(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Children's Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "Myths"

^ = MMTHS CF ", 
' ASSMRIA, = 



LEWIS SPENGE 



V: 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2009 with funding from 

Indiana University 



http://www.archive.org/details/mythsOOspen 



MYTHS & LEGENDS 

OF BABYLONIA & 

ASSYRIA 



BY 
LEWIS SPENCE F-R./fll. 

AUTHOR OF "the MYTHS OF MEXICO AND PERU " "THE CIVI- 
LIZATION OF ANCIENT MEXICO " " THE POPOL VUH " 
"the MYTHS OF THE NORTH AMERICAN INDIANS" 
" MYTHS AND LEGENDS OF ANCIENT EGYPT " 
ETC. 



WITH EIGHT PLATES IN COLOUR BY 

EVELYN PAUL AND THIRTY-TWO 

OTHER ILLUSTRATIONS 




s7 



NEW YORK 
FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY 
.^. , -c. - ,: .PUBUSH:iFlS.. •,',•- " ' 



\2Ll3qo 



fKL 



S7 



• , • , .... AT Tpp JJALLANTTNE PUEP3 



6 -/T-/^ 



PREFACE 

THE purpose of this book is to provide not 
only a popular account of the religion and 
mythology of ancient Babylonia and Assyria, 
but to extract and present to the reader the treasures 
of romance latent in the subject, the peculiar richness 
of which has been recognized since the early days 
of archaeological effort in Chaldea. Unfortunately, 
with few exceptions, writers who have made the field 
a special study have rarely been able to triumph 
over the limitations which so often obtrude in works 
of scholarship and research. It is true that the 
pages of Rawlinson, Smith, Layard, and Sayce are 
enlivened at intervals with pictures of Assyrian 
splendour and Babylonian glory — gleams which escape 
as the curtains which veil the wondrous past are 
partially lifted — but such glimpses are only interludes 
in lengthy disquisitions which too often must be 
tedious for the general reader. 

It was such a consideration which prompted the 
preparation of this volume. Might not a book 
be written which should contain the pure gold of 
Babylonian romance freed from the darker ore of 
antiquarian research ? So far, so good. But gold 
in the pure state is notoriously unserviceable, and 
an alloy which renders it of greater utility may 
detract nothing from its brilliance. Romance or no 
romance, in these days it will not do to furnish stories 
of the gods without attempting some definition of 
their nature and origin. For more than ever before 
romance and knowledge are a necessary blend in 
the making of a satisfactory book on mythology. 

Nevertheless, it is anticipated that it will be to the 
modern reader who loves the romance of antiquity that 

5 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

this book will especially appeal. It is claimed that 
the greater part of Chaldean romance clusters around 
the wonderful mythology and religion of that land ; 
it is therefore of these departments of Chaldean lore 
that this volume chiefly treats. But the history of 
Babylonia and Assyria has not been neglected. The 
great names in its records will be found to recur 
constantly in these pages, in most instances accom- 
panied by a tale or legend which will illuminate the 
circumstances of their careers and serve to retain 
these in the mind of the reader. Nor has the Biblical 
connexion with Chaldea been forgotten ; the reader 
will find as he proceeds frequent references to the 
pages of the most picturesque Book in the world. 

L. S. 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PAGE 

I. BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA IN HISTORY AND 

LEGEND II 

II. BABYLONIAN COSMOGONY 70 

III. EARLY BABYLONIAN RELIGION 88 

IV. THE GILGAMESH EPIC 154 
V. THE LATER PANTHEON OF BABYLONIA 184 

VI. THE GREAT GOD MERODACH AND HIS CULT 199 

VII. THE PANTHEON OF ASSYRIA 203 

VIII. BABYLONIAN STAR-WORSHIP 231 

IX. THE PRIESTHOOD, CULT, AND TEMPLES 239 

X. THE MAGIC AND DEMONOLOGY OF BABYLONIA - 

AND ASSYRIA 257 

XI. THE MYTHOLOGICAL MONSTERS AND ANIMALS - 

OF CHALDEA 289 
XII. TALES OF THE BABYLONIAN AND ASSYRIAN 

KINGS 299 

XIII. THE COMPARATIVE VALUE OF THE BABYLONIAN 

AND ASSYRIAN RELIGIONS 313 

XIV. MODERN EXCAVATION IN BABYLONIA AND 

ASSYRIA 339 

XV. THE TWILIGHT OF THE GODS 377 

GLOSSARY AND INDEX 381 



A 3 



/ 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

PACE 

Sacrificing to Bel {Evelyn Paul) Frontispiece 

Assault on a City i6 
Basalt Stele engraved with the Text of Ivhammurabi's 

Code of Laws 20 

Sennacherib receiving Tribute 30 

The Death of Sardanapalus (L. Chalon) 32 
The Library of King Assur-bani-pal at Nineveh 

{Fernand L. Quesne) 36 
Daniel interprets the Dream of Nebuchadrezzar 

{Evelyn Paul) 38 

Grant of Privileges to Ritti-Marduk by Nebuchadrezzar I 40 

Birs Nimrud, the Tower of Babel 48 

The Murder of Setapo {Evelyn Paul) 58 

The Seven Tablets of Creation 70 

" Mighty was he to look upon " {Evelyn Paul) 76 

Conflict between Merodach and Tiawath 80 
Types of En-lil, the Chief God of Nippur, and of his 

Consort Nin-lil 94 

Ishtar, as (i) Mother-goddess, (2) Goddess of War, 

(3) Goddess of Love 124 

The Mother-goddess Ishtar {Evelyn Patd) 136 

Assyrian Rock Sculpture 148 

Assyrian Type of Gilgamesh 162 

Ut-Napishtim makes Offering to the Gods {Allan Stewart) 176 

Nebo 184 

Hall in Assyrian Palace {Sir Henry Layard) 196 

Tiglath-Pileser I directed by Ninib {Evelyn Paul) 216 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

PAGE 

Assur-nazir-pal attended by a Winged Mythological Being 222 

Zikkurats of the Anu-Adad at Ashur 242 

Stage-tower at Samarra 242 

Excavated Ruins of the Temple of E-Sagila 250 

Exorcising Demons of Disease 262 

Clay Object resembling a Sheep's Liver 282 

Eagle-headed Mythological Being 296 

Capture of Sarrapanu by Tiglath-Pileser II {Evelyn Paul) 300 

The Fatal EcUpse [M. Dovaston, R.B.A .) 306 

Shalmaneser I pouring out the Dust of a Conquered City 

{Ambrose Dudley) 308 

The Marriage Market {Edwin Long, R.A.) 310 

A Royal Hunt 318 

Elijah prevailing over the Priests of Baal {Evelyn Paul) 326 

The ' Black Obelisk ' of Shalmaneser II 342 

Outline of the Mounds at Nimrud {Sir Henry Layard) 346 

The Palaces of Nimrud {James Ferguson) 348 

Work of the Excavators in Babylon 354 

Ruins of Babylon 366 

The Hanging;;^Gardens of Babylon {M. Dovaston, R.B.A.) 370 



10 



CHAPTER I : BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 
IN HISTORY AND LEGEND 

'^ I ^0 our fathers until well-nigh a century ago 
I Babylon was no more than a mighty name — 

J^ a gigantic skeleton whose ribs protruded 
here and there from the sands of Syria in colossal 
ruin of tower and temple. But now the grey shroud 
which hid from view the remains of the glow and 
glitter of her ancient splendour has to some extent 
been withdrawn, and through the labours of a band 
of scholars and explorers whose lives and work must 
be classed as among the most romantic passages in 
the history of human effort we are now enabled to 
view the wondrous panorama of human civilization 
as it evolved in the valleys of the Tigris and 
Euphrates. 

The name ' Babylon ' carries with it the sound of 
a deep, mysterious spell, such a conjuration as might 
be uttered in the recesses of secret temples. It 
awakens a thousand echoes in the imagination. It 
holds a music richer than that of Egypt. Babylon, 
Babylon — the sonorous charm of the word is as a 
line from some great epic. It falls on the ear 
of the historian like distant thunder. Behind the 
grandeur of Rome and the beauty of Greece it looms 
as a great and thick darkness over which flash at 
intervals streams of uncertain light as half-forgotten 
kings and priests, conquerors and tyrants, demi- 
gods and mighty builders pass through the gloom 
from obscurity to obscurity — sometimes in the full 
glare of historical recognition, but more often in the 
half-light and partially relieved dusk of uncertainty. 
Other shapes, again, move like ghosts in complete 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

and utter darkness, and these are by far the most 
numerous of all. 

But the spirit of Babylon is no soft and alluring 
thing eloquent of Oriental wonders or charged with 
the delicious fascination of the East. Rather is it 
a thing stark and strong, informed with fate and 
epical in its intense recognition of destiny. In 
Babylonian history there are but two figures of 
moment — the soldier and the priest. We are dealing 
with a race austere and stern, a race of rigorous 
religious devotees and conquerors, the Romans of 
the East — but not an unimaginative race, for the 
Babylonians and Assyrians came of that stock 
which gave to the world its greatest religions, 
Judaism, Christianity, and Mohammedanism, a race 
not without the sense of mystery and science, for 
Babylon was the mother of astrology and magic, 
and established the beginnings of the study of the 
stars ; and, lastly, of commerce, for the first true 
financial operations and the first houses of exchange 
were founded in the shadows of her temples and 
palaces. 

The boundaries of the land where the races of 
Babylonia and Assyria evolved one of the most 
remarkable and original civilizations in the world's 
history are the two mighty rivers of Western Asia, 
the Tigris and Euphrates, Assyria being identical 
with the more northerly and mountainous portion, 
and Babylonia with the southerly part, which in- 
clined to be flat and marshy. Both tracts of country 
were inhabited by people of the same race, save that 
the Assyrians had acquired the characteristics of a 
population dwelling in a hilly country and had 
become to some extent intermingled with Hittite 
and Amorite elements. But both were branches 



THE AKKADIANS 

of an ancient Semitic stock, the epoch of whose 
entrance into the land it is impossible to fix. In 
the oldest inscriptions discovered we find those 
Semitic immigrants at strife with the indigen- 
ous people of the country, the Akkadians, with 
whom they were subsequently to mingle and whose 
beliefs and magical and occult conceptions especi- 
ally they were afterward to incorporate with their 
own. 

The Akkadians 

Who, then, were the Akkadians whom the Baby- 
lonian Semites came to displace but with whom they 
finally mingled ? Great and bitter has been the 
controversy which has raged around the racial 
affinities of this people. Some have held that they 
were themselves of Semitic stock, others that they 
were of a race more nearly approaching the Mongol, 
the Lapp, and the Basque. In such a book as this, 
the object of which is to present an account of the 
Babylonian mythology, it is unnecessary to follow 
the protagonists of either theory into the dark 
recesses whither the conflict has led them. But the 
probability is that the Akkadians, who are usually 
represented upon their monuments as a beardless 
people with oblique eyes, were connected with that 
great Mongolian family which has thrown out 
tentacles from its original home in central Asia to 
the frozen regions of the Arctic, the north of Europe, 
the Turkish Empire, aye, and perhaps to America 
itself ! Akkadian in its linguistic features and 
especially in its grammatical structure shows a 
resemblance to the Ural-Altaic group of languages 
which embraces Turkish and Finnish, and this is 
in itself good evidence that the people who spoke it 

13 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

belonged to that ethnic division. But the question 
is a thorny one, and pages, nay, volumes might be 
occupied in presenting the arguments for and against 
such a belief. 

It was from the Akkadians, however, that the 
Babylonian Semites received the germs of their 
culture ; indeed it may be avowed that this aboriginal 
people carried them well on the way toward civiliza- 
tion. Not only did they instruct the Semitic new- 
comers in the arts of writing and reading, but they 
strongly biased their religious beliefs, and so inspired 
them with the idea of the sanctity of their own faith 
that the later Babylonian priesthood preserved the 
old Akkadian tongue among them as a sacred lan- 
guage, just as the Roman priesthood has retained 
the use of the dead Latin speech. Indeed, the 
proper pronunciation of Akkadian was an absolute 
necessity to the successful performance of religious 
ritual, and it is passing strange to observe that the 
Babylonian priests composed new religious texts in 
a species of dog- Akkadian, just as the monks of the 
Middle Ages composed their writings in dog-Latin ! 
— with such zeal have the religious in all ages clung 
to the cult of the ancient, the mystic and half- 
forgotten thing unknown to the vulgar. 

When we first encounter Babylonian civilization 
we find it grouped round about two nuclei, Nippur 
in the North and Eridu in the South. The first had 
grown up around a sanctuary of the god En-lil, who 
held sway over the ghostly animistic spirits which 
at his bidding might pose as the friends or enemies 
of men. A more ' civilized ' deity held sway at Eridu, 
which was the home of Ea, or Cannes, the god of 
light and wisdom, who exercised his knowledge of 
the healing art^for the benefit of his votaries. From 
14 



THE SEMITE CONQUERORS 

the waters of the Persian Gulf, whence he rose each 
morning, he brought knowledge of all manner of 
crafts and trades, arts and industries, for the behoof 
of his infant city, even the mystic and difficult art 
of impressing written characters on clay. It is a 
beautiful picture which we have from the old legend 
of this sea-born wisdom daily enlightening the life 
of the little white city near the waters. The Semites 
possessed a deep and almost instinctive love of 
wisdom. In the writings attributed to Solomon 
and in the rich and wondrous Psalms of David — 
those deep mines of song and sagacity — we find the 
glories of wisdom again and again extolled. Even 
yet there are few peoples among whom the love of 
scholarship, erudition, and religious wisdom is more 
cultivated for its own sake than with the Jews. 

These rather different cultures of the North and 
South, working toward a common centre, met and 
fused at a period prior to the commencement of 
history, and we even find the city of Ur, whence 
Abram came, a near neighbour of Eridu, colonized 
by Nippur ! The culture of Eridu prevailed never- 
theless, and its mightiest offshoot was the ultimate 
centre of Euphratean civilization — Babylon itself. 
The first founders of the city were undoubtedly of 
Sumerian stock — the expression ' Sumerian ' being 
that in vogue among modern scholars for the 
older ' Akkadian,' and therefore interchangeable 
with it. 

The Semite Conquefors 

It was probably about the time of the juncture 
of the civilizations of Eridu and Nippur that the 
Semites entered the country. There are indications 
which lead to the belief that, as in the case of the 

15 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

Semitic immigrants in Egypt, they came originally 
from Arabia. The Semite readily accepted the 
Sumerian civilization which he found flourishing in 
the valley of the Euphrates, and adapted the 
Sumerian system of writing to his own language, 
in what manner will be indicated later. But the 
Sumerians themselves were not above borrowing 
from the rich Semitic tongue, and many of the earliest 
Sumerian texts we encounter are strongly Semitized. 
But although the Semites appear to have filtered into 
Sumerian territory by way of Eridu and Ur, the first 
definite notices we have of their presence within it 
are in the monuments of the more northern portion of 
that territory, in what is known as Akkad, in the 
neighbourhood of Bagdad, where they founded a 
small kingdom in much the same manner as the 
Jutes founded the kingdom of Kent. The earliest 
monuments, however, come from Lagash, the modern 
Tel-lo, some thirty miles north of Ur, and recount 
the dealings of the high-priest of that place with 
other neighbouring dignitaries. The priests of 
Lagash became kings, and their conquests extended 
beyond the confines of Babylonia to Elam on the 
east, and southward to the Persian Gulf. 

