volume. 

Silver was also used for much the same purposes as 
those for which gold was employed. The finest and at 
the same time the earliest specimen of the Baby- 
lonian silversmith's art has been bequeathed to us by 
Entemena, one of the more 
famous rulers of the first dyn- 
asty of Lagash, and takes the 
form of a magnificent silver vase. 
This renowned vase (cf. Fig. 45) 
is some twenty-eight inches in 
height, and rests upon a copper 
base seven inches high, while 
the largest diameter is eighteen 
inches. The copper base is sup- 
ported by four feet resembling 
the paws of lions, and on the 
centre of the vase just above 
two of these feet, is engraved 
the lion-headed eagle with out- 
stretched wings whose two claws 
firmly grip the backs of two 
lions facing in opposite direc- 
tions, a motif frequently found FlG . 45 ._( C f. 0^.372; *> 
on the works of art belonging to cn c/iaM., PI. 43.) 
the period of the first dynasty 

of Lagash, and representing the heraldic arms of that 
ancient city. Above the other two feet of the base the 
motif is slightly varied, the two lions being exchanged 
in one case for two deer, in the other for two goats. 
Each lion is engaged in putting its teeth into the mouth 
of the deer or the goat of the adjoining group, the whole 
thus forming a continuous chain admirably suited for 
the decoration of a circular vase. The lion-headed 
eagles and their submissive animals, are separated from 


the upper and lower portions of the vase by means of 
a double fish-bone line ; upon the upper part of the vase 
are seven heifers all facing in the same direction, and all 
in a semi-reclining attitude, one of their fore-legs being 
raised preparatory to standing up ; these heifers are mar- 
vellously life-like and true to nature, and already we 
seem to see in them the forerunners of those master- 
pieces of Assyrian art which adorned the palace walls 
of Ashur-bani-pal. This scene of country life was evi- 
dently very popular at this period, it occurs on the little 
sculptured block seen in Fig. 27, as well as elsewhere. 
But success in the reproduction of animal life at this 
epoch seems to have been largely conditioned by the 
artist's abstention from trying to depict the animals full- 
face ; when he aspires to the latter the result is amaz- 
ingly stereotyped and formal, and a comparison between 
the lion-headed eagles and the lions on the one hand, 
and these spirited heifers, at once reveals the contrast, 
as well as the cause of the contrast. The artist himself 
was evidently conscious of his failure, for he has striven, 
but it must be admitted without much success, to impart 
life to his lions and lion-headed eagles by elaborating the 
wings of the one and the mane of the other by means of 
an altogether extravagant amount of detailed attention. 
The inscription round the neck informs us that this vase 
was dedicated by Entemena, the fourth successor of 
Ur-Nina, to the god Nin-girsu in his temple Eninnu, 
during the priesthood of one Dudu, whose name 
also occurs on the little sculptured block (cf. Fig. 27), 
thus proving the contemporaneity, which the style of 
art to which the decorations on both conform would 
have independently led us to infer. 

But silver sometimes played a subsidiary, though 
nevertheless from the artistic point of view an essential 
part in the decoration of metal figures : a good example 
of the latter is afforded by a bronze figure of a bull, 
already referred to (cf. Fig. 40, D). 


It is somewhat uncertain whence they obtained their 
silver ; in a letter of Lu-enna to Enitarzi, a ruler who 
apparently flourished shortly after the first dynasty of 
Lagash, silver is mentioned as forming part of the booty 
taken from Elam, and in later times it was one of the 
principal items of tribute exacted by the Assyrian kings 
from their vassal princes, and as such, is frequently 
mentioned on the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser II. The 
excavations have yielded very few relics made of this 
material, the reason again being probably due to the 
predatory raids of booty-hunters. Of smaller objects 
belonging to the Assyrian period may be mentioned a 
silver bell with a bronze clapper, a silver ring set with 
a garnet, and a silver bracelet,all in the British Museum, 
but the dates of these are unfortunately quite uncer- 
tain. That it was used extensively, however, is shown 
not only by the important place which it occupies in 
the tribute brought by subject tribes and peoples, but 
also by the allusions made to this metal in the royal 
inscriptions. Thus Esarhaddon informs us that he 
covered the doors of one of his palaces with this 
precious metal. Idols were also sometimes made of 
silver as well as of gold, to both of which classes 
Tiglath-Pileser I makes allusion in one of his inscrip- 
tions. 1 

With two of the so-called " baser metals " we have 
already had occasion to deal at some length, owing to 
the important part they played in the civilization of the 
Babylonians and Assyrians, but we have tangible as well 
as linguistic evidence of their acquaintance with and 
utilization of other metals as well as gold, silver, cop- 
per and bronze. It has been shown that lead was some- 
times used as an alloy, but it was sometimes used in its 
unmixed state ; a very interesting example of its use 
in this latter condition is to be found in a gate-socket 
now preserved in the British Museum. The socket it- 

1 Harper, Assyrian and Babylonian Literature, p. 14. 


self is made of bronze, but it is set in solid lead. The 
date of this unique object is uncertain, but it may prob- 
ably be assigned to the Assyrian era. Few leaden objects 
have as yet been yielded by the excavations, though it 
is frequently mentioned as forming part of the tribute 
of subject peoples, and we know that it was used in the 
manufacture of colours, as well as being placed inside 
the hollow lion-weights found at Nimrud to add the 
specific gravity required. In Egypt lead would appear 
to have been known and used at a very early period, 
judging from the little statuette in the British Museum, 
which apparently dates from about the time of the First 
Dynasty, and is said to be made of solid lead. 

Iron was first known to the Babylonians in its mete- 
oric state, for its designation is AN-BAR, which signifies 
" stone of heaven." Allusions to objects made of this 
metal are very frequent in the inscriptions of Assyrian 
kings. Tiglath-Pileser I for example makes reference 
to a certain lance of iron, and Shalmaneser II to the 
point of an iron dagger, while both the latter king 
and Adadnirari III mention iron as forming part of 
the tribute they received from their vassal-kings. 
A century later Tiglath-Pileser III records that he 
put iron chains upon a certain Zaquriu and his followers, 
while a hundred years after, Ashur-bani-pal refers to 
an iron dagger overlaid with gold. 1 

Place found a number of iron axe-heads, knives and 
other implements at Khorsabad,whileLayarddiscovered 
a bracelet, a lock-plate, some spear-heads, two reaping- 
hooks, rings and staples, axe-heads, arrow-heads, finger- 
rings and a part of a helmet, all made of iron, in the 
north-west palace at Nimrud. An interesting specimen 
of oriental ironwork was found at Babylon by the 
German excavators in the shape of an iron rod beauti- 
fully decorated with a series of polished ornaments, and 
possibly formed part of a royal throne. Lastly many of 

1 Cf. Harper, Assyrian and Babylonian Literature, pp. 54, 99. 


the Assyrian bronze bells already alluded to have 
tongues made of iron. 

Iron was apparently not known or at all events not 
used in Mesopotamia as early as it was in Egypt. Evi- 
dence of its use in the early dynastic period was afforded 
by Maspero's discovery of this metal in a fifth dynasty 
pyramid in 1882, and Petrie discovered a piece of 
worked iron in sixth dynasty deposits, while in the year 
1 837 ironwas discovered in the Great Pyramid of Gizeh. 

Sufficient will have been said to indicate the important 
part played by metal in the history of both the Baby- 
lonians and Assyrians ; not only was it used as a com- 
mercial medium of exchange, it was also adapted to the 
innumerable requirements of humanity ; implements, 
weapons, vases, personal decorations were all easily 
realized in this pliable and at the same time durable 
substance, while the artistic genius of the Mesopotam- 
ian population which finds its most perfect expression 
in the sculptured bas-reliefs of early and late date, was 
entirely dependent on the forging of metal tools and 
implements for the purpose. 


" T)AINTING" in the ordinary sense of the word 
to-day, wasan art never practised by the dwellers 
in Mesopotamia : like all Orientals both the Babylonians 
and Assyrians were fond of gay colours, and they grati- 
fied their taste for such in various ways, but as a rule no 
attempt was made to faithfully represent the objects of 
nature through the medium of the brush and the employ- 
ment of colours alone, and the colours which they used 
on their sculptured reliefs, their stuccoed walls, or their 
enamelled bricks, were very frequently entirely impos- 
sible from the naturalistic standpoint. Thus the lion of 
brilliant yellow hue (cf. frontispiece), the commonest of 
all pictorial representations in Babylonia, has no counter- 
part whatever in real life ; the effect is pleasing, it catches 
the eye, it awakens a sense of appreciation in the specta- 
tor, but this is due to the general cheerfulness of the 
colours themselves, certainly not to their fidelity to 

The lion itself bears no comparison with the Baby- 
lonian lion represented in Fig. 46. The action is the 
same in either case both lions are proceeding with sure 
and deliberate step, roaring as they go, but there is a vast 
difference between the artistic merits of each. The As- 
syrian lion is not indeed entirely lifeless, but it lacks the 
freedom and spontaneity which characterize the highest 
forms of art ; the body is also somewhat heavy and clumsy 
compared with the lion of Ishtar's Gate. 

The colours chiefly employed in Babylonian and As- 
syrian paintings are blue, yellow and white, while green 
red and black are of comparatively rare occurrence. The 



background of the picture is generally a shade of royal 
blue, the figures, usually animals, being of a brilliant 
yellow. In Babylonia, the demand for colours in archi- 
tectural decoration was naturally more pressing than in 
Assyria, for in the latter country, where alabaster and 
limestone were easily procurable, the adornment of the 
interiors of buildings fell to the sculptor, but in the 
southern country the dearth of stone at once precluded 
the possibility of covering the walls even of the palaces 
with the sculptured bas-reliefs so dear to the heart of ap- 
parently all Assyrian monarchs. Thus it was that colour 
was largely made to take the place of sculpture in Baby- 
lonian decoration, the sculptor's chisel being exchanged 
for the painter's brush, though in Assyria sometimes the 
art of the sculptor and painter were both invoked to 
beautify the walls of the king's palace, for in some of the 
halls in the royal residence of Sargon at Khorsabad the 
sculptured reliefs on the lower part of the walls were 
painted; 1 while Layard, after describing some of the 
wall-reliefs found in the north-west palace at Nimrud, 
says: 2 "On all these figures paint could be faintly dis- 
tinguished, particularly on the hair, beard, eyes and 
sandals," which rather suggests that the earlier Assyrian 
sculptures were only partially coloured. Some of the 
sculptured bas-reliefs from Ashur-nasir-pal's palace at 
Nimrud still bear traces of colour, the sandals of many of 
the figures even now showing the faded red and black paint 
which at one time covered the soles and upper parts of 
the sandals respectively, while in one case Ashur-nasir- 
pal's bow still retains traces of red paint. At Khorsabad, 
on the other hand, colour was used more generally, the 
raiment and head-gear of the kingas well as the harness of 
the horses, the chariots and the trees, being all painted. 
Layard says that he was unable to ascertain whether the 
ground as well as the figures, or parts of the figures, were 

1 Cf. Perrot and Chipicz, p. 277. 

2 Layard, Nineveh I, p. 64 ; II, pp. 306, 307. 


coloured, but Flandin, in regard to the wall-reliefs at 
Khorsabad, informs us that he could trace a tint of yellow 
ochre on all parts not otherwise coloured, while the up- 
per parts of the walls upon which the sculptor had lavished 
none of his art, were often decorated with frescoes. 

But walls plastered with stucco also commanded the 
attention of the painter as well as those lined with 
stone bas-reliefs, and Layard discovered the remains 
of paintings on stucco at Nimrud, specifically in the 
upper chambers on the west side of the mound, the 
rooms of which were constructed of crude bricks coated 
with plaster and elaborately painted. 1 Most of these 
paintings do not aspire to anything more than designs, 
simple or complex as the case may be. In one fresco two 
bulls are portrayed facing each other ; their bodies are 
white, the ground from which the bulls are carefully 
delineated by a pronounced black outline, being yellow, 
while dark blue plays a leading part in the purely decora- 
tive accessories at the top of the fresco. Other evidence 
of the extensive use of paint for the ornamentation of 
interior walls, was forthcoming in the discovery on the 
floor of a chamber in the north-west palace of Nimrud, of 
" considerable remains of painted plaster still adhering 
to the sun-dried bricks, which had fallen in masses from 
the upper part of the wall. The colours, particularly the 
blues and reds, were as brilliant and vivid when the earth 
was removed from them, as they could have been when 
first used. On exposure to the air they faded rapidly. 
The designs were elegant and elaborate. It was found 
almost impossible to preserve any portion of these orna- 
ments, the earth crumbling to pieces when any attempt 
was made to raise it." 2 

The exteriors of buildings were also sometimes de- 
corated with colour, a notable example being the zig- 
gurat at Khorsabad of which three complete stages 
together with a part of the fourth were found still 

1 Layard, Nineveh, II, p 15. 2 Ibid., I, p. 130. 


remaining. The lowest stage was painted white, the 
second black, the third red, and the fourth white ; 
doubtless the remaining stages were also painted, the 
colours being emblematic of the seven planets, as in the 
case of the traditional temple of Belus at Babylon. 

The best example of the Babylonian painter's art is 
afforded by the city of Babylon itself. As early as the 
sixties, the French excavators, Fresnel and Oppert, had 
collected a large number of single-coloured and multi- 
coloured fragments of relief bricks. The coating of 
colour, which was always applied to the narrow sides of 
the bricks, was sometimes from one to two millimetres 
thick. Unfortunately this valuable collection was lost, 
but the statements of the explorers are corroborated by 
the description of a Babylonian palace wall, contained 
in the works of Diodorus the historian (circ. 44 B.C.) 
where he refers to " all manner of shapes of animals on 
rough bricks with colouring very like that of nature " ; 
and he goes on to say that on the towers and walls were 
" representations of all kinds of animals, and as far as 
colouring and shape went, well done. The whole repre- 
sented a hunt, where everything was full of animals of 
all kinds, and in size more than four yards. In this was 
also represented Semiramis, on horseback, in the act of 
throwing the spear after a panther, and a short distance 
off her husband, Ninus, stabbing a lion with a lance." 1 
Nebuchadnezzar himself further alludes to the pictures 
of wild oxen and colossal serpents, which he caused to 
be portrayed on blue enamelled bricks as decorations for 
} the gates. Most of the glazed and coloured tiles found 
at Babylon resemble coloured bas-reliefs, the figures of 
the animals standing out in relief on a blue background 
generally, though sometimes the ground is green. The 
brick-enameller's art reaches its climax in the Lion-frieze 
which adorned the Procession Street of Marduk, at 
Babylon. One of these clay bas-relief lions is seen in 
1 Cf. Delitzsch, Mitteilungen, No. 6, pp. 13-17 ; and Diodorus II, 8. 


Fig. 46. l The ground is dark blue, the monotony of 
which is varied by the introduction of yellow stripes and 
the white rosettes already so familiar from the enamelled 

FIG. 46. Enamelled brick relief from Babylon. (After Andrae.) 

bricks of Khorsabad. The lion itself, the proportions 
of which are excellent, stands out in white alabaster clay, 
and the whole work is more perfect in technique than 

1 Cf. Koldewey, Mitteilungeit, No. 3, pp. 5, 10, 11. 



the Persian lion frieze at the Louvre, which it in some 
ways resembles. What detracts from the artistic merit 


fj FIG. 47. A (after Andrae) ; B (after Layard). 

of the latter is the disproportion which the body bears 
to the forepart and head, both of them being too small, 


but the Babylonian lion is almost entirely free from this 
defect. The discovery of the Ishtar Gate at Babylon 
added another bounteous supply of material for the 
study of Babylonian painting : here too the coloured 
representations on the enamelled bricks were in relief. 
The walls of the gate were found preserved to a height 
of thirty-nine feet, the whole of the wall being covered 
with animals, principally bulls and dragons, of which 
there were at least eleven rows. 

In Fig. 47, A, we have a black and white reproduction 
of one of the clay relief bulls which adorned the gate of 
Ishtar at Babylon. The bull is in the act of walking, 
and exhibits both grace and dignity in his movements, 
the slightness of his frame only serving to intensify the 
agility with which he seems to advance. The proportions, 
are excellent and contrast very favourably with the Assy- 
rian bull from Nimrud (cf. Fig. 47, B). The latter is hard 
and conventional, while the posture in itself a suffi- 
ciently natural one is here rendered in a most wooden 
and inanimate fashion. The body of the animal is white, 
but the painter has attempted to make his subject stand 
out upon its pale yellow background, by edging it with 
an artificial outline of black. When the bull was coloured 
blue and thrown on to a white background this device 
was of course unnecessary (cf. Layard. Ser. I, PI. 87.) 
The blue bull here alluded to belongs to the same species 
as the white one reproduced in Fig. 47, B, and is in the 
same kneeling position, but he is furnished with the 
wings of an eagle. It will be observed that in the Baby- 
lonian bull, as also in both the Assyrian bulls, the artist 
has evaded the difficulty of drawing the two horns in 
perspective by portraying only one, the other being 
theoretically concealed from view by the horn near the 

But the palace of Nebuchadnezzar itself contained a 
large number of these coloured reliefs, many pieces of 
the glazed tiles of which they were composed having 


been found by Koldewey. The fragments recovered, 
number literally thousands, and Koldewey says that 
apparently when the bricks were stolen by later builders, 
the glazed portions were knocked off in order to make 
them more useful for the common purposes for which 
they were destined, and we to-day are the beneficiaries 
of that lack of appreciation. Amongst the animals por- 
trayed on the palace and temple walls may be men- 
tioned the bull, a mythical monster compounded of 
" parts of a bird of prey," scorpions, serpents, panthers 
and steers, as well as the ubiquitous lion, while some of 
the fragments recovered show parts of the human body, 
and birds are also sometimes encountered. The lions 
form the most interesting study : there are two main 
types, (i) lions walking to the left, with white skins and 
yellow manes; and (2) lions walking to the right (a) with 
white skins and yellow manes, and (b] yellow skins and 
green manes ; while there is a third type characterized 
by lions running to right or left. Sometimes the tail is 
portrayed standing out straight behind, sometimes it 
assumes a curved and less rigid form. Great difficulty 
has been experienced in fitting the various fragments 
together, but the assiduous efforts of the Germans have 
not been without success. 

The process by which these coloured clay reliefs are 
supposed to have been made is as follows : a layer or slab 
of plastic clay of a fair size was taken, and on this sur- 
face the complete picture was modelled in relief, the 
process thus far being the same as that employed in the 
ordinary stone bas-reliefs, except that a chisel was in 
requisition there while here the hands would suffice, 
though it seems probable that moulds were at all events 
made for some of the lions, many of which are appar- 
ently entirely uniform. However that may be, the slab 
of clay now bearing in relief the figure determined, is 
supposed to have been cut up into rectangular blocks 
of the same size as the ordinary bricks, each rectangle 


being marked, with a view to simplifying the task of 
fitting each into its right place in the picture ; after 
this, each piece was painted with a coat of coloured var- 
nish, and then thoroughly baked in the oven the 
thoroughness of the baking is attested by the hardness 
of the enamel after which the various parts were fitted 
together. In the same way at Nimrud, Layard found a 
large number of enamelled bricks, bearing the figures 
of animals and flowers as well as cuneiform characters, 
lying promiscuously upon the floor of the entrance pas- 
sages to the palace, upon the unpainted backs of which 
rude designs, chiefly consisting of men and animals, 
were drawn in black ink or paint, " and marks having 
the appearance of numbers." The marks alluded to 
must have presumably served the purpose of guiding 
the builder in his attempt to reconstruct the picture on 
the wall. 

Coloured clay reliefs were not however the only 
species of pictorial representation adopted in the embel- 
lishment of the city of Babylon, or the palace of Baby- 
lon's most illustrious king. On the southern side of the 
Kasr, a large number of beautifully glazed tiles stamped 
with Nebuchadnezzar's inscription and adorned with 
flowers, twigs, and in one case part of a human figure 
some fourteen inches high were discovered, to- 
gether with many sculptured stones bearing similar de- 
signs, the workmanship of which however was more 
perfect than that of the tiles. The latter have a flat sur- 
face, but they resemble the relief tiles in general tech- 
nique. Many other glazed bricks were found on the 
eastern side of the Kasr, painted with various designs 
and displaying great delicacy on one of them a human 
figure is portrayed, clad in a rich garment and holding 
what appears to be a spear in his left hand these how- 
ever Koldewey assigns to the Persian period. 

But colour was further employed, as the handmaid of 
humbler forms of architectural decoration in Babylonia 


(ff. Place, " Xinh'f," /'lates, 14, /j) 


is well as in the northern country. Thus at Nippur, the 
walls of many of the rooms were stuccoed with a plaster 
consisting of mud and straw, and were coloured, the 
colours used being apparently always solid. The ruins 
of Nin-makh's temple at Babylon, excavated by the 
Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft, similarly showed the re- 
mains of white decorations on its walls ; while colour 
played no insignificant part in the decoration of the 
famous cone-wall at the Wuswas mound of Erech, the 
cones of which were coloured red or black and then ar- 
ranged in a variety of geometrical patterns upon a wall 
consisting of mud and straw. 

As we have already seen, enamelled bricks were used 
for the purposes of architectural decoration in Assyria as 
well as in Babylonia, though the enamel used is generally 
inferior in quality, aiid is more thinly applied, in conse- 
quence of which it does not adhere so well to the clay, 
and it fades sooner. To Place and Botta we are indebted 
for the finest and largest specimens of the Assyrian 
enameller's art as yet discovered. The principal gate- 
ways of Dur-Sharrukin (Khorsabad) (the town built by 
Sargon, 722-705 B.C.), which are formed of arches rest- 
ing on the backs of projecting winged bulls, seem to 
have been the object of the painter's peculiar attention. 
These arches were decorated with a semicircle of en- 
amelled bricks (cf. PL XXX), the enamel being laid upon 
one edge of the bricks, the average length of which is 
about three and a half inches. The ground is blue and 
the composite winged figures are yellow, while a line of 
green edges the lower part of the head-gear. The rosettes 
which form a supplemental decoration are white. These 
figures which extend over the entire round of the arch 
are all uniform : they are engaged in some act of wor- 
ship, or in the performance of some religious ceremony, 
and at once recall the scenes depicted on the palace wall 
reliefs, with which they are practically identical. In con- 
tradistinction to the method usually employed in Baby- 


Ionia, these coloured representations are not in relief, the 
colour being applied to the flat surface of the bricks, the 
only exception being the central bosses of the rosettes 
which are slightly raised. Another good example of 
coloured tile-work was found on a plinth in the doorway 
of what Place regarded as the harem in Sargon's palace. 
The plinth in question is twenty-three feet long and over 
three feet high. The figures portrayed are the king, 
standing on one side of the plinth with bare head, while 
on the other side he wears the usual head-gear, a lion, a 
bull, an eagle, a tree and a plough, all done in yellow on a 
blue background, the borders of the whole plinth being 
decorated with the inevitable rosettes. The leaves of 
the tree are green, a colour apparently somewhat seldom 
used by the enamellers of Mesopotamia. Another 
painted fragment from Khorsabad, interesting for the 
extreme brilliancy of its colouring (cf. Place, Nineve, 
PL 32), is reproduced in PI. XXXI. The faces of 
the two human beings are white, the background being 
green ; the frieze at the top is yellow, the circular decora- 
tions consisting of an inner circle of green or yellow, while 
the outer circle is composed of trapezoidal figures of red 
and white in the case of those with a green inner circle, 
and red and green in those with yellow centres, arranged 
in either case alternately. 

Layard also succeeded in recovering many glazed and 
coloured bricks from Nimrud (Calah) of even greater 
interest as regards the composition of the scenes de- 
picted than as regards the colours used, which in their 
present state in no way compare with those from Khorsa- 
bad in brilliancy. The most interesting of these (cf. PL 
XXXI) is one in which the king, followed by the chief 
eunuch, is seen receiving his chief officer, 1 a scene so 
often portrayed on the Assyrian bas-reliefs. Above his 
head there is a " kind of fringed pavilion " and the sole 

1 Layard, Monuments^ Series II, PI. 55, 6 ; and Layard, Discoveries^ 
p. 167. 


remaining sign of a cuneiform inscription, while beneath 
him is a spiral design seen more frequently on the so- 
called Hittite works of art, though it is also found as a 
decorative accessory on some of the earliest sculptures in 
Babylonia (cf. Fig. 27). The predominating colours are 
black and yellow : the hair and beard of the king and his 
followers, their sandals, as well as the circular balls found 
within each link of the spiral chain are black, the back- 
ground is light yellow, the dress of the various figures 
being of a deeper shade of yellow, and the royal head- 
dress white. As Layard says : "This is an unique speci- 
men of an entire Assyrian painting." 

Of the remainder, the most interesting are briefly 
described by Layard in Discoveries, pp. 166 and 167, 
and illustrated in colours in his Monuments, Series II, 
Pis. 53-55. One of these (PI. 54, 7) contains a picture 
of four hairless and clean-shaven captives, whose four 
necks are bound together by means of a rope, the end 
of which is held by the prisoner in front. Two of the 
prisoners wear white loin-cloths, while the other two are 
clad in long white shirts opening in front. As regards 
the colours, the ground is a pale blue, and the figures 
are yellow. Another fragment of great interest is that 
reproduced in Monuments, PL 54, 12, on which are por- 
trayed two horses, an Assyrian warrior, and a man hold- 
ing adagger. Thelatter, who is naked with the exception 
of a blue loin-cloth, has apparently been wounded or 
killed in battle. The background here is olive-green, 
while the horses are blue. On another glazed tile (PL 
54, 13), we see a picture of Assyrian cavalry, again 
on a ground of olive-green, but in this case the horses 
are yellow, while the trappings are blue. One of these 
painted bricks (PL 53, i) presents us with a picture of 
a blue fish on a yellow background ; the scales of the 
fish however are coloured white, while on the same tile 
there is a man transfixed by two arrows and girded with 
a white loin-cloth. On another fragment (PL 53, 3), a 


chariot to which horses are yoked is being dragged over 
a naked figure, whose neck has been pierced by an arrow. 
A fillet to which is attached a feather, encircles the 
man's head. The horses are blue, their trappings being 
white, and the wheels of the chariot are yellow. Below 
are seen the heads together with a portion of the shields 
of two Assyrian soldiers. The helmets are yellow, but 
the faces are " merely outlined in white on the olive- 
green ground," while the shields are blue, but are edged 
with alternate squares of yellow and blue. All these be- 
long to the same period, but another fragment was found 
by Layard (PL 53, 6) which appears to be of earlier 
date : the background is yellow, but the outline is black 
instead of white, while the figures, the heads of which 
have been destroyed, are dressed in the same way as the 
tribute-bearers bringing a monkey and other offerings to 
Ashur-nasir-pal, as portrayed on bas-reliefs which were 
taken from the same building. The outer mantle is blue, 
the inner being yellow, and the fringes white. 

But pottery was also sometimes decorated with 
colours ; thus Captain Cros, De Sarzec's successor at 
Tello, discovered black pottery with incised lines filled 
in with white paste on this site, a style of pottery well 
known in Egypt and elsewhere, but not hitherto found 
in Babylonia. At Nippur on the other hand pottery 
painted with green and yellow stripes was found, while 
other vases decorated with black and white discs were 
also brought to light. 

Painted pottery has been similarly found in Assyria : 
at Nimrud Sir Henry Layard's men discovered various 
fragments of pottery which apparently belonged to the 
covers of jars; they were decorated with the spiral de- 
sign, also honeysuckles, cones and tulips, in black on a 
pale yellow ground. Prehistoric pottery has moreover 
been found in the course of the recent excavations at 
Ashur, the clay vessels in question being decorated with 
red and black geometrical designs. Clay slipper-shaped 


coffins were also sometimes coloured ; many of the sar- 
cophagi discovered at Nippur were covered with a blue 
glaze, but they belonged apparently to the Parthian 
period. Glazed sarcophagi were likewise found at Warka 
(i.e. the ancient Erech) as well as at the city of Baby- 
lon, though they also were the products of a late period. 
Various other terra-cotta objects were not infrequently 
coated with a vitreous glaze, the colour of the enamel 
being usually blue or green. Colour was not only used 
in Babylonia however for decorating buildings, pots and 
figures, but also apparently for the adornment of the 
human body, for the German excavations at Fara re- 
vealed the presence of alabaster colour-dishes in the 
graves, traces of the colour in some cases still remaining. 
The colours are black, yellow, light green and light red. 
According to the analysis of the colours of the Baby- 
lonian bricks conducted by Sir Henry De la Becke and 
Dr. Percy, quoted by Layard, 1 " the yellow is an anti- 
moniate of lead, from which tin has also been extracted, 
called Naples yellow, supposed to be comparatively a 
modern discovery, though also used by the Egyptians. 
The white is an enamel or glaze of oxide of tin, an in- 
vention attributed to the Arabs of Northern Africa in 
the eighth or ninth century. The blue glaze is a copper, 
contains no cobalt, but some lead ; a curious fact, as this 
mineral was not added as a colouring material, but to 
facilitate the fusion of the glaze, to which use, it was 
believed, lead had only been turned in comparatively 
modern times. The red is a sub-oxide of copper." 

1 Discoveries, p. 166. 


OF the smaller relics of Babylonian and Assyrian 
antiquity there are none so numerous or so preg- 
nant with interest as the engraved seals which kings 
and commoners of all periods alike possessed. The 
universality of their usage in later times is attested by 
Herodotus (I, 195), who tells us that in his day every- 
one in Babylonia carried a seal as well as a walking- 
stick, while abundant evidence of their general use in 
early times is afforded by the vast quantity of seals dis- 
covered in the course of the excavations. 

The seal, important as it is in our own day, was an 
even more indispensable convenience of civilized society 
in primitive times, and was probably one of the first in- 
ventions that owed their origins directly to the mutual 
recognition of private rights of ownership. The purpose 
which it first of all served was of course the same as that 
which it serves with us to-day, though the sealing of the 
mud plaster covering of ajar of wine, of the string of a 
registered parcel, or the flap of a paper envelope, in no 
way prevents the thief from robbing the contents in any 
of these cases, yet it renders it impossible for such a theft 
to be perpetrated without detection, detection not indeed 
necessarily of the thief, but of the deed itself, and that 
after all is the essential preliminary to the successful 
establishment of any suit at law. Its use in primitive 
times was, however, far more extensive, for, as Newberry 
well puts it, 2 " what locks and keys are to us,sealswere to 

1 A considerable number of the seal-impressions here reproduced are 
taken from Dr. W. Hayes Ward's monumental work on cylinder-seals 
in Western Asia, by the author's generous permission. 

2 Scarabs, p. 5. 



the people of the Old World." If a man left his house 
for the day, and no occupant remained to keep watch, 
he probably secured himself and his goods so far as pos- 
sible by sticking plasters of mud on the door and im- 
pressing his seal upon them in such a manner as to make 
it impossible to enter the house without breaking the 

FIG. 48. A, a cylinder-seal, in which the handle has been preserved. 

B, a clay tablet bearing a seal impression. 
C, D, illustrate the variation in size exhibited by cylinder-seals. 

seal ; at all events Dr. Ward informs us l that he saw 
in a Khan at Hillah, near Babylon, a door of a room 
containing goods belonging to a merchant who was away 
from home,carefully sealed up with pats of clay on which 
the impress of the merchant's seal had been duly fixed, 
thereby rendering access to the house dependent on the 
bursting of the seals, and in the conservative East the 
customs of to-day are not merelythose of yesterday, but 
1 Ward, The Seal-Cylinders of Western Asia, p. i. 


generally represent the traditional usage of hundreds, 
sometimes thousands of years. A few such sealed pats of 
clay, some of which formed stoppers of jars, have been 
found, but the principal object for which thecylinder-seal 
was used, was the authentication of deeds, documents 
and letters. 

The seals employed by the Babylonians and Assyrians 
differed from those generally employed elsewhere, in 
shape as well as in the motifs of the engravings. They 
assumed the form of cylinders or rollers, through the 
centre of which a single or double piece of wire was in- 
serted, the wire being generally made of copper, though 
sometimes of gold and silver, while later on, iron also 
occurs. At one end the wire was clamped, while at the 
other it was twisted into a loop (cf. Fig. 48, A) through 
which a piece of thread or twine was passed by means of 
which the seal could be slung round the owner's neck, 
or carried on his wrist, the wire at the same time facili- 
tating the process of rolling the cylinder on the moist clay. 