A Babylonian Conqueror 

But the first great Semitic empire in Babylonia 
was that founded by the famous Sargon of Akkad. 
As is the case with many popular heroes and monarchs 
whose deeds are remembered in song and story — 
for example, Perseus, CEdipus, Cyrus, Romulus, and 
our own King Arthur — the early years of Sargon 
were passed in obscurity. Sargon is, in fact, one of 
the * fatal children.' He was, legend stated, born 
in concealment and sent adrift, like Moses, in an ark 
i6 



w 






t:^" 



^ _ J -> /> 











Assault on a City 
From a bas-rfliuf iX'prcscnlin.L; llii; Cainpaigns of Sennacherib 

Photo W. A. M^mscll and Cc. 



i6 



A BABYLONIAN CONQUEROR 

of bulrushes on the waters of the Euphrates, whence 
he was rescued and brought up by one Akki, a 
husbandman. But the time of his recognition at 
length arrived, and he received the crown of Baby- 
lonia. His foreign conquests were extensive. On 
four successive occasions he invaded Syria and 
Palestine, which he succeeded in welding into a 
single empire with Babylonia. Pressing his victories 
to the margin of the Mediterranean, he erected upon 
its shores statues of himself as an earnest of his 
conquests. He also overcame Elam and northern 
Mesopotamia and quelled a rebellion of some magni- 
tude in his own dominions. His son, Naram-Sin, 
claimed for himself the title of " King of the Four 
Zones," and enlarged the empire left him by his 
father, penetrating even into Arabia. A monument 
unearthed by J. de Morgan at Susa depicts him 
triumphing over the conquered Elamites. He is 
seen passing his spear through the prostrate body 
of a warrior whose hands are upraised as if pleading 
for quarter. His head-dress is ornamented with the 
horns emblematic of divinity, for the early Baby- 
lonian kings were the direct vicegerents of the 
gods on earth. 

Even at this comparatively early time {c. 3800 b.c.) 
the resources of the country had been well exploited 
by its Semitic conquerors, and their absorption of 
the Sumerian civilization had permitted them to 
make very considerable progress in the enlightened 
arts. Some of their work in bas-relief, and even in 
the lesser if equally difficult craft of gem-cutting, 
is among the finest efforts of Babylonian art. Nor 
were they deficient in more utilitarian fields. They 
constructed roads through the most important por- 
tions of the empire, along which a service of posts 

B 17 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

carried messages at stated intervals, the letters con- 
veyed by these being stamped or franked by clay 
seals, bearing the name of Sargon. 

The First Library in Babylonia 

Sargon is also famous as the first founder of a 
Babylonian library. This library appears to have 
contained works of a most surprising nature, having 
regard to the period at which it was instituted. One 
of these was entitled ^ke Observations of Bel, and 
consisted of no less than seventy-two books dealing 
with astronomical matters of considerable com- 
plexity ; it registered and described the appearances 
of comets, conjunctions of the sun and moon, and the 
phases of the planet Venus, besid^es recording many 
eclipses. This wonderful book was long afterward 
translated into Greek by the Babylonian historian 
Berossus, and it demonstrates the great antiquity 
of Babylonian astronomical science even at this 
very early epoch. Another famous work contained 
in the library of Sargon dealt with omens, the manner 
of casting them, and their interpretation — a very 
important side-issue of Babylonian magico-religious 
practice. 

Among the conquests of this great monarch, whose 
splendour shines through the shadows of antiquity 
like the distant flash of arms on a misty day, was the 
fair island of Cyprus. Even imagination reels at 
the well-authenticated assertion that five thousand 
seven hundred years ago the keels of a Babylonian 
conqueror cut the waves of the Mediterranean and 
landed upon the shores of flowery Cyprus stern Semitic 
warriors, who, loading themselves with loot, erected 
statues of their royal leader and returned with their 
bootv. In a Cvprian temple De Cesnola discovered, 
i8 



GUDEA 

down in the lowest vaults, a hsematite cylinder 
which described its owner as a servant of Xaram- 
Sin, the son of Sargon, so that a certain degree of 
communication must have been kept up between 
Babylonia and the distant island, just as early Egypt 
and Crete were bound to each other by ties of culture 
and commerce. 

Gudea 

But the empire which Sargon had founded was 
doomed to precipitate ruin. The seat of power was 
diverted southward to Ur. In the reign of Dungi, 
one of the monarchs who ruled from this southern 
sphere, a great vassal of the throne, Gudea, stands 
out as one of the most remarkable characters in 
early Babylonian antiquity. This Gudea {c. 2700 
B.C.) was high-priest of Lagash, a city perhaps thirty 
miles north of Ur, and was famous as a patron of 
the architectural and allied arts. He ransacked 
western Asia for building materials. Arabia supplied 
him with copper for ornamentation, the Amam.es 
mountains wdth cedar-wood, the quarries of Lebanon 
with stone, while the deserts adjacent to Palestine 
furnished him with rich stones of all kinds for use 
in decorative work, and districts on the shores of 
the Persian Gulf with timber for ordinary building 
purposes. His architectural ability is vouched for 
by a plan of hie palace, measured to scale, which is 
carved upon the lap of one of his statues in the 
Louvre. 

There is no intention in this sketch to follow 
minutely the events in the history of Babylonia and 
Assyria. The purpose is to depict and describe the 
circumstances, deeds, and times of its most out- 
standing figures, its most t}-pical and characteristic 
B 2 19 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

rulers. By following this plan we hope to be better 
able to present the reader with a more faithful and 
genuine picture of the civilization the myths of 
which we are about to peruse, than if we squandered 
space and time in the description of the reigns of 
kings during whose tenure of the throne no event 
of importance is recorded. 

Khammurabi the Great 

Like that which preceded it, the dynasty of Ur 
fell, and Arabian or Canaanite invaders usurped the 
royal power in much the same manner as the Shepherd 
Kings seized the sovereignty of Egypt. A subsequent 
foreign }^oke, that of Elam, was thrown off by Kham- 
murabi, perhaps the most celebrated and most 
popularly famous name in Babylonian history. This 
brilliant, wise, and politic monarch did not content 
himself with merely expelling the hated Elamites, 
but advanced to further conquest with such success 
that in the thirty-second year of his reign (2338 B.C.) 
he had formed Babylonia into a single monarchy 
with the capital at Babylon itself. Under the 
fostering care of Khammurabi, Babylonian art and 
literature unfolded and blossomed with a luxuriance 
surprising to contemplate at this distance of time. 
It is astonishing, too, to note how completely he 
succeeded in welding into one homogeneous whole 
the various elements of the empire he carved out for 
himself. So surely did he unify his conquests that 
the Babylonian power as he left it survived undivided 
for nearly fifteen hundred years. The welfare of his 
subjects of all races was constantly his care. No 
one satisfied of the justice of his cause feared to 
approach him. The legal code which he formulated 
and which remains as his greatest claim to the 




Basalt Stele engraved with the Text 
of Khammurabi's Code of Laws 

The scene represents the King receiving 
the Laws from Shamash, the Sun-god 

Photo W. A. Manscll and Co. 

20 



KHAMMURABI THE GREAT 

applause of posterity is a monument of wisdom and 
equity. If Sargon is to be regarded as the Arthur 
of Babylonian history surely Khammurabi is its 
Alfred. The circumstances of the lives of the two 
monarchs present a decidedly similar picture. Both 
had in their early years to free their country from a 
foreign yoke, both instituted a legal code, were patrons 
of letters and assiduous in their attention to the 
wants of their subjects. 

If a great people has frequently evolved a legal 
code of sterling merit there are cases on record where 
such an institution has served to make a people great, 
and it is probably no injustice to the Semites of 
Babylonia to say of them that the code of Kham- 
murabi made them what they were. A copy of this 
world-famous code was found at Susa by J. de Morgan, 
and is now in the Louvre. 

What the Babylonian chronologists called ' the 
First Dynasty of Babylon ' fell in its turn, and it is 
claimed that a Sumerian line of eleven kings took 
its place. Their sway lasted for 368 years — a state- 
ment which is obviously open to question. These 
were themselves overthrown and a Kassite dynasty 
from the mountains of Elam was founded by Kandis 
{c. 1780 B.C.) which lasted for nearly six centuries. 
These alien monarchs failed to retain their hold on 
much of the Asiatic and Syrian territory which had 
paid tribute to Babylon and the suzerainty of 
Palestine was likewise lost to them. It was at this 
epoch, too, that the high-priests of Asshur in the 
north took the title of king, but they appear to have 
been subservient to Babylon in some degree. Assyria 
grew gradually in power. Its people were hardier 
and more warlike than the art-loving and religious 
folk of Babylon, and little by little they encroached 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

upon the weakness of the southern kingdom until 
at length an affair of tragic proportions entitled them 
to direct interference in Babylonian politics. 

A Court Murder 

The circumstances which necessitated this inter- 
vention are not unlike those of the assassination of 
King Alexander of Serbia and Draga, his Queen, 
that happened 3000 years later. The Kassite king 
of Babylonia had married the daughter of Assur- 
yuballidh of Assyria. But the match did not meet 
with, the approval of the Kassite faction at court, 
which murdered the bridegroom-king. This atrocious 
act met with swift vengeance at the hands of Assur- 
yuballidh of Assyria, the bride's father, a monarch 
of active and statesmanlike qualities, the author 
of the celebrated series of letters to Amen-hetep IV 
of Egypt, unearthed at Tel-el-Amarna. He led a 
punitive army into Babylonia, hurled from the 
throne the pretender placed there by the Kassite 
faction, and replaced him with a scion of the legiti- 
mate royal stock. This king, Burna-buryas, reigned 
for over twenty years, and upon his decease the 
Assyrians, still nominally the vassals of the 
Babylonian Crown, declared themselves indepen- 
dent of it. Not content with such a revolutionary 
measure, under Shalmaneser I (1300 b.c.) they laid 
claim to the suzerainty of the Tigris-Euphrates 
region, and extended their conquests even to the 
boundaries of far Cappadocia, the Hittites and 
numerous other confederacies submitting to their 
yoke. Shalmaneser's son, Tukulti-in-Aristi, took the 
city of Babylon, slew its king, Bitilyasu, and thus 
completely shattered the claim of the older state to 
supremacy. He had reigned in Babylon for some 



TIGLATH^PILESER 

seven years when he was faced by a popular revolt, 
which seems to have been headed by his own son, 
Assur-nazir-pal, who slew him and placed Hadad- 
nadin-akhi on the throne. This king conquered 
and killed the Assyrian monarch of his time, Bel- 
kudur-uzur, the last of the old Assyrian royal line, 
whose death necessitated the institution of a new 
dynasty, the fifth monarch of which was the famous 
Tiglath-pileser I. 

Tiglath'Pileser 

Tiglath-pileser, or Tukulti-pal-E-sana, to confer 
on him his full Assyrian title, came to the throne 
about 1 1 20 B.C., and soon commenced the career of 
active conquest which was to render his name one 
of the most famous in the warlike annals of Assyria. 
Campaigns in the Upper Euphrates against alien 
immigrants who had settled there were followed by 
the conquest of the Hittites of Subarti, in Assyrian 
territory. Pressing northward toward Lake Van in 
the Kurdish country he subsequently turned his 
arms westward and overran Malatia. Cappadocia 
and the Aramaeans of Northern Syria next felt the 
force of his arms, and he penetrated on this occasion 
even to the sources of the Tigris. He left behind 
him the character of a great warrior, a great hunter, 
and a great builder, restoring the semi-ruinous 
temples of Asshur and Hadad or Rimmon in the city 
of Asshur. 

It is not until the reign of Assur-nazir-pal III 
{c. 883 B.C.) that we are once more enabled to take 
up the thread of Assyrian history with any degree 
of certainty. In this reign artistic development 
appears to have proceeded apace ; but it cannot be 
said of Assur-nazir-pal that in him culture went hand 

23 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

in hand with humanity, the records of his cruelties 
being long and revolting. His successor, Shalmaneser 
II, possessed an insatiable thirst for military glory, 
and during his reign of thirty-five years overthrew 
a great confederacy of Syrian chiefs which included 
Ahab, King of Israel. He was disturbed during 
the latter part of his reign by the rebellion of his 
eldest son. But his second son, Samsi-Rammon, 
came to his father's assistance, and his faithful 
adherence secured him the succession to the throne 
in 824 B.C. 

Semiramis the Great 

It was probably in the reign of this monarch that 
the queen known in legend as Semiramis lived. It 
would have been wonderful indeed had the magic 
of her name not been connected with romance by 
the Oriental imagination. Semiramis ! The name 
sparkles and scintillates with gems of legend and 
song. Myth, magic, and music encircle it and sweep 
round it as fairy seas surround some island paradise. 
It is a central rose in the chaplet of legend, it has 
been enshrined in music perhaps the most divine 
and melodious which the songful soul of Italy has 
ever conceived — yet not more beauteous than itself. 
Let us introduce into the iron chain of Assyrian 
history the golden link of the legend of this Helen 
of the East, and having heard the fictions of her 
greatness let us attempt to remove the veils which 
hide her real personality from view and look upon 
her as she was — Sammuramat the Babylonian, queen 
and favourite of Samsi-Rammon, who crushed the 
assembled armies of Media and Chaldea, and whose 
glories are engraved upon a column which, setting 
forth the tale of her conquests, describes her in all 
24 



SEMIRAMIS THE GREAT 

simplicity as " A woman of the palace of Samsi- 
Rammon, King of the World." 

Legend says that Ninus, King of Assyria, hav- 
ing conquered the Babylonians, proceeded toward 
Armenia with the object of reducing the people of 
that country. But its politic king, Barsanes, unable 
to meet him by armed force, made a voluntary sub- 
mission, accompanied by presents of such magnifi- 
cence that Ninus was placated. But, insatiable in 
his desire for conquest, he turned his eyes to Media, 
which he speedily subdued. His next ambition was 
to bring under his rule the territory between the 
Tanais and the Nile. This great task occupied him 
for no less than seventeen years, by which time all 
Asia had submitted to him, with the single exception 
of Bactria, which still maintained its independence. 
Having laid the foundations of the city of Nineveh, 
he resolved to proceed against the Bactrians. His 
army was of dimensions truly mythical, for he was 
said to be accompanied by 7,000,000 of infantrymen, 
2,000,000 of horse-soldiers, with the addition of 
200,000 chariots equipped with scythes. 

It was during this campaign, says Diodorus Siculus, 
that Ninus first beheld Semiramis. Her precise 
legendary or mythical origin is obscure. Some 
writers aver that she was the daughter of the fish- 
goddess Ataryatis, or Derketo, and Oannes, the 
Babylonian god of wisdom, who has already been 
alluded to. Ataryatis was a goddess of Ascalon in 
Syria, and after birth her daughter Semiramis was 
miraculously fed by doves until she was found by 
one Simmas, the royal shepherd, who brought her 
up and married her to Onnes, or Menon, one of 
Ninus's generals. He fell by his own hand, and 
Ninus thereupon took Semiramis to wife, having 

25 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

profoundly admired her ever since her conduct at 
the capture of Bactria, where she had greatly dis- 
tinguished herself. Not long afterward Ninus died, 
leaving a son called Ninyas. During her son's 
minority Semiramis assumed the regency, and the 
first great work she undertook was the interment of 
her husband, whom she buried with great splendour, 
and raised over him a mound of earth no less than a 
mile and a quarter high and proportionally wide, 
after which she built Babylon. This city being 
finished, she made an expedition into Media ; and 
wherever she went left memorials of her power and 
munificence. She erected vast structures, forming 
lakes and laying out gardens of great extent, par- 
ticularly in Chaonia and Ecbatana. In short, she 
levelled hills, and raised mounds of an immense 
height, which retained her name for ages. After 
this she invaded Egypt and conquered Ethiopia, 
with the greater part of Libya ; and having ac- 
complished her wish, and there being no enemy to 
cope with her, excepting the kingdom of India, she 
resolved to direct her forces toward that quarter. 
She had an army of 3,000,000 foot, 500,000 horse, 
and 100,000 chariots. For the passing of rivers 
and engaging the enemy by water she had procured 
2000 ships, to be so constructed as to be taken to 
pieces for the advantage of carriage : which ships 
were built in Bactria by men from Phoenicia, Syria, 
and Cyprus. With these she fought a naval engage- 
ment with Strabrobates, King of India, and at the 
first encounter sunk a thousand of his ships. After 
this she built a bridge over the river Indus, and 
penetrated into the heart of the country. Here 
Strabrobates engaged her. Being deceived by the 
numerous appearance of her elephants, he at first 
26 



SEMIRAMIS THE GREAT 

gave way, for being deficient in those animals she 
had procured the hides of 3000 black oxen, which, 
being properly sewn and stuffed with straw, pre- 
sented the appearance of so many elephants. All 
this was done so naturally that even the real 
elephants of the Indian king were deceived. But 
the stratagem was at last discovered, and Semiramis 
was obliged to retreat, after having lost a great part 
of her army. Soon after this she resigned the govern- 
ment to her son Ninyas, and died. According to 
some writers, she was slain by his hand. 

It was through the researches of Professor 
Lehmann-Haupt of Berlin that the true personal 
significance of Semiramis was recovered. Until the 
year 1910 the legends of Diodorus and others were 
held to have been completely disproved and Semi- 
ramis was regarded as a purely mythical figure. 
Old Bryant in his Antient Mythology^ published at 
the beginning of last century, proves the legendary 
status of Semiramis to his own satisfaction. He 
says : " It must be confessed that the generality of his- 
torians have represented Semiramis as a woman, and 
they describe her as a great princess who reigned 
in Babylon ; but there are writers who from their 
situation had opportunities of better intelligence, and 
by those she is mentioned as a deity. The Syrians, 
says Athenagoras, worshipped Semiramis, and adds 
that she was esteemed the daughter of Dercatus and 
the same as the Suria Dea. . . . Semiramis was 
said to have been born at Ascalon because Atargatus 
was there worshipped under the name of Dagon, 
and the same memorials were preserved there as at 
Hierapolis and Babylon. These memorials related 
to a history of which the dove was the principal 
type. It was upon the same account that she was 

27 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

said to have been changed to a dove because they 
found her always depicted and worshipped under 
that form, . . . From the above I think it is plain 
that Semiramis was an emblem and that the name 
was a compound of Sama-ramas, or ramis, and it 
signified ' the divine token,' a type of providence, 
and as a military ensign, (for as such it was used) it 
may with some latitude be interpreted ' the standard 
of the most High.' It consisted of the figure of a 
dove, which was probably encircled with the iris, as 
those two emblems were often represented together. 
All who went under that standard, or who paid any 
deference to that emblem, were styled Semarim or 
Samorim. It was a title conferred upon all who 
had this device for their national insigne." There 
is much more of this sort of thing, typical of the 
mythic science of the eighteenth and early nineteenth 
centuries. It is easy to see how myth became busy 
with the name of the Assyrian Queen, whose exploits 
undoubtedly aroused the enthusiasm not only of 
the Assyrians themselves but of the peoples sur- 
rounding them. Just as any great work in ancient 
Britain was ascribed to the agency of Merlin or 
Arthur, so such monuments as could not otherwise 
be accounted for were attributed to Semiramis. 
Western Asia is monumentally eloquent of her name, 
and even the Behistun inscriptions of Darius have 
been placed to her credit. Herodotus states that 
one of the gates of Babylon was called after her, and 
that she raised the artificial banks that confined the 
river Euphrates. Her fame lasted until well into 
the Middle Ages, and the Armenians called the district 
round Lake Van, Shamiramagerd. 

There is very little doubt that her fame became 
mingled with that of the goddess Ishtar : she pos- 
28 



THE SECOND ASSYRIAN EMPIRE 

sesses the same Venus-like attributes, the dove is her 
emblem, and her story became so inextricably inter- 
twined with that of the Babylonian goddess that she 
ultimately became a variant of her. The story of 
Semiramis is a triumphant vindication of the manner 
in which by certain mythical processes a human being 
can attain the rank of a god or goddess, for Semiramis 
was originally very real indeed. A column discovered 
in 1909 describes her as " a woman of the palace of 
Samsi-rammon, King of the World, King of Assyria, 
King of the Four Quarters of the World." This 
dedication indicates that Semiramis, or, to give her 
her Assyrian title, Sammuramat, evidently possessed 
an immense influence over her husband, Samsi- 
rammon, and that perhaps as queen-mother that 
influence lasted for more than one reign, so that the 
legend that after a regency of forty-two years she 
delivered up the kingdom to her son, Ninyas, may 
have some foundation in fact. She seems to have 
made war against the Medes and Chaldeans. The 
story that on relinquishing her power she turned 
into a dove and disappeared may mean that her 
name, Sammuramat, was easily connected with the . 
Assyrian summat, the word for ' dove ' ; and for a 
person of her subsequent legendary fame the mythical 
connexion with Ishtar is easily accounted for. 

The Second Assyrian Empire 

What is known as the Second Assyrian Empire 
commenced with the reign of Tiglath-pileser III, 
who organized a great scheme of provincial govern- 
ment. This plan appears to have been the first 
forecast of the feudal system, for each province paid 
a fixed tribute and provided a military contingent. 

Great efforts were made to render the army as 

29 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

irresistible as possible with the object of imposing 
an Assyrian supremacy upon the entire known world. 
Tiglath overran Armenia, defeated the Medes and 
Hittites, seized the seaports of Phoenicia and the 
trade routes connecting them with the centres of 
Assyrian commerce, and finally conquered Babylon, 
where in 729 B.C. he was invested with the sovereignty 
of ' Asia.' Two years later he died, but his successor, 
Shalmaneser IV, carried on the policy he had initiated. 
He had, however, only five years of life in which to 
do so, for at the end of that period the usurping 
general Sargon, who laid claim to be a descendant 
of Sargon the Great of Akkad, seized the royal power 
of Babylon. He was murdered in 705 B.C., and his 
son Sennacherib, of Biblical fame, appears to have 
been unable to carry on affairs with the prudence 
or ability of his father. He outraged the religious 
feelings of the people by razing to the ground the 
city of Babylon, because of the revolt of the citizens. 
The campaign he made against Hezekiah, King of 
Judah, was marked by a complete failure. Hezekiah 
had allied himself with the Philistine princes of 
Ascalon and Ekron, but when he saw his Egyptian 
allies beaten at the battle of Eltekeh he endeavoured 
to buy off the invaders by numerous presents, though 
without success. The wonderful deliverance of 
Jerusalem from the forces of Sennacherib, recorded 
in Scripture, and sung by Byron in his Hebrew 
Melodies, appears to have a good foundation in fact. 
It seems that the Assyrian army was attacked and 
almost decimated by plague, which obliged Sen- 
nacherib to return to Nineveh, but it is not likely 
that the phenomenon occurred in the watch of a 
night. Sennacherib was eventually murdered : by 
his two sons, who, the deed accomplished, fled to 
30 




Sennacherib receiving Tribute 

l'"r(im the I'alacc at Ninc\-eh 

Photo W. A. ManscII and Co. 



30 



SARDANAPALUS THE SPLENDID 

Armenia. Of all the Assyrian monarchs he was 
perhaps the most pompous and the least fitted to 
rule. The great palace at Nineveh and the great 
wall of that city, eight miles in circumference, were 
built at his command. 

His son and successor, Esar-haddon, initiated his 
reign by sending back the sacred image of Merodach 
to its shrine at Babylon, which city he restored. 
He was solemnly declared king in the restored temple 
of Merodach, and during his reign both Babylonia 
and Assyria enjoyed quiet and contentment. War 
with Egypt broke out in 670 B.C., and the Egyptians 
were thrice defeated with heavy loss. The Assyrians 
entered Memphis and instituted a protectorate over 
part of the country. Two years later Egypt revolted, 
and while marching to quell the outbreak Esar- 
haddon died on the road — his fate resembling that 
of Edward I, who died while on his way to over- 
come the Scottish people, then in rebellion against 
his usurpation. 

Sardanapalus the Splendid 

Esar-haddon was succeeded by Assur-bani-pal, 
known to Greek legend as Sardanapalus. How far 
the legendary description of him squares with the 
historical it is difficult to say. The former states 
that he was the last king of Assyria, and the thirtieth 
in succession from Ninyas. Effeminate and corrupt, 
he seems to have been a perfect example of the roi 
faineant. The populace of the conquered provinces, 
disgusted with his extravagances, revolted, and an 
army led by Arbaces, satrap of Medea, and Belesys, a 
Babylonian priest, surrounded him in Nineveh and 
threatened his life. Sardanapalus, however, throwing 
off his sloth, made such a vigorous defence that for 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

two years the issue was in doubt. The river Tigris 
at this juncture overflowed and undermined part of 
the city wall, thus permitting ingress to the hostile 
army. Sardanapalus, seeing that resistance was hope- 
less, collected his wives and treasures in his palace 
and then set it on fire, so that all perished. 

It is a strange coincidence that the fate which 
legend ascribes to Sardanapalus was probably that 
which really overtook the brother of Assur-bani-pal, 
Samas-sum-yukin. It is likely that the self-immola- 
tion of Sardanapalus is merely a legendary state- 
ment of a rite v/ell known to Semitic religion, which 
was practised at Tarsus down to the time of Dio 
Chrysostom, and the memory of which survives in 
other Greek legends, especially those of Heracles- 
Melcarth and Queen Dido. At Tarsus an annual 
festival was held and a pyre erected upon which the 
local Heracles or Baal was burned in effigy. This 
annual commemoration of the death of the god in 
fire probably had its origin in the older rite in which 
an actual man or sacred animal was burned as repre- 
senting the deity. The Golden Bough ^ contains 
an instructive passage concerning the myth of 
Sardanapalus. Sir James Frazer writes : " There 
seems to be no doubt that the name Sardanapalus 
is only the Greek way of representing Ashurbanapal, 
the name of the greatest and nearly the last King 
of Assyria. But the records of the real monarch 
which have come to light within recent years give 
little support to the fables that attached to his name 
in classical tradition. For they prove that, far from 
being the effeminate weakling he seemed to the 
Greeks of a later age, he was a warlike and enlightened 

* Vol. iii, p. 167. Second Edition. (By kind permission of 
Messrs Macmillan and Co.) 
32 




The Death of Sardanapalus 

L. Chalon 

Copyright, Braun and Co. 



SARDANAPALUS THE SPLENDID 

monarch, who carried the arms of Assyria to distant 
lands and fostered at home the growth of science 
and letters. Still, though the historical reality of 
King Ashurbanapal is as well attested as that of 
Alexander or Charlemagne, it would be no wonder 
if myths gathered, like clouds, around the great figure 
that loomed large in the stormy sunset of Assyrian 
glory. Now the two features that stand out most 
prominently in the legends of Sardanapalus are his 
extravagant debauchery and his violent death in 
the flames of a great pyre, on which he burned him- 
self and his concubines to save them from falling 
into the hands of his victorious enemies. It is 
said that the womanish king, with painted face and 
arrayed in female attire, passed his days in the 
seclusion of the harem, spinning purple wool among 
his concubines and wallowing in sensual delights ; 
and that in the epitaph which he caused to be carved 
on his tomb he recorded that all the days of his life 
he ate and drank and toyed, remembering that life 
is short and full of trouble, that fortune is uncertain, 
and that others would soon enjoy the good things 
which he must leave behind. These traits bear 
little resemblance to the portrait of Ashurbanapal 
either in life or death ; for after a brilliant career 
of conquest the Assyrian king died in old age, at 
the height of human ambition, with peace at home 
and triumph abroad, the admiration of his subjects 
and the terror of his foes. But if the traditional 
characteristics of Sardanapalus harmonize but ill 
with what we know of the real monarch of that 
name, they fit well enough with all that we know or 
can conjecture of the mock kings who led a short 
life and a merry during the revelry of the Sacaea, 
the Asiatic equivalent of the Saturnalia. We can 
c 33 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

hardly doubt that for the most part such men, with 
death staring them in the face at the end of a few 
days, sought to drown care and deaden fear by 
pkmging madly into all the fleeting joys that still 
offered themselves under the sun. When their 
brief pleasures and sharp sufferings were over, and 
their bones or ashes mingled with the dust, what 
more natural that on their tomb — those mounds 
in which the people saw, not untruly, the graves of 
the lovers of Semiramis — there should be carved 
some such lines as those which tradition placed in 
the mouth of the great Assyrian king, to remind the 
heedless passer-by of the shortness and vanity of 
life ? " 

According to Sir James Frazer, then, the real 
Sardanapalus may have been one of those mock 
kings who led a short but merry existence before 
a sacrifice ended their convivial career. We have 
analogous instances in the sacrifice of Sandan at 
Tarsus and that of the representative of the Mexican 
god, Tezcatlipoca. The legend of Sardanapalus is 
thus a distorted reminiscence of the death of a 
magnificent king sacrificed in name of a god. 

When the real Assur-bani-pal succeeded Esar- 
haddon as King of Assyria, his brother Samas-sum- 
yukin was created Viceroy of Babylonia, but shortly 
after he claimed the kingship itself, revived the old 
Sumerian language as the official tongue of the 
Babylonian court, and initiated a revolt which shook 
the Assyrian empire from one end to the other. A 
great struggle ensued between the northern and 
southern powers, and at last Babylon was forced to 
surrender through starvation, and Samus-sum-yukin 
was put to death. 