The tablet(K. 382) seenin Fig. 48,6, isagood example 
of a clay tablet bearing the impress of a cylinder-seal. 
The tablet, which measures 4^ inches by 2-J inches, con- 
tains the terms of a contract. The impression itself 
shows us a mythological four-winged being, such as is 
seen so often on Assyrian bas-reliefs. In either hand 
he holds a bird by the leg. The cylinders by the side 
of the tablet are reproduced to actual size ; A, C, and D 
(Brit. Mus. Nos 89319, 89538, 101974) illustrate the 
divergence of size which the Babylonian cylinder-seals 
exhibit, (C) being an unusually large specimen, and 
(D) an exceptionally small example, the vast majority 
of seals occupying an intermediate position between 
these two extremes ; in (A) we have a cylinder in which 
the metal handle is still preserved. 

The existence of the same kind of seal in Egypt as 
early as the time of the first dynasty has been used as 
an argument in support of the theory that the primitive 
civilizations of Egypt and Babylonia were to some ex- 


tent interdependent. It is true that cylinder-seals could 
only be of use where clay was employed as a writing- 
material, but there is no direct evidence that the practice 
of using clay for either writing or building purposes was 
borrowed from Babylonia, while the similarity in shape 
of early Babylonian and Egyptian mace-heads is an even 
more uncertain argument whereon to base an otherwise 
unsupported theory. 

The materials used in the manufacture of cylinder-seals 
were many and various. The earliest known material 
is shell, but the most frequently occurring is haematite. 
Among other materials used may be mentioned ser- 
pentine, marble, quartz crystal, chalcedony, carnelian, 
agate, jasper, syenite, jade, obsidian, onyx, limestone, 
schist, mother of emerald, and amethyst. A few flint 
cylinders have been recovered, but this material was evi- 
dently but seldom employed, while glass is of even rarer 
occurrence, and metal is unknown. The process by 
which the required device was engraved upon the cylin- 
der depended upon the material of which the latter was 
made. The softer materials employed in earlier times, 
such as shell, marble or serpentine, were possibly en- 
graved with tools made of flint, but the harder stones 
wouldrequireanimplementmadeof some more stubborn 
material. Ward is of opinion that either emery or a cer- 
tain stone called corundum was used for the purpose. 
The latter was employed at a very early period in Egypt 
and in later times in Greece. The earliest seals appear 
to have been entirely made by hand, the practice of drill- 
ing by means of a bowstring not being introduced till a 
later period. Within the confines of a single chapter it 
will of course be quite impossible to review all the in- 
numerable types of cylinder-seals used by the Babylon- 
ians and Assyrians of different ages, and we can therefore 
only single out one or two examples of some of the more 
interesting classes as being fairly representative of the 
periods to which they belong. 

The most ancient seals are generally made of white 


marble, or shell, and sometimes also of lapis lazuli 
and serpentine. It is impossible to assign a definite 
or even an approximate date to the vast majority of 
cylinder-seals recovered from the ruined mounds of 
Mesopotamia, as most of them belonged to individuals 
otherwise unknown, but fortunately a number of seals 
have been brought to light which belong either to 
kings or officials whose date can be independently 
computed, and which therefore give us an illustra- 
tion of the proficiency to which the art of engraving 
had been brought at the particular period in which the 
owners of the seals lived, and a comparison of the style 
of art exhibited on the otherwise undateable seals with 
those whose age has thus been fixed, makes it possible 
for us to assign them with some degree of certainty to 
the period to which they belong in the history of the art 
of seal-engraving. 

The interest of these small relics of the past is of 
course centred in the scenes depicted, which are very 
various, and which throw a flood of light upon the 
mythology, and elucidate many legendary uncertain- 
ties in the theological and religious conceptions of the 
Babylonians and Assyrians. Where a comparison with 
royal or official cylinder-seals of certain date is not feasi- 
ble, the similarity between the style of art exhibited on 
the particular seal in question and that to which some 
sculptures of ancient patesis or kings conform afford us 
the necessary clue, while lastly, when both of these tests 
fail, if the seal bears an inscription, the character of the 
writing often enables us to place it in its right class. 

One of the earliest Babylonian rulers whose seals have 
been recovered is Lugal-anda,patesiorpriest-kingofLa 
gash, and the immediate predecessor of Urukagina, the 
last king of the first dynasty of Lagash. An impression 
of one of the seals of Lugal-anda is reproduced in Fig. 49. 
Part of the seal is divided into two registers, in the up- 
permost of which we see the eagle with outspread wings 



clutching two lions, which together formed the heraldic 
arms of the city of Lagash. It is noticeable that the lions 
are treated with the same freedom as on the little block 
of Dudu (cf. Fig. 27) the contemporary of Entemena, 
one of Lugal-anda's predecessors. Here as in the little 
block referred to, the lions are treated in a very spirited 
manner, and in contrast to earlier representations of the 
device, the lions are gnawing at the wings of their cap- 
tivator. On the right of the city-arms there is an inscrip- 
tion written in very archaic characters. In the lower 
register we have two human-headed bulls, a stag, a 
bearded hero resembling Izdubar, or Gilgamesh as por- 

FIG. 49. 

trayed on other early cylinder-seals, and another figure 
who is passing his left arm round the stag's neck and 
holding one of the fore-paws of the stag in his right 
hand. Unlike the bearded hero, who is similarly en- 
gaged in grasping the fore-paw of one of the human- 
headed bulls, he is clean-shaven, while his hair is repre- 
sented by four tongue-shaped projections. On the left 
of the two registers there is the body and the lower part 
of the face of a large human-headed bull, while on the 
right are two lions, one of whom is seen burying his teeth 
into the neck of a composite creature, half man and half 
beast. It will be at once obvious that this cylinder-seal 
of the early Sumerian period, presupposes an indefinite 
period of artistic development in the practice of en- 


In the very early seals the scene is of course far less 
composite and the workmanship infinitely more crude ; 
we frequently find the same eagle-motif, but the animals 
which he claws are usually goats, bulls, or ibexes, as 
seen in Fig. 50, the lions only being introduced at a 
later date. Here we have a very primitive seal in which 
we see the eagle grasping two ibexes by the horns, while 
a hero is grasping the same two animals by the leg. 
Hero, eagle and ibexes are represented in a highly 
archaic and crude fashion, though in the symmetrically 
outspread wings of the eagle we seem to have a fore- 
shadowing of the conventionalism of later days. The 
ibexes have their hind quarters raised in the air, while 
the eagle grasps them by the horns, the seat of their 
strength actually as well as symbolically. The seal itself 
is both thicker and shorter than usual, and has only one 

But the simplicity which usually characterizes the 
cylinder-seals of the earliest period sometimes gives 
place to an altogether overwhelming complexity, as in 
the seal represented in Fig. 5 1 . The two registers into 
which the field of the cylinder is divided encroach on 
each other in so inordinate a manner that it requires a 
careful inspection to see that there are two registers. 
The eagle is the central figure in the upper register, his 
claws reaching out on the one hand towards a lion at- 
tacked by a vulture, on the other towards a lion who 
appears to be attacking a reversed ibex. Below, a hunts- 
man occupies the commanding position ; he is clad in 
the short Sumerian skirt, the fringe of which is archaic- 
ally represented by a series of tags, which recall the frag- 
mentary sculptures of the prehistoric period of Lagash 
(cf. Fig. 25, C), and he is surrounded by a crowd of lions 
and antelopes. This seal is clearly the offspring of a 
more developed art than that reproduced in Fig. 50, 
but this notwithstanding, it is essentially archaic in char- 
acter, and belongs to the early Sumerian period. 



One of the most popular designs for cylinder seals in 
early Sumerian times is that of one or two seated deities, 
sometimes accompanied by the eagle. A very archaic 
example of this class is reproduced in Fig. 52. The 
two seated beings are certainly gods, in spite of their 
being clean shaven and having the same faintly sug- 
gested features as the figure in the middle. It will be 
observed that the fringe of the short Sumerian skirt of 
one of the deities and also of the worshipper is repre- 
sented by a series of pointed tags as in Fig. 51. 

FIG. 52. 

FIG. 53. 

In Fig. 53 we again have two seated gods, but this 
time they have a large bowl between them, from which 
they seem to be drinking by means of tubes. They are 
apparently seated on camp-stools, while before one of 
them is a sacred tree. Their dress consists in a long 
robe, which covers one arm while leaving the other ex- 
posed and free, and reaches down to the ankle, the bot- 
tom of it being decorated with a fringe, and the body of 
it by a branch-shaped design. 

Sometimes, again, we have a representation of a god 
seated in a boat as seen in Fig. 54. It is impossible to say 
who the god is, though his divine character is clearly 
demonstrated by the horned cap. From the emergence 


of branches, or what may be flames of fire and streams 
of water from his shoulders, it seems a fair assumption 
on the part of Dr. Ward that the god is none other than 
Shamash, the sun-god. The boat is being propelled 
through the river or canal by two oarsmen, who, together 
with the god, are standing in the boat. The two men 
have different head-gears, but all three are clad solely in 
the old Sumerian skirt. Reeds to the height of the occu- 
pants of the boat are growing in the water, and a very 
primitively executed wild-boar is haunting this quaintly 
depicted marsh. Both bow and stern of the boat are 
similarly shaped, and are curved upwards to a great 
height. If the god be Shamash, it seems probable that 
here, as elsewhere, he is represented as traversing the 
heavens in his bark. 

Another series of archaic cylinder-seals is concerned 
with the heroic feats of Gilgamesh and Ea-bani, two 
mythological beings whose conquests overbullsand lions 
won for them a reputation and a fame which lasted right 
down to the latter days of Assyrian history. We have 
an impression of one of the most primitive of the Gil- 
gamesh seals in Fig. 55. The hero stands between two 
bisons, one of which is being attacked by a lion and the 
other by a leopard, while the inhuman and semi-bestial 
Ea-bani is attacking the lion from behind. The occur- 
rence of the spotted leopard is specially noteworthy, as 
it hardly ever occurs on later cylinders, while the pre- 
sence of bisons which only haunt the highlands is an 
additional archaic touch, and is a further indication of 
the antiquity of this seal, which must have been engraved 
at a time when the recollection of his mountain origin 
was still fresh in the Sumerian's mind, for in the later 
period of Babylonian art, the bison gives place to the 
swamp-loving buffalo. All the details of the seal betray 
the same primitive characteristics, and, as usual, there 
is no inscription. 

We have already seen one royal seal-impression, and 



we have in Fig. 56 the seal of a later but tar more famous 
Babylonian king, Shar-Gani-sharri, king of Agade. In 
the reign of Shar-Gani-sharri and his son Naram-Sin, 
Babylonian art reached her climax, the crudeness of 
the earlier work had passed away, while there is as yet 
no trace of the conventionalism of later days, and free- 
dom is the keynote of her success. The scene is an oft- 
recurring one: a hero who to all appearance is Gilgamesh 
is kneeling on one knee, and holds in his hands a vase, 
from the overflowing streams of which the buffalo seeks 

FIG. 56. FIG. 57. 

to quench his thirst. The seal is engraved with vigour 
and precision, the boldness of which is only exceeded by 
the natural effect produced. Both hero and animal are 
treated with a freedom and fidelity seldom if ever sur- 
passed in Oriental art, while the strength of the picture 
lies in the artist's genius, and is in no way dependent 
on the subject, which does not lend itself to anything 
particularly striking or effective. 

In Fig. 57 we have the impression of another seal in 
which Gilgamesh and Ea-bani are the prominent actors. 
Ea-bani is engaged with a lion, but his comrade is fight- 
ing with a massive horned-buffalo. This seal belongs 
to the time of Shar-Gani-sharri and Naram-Sin, kings of 


Agade, its date being fixed alike by the style of art and 
the purport of the brief inscription, which contains the 
name of the owner, Bingani-Sharali, king of Agade and 
the son of Naram-Sin. This seal, now in the British 
Museum, was discovered at Cyprus. 1 The movements 
of Gilgamesh and Ea-bani are portrayed in a life-like 
manner, though the action of Ea-bani's left arm is some- 
what awkward and ungraceful. The same may be said 
of the overpowered and ill-designed buffalo, and also of 
the antelope beneath the inscription, but the lion is de- 
cidedly conventional, a fact possibly due to the ubiquity 
of his presence on the cylinder-seals and monuments of 
the earliest Sumerian times, from which one may per- 
haps infer that the perpetual reproduction of the same 
animal, has in time worn off the freshness with which 
the artist at first approached his subject. But the Gilga- 
mesh seals probably reach their climax in that reproduced 
in Fig. 58. The hero is engaged in mortal combat with 
a lion, whom he is endeavouring to throw. Gilgamesh 

FIG. 58. 

is represented full-face and with the various peculiarities 

which appear to have been proper to his unique person 

the long, curly beard, the equally long hair parted in 

the centre with the three characteristic ringlets on either 

side, and the body entirely naked but for a narrow girdle. 

The action is concentrated and focussed into a point 

i Cf. Ward, Seal-Cylinders, p. 69. 



there are no conflicting persons, animals, or even objects 
in the scene to draw away or divide the attention of the 
spectator, and the animation with which the subject is 
treated is ample justification for the isolated and exclu- 
sive position that it here holds. 

Another group of Babylonian seals belonging to differ- 
ent periods show the dramatic conquest of the deity over 

FIG. 59. 

the winged dragon. One of the earliest, best preserved, 
and most instructive examples of these, is a shellcylinder 
preserved inthe Metropolitan Museum, New York, also 
published by Ward l (cf. Fig. 59). The dragon has the 
wings and hind part of an eagle, while his fore-legs and 
head are those of a lion ; between the wings upon his 
back stands a nude goddess brandishing lightning in 
either hand. The dragon is harnessed to a four-wheeled 
chariot, the front part of which is higher than the back, 
while a god of disproportionate size is driving the chariot 
and flourishing a whip in his left hand. The lion- 
headed dragon is apparently vomiting, and his action re- 
calls that of one of the expiring lions on the bas-reliefs 
of Ashur-bani-pal. It may, however, be meant to repre- 
sent the ejection of venom, though if this is the case it 
has not been very happily rendered. Before this group 
of supernaturals, stands the worshipper who is in the 
act of presenting an offering of uncertain character upon 
an altar. 

1 Cf. Seal-Cylinders, p. 48, Fig. 127, 

FIG. 60. 


But sometimes gods and heroes are found side by side 
on the same seal, as is the case on the seal reproduced in 
Fig. 60. The horn-capped and seated deity is Shamash, 
the Sun-god, from whose shoulders rays of light pro- 
ceed, while from his lap issue streams of living water. 

The god is clad in a long 
mantle hung from the 
right shoulder, while the 
left arm and shoulder are 
left bare, and he is seated 
on a three or four-legged 
stool. Before him is a 
crescent, and behind him 
is a star mounted on a 
kind of stand, while in his presence a typical scene is 
being enacted ; two heroes are laying low a lion one 
of them has his left foot on the lion's head and is grasp- 
ing the tail of the upturned beast with his left hand, 
while he is about to drive a knife into its rear quarters 
with his right. The other hero is holding himself in 
readiness with a little hatchet; his head-gear differs from 
that of his comrade in being spiked, but in all other re- 
spects the two are alike. This seal is made of pink mar- 
ble, and is now preserved in the Metropolitan Museum, 
New York. One class of deities was intimately associ- 
ated with the serpent, and a god's body is sometimes re- 
presented as being formed of a 
serpent coil, as is the case in the 
cylinder-seal reproduced in Fig. 
6 1. The god in this case is sitting 
opposite to a goddess who is like- 
wise seated, and holds a shallow 
cup in her hand ; above her arm is the crescent, and 
behind her is the mounted star as in Fig. 60. The star 
as here represented is identical with the early Sumerian 
ideogram and determinative for god, and, doubtless 
has that signification here. The goddess has a long 

FIG. 61. 


robe reaching down to the ankles, but her left arm and 
shoulder are free, as in the case of the god in Fig. 60. 
Her seat consists in a kind of camp-stool, a form of 
support which the genius of the Babylonian seems to 
have invented at a very early date. The serpent-bodied 
and human-bearded god holds a branch in his hand, 
the precise significance of which is not very clear, but the 
prominent place occupied by the sacred tree in Baby- 
lonian and Assyrian mythology justifies the assumption 
that here as elsewhere it has some symbolical meaning. 
Behind the god is a five-barred gate, which must be in- 
tended to suggest the difficulty of access to the divine 
presence, or else the necessity of an introduction there- 
to. Unless the gate were opened either by the god him- 
self, or by some intermediary being of divine or quasi- 
divine character, the worshipper was presumably unable 
to gain admittance. 

As we have already seen, the cylinder-seals frequently 
present us with the pictorial aspect of a legend already 
known from the literature. One of the most famous 
legends of the Babylonians was that which told of Etana's 
courageous but bootless attempt to ascend to heaven on 
the wings of an eagle. Higher and higher soared the 
eagle, till at last heaven's portals were in sight, but the 
goal, for some reason not indicated, was never reached, 
and both Etana and his living aeroplane were dashed to 
the ground. We have an illustration of this bold flight 
on some of the seal-cylinders in the British Museum, 
an impression of one of which is given in Fig. 62. 
Etana is seated on the eagle, who is bearing his burden 
aloft in the sight of an admiring and upward-gazing 
dog. On the right a shepherd clad in a long garment 
his right shoulder being exposed as usual is driving 
a horned sheep and two goats towards a primitive look- 
ing fence : both Etana and the shepherd wear beards 
and long hair, while the latter carries a staff in his left 
hand. In the background is a naked but likewise bearded 


individual, who is seated beside a large amphora with 
the contents of which he appears to be entirely pre- 
occupied ; he is presumably performing culinary opera- 
tions of some kind. 

The scene on other Babylonian seals is that of a god 
attacking a humanly conceived enemy ; this class com- 
prises cylinder-seals belonging to the archaic period as 
well as those of later date. The 
impression of one such archaic 
seal is reproduced in Fig. 63. 
In the centre we have the god, 
mounted on a bull, his left hand 
raised, his right hand grasping a 

weapon or a whip ; he is trampling on a prostrate and 
suppliant foe, whose figure is sketched in the roughest 
and crudest conceivable manner. As Ward says, this 
seal must date from the time when the horse was un- 
known, or at all events not used in battle. On the right 
side of the impression, the god is engaged on foot with 
an enemy who appears to be armed with a weapon 
shaped like a boomerang, such as that with which the 
god Nin-girsu is armed 
on the Vulture Stele. 
The god holds in his 
right hand a weapon of 
uncertain character, 
while between the two 

and facing the god is a 
,. . FIG. 63. 

diminutive worshipper 

whose hand is raised doubtless in token of submission 
towards his divine lord. On the left the god is stabbing 
a human-headed bull with a dagger, while from the 
god's back, rays, or what appear to be rays, are emitted. 
By the time of Gudea, patesi of Lagash,andUr-Engur 
and Dungi, kings of Ur, we find a marked change in 
the artistic merits of the seal-engraver's products. Speak- 
ing generally, they are executed with far greater care, 



and with a wealth of precision entirely absent in most 
of the earlier intaglios, but what they gain in care and 
detailed attention, they lose in the conventionalism to 
which that care and attention have given birth. We have 
here no rough sketch of a born artist, but the elaborated 
painting of a copyist. In Fig. 64 we have an impression 
of one of Gudea's cylinder-seals. The god, who is pro- 
bably Nin-girsu or Ea, 1 is seated on a box-like throne : 
he holds a vase in either hand, from each of which 
issue two streams which pour their contents into three 
vases resting on the ground, these in turn becoming 
themselves the generators of living springs of water. 
Facing the god is an 
intermediary deity 
who is supporting 
one of the vases with 
his left hand, and 
leading the worship- 
per, probably Gudea 
himself, with his 
right. From the 
shoulders of the in- 
termediary emanate two serpents, the head of the near 
one exactly resembling the strange reptiles on the vase 
of the same patesi (cf. Fig. 90). The identification of 
the intermediary deity with Ningish-zida is rendered 
highly probable by Gudea's allusion to this god in one 
of his inscriptions, where in his description of the 
manner in which he was introduced to his supreme god, 
Nin-girsu, he expressly states that " Ningishzida, his 
god, held him by the hand." 

In Fig. 65 we have a seal-impression of Ur-Engur, 
king of Ur about 2400 B.C. The scene depicted is a 
familiar one : an intermediary god is in the act of intro- 
ducing a suppliant worshipper to a superior deity seated 
on a throne. The enthroned god has a lengthy beard 
1 Cf. Ward, p. 128. 

FIG. 64. 


and wears a round hat somewhat resembling the turban 
worn by Gudea (cf. PI. 23). He is resting one arm 
on the back of his throne, while his right hand is ex- 
tended in apparent invitation to the slowly approach- 
ing worshipper. The throne itself, unlike the box-like 

FIG. 65. 

seats of earlier days, is provided with a back, and the 
back legs are fashioned after the legs of an ox. The 
intermediate deities wear the horned cap with which 
the gods in Gudea's time were usually covered, while 
horns appear to rise also from out of their heads, the 
horns oddly enough being identical in shape with those 
on the terra-cotta head discovered during the recent ex- 
cavations in Babylonia. 1 The seated deity is clad in a 
long simple garment reaching down to the feet, his dress 
being simpler than that of the attendant deities, or even 
that of the worshipper himself. The latter wears a long 
tunic, and a fringed mantle over his left shoulder. Both 
of the intermediaries are likewise apparelled in lengthy 
garments, which differ, however, from each other and 
also from that of the worshipper in being more elabor- 
ately worked, the divine introducer wearing the richer 
1 Cf. Mit/ei/ung., No. 9, p. 6. 



robe of the two. The inscription refers to Ur-Engur, 
king of Ur, who may conceivably be the figure seated 
on the throne ; in support of this theory, it is worth 
noting that the kings of this dynasty were often deified 
while yet on earth. Ur-Engur was succeeded by Dungi, 
the impression of one of whose cylinder-seals is given 
in Fig. 66. Both of these seals are preserved in the 
British Museum. A bearded and horn-capped god is 
standing before an altar shaped like a high standing 
vase, from which arises a feathered branch which may 
be intended to represent the ascending flame, while two 
long bare stalks with tufted heads hang over the altar 
on either side. The god holds in his left hand a weapon, 
the upper end of which is provided with a lateral semi- 
circular handle, similar to that found at Tello by De 
Sarzec, and also to that represented on the stone vase 
of Gudea (cf. Fig. 90). In his extended right hand he 
holds a three-stalked flower, which is an exact replica 
of that found in the hands of mythical beings on later 
Assyrian bas-reliefs. On the other side of the altar 
is the suppliant, clad in the same fringed garment seen 

FIG. 66. 

in Fig. 65, while his right hand is raised in adoration. 
Behind him is another worshipper whose dress re- 
sembles that of the god, and who is similarly crowned 
with a horned cap, but in spite of this divine dis- 
tinction he has both hands raised in worship. Dungi 
was succeeded by Bur-Sin, one of whose cylinder-seals 


is seen in Fig. 67. The scene varies little from that 
found on the seals of his predecessors. A seated god, 
a worshipper, and another adoring figure wearing a 
divine head-gear behind. The god wears a turban as 
in the seal of Ur-Engur (cf. Fig. 65) ; he reposes on 
a very thickly upholstered seat, while both his own 
feet and those of his throne rest on a small low plat- 
form. The worshipper here has his hands clasped in 
front in much the same way as Gudea's hands are, in 
the statues from Tello, but the third figure, whom Ward 
somewhat humorously describes as a " flounced god- 
dess," has both hands raised. An impression of a 
cylinder-seal of Gimil-Sin, the successor of Bur-Sin on 
the throne of Ur, is reproduced in Fig. 68. The tur- 
baned and long-bearded god is again seated on a richly 
upholstered divan, and is elevated on a little platform. 
He holds in his right hand a double-handled vase, while 
his left hand is concealed in the folds of his flounced 
robe. The garment of the intermediary is exactly the 
same as that of the seated god, but a horned cap takes 
the place of the turban. The worshipper behind has one 
hand raised like his usher, while the fringed garment 
hanging from his shoulder is arranged so as to allow 
his left leg to be seen. A seal of Ibi-Sin, the last of the 
dynasty (cf. Fig. 69) presents the same subject, while 
the treatment practically shows no variation. It will 
have been noticed that the star and crescent find a place 
on some of these cylinders, while from others they are 
absent, from which it may reasonably be inferred that 
they were mere symbolic accessories, and as such of no 
vital importance. 

All these seals bear inscriptions in contradistinction to 
those belonging to the earlier period, and a considerable 
part of the field of the cylinder is occupied with writing 
instead of scenery. But as time went on this tendency 
became more pronounced, and during the Kassite period, 
sometimes nearly the whole of the seal is occupied with 



an inscription, usually of a religious character. Thus on 
a cylinder inscribed with the name of Kurigalzu, the 
Kassite king of Babylonia (circ. 1400 B.C.) (cf. Fig. 70) the 
pictorial element is reduced to one single figure, that of 
the worshipper. 

An extremely interesting seal-impression of the Kas- 
site period is published by Clay in The Museum Journal, 
University of Pennsylvania (I, 1910, pp. 4-6). It is 
dated in the fourth year of Nazi-Maruttash, king of 

FIG. 67. 

FIG. 68. 

FIG. 69. 

FIG. 70. 

Babylon (circ. 1330 B.C.) (cf. Fig. 7 1 ). Three bearded men 
are engaged in ploughing; one is urging on the two 
humped oxen who are yoked to the ploughshare, the 
second holds the handles, while the third appears to be 
pouring grain into a drill attached to the plough. 

It has been said that this seal-impression gives us the 
earliest representation of the Babylonian plough, but 
that statement must be considerably modified in the light 
of the early seal-impressions given by Ward (p. 132, 
Figs. 369, 371, 372). The plough is portrayed on all 
these three cylinders, and they all antedate the cylinder- 



seal of Nazi-Maruttash (cf. also the votive-tablet from 
Nippur, Fig. 25, E). 

TheNeo-BabylonianEmpire (625-538 B.C.) inherited 
the stereotyped traditions of the long period of Kassite 

supremacy, and though 
there was a certain re- 
action in favour of the 
pictorial as against the 
literary element in the 
later cylinder-seals, the 
style of art remained 

more or less unchanged, if not unchangeable. A good 
exampleofaNeo-Babylonian seal-impression is thatfound 
on a tablet dated in the 26th year of Nebuchadnezzar (cf. 
Fig. 72). l The worshipper stands before a rectangular 
box which looks like an altar, but which, according to 
Ward, is the seat of the gods. It supports two emblems, 
one a dog and the other a thunderbolt of the storm-god 
Adad. The posture, attitude and general appearance of 
the worshipper exactly correspond to those found on the 
Kassite cylinders of Kurigalzu (cf. Fig. 70), and are a 
good illustration of the conventionalism to which later 
Mesopotamian art became so hopelessly enslaved. 

The cylinder-seal was employed in Assyria from the 
earliest periods of her his- 
tory, and continued to be 
used right down to the 
time of the Persians, who 
in turn adopted the same 
kind of seal. A cylinder- 
seal belonging to the early 
Assyrian period, i.e. about 2000 B.C., is shown in Fig. 73. 
The workmanship is crude, but in the scene itself we see 
in embryo the military exploits of the late Assyrian bas- 
reliefs. A warrior, mounted in his two-wheeled war- 
chariot, is in the act of dispatching an arrow from his 

1 Cf. Menant, Pierres Gravees, II, p. 132 ; Ward, p. 193, 

FIG. 72. 



Fie. 73- 

drawn bow ; his rival, on foot, is doing exactly the same, 
and it appears to be a question as to which of the two 
combatants will get his arrow in first. The chariot is 
drawn by a bull, an indication that the horse was not as 
yet used for war purposes, while the four-spoked wheels 

are a further archaic touch the- . 

chariot-wheels of the later As- 
syrians having eight, twelve, or 
sometimes sixteen spokes. The 
bull, in his mad career, is tramp- 
ling over a prostrate foe, a scene 
which is frequently represented 
on the bas-reliefs ; it is however interesting to see the 
symbolical star and crescent of the old Babylonians re- 
produced on this early Assyrian seal. 

We have already seen the winged-dragon on an archaic 
Babylonian seal (cf. Fig. 59), but it was apparently not 
till the Assyrian era that the conflict between " Bel and 
the dragon " was represented in Mesopotamian art. 1 
On an early Assyrian cylinder- 
seal, now preserved in the 
Metropolitan Museum, New 
York (cf. Fig. 74), we have a 
primitive picture of the conquest 
of Bel-Merodach as the repre- 
FIG. 74. sentative and very incarnation 

of order, system and method, over the dragon 
the personification of disorder and tumultuous chaos. 
The god is drawing his bow not apparently at a 
venture, but with the deadly certainty with which 
the gods can presumably aim. This notwithstand- 
ing, the god has taken the precaution of carrying a 
quiver-full of arrows on his back, while he is further 
armed with an axe. The winged-dragon of com- 
posite character is reared upon his hind legs, his face 
turned towards his omnipotent adversary, as on the 
1 Cf. Ward, p. 197. 


famous Marduk and Tiamat bas-relief. The god 
is accompanied by another beast with wings, who is 
doubtless ready to come to the assistance of his divine 
lord when called upon. Behind the god we see the 
winged disc, and what appear to be two eyes, while the 

crescent of Sin, the moon- 
god, and the star of Ishtar are 
engraved in front. Behind 
the dragon is a sacred tree, 
resembling a palm-tree. The 
sacred tree played a very im- 
portant part in Assyrian art, 
and is one of the most fre- 
quently recurring objects on 

the palace-wall reliefs. It is likewise often to be 
found on Assyrian seals, a good example of which is 
afforded by a cylinder-seal in the British Museum 
reproduced in Fig. 75. The sacred tree in its most 
conventionalized form occupies the central part of 
the picture; on either side stands the king with hand 
raised in adoration; his dress for an Assyrian king 
is comparatively simple, but his headgear is a re- 
plica of the pointed hat so frequently seen upon the 
heads of Assyrian kings on the palace wall-reliefs. 

Above the sacred tree is the god 

Ashur with his winged disc, from 
which two cords descend which 
seem to form the outward con- 
necting link between the god and 
his worshipper, and recall the 
rays which emanate from the disc 
of Aten, and terminate in hands bearing the Egyptian 
symbol of life, on the famous stele of Khuenaten, the 
so-called " heretic king " of the eighteenth dynasty of 
Egypt. Behind the king is the winged eagle-headed 
genius so constantly represented on the bas-reliefs 
This strange mythical creature has one hand raised 

FIG. 76. 


while in the other he carries a basket of the ordinary 
Assyrian type. 

In a number of seals, one of which is reproduced here 
(cf. Fig. 76), a man-fish, or a fish-god, resembling the 
figure found by Layard in sculptured relief at Nimrud 
(cf. PL IV) occupies the most prominent position. 
Ashur in his winged disc is again casting the shadow 
of his divine protection over the sacred tree ; on either 
side stands the Dagan-like worshipper with one hand 
raised and holding a basket in the other. He is followed 
by an attendant worshipper, while behind, is a warlike- 
looking personage possibly the god Marduk who is 
about toexecute ven- 
geance on an ostrich ; 
with his left hand he 
firmly grasps the os- 
trich's long neck,and 
in his right heholds a 
scimitar with which 
he apparently in- 
tends to remove the 

i j> i j FIG. 77. 

bird s head. 

The seated deity found on Babylonian seals of all 
periods is also found on the cylinder-seals of the Assy- 
rians. We have a good specimen of an Assyrian seal 
of the kind referred to in Fig. 77. A bearded god is 
seated on a chair with a high back such as is never 
found on Babylonian cylinders : the legs of the chair 
are strengthened to support the weighty person of the 
divine occupant by means of cross-bars, while the back 
is somewhat grotesquely decorated with balls. In front 
of the god is a table or stand with double folding legs 
and covered with a cloth upon which a shallow bowl and 
two flat cakes of bread are set ; above the table is a fish- 
its head turned towards the god. Behind the enthroned 
god stands a goddess, from whose body proceed four ray- 
like projections which terminate in stars, the general ap- 


pearance of the projections being not unlike that of four 
starry rockets. Before the loaded table stands the wor- 
shipper with one hand raised, while in the field of the 
cylinder there is an ibex, an eye-shaped design, seven 
balls and a crescent. 



r I ^ HE art of engraving on shell in Mesopotamia dates 
J^ back to the earliest days of Sumerian civilization. 
The most ancient of these engravings are executed on 
shells with rough surfaces, of which those of the oyster 
seem to have been the most popular. 