Assur-bani-pal, like Sardanapalus, his legendary 
34 



THE FIRST GREAT LIBRARY 

counterpart, found himself surrounded by enemies. 
Having conquered Elam as well as Babylonia, he 
had to face the inroads of hordes of Scythians, who 
poured over his frontiers. He succeeded in defeating 
and slaying one of their chiefs, Dugdamme, whom 
in an inscription he calls a " limb of Satan," but 
shortly after this he died himself. His empire was 
already in a state of decay, and had not long to stand. 

The First Great Library 

But if Assur-bani-pal was effeminate and lax in 
government, he was the first great patron of literature. 
It is to his magnificent library at Nineveh that we 
owe practically all that we have preserved of the 
literature that was produced in Babylonia. He saw 
that the southern part of his empire was far more 
intellectual and cultured than Assyria, and he de- 
spatched numerous scribes to the temple schools of 
the south, where they copied extensively from their 
archives every description of literary curiosity — • 
hymns, legends, medical prescriptions, myths and 
rituals were all included in the great library at 
Nineveh. These through the labours of Layard and 
Rassam have been restored to us. It is a most 
extraordinary instance of antiquarian zeal in an 
epoch which we regard as not far distant from the 
beginnings of verifiable history. Nearly twenty 
thousand fragments of brick, bearing the results 
of Assur-bani-pal's researches, are housed in the 
British Museum, and this probably represents only 
a portion of his entire collection. Political motives 
have been attributed to Assur-bani-pal in thus 
bringing together such a great library. It has been 
argued that he desired to make Assyria the centre 
of the religious influence of the empire. This would 
^- 35 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

derogate greatly from the view that sees in him a 
king solely fired with the idea of preserving and 
retaining all that was best in ancient Babylonian 
literature in the north as well as in the south, and 
having beside him for his own personal use those 
records which many circumstances prove he was 
extremely desirous of obtaining. Thus we find him' 
sending officials on special missions to obtain copies 
of certain works. It is also significant that Assur- 
bani-pal placed his collection in a library and not 
in a temple — a fact which discounts the theory that 
his collection of literature had a religious-political 
basis. 

The Last Kings of Assyria 

After the death of Assur-bani-pal the Scythians 
succeeded in penetrating into Assyria, through which 
they pushed their way as far as the borders of Egypt, 
and the remains of the Assyrian army took refuge 
in Nineveh. The end was now near at hand. The 
last King of Assyria was probably Sin-sar-iskin, the 
Sarakos of the Greeks, who reigned for some years 
and who even tells us through the medium of in- 
scriptions that he intended to restore the ruined 
temples of his land. War broke out with Baby- 
lonia, however, and Cyaxares, the Scythian King of 
Ecbatana, came to the assistance of the Babylonians. 
Nineveh was captured by the Scythians, sacked and 
destroyed, and the Assyrian empire was at an end. 

Nebuchadrezzar 

But strangely enough the older seat of power, 
Babylon, still flourished to some extent. By super- 
human exertions, Nebuchadrezzar II (or Nebuchad- 
nezzar), who reigned for forty-three years, sent the 
36 




The Library of King Assur-bani-pal at Nineveh 

Fernand Le (jiR'sne 

By permission of Messrs Hutchinson and Co. 



36 



NEBUCHADREZZAR 

standard of Babylonia far and wide through the known 
world. In 567 B.C. he invaded Egypt. In one of his 
campaigns he marched against Jerusalem and put its 
king, Jehoiakim, to death, but the king whom the 
Babylonian monarch set up in his place was deposed 
and the royal power vested in Zedekiah. Zedekiah 
revolted in 558 b.c. and once more Jerusalem was 
taken and destroyed, the principal inhabitants were 
carried captive to Babylon, and the city was reduced 
to a condition of insignificance. This, the first exile 
of the Jews, lasted for seventy years. The story of 
this captivity' and of Nebuchadrezzar's treatment 
of the Jewish exiles is graphically told in the Book 
of Daniel, whom the Babylonians called Belteshazzar. 
Daniel refused to eat the meat of the Babylonians, 
probably because it was not prepared according to 
Jewish rite. He and his companions ate pulse and 
drank water, and fared upon it better than the 
Babylonians on strong meats and wines. The King, 
hearing of this circumstance, sent for them and 
found them much better informed than all his magi- 
cians and astrologers. Nebuchadrezzar dreamed 
dreams, and infohiied the Babylonian astrologers 
that if they were unable to interpret them they would 
be cut to pieces and their houses destroyed, whereas 
did they interpret the visions they would be held in 
high esteem. They answered that if the King would 
tell them his dream they would show the interpreta- 
tion thereof ; but the King said that if they were 
wise men in truth they would know the dream 
without requiring to be told it, and upon some of 
the astrologers of the court replying that the re- 
quest was unreasonable, he was greatly incensed and 
ordered all of them to be slain. But in a vision of 
the night the secret was revealed to Daniel, who 

37 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

begged that the wise men of Babylon be not 
destroyed, and going to a court official he offered 
to interpret the dream. He told the King that in 
his dream he had beheld a great image, whose bright- 
ness and form were terrible. The head of this image 
was of fine gold, the breast and arms of silver, and 
the other parts of brass, excepting the legs which 
were of iron, and the feet which were partly of that 
metal and partly of clay. But a stone was cast at 
it which smote the image upon its feet and it brake 
into pieces and the wind swept away the remnants. 
The stone that had smitten it became a great moun- 
tain and filled the whole earth. 

Then Daniel proceeded to the interpretation. The 
King, he said, represented the golden head of the 
image ; the silver an inferior kingdom which would 
rise after Nebuchadrezzar's death ; and a third of 
brass which should bear rule over all the earth. 
The fourth dynasty from Nebuchadrezzar would be 
as strong as iron, but since the toes of the image's 
feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so should 
that kingdom be partly strong and partly broken. 
Nebuchadrezzar was so awed with the interpretation 
that he fell upon his face and worshipped Daniel, 
telling him how greatly he honoured the God who 
could have revealed such secrets to him ; and he 
set him as ruler over the whole province of Babylon, 
and made him chief of the governors over all the 
wise men of that kingdom. 

But Daniel's three companions— Shadrach, Me- 
shach, and Abednego— refused to worship a golden 
image which the King had set up, and he commanded 
that they should be cast into a fiery furnace, through 
which they passed unharmed. 

This circumstance still more turned the heart 








Daniel interprets the Dream of Nebuchadrezzar 
Evelyn Paul 



38 



NEBUCHADREZZAR 

of Nebuchadrezzar in the direction of the God of 
Israel. A second dream which he had, he begged 
Daniel to interpret. He said he had seen a tree in 
the midst of the earth of more than natural height, 
which flourished and was exceedingly strong, so 
that it reached to heaven. So abundant was the 
fruit of this tree that it provided meat for the whole 
earth, and so ample its foliage that the beasts of 
the field had shadow under it, and the fowls of the 
air dwelt in its midst. A spirit descended from 
heaven and called aloud, demanding that the tree 
should be cut down and its leaves and fruit scat- 
tered, but that its roots should be left in the earth 
surrounded by a band of iron and brass. Then, 
ordering that the tree should be treated as if it 
were a man, the voice of the spirit continued to 
ask that it should be wet with the dew of heaven, 
and that its portion should be with the beasts in 
the grass of the earth. " Let his heart be changed 
from a man's," said the voice, " and let a beast's 
heart be given him ; and let seven times pass over 
him." 

Then was Daniel greatly troubled. He kept 
silence for a space until the King begged him to 
take heart and speak. The tree, he announced, 
represented Nebuchadrezzar himself, and v/hat had 
happened to it in the vision would come to pass 
regarding the great King of Babylon. He would be 
driven from among men and his dwelling would be 
with the beasts of the field. He would be made 
to eat grass as oxen and be wet with the dew of 
heaven, and seven times would pass over him, till 
he knew and recognized that the Most High ruled 
in the kingdom of man and gave it to whomsoever 
he desired. 

39 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

Twelve months after this Nebuchadrezzar was 
in the midst of his palace at Babylon, boasting of 
what he had accomplished during his reign, when 
a voice from heaven spake, saying : " O King 
Nebuchadrezzar, to thee it is spoken, the kingdom 
is departed from thee," and straightway was Nebu- 
chadrezzar driven from man and he did eat grass as 
an ox and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, 
till his hair was grown like eagle's feathers and his 
nails like bird's claws. 

At the termination of his time of trial Nebuchad- 
rezzar lifted his eyes to heaven, and praising the 
Most High admitted his domination over the whole 
earth. Thus was the punishment of the boaster 
completed. 

It has been stated with some show of probability 
that the judgment upon Nebuchadrezzar was con- 
nected with that weird disease known as lycan- 
thropy, from the Greek words lukos, a wolf, and 
anthropos, a man. It develops as a kind of hysteria 
and is characterized by a belief on the part of the 
victim that he has become an animal. There are, 
too, cravings for strange food, and the afflicted 
person runs about on all fours. Among primitive 
peoples such a seizure is ascribed to supernatural 
agency, and garlic or onion — the common scourge 
of vampires — is held to the nostrils. 

The Last of the Babylonian Kings 

Nabonidus (555-539 b.c) was the last of the 
Babylonian kings — a man of a very religious dis- 
position and of antiquarian tastes. He desired to 
restore the temple of the moon-god at Harran and 
to restore such of the images of the gods as had 
been removed to the ancient shrines. But first he 
40 




Grant of Privileges to Ritti-Marduk, a famous 
Babylonian Captain, by Nebuchadrezzar I 

Photo W. A. Manscll and Co. 

40 



THE LAST OF THE BABYLONIAN KINGS 

desired to find out whether this procedure would 
meet with the approval of the god Merodach. To 
this end he consulted the augurs, who opened the 
liver of a sheep and drew thence favourable omens. 
But on another occasion he aroused the hostility 
of the god and incidentally of the priests of E-Sagila 
by preferring the sun-god to the great Bel of Babylon. 
He tells us in an inscription that when restoring the 
temple of Shamash at Sippar he had great difficulty 
in unearthing the old foundation-stone, and that, 
when at last it was unearthed, he trembled with awe 
as he read thereon the name of Naram-sin, who, he 
says, ruled 3200 years before him. But destiny 
lay in wait for him, for Cyrus the Persian invaded 
Babylonia in 538 B.C., and after defeating the native 
army at Opis he pressed on to Babylon, which 
he entered without striking a blow. Nabonidus 
was in hiding, but his place of concealment was 
discovered. Cyrus, pretending to be the avenger 
of Bel-Merodach for the slights the unhappy Nabo- 
nidus had put upon the god, had won over the people, 
who were exceedingly wroth with their monarcli 
for attempting to remove many images of the gods 
from the provinces to the capital. Cyrus placed 
himself upon the throne of Babylon and about a 
year before his death (529 b.c.) transferred the regal 
power to his son, Cambyses. Assyrian-Babylonian 
history here ceases and is merged into Persian. 
Babylonia recovered its independence after the 
death of Darius. A king styling himself Nebuchad- 
rezzar III arose, who reigned for about a year 
(521-520 B.C.), at the end of which time the Per- 
sians once more returned as conquerors. A second 
revolt in 514 b.c. caused the partial destruction 
of the walls, and finally the great city of Babylon 

41 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

became little better than a quarry out of which 
the newer city of Seleucia and other towns were 
built. 

The History of Berossus 

It will be of interest to examine at least one of 
the ancient authorities upon Babylonian history. 
Berossus, a priest of Bel at Babylon, who lived about 
250 B.C., compiled from native documents a history of 
his country, which he published in Greek. His writings 
have perished, but extracts from them have been 
preserved by Josephus and Eusebius. There is a 
good deal of myth in Berossus' work, especially when 
he deals with the question of cosmology, the story 
of the deluge, and so forth ; also the ' facts ' which 
he places before us as history cannot be reconciled 
with those inscribed on the monuments. He seems 
indeed to have arranged his history so that it should 
exactly fill the assumed period of 36,000 years, be- 
ginning with the creation of man and ending with 
the conquest of Babylon by Alexander the Great. 
Berossus tells of a certain Sisuthrus,^ whose history 
will be recounted in full in another chapter. He 
then relates a legend of the advent of the fish-man 
or fish-god, Cannes, from the waters of the Persian 
Gulf. Indeed he alludes to three beings of this type, 
who, one after another, appeared to instruct the 
Babylonians in arts and letters. 

Berossus* Account of the Deluge 

More important is his account of the deluge. 
There is more than one Babylonian version of the 
deluge : that which is to be found in the Gilgamesh 
Epic is given in the chapter dealing with that poem. 

* Ut-Napishtim. 
42 



BEROSSUS' ACCOUNT OF THE DELUGE 

As Berossus' account is quite as important, we shall 
give it in his own words before commenting upon 
it : " After the death of Ardates, his son (Sisuthrus) 
succeeded and reigned eighteen sari. In his time 
happened the great deluge ; the history of which is 
given in this manner. The Deity, Cronus, appeared 
to him in a vision ; and gave him notice, that upon 
the fifteenth day of the month Daesius there would 
be a flood, by which mankind would be destroyed. 
He therefore enjoined him to commit to writing a 
history of the beginning, procedure, and final con- 
clusion of all things, down to the present term ; and 
to bury these accounts securely in the City of the 
Sun at Sippara. He then ordered Sisuthrus to build 
a vessel, and to take with him into it his friends 
and relations ; and trust himself to the deep. The 
latter implicitly obeyed : and having conveyed on 
board every thing necessary to sustain life, he took 
in also all species of animals, that either fly, or rove 
upon the surface of the earth. Having asked the 
Deity whither he was to go, he was answered. To 
the gods : upon which he offered up a prayer for 
the good of mankind. Thus he obeyed the divine 
admonition : and the vessel, which he built, was 
five stadia in length, and in breadth two. Into this 
he put every thing which he had got ready ; and last 
of all conveyed into it his wife, children, and friends. 
After the flood had been upon the earth, and was 
in time abated, Sisuthrus sent out some birds from 
the vessel ; which not finding any food, nor any 
place to rest their feet, returned to him again. After 
an interval of some days ; he sent them forth a 
second time : and they now returned with their 
feet tinged with mud. He made trial a third time 
with these birds : but they returned to him no 

43 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

more : from whence he formed a judgment, that the 
surface of the earth was now above the waters. 
Having therefore made an opening in the vessel, and 
finding upon looking out, that the vessel was driven 
to the side of a mountain, he immediately quitted 
it, being attended with his wife, children, and the 
pilot. Sisuthrus immediately paid his adoration 
to the earth : and having constructed an altar, 
offered sacrifices to the gods. These things being 
duly performed, both Sisuthrus, and those who came 
out of the vessel with him, disappeared. They, who 
remained in the vessel, finding that the others did not 
return, came out with many lamentations and called 
continually on the name of Sisuthrus. Him they 
saw no more ; but they could distinguish his voice 
in the air, and could hear him admonish them to 
pay due regard to the gods ; and likewise inform 
them, that it was upon account of his piety that he 
was translated to live with the gods ; that his wife 
and children, with the pilot, had obtained the same 
honour. To this he added, that he would have 
them make the best of their way to Babylonia, and 
search for the writings at Sippara, which were to be 
made known to all mankind. The place where these 
things happened was in Armenia. The remainder 
having heard these words, offered sacrifices to the 
gods ; and, taking a circuit, journeyed towards 
Babylonia." Berossus adds, that the remains of the 
vessel were to be seen in his time upon one of the 
Corcyrean mountains in Armenia ; and that people 
used to scrape off the bitumen, with which it had 
been outwardly coated, and made use of it by way 
of an antidote for poison or amulet. In this manner 
they returned to Babylon ; and having found the 
writings at Sippara, they set about building cities 
+4 



ANALOGIES WITH THE FLOOD MYTH 

and erecting temples ; and Babylon was thus 
inhabited again. 