Some of the fragments recovered are clearly shaped 
and fashioned for inlaying purposes, while others, of 
curved shape, can be fitted together and once formed 
part of an engraved and delicately moulded vase or 
cup. Some time later mother-of-pearl became the popu- 
lar material among engravers, who used it to great 
advantage. Mother-of-pearl is undoubtedly more effec- 
tive and striking than ordinary shell, but it has its 
disadvantages and drawbacks, for it is both brittle and 
scaly, and in consequence of this the engraver seems to 
have been compelled from the necessity of the case to 
confine himself to the use of flat blades or flakes when 
employing this material. 

One of the most ancient specimens of the shell-en- 

f raver's art as yet discovered is that reproduced in 
ig. 78. This fragment is convex in form and a trun- 
cated triangle as regards its shape. A lion is seen in 
the act of strangling a bull ; with one of his fore-legs 
he is grasping his victim round the neck, and the other 
is thrown around and over the bull's back, while he 
is burying his teeth in the bull's neck. The general 
style to which this engraving conforms, the full-face 
view of the lion, the act in which he is engaged, and 



the combined vigour and crudeness which characterize 
this production, vividly recall the mace-head of Mesi- 
lim, king of Kish (cf. Fig. 26). The comparison 
between the two is so striking that we can hardly be 
wrong in assigning this engraved shell to approximately 
the same period, i.e. to the time before Ur-Nina, the 
founder of the first dynasty of Lagash. It was dis- 
covered at Tello in the neighbourhood of Eannatum's 
well and is just under three inches in height. In Fig. 
79 1 we have another fragment of a very archaic shell- 
engraving; a human-headed and streaky-bearded bull is 

FIG. 78. (Louvre) Cat., p. 389. FIG. 79. ZM:. en Chald., PI. 46, 4. 

being attacked by a lion-headed eagle ; the shell itself is 
extremely thin, and the engraving very delicate, but the 
design itself as well as the mode of its execution both 
testify to its great age. The shell work of the time of 
Ur-Nina and his successors is well illustrated in Fig. 
80. We have here a sketch of a man bearing a net ; 
the man is clean-shaven and bald, and his face is of pre- 
cisely the same type as that so frequently represented 
on the sculptures of Ur-Nina's time. His only cloth- 
ing is a short " kaunakes " skirt, the fringe of which 
is portrayed in the fashion characteristic of the earliest 
Sumerian works of art. In his right hand he carries a 

1 Cf. Heuzey, Cat., pp. 387 ff. 


battle-axe,while with his left he holdstheendsoftwosticks 
from which is slung the net or basket already referred 
to. This small relic was found in the same neighbour- 
hood as the preceding, and is just under two inches 
high. Another interesting specimen of Sumerian shell- 
engraving is published by Mr. L. W. King in the 
Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archeology, 1910, 
pp. 243-5. It represents a bearded hero embracing an 
ibex. It is worthy of note that the hero's dress does 
not consist in the Sumerian skirt, but in a loin-cloth. 
Probably the finest example of early Babylonian shell- 

FIG. 80. 

FIG. 8 1. 
(Musce clu Louvre) 

FIG. 82. 
Cat., pp. 393, 401. 

work is that reproduced in Fig. 8 I ; the leaping kid is 
wonderfully realistic both in form and attitude and has 
clearly been studied from nature. Of the mother-of- 
pearl work of a somewhat later date we have a good ex- 
ample in Fig. 82. Here Gilgamesh is depicted in stand- 
ing posture holding in either hand one of the long 
" staves " seen elsewhere, and specifically on the famous 
green steatite vase of Gudea (cf. Fig. 90). Gilgamesh is 
portrayed full-face and has the long vertically streaked 
beard so frequently seen on the cylinder-seals. This frag- 
ment is just under two and a half inches in height, and 
emanated from the same place. The engraved oblong 
mother-of-pearl plaques would appear to have been used 
for the decoration of the handles of knives or daggers. 


In Fig. 83 we have one of the best preserved and most 
interesting specimens of later shell-work in Mesopo- 
tamia. This fragment was discovered at Warka (Erech), 
but is clearly Assyrian in style : the elaborately capari- 
soned horses remind us strikingly of the horses sculp- 
tured in relief on the palace walls of Ashur-nasir-pal at 
Nimrud (Calah), while the floral decoration betrays 
Egyptian influence and recalls the carved ivories which 
were found amid the debris of that king's palace. The 
ruined mounds of Assyria herself have yielded but few 
specimens of the shell-engraver's art, and those that have 

been recovered 
are for the most 
part Phoenician 
in workmanship 
and Egyptian 
in conception, 
sphinxes and lo- 
tus - plants as- 
suming the most 
prominent part 
in the decora- 
tion. The dis- 

FIG. 83. (After Layard.) 

covery or en- 
graved shells of apparently a yet later date was among 
the many interesting results attending the German exca- 
vations at Babylon ; a number of these shells were found 
on the floor of a building of Nebuchadnezzar, some of 
which showed Egyptian influence and were decorated 
with lotus ornaments. Shell was thus used for various 
decorative purposes, but in early times it sometimes 
served as a material for the fashioning of even so utili- 
tarian an object as a seal, as we have already had occasion 
to remark. 


Unlike shell, which could be readily picked up on 
the shores of the Persian Gulf by the inhabitants of 


the earliest centres of civilization in Lower Mesopo- 
tamia, many of which were doubtless seaports in those 
days, ivory was only procurable elsewhere, and it was not 
till the dwellers in the valley extended their power out- 
side that they were able to command a supply of this 
more precious substance, ivory forming one of the prin- 
cipal materials exacted by the later Assyrian kings from 
their various vassal princes. A large collection of carved 
ivories discovered in Ashur-nasir-pal's palace at Nim- 
rud (Calah) affords us the desired opportunity forstudy- 
ing the ivory work of the period, and for ascertaining 
the proficiency to which that art was brought by the 
artists of that day. What strikes one instantly, and with 
overwhelming force, about the little group of carved 
ivories in PI. XXXI 1 is their pronounced Egyptian 
appearance, a sure and certain indication of the intimate 
relation which must have subsisted between Egypt and 
Assyria at this period. In the top right-hand corner 
we have the head of a woman, represented full-face and 
with an Egyptian head-gear : the head is set within the 
frame of a narrow window, from which it looks out over 
a balcony supported by pillars. In the centre we have 
the fragment of a similar head, below which there is a 
bull's head. In the top left-hand corner we have an ivory 
plaque upon which is figured an Egyptian king in stand- 
ing posture, grasping a lotus plant about his own height 
with his left hand. The plant rests upon a stand, the 
top of which is shaped volute-wise and resembles the 
capitals of the columns on the bas-relief from Sippar 
(cf. PI. XIV). Below on the left is a carved ivory sphinx, 
which in style and character is clearly neither Assyrian 
nor Babylonian. But the most interesting specimen in 
this group is the carved ivory panel in which two women 
are seated oppositeeach other on either side of a cartouche 
surmounted by a disc and feathers. The cartouche con- 
tains Egyptian hieroglyphs which may be read " Uben 
Shu," the meaning of which would be "The Sun god 


riseth," or the " Rising Sun " : the inside of this car- 
touche is gilded, and the characters within are inlaid. 
The feathers, which are likewise inlaid, are the emblem 
of Maat, the god of truth, and the disc is of course em- 
blematic of the sun. The two women are obviously 
Egyptian, their head-dresses, the folds in their garments 
and their general attitude all alike 
testifying to their Egyptian origin, 
while beneath their seats, which 
consist of low-backed chairs, there 
is the "ankh" sign, the meaning 
of which is "life." This sign, mis- 
named "crux ansata," or "cross 
with a handle," has needless to say 
nothing whatsoever to do with the 
Christian symbol; it probably re- 
presented a girdle, that which 
used to be regarded as a handle 
being that part of the girdle which 
encircled the waist, the long stem 
being the loose ends, and a girdle 
as encircling the vital parts would 
I not unnaturally symbolize life, 
and in picture-language come to 
I signify it. The two seated figures 
have one hand raised in token of 
FlG g l adoration before the sacred em- 

blems in the middle, while in their 

other hands they firmly grasp a sceptre. Below we have 
seven more fragmentary specimens of ivory-work, all of 
which were discovered amid the ruins of the same palace 
and betray a strong foreign influence. The deductions 
which these little ivory carvings justify our making 
in regard to the foreign affairs of Assyria at this 
period, are rendered certainties by the evidence afforded 
by the bronze bowls dealt with in the chapter on 

 If ;:, -,,,/< ,U;, 

(\K\I.D I\iiKV I'ANKI >. I I>M N I M l< l" I 


It must not however be supposed that all the ivories 
discovered in Assyria are the work of Egyptian or 
Phoenician artists. Some, of which a good specimen is 
seen in Fig. 84, are as Assyrian in style and conception 
as any palace bas-relief. The ivory panel here repro- 
duced is just five inches high. The subject is a familiar 
one a four-winged mythological being crowned with 
a horned cap, with the right hand extended in the per- 
formance of some religious ceremony, and carrying a 
basket in the left hand. Not only is the motif entirely 
Assyrian in character, but the workmanship and manner 
of execution bears the unmistakable hall-mark of 
Assyria. The aggressive masculinity of the arms and 
legs, the folds, arrangement and style of the garments 
as well as the hair and strongly depicted beard, are all 
exactly paralleled in the figures so often seen on the 
stone sculptures of the period. On either side of the 
panel in which this mythological creature is enshrined ~ 
there is a scroll-work device which was employed in 
Babylonia as early at all events as the time of Entemena 
of Lagash, while his feet stand upon a line of the rosettes 
which appear so frequently as a decorative accessory in 
Assyrian works of art. The lower part of this panel is 
filled in with circular and volute-shaped devices, and at 
the bottom of all we have another line of rosettes. 
Among the various subjects carved on the other ivory 
panels emanating from the ruins of the same palace the 
following may be mentioned as of especial interest : a 
hero slaying a lion, some Assyrians gathering fruit, 
and Ashur-nasir-pal accompanied by deities and attend- 

These ivory panels from Nimrud were as we have 
seen, in many cases inlaid 1 with lapis lazuli and gilded, 
and they were probably used to decorate and embellish 
thrones, or other stately articles of furniture, and in 

1 For the early history of inlaid jewellery cf. Dalton, 
LVI11, pp. 237-74. 


this connection we not unnaturally think of the great 
throne which Solomon built for himself, which is said 
to have been made of ivory and overlaid with the best 
gold (cf. i Kings x. 18) as also of the ivory palace 
erected by Ahab. 


IT were indeed paradoxical if the Babylonian artists 
had not invoked the aid of the clay, which they 
employed so readily and extensively not only in their 
building operations but also for all ordinary writing 
purposes, in their attempts to represent human and 
animal life. Undoubtedly this material was not em- 
ployed for these purposes so frequently as might have 
been expected, but this is probably due to the compara- 
tive fragility of this substance and its consequent in- 
ability to withstand the disintegrating effects of time 
and climate ; as most of the objects fashioned by Baby- 
lonian artists would appear to be of a votive character, 
it is obvious that durability was one of the most im- 
portant considerations in their production. Notwith- 
standing this fact however, a sufficiently large number of 
terra-cotta figures, some of which belong to the earliest 
periods of Sumerian civilization, have fortunately been 
preserved. The most ancient of these terra-cotta models 
are extremely small in size and crude in workmanship. 
We have a very archaic example in Fig. 85, A. The 
eyes of this small figure are the most noticeable fea- 
tures ; they consistof flattened balls ; the bodies of these 
primitive little models are as unfinished as they can be, 
sometimes being fashioned merely triangular-wise. In 
Fig. 85, B, we have another example of the same type 
and belonging to the same period, though it shows a 
slight advancement on the preceding figure. A thick 
head-gear or wig, crowns the head, and in its hands it 
holds an object of uncertain character, either a child or 



an instrument of music according to M. Heuzey. The 
clay, though moulded in the hand, is incised with a 
number of delicate lines, which are probably due to the 
application of a sharp and finely pointed tool. These 
curious figures are about one and a half or two inches 

The next illustration (Fig. 85, C.) transfers us from 
the early Sumerian period to that of Gudea. The com- 
parative proficiency attained through long cultivation 
of the art is sufficiently obvious. The figure is that of 
a god, his head-gear being characteristically furnished 
with four pairs of horns, and unlike the copper votive 

FIG. 85. A, B (cf. Dtc. en Chald., PI. 39 ; i, 2). C (cf. Cat., Fig. 183). 
D (cf. Cat., Fig. 193 ; Die. en Chald., p. 252). (All Musee du Louvre.) 

statuettes of Gudea the god here has bull's ears. The 
upper part of the body is left bare, but the lower part, 
which unfortunately is not preserved, was evidently 
covered by a garment fastened round the waist by a 
girdle. The god's left hand has hold of a stick or 
weapon inserted in the girdle, the upper portion of 
which is seen in the illustration. As usual, the god 
wears a heavy beard represented by a series of vertical 
streaks, but the arrangement of his hair in two long 
tails hanging down over his chest and curled at the ends, 
is somewhat peculiar. This little plaque is between two 
and a half and three inches in height. 

The Sumerians of early times did not however con- 
fine themselves to a portrayal of single figures in their 
clay reliefs, but sometimes aspired to complete scenes ; 


thus in the fragment reproduced in Fig. 85, D, we see a 
standing woman ; her hands are raised in a devotional 
manner, and doubtless were the remainder of this clay 
relief preserved we should see her accompanied by her 
husband, as so frequently on the cylinder-seals. Her 
thick, wavy hair hangs plait-wise down her back, and a 
raised fillet surrounds her head. The relief in which the 
woman's figure is raised is high, and the workmanship, 
though crude is not without life. This little fragment is 
about five inches high and is made of grey-coloured clay. 
Occasionally these terra-cotta figures were painted, as 
was the case with the little male statuettes discovered at 
Babylon in I9IO. 1 

Ever faithful in the art of imitation, the Assyrians 
also turned their attention to the artistic possibilities in- 
herent in the clay which they used alike for the construc- 
tion of their houses and for writing purposes. Some of 
the clay figures, or little clay reliefs discovered in Assyria 
belong without doubt to Assyrian times, but by far the 
larger half of the terra-cotta figures, lamps and other 
objects discovered are as certainly post-Assyrian. 

Some very interesting terra-cotta figures represent- 
ing the Fish-god, Dagan, are preserved in the British 
Museum (cf. Fig. 86, A, B). These small images are 
only a few inches high, but the humanly conceived face 
of the god is treated with less conventionalism than is 
the case with the sculptured portraits of human beings 
during the Assyrian period, a fact which of course may 
possibly be due to the plasticity of clay as compared with 
stone. These little figures are probably Assyrian and 
not Babylonian in workmanship ; at all events, a fish- 
god sculptured in relief was discovered at the entrance 
to a small Assyrian temple at Nimrud, which, apart from 
other evidence, 1 is a clear indication that the fish-god was 
venerated in Assyria as well as in Babylonia. It would 

1 Cf. Mittellungen, No. 44, p. 24. 

2 Cf. also the Assyrian seal reproduced in Fig. 76. 


seem reasonable to suppose that the Dagan-cult would 
naturally find its origin in the alluvial centres of Su- 
merian civilization in the extreme south of Babylonia, 

FIG. 86. A, B (Brit. Mus., No. 91837). C, E (Musee du Louvre). 
D (Cf. Mitteilung., No. 5, Abb. i). 


where the water was an all-important factor for good or 
ill, but according to Jastrow 1 it was imported from the 
north to the south, though the name of a king of Isin, 
Ishme-Dagan, who reigned about 2200 B.C., shows that 
the god was known and revered in Babylonia at least as 
early as his time. On the other hand it is equally 
noteworthy that one of the earliest known Assyrian 
kings, whose reign must probably be assigned to the 
nineteenth century B.C., also bore that name. These 
clay images of the gods were usually buried as amulets 
in the foundations of buildings. Another terra-cotta 
image of a god belonging to the Assyrian period, and 
the work of an Assyrian artist, is seen in Fig. 86, C. 2 This 
little image was found, together with two other terra- 
cotta figures, beneath the floor of the court of Sargon's 
palace at Khorsabad. Each had been enclosed in a brick 
capsule as a foundation-amulet, where they remained 
undisturbed until the spade of Botta brought them once 
more to light. The figure here reproduced is that of 
an Assyrian god, while one of the other two was a mythi- 
cal creature, and the third was a demon, but all three 
must have been buried for much the same purpose, the 
god to take care of the positive welfare of the inmates 
of the palace, the demon to act negatively in warding off 
evil influences, while they all have t'heir stone counter- 
parts in the bas-reliefs recovered from the ruins of Assy- 
rian palaces. This little image is eight inches high and 
is made of a greyish clay. The god is clothed in a long 
robe reaching down to his feet ; his head is crowned 
with a cap encircled by two pairs of horns, and his beard 
conforms to the usual Assyrian type. 3 

Various terra-cotta figures of nude women or god- 
desses have been recovered from different Babylonian 

1 Jastrow, Religion of Babylonia and Assyria, p. 208. 
1 Cf. Heuzey, Catalogue des figurines de terre cuite du Musc'e du 
Louvre, PI. I, Fig. 2. 

3 For the other two, cf. Ibidem, PI. I, Figs, i and 3. 


and Assyrian sites, but they are for the most part not 
earlier than the Parthian period, and their considera- 
tion does not therefore fall within the scope of the 
present volume. There are however exceptions to this 
generalization, one of the most remarkable being that 
of a terra-cotta figure also preserved in the Louvre and 
reproduced in Fig. 86, E. 1 This little model is reported 
to have been found at Hillah, near Babylon ; the place 
of its discovery was a Greek grave, but it was found in 
the company of seals and amulets belonging to a much 
earlier period. The woman, in a standing position, is 
seen suckling her infant at her breast. The bodies of 
the mother and her child both exhibit the characteristic 
fullness of Eastern art, but in spite of this fact, there 
is a delicacy and refinement, as well as an insight into 
the charms of human nature such as is seldom seen in 
the statues and figures of Oriental antiquity. Various 
terra-cotta figures of nude women were al so discovered at 
Nippur in the strata of Shar-Gani-sharri and Ur-Engur, 
while another interesting example of a nude woman or 
goddess is seen in Fig. 86, D. 2 This little clay figure 
was discovered during the course of the German excava- 
tions at Babylon, a site which has yielded numerous terra- 
cotta figures of nude women with and without a child ; 
the lower part of the body does not apparently belong to 
the upper part represented here, but is the broken half 
of another clay figure ; it enables us however to form a 
better idea of the general appearance of these terra- 
cottas when complete. Both fragments were recovered 
in the ruins of the temple of the goddess Nin-Makh, 
and doubtless formed part of clay miniatures of a stone 
statue of the goddess, whicR unfortunately has not yet 
been brought to light. The figure exhibits a certain 
heaviness, which the thick tresses of hair only tend to 
accentuate. The hair itself appears to be carefully waved 

1 Cf. Heuzey, Les Figurines Antiques de terre cuife, PI. II, Fig. 3. 

2 Cf. Koldewey, Mitteilungen, No. 5, pp. 19, 20. 


and curled ; the woman's hands are clasped below her 
breasts, while she wears bracelets on her wrists and 
anklets on her legs. 

During the same excavations an interesting figure 
of a bearded man, made of unbaked clay and measur- 
ing about six inches high, was found in the temple of 
Adar ; his left arm is hanging down, and his right arm 
is extended and holds what appears to be a staff, while 
on his head he wears a Phrygian cap or something akin. 
Asimilarclay figure was found in the Anu-Adad temple, 
but it differed from the former in being provided with a 
golden staff. The figure was enclosed in what is known 
as a brick 
these cap-( 
sules were 

only a few 
inches high, 
but at other 

times reach- 

ed as much Flo< 8 7- ( Brit * Mus -) FlG - 88 - ( Rrit - MUS.) 
as twenty inches. These capsuled statuettes were gener- 
ally located before the entrances to rooms. Sometimes 
figures of animals as well as of human beings were 
similarly enshrined in brick capsules ; thus a model of 
a clay dove enclosed in this manner was discovered by 
the German excavators at Babylon. 

Among the most interesting of the Assyrian terra- 
cotta models must be mentioned those of the favourite 
hunting-dogs of Ashur-bani-pal (cf. Fig. 8 7) found in his 
palace at Nineveh ; these same dogs can however be so 
much more readily studied from the stone bas-reliefs of 
this same king, that it will be best to forgo any detailed 
consideration of them here. Unfortunately it is impos- 
sible to speak with any confidence as regards the date of 
the vast majority of clay figures yielded by the excava- 


tions in Babylonia and Assyria ; they comprise figures 
of gods and goddesses, as well as of dogs, lions and other 
animals. Some of these are fashioned in the round, 
others are portrayed in relief upon small plaques. One 
of the best preserved of these plaques is reproduced in 
Fig. 88. This little clay relief was discovered by Sir 
Henry Rawlinson at Birs-Nimrud. A clean-shaven 
and semi-nude attendant is in charge of a large hound 
which he is leading by means of a strap. The attend- 
ant, who is armed with a stick, is more life-like than 
the attendants on the bas-reliefs of Ashur-bani-pal, 
but the dog, though spirited, cannot compare with 
those sculptured in hard stone on the palace walls 
of that same king. The innumerable terra-cotta lamps 
which have been excavated from time to time for 
the most part belong to a late period, it is however inter- 
esting to note that clay lamps were apparently in use at 
a very early period, even as early as the time of Bur-Sin, 
king of Ur (circ. 2350 B.C.), one of whose clay lamps was 
discovered at Nippur. We have already remarked that 
clay was probably used extensively for making moulds 
for casting metal objects, and it is certain that it was 
sometimes used by the sculptor as a material for rough 
sketches (cf. p. 1 1 8). The clay figures or statuettes of 
the earlier period were either fashioned by hand, or else 
stamped in a mould, but in either case they were solid, 
in contradistinction to the Babylonian terra-cottas of 
the later Greek and Roman times which were generally 
hollow in the interior, their outside being coated with a 
kind of paste by means of which the artist endeavoured 
to work out the details of hair, clothing, and other ex- 
ternalities, while they were not infrequently covered 
with a vitreous glaze, the colours used being blue and 
green. But a consideration of this later work lies be- 
yond the scope of our volume, which is confined to a 
consideration of the Babylonian and Assyrian period. 


STONE and clay were the two materials from which 
the Babylonians and Assyrians as a rule manufac- 
tured their vases, pots and bowls, though, as we have 
seen (cf. Fig. 45), metal was occasionally used for the pur- 
pose. Unfortunately the study of Babylonian and Assy- 
rian pottery has never received the attention which it 
deserves, while in the earlier excavations carried on in 
Mesopotamia the importance of these uninscribed relics 
of the past was not realized, and the omission to observe 
the particular strata of the mounds in which they were 
respectively discovered, as well as in some cases the 
failure to note even the sites where they were unearthed, 
has made anything like a systematic study of Babylonian 
and Assyrian pottery a virtual impossibility. 

Various kinds of stone were used as materials for 
making bowls and vases from the earliest periods of 
Mesopotamian civilization. Thus at Nippur the Ameri- 
can excavators unearthed a vase made of sandstone, 
bearing an inscription of Utug, patesi or priest-king of 
Kish, the writing of which was even more archaic than 
that on the mace-head of Mesilim, king of Kish (cf. p. 
185, Fig. 26) and, therefore, presumably of an earlier 
date ; it seems to have been dedicated to En-lil as a 
thank-offering, an incidental testimony to the important 
place which the god of Nippur must have occupied even 
at this extremely remote period. So, too, a vase of white 
calcite stalagmite, bearing an inscription of Urzage, a 
king of Kish belonging to about the same period, was 
dedicated to En-lil and his spouse Nin-lil. 



Stone vases have similarly been found at Tello, while 
the fragments of a number of stone vases made of white 
calcite stalagmite and bearing an inscription of Lugal- 
zaggisi, the king of Umma who sacked Lagash in the 
reign of Urukagina the last king of the first dynasty, 
were found on the same site, and we learn from the in- 
scriptions on these vase-fragments that they were dedi- 
cated by Lugal-zaggisi to En-lil at E-kur. A fragment 
of an alabaster vase bearing the name of Urukagina is 
now preserved in the British Museum, and an onyx 
vase, dedicated to the goddess Bau, was discovered in 
the neighbourhood of Ur-Nina's building, while a large 
basalt bowl of Eannatum was found on the same site, and 
the fragments of a limestone vase, bearing an inscrip- 
tion of Entemena, a later king of Lagash, were discov- 
ered beneath the temple of En-lil at Nippur. So also at 
Jokha, the site of the ancient city of Umma, fragments 
of vases and objects made of stone were brought to light, 
while at Fara,the ruined mounds of which represent one 
of the earliest sites of Sumerian civilization in the Baby- 
lonian plain, vases and cups made of various stones in- 
cluding marble were recovered. These were generally 
of a simple character, though sometimes they were 
decorated. But gisnjiaya, thanks to the scientific ex- 
cavations carried on by Harper and Banks for the Uni- 
versity of Chicago, has probably yielded a richer and 
more varied harvest of stone pots than any other site in 
Babylonia. They comprise bowls, phials, dishes, cups, 
mugs, and vessels of every conceivable shape, the tallest 
measuring about twelve inches in height, and the largest 
about twelve inches in diameter, while the thickness of 
the walls varies from an eighth of an inch to just under 
an inch and a quarter. 1 The stones from which they are 
made vary almost as much as their dimensions, and in- 
clude white marble, yellow marble, alabaster, yellow 
limestone,pinkish onyx, porphyry, green porphyry,blue 

1 Cf. Banks, American Journal of Semitic Languages, Vol. 22, p. 35 ff. 


freestone, soft limestone, and grey sandstone. Hardly 
any of these manifold vessels were found complete, hut 
Banks was able to reconstruct a large numher from the 
fragments that remained. They were all polished; some 
were engraved with a comparatively simple design, while 
others were elaborately decorated with the figures of men 
and animals, and some were inlaid with ivory and pre- 
cious stones. The inscriptions were few and fragment- 
ary, the name of the king or the temple mentioned 
beingotherwise unknown, while the writing is extremely 
archaic. That part of the mound in which these stone 
vase fragments were discovered contains only the plano- 
convex bricks characteristic of the old Sumerian period, 
which further indicates the extreme antiquity of this large 
collection of stone-ware, and indeed stone-ware seems to 
have been toagreatextent supplanted by the more econo- 
mical and more easily wroughtclay pottery, atacompara- 
tively early date, as was the case in ancient Egypt. Most 
of the vases from Bismaya are circular in shape, though 
examples of oval, oblong, square, and shell-shaped vases 
were also found. The stone most commonly used was 
marble, due no doubt to its comparative softness and 
adaptability to the chisel. The curvature and general \ 
symmetry of these vases is so perfect that, according to 
Banks, a lathe or something answering the same purpose 
asalathe,musthavebeenused. The softer stones at this 
period were doubtless worked with flint instruments, as 
in the case of the earliest cylinder-seals. The purposes 
which these vases served must have been as diversified 
as the vases themselves. Some appear to have been 
lamps,others drinking-cups; somewereprobablyusedas 
water, wine, or oil jars, while others may have been used 
as wash-basins ; some were used for articles of toilet, and 
in one vessel traces of henna l were still visible in one 
compartment and traces of kohl in the other. 

Of the stone-ware of the early period of Semitic 
1 Cf. Banks, American Journal of Semitic Language^ Vol. 22, p. 37. 


supremacy in the Euphrates valley, a gracefully curved 
vase of white marble belonging to Urumush 1 king of 
Kish, which was discovered at Nippur during the course 
of the excavations carried on by the University of Penn- 
sylvania, and is now preserved in the Pennsylvania 
Museum, affords us a good example ; while of the stone- 
ware of the somewhat later period of Shar-Gani-sharri 
and Naram-Sin, the Semitic kings of Agade, a white ala- 
baster "phial" (cf. Fig. 89) discovered at Tello and 
bearing the name of Naram-Sin is an excellent specimen. 

FIG. 90, a. 

FIG. 89. 

FIG. 90, b. 

It consists in a well-rounded flask or phial seven and 
a half inches high, and is inscribed with the words 
" Naram-Sin, King of the four regions." Another small 
stone vase of this king made of marble was acquired by 
Oppert during the ill-fated expedition of 1855, the in- 
scription upon which gave the additional information 
that the stone from which the vase was made came from 
Magan, but this valuable relic shared the fate of the other 
monuments and tablets recovered by Fresnel and Oppert, 
and went down in the Tigris on May 23rd, 1 855.* 

1 Cf. Hilprecht, Babylonian Expedition, Vol. I, part ii, PI. XX. 

2 Cf. Decouvertes, Description, p. 1 1 8 ; Hilprecht, Explorations, p. 1 70. 

STOM'.W \Rh \.\l> POTN RY 329 

Many stone vases of the late period of Sumcrian 
supremacy have been brought to light, but none so in- 
teresting or so illuminating as that of Gudea, patesi of 
Lagash (cf. Figs. 90 </, /*). This unique vase of dark 
green steatite is between eight and nine inches high, and 
rests upon a narrow circular base. It is furnished with 
a very small spout which could only allow but a small 
quantity of liquid to pass at a time. The decoration is 
of the most elaborate order: two entwined serpents 
occupy the central part of the design, their sinuous 
coils encircled round a long staff traversing the whole 
height of the vase, while their tongues are seen touch- 
ing the edge of the vase near the embryonic spout. 
The serpents are flanked by two strangely composite 
and highly mythical creatures which face each other; 
in the grasp of each is a long spear provided with 
a semicircular lateral handle, an exact replica of the 
copper weapon discovered by De Sarzec at Tello, 1 the 
site where this vase was also found. These winged 
monsters have the body and head of a serpent, and are 
provided with claws and talons, while their tails find 
their fitting termination in the sting of a scorpion ; their 
necks are encircled with twisted tails, and their head- 
gears consist in a kind of horned cap, an indication of 
the supernatural powers of these extraordinary mon- 
strosities. But in spite of the highly mythical character 
of these creatures, the artist has not lost sight of the 
general appearance of the serpent that has, as it were 
supplied the material and natural foundation for the 
unnatural additions which his imaginative mind has 
superimposed, the scaly skin of the snake being por- 
trayed by means of inlaid fragments of marble. The 
inscription informs us that this vase was dedicated to 
the god Nin-gish-zi-da by Gudea for the prolongation 
of his life. 

Another stone vessel of a somewhat unique character 
i Cf. P . 243. 


is the dark alabaster bowl in the Nimrud Central Saloon 
of the British Museum ; it is sculptured in relief with 
a scene of Gilgamesh and Ea-bani wrestling with lions, 
but unfortunately it is in a very poor state of preserva- 

But the practice of making vases of stone did not 
cease with the decline of Babylonian supremacy ; the 
Assyrians imitated their cultural progenitors in this as 
in all other matters. The most interesting stone vase 
belonging to the Assyrian era is that bearing an inscrip- 
tion of Sennacherib (cf. Fig. 91, A). It is a kind of am- 

FIG. 91. A, B, C (British Museum, Nos. 93088, 91596, 90952). 
D (after Clay). 

phora though the two handles are nearly worn away. 
The shape and proportions of this vase are very artistic, 
and the curves well rounded off. In general contour it 
somewhat resembles the little glass vase of Sargon, a 
yet more remarkable relic of antiquity (cf. Fig. 91, C). 
Another interesting example of Assyrian stone- ware 
is seen in Fig. 91,6; the vase, which is decorated round 
the neck, bears the traces of a well-nigh effaced in- 
scription, and like the small glass vase of this same 
king is engraved with a small lion. It is shaped differ- 
ently from most of the stone vases of the period, and 
has a charm and beauty all its own. Various glass 
vessels and tubes were recovered from the ruins of 
Babil, Kouyunjik and elsewhere, but their date is in 


nearly all cases an uncertain quantity. Assyrian and 
Babylonian glass would appear to have been made in 
the ordinary way, i.e. by a mixture of silex or sand with 
alkalis, while it was fashioned into the required shape 
by means of a blow-pipe, and finished off with a turn- 
ing machine, of which the marks are sometimes still 
visible. This is the case with the little vase of Sargon 
illustrated above. 1 

Stone-ware of the late Babylonian period is well illus- 
trated by the jar-fragment of Nebuchadnezzar (604- 
561 B.C.) published by W. L. Nash in the Proceedings 
of the Society of Biblical Archeology (1910, p. 180). The 
inscription is very brief and apart from the king's name 
only has the numeral "one,"whichwas probably followed 
by a measure, but the name of the latter is broken away. 
This stone jar like the Assyrian jars differs from most 
of the inscribed vessels of earlier times, which usually 
bear a dedicatory inscription, while in shape it is not 
unlike the Assyrian jars seen in Fig. 91. 

Allusion has elsewhere been made (cf. p. 86) to the 
marble vase bearing the name of Xerxes in cuneiform 
and Egyptian hieroglyphics, but a number of similar 
vases and fragments bearing an inscription of this same 
king have also been brought to light. One such vase 
was found by Newton at Halicarnassus in Asia Minor, 
the fragments of another being found by Loftus at Susa, 
while a third (cf. Fig. 91, D) recently acquired by the 
Babylonian Museum of the University of Pennsylvania, 
is published by Clay in the Museum Journal ( 1 9 1 o, I, 
p. 6). It bears the royal inscription of Xerxes the Great 
written in four different languages, Persian, Elamite, 
Babylonian and Egyptian, the last-named being written 
in the old hieroglyphics, and the other three in cunei- 
form. The vase measures nine and seven-eighths inches 
in height, and eight and fifteen-sixteenths inches in 

1 Cf. Layard, Discoveries, p. 197. 


Although stone-ware appears to have been used more 
frequently in the earlier periods of Mesopotamia!! civili- 
zation, it must be not supposed that terra-cotta pottery 
was not also used by the ancient Sumerians and early 
Semites. A vast quantity of pottery comprising bowls, 
phials, flat vases, chalice goblets, oval pots and vessels 
of every description, size, shape and form has been re 
covered from Tello, Nippur, Fara and other recently 
excavated sites in Babylonia, and indeed so numerous 
and so manifold are the vessels in question that only a 

FIG. 92. " Pre-Sargonic cup." FIG. 93. "Earliest vase from Nippur." 
(Hilprecht, Explorations , p. 407.) 

long and systematic study of the mass of material now 
available, as thorough and exhaustive as that made by 
Professor Flinders Petrie of Egyptian pottery, would 
justify any attempt to classify and date the different 
specimens. The earlier excavations in Mesopotamia 
similarly yielded a large number of terra-cotta pots and 
jars, but unfortunately there is so much uncertainty as 
to the locality from which many of them came, and even 
where that is known, there is generally no means of 
ascertaining in what strata they were found (as is un- 
happily also the case with a good deal of the pottery 
discovered in recent years) and as they further bear 
no inscriptions, any attempted systematization in our 


present state of knowledge is inevitably based largely 
on unproved and unprovable hypotheses. Two good 
examples of early pre-Sargonic pottery are seen in 
Figs. 92, 93. Both the cup (Fig. 92) and the vase 
(Fig. 93) were discovered in the pre-Sargonic strata at 
Nippur. 1 Many other interesting specimens of early 
pottery were discovered on the same site, some being 
apparently black in colour, others being red. In a room 
beneath the pavement of Naram-Sin two vases were 
brought to light which illustrate the remarkable differ- 
ences in size and shape exhibited by early Babylonian 
pottery, one of these vases being bell-shaped and having 
a flat bottom twice as large in diameter as its mouth, 
while the other, a little over two feet high and one foot 
nine inches across the top, was decorated with a rope 
pattern. 2 

Among the minor results attending the excavations 
at Bismaya was the recovery of a vast number of terra- 
cotta vases, some entire, others only fragmentary. 3 
They were found in graves, wells, and drains as well as 
in the various platforms contained in the mound, and 
in the plain itself. Between twenty-five and twenty-six 
feet below the surface two large burial urns were dis- 
covered, while at a depth of some thirty-four feet a 
smaller urn was brought to light. The earliest exam- 
pies of pottery were found more than forty-four feet 
below the surface. In the larger vases and urns the clay 
appears to have been mixed with chopped straw, 4 the 
clay itself being as a rule of a yellowish brown colour, 
but according to Banks, the clay was burnt to a deep 
brown or black colour in the earliest times. The wheel 
seems to have been used at all periods, though not to the 

1 Cf. Hilprecht, Explorations, p. 407. 

2 Hilprecht, The Babylonian Expedition of the University of 'Pennsyl- 
vania, Series A, Vol. I, part ii, PI. 27. 

3 Cf. E. J. Banks, American Journal of Semitic Languages^ Vol. 22, 
p. 139. 4 Ibidem, p. 14.0, 


exclusion of hand-made pottery. One of the pre-Sar- 
gonic vases from this site was apparently formed by plac- 
ing the clay on a flat surface, which the potter revolved 
with one hand while fashioning the clay into the required 
shape with the other hand ; as Banks suggests, this may 
have been the origin of the potter's wheel. The vessels 
from Bismaya vary in height from a little over an inch to 
just under thirty inches, and they exhibit every conceiv- 
able kind of shape. The surfaces of most of them are 
plain, but some are decorated with dots, squares, concen- 
tric circles and grooves. Two large vases are painted with 
the marks of their makers or owners in black, but these 
are regarded by Banks as post-Babylonian. Some of the 
vases are provided with covers, the cover of one of 
the funeral urns consisting in a kind of dish ; some- 
times, in the case of vases which were buried, a woven 
cloth was fastened over the mouth and sealed with clay. 
These cloths have of course long since perished, but the 
marks of the threads on the clay are still visible. 1 One 
vase is shaped like a boat, while another interesting 
terra-cotta object discovered on this site is a lamp termi- 
nating in the head of an ox. 

Some very unique specimens of Babylonian black 
pottery with incised lines rilled with white paste were 
discovered by Capt. Cros at Tello. These vases were 
not only decorated with geometrical designs, but also 
with fish, boats, water-fowl and other river scenes. 2 This 
type of pottery is of frequent occurrence in the ancient 
world. It has been found in Susa on the east, while in 
the west it penetrated as far as Spain. Of Babylonian 
pottery belonging to the Kassite period, mention should 
especially be made of three vases discovered by Peters 
and Haynes at Nippur. These pots are decorated with 

1 Cf. E. J. Banks, American Journal of Semitic Languages, Vol. 22, 
p. 140. 

2 Cf. Comptes Rendus, Academic des Inscriptions ct dcs Belles Lettres 
1904, p. TI<;. 

//.///. .v.v.w/. 

l'i>l I I-.KV, FROM NlMRl'li 




green and yellow stripes, and were enclosed in an urn 
together with three small boxes, the largest of which was 
ornamented with knobs. Along with these articles more 
than a hundred discs and crescents pierced for the pur- 
poses of suspension, and mostlycoloured black or white, 
were also found. One of the best examples of late pottery 
is the delicately-shaped and well-preserved amphora dis- 
covered by Koldewey at Babylon, 1 but it must probably 
be assigned to the Roman period. 

With regard to Assyrian pottery we are in a still 
greater state of ignorance, in spite of the wealth of 
material at hand. Large quantities of pottery were 
brought to light by Botta, Layard and other early exca- 
vators, but unfortunately their archaeological import- 
ance seemed as nothing compared with colossal bulls, 
sculptured bas-reliefs, or even prosaic clay tablets, and 
the result of this fortunately bygone apathy is that the 
site from which they came is sometimes not ascertain- 
able, while on hardly any occasion is it possible to dis- 
cover the building or immediatelocality where they were 

But the scientific excavations carried on by Koldewey 
and Andrae at Ashur are calculated to yield more satis- 
factory results in this connection. These excavations 
have already thrown light on the early pottery of Assyria, 
in the discovery of clay vessels decorated with black and 
red geometrical designs and assigned to the prehistoric 

Another interesting specimen of Assyrian pottery 
found on the same site consists in a large round vase 
decorated about the top and having two handles. 2 

In PL XXXIII we have a miscellaneous group of 
pottery from the ruined mounds of Nineveh, and a 
similar group from Nimrud. The pots here dis- 
played show much variation both in size and form, 
but little more can be said about them. Apart, how- 

1 Cf. Mittei/ungen, No. 40, p. 8. 2 Cf. Ibid., No. 26, p. 19. 


ever, from the complete vessels in clay, a number of 
fragments of bowls have been recovered bearing in- 
scriptions of kings of Assyria who reigned between 
1 140-681 B.C. These inscriptions are principally con- 
cerned with the various building-operations undertaken 
during the reign of the king in question. Were these 
bowls complete they would be of immense importance 
in arriving at some definite idea as to the shapes and 
sizes of vases in vogue at the different periods to which 
they belong. But as fortune or misfortune has it, hardly 
any of the well-preserved cups and bowls as yet recovered 
bear any inscription or design at all, and this is one of 
the great difficulties with which the student of Baby- 
lonian and Assyrian pottery has to contend. Sometimes 
a coloured glaze was applied to the surface of terra-cotta 
vessels,butto what extent this practice prevailed in early 
times it is hard to say. 

Probably the two most striking pots yielded by the 
excavations are those numbered 91941 and 91950 in 
the British Museum collections. The former is a large 
jar nineteen inches high and eighteen and three-quarter 
inches in diameter, upon which is portrayed the figure 
of a man with the tail of a goat and the claws of an 
eagle, while the broken remains of one handle are still 
preserved. The latter is a six-handled vase two feet 
six inches high, on the body of which rude figures and 
dragon-like animals are depicted, but both of these vases 
probably belong to post-Assyrian times. 


THE full dress of the earliest Sumerians comprised 
nothing more elaborate than a skirt fastened 
round the waist and probably made of wool. But the 
taste for decoration shown by all primitive peoples is 
evinced by the Sumerians at a very early date, and they 
seek to relieve the dead monotony of the skirt by edging 
the bottom with a fringe (cf. Figs. 25, 52), the fringe 
on the earliest monuments being formed by a series of 
pointed tags. In the time of Ur-Nina, the archaically 
fringed skirt has given place to an elaborately flounced 
and pleated skirt at least in the case of kings and mag- 
nates (cf. Figs. 26, 27), but the upper part of the body 
was left entirely bare ; people of particularly high rank 
are however sometimes seen wearing a skirt with an 
upper part attached, which covered the left shoulder as 
is the case with the leader of the procession onUr-Nina's 
tablet (cf. Fig. 26), though it is noticeable that Ur-Nina 
himself here has no clothing on the upper part of his 
body. Later on the king of Lagash still wears the 
flounced skirt, but has another garment over it : this 
upper garment was also apparently made of wool, and 
passed over the left shoulder and under the right arm 
(cf. PI. XII) ; as this is, however, a battle scene, the 
upper garment may be part of the king's military in- 
signia. This custom of leaving the right arm and 
shoulder free obtained right down to the time of Gudea 
(cf. PL XXIII) and Khammurabi (cf. PL XIV). 

The heads of the majority of the figures on the early 
sculptures are hairless and beardless, though as we have 

z 337 


seen (cf. p. 183) long hair and a pronounced beard 
were not infrequently worn, the hair on the head 
possibly a wig sometimes being allowed to hang 
down the neck (cf. Fig. 25, B, C), sometimes being 
gathered up behind and secured by a fillet (cf. PI. XII). 
This seems to have been done by the king when on active 
service,doubtlesswith a viewto making his helmet more 
comfortable and secure. As nearly all these early figures 
are without hats or head-gear of any kind, we are almost 
entirely in ignorance as to the nature of their head- 
coverings if, indeed, they had any. Sometimes feathers 
were worn (cf. Fig. 25, A), while a figure resembling 
Gilgamesh on one of the most ancient Sumerian bas-re- 
liefs (cf. Decouvertes, PI. I, i) in existence, has a flat head- 
gear of indeterminate character, the deity on the same 
archaic sculpture wearing what appears to be an early 
form of the horned head-dress of the gods in later 

The dress of early Sumerian women is somewhat un- 
certain ; if we might assume the form of dress shown 
on the little stone statuette discovered by De Sarzec 
at Tello (cf. Fig. 33, p. 224) to be typical, the femi- 
nine dress of the period would appear to have con- 
sisted in a flounced woollen skirt hung from the left 
shoulder, the right arm and shoulder being exposed. 
The length of the fillet-bound hair in the statuette re- 
ferred to removes all doubt as to the sex, and it is note- 
worthy that the dress of this Sumerian woman is exactly 
the same as that of the individual on Ur-Nina's stele 
referred to above, and of course the personage there 
may conceivably be a woman also (cf. further p. 186). 
But the little copper statuettes of women belonging to 
the same period always show a nude bust, it is there- 
fore probable that the women of the time generally wore 
an ordinary skirt like the men, the shoulder-suspended 
garments being reserved for the elite. 

The dress of royalties and grandees differed however 

DRESS 339 

from that of the commonalty in quality rather than in 
character : thus the skirts of all Ur-Nina's courtiers 
the distinguished leader of the procession alone being 
excepted are much the same as that of their royal 
master ; but the quality is very different, the one being 
entirely plain, the other extremely elaborate. 

In later times what had been the exception seemingly 
becomes the rule, and in Gudea's period the left shoulder 
was always covered by the folds of the mantle-like gar- 
ment then in vogue ; while the Semite Naram-Sin, of 
yet earlier date than Gudea, wears a plaid passing over 
his left shoulder and wrapped around his body, leaving 
the right arm similarly free. The pleated plaid worn 
by Naram-Sin finds a striking parallel in the garments 
worn by Nin-gish-zi-da and the accompanying deity on a 
Gudea stele in the Berlin Museum (cf. Sum. and Sem. y 
Taf. VII). The royal head-gear of Gudea differs from 
that of later times, and probably from that worn by the 
earlier rulers of Lagash : it consists in an embroidered 
turban, differing entirely from the conical-shaped cap 
worn by Naram-Sin on the Pir-Hussein stele, and the 
similar shaped crowns of the later Assyrian kings, but 
bearing some resemblance to that worn by Khammurabi 
on his famous code-stele (cf. Plates, XXIII, XIV ; 

But while the Semite Naram-Sin wears a long beard, 

the Sumerian Gudea is still beardless. So too the 
Semite Khammurabi wears a long beard, but the mantle 
slung from his left shoulder is not unlike that of Gudea, 
while the vesture of the god Shamash on the same stele 
is pleated like that of Naram-Sin, though the material 
would appear to be different. In a later relief of the 
the god Shamash wears a striped robe with sleeves, and 
the practice of leaving the right arm and shoulder ex- 
posed seems to have by this time fallen into desuetude 
(cf. PI. XIV). 


Of the dress of the women in the days of Gudea we 
have a good illustration in PL XXIII. She wears a grace- 
fully fringed mantle, which was apparently 1 first pressed 
over the breasts and carried under the arms, after which 
it was crossed at the back, the two ends being brought 
over the shoulders and made to hang symmetrically in 

The grave-deposits have afforded abundant evidence 
of the extensive use of jewellery even in the earliest Sume- 
rian times, thus at Fara necklaces of amethyst, coral, 
lapis lazuli, mother of pearl and agate were found, while 
other early sites yield similar testimony. 

For information regarding the military accoutrements 
of the early Sumerians we are mainly dependent on the 
bas-reliefs of the period, of which the Vulture Stele is 
the most important. The long lance or spear, which 
was apparently grasped by both hands (cf. PL XII), 
was clearly the principal weapon of offence, while the 
axe, the dart, a club or mace, a curved weapon gener- 
ally hitherto regarded as a throwing-stick or boome- 
rang and a lance were also in use. Very few 
Sumerian weapons have been brought to light, but in 
addition to those enumerated in the chapter on Metals, 
mention may be made of an archaic axe-head made of 
agate, now in the American Museum of Natural His- 
tory; 2 the characters with which it is inscribed are 
somewhat more wedge-shaped than those found on the 
monuments of Gudea, and it may accordingly be assigned 
to a rather later date. Another axe-head, also made of 
agate, and inscribed with early line characters, is in the 
Metropolitan Museum, New York, 3 while a number of 
baked clay balls and some small stone eggs, as well as 
copper arrows, spears, axes and stone clubs were dis- 
covered in the pre-Sargonic strata at Nippur. The 

1 Cf. Hcuzey, Catalogue des Antiquites Chaldcenne^ p. 249. 

2 Prince, Journal of the American Oriental Society, XXVI, p. 93. 

3 Cf. American Journal of Semitic Languages, April, 1905, p. 173. 


discovery of arrows belonging to such an early date is 
of considerable interest, as it has been contended that the 
bow and arrow were introduced by the Semites chiefly ow- 
ing to the fact that it has been thought that these weapons 
were not represented in early Sumerian art. But a very 
early example of the bow in Babylonian art is afforded 
by an archaic shell cylinder-seal published by Ward. 1 
The human beings and gods on this seal are clad in the 
Sumerian short skirt and not in the Semitic plaid, while 
the occurrence of a bison on the top of a mountain, an 
animal which is only represented on very early seals, 
further argues the antiquity of the cylinder-seal in ques- 
tion, and therefore of the use of the bow and arrow 
depicted upon it. The discovery of clay balls and stone 
missiles similarly appear to afford evidence of the use 
of the sling at a very much earlier period than was 
hitherto supposed. 

It is interesting to trace the history of the boomerang- 
shaped weapon shouldered by one of the figures on the 
archaic fragment of the circular bas-relief reproduced 
in Fig. 25, B. The curved weapon 2 may have originally 
been a throwing-stick or boomerang, though its shape 
is the only argument in support of this theory. But 
whatever its original use may have been, there is evi- 
dence that a weapon of this shape was wielded as a club 
or primitive sword at a very early period. In a sculp- 
ture belonging to a slightly later period than the above- 
mentioned bas-relief, the weapon in question has lost 
its simplicity and is no longer made in one piece but 
is composed of three narrow pieces held together by a 
number of rings. Were this curiously shaped imple- 
ment only found in the hands of rulers or dignitaries, 
the rings might merely be decorative accessories, but 
its occurrence in the handof a huntsman attackingalion, 
(cf. Fig. 78) makes it incumbent that we should seek 

1 Cf. Ward, Cylinder-Seals, Fig. 139 c. 

2 Cf. Heuzcy, Comptcs Rendus> 1908, pp. 415-22. 


for some more adequate and practical reason for the 
existence of these rings. Doubtless this later form was 
adopted with a view to increasing the efficiency of the 
weapon. The weapon is here used at close quarters, and 
was clearly not used as a throwing-stick at this period, 
but rather as a kind of sabre. At an early date the 
Sumerian must have sought for some means of render- 
ing his weapon more serviceable, and have conceived 

FIG. 94. 

the idea of substituting a blade of flint or obsidian, and 
in point of fact numerous edged pieces of flint and ob- 
sidian as well as primitive saw-blades with teeth have 
actually been found in early Babylonian ruins. The 
problem of affixing this blade to the handle or shaft, 
would find its natural solution in fashioning the latter, 
of two or more pieces between which the obsidian or 
flint blade might be inserted, both wood and blade being 
kept in place by rings ; of its early use as a club or sabre 
we have evidence on the archaic shell reproduced in 
Fig. 78, where the huntsman is seen holding a curved 


implement which is composed of three pieces of wood 
bound together by rings, as on the Vulture Stele, it is 
obviously not employed here as a throwing-stick but as 
a weapon for use at close quarters (cf. also Fig. 94, A. B). 
In the later period of Gudea we find the same style of 
weapon in use. Upon a bas-relief recovered by Com- 
mandant Cros from Tello, and belonging to Gudea, we 
see a curved weapon (cf. Fig. 94, C) 1 terminating in a 
lion's head and having a blade which was apparently in- 
serted ina longitudinal slit made inthewood. Sometimes 
these curved weapons were made of one piece of metal, as 
was the case with the two examples discovered by Com- 
mandant Cros in an early Babylonian grave, one of 
which is reproduced in Fig. 94, D. Both of these weapons 
are made of copper and were found in a coffin consisting 
of two bell- shaped pots cemented together by bitumen. 
The one in the figure is the more elaborate of the two, 
and unlike its companion, has the handle still preserved 
while its total length is about sixteen inches. The edge 
of the blade was of course on the outside of the curve, 
the instrument thus resembling a scimitar or short 
curved sword. It is thus possible that the scimitar, or 
at least the archetype of the scimitar owes its origin to 
the Sumerians. 2 The other weapon is of a more primi- 
tive character and recalls the earlier examples afforded 
by the bas-reliefs more vividly, while its blade is double 
edged. In Assyrian times the curved end becomes quasi- 
circular in form and the outer edge is furnished with 
teeth, as is the case with the sceptre which Ashur-nasir- 
pal holds in his hand (PL XXIV). The arms borne by 
Eannatum himself as represented on the Vulture Stele 
are the curved weapon already alluded to, a number of 
darts some of which are double pointed, and a long 
lance. Eannatum is in the act of piercing the head of a 
vanquished foe with his lance, which he holds horizon- 

1 Cf. Comptes Rendus, p. 418, Fig. C. 

2 Cf. Sayce, Archaeology of Cuneiform Inscriptions, pp. 65, 66. 


tally over his head at the extreme end. According to 
Commandant Cros, the lance is used in exactly the same 
way by the Arabs of Irak to-day. It is first held loosely 
in the middle, while the action consists in throwing it 
forcibly through the hand till the lower end of it is 
reached, but it is not allowed to escape from the hand 
altogether ; the weapon is therefore used in part as a 
spear, and in part as a javelin. 

For information regarding the military accoutrements 
in use at the time of Shar-Gani-sharri and Naram-Sin 
we are mainly dependent on the stele of the last-named 
monarch (cf. PI. XIII), and the bas-relief fragments re- 
produced in Fig. 28,B,C. The bow and arrow would ap- 
pear to be the principal weapons used by the Semites, 
though the spear and the axe also occur on early Semitic 
monuments. One noticeable feature in these two sculp- 
tures is the absence of any kind of shield. 

The cylinder-seals contribute little towards the solu- 
tion of the manifold problems incidental to a study of 
early military affairs, as those seals which are engraved 
with battle-scenes are for the most part Persian in 

To attempt to describe the complete wardrobe of the 
Assyrians would be almost as difficult as to give a full 
andcomprehensive accountof English dressto-day. The 
costumes are so various, and often so finely-wrought, 
that even a brief review of the different " modes " would 
far exceed the bounds of a single chapter. The king's 
robes are, of course, the most magnificent and most 
elaborate both in arrangement and decoration. In PL 
XV we see Ashur-nasir-pal, king of Assyria (885-860 
B.C.) arrayed in his ceremonial robes. In comparison 
with the festive garments of his successors, they are 
simple and inornate, and are merely a replica of those 
worn by the mythical being behind, the only differ- 
ence being that those of the king are arranged so as 
to conceal both his legs, the exposure of the royal leg 

DRESS 345 

being apparently out of accord with kingly dignity. The 
under-garment seems to be a fringed robe or chasuble, 
over which a long, deeply-fringed mantle is arranged ; 
both the king and his divine attendant wear a broad 
waist-band into which two daggers are thrust ; but the 
mantle itself was apparently fastened by means of cords 
ending in tassels. The king's head-dress, however, is 
entirely different from that of his follower ; it is shaped 
somewhat like a mitre, two tails being similarly attached 
to the back. The royal tiara worn by the later kings of 
Assyria conforms to the same type, only it is more richly 
decorated and exhibits some variation in regard to its 
shape. It would appear to have been coloured, if we 
may trust the evidence afforded by the enamelled bricks 
from Khorsabad, 1 thecoloursbeingred,whiteandyellow, 
the latter perhaps being intended to represent gold 
braid. Judging from its general appearance, the head- 
dress itself must have been made of cloth. 

Both figures here (PL XV) wear a bracelet on either 
wrist and two armlets on their sinewy arms, while a 
necklace encircles their bull-like necks. Ashur-nasir- 
pal, like all Assyrian kings, has a thick crop of hair and 
a very strong beard. Shalmaneser II, his son and suc- 
cessor, wears much the same dress as his father and the 
same conical head-gear (cf. Fig. 44), but Sennacherib 
one hundred and twenty years later is no longer con- 
tent with the simple yet dignified dress of Ashur-nasir- 
pal and Shalmaneser, but assumes a far richer and cost- 
lier set of robes (cf. Fig. 31). The royal mantle is not 
merely decorated with a fringe but is most elaborately 
embroidered throughout, while his crown is also far 
more ornate than those worn by his Nimrud predeces- 
sors, but his attitude is precisely the same as that of 
Ashur-nasir-pal in PL XV. Both kings are holding a 
bow in their left hand and two arrows in their right. The 
regal and ceremonial costume of Ashur-bani-pal con- 
1 Cf. Botta, II, PI. 155. 


trasts similarly with that of Ashur-nasir-pal and his 
immediate successors his dress resembling that of 
Sennacherib in its general ornateness (cf. PI. XX) while 
even the costume which he wears while reclining at meat 
in his garden is far more elaborate than that worn by 
Ashur-nasir-pal on the highest ceremonial occasions (cf. 
PI. XXI).' 

Some uncertainty exists regarding the dress-mater- 
ials used by the Assyrians. Many garments were doubt- 
less made of wool or woollen stuffs as in the other 
period, but a kind of cotton was also used, for Sen- 
nacherib states that he imported trees that bore wool 
or hair, from the south, and that the wool or hair was 
subsequently clipped and utilized for the manufacture 
of garments. 

There is the same uncertainty as to the materials 
used in embroidery, but there is no doubt about the 
skill of the embroiderer, who must have been a verit- 
able artist, if we may judge from the bas-relief repre- 
sentations of his work,a good example of which is repro- 
duced in Layard, PL 9. He clearly did not confine 
himself to designs but aspired to artistic representations 
and scenic effects. Conventional palm-trees, and four- 
winged monsters are the most conspicuous features. 
One of these monsters is grasping one of the back legs 
of a lion in either hand, while the lions are making ruth- 
less attacks on passively resisting bulls. 

Women are seldom portrayed on the Assyrian bas- 
reliefs, but we at all events know that the lady who had 
the honour of being Ashur-bani-pal's queen was quite 
as richly clad as her royal master (cf. PL XXI), while 
both wear ornamental fillets round their heads. Jewellery 
seems to have been prized and loved by the Assyrian 
king and his courtiers almost as much as by the women 
of to-day, and the demand for " novelties " must have 
taxed the jeweller's inventive faculties to the utmost. 
Not only were armlets and bracelets in requisition, but 

DRESS 347 

also necklaces, ear-rings, and trinkets. The latter gener- 
ally took the form of divine or astrological symbols, 
one of the most interesting ornaments worn by the king 
being exactly like a Maltese cross, and closely resem- 
bles the cross found on Kassite seals (cf. Fig. 71). The 
trinkets were suspended on a cord which encircled the 
royal neck, above which the real necklace is seen. Both 
bracelets and ear-rings show great variety in design and 
no little skill in workmanship. Unfortunately but few 
articles of jewellery (apart from a number of bead-neck- 
laces 1 ) have been recovered, and of the majority of these 
it is impossible to tell the date, but thanks to the bas- 
reliefs we can gain a very fair idea of the proficiency to 
which the jeweller's art had been brought at this period, 
though we cannot be sure of the metals used in each 
particular case. In Fig. 95 we have a group of brace- 
lets of manifold shapes and designs, the rosette as usual 
playing the leading part in most of the decorative de- 
vices. In A we have an example of a royal necklace ; 
it is simple and neat in design and presents a striking 
contrast to that worn by one of the winged figures from 
Nimrud (cf. B) which is decorated at the opening with 
heads of animals. The ear-rings worn by kings, war- 
riors, priests and mythical beings vary quite as much 
as the bracelets, though there is a certain similarity be- 
tween most of them (cf. Fig. 95). The drops are in 
nearly all cases long, and they frequently have a cross 
piece which gives them the general appearance of a 
" crux ansata." 

The toilet requisites of the Babylonians and Assyrians 
were doubtless much the same as those in use to-day, 
though but few articles from the dressing-table have 
been recovered, the most notable of which are the combs 
now preserved in the Louvre (cf. Figs. 96, 97). They 

1 An interesting bead of black marble, measuring i x -g inches was 
discovered at Ashur ; it bears an inscription of Shalmaneser, the purport 
of which is that that king brought the bead from a temple in Syria. 


FIG. 95. 



are made of ebony and measure about three and a half 
inches across, while they are elaborately decorated in the 
centre with the figures of sphinxes or lions, sometimes 
realized in open-work, sometimes in relief. The teeth 
on one side are large and few, those on the other being 
slender and numerous. A similar comb was discovered 
by Koldewey at Babylon, the centre of which is decorated 
with the figure of a winged bull. 1 

Sandals formed the principal footwear of civilians 
royalties or commoners as the case may be though the 
feet were often left bare. The ordinary sandal had a thin 

FIG. 96. 

FIG. 97. 

sole and a small cap for the heel, apparently made of 
strips of leather which were sometimes coloured red 
and blue alternately, though more frequently the entire 
sandal was of a reddish hue, while it was held in position 
by a loop round the great toe, and by a string which was 
laced across the instep and tied in a bow. This was the 
type of sandal worn by Sargon. There was, however, an 
entirely different sandal in vogue at the time of Ashur- 
bani-pal ; the sole of this later sandal was of consider- 
able thickness, especially at the heel, while the upper 
leather did not merely form a protecting cap to the heel 
but covered the whole side of the foot. But shoes 

1 Cf. Mitteilungen, No. 7, p. 18. 


were used as well as sandals as early as the time of 
Sennacherib; those represented on the bas-reliefs are of 
a clumsy make, though finely decorated with crescents 
and rosettes, and they were seemingly laced in front. 

But the military uniforms of the Assyrians show far 
greater variation than the apparel of kings, eunuchs 
and attendants. In the early Assyrian period the foot- 
soldiers wore a short tunic and a fringed girdle, their 
heads being protected by a pointed helmet ; the arms, 
legs, neck and feet were generally bare, though the latter 
were occasionally shod with plain sandals. The infantry 

included archers, 
spearmen and 
swordsmen, while 
the archers were of- 
ten further armed 
With swords and 
sometimes with 
maces, and appear 
to have formed the 

f th < 

FIG. 98. FIG. 99. 

Foot-spearman (ist Foot-archer (ist period, Soldiers. All 

divisions were pro- 
tected by small hand-shields, the bowmen often being at- 
tended by another warrior armed with a spear, who acted 
as shield-bearer. In the reign of Shalmaneser II we fre- 
quently see the bowmen clad in a long coat of mail reach- 
ing from the neck to the ankles (cf. Fig. 44), but in the 
Sargon period the difference in the equipment of the foot- 
soldiers becomes more pronounced. There are at least 
three different kinds of archer. First of all there was 
the light-armed bowman, who was practically naked but 
for a loin-cloth, which supported a quiver, and a head 
fillet (cf. Fig. 100). Next came the more simply equipped 
of the heavy-armed (cf. Fig. i o i ), who was clad in a coat 
of mail reaching from the neck to the waist, beneath 
which was a fringed tunic extending to the knees, while 


their feet were generally protected by sandals, and the 
head covered by a pointed helmet. The principal fea- 
ture which differentiated the appearance of the most 
heavily armed archers from that of the foregoing was 
the long deeply fringed tunic (cf. Fig. 102), over which 
a coat of mail was worn similar to that worn by the 
archers of the second class. 

The spearmen of the period are clad in much the same 
way as the medium-armed archers, the most noticeable 
point about them being their helmets, which are sur- 
mounted by a crest of one kind or another (cf. Fig. 29), 
while another frequent peculiarity in their equipment is 

FIG. ioo. 

FIG. 101. 