Analogies with the Flood Myth 

It is interesting to note that Sisuthrus, the hero 
of this deluge story, was also the tenth Babylonian 
king, just as Noah was the tenth patriarch. The 
birds sent out by Sisuthrus strongly recall the 
raven and dove despatched by Noah ; but there 
are several American myths which introduce this 
conception. 

Birds and beasts in many cosmologies provide 
the nucleus of the new world which emerges from 
the waters which have engulfed the old. Perhaps 
it is the beaver or the musk-rat which dives into 
the abyss and brings up a piece of mud, which 
gradually grows into a spacious continent ; but 
sometimes birds carry this nucleus in their beaks. 
In the myth under consideration they return with 
mud on their feet, which is obviously expressive 
of the same idea. Attempts have been made to 
show that a great difference exists between the 
Babylonian and Hebrew story. Undoubtedly the 
two stories have a common origin. 

The first Babylonian version of the myth dates 
from about 2000 B.C. and its text is evidently derived 
from a still older tablet. It seems likely that this 
was in turn indebted to a still more archaic version, 
which probably recounted the earliest type of the 
myth. This perhaps related how the earth and 
its inhabitants were not to the liking of the Creator, 
and how he resolved to recreate the whole. The 
great ocean-dragon was therefore called in to sub- 
merge the world, after which the Creator re-moulded 
it and set the survivor and his family upon it as the 

45 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

ancestors of a new human race. It is possible also 
that the great sea-dragon, or serpent, which was 
slain by the Creator, may have flooded the earth 
with his blood as he expired : there is an Algonquin 
Indian myth to this effect. In an old cuneiform 
text, in fact, the year of the deluge is alluded to as 
" the year of the raging serpent." The wise man 
who takes refuge in the ship or ark is warned by a 
dream of the forthcoming deluge. In some North 
American Indian myths he is warned by friendly 
animals. The mountain, too, as a place of refuge 
for the ark, is fairly common in myth. 

We have dealt in Chapter II with the creation 
myth found in Berossus, and with this ends the 
part of his history which is of any importance. 

Babylonian Archseology 

Until about the middle of the nineteenth cen- 
tury our knowledge of the history and antiquities of 
Babylonia and Assyria was extremely scanty. The 
deeply interesting series of excavations which unrolled 
the circumstances of these ancient civilizations before 
the almost incredulous eyes of learned Europe are 
described at length towards the close of this 
volume. Here we may say shortly that the labours 
of Layard and Botta at Nineveh convinced anti- 
quaries that the remains of a great civilization 
awaited discovery. Layard's excavation of the 
library of Assur-bani-pal was the first great step 
toward reconstructing the ancient life of the two 
kingdoms. He was followed by Oppert and Loftus, 
but the systematic excavation of the country was 
yet to be undertaken. This, as we shall see, was 
commenced by George Smith of the British Museum, 
but unfortunately he died on his way home from 
46 



THE TOWER OF BABEL 

the East. His work at Nineveh was taken up by 
Mr Hormuzd Rassam, who succeeded in unearthing 
inscribed tables and bronze gates in bas-relief. A 
few years afterward Mr Rassam discovered the 
site of the temple of the sun-god of Sippara at Abu- 
habba to the south-west of Bagdad. An important 
find by de Sarzec was that of the diorite statues of 
Gudea, the Patesi or Ruler of Lagash, about 2700 
B.C., the stone of which, according to the inscriptions 
upon them, had been brought from the Sinaitic 
peninsula. The university of Pennsylvania sent 
Mr J. H. Haynes in 1889 to excavate at Nippur, 
where he unearthed the remains of the great temple 
of En-lil, in the heart of which is a mound of bricks 
stamped with the names of Sargon of Akkad and his 
son, Naram-sin. The German expedition of 1899 
explored the ruins of Babylon, the palace of Nebu- 
chadrezzar, and the site of Asshur. 

The Tower of Babel 

Many attempts have been made to attach the 
legend of the confusion of tongues to certain ruined 
towers in Babylonia, especially to that of E-Sagila, 
the great temple of Merodach, and some remarks 
upon this most interesting tale may not be out of 
place at this point. The myth is not found in 
Babylonia itself, and in its best form may be dis- 
covered in Scripture. In the Bible story we are 
told that every region was of one tongue and mode 
of speech. As men journeyed westward from their 
original home in the East, they encountered a plain 
in the land of Shinar where they settled. In this 
region they commenced building operations, con- 
structed a city, and laid the foundations of a tower, 
the summit of which they hoped would reach to 

47 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

heaven itself. It would appear that this edifice 
was constructed with the object of serving as a 
great landmark to the people so that they should 
not be scattered over the face of the earth, and the 
Lord came down to view the city and the tower, and 
he considered that as they were all of one language 
this gave them undue power, and that what they 
imagined to themselves under such conditions they 
would be able to achieve. So the Lord scattered 
them abroad from thence over the face of every 
region, and the building of the tower ceased and 
the name of it was called ' Babel,' because at that 
place the single language of the people was confounded. 
Of course it is merely the native name of Babylon, 
which translated means ' gate of the god,' and has 
no such etymology as the Scriptures pretend, — the 
Hebrews confusing their verb balal^ ' to confuse or 
confound,' with the word babd. The story was 
no doubt suggested by one of the temple towers 
of Babylon. Over and over again we find in 
connexion with the Jewish religion that anything 
which savours of presumption or unnatural aspira- 
tion is strongly condemned. The ambitious effort 
of the Tower of Babel would thus seem abhorrent 
to the Hebrews of old. The strange thing is that 
these ancient towers or zikkurats, as the Babylonians 
called them, were intended to serve as a link between 
heaven and earth, just as does the minaret of the 
Mahommedan mosque. 

The legend of the confusion of tongues is to be 
traced in other folk-lores than that of Babylon. It 
is found in Central America, where the story runs 
that Xelhua, one of the seven giants rescued from 
the deluge, built the great pyramid of Cholula in 
order to besiege heaven. The structure was, how- 
48 



p^ 




% 




V- ^ a, 

a so 



s s g 



NIMROD THE MIGHTY HUNTER 

ever, destroyed by the gods, who cast down fire upon 
it and confounded the language of its builders. 
Livingstone found some such myth among the African 
tribes around Lake Ngami, and certain Australian 
and Mongolian peoples possess a similar tradition. 

Nimrod, the Mighty Hunter 

It is strange that the dispersion of tribes at Babel 
should be connected with the name of Nimrod, 
who figures in Biblical as well as Babylonian tradi- 
tion as a mighty hunter. Epiphanius states that 
from the very foundation of this city (Babylon) 
there commenced an immediate scene of conspiracy, 
sedition, and tyranny, which was carried on by 
Nimrod, the son of Chus the ^thiop. Around this 
dim legendary figure a great deal of learned contro- 
versy has raged. Before we examine his legendary 
and mythological significance, let us see what legend 
and Scripture say of him. In the Book of Genesis 
(chap. X, 8, 'ff.) he is mentioned as " a mighty 
hunter before Yahweh : wherefore it is said, Even 
as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord." 
He was also the ruler of a great kingdom. " The 
beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, 
and Accad, and Calneh in the land of Shinar. Out of 
that land went forth Asshur " (that is, by compulsion 
of Nimrod) "and builded Nineveh," and other great 
cities. In the Scriptures Nimrod is mentioned as 
a descendant of Ham, but this may arise from the 
reading of his father's name as Ciish, which in the 
Scriptures indicates a coloured race. The name may 
possibly be Cash and should relate to the Cassites. 

It appears then that the sons of Cush or Chus, 
the Cassites, according to legend, did not partake 
of the general division of the human race after the 

D 49 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

fall of Babel, but under the leadership of Nimrod 
himself remained where they were. After the disper- 
sion, Nimrod built Babylon and fortified the territory 
around it. It is also said that he built Nineveh 
and trespassed upon the land of Asshur, so that 
at last he forced Asshur to quit that territory.^ 
The Greeks gave him the name of Nebrod or Nebros, 
and preserved or invented many tales concerning 
him and his apostasy, and concerning the tower 
which he is supposed to have erected. He is de- 
scribed as a gigantic person of mighty bearing, 
and a contemner of everything divine ; his followers 
are represented as being equally presumptuous and 
overbearing. In fact he seems to have appeared to 
the Greeks very much like one of their own Titans. 

Nimrod has been identified both with Merodach, 
the tutelar god of Babylon, and with Gilgamesh, 
the hero of the epic of that name, with Orion, and 
with others. The name, according to Petrie, has 
even been found in Egyptian documents of the 
XXII Dynasty as ' Nemart.' 

Nimrod seems to be one of those giants who rage 
against the gods, as do the Titans of Greek myth 
and the Jotunn of Scandinavian story. All are 
in fact earth-gods, the disorderly forces of nature, 
who were defeated by the deities who stood for 
law and order. The derivation of the name Nimrod 
may mean ' rebel.' In all his later legends, for 
instance, those of them that are related by Philo in 
his De Gigantibus (a title which proves that Nimrod 
was connected with the giant race by tradition), 

^ This passage has, however, been interpreted by some Biblical 
scholars to mean that " Nimrod went out of this land into Asshur " 
(or Assyria) " and built Nineveh." See Bryant, Antient Mythology, 
vol. vi, pp. 191-2-3. 
50 



ABRAM AND NIMROD 

he appears as treacherous and untrustworthy. The 
theory that he is Meroda.ch has no real foundation 
either in scholarship or probability. As a matter 
of fact the Nimrod legend seems to be very much 
more archaic than any piece of tradition connected 
with Merodach, who indeed is a god of no very great 
antiquity. 

Abrao and Nimrod 

Many Jewish legends bring Abram into relation- 
ship with Nimrod, the mythical King of Babylon. 
According to legend Abram was originally an 
idolater, and many stories are preserved respecting 
his conversion. Jewish legend states that the Father 
of the Faithful originally followed his father Terah's 
occupation, which was that of making and selling 
images of clay ; and that, when very young, he 
advised his father " to leave his pernicious trade 
of idolatry by which he imposed on the world." 

The Jewish Rabbins relate that on one occasion, 
his father Terah having undertaken a considerable 
journey, the sale of the images devolved on him, 
and it happened that a man who pretended to be a 
purchaser asked him how old he was. " Fifty years," 
answered the Patriarch. " Wretch that thou art," 
said the man, " for adoring at that age a thing which 
is only one day old ! " Abram was astonished ; 
and the exclamation of the old man had such an 
effect upon him, that when a woman soon after 
brought some flour, as an offering to one of the idols, 
he took an axe and broke them to pieces, preserving 
only the largest one, into the hand of which he put 
the axe. Terah returned home and inquired what 
this havoc meant. Abram replied that the deities 
had quarrelled about an offering which a woman had 

D2 SI 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

brought, upon which the larger one had seized an 
axe and destroyed the others. Terah replied that 
he must be in jest, as it was impossible that inani- 
mate statues could so act ; and Abram immediately 
retorted on his father his own words, showing him 
the absurdity of worshipping false deities. But 
Terah, who does not appear to have been convinced, 
delivered Abram to Nimrod, who then dwelt in 
the Plain of Shinar, where Babylon was built. Nim- 
rod, having in vain exhorted Abram to worship 
fire, ordered him to be thrown into a burning fur- 
nace, exclaiming — " Let your God come and take 
you out." As soon as Haran, Abram's youngest 
brother, saw the fate of the Patriarch, he resolved 
to conform to Nimrod's religion ; but when he saw 
his brother come out of the fire unhurt, he declared 
for the " God of Abram," which caused him to be 
thrown in turn into the furnace, and he was consumed. 
A certain writer, however, narrates a different version 
of Haran's death. He says that he endeavoured 
to snatch Terah's idols from the flames, into which 
they had been thrown by Abram, and was burnt 
to death in consequence. 

A Persian Version 

The Persian Mussulmans allege that the Patriarch, 
who was born in Chaldea, after God had mani- 
fested himself to him, proceeded to Mecca, and 
built the celebrated Kaaba or temple there. When 
he returned home he publicly declared himself 
the Prophet of God, and specially announced it to 
Nimrod, King of Chaldea, who was a worshipper of 
fire. Abram met Nimrod at a town in Mesopo- 
tamia, called Urga, afterwards Caramit, and now 
Diarbekr, in which was a large temple consecrated 



A PERSIAN VERSION 

to fire, and publicly entreated the King to renounce 
his idolatry and worship the true God. Nimrod 
consulted his wise men and inquired what punish- 
ment such a blasphemer deserved, and they advised 
that he should be consigned to the flames. A pile 
of wood was ordered to be prepared and Abram 
was placed upon it, but to their astonishment it 
would not kindle. Nimrod asked the priests the 
cause of this phenomenon, and they replied that 
an angel was constantly flying about the pile and 
preventing the wood from burning. The King asked 
how the angel could be driven away, and they replied 
that it could only be done by some dreadful rite. 
Their advice was followed, but the angel still persisted, 
and Nimrod at length banished Abram from his 
dominions. 

The Mussulmans also relate that the King made 
war against the Patriarch, and when he was marching 
against him, he sent a person to him with this message 
— " O Abram ! it is now time to fight ; where 
is thy army ? " Abram answered, " It will come 
immediately ; " and immediately there appeared 
an immense sun-darkening cloud of gnats, which 
devoured Nimrod's soldiers to the very bones. 

Another tradition is preserved in the East, 
specially referring to the casting of Abram into 
a fiery furnace at Babylon by order of Nimrod, 
which seems to be a corrupted story of the deliver- 
ance of the three Hebrews recorded by Daniel — 
Nimrod merely substituted for Nebuchadrezzar, 
as no evidence exists that Abram ever was at 
Babylon. " Nimrod," it is said, " in a dream saw 
a star rising above the horizon, the light of which 
eclipsed that of the sun. The soothsayers who 
were consulted foretold that a child was to be born 

53 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

in Babylon who shortly would become a great 
prince, and that he (Nimrod) had reason to fear 
him. Terrified at this answer, Nimrod gave orders 
to search for such an infant. Notwithstanding this 
precaution, however, Adna, the wife of Azar, one 
of Nimrod's guards, »hid her child in a cave, the 
mouth of which she diligently closed, and when she 
returned she told her husband that it had perished. 

Adna, in the meantime, proceeded regularly to 
the cave to nurse the infant, but she always found 
him suckling the ends of his fingers, one of which 
furnished him milk and the other honey. This 
miracle surprised her, and as her anxiety for the 
child's welfare was thus greatly relieved, and as 
she saw that Heaven had undertaken the care, 
she merely satisfied herself with visiting him from 
time to time. She soon perceived that he grew as 
much in three days as common children do in a 
month, so that fifteen moons had scarcely passed 
before he appeared as if he were fifteen years of age. 
Adna now told her husband, Azar, that the son of 
whom she had been delivered, and whom she had 
reported dead, was living, and that God had pro- 
vided miraculously for his subsistence. Azar went 
immediately to the cave, where he found his son, 
and desired his mother to convey him to the city, 
as he was resolved to present him to Nimrod and 
place him about the court. 

In the evening Adna brought him forth out of 
his den, and conducted him to a meadow where 
herds of cattle were feeding. This was a sight 
entirely new to the young Abram, who was inquisi- 
tive to learn their nature, and was informed by his 
mother of their names, uses, and qualities. Abram 
continued his inquiries and desired to know who 
54 



A PERSIAN VERSION 

produced the animals. Adna told him that all 
things had their Lord and Creator. " Who, then," 
said he, " brought me into the world ? " " I," 
replied Adna. " And who is your Lord ? " asked 
Abram. She answered, " Azar." " Who is Azar's 
Lord ? " She told him, Nimrod. He showed an 
inclination to carry his inquiries farther, but she 
checked him, telling him that it was not convenient 
to search into other matters because of danger. At 
last he came to the city, the inhabitants of which 
he perceived deeply engaged in superstition and 
idolatry. After this he returned to his grotto. 

One evening, as he was going to Babylon, he 
saw the stars shining, and among others Venus, 
which was adored by many. He said within him- 
self — " Perhaps this is the God and Creator of the 
world ; " but observing some time after that this 
star was set, he said — " This certainly cannot be 
the Maker of the universe, for it is not possible he 
should be subject to such a change." Soon after 
he noticed the moon at full, and thought that this 
might possibly be the Author of all things ; but 
when he perceived this planet also sink beneath the 
horizon his opinion of it was the same as in the case of 
Venus. At length, near the city he saw a multitude 
adoring the rising sun, and he was tempted to follow 
their example, but having seen this luminary decline 
like the rest, he concluded that it was not his Creator, 
his Lord, and his God. Azar presented his son 
Abram to Nimrod, who was seated on a lofty 
throne, with a number of beautiful slaves of both 
sexes in attendance. Abram asked his father 
who was the person so much exalted above the rest. 
Azar answered — " The King Nimrod, whom these 
people acknowledge as their God." " It is im- 

55 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

possible," replied Abram, " that he should be 
their God, since he is not so beautiful, and conse- 
quently not so perfect, as the generality of those 
about him." 

Abram now took an opportunity of conversing 
with his father about the unity of God, which after- 
wards drew him into great contests with the prin- 
cipal men of Nimrod's court, who would by no means 
acquiesce in the truths he declared. Nimrod, in- 
formed of these disputes, commanded him, as we 
have already mentioned, to be thrown into a burning 
furnace, out of which he came without receiving the 
least hurt. 

The * Babylonica * 

Fragments of Babylonian history, or rather 
historical romance, occur in the writings of early 
authors other than Berossus. One of these is to 
be found in the Babylonica of lamblichus, a work 
embracing no less than sixteen books, by a native 
of Chalchis in Coele-Syria, who was much enamoured 
of the mysterious ancient life of Babylonia and 
Assyria, and who died about a.d. 333. All that 
remains of what is palpably a romance, which may 
have been founded upon historical probability, is 
an epitome of the Babylonica by Photius, which, 
still further condensed, is as follows : 

Attracted by her beauty and relying on his own 
great power, Garmus, King of Babylon, decided 
to marry Sinonis, a maiden of surpassing beauty. 
She, however, was already in love with another, 
Rhodanes, and discouraged Garmus' every advance. 
Her attachment became known to the King, but 
did not alter his determination, and to prevent 
the possibility of any attempt at flight on the part 
56 



THE BABYLONICA 

of the lovers, he appointed two eunuchs, Damas 
and Saca, to watch their movements. The penalty 
for negligence was loss of ears and nose, and that 
penalty the eunuchs suffered. In spite of their 
close vigilance the lovers escaped. Damas and 
Saca were, however, placed at the head of troops 
and despatched to recapture the fugitives. Their 
relentless search was not the lovers' only anxiety, for 
in seeking refuge with some shepherds in a meadow, 
they encountered a demon — a satyr, which in the 
shape of a goat haunted that part of the country. 
This demon, to Sinonis' horror, began to pay her 
all sorts of weird, fantastic attentions, and finally 
compelled her and Rhodanes to abandon the pro- 
tection of the shepherds for the concealment offered 
by a cavern. Here they were discovered by Damas 
and his forces, and must have been captured but 
for the opportune arrival and attack of a swarm of 
poisonous bees which routed the eunuchs. When 
the runaways were alone again they tasted and ate 
some of the bees' honey, and almost immediately 
lost consciousness. Later Damas again attacked 
the cavern, but finding the lovers still unconscious 
he and his troops left them there for dead. 

In time, however, they recovered and continued 
their flight into the country. A man, who afterward 
poisoned his brother and accused them of the crime, 
offered them sanctuary. Only the suicide of this 
man saved them from serious trouble and probably 
recapture, and from his house they wandered into 
the company of a robber. Here again the troops of 
Damas came upon them and burned their dwelling 
to the ground. In desperation the fugitives mas- 
queraded as the ghosts of the people the robber 
had murdered in his house. Their ruse succeeded 

57 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

and once again their pursuers were thrown off the 
scent. They next encountered the funeral of a young 
girl, and witnessed her apparent return to life almost 
at the door of the sepulchre. In this sepulchre 
Sinonis and Rhodanes slept that night, and once 
more were believed to be dead by Damas and his 
soldiers. Later, however, Sinonis tried to dispose 
of their grave clothes and was arrested in the act. 
Soracchus, the magistrate of the district, decided to 
send her to Babylon. In despair she and Rhodanes 
took some poison with which they had provided 
themselves against such an emergency. This had 
been anticipated by their guards, however, with 
the result that a sleeping draught had been sub- 
stituted for the poison, and some time later the 
lovers to their amazement awoke to find themselves 
in the vicinity of Babylon. Overcome by such a 
succession of misfortunes, Sinonis stabbed herself, 
though not fatally. Soracchus, on learning this, was 
moved to compassion, and consented to the escape of 
his prisoners. 

After this the lovers embarked on a new series 
of adventures even more thrilling than those which 
had gone before. The Temple of Venus (Ishtar), 
situated on an island of the Euphrates, was their 
first destination after escaping from the captivity 
of Soracchus. Here Sinonis' wound was healed, 
and afterward they sought refuge with a cottager, 
whose daughter consented to dispose of some trinkets 
belonging to Sinonis. In doing so the girl was 
mistaken for Sinonis, and news that Sinonis had 
been seen in the neighbourhood was sent at once 
to Garmus. While selling the trinkets the cottage 
girl had become so alarmed by the suspicious ques- 
tions and manner of the purchasers that she hurried 
58 




The Murder of Setapo 

Evelyn Paul 



58 



THE BABYLONICA 

home with all possible speed. On her way back her 
curiosity was excited by sounds of a great disturbance 
issuing from a house hard by, and on entering she 
was appalled to discover a man in the very act of 
taking his life after murdering his mistress. Terrified 
and sprinkled with blood she sped back to her father's 
house. On hearing the girl's story, Sinonis realised 
that the safety of herself and Rhodanes lay only in 
flight. They prepared at once to go, but before 
starting Rhodanes kissed the peasant girl. Sinonis, 
discovering what he had done by the blood on his 
lips, became furious with jealousy. In a transport 
of rage she tried to stab the girl, and on being pre- 
vented rushed to the house of Setapo, a wealthy 
Babylonian of evil repute. Setapo welcomed her 
only too cordially. At first Sinonis pretended to 
meet his mood, but as time went by she relented of 
her treatment of Rhodanes and began to cast about 
for some means of escape. As the evening wore 
on she plied Setapo with wine until he was intoxi- 
cated, then during the night she murdered him, 
and in the first early dawn left the house. The 
slaves of Setapo pursued and overtook her, how- 
ever, and committed her to custody to answer for 
her crime. 

All Babylon rejoiced with its king over the news 
of Sinonis' discovery. So great was Garmus' delight 
that he commanded that all the prisoners throughout 
his dominions should be released, and in this general 
boon Sinonis shared. Meanwhile the dog of Rhod- 
anes had scented out the house in which the peasant 
girl had witnessed the suicide of the lover who had 
murdered his mistress, and while the animal was 
devouring the remains of the woman the father of 
Sinonis arrived at the same house. Thinking the 

59 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

mutilated body was that of his daughter he buried 
it, and on the tomb he placed the inscription : 
" Here lies the beautiful Sinonis." Some days later 
Rhodanes passed that way, and on reading the 
inscription added to it, " And also the beautiful 
Rhodanes." In his grief he would have stabbed 
himself had not the peasant girl who had been the 
cause of Sinonis' jealousy prevented him by telling 
him who in reality was buried there. 

During these adventures Soracchus had been 
imprisoned for allowing the lovers to escape, and 
this, added to the threat of further punishment, 
induced him to help the Babylonian officers to trace 
Rhodanes. So in a short time Rhodanes was prisoner 
once again, and by the command of Garmus was 
nailed to a cross. In sight of him the King danced 
delirious with revengeful joy, and while he was so 
engaged a messenger arrived with the news that 
Sinonis was about to be espoused by the King of 
Syria, into whose dominions she had escaped. Rho- 
danes was taken down from the cross and put in 
command of the^ Babylonian army. This seeming 
change of fortune was really dictated by the treachery 
of Garmus, as certain inferior officers were commanded 
by Garmus to slay Rhodanes should he defeat the 
Syrians, and to bring Sinonis alive to Babylon. 
Rhodanes won a sweeping victory and also regained 
the affection and trust of Sinonis. The officers 
of Garmus, instead of obeying his command, pro- 
claimed the victor king, and all ended auspiciously 
for the lovers. 

Cuneiform Writing 

The manner in which the ancient cuneiform writing 
of Babylonia and Assyria was deciphered and restored 
60 



CUNEIFORM WRITING 

to the world, of science and letters may be regarded 
as a great triumph of human reason. The name 
' cuneiform ' is most appropriate, for each character 
or sign is composed of a wedge or combination of 
wedges. It is written, as most Oriental languages 
from left to right. The cuneiform script was first 
noticed by a European at such a relatively early 
period as the year a.d. 1470, when Josaphat Barbaro, 
a Venetian traveller, observed it cut on the plat- 
form of Rachmet in Persia. Another Italian, Pietro 
della Valle, passing that way in 1621, copied a few 
of the signs, which he sent back to Italy, and Sir 
John Chardin accurately reproduced an inscription 
found at Persepolis in 171 1. It was obvious that 
three separate languages were written in this script, 
and these have since been found to be Persian, 
Babylonian, and Susian. In 1765 Niebuhr visited 
Persepolis, and in less than a month copied all the 
texts there, which were then ready for decipher- 
ment. Returning to Denmark he occupied himself 
with studying w^hat he had set down at Persepolis, 
and divided the smaller inscriptions into three classes, 
which he described as Classes I, II, and III instead 
of into three languages. Discovering that Class I 
embraced only forty-two signs, he set these in order, 
and but little subsequent addition has had to be 
made to them. Deciding that the language of the 
signs was written in alphabetic characters, he found 
himself obliged to call a halt. But two other scholars 
were more fortunate than he. Tychsen hit upon a 
certain diagonal sign as that employed to separate 
words, and correctly identified the alphabetic signs 
for ' a,' ' d,' ' u,' and ' s.' Miinter of Copen- 
hagen was more careful to verify his historical data 
than Tychsen had been, and was able to identify 

61 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

distinctly the authors of the inscriptions before him. 
He, too, independently identified the oblique wedge 
as a separative of words, and hit upon the significance 
of the sign for the letter ' b.' But after these 
achievements it seemed as if little more could be 
done. It must be remembered that up to this time 
no such assistance was vouchsafed the searchers as 
in the case of the Egyptian hieroglyphs, where a 
Greek inscription had been found side by side with 
an Egyptian one. 

Grotefend 

But a man of the greatest natural ingenuity was 
resolved to combat the difficulty presented by the 
cuneiform script. Georg Grotefend took up the 
task in the early years of the nineteenth century. 
Beginning with the assumption that the inscriptions 
represented three languages, and that one of these 
was ancient Persian, he took two of the inscriptions 
which he understood to be Persian, and placing them 
side by side found that certain signs were of frequent 
recurrence. This indicated to him the possibility 
that their contents were similar. A certain word 
appeared very frequently in the inscriptions, but 
it seemed to have two forms, a longer and a shorter, 
and this Grotefend, adopting a suggestion of Miinter's, 
took to mean ' king ' in the short form and ' kings ' 
in the longer, the juxtaposition of the two signs 
thus being taken to signify ' king of kings.' In 
both the inscriptions studied by Grotefend he found 
that this expression ' king of kings ' , was followed 
by the same word, which he took to mean ' great.' 
But there were no definite facts to support these 
hypotheses. Turning to certain Sassanian inscriptions 
which had recently been deciphered, he found that 
62 



GROTEFEND 

the expression ' great king, king of kings ' inevit- 
ably occurred, and this strengthened his opinion 
that it was present in the inscriptions he studied. 
If this was so, thought he, the two texts under his 
observation must have been set up by two different 
kings, for the names were not the same at the beginning. 
Moreover the name with which text No. I began 
appears in the third line of text No. II, following 
the word supposed to be ' king,' and another which 
might mean ' son.' Grotefend thus concluded that 
in the two inscriptions he had the names of a triad 
of rulers, son, father, and grandfather. Applying 
to the list of the Achaenenian dynasty in the attempt 
to find three names which would suit the conditions, 
he selected those of Xerxes, Darius, and Hystaspes. 
Supposing the name at the beginning of inscription I 
to be Darius, he thus considered himself to be justified 
in translating text I as " Darius, great king, king of 
kings, son of Hystaspes," and text II as " Xerxes, 
great king, king of kings, son of Darius." Considering 
that the Persian spelling of Darius would be Dar- 
heush, he applied the letters of that name to the 
letters of the cuneiform script. Subsequent investi- 
gation has shown that the name should have been 
read Daryavush, but Grotefend at least succeeded 
in discovering the letters for ' d,' ' a,' ' r,' and 
'sh.' 