FIG. 102. 

the arrangement of their belts which cross each other on 
the chest and back. Their feet are generally bare, though 
sometimes they are shod in sandals, and occasionally in 
a low boot. 1 

Sargon's son, Sennacherib, appears to have largely re- 
organized the infantry and instituted fresh corps. The 
slingers seemingly make their first appearance in this 
king's reign, though the sling was known in Babylonia 
even before the time of Shar-Gani-sharri (cf. above, p. 
341). On the bas-reliefs of Sennacherib we see him fully 
armed with helmet, coat of mail, tunic reaching to the 
knees, close-fitting hose and a short boot, none of which 
can have added to the efficiency of his services. There 

1 Cf. Botta, Monument, II, Pis. 90, 93. 


were four types of archer, two heavy-armed and two 
light-armed. The most heavily armed (cf. Fig. 1 03) wore 
a tunic, a coat of mail reaching to the waist, hose, short 
boots, and a conical helmet, and are protected by long 
shields carried by a shield-bearer. The next class have 
no shield protection, and their legs and feet are entirely 
bare (cf. Fig. 104). The better equipped of the light- 
armed are clad in a short tunic, wear a peculiar kind of 
fillet round their heads, and sandals on their feet, while 
they carry short swords at their sides and quivers on 
their backs. Last come the lightest equipped archers of 

FIG. 103. 

FIG. 104. 

FIG. 105. 

all, who wear a striped tunic 1 reaching down to the knees 
and somewhat longer behind than in front (cf. Fig. 105). 
Their feet, arms and legs are bare, and fillets form their 
sole head-gear, while they are seldom armed with short 
swords like the preceding. 

There were apparently two classes of spearmen in 
Sennacherib's army ; the better equipped wear a coat of 
mail over their tunics, a conical helmet, hose on their 
legs, and boots on their feet, while they are generally 
armed with a comparatively short spear, a rather large 
convex shield, and the usual short sword. The second 
division are equipped in much the same way as the light- 
armed spearmen of Sargon, and wear plain tunics, cross 
belts, and crested helmets, but unlike the spearmen of 
1 Cf. Rawlinson, Five Monarchies, II, p. 49. 


Sargon they usually have sleeves to their tunics, wear 
hose on their legs, boots on their feet, and sometimes 
carry a long convex shield arched at the top instead of a 
round one. Yet another class of foot-soldiers deserve 
a mention ; these are armed with double-headed axes 
which they use to cut down trees and clear the road for 
the passage of troops. Their equipment closely resem- 
bles that of the better-armed spearmen. The army in 
Ashur-bani-pal's time is much the same as it was in the 
time of Sennacherib ; it comprised bowmen, spearmen, 
mace-bearers, warriors armed with battle-axes and sling- 
ers. In regard to the latter it is interesting to note that 
the heavy armour of the slingers has been exchanged for 
a lighter and more serviceable garb. 1 

The principal weapon of the cavalry in the early 
period was the bow, though sword and shield both 
occur, but were apparently not much used. It was 
customary for the mounted archers to be accompanied 
by another mounted soldier whose office it was to hold 
the bridle of the archer's horse while the archer was 
aiming his arrow at the enemy. The attendant wears a 
plain tunic and an ordinary cap, while the archer has a 
pointed helmet, an embroidered tunic and a sword belt. 
Their legs and feet are bare to enable them to sit their 
horses firmly the latter being without saddles. In the 
time of Sargon the cavalry consisted partly of spear- 
men, partly of archers. Saddles or saddle-cloths some- 
what resembling those worn by European cavalry horses 
to-day were in regular use, while the unarmed attend- 
ants were no longer required, both archers and spear- 
men being able to manage their own steeds. The uni- 
forms worn by the cavalry were similarly much more 
elaborate than those worn by the mounted archers of 
the earlier period. Their tunics are close-fitting, but ex- 
pand below the waist into a kind of fringed kilt, they 
wear hose on their legs and long boots on their feet, 
1 Cf. Rawlinson, Five Monarchies, II, p. 43. 


which sometimes reached nearly up to the knee ; the prin- 
cipal weapons borne by the horsemen are bowsand spears, 
but they are frequently armed with a short sword as 
well, while the spearmen occasionally carry a bow and 
quiver as well as a spear and a sword (cf. Fig. 106). 

In Sennacherib's time, the ordinary cavalry are 
equipped in much the same way ; some of the regiments 
however are heavily armed with a coat of mail extend- 
ing to the bottom of the back (cf. Fig. 107). In the 

FIG. 106. 

sculptures of Ashur-bani-pal, the horses of the cavalry 
are sometimes covered with a large cloth similar to that 
carried by the chariot steeds (cf. Fig. 108), over which 
the saddle-piece is placed, but the equipment of the 
cavalry themselves shows little or no variation from that 
of former times. 

The charioteers form the last division of the 
Assyrian army to be briefly considered. The chariot 
contained at least two persons the driver and a war- 
rior ; but when the king took the field in person he 
was attended by a shield bearer, or sometimes two 


shield bearers, as well as by a charioteer. The normal 
weapon used by the chariot soldier is the bow, which 
he generally has full drawn, the arrow on the string ; 
he is however not infrequently girded with a sword, 
while a spear is often lying at his side within easy reach. 
He is sometimes merely clad in a tunic, sometimes in 
a long coat of mail reaching down at least as far as the 
knees, but having short sleeves, doubtless with a view 
to facilitating the manipulation of the bow. He either 
discharges his shafts from the chariot itself, or else dis- 
mounts in order to take a more certain aim ; in the latter 
case the attendant protects the bowmen by means of a 

FIG. 107. 

shield which he holds in his left hand, while in his right 
hand he holds a spear or sword wherewith to repel any 
close attack. The warrior generally wears a helmet which 
is occasionally furnished with side and front pieces made 
of metal scales, calculated to protect the shoulders, the 
nape of the neck, and sometimes even the chin, but the 
attendant as a rule has no covering for his head. 

The chariots were drawn by either two or three 
horses, but there was apparently never more than one 
pole ; accordingly when a third horse was harnessed to 
the chariot, he must have been attached by a rope or 
thong, and was probably taken as a relief-animal to fill 
the place of one of the others in the event of either of 
them being shot through. The trappings of the horses 


were often very elaborate, as may be seen in Figs. 83, 
while the chariots were also sometimes very ornate. 
There are two main types of war-chariot represented 
on the Assyrian bas-reliefs, one being characteristic of 
the earlier period, when Calah (Nimrud) was the capital 
of the empire, the other of the later epoch when the seat 
of the government was established at Nineveh. The 
chariots of the early period are low and short, the wheels 
being comparatively small, and as a rule only having six 
spokes, while the chariots portrayed on the later reliefs 
are generally more capacious and also loftier, while the 
wheels, which would appear to be about five feet in dia- 

meter,are normally eight- 
spoked (cf. Fig. 1 08). A 
position in one of these 
later chariots consequent- 
ly gave the warrior a good 
vantage ground for aim- 
ing at the enemy and also 
for viewing the situation. 
The poles of the chariots 

FlG - Io8 - of both periods frequently 

terminate in the head of an animal, an ox or a horse as 
the case may be. Sometimes a cross-bar was fixed to the 
end of the pole, which also occasionally terminated in the 
heads of animals, the cross-bar being at times straight, 
at others curved. 

From this brief description of the military equipment 
of the Assyrians, it will be at once manifest how elabor- 
ate must have been the organization of the army. Refer- 
ence has frequently been made to the conical-shaped 
helmets of the soldiers, and the similarly shaped tiaras 
of the kings, but it must not be supposed that all Assy- 
rian head-gears were conical. Some idea of the diver- 
sity of head-coverings used in Assyria may be gained 
from the selection reproduced in Fig. 109. The most 
noteworthy of these is the horned crown in the centre 


(A), which was worn by the colossal winged-bulls. The 
horns which are the symbol of divinity, occupy a promi- 
nent position on the head-coverings of nearly all Baby- 

lonian and Assyrian gods, and their presence on the 
head-gear of a human-headed bull is indicative of the 
divine character with which they endowed these colossi. 
The top of this massive crown or hat is decorated with 
a row of feathers, while its face is adorned with the 
familiar rosettes. In (B) we have a royal tiara, and (C), 


(D), (E) and (F) illustrate the different kinds of fillets 
worn round the head, while (G) to (M) exhibit the var- 
ious types of helmets used in the Assyrian army. 

The offensive and defensive weapons of the Assyrians, 
however, exhibit even greater variations than their hel- 
mets. Few actual weapons have been preserved, but 
thanks to the vast quantity of bas-reliefs which Botta 

FIG. no. 

and Layard have rescued from the ruined mounds of 
Assyria, we are able to form some idea of the extensive- 
ness of an Assyrian armoury. The weapons of the 
ordinary soldier are sufficiently simple in character, but 
those which kings, demigods, or viziers wear are often 
most ornate. In Fig. 1 10 we have a selection of the 
more striking weapons represented on the bas-reliefs. 
(A),(B),(C)and(D) show us four different kinds of pike 
wielded by the warriors of Ashur ; they vary in length 
and their handles differ, but they all have a more or 


less diamond-shaped blade, while the arrow-heads (E) 
are shaped in the same manner. The two extremities 
of the bow from which the king despatches his unerr- 
ing shafts into the heart of the enemy, the lion, or the 
wild bull, and for which he also finds use in the per- 
formance of religious ceremonies, often find their ter- 
mination in the head of a bird (F). But though the 
arrows themselves are severely practical in their appear- 
ance, the quivers in which they reposed when " off 
duty " are more elaborate (cf. (G)-(L)). The largest of 
these quivers could accommodate as many as five arrows 
(cf. (L)), but the normal number seems to have been 
four. The quiver was slung over the back by means of 
cords (cf. (G), (J) and (L)). The swords would appear 
to have been generally straight ((M) (N)), though some- 
times curved (O). The sword-hilt was frequently 
adorned with several lions' heads, while the scabbard it- 
self was often decorated with lions, the result of which is 
highly ornamental and effective. The sceptre was a cere- 
monial weapon inoffensive without doubt, but elo- 
quently symbolic of royalty (cf. (P)), while the dirk 
(Q) on the other hand is brandished in a most alarm- 
ing manner by the composite monstrosities portrayed 
on the palace walls of Ashur-nasir-pal. 

But by far the most formidable military invention of 
the warlike Assyrians was the battering-ram ; the ram 
was brought to bear upon the wall of the besieged city by 
a movable tower, in the shelter of which the ram could be 
effectively and safely worked, the tower and the batter- 
ing-ram thus forming together a most potent factor in 
both offensive and defensive operations. These mov- 
able towers were by no means uniform, but varied both 
in size and height, sometimes they were surmounted 
by towers (cf. Fig. 1 1 1 (A)) from which the attacking 
forces could shower their arrows upon the beleaguered 
army with impunity, at other times they were quite low 
and shaped liked a torpedo, the larger ones resting on 


six wheels (cf. Fig. 44), and the smaller on four (Q). 
The ram itself also varied sometimes it was set at an 
angle slanting upwards (A), itsprojectingextremity being 

at the same time heavier and thicker than the shaft, but 
more usually the ram was fixed horizontally and pointed 
like a spear (B), the tower sometimes being armed with 
two of these rams (C). The most noticeable of the 
shields here represented are the large shields, from be- 
hind the shelter of which the bowman could aim and 


shoot at his ease, the shield of course being held in 
position by a shield-bearer (cf. (D), (E), (F)). These 
large shields were generally upright (F), but were often 
curved at the top to protect the head of the archer from 
the missiles of the enemy (D), while sometimes the whole 
shield was curved (E). But the lancers required no such 
protection, a small hand-shield which they could carry 
themselves being the only type of defence which would 
not completely nullify their usefulness in the field. 
These shields varied in shape and size ; they were 
generally round (cf. (G)-(K)), but sometimes curved 
and oblong (L), while at other times they were concave 
in the body, oval at the top, straight at the bottom, and 
decorated with a boss in the centre and an engraved de- 
sign round the edge (cf. (N)). Another type of shield 
was shaped somewhat like a lozenge (O), but they all 
alike have their handles in the centre. They were often 
most elaborately engraved, the designs being formed by 
an arrangement of straight lines ((G) and (P)), geo- 
metrical figures ((H) and (L)), or circles of rosettes ((I) 
and (J)). One of the shields illustrated here differs 
from the rest in having its outer face notched like the 
edge of a saw, and must have served offensive as well 
as defensive purposes (cf. (M)). 

But the Assyrians waged war " terra marique," on 
the sea as well as on dry land, and in Fig. 112 (A) 
we have an example of one of the war-galleys used 
by Sennacherib in his pursuit of the Babylonian rebels 
across the mouth of the Persian Gulf. It is a bireme, 
i.e. a boat with two banks of oars ; below are the oars- 
men, while the warriors are stationed on an upper 
deck. The boat is shaped rather like a cutter in front, 
but the stern ends off in a sweeping upward curve, and 
there is a mast and cross-beam secured by yards in 
the fore-part of the galley. The course of the boat is 
steered by means of two oars worked from behind, 
which differ in shape from those used to propel the 


boat. In (B) we have another variety of this type of 
craft : here both ends of the boat are curved, the ex- 
tremities being squared off instead of pointed as in (A), 
and there is moreover no mast, but in (C) we have a 

different kind of boat altogether ; it is an open boat 
with only one bank of oars and there are no warriors 
aboard. There are only four rowers and their oars are 
totally different from those used in the war-galleys, the 
oars of the galleys resembling long shafted spades, while 
those here are not unlike hockey sticks. Both prow and 


stern arc curved, the hitter terminating in a horse's 
head, and in the centre of the boat there is a mast. 
The custom of decorating the ends of a boat with an 
animal's head, no doubt originated among the Phoeni- 
cians, who were the maritime people of the Oriental 
world. In one of the scenes on the bronze gates from 
Balawat we see Shalmaneser II receiving the tribute of 
the ships of Tyre and Sidon (D) ; these ships, or rather 
boats, are curved at either end, while both prow and 
stern are figured with the heads of camels. Only two 
men are required to manipulate the heavily laden craft, 
one of whom is apparently steering, while the other is 
pulling the boat along with the aid of a very heavy and 
clumsy-looking oar. But war-galleys were not the only 
boats in use in the time of Sennacherib ; a lighter and 
far smaller boat was employed for the transport of goods 
(E). The cargo occupies the centre of this odd little 
vessel, on either side of which two oarsmen are busily 
plying their oars. Strange to say, they appear to be 
pulling in opposite directions, but we must possibly 
attribute this anomaly to the sculptor's ignorance of 
nautical affairs ; the oars are quite different from those 
employed in the battleships, but they are exactly the 
same as those used on the cargo raft above (F) ; the 
raft seems to be loaded with large blocks of stone ; the 
wooden raft by itself is clearly incapable of sustaining 
so heavy a weight, and the requisite buoyancy is attained 
by fastening inflated skins to the nether part of the raft. 
A kind of reed raft seems to have been used for tra- 
versing the marshy districts of Lower Mesopotamia 
(H), the reeds being tied together by means of osiers, 
and the water excluded by a covering of leather or a 
thick coating of bitumen. These reed crafts sometimes 
assume the form of flat rafts, while at other times they 
resemble canoes. 



r ~V* HANKS to the indefatigable labours of Pere Scheil 
JL and M. Thureau-Dangin, and to the admirable 
work of M. Genouillac on Sumerian Society y in which 
that scholar publishes, translates and comments on many 
of the early tablets from Tello, we are able to obtain a 
very fair idea of the manners and customs of the Sumer- 
ians at the time of the first dynasty of Lagash. 

An investigation of the conditions of any society 
naturally commences with a brief consideration of the 
laws, which regulated the process of propagation upon 
which the continuance and prosperity of the community 
ultimately depends. It would appear that from the earli- 
est Sumerian times marriage was regarded in the light 
of a legal contract, and divorce could similarly only be 
effected by legal procedure. But the Sumerian marriage 
laws of the time of Lugal-anda and Urukagina differed 
from the European laws of to-day in at least one impor- 
tant point, the contract being made by the man with 
his father-in-law rather than with his prospective wife, 
and consequently in the case of divorce it was the father- 
in-law and not the divorced wife who was entitled to 

Polyandry was evidently not unknown, for Urukagina 
had occasion to apply the utmost rigour of the law to its 
repression, although it had hitherto been by no means 
condoned, but was on the contrary already regarded as a 



criminal offence, and not only was this the case, but even 
polygamy seems to have been discountenanced, for such 
expressions as " the wife of the priest of Nin-girsu," or 
" the wife of the patesi " implicitly suggests that there 
was only one lady in it, and that there was no liability 
to confusion in the matter. It is however quite conceiv- 
able that the patesi had an official wife, just like the 
priests of Amen, or the kings of Egypt, the other ladies 
of the harem not ranking with the royal spouse or en- 
joying the same distinguishing appellative, but this is of 
course a matter of conjecture. However that may be, 
there is abundant evidence to show that the Sumerians 
compare very favourably with other primitive peoples 
in their regard for and treatment of women. They could 
act as free agents in the matter of property, and could be 
legal witnesses to contracts, while widows were especi- 
ally safeguarded against the extortion of those in power, 
and the very poor were legally protected against the 
rapacity of the priest, who exacted a kind of tithe from 
the members of the community. Two other social re- 
forms carried out during this reign are noteworthy in this 
connection, one being the abolition of the tax hitherto 
laid upon the parties to a divorce, and the other, the re- 
duction of the priests' burial fees. But in spite of the 
checks that it was thus found necessary to place upon the 
extortionate priesthood, the service of the gods was de- 
serving of special recompense, and thus it was that in 
accordance with this principle an orphan, the son of a 
priestess of the goddess Bau, received a larger pension 
than other orphans. 

But apart from what may be termed domestic and 
family duties, women were expected to perform other 
functions even as early as the time of Urukagina. Some 
women devoted themselves to the more menial services 
of the gods and attended to the offerings of the sanctu- 
ary ; others again were employed as weavers, while 
another class of women attached to the court were occu- 


pied with the care of sheep, goats and other sma 
domestic animals. Some again were gate-keepers, an 
a certain number pursued the art of hair-dressing. 

As might be expected, the trades pursued by me 
were more numerous and various. The boat-buildin 
trade engaged a considerable number of the men c 
Lagash, while carpenters and furniture-makers als 
appear to have had plenty to do. The currier's trad 
similarly flourished, and among the more aestheti 
trades which were practised, perfumery and jewellery ma 
be specifically mentioned, while of the proficiency t 
which the art of metal-working and stone-carving ha 
been brought, we have abundant evidence in the numer 
ous bas-reliefs, figures and statuettes that have com 
down to us. A large part of the working populatio 
were gardeners or tillers of the soil, for the Babylonian 
hadlong since emerged from the bedouin stage of primi 
tive civilization, and had settled upon the land, whicl 
they cultivated apparently with great success. Amonj 
the domesticated animals of which they made use, th 
cow, the sheep, the ass and the goat may be specificall 
singled out. The ass was used both for riding and alsi 
for draft purposes. The ox was the principal beast o 
labour, his services being required both in the work o 
irrigation and in the transport of building materials 
though the ass was also sometimes employed for thes> 
and similar purposes. The ox was further used for food 
while cows were seemingly reserved for breeding and fo 
supplying milk, from which they made butter, and pos 
sibly also cheese. The sheep was reared for the doubli 
purpose of providing wool as a material for clothing 
and meat for consumption, some breeds being held ii 
particularly high value for their wool, while others wen 
specially prized for their tastiness as an article of diet 
though some were utilized for both of these purposes 
It appears to have been the custom to offer the flesh o 
the sheep in whole or in part to the gods before morta 


man ventured to partake thereof, the shorn wool being 
given over to the female weaver of the harem. The 
sheep enjoying the especial royal patronage was white 
in colour, and was th umably the most un- 

common ami the most highly valued, while the com- 
monest breed was brown. The male sheep or lamb 
isually selected for sacrifice to the gotls in pn 
ro the female. The kid seems to have been re- 
garded as a medium of exchange, at all events rent was 
paid by means of kids, or sometimes sheep, while the 
goat often served as a sacrificial victim as we have 
elsewhere. 1 The kids belonging to the goddess Hau 
were tended by the women of the harem, though also 
sometimes by herdsmen. Goats as well as sheep were 
held in high value for their wool, two species being par- 
ticularly singled out, one being known as the white- 
rleeced goat and the other as the black-fleeced. Other 
animals of a nondescript character also played an impor- 
tant part in the life of the people as well as in the service 
of the gods. Birds too formed part of the offerings due 
to the powers above, the principal of which were appar- 
ently the goose, the duck, the chicken and the turtle 

The fertility of the soil naturally encouraged its culti- 
vation even in the earliest times. Part of the land in 
the time of Urukagina belonged to the royal domains, 
the remainder being occupied by private individuals. 
Cereals, such as corn and barley, were cultivated with 
success, as in the days of Herodotus, 2 while some of the 
land was reserved for fruit trees and vegetable products. 
But the land was not entirely divided up into crown- 
lands and landed estates, " small ownership " accounted 
for a certain amount of the available ground, and it would 
appear that even poor women sometimes had their little 
plots ; the small owners were often however the victims 
of the extortionate capitalist, ami their wrongs from time 
i Ct. p. i . - 0. j.. 10, 


to time called for redress. On such occasions the officu 
entrusted with the task of readjusting matters took grea 
care to distinguish between arable-land and land whic 
did not admit of being cultivated. The supervision c 
the royal estates involved, as might be expected, th 
employment of a wholearmy of agricultural officials wit 
different degrees of responsibility and varying dutk 
to perform. Agriculture in the time of Urukagina eve 
as to-day entailed a regular series of operations: the Ian 
had to be ploughed, the seed sown, and the harve: 
reaped, and last, but perhaps the most important an 
the most laborious of all, there was the work of irrig; 
tion, which in a land subject to floods in winter and 
rainless semi-tropical heat in summer required constar 
attention and an infinite amount of hard work. Th 
cutting of canals, even in our own day, with all the aj 
pliances at the disposal of modern hydraulic science, 
by no means an easy or quickly accomplished task, an 
we can readily understand that the labour was no les 
and the process no simpler some four or five thousan 
years ago. The work of irrigation, so essential and 
arduous, was not left to individual enterprise, but w; 
undertaken by the state and formed one of the princ 
pal departments of public works, and the early rule 
of Lagash seem to have been as proud of their irrig; 
tion-engineering performances as they were of the 
triumphs on the battle-field. The persons employe 
were either regular engineers, or else navvies turned c 
to the work for the time being. But the work of irrig 
tion was not finished with the cutting of the canals 
some means had to be devised for conveying the wat 
from the canals to the soil. No doubt in earlier tinv 
this was done by means of a hand machine, perhaps co; 
sisting in a bucket attached to a pole, to the other er 
of which a counterpoising weight was suspended. 1 
Assyrian times, 1 these machines were set by the side 

1 Cf. Johns, j4n Assyrian Doomsday Book, p. 19. 

LIFK, MANM-R>. ET< , 369 

a " pit" or cistern, which was often a depression in the 
bed of the , into which the buckets were lowered 

and from which they were raised when full, or e 
pit dug actually on the field into which the water of the 
canal flowed by means of a runnel. The machine itself 
implest form resembles the modern "shaduf,"such 
as Was used in ancient Kgypt * and is in common use 
among the fellahin of Up; ;>t to-day. But on big 

essome more efficient apparatus would be obviously 
required, and was undoubtedly used, at all events by 
the Assyrians. What the larger machines were, we do 
not know, but as Johns suggests, they may have very 
possibly consisted in a set of buckets fastened to a wheel, 
which was revolved by oxen, the buckets taking up the 
water as the wheel brought them to the bottom, and 
emptying their contents on their way round : but what- 
ever the machine was it must have been fairly elaborate, 
for it sometimes required as many as eight oxen to 
work it. 

The important part which agriculture played in the 
life of the community is shown by the name of one of 
the months which was called " the month during which 
the oxen labour." The rainy season of November and 
December over, the labourers proceeded to sow the 
the harvest of which was to be reaped in the summer 
during the " month of harvesting." The corn was cut 
with a kind of sickle, after which the grain was beaten or 
else trodden by oxen on the field itself. Next it 

d through a sieve, and was then ready to be dis- 
tributed or stored in the granaries. 

As we have already seen, much the same animals were 
reared for the maintenance and comfort of man some 
five thousand years ;ILM> as to-day. Human nature and 
human requirements yary but little compared with the 
marked differences which separate one civilization from 
another, and one stage of culture from one more primi- 

1 Cf. Frmnn, Life in Ancient Egypt, \. Wilkinson, I, p. 281. 

3 8 


tive or more advanced, though these differences are 
indeed superficial rather than fundamental, but the 
elementary laws upon which human life depends essen- 
tially belong to those things which are fundamental, 
and in that sense they are eternal. Thus it was that 
the members of Urukagina's community partook of 
beef, mutton or lamb according to the season, as we do 
to-day ; his bill of fare however not only comprised 
joints but also poultry and birds chicken, duck, goose, 
or turtle as the case might be. Fish of all kinds, in- 
cluding both fresh-water and salt-water fish, were pre- 
pared in various ways for food, while milk, butter and 
cheese all appear to have been in regular use. Wheat 
and barley, as we have several times had occasion to 
note, were grown on a large scale, and without doubt 
formed the staple food of the people, providing them 
with an ample supply of material for cakes and different 
kinds of bread, including milk loaves and black bread. 
The principal fruits which were cultivated at this period, 
were dates, figs, pomegranates and grapes : they were 
eaten cooked and uncooked, sometimes forming part 
of a fruit salad, at other times being made into fruit 

The date-palm flourished everywhere and was a 
principal means of support to the poor, while the dates 
themselves seem to have been used as a medium of 
exchange. The apple appears to have been cultivated 
and to have furnished certain drink, 1 while the tamarisk 
provided a kind of sweet gum. As regards vegetables, 
onions, radishes, cucumbers and beans appear to have 
been the most favoured, though various other vegeta- 
ble products, which have not as yet been identified, are 
mentioned in the texts. At this early period the art of 
fermenting cereals was already known, and beer, date- 
wine, and other alcoholic drinks were to be found in the 
Sumerian cellars. 

1 Cf. Gcnouillac, p. xlix. 

i. IFF-:, MANNI-:K- en 371 

With their arts and UMIN PTC have dealt cKcwhcr 
also with their architectural remains, which however 
afford us little or no information regarding the structure 
of private dwelling-places, hut from the literature we 
learn that wood as well as brick was used more exten- 
sively in their building operations than we should 
pose. Wool formed the principal material for making 
clothes, though linen was also possibly manufactured,' 
while fur was sometimes worn, presumably in the cold 

Business transactions were made by contracts, the 
transactions in question usually having reference to the 
sale of slaves, animals or other property. The validity 
of the contracts apparently depended upon their being 
duly attested, as in later times, the witnesses receiving 
gifts for their services. In regard to the purchase of 
slaves, and the price which they fetched in the market, 
it is a significant fact that according to the stele of 
Manishtusu, an ass and a slave were worth exactly the 
same, which betrays a lack of appreciation of the superi- 
ority of the working capacity of a human being over 
that of a brute beast. 

But the crown and the church took good care not to 
allow the laity the full possession of their own property, 
and managed to make a very comfortable livelihood for 
themselves by means of various impositions and taxes. 
Farm produce, garden fruits, fish, cattle, wool and per- 
fumes were all levied as royal or ecclesiastical dues, 
while the temple sacrifices were of course for the most 
part mere perquisites of the priests, though the latter 
had to hand a goodly proportion over to their royal 

A civilization such as this, with its commercial enter- 
prises and its legal transactions, of course presupposes 
the invention of systems for ascertaining the weights 
and measures of the various objects and different forms 
> Cf. P . 346. 


of property with which those transactions were immedi- 
ately concerned. There was a square or area measure, 
a sine qua non in property-conveyancing ; there was a 
long measure, equally necessary for the sale and pur- 
chase of wood or stuffen goods, the smallest unit of 
which appears to have been the thumb. Then again 
the daily requirements of man made the invention of a 
measure of capacity an absolute necessity. Other modes 
of reckoning besides the regular metrical systems were 
however sometimes adopted, thus fishermen appear 
to have sold their fish either by number or by the bas- 
ket, while liquids were measured by means of different 
sized vessels. Lastly there was a weight measure, which 
was the same in Urukagina's time as in that of the later 
dynasty of Ur. 


The religion of the Babylonians and Assyrians was 
polytheistic throughout the whole course of their his- 
tory. It is true that in later times a certain tendency 
towards monotheism was exhibited, but it never became 
forcible enough to create such a revolution in the re- 
ligious ideas of the people as the change from poly- 
theism to monotheism necessarily implies. The gods 
worshipped in the later period of Gudea were, with the 
exception of Nin-gish-zi-da the personal god of Gudea, 
known and venerated in the time of Urukagina. 1 It is 
further an interesting and noteworthy fact that the name 
Gishgibilgemesh(Gilgamesh)is sometimes accompanied 
by the determinative for " god " in the literature of the 
time, a clear indication that even at this date the hero 
of Babylonian folk-lore was accredited with divine or 
quasi-divine attributes. The local god of Lagash was 
Nin-girsu ; to him the land belonged, and it was he who 
entrusted the government of it to the king ; the people 
of Lagash are indeed identified with their divine lord, 
their triumphs are his, and their wrongs are crimes 
1 Cf. Genouillac, p. Hi. 


ulhead. The priest of v u ranked 

immediately after the patesi himself, and his temples 

n ti rely national in character. The very , 
the patesi was in reality the house of Nin-girsu, while 
that of his queen was the dwelling place of Nin-gir 
divine spouse, the goddess Bau. Another goddess who 
was deeply revered and worshipped even as early as 
Ur-Nina's day was the Lady Nina, from whom the 
founder of the dynasty derived his royal name, while 
the goddess Gatumdug, in whose honour Ur-Nina built 
a temple, was regarded as the "Mother of Lagash." 
En-lil, the ever famous lord of Nippur, also occupied 
a prominent place in the assemblage of gods at thistime ; 
he is mentioned first in the royal protocols of Kanna- 
tum and Entemena, and is also tirst in the divine invo- 
cations on the Vulture Stele of the former ruler. 

Huttheinfluenccof the powers unseen upontheminds 
and lives of the people is reflected in the authority of the 
priests. The priest, minister or servant is not in truth 
" greater than his lord," but his authority and his power 
are entirely proportional to those enjoyed by his heaven- 
born master. The temptation on the part of earthly 
emissaries to abuse the power which their position gives 
them is generally found to be irresistible, and the priests 
of Lagash were, as we have seen, no exceptions to the 
all but universal rule. The power enjoyed by the high 
priest of Nin-girsu may be judged from the fact that 
both Knlitarzi and Enetam occupied this position be- 
fore they ascended the throne. 

Sacrifice formed the principal part of early Sumerian 
worship ; animals, birds, fruit, vegetables, bread and 
cakes all contributing to the heavily-laden altars of the 
gods, and incidentally to the rapacious appetites and 
pockets of the priests ; offerings were also made to the 
statues of the living and the dead, the offerings being 
placed on an altar close to the statue ; thus a certain 
Shagshag seems to have derived satisfaction by placing 


offerings before her own effigy, while the statue of the 
deceased Ur-Nina was similarly honoured. Another 
interesting practice in vogue at this period was that of 
burning oil-lamps before the statues. The latter were 
apparently votive in character, and they seem to have 
performed the religious obligations required of the 
people whom they represented, to have actually offered 
the prayers inscribed on their lifeless bodies, and, in 
short, to have played the noble part of a vicarious wor- 
shipper. Without doubt this is the real explanation of 
the devotional attitude displayed by Gudea in his 
statues. Magic and divination, the ever-ready hand- 
maids of all primitive religions, were cultivated and 
fervently believed in at this period as in later times, 
prophets, seers, and dream-interpreters being almost as 
much in demand as they are to-day. 

A special order of priests was appointed to take fune- 
rals and perform the necessary rites and ceremonies, and 
they received fees or honoraria for their services. The 
dead required sustenance in the grave, and it was cus- 
tomary to place seven jars of liquor and four hundred 
and twenty loaves of bread beside the corpse; this 
custom had become virtually binding and obligatory 
upon the unfortunate relations of the deceased, and one 
of Urukagina's reforms was the reduction of these dues. 

The temples themselves, which sometimes stood in 
their own grounds and were surrounded by a sacred 
wood, were enriched with statues, vases, inscribed slabs, 
treasures of silver and precious stones, and luxuries of 
all kinds. 

The actual and inward piety of the people of Lagash, 
as of the Babylonians and Assyrians of a later period is 
evinced in the divinely-compounded names which they 
bore, names which were clearly intended to secure the 
assistance and favour of the god whose earthly name- 
sakes they were, and in whose honour these names were 
compounded. Thus the designation of one individ- 


iul is ik Kn-lil is my defence," of another, " Ban is my 
mother/' and of a third "Enki is my companion," names 
which vividly recall some of the proper names in the Old 
Testament. Another striking testimony to the reality 
of what may be termed the individual religion of those 
days, is the prevailing belief in the beneficence of one 
particular god towards oneself; it is clear that the per- 
sonal element in the religious feelings and aspirations of 
the times was not satisfied by the oblations and cere- 
monies of the official cults, but sought and presumably 
found satisfaction in the comforting belief that some one 
god really understood the peculiar circumstances, difficul- 
ties and perplexities of the aspirant, and, understanding, 
might be counted upon to render help in time of need. 


The reign of Khammurabi is in some respects the 
half-way house in the history of Mesopotamia!! civiliza- 
tion. The king was of course the supreme head of the 
state, and indeed he was not only "the first gentleman" 
in Babylonia, but also enjoyed the unique privilege and 
blessing of being a demigod. The deification of kings 
was a practice in vogue centuries before the time of 
Khammurabi, and it was doubtless a practice assidu- 
ously cultivated by the kings themselves. Some of the 
early Semite kings of Kish were deified after death, 
while the name of Shar-Gani-sharri of Agade is often 
written with the divine determinative, and the name of 
his son Naram-Sin is hardly ever written without it. 
But during the later dynasty of Ur the practice grew 
up of deifying the king while still alive, instead of wait- 
ing for him to take his seat on the bench of gods after 
death. Of Khammurabi's divine nature we have evi- 
dence in the use of such names as " Kammurabi-ilu " 
(= Khammurabi is god), as well as in the frequent 
coupling of his name with those of the gods in oaths. 


After the king, but a long way after, come the no- 
bility and gentry, a class which not only comprehended 
the men of high birth but also those who, though arti- 
sans, had the distinction of belonging to old trade 
guilds, among which may be mentioned carpenters, 
tailors, builders, or potters. Next came what may be 
termed the lower middle classes, while at the bottom 
rung of the ladder if indeed he can correctly be said 
to have been on the ladder at all was the slave, 
who was nothing more than a piece of goods or a 

The full extent of Khammurabi's empire is not 
known, but his claim to immortality rests not on the 
ever-shifting sands of territorial aggrandizement, but on 
the solid rock of moral progress. To form an accurate 
estimate of the influence which Khammurabi's code of 
laws has had on the Mosaic code and indirectly on the 
European codes of to-day is beyond our power, but one 
fact is indisputable, and that is that the legal code of 
Khammurabi some four thousand years ago enshrines 
many of those principles of justice and mercy which we 
are apt to regard as the peculiar offspring of our own 
enlightened age. 

Many however of the laws embraced in this world- 
famed code showlittle or no variation from those in force 
if not actually systematized in the time of Urukagina. 
The laws relating to marriage are almost a replica of 
those which obtained among the early Sumerians, the 
contract being still made between the suitor and the 
father of the prospective bride, to whom he nor- 
mally paid a price for his daughter's hand, the price 
of course varying according to the station in life of the 
parties concerned. The sum given to the father was 
often handed over by him to his daughter, but if no 
children were born of the marriage the man was entitled 
to receive back the price he had paid for his wife on her 
death, if it had not been returned to him previously. 


The father in his turn usually gave his daughter a dowry 
or marriage-portion, which on her death reverted to the 
family in the event of her having no children. The 
dowries often comprised various kinds of property in- 
cluding gold and silver, slaves, furniture and apparel, 
and generally appear to have exceeded in value the mar- 
riage-price paid by the husband. If children born of 
the marriage survived the wife, her dowry was divided 
amongst them. Even if the woman was divorced she 
retained her marriage-portion, though it was forfeited 
in the event of gross moral misconduct on her part. In 
the eyes of the law a married man and woman were one, 
each being held accountable for the other's debts, not 
excepting even prenuptial liabilities. But though the 
Babylonian of Khammurabi's day, as in the time of Uru- 
kagina, was apparently a monogamist, he was permitted 
to have a concubine in the event of his wife not provid- 
ing him with an heir, the children of the concubine being 
regarded as legitimate, and the concubine being entitled 
to all the respect and consideration due to a wife. There 
are various clauses in the code dealing with special cases, 
such as the marriage of a free woman with a slave, or the 
marriage of votaries, but for a detailed account of these, 
reference must be made to the standard works on the 
Khammurabi Code, among which may be specially men- 
tioned Harper's Code of Hammurabi 1 and John's transla- 
tion of the code in his Babylonian and Assyrian Laws, 
Contracts and Letters. 

As in the earlier period, the Babylonians of Kham- 
murabi's day were essentially an agricultural people, but 
since the time of Urukagina, agriculture had developed 
enormously, and the relationship of landlord to tenant, 
and of employer to labourer, was regulated and fixed 
by a number of legal enactments embodied in the code. 

1 This work comprises an autographed text, transliteration, transla- 
tion, glossary, index of subjects, list of proper names, signs and numerals, 
together with a map, frontispiece, and photograph of text. 


Ordinary arable land was let at a fixed rental, the rent 
being paid in corn, but the owner was entitled to a de- 
posit, and non-payment of the rent was a legal debt. The 
code contains two special provisions, the effect of which 
must have been to make the tenant postpone the pay- 
ment of his rent as long as possible. The one enacted 
that if the rent had not been paid, or if the land had been 
lent on the share-profit principle and the crops were de- 
stroyed by a storm, the damage done was shared either 
equally or proportionally by landlord and tenant. If 
on the other hand the rent had been already paid, the 
tenant could claim no compensation. The share-profit 
system was very common, and in such cases the landlord 
generally received a half or two-thirds of the crop. But 
the inequalities calculated to arise from such a system 
were obvious, for though it safeguarded the tenant to 
some extent, it left the landlord without remedy in the 
event of his tenant being an idler, and to provide for 
such a case a clause was inserted to the effect that the 
negligent small owner should pay an average rent " like 
his neighbours." Often the landlord further secured 
himself by stipulating in the contract for the erection of 
a cottage on the land, or insisted on the tenant renting a 
cottage already built there, the cottage to be vacated on 
the termination of the lease. 

The tenant was empowered to sub-let his ground, 
the principal landlord's consent apparently not being 
necessary. The landlord was of course legally entitled 
to the rent agreed upon in the contract with his imme- 
diate tenant, but provided that was forthcoming, and 
the ground properly cultivated, he could raise no ob- 
jection. Sometimes the landlord found the seed, the 
necessary tools, and also the oxen, and in addition paid 
a wage to the farmer ; in this case the status of the 
tenant somewhat resembled that of a gardener in his 
cottage on an estate to-day. The seed, the oxen, and 
everything belonged to his master, and the penalty for 


any embezzlement of the same on the part of the tenant 
was the amputation of the latter's hands. Again, if a 
tenant of this kind were a rogue, he might hire out the 
oxen, purloin the provender he had received from his 
master for the said oxen, and at the same time produce 
no crop : in this case he was liable to a heavy fine, and 
if he were insolvent, he was torn to pieces by the oxen 
on the field which he had neglected to cultivate. 

The laws and regulations which applied to agricul- 
tural land-tenure, applied for the most part to the leas- 
ing of plantations and gardens as well. Thanks to the 
extraordinary fertility of Babylonian soil the owners of 
land became very wealthy ; this notwithstanding, the 
money-lender was not without clients. Unforeseen dis- 
asters occurred, which crippled the landowner, and but 
for the money-lender he would not be able to tide over 
the trouble. As security for the loan he frequently mort- 
gaged his land, but the code enacted that he should at all 
times reap the crop himself, and pay off the debt and the 
money-lender's expenses from the produce. Moreover 
the money-lender was legally bound to accept such pro- 
duce or corn in settlement of the debt, and could not in- 
sist on being paid in money, unless, as was frequently the 
case, he had stipulated in the contract that the loan was 
to be repaid in the same form as that in which it had 
been received. As a further safeguard for the unfortu- 
nate money-borrower it was made illegal to exercise dis- 
traint for rent or anything else upon a working ox. This 
was a humane law, for the watering of the ground, as 
well as the ploughing of the soil and the threshing of the 
wheat, was largely done by oxen. 

The laws regulating the irrigation of the land were 
stringent owing to the disastrous consequences result- 
ing from negligence on the part of any concerned. 
Once the canals had been made, it was the bounden duty 
of each landowner, whether small or great, to keep that 
part of the canal which passed by or through his land 


in good repair. If that part of the bank of the canal for 
which he was responsible gave way, and the water there- 
by flooded his neighbour's land, he had to pay damages 
in full, and if he were insolvent he could be sold up. 
He was entitled to open a runnel to water his field, but 
if the water swamped the adjoining fields through some 
inadvertence or negligence on his part, he had to give 
full compensation. 

The wages, presumably the minimum wage of the 
labourer, was fixed by law, as also was the hire-price of 
oxen and wagons. The hirer of animals was under a 
legal obligation to take proper care of them, and omis- 
sion to do so involved a penalty. But if an accident 
occurred which the hirer could not be expected to fore- 
see or prevent such as an attack by a lion the owner 
had to bear the loss. This was also the case if the per- 
son in charge of the animal was a shepherd or herds- 
man in the owner's employ, the principle being the same 
in both cases. Wilful negligence was not to be condoned, 
but on the other hand, the consequence of unforeseen 
and unavoidable accidents was not to be visited upon 
either hirer or employee. 

The larger half of the working population in Khammu- 
rabi's time were probably engaged in agricultural pursuits 
while the remainder were occupied in trade or commerce. 
Now the expansion of trade depends upon the existence 
of an adequate means of transport, whereby exports can 
go out and imports come in. Before the invention and 
introduction of locomotives, water was the unrivalled 
medium for conveying large quantities of goods from 
one place to another, and even to-day with our interlac- 
ing networksof railways we still find use for the canals of 
primitive days. It was undoubtedly the two rivers, the 
Tigris and the Euphrates, that were accountable for the 
development of the trading faculty of the Babylonians, 
a faculty which ultimately made them thegreat commer- 
cial people of the Oriental world. We are accordingly 


not surprised to find that already, even in the time of 
Khammurahi, shipping was an important trade. A sure 
and certain indication of this fact is to he found in the 
number of laws directly concerning ship-builders and 
boatmen in the Code. The ship-builder, or rather the 
boat-builder, for ships properly so-called were a very 
much later invention, was absolutely responsible for 
his workmanship, and was required to give a year's 
guarantee to the purchaser ; if it proved faulty during 
that time he had to provide another. As in the case of 
the agricultural labourer, the hired boatman was respon- 
sible for the boat and cargo in his charge, and any negli- 
gence on his part was penal. If a ship collided with 
another ship riding at anchor, the colliding ship was 
liable for all damages. 

Business was carried on largely by means of agents 
as it is with us to-day. The agent gave a receipt for 
the goods or money he received from his chief, and then 
went off to trade with them. The agent generally ap- 
pears to have received an ordinary commission, which 
on his return he was expected to repay with a reasonable 
profit, the profit sometimes being a definitely fixed sum, 
at others, a prearranged share of the actual proceeds. 
As in our own day, some merchants were speculators, 
and all the uncertainty incidental to any kind of specu- 
lation seems to have surrounded the prospects of the 
agent, who doubtless at times scored well, while on 
other occasions he lost heavily. But any loss resulting 
from an untoward event which the agent could neither 
foresee nor prevent, had to be borne by the merchant. 
Thus if an agent were robbed in the course of his travels, 
he could clear himself from all liability in the matter by 
taking an oath to that effect. But this law might clearly 
lead to sharp practice on the part of a dishonest agent ; 
and accordingly any false claims on his part had to be re- 
paid threefold, but a false claim by a chief in regard to 
the goods entrusted to his agent had to be repaid six- 


fold. All business transactions had to be drawn up in 
writing to make them legal. 

The obvious advantages of partnership were soon 
recognized by the commercially sagacious Babylonians, 
and business-partnerships were well known in the time 
of Khammurabi. In arriving at the dividends, the usual 
arrangement was for the partners to withdraw their capi- 
tal and interest, and then receive equal shares of the 
superfluous profits. The dividends were made yearly 
and the withdrawal by each partner of his capital vir- 
tually dissolved the partnership, which could of course 
be renewed from time to time if desired. 

As in all commercial enterprises, capital was the one 
essential, and the need of immediate cash was supplied 
by the money-lender. The rate of interest charged in 
Khammurabi's time is not known, but the rate charged 
on loans of corn was often as much as forty per cent. 
Such loans were however generally in demand at seed- 
time, and if repaid at harvest, no interest seems to have 
been charged. A debtor could repay his loan either in 
the form of corn or sesame, and the value of each was 
fixed by law. If a debtor was insolvent, he could hand 
over a servant to his creditor to work off the debt which 
was due. The ownership of such a servant was, how- 
ever, still vested in the debtor, and the servant was pro- 
tected by law against maltreatment at the hand of the 
creditor. If he were a free man, the creditor had to 
restore him to his original master at the termination of 
three years, and the same rule applied if a wife or child 
of the debtor were the pledge or surety. 

Distraint was not unknown, but it was the last expedi- 
ent which the creditor was entitled to adopt after all other 
means had failed* Distraint on corn without the pre- 
vious consent of the debtor was illegal, and illegal dis- 
traint ipso facto forfeited the right of any further claim 
on the part of the creditor, while the execution of a dis- 
traint where no claim had been substantiated was penal, 


and the theoretical creditor had to pay a fine. As before- 
mentioned no distraint could he levied on a workin. 
and indeed distraint of any kind could apparently only 
be issued subsequently to the consent of the debtor. In 
short, the interests of the humbler and poorer members 
of the community were safeguarded in every way pos- 
sible. Not only were the small farmers protected, but 
even the working-classes received the attention of the 
legislators of Khammurabi's time. Thus at harvest-time 
there was evidently a tendency to put up the price of 
beer, and accordingly a clause in the code enacts that 
drink was to be sold at a cheap rate in spite of the in- 
creased demand. 

Again, everyone in the community is practically at 
the mercy of the housebuilder, and accordingly any 
damage caused by the use of faulty materials or bad 
workmanship, had to be made good by the builder. If 
the house collapsed and the owner was killed, the builder 
was put to death, while if the owner's son or servant was 
killed, the son or servant of the builder was similarly 
put to death, in accordance with the primitive law of 
retaliation. House-tenure in the time of Khammu- 
rabi was generally on the repai ring-lease system, the 
tenant being required to leave the house in the same 
condition in which he found it, while it was customary 
to pay rent half-yearly instead of quarterly, therent being 
paid in advance. 

The ultimate sanction and enforcement of these var- 
ious laws concerning the relationshipsubsisting between 
capitalist and workman, owner and hirer, and landlord 
and tenant, was to be found in the courts. Strange to 
say, the chief scene of jurisdiction was the temple, the 
god himself adjudicating through the mediumship of 
his earthly plenipotentiaries. The precise form of legal 
procedure in the time of Khammurabi is not known, 
but certain facts in regard to the institution and con- 
duct of suits have been elucidated. 


One great difference between law-suits in the time 
of Khammurabi and those of our own day was that the 
cases were not apparently conducted by counsel, but by 
the parties them selves, an arrangement which must have 
considerably accrued to the advantage of the abler of 
the two suitors. The more important cases were heard 
by a bench of judges somewhat resembling our Court 
of Appeal, while the minor suits were heard by a single 
judge, as in our High Courts and County Courts. The 
plea had to be set down in writing in the form of an 
" affidavit " ; whether the defendant was able to file a 
counter-affidavit does not seem quite clear. At the trial 
itself the plaintiff and defendant both summoned their 
witnesses, and the judgment was signed by both parties. 
Appeal to a higher court was the only remedy for the 
loser of the suit, the judge in the lower court not being 
allowed to hear the same case a second time under pain 
of being struck off the list, and at the same time mulcted 
for twelve times the amount of the fine he had pre- 
viously ordered, or the damages he had assessed. 

The date of the trial was fixed by the judge, but it 
had to be within six months of the filing of the affi- 
davit. This time was allowed in order to enable the 
plaintiff to procure his witnesses in the event of their 
being absent from home. The appointment of the 
judges, or at least of some of them, was vested in the 
crown ; whether they were paid or not is a matter of 
doubt. Sometimes judgeships were hereditary. But 
whether judges received fees or not they appear to have 
been regarded as professional men and retained their 
title even after they had ceased to exercise their judicial 
functions. The supreme judge was the king himself, 
to whom cases of primary importance were occasionally 
referred, while the principal officers of state often 
acted as judges. 

The following crimes were capital offences, though 
the precise form in which the death sentence was to 


be carried out is not always quite clear : a false 
accusation of witchcraft ; perjury on the part of a 
witness in a capital case ; burglary of a temple, palace, 
or private house ; kidnapping a free-born child ; high- 
way robbery ; theft of the goods of a man whose house 
is on fire ; adultery ; various forms of incest ; rape of 
a betrothed maiden ; persuading a slave to flee from 
his master, or being an accessory after the fact by har- 
bouring him ; various forms of theft and fraud ; and 
building a house so badly that it collapsed and thereby 
killed the owner. The penalty of death appears to have 
been inflicted either by burning, impalement, dismem- 
berment, or drowning. 

Criminal offences of a less serious character were 
treated differently. Among the penalties enumerated in 
the code,mutilation, brandingand scourging are the most 
barbarous. Mutilation was a punishment based logic- 
ally on the " eye for an eye," and " tooth for a tooth " 
principle, its application being primarily to those who 
had mutilated their neighbour. But its application was 
extended to cover other forms of crime or offences ad- 
judged in those days as crimes, thus insolence on the part 
of an adopted child to his foster-parents was effectually 
stopped by the removal of the child's tongue ; while an 
adopted son who is unduly inquisitive into the origin 
of his birth has his eye plucked out; lastly and 
what perhaps to us seems the most amazing of all if 
a surgeon performed an operation and the patient died 
through any carelessness or lack of skill on his part, the 
surgeon's hands were amputated a law which must 
have considerably cooled the ardour of any of the sur- 
geons of those days particularly addicted to the use 
of the knife. Branding was the outward and visible 
sign (usually imprinted on the arm) of degradation to 
slavery, the punishment for slandering a votary or a 
married woman. Scourging was the penalty for strik- 
ing a superior ; the scourging was to be performed in 
2 c 


public, the strokes numbering sixty, and the implement 
used a cow-hide whip ; while banishment from the city 
was the very fitting and meet punishment for incest. 


The one outstanding feature of the Babylonian re- 
ligion of Khammurabi's time was the unique position 
assigned to Marduk in the Babylonian pantheon. Mar- 
duk owed his exaltation to what we may without undue 
levity call local interest. The dynasty of which Kham- 
murabi was so illustrious a monarch was the first dyn- 
asty of the city of Babylon itself; and Marduk the 
local god of Babylon naturally shared in the good for- 
tune and prosperity of the people over whose welfare 
he presided. To Marduk belonged the real credit, 
honour and glory of his people's success, what wonder 
then that he should be accorded the post of honour in 
the hierarchy of heaven ! Other gods indeed existed, 
and received such attention as befitted their inferior 
position, but their light was as that of a planet com- 
pared with the dazzling radiance of the midday sun, 
while a monotheistic tendency sprang up, fostered by 
a desire to attribute to Marduk such marvellous per- 
formances as the creation of the world, performances 
which had hitherto been ascribed to the older gods of 
Southern Mesopotamia. 

But reverence and respect for the traditions of a 
heroic past precluded the possibility of dishonouring 
the gods who had made that past so glorious, and the 
only way to satisfy the religious aspirations of Marduk's 
devotees on the one hand, and maintain the loyalty due 
to the time-honoured gods of Babylonian infancy on 
the other, was to identify the latter with Marduk ; had 
this process of identification been carried to its logical 
conclusion it would have resulted in the evolution of 
a monotheism as exclusive and as simple as the most 
dogmatic LJnitarianism of to-day. 


Fortunately or unfortunately such was not the case ; 
the practical sequence of the tendency was realized in 
the identification of Marduk with the ancient god of 
Nippur, but apart from that, the tendency remained a 
tendency and nothing more. Notwithstanding this fact 
however, Marduk's supremacy was so firmly established, 
and his position so impregnably secured, that the pass- 
ing changes and chances of some two thousand years 
were unable to oust him from his high estate, and it is 
to Marduk that Cyrus, the vanquisher of Babylon's last 
native king, and the fated heir to her evanescent em- 
pire, ascribes the triumphant victory which attended 
his arms. He recorded the acknowledgment of his ob- 
ligations to the lord of E-sagil on a clay cylinder now 
preserved in the British Museum. 

The inscription is written in cuneiform characters, 
and states that Marduk " sought out a righteous prince, 
a man after his own heart whom he might take by the 
hand, and he called his name Cyrus. And Marduk the 
great lord, the protector of his people, beheld his good 
deeds and his righteous heart with joy." Thus 1500 
years after the time of Khammurabi, the cult of Mar- 
duk was still intimately bound up with the prosperity 
of his people, and it was owing to the neglect of his 
worship and to the mal-preservation of his fanes that 
Nabonidus the last king of the Neo-Babylonian dynasty 
was unable to withstand the onslaughts of a foreign 

Although Marduk was thus the supreme god of Baby- 
lon, to whose shrine all true patriots were wont to resort, 
other gods were still the subjects of veneration, and it 
was still thought prudent to seek their favour and assist- 
ance. The sun continued to pursue the even tenor of 
his way, and after all, the sun is an important factor in 
the manifold operations of agriculture, it therefore be- 
hoves man to pay his respects to a god whose mere 
momentary absence behind a cloud of displeasure may 


bring about such momentous consequences. Among 
other deities worshipped at this time, mention should 
be made of Ishtar, the mother of the gods, and the god- 
dess of love and war, Anu the lord of heaven, and Ea 
the god of the deep, of Sin the moon-god and the specific 
patron of the people of Ur, of Ninib the god of war, and 
Adad the weather deity. 1 

The great religious movement which characterized 
the establishment of the first dynasty of Babylon, natur- 
ally brought in its train all the paraphernalia required 
by and incidental to a highly-organized state religion. 
The priesthood became a power, and the temples com- 
mercial centres as well as seats of learning. The revenue 
of the temple was very large ; its principal source seems 
to have been the endowments and royal bounties of 
the kings. As in earlier times, it owned a large num- 
ber of cattle and sheep, and the administration of its 
property seems to have caused Khammurabi a consider- 
able amount of anxiety. A great many priests and lay- 
men were attached to the service of the temple, and the 
spiritual labourer of those days seems to have deserved 
an altogether exorbitant hire. It was clearly a most 
profitable concern, and the privilege of serving in the 
temple was a positive asset which could be bought, sold, 
or mortgaged. This valuable privilege which brought 
such pecuniary advantages with it, was, needless to say, 
very jealously guarded by the elect, who firmly adhered 
to the hereditary principle then in full swing. These 
privileges were in fact inalienable and were transmitted 
from father to son. 

The financial prosperity of the temple and its attaches 
is shown by their opening their doors for financial busi- 
ness pure and simple, money-lending in time becoming 
quite an important branch of the temple work. The 
loans however seem to have generally been free loans, 
no interest being exacted. 

1 Cf. Jastrow, Religion, pp. 1 16 ff. 


But the temple had its obligations to perform as well 
as its privileges to enjoy, one of the duties incumbent 
upon the temple authorities being the ransoming of a 
fellow townsman who had been taken prisoner by the 


In Assyrian times the same explicit or implicit regula- 
tions in regard to the family seem to have been in force, 
or tacitly agreed to, as those which obtained in the older 
Babylonian period. Apparently a man was only expected 
in the normal way to marry one woman, though it seems 
probable that in the event of the first wife proving child- 
less it was regarded as quite justifiable and legitimate for 
a man to take to himself another woman, in view of the 
desirability of his having an heir. 1 Accordingly mono- 
gamy seems to have been the general rule, though poly- 
gamy was by no means unknown. When a man mar- 
ried, he left his father and mother and was expected to 
" cleave " unto his wife, and they became " one flesh " 
and inhabited " one house " ; in short, the Assyrian 
" home " was normally the same as the English " home " 
of to-day. As in the time of Khammurabi, women could 
be legal owners of property, and often owned farms and 
occupied vineyards. 

The general pursuits of the people were much the 
same as those followed by the earlier inhabitants of Me- 
sopotamia. The population was, as then, largely agricul- 
tural ; the land required the same careful and elaborate 
irrigation while the ground had to be ploughed, the seed 
sown, and the harvest reaped as heretofore. A corn-land 
holding 2 usually had a house attached to it, and also a 
court where the corn was stored, which thus served 
the purpose, if not resembling the appearance, of a barn. 
A large number of people were evidently employed in 

1 Cf. Johns, Doomsday Book, p. 26. 2 Ibid., p. 20. 


the vineyards, which must sometimes have been very 
extensive, for the number of plants in a single vine- 
yard in one case was as many as 49,300, and it is a 
significant fact that the most celebrated wines in Baby- 
lonia came from the north, while it is also worth noting 
the frequency with which the vine occurs on Assyrian 
bas-reliefs. Orchardsandgardensalso abounded, though 
what grew in them is to some extent a matter of con- 
jecture ; if however we may assume that the list of plants 
mentioned in the Babylonian Garden Tablet published 
by Meissner, holds good also for the Assyrian garden, 
leek, onion, garlic, lettuce, coriander, hyssop, turnip, 
cabbage, and radish must have been familiar garden 

Cattle and sheep were reared as in the old days, the 
latter both for their wool and also for food, while goats 
provided milk, as well as meat and hair, goat's hair 
being used even to-day in the East for the coverings of 
tents. Oxen were used largely for working the irriga- 
tion machines, while asses also served as beasts of labour. 
The camel was not unknown, and is often named in con- 
nection with the sales of estates. The horse at this period 
was in common use, but was seemingly reserved for 
riding and driving. 

The legal paraphernalia of Assyrian times was the 
natural development of the Babylonian law code of 
which it was the off-shoot. In the ownership of land 
the hereditary principle seems to have been the domi- 
nating factor, and probably farms and vineyards passed 
automatically from father to son in the same way as 
crown lands and larger estates. The peasant was still 
a serf, bought or sold with the land to which fate had 
attached him ; he was not permitted to migrate else- 
where, but on the other hand he was under the pro- 
tection of the state ; he could not be ousted by invaders, 
and his living was a first charge on the estate. It is 
certain that estate-slaves were sometimes requisitioned 


tor military or other state purposes, the owner ; 
of course compelled to meet the demand, while the 
produce of his land was also subject to taxation. Some 
estates were however exempt from dues of this kind, 
the exemption doubtless being granted by the royal 
favour and confirmed by royal charter. 

Among the smaller land-owners we find a number 
of farmers or vine-owners who have forsaken business 
or industrial pursuits, and have left the bakery and the 
scribe's office to return to the soil. 

The landlord frequently did not reside on his land, 
but let it out to tenants, whom he expected to pay rent 
in due season. The original ownership of land was no 
doubt largely if not entirely the gift of the king, while 
conquests would continually place fresh tracts of land in 
his hands. Probably some of the newly acquired pro- 
perty went to swell the extent of the crown lands, while 
the rest or part of the rest was distributed among the 
king's ministers, generals and other court favourites. 


The Assyrian religion was Babylonian both in origin 
and character. Anu, Bel, and Ea, Marduk, Nergal, 
Adad, Shamash and Sin, Nana and Ishtar were all held 
in esteem, and temples were erected in their honour. 
The supremacyof Assyria and the correspondingdecline 
in Babylonian power scarcely affected the authority and 
influence of the time-honoured gods of the Babylonian 
pantheon. But the new political situation required some 
recognition in the religious life of the nation, and the 
exigencies of the present demanded some consideration, 
as well as the hallowed traditions of the past. These 
two conflicting interests had to be reconciled, and the 
reconciliation was effected and a way of escape devised 
similar to that adopted by the earlier Babylonians when 
confronted with a like dilemma. The local god of Ashur 
was exalted to the first place in the pantheon, and be- 


came as it were the Marduk of Assyria, though his posi- 
tion was even more unassailable than was that of Mar- 
duk in Babylon, for the latter 1 was bound to acknow- 
ledge Ea as his father, whereas Ashur is above all ties 
of this kind ; the Babylonian-Assyrian pantheon is 
recognized by him, but it in no way touches his lofty 

The cult of the god of Ashur goes back to the earliest 
known period of Assyrian civilization, while he gave 
his name to the first known capital of the country, 
and ultimately to the country itself. Ashur is the divine 
impersonation of Assyria, as Marduk was of Babylonia, 
only the identification was more pronounced, for the 
decline of Assyrian power and the death of her empire 
meant virtually the death of Ashur, whereas Marduk 
maintained his influence during the time of Babylon's 
adversity as well as during that of her prosperity ; 
foreign conquerors sought to do him honour, Cyrus the 
Persian ascribes his conquest of Babylon to the lord of 
E-sagil, and even Antiochus Soter (280-260 B.C.) re- 
stores his renowned temple. But another difference 
between the Ashur-cult of the north and the Marduk- 
cult of the south must also be noted. Ashur was wor- 
shipped in temples erected all over the Assyrian empire, 
whereas Babylon was the place " where men ought to 
worship " Marduk, just as in later times Jerusalem was 
the only authorized centre for the worship of Jehovah. 
But in spite of the universality of his presence, Ashur 
had a principal seat of worship, the locality of which was 
the same as that of the then centre and capital of the em- 
pire, Ashur, Calah, Nineveh or Khorsabad as the case 
might be. 

The adaptability displayed by Ashur in regard to his 
earthly home may, as Jastrow suggests, be partly due to 
the fact that a statue was not the only, or even the prin- 
cipal symbol of his divine presence, as was the case with 
1 Cf. Jastrow, pp. 191 ff. 


Mardukand theothergreatgods. His usual emblem was 
a standard consisting of a pole surrounded by a winged 
disc to which is attached an archer with drawn bow. It is 
impossible to say the exact time when a military standard 
came to be regarded as the natural and fitting symbol of 
the patron god of the country, but the nature of the sym- 
bol itself makes it quite clear that Ashur was regarded 
as a god of war. Indeed the patron deity of a people 
as warlike as the Assyrians, could not but reflect the 
military spirit of his people. The Assyrian warriors 
were the "troops of Ashur," their enemies being his 
enemies and their friends his friends. Ashur's spouse 
was Belit (=" the Lady "), but the same goddess some- 
times appears as the consort of Bel 1 and sometimes also 
as the wife of Ea, in the Assyrian inscriptions, while at 
other times again Belit is merely a designation of Ishtar. 
The last-named goddess occupies averyprominent place 
in the Assyrian pantheon, only coming second to Ashur 
himself. There were indeed no less than three Ishtars 
in Assyria Ishtar of Nineveh, Ishtar of Arbela, and 
Ishtar of Kidmuru, but the Assyrians do not appear to 
have preserved any definite distinction between them, 
so that for all practical purposes we only have one 
goddess to consider in this connection. 

It is hardly to be wondered at that Ishtar, the goddess 
of war as well as of love, should have been held in high 
reverence by the Assyrians, who not unnaturally accent- 
uated her warlike attributes. But the Assyrians were 
not responsible for the origin of Ishtar's warlike 
character ; she had been regarded in this light at least 
as early as the time of Khammurabi, 2 while her fighting 
spirit is strongly painted in the early Gilgamesh epic, 
but it remained for the Assyrians to develop this aspect 
of her character to the virtual exclusion of all other 
aspects. As the Assyrians extended their sway on every 
side, the power of Ishtar the Befit, or " lady " of battles, 

1 Jastrow, Religion, p. 226. 2 Ibid., p. 83. 


advanced also ; she is the goddess of kings and people 
alike ; in times of danger she vouchsafes her counsel 
and her timely words of encouragement to the king 
through the medium of dreams. She is " perfect in 
courage " and incomparable in splendour ; her appear- 
ance is like unto flames of fire, and she rains streams of 
fire upon the enemies of Ashur-bani-pal. Unlike other 
goddesses she reigns in her own right, and not in virtue 
of her position as the spouse, counterpart, or reflection 
of any of the important gods. She is their equal in rank, 
power and dignity, while her very name becomes almost 
a synonym for " goddess," and in later times all god- 
desses, whether native or foreign, came to be regarded 
as so many forms or manifestations of Ishtar. 