But this was practically the end of Grotefend's 
discoveries. Burnouf, by a careful study of Persian 
geographical names, managed to decipher a large 
number of the characters of the Persian alphabet, 
and Professor Lassen of Bonn, by similar means, 
achieved a like end. These two independent achieve- 
ments raised a fierce controversy as to priority of 
discovery, but Lassen's system was the more perfect, 

63 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

as he found out that the ancient Persian signs were 
not entirely alphabetic but were partially syllabic — 
that is, that certain signs represented syllables 
instead of letters. This meant that Grotefend's 
system, which had been almost vowelless, was now 
to a great extent filled in with the necessary vowels. 

Rav/linsoa 

At this juncture a certain Major Henry Rawlinson, 
a servant of the East India Company, with a good 
knowledge of Persian, went to Persia for the purpose 
of assisting to organize the native army there. He 
was far away from books, and when he began to copy 
certain cuneiform texts it was because of deep personal 
interest. He was quite unaware of the strenuous toil 
which had been lavished upon them in Europe and 
worked quite independently of all assistance. The 
strange thing is that he laboured almost on the same 
lines as Grotefend had done. Pie saw almost at 
once that he had three languages to deal with, and 
being a man of great natural gifts he soon grouped 
the signs in a correct manner. Strangely enough he 
applied the very same names — those of Hystaspes, 
Darius, and Xerxes — to the texts as Grotefend had 
done, and found them answer in the same manner. 
Turning his attention to the inscription of Darius 
at Behistun, high up in the face of the living wall of 
rock there, Rawlinson succeeded in copying part of 
it at great personal risk. In 1838 he forwarded his 
translation of the first two paragraphs of the Per- 
sian text, containing the genealogy of Darius, to the 
Royal Asiatic Society of London. The feat made 
a tremendous sensation, and he was supplied with 
all the principal works on the subject and much 
correspondence from European scholars. He was, 
64 



RAWLINSON 

however, patience personified, and would not publish 
a work he had written on the subject because he 
thought it better to wait until he had verified his 
conclusions and perhaps made fresh discoveries. 
But in 1840 he was despatched to Afghanistan on a 
political mission and did not return to Bagdad for 
three years, and it was not until 1846 that he pub- 
lished a series of memoirs in the 'Journal of the Royal 
Asiatic Society, in which he gave to the world a 
translation of the Persian text at Behistun. It 
was a marvellous achievement, for, unlike those 
who had been labouring on the subject in Europe, 
he was ignorant of the languages allied to Persian, 
yet he had surpassed all other scholars in his 
results. 

But the deciphering of the second and third 
languages had yet to be attacked. In 1844 Wester- 
gaard, working on the lines of Grotefend, attacked 
the second language. He selected the names of 
Darius, Hystaspes, and Xerxes, and compared them 
with their equivalents in the Persian texts. By 
this means he discovered a number of signs and 
by their aid attempted to spell out the syllables or 
words. Judging the writing to be partly alphabetic 
and partly syllabic, he gave the name Median to the 
language. Morris, who had Rawlinson's copy of the 
second transcription of the Behistun text to work 
upon, deciphered nearly all of it. Shortly after this 
the language was named Susian. The deciphering of 
the third of the three languages found at Persepolis 
was attacked by Lowenstern, and by the Rev. 
Edward Hinks, an Irish clergyman. This language 
was Assyrian purely. Hinks was fearful of making 
blunders, and whilst he was engaged in assuring 
himself that every step he took was not a false one, 
E 65 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

Longprieer published in 1847 a translation of the 
entire text. He was only able to read it by- 
analogy with the other texts ; he could not provide 
the forms of the Assyrian words themselves. But 
Rawlinson once more came to the aid of the study, 
and it was shown that a large number of signs were 
ideographic. This paved the way for a band of others 
who by their united efforts succeeded in unravelling 
the complicated script. 

Origin of Cuneiform 

This peculiar system of writing originated in 
Babylonia, its inventors being the Sumerian or non- 
Semitic people who inhabited that country before 
its settlement by the Babylonians. It was developed 
from picture-writing, and indeed some of the more 
highly significant of the pictorial signs can still 
be faintly traced in their cuneiform^ equivalents. 
This early picture-writing was inscribed on stone, 
but eventually soft clay was adopted as a medium 
for the script, and it was found that straight lines 
impressed upon this medium tended to the shape of 
a wedge. The pictures therefore lost their original 
character and came to be mere conventional groups 
of wedges. The plural was represented by doubling 
the sign, and a term might be intensified by the 
addition of a certain stroke : thus the sign for ' house,' 
if four small strokes were added to it, would mean 
* great house,' and so forth. The script was badly 
suited to the Assyrian language, as it had not been 
originally designed for a Semitic tongue. It consists 
of simple syllables made up of a vowel by itself 
or a vowel and a consonant, ideograms or signs 
which express an entire word, and closed syllables 
such as bit or hal. Again, many of the signs have 
€6 



THE SACRED LITERATURE OF BABYLONIA 

more than one syllabic value, and they may be 
used as ideograms as well as phonetically. As in the 
Egyptian script, determinatives are employed to indi- 
cate the class to which the word belongs : thus, a 
certain sign is placed before the names of persons, 
another before territorial names, and a third before 
the names of gods and sacred beings. The date 
of the epoch in which this writing first began to be 
used was probably about 4500 b.c. and it persisted 
until the first century b.c. The Assyrians employed 
it from about 1500 b.c. until about the beginning of 
the sixth century b.c. This ancient form of writing 
was thus used first by the Sumerians, then by their 
Babylonian and Assyrian conquerors, then by those 
Persians who finally overthrew the Babylonian and 
Assyrian empire. 

The Sacred Literature of Babylonia 

The literature which this peculiar and individual 
script has brought down to us is chiefly religious, 
magical, epical, and legendary. The last three cate- 
gories are dealt with elsewhere, so that it only falls 
here to consider the first class, the religious writings. 
These are usually composed in Semitic Babylonian 
without any trace of Akkadian influence, and it 
cannot be said that they display any especial natural 
eloquence or literary distinction. In an address 
to the sun-god, which begins nobly enough with a 
high apostrophe to the golden luminary of dav, we 
find ourselves descending gradually into an atmos- 
phere of almost ludicrous dullness. The person 
praying desires the sun-god to free him from the 
commonplace cares of family and domestic annoy- 
ances, enumerating spells against all of his relatives 
in order that thev may not place their ' ban ' upon 
■ E3 e-j 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

him. In another, written in Akkadian, the penitent 
addresses Gubarra, Merodach, and other gods, de- 
siring that they direct their eyes kindly upon him 
and that his supplication may reach them. Strangely 
enough the prayer fervently pleads that its utterance 
may do good to the gods I that it may let their hearts 
rest, their livers be quieted, and gladden them like 
a father and a mother who have begotten children. 
This is not so strange when we come to consider 
the nature of these hymns, many of which come 
perilously near the border-line of pure magic — that 
is, they closely resemble spells. We find, too, that 
those which invoke the older deities such as Gibi the 
fire-god, are more magical in their trend than those 
addressed to the later gods when a higher sense of 
religious feeling had probably been evolved. In- 
deed, it does not seem too much to say that some of 
these early hymns may have served the purpose of 
later incantations. Most of those ' magical ' hymns 
appear to have emanated from that extremely 
ancient seat of religion, Eridu, and are probably 
relics of the time when as yet magic and religion 
were scarcely differentiated in the priestly or the 
popular mind. 

Hymn to Adar 

A fine hymn to Adar describes the rumbling of the 
storm in the abyss, the ' voice ' of the god : 

The terror of the splendour of Anu in the midst of heaven. 

The gods, it is said, urge Adar on, he descends like 
the deluge, the champion of the gods swoops down 
upon the hostile land. Nusku, the messenger of 
Mul-lil, receives Adar in the temple and addresses 
words of praise to him : 
68 



HYMN TO ADAR 

Thy chariot is as a voice of thunder. 

To the hfting of thy hands is the shadow turned. 

The spirits of the earth, the great gods, return to the winds. 

Many of the hymns assist us to a better under- 
standing of the precise nature of the gods, defining 
as they do their duties and offices and even occasion- 
ally describing their appearance. Thus in a hymn 
to Nebo we note that he is alluded to as " the supreme 
messenger who binds all things together," " the scribe 
of all that has a name," " the lifter up of the stylus 
supreme," " director of the world," " possessor of the 
reed of augury," " traverser of strange lands," " opener 
of wells," " fructifier of the corn," and " the god 
without whom the irrigated land and the canal are 
unwatered." It is from such texts that the mythol- 
ogist is enabled to piece together the true significance 
of many of the deities of ancient peoples. 

A hymn to Nusku in his character of fire-god is 
also descriptive and picturesque. He is alluded to 
as " wise prince, the flame of heaven," " he who 
hurls down terror, whose clothing is splendour," 
" the forceful fire-god," " the exalter of the moun- 
tain peaks," and " the uplifter of the torch, the 
enlightener of darkness." 

Such descriptive hymns are the most valuable 
assets possible in the hands of the judicious student 
of myth or comparative religion. 



69 



CHAPTER II: BABYLONIAN 
COSMOGONY 

The Babylonian Myth of Creation 

FEW creation myths are more replete with 
interest than those which have literary 
sanction. These are few in number, as, for 
example, the creation story in Genesis, those to be 
found in Egyptian papyri, and that contained in 
the Popol Vuh of the Maya of Central America. 
In such an account we can trace the creation story 
from the first dim conception of world-shaping to 
the polished and final effort of a priestly caste to 
give a theological interpretation to the intentions of 
the creative deity ; and this is perhaps more the case 
with the creation myth which had its rise among the 
old Akkadian population of Babylonia than with 
any other known to mythic science. In the account 
in Genesis of the framing of the world it has been 
discovered that two different versions have been 
fused to form a single story ; the creation tale 
of the Popol Vuh is certainly a composite myth ; 
and similar suspicions may rest upon the analogous 
myths of Scandinavia and Japan. But in the case 
of Babylonia we may be convinced that no other 
influences except those of the races who inhabited 
Babylonian territory could have been brought to 
bear upon this ancient story, and that although 
critical examination has proved it to consist of 
materials which have been drawn from more than 
one source, yet these sources are not foreign, and 
they have not undergone sophistication at the hands 
of any alien mythographer or interpolator. 

It would seem that this Babylonian cosmogony was 
drawn from various sources, but it appears to be con- 
70 




C1 



''^''^T'^iHWMj 








3 S 




l^^kV. 



THE BIRTH OF THE GODS 

tained in its final form in what are known as the 
Seven Tablets of Creation, brought from the library 
of Assur-bani-pal at Nineveh and now in the British 
Museum. These have from time to time been supple- 
mented by later finds, but we may take it that in 
this record we have the final official development 
of Babylonian belief, due to the priests of Babylon, 
after that city had become the metropolis of the 
empire. The primary object of the Seven Tablets 
was to record a terrific fight between Bel and the 
Dragon, and the account of the creation is inserted 
by way of introduction. It is undoubtedly the most 
important find dealing with Babylonian religion 
that has as yet come to light. Before we advance 
any critical speculations respecting it, let us set 
forth the story which it has to tell. 

As in so many creation myths^ we find chaotic 
darkness brooding over a waste of waters ; heaven 
and earth were not as yet. Naught existed save 
the primeval ocean, Mommu Tiawath,^ from whose 
fertile depths came every living thing. Nor were the 
waters distributed, as in the days of man, into sea, 
river, or lake, but all were confined together in one 
vast and bottomless abyss. Neither did god or 
man exist : their names were unknown and their 
destinies undetermined. The future was as dark as 
the gloom which lay over the mighty gulf of chaos. 
Nothing had been designed or debated concerning it. 

The Birth of the Gods 

But there came a stirring in the darkness and the 

great gods arose. First came Lahmu and Lahame ; 

and many epochs later, Ansar and Kisar, component 

parts of whose names signify ' Host of Heaven ' 

^ Another spelling is Tiamat. 

71 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

and ' Host of Earth.' These latter names we may 
perhaps accept as symbolical of the spirits of heaven 
and of earth respectively. Many days afterward 
came forth their son Anu, god of the heavens. 

At this point it should be explained that the name 
Tiawath affords a parallel to the expression Thorn 
or ' deep ' of the Old Testament. Practically the 
same word is used in Assyrian in the form 7amtu, 
to signify the ' deep sea.' ^ The reader will recall 
that it was upon the face of the deep that the spirit 
of God brooded, according to the first chapter of 
Genesis. The word and the idea which it contains 
are equally Semitic, but strangely enough it has an 
Akkadian origin. For the conception that the watery 
abyss was the source of all things originated with 
the worshippers of the sea-god Ea at Eridu. They 
termed the deep apsu^ or a ' house of knowledge ' 
wherein their tutelar god was supposed to have his 
dwelling, and this word was of Akkadian descent. 
This apsu^ or ' abyss,' in virtue of the animistic 
ideas prevailing in early Akkadian times, had become 
personalized as a female who was regarded as the 
mother of Ea. She was known by another name as 
well as that of Apsu, for she was also entitled Zigarun, 
the ' heaven,' or the ' mother that has begotten 
heaven and earth ' ; and indeed she seems to have 
had a form or variant in which she was an earth- 
goddess as well. But it was not the existing earth or 
heaven that she represented in either of her forms, 
but the primeval abyss, out of which both of these 
were fashioned. 

At this point the narrative exhibits numerous 
defects, and for a continuation of it we must apply 
to Damascius, the last of the Neoplatonists, who was 

^ Sayce, Hibbert Lectures, p, 374. 
7» 



THE BIRTH OF THE GODS 

born in Damascus about a.d. 480, and who is re- 
garded by most Assyriologists as having had access 
to valuable written or traditional material. He was 
the author of a work entitled Doubts and Solutions 
of the First Principles, in which he states that Anu 
was followed by Bel (we retain the Babylonian 
form of the names rather than Damascius' Greek 
titles), and Ea the god of Eridu. " From Ea and 
Dawkina," he writes, "was born a son called Belos 
or Bel-Merodach, whom the Babylonians regarded 
as the creator of the world." From Damascius we 
can learn nothing further, and the defective character 
of the tablet does not permit us to proceed with any 
degree of certainty until we arrive at the name of 
Nudimmud, which appears to be simply a variant of 
the name of Ea. From obscure passages it may be 
generally gleaned that Tiawath and Apsu, once one, 
or rather originally representing the Babylonian and 
Akkadian forms of the deep, are now regarded as 
mates — ^Tiawath being the female and Apsu, once 
female, in this case the male. These have a son, 
Moumis or Mummu, a name which at one time seems 
to have been given to Tiawath, so that in these changes 
we may be able to trace the hand of the later mytho- 
grapher, who, with less skill and greater levity than 
is to be found in most myths, has taken upon him- 
self the responsibility of manufacturing three deities 
out of one. It may be that the scribe in question 
was well aware that his literary effort must square 
with and placate popular belief or popular prejudice, 
and in no era and at no time has priestly ingenuity 
been unequal to such a task, as is well evidenced by 
many myths which exhibit traces of late alteration. 
But in dwelling for a moment on this question, it is 
only just to the priesthood to admit that such changes 

73 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

did not always emanate from them, but were the 
work of poets and philosophers who, for aesthetic 
or rational reasons, took it upon themselves to recast 
the myths of their race according to the dictates of 
a nicer taste, or in the interests of ' reason.' 