But apart from the advancement to honour of the war- 
like deities of Babylonia,and the further development of 
the military character which they already bore, the Assy- 
rian religion varies but little from that of the mother- 
country. The civilization and culture of the Assyrians 
was imported en bloc from Babylonia, and this wholesale 
appropriation of the manners and customs of the people 
of the south displays itself in Assyrian art, religion, law 
and architecture. Their temples and palaces were more 
or lessfaithful copies of those erected in Babylonia; their 
beliefs, rites and ceremonies were derived from the same 
source, while their literature shows hardly any origin- 
ality at all. When Ashur-bani-pal resolved to collect a 
library in his royal palace at Nineveh he was obliged to 
dispatch his scribes to the south to make search in the 
archives of the ancient temples which contained the 
prayers and hymns addressed to the gods, the legends 
and epics of the remote past, the astronomical reports 
and medical formulae of the immediate present. A large 
part of Ashur-bani-pal's library consisted in practically 
verbatim copies of these original texts, but the debt 
which we owe to Ashur-bani-pal's bibliographical pro- 
pensities must not be measured by the originality of the 


volumes of his library, but by the large contribution 
which they make to the Babylonian and Assyrian litcra- 
ature now at our disposal. In a great many cases the 
Babylonian originals have not been recovered, and we 
are entirely dependent on the copies of Ashur-bani-pal's 
scribes, and but for this great king's assiduity in this 
direction we should be in entire ignorance regarding 
the contents of a large part of the Babylono-Assyrian 


In all religions, whether ancient or modern, material 
representation forms the connecting link between the 
natural and the supernatural, the physical and the spirit- 
ual. The medium sometimes assumes the shape of an 
image of a naturally or unnaturally conceived deity, at 
other times it takes the form of an emblem, astronomical 
or otherwise, with which the god is associated. We have 
had abundant evidence of the prominent part played by 
images in the worship of the Babylonians and Assyrians, 
and it will perhaps not be unfitting to devote two or 
three pages to a brief consideration of some of the em- 
blems of the deities to whom reference has been made. 

The chief sources for the study of Assyrian and Baby- 
lonian symbolism are the cylinder-seals, the Babylonian 
Boundary-Stones, and the monoliths of Assyrian kings. 
In a brief review of Mesopotamian cylinder-seals we 
have had occasion to observe the frequent occurrence of 
emblems, many of which are also found on the mono- 
liths of Assyrian kings, e.g. Sargon, Sennacherib and 
Esarhaddon. Among those of which the signification 
is certain we may mention the crescent, obviously em- 
blematic of the Moon-god Sin, and the star of Ishtar, 
while the deity armed with thunderbolts is certainly 
Adad. The winged disc which occurs on a stele of 
Esarhaddon, as well as on other Assyrian monuments, 
is clearly symbolic of Ashur, though in earlier times it 


apparently emblematized Shamash, the Sun-god, 1 and if 
this be the case we have a useful piece of evidence in 
support of the theory of a solar origin for Ashur. 

But the Babylonian kudurrus or boundary-stones pro- 
vide far more material for the study of Babylonian sym- 
bolism than do the Assyrian royal sculptures, for the em- 
blems of the gods, as well as the gods themselves, were 
for the most part borrowed from Babylonia and adopted 
with variations by the people of the north. We have the 
emblems which are scattered about sporadically on the 
Babylonian cylinder-seals collected together in more or 
less large groups on the boundary stones. On one of 

FIG. 113. 

FIG. 114. 

these boundary stones (cf. Fig. 1 13) the name of the god 
with whom the emblem is associated is inscribed by the 
side, thus giving us definite data instead of hypothetical 
conjecture upon which to base our investigation. Un- 
fortunately all the names inscribed on this kudurru are 
not legible, but among those which are certain, the fol- 
lowing should be noted : Shamash the Sun-god who is 
represented by a circle within which are four rays of 
light alternating with four streams of water. Ishtar is 
represented by a star, and Sin the Moon-god by a cres- 
cent as usual. Ea is symbolized by a ram's head on a 
column, the column being set on a rectangular throne 
beneath which lies the fish-tailed Capricorn. Marduk is 
represented likewise by a column, the top of which how- 
1 Cf. Ward, Cy/ittdo-Sea/s, pp. 391, 392. 


ever is shaped like a lance. Nergal, the god of the dead, 
is symbolized by a lion-headed column, while the seated 
goddess is Gula, who has been identified with Bau. 

Another important monument in this connection is 
the rock-relief of Sennacherib near Bavian (cf. Fig. 1 14). 
Theinscription mentions twelve gods,and the same num- 
ber of emblems, presumably corresponding to the twelve 
gods, are sculptured on the rock. But the important point 
is that not only does the number of emblems portrayed 
tally with the number of gods mentioned, but there are 
definite indications that the orderof sequence is thesame 
in both cases. 1 Thus the crescent which obviously sym- 
bolizes the moon-god occurs fifth, the same place occu- 
pied by Sin in the list of names. Again, the star, the 
undoubted emblem of Ishtar, similarly comes eleventh, 
the name of the goddess also being eleventh in the list. 
Lastly, the thunderbolt, which is the certain symbol of 
Adad, occupies the seventh place and corresponds with 
that occupied by the god in the inscription. These 
three coincidences can hardly be regarded as accidental, 
and it is reasonable to assign the remaining symbols to 
the corresponding gods in the list. Following out this 
method we can provisionally assign the emblems as fol- 
lows : Ashur, Anu and Bel are represented by horned 
hats ; Ea by a column with a ram's head ; Sin by a 
crescent; Shamash by a winged disc ; Adad by a thun- 
derbolt ; Marduk by a column with a pine-apple termin- 
ation ; Nabu by a simple column ; Ninib (?) by acolumn 
surmounted by two lions' (or two bulls') heads ; Ishtar 
by a star ; and Igigi by seven dots. 

Probably the finest specimen of a Babylonian stele of 
this character is that of Nebuchadnezzar I (circ. 1120 
B.C.) (cf. Fig. 1 15). In the upper register we have the 
crescent, disc and star of Sin, Shamash and Ishtar re- 
spectively, the second register being occupied with a 
row of three emblems each consisting in a divine seat 
1 Cf. Ward, Cylinder-Seals, pp. 391 ff. 


surmounted by a horned turban. The last-named seem- 
ingly represent Anu, Bel and either Ashur or Ea. 1 Next 
in succession we appear to have the emblems of Mar- 
duk and Nebo, while in the fourth register we have the 
double-headed column of Ninib, a horse's head resting 
on a seat and surmounted by a vaulted arch, (this is 
of particular interest, as according to 
Ward, it is probably the earliest repre- 
sentation of the horse in Babylonian 
art) ; an eagle on the top of a column, 
and another column surmounted by a 
hawk's head and representing Zamama. 
In the fifth register is the goddess Gula 
seated on a throne and accompanied by a 
dog ; a scorpion-man or Sagittarius ; 
while last of all we have the thunderbolt 
of Adad over a calf, a tortoise which is 
possibly an alternative emblem for Ea, 2 
a scorpion, and the lamp of Nusku, the 
god of fire. Finally the whole of one 
side of this remarkable stele is traversed 
by a gigantic serpent. Other monu- 
ments exhibit different varieties of the 
same emblems, while among those not included here, 
are the club, the arrow, the sparrow and plough, the 
sheaf, the vase, the bull, the goose, the man-fish, the 
dove, the rod and ring (cf. PL XIV), and the coiffure 
and knife of the goddess Ninkharshag, for a full and ex- 
haustive study of which the reader should refer to Ward, 
Cylinder-Seals, pp. 389 fF. Of the burial customs of the 
Babylonians and Assyrians, so far as they are known, we 
have treated elsewhere (cf. pp. 62, 69, etc.), but it will 
perhaps not be superfluous for us to briefly consider 
their eschatology. 

1 Cf. Ward, Cylinder-Seals, p. 398. 
I hill., p. 407. 

FIG. 115. 



Man's ideas and thoughts are very largely determined 
by his environment, so too his beliefs regarding the next 
world haveas their material basis and setting the world in 
which he now lives ; the unknown but vaguely guessed 
at, can only be defined, or rather depicted in terms of 
the known, the unseen in terms of the seen, heaven 
in the terms of earth, God in the terms of Man in 
short, the doctrine of the Incarnation underlies all re- 
ligion and all religious systems. As we have already 
seen, the early Babylonians in all probability came from 
the mountainous country of Elam, for they used the 
same picture-sign or ideogram for both "mountain" and 
" country " ; the earth was therefore conceived by them 
under the form of a mountain, and if this world be 
shaped like a mountain, the world beyond must also 
doubtless bear a similar shape, hence one of their names 
for the other world was E-K.UR, which signifies "moun- 
tain-house," the same name being also applied to the 
present world. In the early days of Babylonian myth- 
ology, the gods themselves were believed to inhabit 
E-KUR, the mountain-house of the world, and it is per- 
haps not unnatural to find the gods so intimately 
associated with mother-earth, when one recalls that the 
Babylonians believed the gods themselves to have been 
evolved from the samewatery chaos fromwhichthe earth 
as it were emerged the gods and the earth were child- 
ren of the same parent, and were brought into being in 
the same way. 

But this mountain-theory with regard to the other 
world in no way excluded or apparently even col- 
lided with other views of quite a different character ; 
indeed the most popular conception of the next 
world, as the realm of the dead, was that of a hollow, 
or cave situated underneath the earth, which was be- 
lieved to be shaped somewhat after the fashion of an in- 


verted saucer : this cave was called " Aralu," and was 
poetically described as " irsitum la tarat " " the land 
without return " a description which is strangely neg- 
ative, and which illustrates how little the Babylonian 
concerned himself with the life after death compared 
with the Egyptian, who may with some truth be said 
to have devoted his attention more to the life beyond 
than to the life which now is. The locality of Aralu 
under the earth may also be inferred from the story of 
Ishtar's descent into Hades ; this practically universal 
conception is so natural a one that it hardly calls for an 
explanation. The association of the realm of the dead 
with the grave beneath the earth where the remains of 
the dead were deposited is almost inevitable, and the 
corresponding association of the abode of the gods, or 
heaven with the regions of light and brightness above 
this earth the ever-visible sun and moon being gods 
themselves is equally natural, but in passing, it must 
be remarked that in the system for lack of a better 
word which set the abode of the gods in the regions 
of the sky, the heaven which they inhabited was not 
accessible to mortal man, be he ever so good or vir- 
tuous ; it was apparently only in earlier times when the 
home of the gods was located in or on the earth that 
the souls of the departed are regarded as dwelling with 
or near them. 

This is further corroborated by the application of the 
term E-KUR "mountain-house" to the earth it- 
self as well as to the abode of the gods and the realm 
of the dead, while at the same time it was used to desig- 
nate the earthly abodes or temples of the gods ; the 
theory which located the home of the gods upon the E- 
KUR is probably the earlier, and it was only in later 
times, when Babylon had made herself more or less 
supreme in the Euphrates valley, and had thereby gained 
for her god Marduk a similar supremacy, that the cir- 
cumstances seemed to demand, as it were, a more uni- 


versal and less local home for the god whose sway thus 
extended all over the country ; if Marduk confines him- 
self to his temple-home in Babylon, how can he watch 
over the fortunes and receive the homage of his devotees 
all over the empire ? 

Moreover, as has been already stated, on grounds 
independent of this the temptation to assign a heavenly 
or sky-home to the gods has been yielded to almost 
universally ; this view of course did not exclude the 
possibility of the god's presence in the temples erected 
to his honour, it only excluded the idea of his exclusive 
presence in the temple. 

But there were yet other names besides Aralu and 
E-KUR, used to designate the abode of the dead, one of 
which was " Shualu " ; this term signifies " enquiry " 
and comes from the same root as that from which the 
proper name " Saul " (" asked for ") is derived, itself 
being the equivalent of the Hebrew " Sheol " which the 
Greeks rendered " Hades," and English translators un- 
fortunately rendered u hell " ; the world of the dead is 
accordingly regarded as a place of enquiry, the enquiry 
being presumably of the nature of an oracle. The dead 
are thus supposed to be endowed with the power of 
answering questions addressed to them by people on 
earth ; and in this capacity they resemble the gods, the 
only difference being that the gods grant oracles through 
the hands of their priests, while the dead use necro- 
mancers as their mediums, as was the case when Samuel 
manifested himself to Saul through the agency of the 
necromancing witch of Endor. Thus in connection with 
the E-KUR home of the gods and of the dead, it will be 
observed that the dead are not only regarded as with, or 
near the gods,but,like the gods they are also empowered 
to assist earthly mortals with their oracular utterances; 
this pre-supposes that the dead are endowed with a 
greater knowledge than the living, and accordingly how- 
ever gloomy Aralu, Shualu or E-KUR (as the home of the 

2 D 


dead) may be, the dead are at all events drawn nearer to 
the gods in this respect, and partake more freely of the 
Tree of Knowledge than the living. 

Having arrived thus far, the deification of the dead is 
but a short step, which the Babylonian found no great 
difficulty in taking ; as however the deification of the de- 
parted was the exception rather than the rule, the excep- 
tional cases of such deification must have had a special 
raison d'etre of their own, and that raison d'etre was pro- 
bably the power of granting oracles which the Babylonian 
attributed to those highly-favoured individuals, whose 
heroic achievements on earth had won for them the 
greatest honour accorded to mankind in antiquity. The 
kings indeed were often deified after death and even 
during their lifetime, but that was the natural corollary 
of the belief that the next world is similar in order and 
in its mode of government to this world, albeit it was 
much more gloomy and also of a comparatively negative 

But though the dead are thus regarded as more akin 
to the gods than the living, and more the objects of their 
special care, yet their very affinity to the gods seems to 
place them more beyond the power and control of the 
latter, and the priests whose delegated divine authority 
is paramount over the living, have no right of influence 
whatever over the dead. 

Another name for the under-world was " Ki-gallu " 
which signifies " great land," " Ki " being the regular 
ideogram for " earth" generally, or " land " specifically, 
the two being to the early oriental mind practically 
synonymous; this term, like E-KUR, thus associates the 
abode of the dead with the abode of the living, the abode 
of the living being on the earth, and the abode of the 
dead being under or within the earth. Other epithets 
applied to the under-world were " the dark dwelling," 
" the house of death," u the grave," " the great city," 
" the deep land," and the above-mentioned " irsitum 


la tarat," " the land whence there is no return," the 
latter occurring in the well-known story of Ishtar's 
descent into Hades, where the nether-world is further 
described as a house of darkness in which the dead, 
clothed in feathers like birds, depend upon dust and clay 
for their nourishment. This account of the world be- 
yond the grave tallies well with the account given by 
Ea-bani, when called up from the realms of the dead 
to speak to his friend Gilgamesh ; Ea-bani shrinks from 
paining his friend by describing the horrors of the under- 
world, but is at last prevailed upon to do so, and his de- 
scription of Hades is that of " a place where the worm 
devours and all is cloked in dust " " Dust thou art, and 
unto dust shalt thou return." The idea of the dead being 
clothed with feathers like birds recalls the characteristic- 
ally Mesopotamian monstersofcomposite form, half-bird 
and half-man, themselves apparently connected directly 
or indirectly with the nether-world. 

It was believed however that the pitiable lot of the 
dead could be to some extent mitigated by acts of devo- 
tion and charity practised by those that remain ; thus it 
was of primary importance to the deceased that he should 
receive a respectable and decent burial, and furthermore 
his needs did not stop there, for in E-KUR whether the 
term be applied to the earth as the home of mortals, or to 
the land of the dead, man requires both food and drink 
for his sustenance. The condition of the hapless man 
who receives no burial and is provided with none of the 
necessaries of life in the next world is described at the 
close of the Gilgamesh Epic, where we are informed that 
such an one is consumed by gnawing hunger and has 
perforce to satisfy his appetite with the offal on the 
streets ; but not only was the unburied shade a curse 
to himself so to speak, he also became a curse to the 
living by assuming the form of an " ekimmu " or 
demon, possessed with malignant intentions towards 
mankind, and furthermore endowed with the regret- 


table power of carrying those intentions into good 
effect ; it therefore behoved the living to attend to the 
requirements of the dead from the point of view of self- 
defence quite apart from any considerations of pious 

There was no distinction made between the faithful 
and unfaithful departed in the halls of Aralu, the only 
difference there was, lay between the lot of those who 
received the rites of burial and the means of sustenance 
at the hands of their surviving friends and relatives, and 
the lot of those to whom were denied the last rites and 
offices ; it should however be observed that the future 
life of those who perished on the battlefield was believed 
to be fraught with greater happiness, or at least less un- 
happiness than that of the generality of mankind. 

Thus to the Babylonian the sting of death was very 
far from being removed, and their funeral dirges 
consisted chiefly in lamentations on account of the 
pitiful plight of the departed one rather than for 
their own personal loss ; for them there was no swallow- 
ing up of Death in Victory, the only possibility of 
future bliss lying in immunity from death, an immunity 
which had only been offered to one or two mortals, and 
of which only one had apparently succeeded in avail- 
ing himself, that single exception being Sit-napishtim 
whose exaltation to the godhead apparently exonerated 
him from the necessity of dying. Theprevailingnote was 
thus one of pessimism, a pessimism from which "the dwel- 
lers in Mesopotamia " have never succeeded in entirely 
emancipating themselves, a pessimism which is more- 
over discernible in the sacred writings of the Hebrews 
long after their emigration from Babylonia to the land 
of Canaan. To Job the lot of a tree is preferable to that 
of humanity, for " it hath hope, if it be cut down, it will 
sprout again ; but man lieth down and riseth not ; till 
the heavens be no more, they shall not awake nor be 
raised out of their sleep " ; so too the Psalmist begs that 


he may be allowed to recover his strength "before I go 
hence and be no more," the general inference being that 
to the Hebrew mind the life beyond the grave resembled 
bare existence rather than a life with positive activities 
and positive functions to perform. 

The tendency to regard the unknown with suspicion 
and doubt is incidental to the laws of our nature, and his- 
tory demonstrates that only a courageous buoyancy won 
through the ceaseless efforts of mankind to combat the 
Mother who bore them, can overcome this as all other 
tendencies inherent in human nature. To the peoples of 
antiquity the world beyond was unknown and dark, for 
primitive man perforce regards as dark a state of exist- 
ence concerning which he is in the dark, just as he has 
invariably attributed the causes of physical phenomena 
outside his ken to the powers of darkness, but the very 
darkness of the other world so far from diminishing the 
reality of its existence in his primitive mind, seems to 
have contrariwise, intensified it ; he regarded the unseen 
through the medium of a mental telescope to him it 
loomed dark but big ; seeing was by no means the neces- 
sary condition of his believing, he believed where he did 
not see, and his imagination proved quite adequate to the 
occasion. In the twentieth century on the other hand 
there is an inclination to regard the unknown as ipso facto 
non-existent, but it must be confessed that the tendency 
exhibited by early man to accredit the unknown with an 
even greater reality than the known, accords more closely 
with the archetypal idealism of Plato and others whose 
mental development is at least of no mean order, and 
whose theories have not as yet stood convicted at the 
bar of Logic. 


THOSE readers who may desire to enlarge their informa- 
tion on any particular subject referred to in this volume 
cannot do better than consult the following works. For a 
history of the excavations, Hilprecht's Explorations in Bible 
Lands (T. & T. Clark, Edinburgh), is a most useful book. 
For further details regarding the excavations at Nippur 
Peters' Nippur, or Explorations and Adventures on the Euphrates 
(Putman) should be consulted, and also Fisher's Excavations 
at Nippur (Philadelphia). For a study of cuneiform writing 
and the inscriptions, Sayce's Archeology of the Cuneiform Inscrip- 
tions (S.P.C.K.) should be read. It is the most recent work on 
the subject, is full of interest and original ideas. For the 
literature of the Babylonians and Assyrians, sec Harper's 
Literature of the Assyrians and Babylonians, (Aldine Library), 
which contains the translation of a thoroughly representative 
selection of the literary products of both countries. 

An account of the excavations carried on during the last 
decade by the Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft at Babylon and 
Ashur will be found in the official reports of Koldewey and 
Andrae in the Mitteilungen of the Society (published by J. 
Hinrichs' sche, Buchhandlung Leipzig), while for a detailed 
account of the Anu- Adad temple at Ashur Andrae's Der Anu- 
Adad Tempel (also published by Hinrichs) should be con- 
sulted. The works of De Sarzec and Heuzey (published by 
E. Leroux, Paris) should be studied by those who wish to gain 
a full and comprehensive account of the excavations at Tello ; 
of these the Decouvertes en Chaldee is the most important. This 
magnificently illustrated work, which contains a complete 
statement of the early discoveries made on this site, and also a 
critical and well-balanced judgment of the deductions which we 
may make from those discoveries, is unquestionably one of the most 
important contributions to the study of Sumerian art. Of M. 
Heuzey's smaller works, Une Villa Royale Chaldfrnne (Leroux, 
Paris) is calculated to be of special interest to the student of 
Babylonian architecture, while his numerous articles in the 



Revue (TAssyriologie (Leroux, Paris) and papers in the Comptes 
Rendus tie I Academic des Inscriptions et Belles Let f res solve many 
of the problems which beset the study of oriental art. In regard 
to Cylinder-seals, the monumental work which has recently 
been published by W. Hayes Ward, The Cylinder-Seals of 
Western Asia (Carnegie Institute) is by far the most compre- 
hensive on the subject, and is the culmination of a great many 
years' research in the public and private collections of Europe 
and America. 

For the study of Law, the reader should consult C. J. Johns' 
Babylonian and Assyrian Laws, Contracts and Letters (Edinburgh), 
Assyrian Deeds and Documents (Cambridge), and An Assyrian 
Doomsday Book (Delitzsch and Haupt, Assyriologische Bibliothek, 
Band XVII, Leipzig), while the student of Babylonian and 
Assyrian Religion should refer to Morris Jastrow's Religion of 
Babylonia and Assyria (Boston, U.S. A), which is the only ex- 
haustive work on the subject. For a detailed and comprehen- 
sive treatment of the arts and crafts of the Babylonians and 
Assyrians in the light of the material available when the book 
was published, Perrot and Chipiez, History of Art in Chaldaea 
and Assyria (Chapman & Hall, London ; A. C. Armstrong 
& Son, New York) should be read. 

In regard to manners, customs and general mode of life, 
reference should be made to the standard works of Maspero 
The Dawn of Civilization, The Struggle of the Nations, and The 
Passing of the Empires (S.P.C.K., London), to the same writer's 
(Maspero) Life in Ancient Egypt and Assyria (Chapman & Hall) 
to Sayce's Assyrians and Babylonians (J. C. Nimmo, London) ; and 
to Delitzsch's Handel und Wandel in Altbabylonien (Deutsche 
Verlags-Anstalt, Stuttgart), while for military matters, the 
reader should consult J. Hunger's Heeriuesen und Kriegfuhrung 
der Assyrer in Der Alte Orient 1911. 

This volume does not deal with the history of the Baby- 
lonians and Assyrians, but those interested in that branch 
should read Rogers' History of Babylonia and Assyria (Eaton & 
Mains, New York ; Jennings & Pye, Cincinnati), Goodspeed's 
A History of the Babylonians and Assyrians (Smith, Elder & Co., 
London); and the standard-works of Maspero The Dawn 
of Civilization, The Struggle of the Nations and The Passing of the 
Empires (S.P.C.K., London) for a general history, while for the 
early period King's Sumer and Akkad (Chatto & Windus) and 
Radau's Early Babylonian History (Oxford University Press) 
should be studied. 




Mesilim, king of Kish, suzerain of Southern Babylonia 3000 

Ur-Nina, the founder of dynasty 3000 

Enannatum I 
Enannatum II 

Urukagina, defeated by Lugal-zaggisi, king of Erech 2800 
and Sumer 


Sharru-Gi 2750 



Shar-Gani-sharri, established empire embracing Assyria, 2650 

Syria and Palestine 


Ur-Bau 2500 

Xiudea 2450 



DYNASTY OF UR. Approximate 


Ur-Engur 2400 

Dungi, sacks Babylon, exercises suzerainty over Baby- 
lonia, extends his sway to Elam 
Bur-Sin I 

DYNASTY OF ISIN. 2300-2100 


Khammurabi, king of Babylon, establishes a powerful 1900 
kingdom in Babylonia, expels the Elamites who 
had effected a settlement in Ur and Larsa, restores 
Shar-Gani-Sharri's empire in Palestine and em- 
braces Assyria within the sphere of his influence" 
This dynasty is brought to an end by an invasion 

of the Hittites, who captured Babylon 
The Kassites from the mountainous district, east of 
the Tigris, invade Babylonia and establish them- 
selves as kings of Babylon. About a century 
after the Kassite invasion Assyria asserts her in- 
dependence and becomes a separate kingdom 
(?) Ushpia, 1 the probable founder of the temple of 2100 


(?) Ki-Ki-a, the first builder of the Duru at Ashur, 2000 
restorer of the temple of Ashur, and builder of 
the Adad-temple 

Shalmaneser I I 3 

Tukulti-Ninib I, king of Assyria, conquers Babylonia 1275 
Ashur-resh-ishi 1 140 

Tiglath-Pileser I Iioo 

Ashur-nasir-pal extends the limits of the empire 885-860 
Shalmaneserjl becomes master of the whole of $6a-=82_ 
Western" Asia. The Israelites under Jehu 
acknowledge his suzerainty 

Tiglath-Pileser III recovers the ground lost by his 745-727 
immediate predecessors, carries the tribes of 
Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh 
into captivity 
Shalmaneser IV besieges Samaria, 727-722 

1 Cf. Mitteilungen, No. 21, p. 49. 



Sargon, the usurper, takes Samaria and transports 722-705 
most of population ; defeats Egyptians and 
Philistines at Raphia ; reduces Babylonia, 
carries on war in Elam ; builds great palace at 

Sennacherib reduces rebellious Babylonia; defeats 705-681 
Egyptians at Altaku in Dan ; carries on war 
in Palestine j Hezekiah of Judah acknowledges 
his suzerainty ; destroys Babylon (689) 

Esarhaddon conquers Lower Egypt (672) 681-668 

Ashur-bani-pal invades Egypt, the latter having 668-626 
thrown off the Assyrian yoke ; sacks Thebes, 
the Egyptian capital (666) ; entirely subjugates 
Elam ; defeats and puts to death Shamash- 
shum-ukm, Viceroy of Babylonia 
Egypt and Lydia assert their independence 
The Medes made raid on the eastern borders 
of the empire (circ. 634) 

Ashur-bani-pal dies 626 

Shortly after his death the Median king 
Cyaxares defeats Assyrians and besieges 
Nineveh. Invasion of Scythian hordes mo- 
mentarily checks Cyaxares, but soon after 
Cyaxares and possibly Nabopolassar, an As- 
syrian general in Babylon, besiege and ulti- 
mately capture and destroy Nineveh (circ. 

Assyria goes to the Medes, Babylonia to 
Nabopolassar, who founds the Neo-Babylonian 


Nabopolassar 625-604 

Nebuchadnezzar II defeated Necho, king of Egypt, 604-561 

before his accession ; captures Jerusalem and 

takes Judah into captivity 
Nabonidus, entrusts Babylon to his son Belshazzar. 555~53^ 

Cyrus, the Persian, invades Babylonia, captures 

Babylon and destroys the Neo-Babylonian 








Scale of EagLLsklVtiles 

?>o o so 

Ancient Names thus. SIPPAR 
Modern ,, .. Tello 

East, of Greenwich 









S E I 


Scale of 

44- Eat 



Scale of Miles 

44- East of Greenwich 


Abeshu', k. of Babylon, 33 

Abu Adham, 163 

Abu Habba, 3, 60, 68 ; cf. also 


Abu Hatab, 77 
Abu Shahrein, 121, 134, 156, 

I57> l6 3> 2 42, 263 
Acacia, 12 

Accounts, lists of, 109 
Achaemenian inscriptions, 86 
Adab. Cf. Bismaya 
Adad, 263, 388, 391, 397 
Adad-nirari I, 78, 81, 254 
Adad-nirari II, 8 1 
Adad-nirari III, 43, 81, 233, 


Adar, 232, 323 
Agade, 7, 29 
Agate, 76, 287, 340 
Agents, 381 

Agglutinative languages, 105 
Agriculture, 13, 14, 367, 368, 

377, 389 
Ahab, 36, 316 
Ahaz, k. of Judah, 36, in 
Akkad. Cf. Agade 
Alabaster, 14, 75, 76, 83, 146, 

225, 226, 326 
Alashiya, 109 
Alcohol, 370 

Alexander the Great, 3, 39 
Altaku, battle of, 37 
Altars, 135, 141, 184, 206, 301 
Amen, 365 

Amenhetep III, 21, 108 
Amenhetep IV, 108 ; cf. Khue- 


Amethyst, 287, 340 

Amphora, 298 

Amran, 71, 72 

Amulets, 116, 321 

Amurru, land of, 130 

Andrae, excavations and discover- 
ies by, 69, 77, 140, 142, 149- 
51, 176, 254, 335 et passim 

Animals, 14-24, 244, 270, 271 

" Ankh " sign, 314 

Antelope, 16, 19, 184, 291 

Antiochus Soter, 59 

Anu, the god, 102, 388, 391 ; 
Temple of, 397 

Anu- Adad Temple, 141-4, 323 

Apil-Sin, 1 1 o 

Appeal, Court of, 384 

Arabia, 114 

Arad-Sin, 32 

Arakhtu canal, 74 

Aralu, 400 

Aramaic brick-inscriptions, 70 

Archers, 195, 261, 350-6 

Arches and arched structures, 
156, 168-80, 210 

Architecture, 119-80 

Armenia, 10 

Arrow, copper heads, 242 ; em- 
blem, 398 

Artaxerxes I, 66 

Ashdod, 53, 112, 113 

Ashur, 141-4, 178, 1 80, 200, 
229, 232, 254, 261, 263, 335 

Ashur, the god, 25, 79, 146, 306, 

37> 39.i 392, 397 
Ashur-bani-pal, 2, 38, 39, 56, 64, 
71, 73, 114, 150,218-22,268 




Ashur-bel-kala, 35, 48, 229 

Ashur-etil-ilani, 43 

Ashur-nasir-pal, 20, 24, 35, 48, 
78, 80, 81, 140, 141, 145, 
199, 201, 202, 205, 230, 239, 

Ashur-resh-ishi, 81, 142 

Askelon, 37 

Ass, 14, 18, 220, 366 

Assyrian army, 350; buildings, 
140-48, 151-58; civilization 
of, 3> 34 J cylinder-seals, 304 ; 
laws, customs, etc., 344, 389- 
95 ; sculpture, 200, 229 

Astrolabae, 116 

Astrology, 104, 109 

Aten, disc of, 306 

Axe, 254, 340 

Babil, 59 

Babylon, 29, 59, 69, 114, 116, 

241, 268 et passim ; cf. also 

Babylonia, 3, 4, 10, 156, 181, 

222 375 3 86 
Balawat, 15, 55, 258 
Bandlets, 216 
Bank, artificial, 208 
Banks, E. J., excavations and 

discoveries by, 6,82, 172, 223, 

326, 333, 334 
Barbaro, Josafat, 85 
Barbel, 27 
Barley, 1 1 

Barton, G. A., 96, 98 
Basalt, 14, 81, 167, 198, 232, 

240, 326 
Baskets, 190 
Basket-carriers, 247 
Bas-reliefs, 181-200, 201-22, 

271, 272, 273, 274 
Battering-rams, 203, 208, 261, 

359 f- 

Battle-axes, 188, 193 
Bau, the goddess, 326, 365, 367, 

373. 397 

Baumgarten, 74 

Bavian relief of Sennacherib, 81, 


Bazu, land of, 23 
Beans, 370 
Bearded and beardless Assyrians, 

2 39 

Beef, 366 
Beer, 383 

Behistun inscription, 90 
Bel, 17, 71, 391, 397 
Belit, 71, 393 
Bells, bronze, 255 
Bel-Merodach, 305 
Belshazzar, 39, 5 I 
Belus, temple of, 138 
Berosus, 150 

Bey, Bedri, excavations by, 68 
Bilingual tablets, 104 
Bingani-shar-ali, 294 
Bint-el-Amir, 64 
Birch, 261 
Birds, in Mesopotamian art, etc., 

24, 115, 184, 367 
Birs-Nimrud, 18, 29, 51 ; cf. also 

'^ismaya, 6, 82, 83, 121, 123 

159, 223, 251,326,327, 333 
Bisons, 2, 3, 23, 292 
Bitumen, 124 f., 226, 243, etc. 
Black Obelisk, 15, 267 ; 93 
Blow-pipe, 331 
Boars, 19, 24 

Boats, 14, 259, 334, 361 f. 
Bone, implements of, 74, 178 
Boomerang, weapons shaped like, 

183, 188, 298, 340, 341 ff. 
Booth, A. J., 94 
Borsippa, 29, 59 ; cf. Birs-Nim- 

Boscawen, 254 
Botta, discoveries and excavations 

by, 41, 279, 321, 335, 345 etc. 
Boundary-stones, 16,101,1 1 1,395 
Bows and arrows, 193, 203, 204, 

205, 208, 216, 219, 341 



Bracelets, 202, 212, 230, 233, 

261, 268, 347, 348 
Branding, 385 
Bread, n, 370 
Breccia, 70, 71 
Bricks, 120-3 
Bridge of boats, 259 
Bronze, 13, 54, 55, 103, 150, 

242, 251, 252,253, 254, 255, 

256, 261, 262, 267 
Budge, E. A. Wallis, excavations 

by, 68 

Buffalo, 2, 3, 23, 45, 293 
Bull, 15, 17, 24, 213, 214, 236, 

237-9 2 57 2 7 2 275, 276, 

280, 289, 298, 305, 310, 398 
Burials, 62, 69, 74, 75, 77, 80, 

176-8, 190, 365 
Burnouf, Emile, 90 
Bur-Sin, 77, 104, 253,301, 324 
Business-contracts, 371 
Bustard, 26 

Cabbage, 390 

Calah, 35 ; cf. also Nimrud 

Calf, 192, 398 

Camels, 15, 390 

Camp-stools, 291, 297 

Capital offences, 384 

Capsules, 158, 323 

Carchemish, 39 

Carnelian, 287 

Carpenters, 227, 366 

Carts, 214 

Case-tablets, 106 

Cavalry, Assyrian, 281, 353 f. 

Caylus, Count, 86 

Cedar-wood, 2, 73, 130, 131, 

150, 1 6 1 , 258 

Chalcedony, cylinder-seals of, 287 
Champollion, 89 
Chardin, 85 
Chariots, 15, 188, 203, 204, 219, 

220, 259, 281, 295, 304, 

354 f- 
Chickens, as offerings, 367 

Chinese art and language, 10 

Chosroes, 4 1 

Cilicia, 38 

Clark, C. H., 63 

Cla y 75 77 95 103-18, 252, 

273. 274ff., 324 
Clay, A. T., discoveries by, 65, 

33 33i 

Clay, E. W, 63 

Cloth, coverings of clay urns, 334 

Club, emblem, 398 

Cock, 26 

Coffins, 49 

Colour boxes, 77 

Colours, 270, 283 

Columns, 1 60-8, 396, 397 

Combs, 349 

Commagene, 34 

Commercial tablets, no 

Cones, in, 112, 123, 148, 202, 

Copper, 75, 77, 180, 242-7, 
249, 252, 286 

Coral, 340 

Coriander, 390 

Corundum, 287 

Cosmologies, Babylonian, Egypt- 
ian, Hebrew, 4 

Cotton, 347 

Couch, royal, 22 1 

"Country of the Sea," 33, 34 

Cow, 366 

Crane, 26 

Creation legends, 53 

Cremation, 62 

Crenelated walls, 152, 203, 211, 
227, 261 

Crescent, 296, 302, 305, 306, 
308, 395 

Crews for transport-barges, 107 

Cros, Gaston, excavations and dis- 
coveries by, 84, 235, 334, 344 

Crown-lands, 391 

"Crux ansata," 314 

Crystal, 287 

Ctesias, 141 


Cucumbers, 370 

Cuneiform inscriptions and litera- 
ture, 85-116, 203 
Cups, 184, 205, 221, 326, 327 
Cutha, 29 
Cyaxares, 39 
Cylinder-seals, 284-308 
Cypress, 2, 73 
Cyprus, 294 
C 7 rus 39 74 

Dabigu, 260 

Daggers, 202, 219, 281, 298, 


Dagon, 307, 319, 320 

Damascus, 114 

Darius II, 66 

Date, 12, 13, 370 

Dating, Babylonian method of, 

Dead, future state and offerings 
for, 374, 399 f - 

De Bruin, 85 

Deer, 3, 24, 220, 265 

Deification of kings, 375 

Deities on seals, 291 f. 

Deity seated, 1 98 ; cf. also Gods 

De la Becke, Sir H., 283 

Delitzsch, Friedrich, 61, 71, 74, 
261, 264, 273 

Deluge story, 53 

Demons, 140, 262, 321 

De Morgan, J., 226 

Der, 68 

De Sacy, 86 

De Sarzec, excavations and dis- 
coveries by, 13, 56-8, 1 6 1, 
171, 187, 195, 227, 234, 
243, 244, 248, 253, 329 

De Saulcy, 93 

Diarbekr, 195, 200 

Diodorus, 59, 90, 127, 273 

Diorite, 14, 8 1, 146, 227, 228, 

Disc, of sun, 206 

Disc, winged, 395 

Distraint, 382 
Divorce, 365 
Dogs, 14, 18, 19, 220, 235, 297, 


Dolente, 14, 57, 69, 91, 241 
Domes, 155 
Dove, 26, 323, 398 
Dowries, 376 

Dragons, 275, 295, 305, 336 
Drains, 158-60 
Dress, 181, 198, 216, 221, 223, 

226, 230, 232, 233, 281, 

Ducks, 367 
Duck weights, 26 
Dudu, 192, 266, 289 
Dungi, 6, 32, 50, 82, 101, 1 10, 

247, 298, 301 
Dur Sharrukin, 41, 279 ; cf. 

also Khorsabad 
"D0ru,"the, 81 

Ea, the god, 27, 73, 299, 388, 

39*> 39 2 396, 397 
Eabani, 2, 292, 293, 330, 403 
Eagle, 24, 25, 280, 291, 306, 

3i 398 

Eagle, Etana and, 297 
Eannatum, 27, 57, 187, 188, 326 
Earrings, 252, 264, 347, 348 
East India House Inscription, 

140, 150 
Ebony, 349 
Eggs, stone, 340 
Egypt, 3, 4 38, 256, 258, 268, 

269, 286, 312, 313 
Egyptian hieroglyphics, 5, 331 
" Ekimmu," 403 
Ekron, 37 
Ekua, 73 
E-kur, 399 
Elamites, 2, 31, 32, 37, 38, 114, 

199, 247 

El-Hibba, 61, 148 
Enlil, the god, 17, 62, 133-6, 

325, 326, 373 



Enlitarzi, 373 

Entemena, 12, 30, 137, 191, 

265, 326 

Enubi-Marduk, 108 
Envelopes, 105, 106 

E -P a > '33 136 

Eponyms, 114 

Erech, 9, 29, 30 ; cf. also Warka 

Eridu, 27, 29 ; cf. also Abft 

Erman, 369 
E-sagila, temple of Marduk, 

71-3, 115, 199 
Esar, k. of Adab, 223 
Esarhaddon, 13, 23, 38, 43, 73, 

78, 114 

Eschatology, 399-405 
Esneh, 4 
Etana, 297 

E-temen-an-ki, 73, 138 
Eulmash-shakin-shum, 205 
Euphrates, 10, n 
Euting, Prof., 122 
Exchange, mediums of, 367 
Eyes, 181, 191, 202, 308 
E-zida, 51, 59, 115 

Face-masks, 264 

Kara, 74, 121, 157, 172, 242, 


Feathers, 18 i, 403 
Feudalism, 390, 391 
Field, Mr., 63 
Figs, 13, 217, 370 
Fish, 26, 27, 115, 281, 334, 


Fisher, C. S., 10, 63, 136 
Fish-god, 307, 319; cf. also 


Fishing-hooks, 76 
Flandin, 272 
Flint, 75, 242, 287 
Flowers, 13, 277, 278, 301 
Fly-flaps, 205, 216, 221 
Foot-wear, 202, 271, 280, 349 
Fortress, assault of, 210 

Foundation-cylinders, 50, 51 

Fox, 20 

Frazier, W. W., 63 

Freestone, blue, 326 

Fresnel, expedition of, 47, 273, 


Frog, 20 
Fruits, 370 
Funerals, 374 
Furniture-makers, 366 
"Future Life," 76, 399 f. 

Gardeners, 366 

Garlic, 390 

Garnet, 267 

Gates, double-leaved, 2 1 o 

Gates, on seals, 297 ; cf. also 

Gate-sockets, 57, 65, 83, 102, 

259, 267 
Gatumdug, the goddess, 228, 

235. 373 
Gaza, 37 

Gazelle, 16, 19, 184, 256, 257 

Geere, H. V., 63 

Genouillac, 364, 370 

Gezer, 254 

Gilgamesh, 3, 53, 191, 289, 292, 


Gimil-Sin, 302 
Gishgibilgemesh, 372 
Glass, 42, 76, 1 80, 286, 331 
Goats, 14, 17, 18,184,250,265, 

290, 297, 366 
Goddess, nude, 295, 321 f. 
Gods, 102, 104, in, 197, 318, 

321, 324, 372-5, 386-9, 

Gold, 6,72,73, 74,79, 83,139, 

150, 263, 264, 286, 323 
Goose, 867, 398 
Grammatical tablets, 104 
Granite, 59, 83 
Griffins, 256, 257 
Grotefend, G. Friedrich, 87 



Gudea, 6, 13, 22, 31, 57, 61, 62, 

8 4, i33 !3 6 > J 49> 22 7, 228 > 
235, 243, 298, 299, 318,329 

Guilds, trade, 376 

Gula, the goddess, 397, 398 

Gum, 370 

Gungunu, 32 

Hadadnadinakhe, 149 

Hades, 400 

Hair, arrangement of, 183, 188, 

190, 216, 224, 225, 226, 230, 

2 33, 2 44, 338 

Halevy, Joseph, 105 

Halicarnassus, 331 

Handles, lateral, 243 

Hanging gardens, 127 

Hannon, 37 

Hare, 20 

Harper, R. F., excavations and 
discoveries by, 63, 82, 94, 97, 
123, 131, 142,264, 267,377 

Harrison, Provost, 63 

Hatchets, 75, 76, 242, 296 

Hawaiians, war-gods of, 263 

Haynes, excavations and dis- 
coveries by, 125, 133, 135, 

'57, i? 1 . 334 

Head-dresses, 198, 202, 203, 
206, 216, 228, 233, 249, 271, 

3 2 i> 338, 339> 345 356,396 
Hebrews, 404 f. 
Heifers, 266 
Helmets, 187, 188, 193, 195, 

212, 281, 350 f. 
Henna> 327 

Hereditary principle, 390 
Herodotus, 10, 13, 127, 131, 

138, 157, 284 V 
Heroes, 289, 290 
Heuzey, Leon, discoveries, etc., 

b y, 2 5> 169, 184, 186, 187, 

191, 192, 251, 246, 310, 321 
Hezekiah, k. of Judah, 37, 38, 

Hillah, 285, 322 

Hilprecht, H. V., excavations 
and discoveries by, 16, 57, 59, 
60, 63, 66, 117, 136, 148, 
169, 184, 252, 328, etc. 

Hincks, 91, 92 

Hindiyah Canal, n, 12 

Historical documents, 104, 110, 

1 1 1 

Hit, 124 

Hittites, 33, 35, 69 
Holtzman, 91 
Hommel, F., 98, 139 
Honey, 1 1 

Honeysuckle, paintings of, 282 
Horns, symbolic (?), 211 
Horse, 14, 15, 16, 28, 281, 397 
Hoshea, k. of Israel, 36 
House-building, 383 
Houses, 156-8 

Hunting-scenes, 204-5, 2 18-21 
Huts, 169 
Hyenas, 24 
Hyksos kings, 16 
Hymns, 104 
Hyssop, 390 

Ibex, 3, 19, 257, 290, 308 
Ibi-Sin, 302 

Igigi* 397 

Ili-Ippalzam, 108 

Ilu-Ittia, i 14 

Iluma-ilu, 33 

Imgur-Bel, 139 

Imgur-Marduk, 67 

Impalement, 208 

Implements, 252 

Inlay work, 236, 249, 250, 251, 

2 54 t 

Inundation, 4 
Irak, 344 
Irishum, 3, 79 
Iron, 255, 268, 269, 286 
Irrigation, 368, 390 
Ishme-Dagan, 143 
Ishme-Dagan, k. of Isin, 321 



Ishtar, the goddess, 70, 306, 388, 

39i, 393, 395, 396, 397 
Ishtar's Gate, 271, 274, 275 
Isin, dynasty of, 32 
Israel, 36 

Ivory, 13, 83, 223, 254, 312 
Ivy, 14 

Jackals, 24 

Jackson, Sir John (Ltd.), u 

Jade, 287 

Jasper, 287 

Jastrow, Morris, 65, 321, 388, 

39.2, 393 
Jehoiakim, 39 
Jehu, 15 

Jerusalem, 37, 39 
Jewellery, 76, 252, 261, 267, 323, 

340, 346, 348 
Job, 404 

Johns, C., 369, 377, 389 
Jonah, 14 
Josephus, 151 
Judah, 36, 38, 39, 112 

Kalat Sherkat, 48, 59, 69, 77, 
78, 94, 158, etc. ; cf. Ashur 

Kallima-Sin, 16 

Kampfer, 85 

" Kanephores," 246 

" Karduniash," 34 

Karun, river, 22 

Kasr, 149-51 ; cf. Babylon 

Kassites, 33, 303, 335 

" Kaunakes" garments, 310 

Khabour, 129 

Khammurabi, 32, 50, 107, 108, 
no, 141, 198, 376 

Khipa, 116 

Khorsabad, 41, 131, 160, 174, 
239, 272 

Khuenaten, 306 

Khukhnuri, land of, no 

" Ki-gallu," 402 

King, L. W., excavations and dis- 
coveries by, 84, 252, 311, 408 

2 E 

Kinneir, 90 

Kish, 5, 29, 30, 310 

Knife, 75, 242, 311, 398 

Kohl, 327 

Koldewey, R., excavations and 
discoveries by, 61, 68 f., 125, 
127, 130, 144, 146, I49-5 1 * 
164, 276, 322, 335, 349 

Kouyunjik collection, 104 

Kudur-Mabuk, 32, 112, 247, 

" Kudurrus," 396 ; cf. Boundary- 

Kurdistan, 16 

Kurigalzu, 303 

Labour, 377 

Lachish, 38, 215-17 

Lacouperie, 10 

Lagash, 6, 9, 29, 191, 192, 265, 
289, 290 ; cf. also Tello 

Lamas si, 238 

Lamps, 177, 334, 398 

Lance, 243 

Landlord and tenant, 108, 377 f. 

Lapis lazuli, 76, 102, 225, 250, 
288, 315, 340 

Larsa, 17, 29, 30; temples, 139 

Lassen, 90 

Layard, Sir Henry, excavations 
and discoveries by, 18, 22, 23, 
42-7, 54, 129, 140, 166, 
167, 175,253,255,262,271, 
280, 335 

Laws, 198, 384, 398 

Lead, 253, 255, 267, 268 

Leases, 398 

Lebanon, 130 

Leek, 390 

Legal contracts, 105, 106 ff. 

Leopard, 24, 257, 292 

Letters, 107, 108 

Lettuce, 390 

Lever, 214 

Lexicography, 104 

Libations, 205 



Libyan languages, 5 

Limestone, 14, 70, 145, 153, 

182, 183, 224, 230, 287, 

326, 327 
Linen, 346 
Lions, 20, 21, 22, 24, 185, 218, 

219, 234-43, 251, 255, 257, 

265, 270, 275-6, 280-9, 2 9 

-i, 293, 309, 324, 330 
Liver, omens derived from, 116 
Locusts, 26 
Loftus, W. K., excavations and 

discoveries by, 49, 51, 123, 

156, 158, 163, 331 
Longperier, 94 
Lotus-plants, 13, 312 
Lowenstern, 94 
Lu-enna, 267 
Lugal-anda, 288 
Lugal-banda, 1 1 1 
Lugal-Kigub-nidudu, 30, 102 
Lugal-Kisali, 30 
Lugal-shar-engur, 29 
Lugal-Tarsi, 102 
Lugal-zaggisi, 30, 326 
Lydia, 39 
Lynxes, 24 

Maat, 314 

Macalister, 254 

Maces, 191, 200, 230, 287 

Magan, 328, 335 

Magic, 104, 109, 374 

Mail, coats of, 350 f. 

Manasseh, 38 

Man-fish, 398 

Manishtusu, 31, 226, 371 

Marble, 42, 55, 83, 223, 287, 

326, 328, 347 
Marduk, 33, 48, 71, 73, 199, 

273, 3 6 > 386, 39i 392,397 
Marriage, 364, 376, 389 
Maspero, 269, 408 
Mathematics, 104 
Measures, 372 
Mechanics, 214, 215 

Medes, 39 

Medicine, 104, 109 

Meissner, 69, 390 

Memphis, 38 

Mesilim, k. of Kish, 29, 30, 185, 


Mesniu, the, 4 
Messerschmidt, 62 
Metals, Babylonian work, 242- 

53 ; Assyrian work, 253-69 ; 

cf. also pp. 83, 103, 131, 132 
Meyer, M. L., excavations by, 

61, 69 

Military arrangements, 188, 195 
Milk, 366, 370, 390 
Millet, 11,13 
Mitani, 109 
Mohammerah, 3, 22 
Mohl, 41 

Money-lenders, 379, 388 
Monkey, 20, 282 
Monotheism, 372, 386 
Moritz, B., 6 1 
Mortar, 124-6 
Mortgage, 108 
Moschians, 34 
Mother of emerald, 287 
Mother-of-pearl, 83, 249, 250, 

39> 3 I! > 340 v 
Moulds, 252 
Mounds, 6 
Mountain-sheep, 20 
.Mukeyyer, 50, 120, 156, 159, 


Mule, 17 
Miinter, 86, 87 
Murashu Tablets, 66 
"Mushlala," 78 
Musical instruments, 197, 204, 

205, 221, 222 

Mutilation, 385 
Mutton, 366 
Mythology, 104 

Nabonassar, 1 10 
Nabonidus, 5, 6, 50, 60 



Nabopolassar, 34, 39, 73, 112, 

150, 207 

Nabu. Cf. Nebo 
Nabu-aplu-iddina, 118, 205, 207 
Nails, 243-4, 245, 253, 258 
Nairi, 35 

Names, divinely-compounded, 374 
Nana, 391 
Napir-asu, 262 
Naram-Sin, 5, 7, 8,30, 31, 57, 64, 

67, 83, 84, 117, 135, 193- 

4-5 293, 328 
Nash, W. L., 331 
Nebi Yunus, 14, 56 
Nebo, 48, 51, 77, 78, 84, 139, 


Nebuchadnezzar I, 16, 397 
Nebuchadnezzar II, 39, 50, 51, 

73, 115, 138, 140, 149, 150, 

243. 33i 
Necho, 39 
Necklaces, 197, 264 
Neo-Babylonian Empire, 304 
Nergal, 73, 391 
Neriglissar, 74 
Nets, 310 
Newberry, 284 
Newton, 331 
Niebuhr, Carsten, 86 
Nile, 4 

Nimit-Marduk, 67 
Nimitti-Bel, 139 
Nimrud, 13, 42, 55, 56, 140, 

175, 232, 235, 239, 268, 280, 

281, 307, 312, 313, 319 
Nina, 13 

-Nineveh, 14, 34, 84, 239, 335 
Ningal, 197 
Ningirsu, 29, 133, 183, 186, 

191, 266, 299, 372 
Ningishzida, 22, 299, 329, 372 
Ninkharsag, 227, 398 
Ninib (Adar), 42, 388, 397 
Nin-lil, 325 
Nin-makh, 71, 136, 137, 278, 


Ninsun, i i i 

Ninus, 273 

Nippur, 6, 29, 99, 30, 62-8, 

116, 121, 132-6, 161-3, 

184, 304, 322, 333 
Norris, Edwin, 91 
Nusku, 398 

Oaks, 13 

Cannes, 27 ; cf. Ea. 

Oars, 363 

Obsidian, 75, 287 

Olive, u, 13 

Oliver, 90 

Omens, 104 ; Cf. Pigs, Dogs, etc. 

Onions, 370, 390 

Onyx, 83, 287, 326 

Opis, 29 

Oppert, 47, 94, 273, 328 

Oryx, 3, 20 

Ostrich, 25, 307 

Ovid, 141 

Oxen, 14, 16, 253, 273, 366 

Ox-hoof, 115, 254 

Oyster shells, 309 

Padi, k. of Ekron, 113 

Painting, 270-83 

Palaces, Assyrian, 151-6; Baby- 
lonian, 148-51 

Palm-trees, 129, 158, 221 

Panther, 273 

Partnerships, 382 

Pehlevi, language and inscrip- 
tions, 1 6, 86, 87 

Pepper, Wm., 63 

Percy, Dr., 283 

Perfumery, 366 

Perrot and Chipiez, 140, 238, 
271, 408, etc. 

Persepolis, 86, 87, ff. 

Persian cuneiform, 86, 87, ff. 

Persians, 39 

Peters, J. P., excavations and 
discoveries by, 63, 161, 162, 
334, etc. 



Petrie, W. Flinders, 269, 332 
Phoenician characters, 21, 255, 


Picture-writing, 96-100 
Pigs, 14, 20 

Pinches, T., 139, 140, 261 
Pir-Hussein, 339 
Place, Victor, excavations and 

discoveries by, 41, 42, 153, 

160, 173, 279 
Planetary colours, 138 
" Plano-convex " bricks, 1 20 
Plans, 116 
Plants, 115 
Pliny, 59 

Plough, 1 6, 184, 280, 303, 304 
Polyandry, 364 
Polygamy, 364, 365 
Polytheism, 372 
Pomegranates, 12, 370 
Poplar, 12, 129 
Porcupines, 20, 24 
Pork, 19 
Porphyry, 326 
Porter, 90 
Potter's wheel, 334 
Pottery, 84, 282, 333-6 
Prayers, 104 
Prestwich, 10 
Priests, 373, 388 
Prisms, 112, 113 
Pul. Cf. Tiglath-Pileser III 
Pyramids, 141 

Quartz, 287 

Quivers, 188, 195, 358 

Rabbit, 20 

Radau, 187, 408 

Radishes, 370, 390 

Rafts, 363 

Ram, 178, 396, 397 

Raphia, battle of, 37 

Rassam, H. H., excavations and 

discoveries by, 46-9, 54-6, 59, 


Raven, 26 

Rawlinson, G., 200, 222, 352, 


Rawlinson, Sir H., discoveries by, 
18, 51, 90 f., 324 

Reeds, 13, 14 

Religion (early), 372-5 ; (Kham- 
murabi period), 386-9 ; (Assy- 
rian), 391-5 

Rent, 378 

Repousse- work, 258, 259 ff. 

Rezin, k. of Damascus, 36 

Rich, C. J., discoveries by, 40, 


Rim-Sin, 32, 101, 247, 248 
Ring and staff, 103, 198, 206 
Riparian obligations, 379 
Rivets, 252 

Rogers, R. W., 94, 408 
Roofs, Assyrian, 153, 154 
Ropes, 206, 214, 281 
Rosettes, 14, 78, 202, 233, 260, 

274, 279, 315, 357 

Sacrifices, 244, 373 
Saddles, 353 
Sagittarius, 398 
Sammuramat, 233 
Samsu-iluna, 50, 68, 108, no 
Sandals. Cf. Foot-wear 
Sandstone, 69, 70, 163, 325, 327 
Sanskrit, 90 

Sarcophagi, 74, 75, 180 
Sargon, 37, 53, 79, 112, 144, 

151-4, 209, 212, 330 
Saws, 75, 242 
Sayce, A. H., 89, 94, 407, 408 

et passim 

Sceptre, 197, 230 
Scheil, PeTe, 68, 364 
Scimitar, 254 
Schist, 287 
Schrader, 61 
Scorpion, 26 
Scorpion-man, 398 
Scourging, 385 



Scroll-design, 192, 315 
Sculpture, bas-reliefs (Assyrian), 

201-22 (Babylonian), 181- 


Sculpture, in the round, 222-41 
Seals, 285, 286, 324 
Semiramis, 233, 273 
Semites, 5, 30 

Senkereh, 49 ; cf. also Larsa 
Sennacherib, 37, 38, 46, 47, 56, 

78, 113, 213-17, 330, 397 
Serpents, 22, 23, 273, 296, 299, 

329, 398 
Sesame, n 
" Shaduf," 369 
Shagshag, 373 
Shalmaneser I, 35, ,78 
Shalmaneser II, 15, 36, 55, 81, 

143, 207, 232, 259, 268 
Shalmaneser IV, 36, 37 
Shamash, i, 60, 139, 205, 296, 


Shamash-Killani, 1 1 6 
Shamash-shum-ukin, 38, 73, no 
Shamshi-Adad, 79, 143, 167 
Share-profit system, 378 
Shar-Gani-Sharri, 5, 7, 8, 23, 

67, 102, 117, 293 
Sharru-Gi, 30, 31 
Shatt el-Hai Canal, 224 
Shatt en-Nil Canal, 133 
Sheaf, 398 
Shediy 238 

Sheep, 14, 17, 18,115,297,366 
Shell, 72, 75, 76, 236, 250, 287, 


Sheol, 401 

Shields, 208, 211, 281, 360 
Shipping, 381 
Shualu, 401 f. 
Shutruk-Nakhunte, 194 
Sidon, 114 
Silver, 72, 73, 76, 150, 251, 

264, 265, 267, 286 
Simmash-shipak, 205 
Simon, L., 61 

Sin, the Moon-god, 50, 306, 388, 

.391, 395. 396, 397 
Sin-eribam, 106 
Sin-Gamil, 101 
Sin-gashid, k. of Erech, 1 1 1 
Sin-idinnam, k. of Larsa, 107, 


Sin-ikisham, 106 
Sin-muballit, no 
Sin-shar-ishkun, 81, 144, 145 ff. 
Sippar, 3, 29, 139 ; cf. also AbQ 


Sit-napishtim, 26, 404 
Skins, 203, 211, 363 
Slaves, 376 
Slings, 341 
Smith, George, excavations and 

discoveries by, 52-4, 128, 138 
Solomon, 316 
South-west wind, 262 
Spain, 334 

Sparrow and plough, 398 
Spasinus Chorax, 3 
Spearmen, Assyrian, 350-6 
Spears, 76, 193, 211, 219, 242 
Sphinxes, 312 
Squeezes, 90, 117 
Stag, 20 

Stage-tower. Cf. Ziggurat 
Stalagmite, 325, 326 
Standards, 193, 204, 244 
Star, 296, 302, 305, 395 
Statues, offerings to, 373 
Steatite, 197, 235, 252, 329 
Stone, uses of, 74, 75, 100, 101, 

115, 126-9, 224, 245. 2 46, 

Stork, 26 

Storm-god, the. Cf. Adad 
Strabo, 127, 157, 158, 168 
Stucco, 278 
Stylus, 227 
Sumerians, i, 2, 10, 29, 290, 

29'. 364, 372 
Sumu-abu, 32, no 
Sumu-ilu, k. of Ur, 235 



Sumu-la-ilu, k. of Babylon, no 

Sun-god, in ; cf. also Shamash 

"Sun-Tablet," 164, 205 

Surgeons, 385 

Surghul, 6 1, 157 

Susa, i, 2, 32, 38, 193, 199, 226, 

262, 331, 334 
Swallow, 26 
Swan, 26 
Swimming, 203 
Swords, 212, 254, 350 f. 
Syenite, 287 
Syllabaries, 109 
Symbolism, 395 
" Synchronous History," 1 1 1 
Syria (northern), 35, 36 

Table, 307 

Tablets, 103, 105, 286 

Talbot, 94 

Tamarisk, 130, 370 

Tarsus, 38 

Taylor, J. E., excavations and 

discoveries by, 50, 51, 120, 

123, 124, 133, 134, 156, 159, 

163, 176, 200, 242, 263 
Tell el-Amarna letters, 108 
Tell el-Hesy. Cf. Lachish 
Tell6 (Lagash), 13, 56-8, 61, 

84, 161, 187, 195, 224, 234, 

2 48, 301, 310 
Tell Sifr, 50 
Temples, Assyrian, 140-8; 

Babylonian, 132-40 
Temple-towers, i ; cf. also 

Terebinth, 13 
Terra-cotta, 321, 322, 324 
Te-Umman, k. of Elam, 114, 


Thebes, 38, 114 
Thistle, 14 
Thompson, R. C., excavations 

by, 84 
Thrones, 197, 216, 217, 235, 


Thunderbolt, 79, 395 

Thureau-Dangin, 364 

Tiamat, 306 

Tibet, 1 8 

Tiglath-Pileser I, 34, 35, JI2 , 

142, 200, 267, 268 

Tiglath-Pileser II, 79 
Tiglath-Pileser III, 36, 43, 81, 

in, 208, 268 
Tigris, 10 
Til-Garimum, 113 
Tin, 253, 255 

Tirhakah, k. of Egypt, 38, 1 14 
Toilet, 327, 347 
Tortoise, 20 
Trades, 366, 380 
Trees, 12, 280, 291, 306 
Trilingual inscriptions, 86 
Tubal, 113 
Tukulti-Ninib I, 21, 34, 72, 78, 

79, 81, 179 
Tukulti-Ninib II, 35 
Tulips, 282 

Turbans, 228, 300, 302 
Turks, 12, 68 
Turnips, 390 
Turtle-doves, 367 
Tychsen, 86 
Tyre and Sidon, 363 

Umbrellas, 205 

Umma, 29, 30 

Ungnad, 19 

Untash-gal, k. of Elam, 262 

Ur, 6, 29, 30, 31, 133 ; cf. also 


Ur-Bau, 149, 227, 249 
Ur-Engur, 6, 31, 32, 50, 64, 67, 

82, 133 f., 299 
Ur-Nina, 9, 30, 120, 130, 149, 

186, 235, 244, 310 
Urukagina, 13, 27, 30, 326, 374 
Urumush, 30, 31, 328 
Urzage, 325 
Ushpia, 78 



Valle, Pietro della, 85 
Vases, 226, 229, 302, 398 
Vegetables, 373 
Vestments, 206 
Vetches, 14 

Vines, 13, 112, 217, 218, 221 
Votive figures, 244 
Vultures, 24, 25, 57, 187, 188 
ff., 204, 290 

Wages, 380 

Ward, W. Hayes, 2, 15, 16,63, 
284,285, 287, 292, 295,298, 

304, 305. 341,. 39-8 

Warka, excavations and dis- 
coveries at, 9, 49, 156, 163, 

Water- fowl, 334 

Weapons, 188, 202, 221, 252, 

259. 340-4, 35~9 
Weavers, 365 
Westergaard, 91 
Wheat, 1 1 
Wilkinson, 369 
Windows, 160, 211 
" Window Inscription," 85 
Wine. Cf. also Alcohol, 1 1 

Winged Being, 202, 286 

Winged Disc, 306 

Winged monsters, excavation and 

transport of, 43-5 
Witnesses, 384 
Wolves, 24 
Woman, 224, 225, 226, 229, 244, 

2 45, 33 8 , 340, 3 6 5> 3 6 6, 3 8 9 

Wood, 129-31 

Wood-carving, 236 

Wool, 337, 366 f., 390 

World, map of, Babylonian con- 
ception of, 1 1 6 

Wuswas fagade, 157 

Xerxes, 86, 331 
Yokha, 121 

Zabum, 72, no 

Zamama, 398 

Zaquriu, 268 

Zarpanit, 73 

Zedekiah, 39 

Zend-Avesta, 86 

Ziggurats, 42, 142, 143, 148 

Zoroastrian faith, 86 




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Acme Library Card Pocket 

Under Pat. " Ref . Index File."