A Darksome Trinity 

These three, then, Tiawath, Apsu, and Mummu, 
appear to have formed a trinity, which bore no 
good-will to the ' higher gods.' ^ They themselves, 
as deities of a primeval epoch, were doubtless regarded 
by the theological opinion of a later day as dark, 
dubious, and unsatisfactory. It is notorious that 
in many lands the early, elemental gods came into 
bad odour in later times ; and it may be that the 
Akkadian descent of this trio did not conduce to 
their popularity with the Babylonian people. Be 
that as it may, alien and aboriginal gods have in all 
times been looked upon by an invading and con- 
quering race with distrust as the workers of magic 
and the sowers of evil, and even although a Babylo- 
nian name had been accorded one of them, it may 
not have been employed ' in a complimentary sense. 
Whereas the high gods regarded those of the abyss 
with distrust, the darker deities of chaos took up an 
attitude towards the divinities of light which can 
only be compared to the sarcastic tone which Milton's 
Satan adopts against the Power which thrust him 
into outer darkness. Apsu was the most ironical 
of all. There was no peace for him, he declared, so 
long as the new-comers dwelt on high : their way 
was not his way, neither was it that of Tiawath, 
who, if Apsu represented sarcasm deified, exhibited 
a fierce truculence much more overpowering than 

'Of whom we now hear for the first time. , 

74 



A DARKSOME TRINITY 

the irony of her mate. The trio discussed how they 
might rid themselves of those beings who desired a 
reign of light and happiness, and in these deliberations 
Mummu, the son, was the prime mover. Here 
again the Tablets fails us somewhat, but we learn 
sufficient further on to assure us that Mummu's 
project was one of open war against the gods of 
heaven. 

In connexion with this campaign, Tiawath made 
the most elaborate preparations along with her com- 
panions. She laboured without ceasing. From the 
waters of the great abyss over which she presided 
she called forth the most fearful monsters, who 
remind us strongly of those against which Horus, the 
Egyptian god of light, had to strive in his wars 
with Set. From the deep came gigantic serpents 
armed with stings, dripping with the most deadly 
poison ; dragons of vast shape reared their heads 
above the flood, their huge jaws armed with row upon 
row of formidable teeth ; giant dogs of indescribable 
savagery ; men fashioned partly like scorpions ; 
fish-men, and countless other horrible beings, were 
created and formed into battalions under the com- 
mand of a god named Kingu, to whom Tiawath 
referred as her ' only husband ' and to whom she 
promised the rule of heaven and of fate when 
once the detested gods of light are removed by his 
mighty arm. 

The introduction of this being as the husband of 
Tiawath seems to point either to a fusion of legends 
or to the interpolation of some passage popular in 
Babylonian lore. At this juncture Apsu disappears, 
as does Mummu. Can it be that at this point a 
scribe or mythographer took up the tale who did not 
agree with his predecessor in describing Tiawath, 

75 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

Apsu, and Mummu, originally one, as three separate 
deities ? This would explain the divergence, but 
the point is an obscure one, and hasty conclusions 
on slight evidence are usually doomed to failure. 
To resume our narrative, Tiawath, whoever her 
coadjutors, was resolved to retain in her own hands 
the source of all living things, that great deep over 
which she presided. 

But the gods of heaven were by no means lulled 
into peaceful security, for they were aware of the ill- 
will which Tiawath bore them. They learned of her 
plot, and great was their wrath. Ea, the god of water, 
was the first to hear of it, and related it to Ansar, 
his father, who filled heaven with his cries of anger. 
Ansar betook himself to his other son, Anu, god of 
the sky. " Speak to the great dragon," he urged 
him ; " speak to her, my son, and her anger will be 
assuaged and her wrath vanish." Duly obedient, 
Anu betook himself to the realm of Tiawath to 
reason with her, but the monster snarled at him so 
fiercely that in dread he turned his back upon her 
and departed. Next came Nudimmud to her, but 
with no better success. At length the gods decided 
that one of their number, called Merodach, should 
undertake the task of combating Tiawath the 
terrible. Merodach asked that it might be written 
that he should be victorious, and this was granted 
him. He was then given rule over the entire universe, 
and to test whether or not the greatest power had 
passed to him a garment was placed in the midst 
of the gods and Merodach spoke words commanding 
that it should disappear. Straightway it vanished 
and was not. Once more spake the god, and the 
garment re-appeared before the eyes of the dwellers 
in heaven. The portion of the epic which describes 
76 




Mighty was he to look upon 
Evelyn Paul 



76 



A DARKSOME TRINITY 

the newly acquired glories of Merodach is exceedingly 
eloquent. We are told that none among the gods 
can now surpass him in power, that the place of their 
gathering has become his home, that they have 
given him the supreme sovereignty, and they even 
beg that to them who put their trust in him he 
will be gracious. They pray ^ that he may pour out 
the soul of the keeper of evil, and finally they place 
in his hands a marvellous weapon with which to cut 
off the life of Tiawath. " Let the winds carry her 
blood to secret places," they exclaimed in their desire 
that the waters of this fountain of wickedness should 
be scattered far and wide. Mighty was he to look 
upon when he set forth for the combat. His great 
bow he bore upon his back ; he swung his massive 
club triumphantly. He set the lightning before him ; 
he filled his body with swiftness ; and he framed 
a great net to enclose the dragon of the sea. Then 
with a word he created terrible winds and tempests, 
whirlwinds, storms, seven in all, for the confounding 
of Tiawath. The hurricane was his weapon, and he 
rode in the chariot of destiny. His helm blazed with 
terror and awful was his aspect. The steeds which 
were yoked to his chariot rushed rapidly towards the 
abyss, their mouths frothing with venomous foam. 
Followed by all the good wishes of the gods, Merodach 
fared forth that day. 

Soon he came to Tiawath's retreat, but at sight of 
the monster he halted, and with reason, for there 
crouched the great dragon, her scaly body still 

^ In many mythologies we find the gods praying and sacrificing 
to one another, and even to deities presumably higher than themselves 
and unknown to man or only guessed at by him. Thus the Vedic 
gods are constantly sacrificing one to the other, and there are many 
American instances of this worship of god by god. 

77 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

gleaming with the waters of the abyss, flame darting 
from her eyes and nostrils, and such terrific sounds 
issuing from her widely open mouth as would have 
terrified any but the bravest of the gods. Merodach 
reproached Tiawath for her rebellion and ended 
by challenging her to combat. Like the dragons 
of all time, Tiawath appears to have been versed 
in magic and hurled the most potent incantations 
against her adversary. She cast many a spell. But 
Merodach, unawed by this, threw over her his great 
net, and caused an evil wind which he had sent on be- 
fore him to blow on her, so that she might not close 
her mouth. The tempest rushed between her jaws 
and held them open ; it entered her body and racked 
her frame. Merodach swung his club on high, and 
with a mighty blow shattered her great flank and 
slew her. Down he cast her corpse and stood upon it ; 
then he cut out her evil heart. Finally he overthrew 
the host of monsters which had followed her, so that 
at length they trembled, turned, and fled in headlong 
rout. These also he caught in his net and " kept 
them in bondage." Kingu he bound and took from 
him the tablets of destiny which had been granted 
to him by the slain Tiawath, which obviously means 
that the god of a later generation wrenches the power 
of fate from an earlier hierarchy, just as one earthly 
dynasty may overthrow and replace another. The 
north wind bore Tiawath's blood away to secret 
places, and at the sight Ea, sitting high in the 
heavens, rejoiced exceedingly. Then Merodach took 
rest and nourishment, and as he rested a plan arose 
in his mind. Rising, he flayed Tiawath of her scaly 
skin and cut her asunder. We have already seen 
that the north wind bore her blood away, which 
probably symbolises the distribution of rivers over 
78 



A DARKSOME TRINITY 

the earth. ^ Then did Merodach take the two parts 
of her vast body, and with one of them he framed a 
covering for the heavens. Merodach next divided 
the upper from the lower waters, made dwellings for 
the gods, set lights in the heaven, and ordained their 
regular courses. 

As the tablet poetically puts it, " he lit up the sky 
establishing the upper firmament, and caused Anu, 
Bel, and Ea to inhabit it." He then founded the 
constellations as stations for the great gods, and 
instituted the year, setting three constellations for 
each month, and placing his own star, Nibiru, as the 
chief light in the firmament. Then he caused the 
new moon, Nannaru, to shine forth and gave him 
the rulership of the night, granting him a day of 
rest in the middle of the month. There is another 
mutilation at this point, and we gather that the 
net of Merodach, with which he had snared Tiawath, 
was placed in the heavens as a constellation along 
with his bow. The winds also appear to have been 
bound or tamed and placed in the several points of 
the compass ; but the whole passage is very obscure, 
and doubtless information of surpassing interest has 
been lost through the mutilation of the tablet. 

We shall probably not be far in error if we regard 
the myth of the combat between Merodach and Tia- 
wath as an explanation of the primal strife between 
light and darkness. Among the most primitive 
peoples, the solar hero has at one stage of his career 
to encounter a grisly dragon or serpent, who threatens 
his very existence. In many cases this monster 
guards a treasure which mythologists of a generation 
ago almost invariably explained as that gold which 
is spread over the sky at the hour of sunset. The 

^ See Pinches, The Religion of Babylonia and Assyria, p. 30. 

79 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

assigning of solar characteristics to all slayers of 
dragons and their kind was a weakness of the older 
school of mythology, akin to its deductions based 
on philological grounds ; but such criticism as has 
been directed against the solar theory — and it has 
been extensive — has not always been pertinent, 
and in many cases has been merely futile. In fact 
the solar theory suffered because of the philological 
arguments with which it was bound up, and neither 
critics nor readers appeared to discriminate between 
these. But we should constantly bear in mind that 
to attem.pt to elucidate or explain myths by any one 
system, or by one hard and fast hypothesis, is futile. 
On the other hand nearly all systems which have 
yet attempted to elucidate or disentangle the terms 
of myth are capable of application to certain types 
of myth. The dragon story is all but universal : in 
China it is the monster which temporarily swallows 
the sun during eclipse ; in Egypt it was the great 
serpent Apep, which battled with Ra and Horus, 
both solar heroes ; in India it is the serpent Vritra, 
or Ahi, who is vanquished by Indra ; in Australia 
and in some parts of North America a great frog 
takes the place of the dragon. In the story of 
Beowulf the last exploit of the hero is the slaying of 
a terrible fire-breathing dragon which guards a hidden 
treasure-hoard ; and Beowulf receives a mortal wound 
in the encounter. In the Volsung Saga the covetous 
Faffnir is turned into a dragon and is slain by Sigurd. 
These must not be confounded with the monsters 
which cause drought and pestilence. It is a sun- 
swallowing monster with which we have here to deal. 
The tablets here allude to the creation of man ; 
the gods, it is stated, so admired the handiwork of 
Merodach, that they desired to see him execute 
80 



I . 



// 



, ') 



' i 




..' '•• i 




, ^ 




A DARKSOME TRINITY 

still further marvels. Now the gods had none to 
worship them or pay them homage, and Merodach 
suggested to his father, Ea, the creation of man out 
of his divine blood. Here once more the tablets 
fail us, and we must turn to the narrative of the 
Chaldean writer Berossus, as preserved by no less 
than three authors of the classical age. Berossus 
states that a certain woman Thalatth (that is, Tia- 
wath) had many strange creatures at her bidding. 
Belus (that is, Bel-Merodach) attacked and cut her 
in twain, forming the earth out of one half and the 
heavens out of the other, and destroying all the 
creatures over which she ruled. Then did Merodach 
decapitate himself, and as his blood flowed forth the 
other gods mingled it with the earth and formed 
man from it. From this circumstance mankind is 
rational, and has a spark of the divine in it. Then 
did Merodach divide the darkness, separate the 
heavens from the earth, and order the details of the 
entire universe. But those animals which he had 
created were not able to bear the light, and died. 
A passage then occurs which states that the stars, 
the sun and moon, and the five planets were created, 
and it would seem from the repetition that there were 
two creations, that the first was a failure, in which 
Merodach had, as it were, essayed a first attempt, 
perfecting the process in the second creation. Of 
course it may be conjectured that Berossus may have 
drawn from two conflicting accounts, or that those 
who quote him have inserted the second passage. 

The Sumerian incantation, which is provided with 
a Semitic translation, adds somewhat to our know- 
ledge of this cosmogony. It states that in the 
beginning nothing as yet existed, none of the great 
cities of Babylonia had yet been built, indeed there 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

was no land, nothing but sea. It was not until the 
veins of Tiawath had been cut through that paradise 
and the abyss appear to have been separated and 
the gods created by Merodach. Also did he create 
annunaki or gods of the earth, and established a 
wondrous city as a place in which they might dwell. 
Then men were formed with the aid of the goddess 
Aruru, and finally vegetation, trees, and animals. 
Then did Merodach raise the great temples of Erech 
and Nippur. From this account we see that instead 
of Merodach being alluded to as the son of the gods, 
he is regarded as their creator. In the library of 
Nineveh was also discovered a copy of a tablet 
written for the great temple of Nergal at Cuthah. 
Nergal himself is supposed to make the statement 
which it contains. He tells us how the hosts of chaos 
and confusion came into being. At first, as in the 
other accounts, nothingness reigned supreme, then 
did the great gods create warriors with the bodies 
of birds, and men with the faces of ravens. They 
founded them a city in the ground, and Tiawath, the 
great dragon, did suckle them. They were fostered 
in the midst of the mountains, and under the care 
of the ' mistress of the gods ' they greatly increased 
and became heroes of might. Seven kings had they, 
who ruled over six thousand people. Their father 
was the god Benani, and their mother the queen, 
Melili. These beings, who might almost be called 
tame gods of evil, Nergal states that he destroyed.^ 

^ This account has been claimed as a weak version of that 
part of the creation story which deals with the creation of the host 
of the abyss. The fact that Nergal states that he destroyed these 
monsters might justify us In believing that the myth was on this 
occasion so edited as to provide the monarch with an opportunity 
for boasting. 
82 



A DARKSOME TRINITY 

Thus all accounts agree concerning the original 
chaotic condition of the universe. They also agree 
that the powers of chaos and darkness were destroyed 
by a god of light. 

The creation tablets are written in Semitic and 
allude to the great circle of the gods as already 
fully developed and having its full complement. 
Even the later deities are mentioned in them. This 
means that it must be assigned to a comparatively 
late date, but it possesses elements which go to show 
that it is a late edition of a much earlier composition 
— indeed the fundamental elements in it appear, as 
has been said, to be purely Akkadian in origin, and 
that would throw back the date of its original form 
to a very primitive period indeed. It has, as will 
readily be seen, a very involved cosmogony. Its 
characteristics show it to have been originally local, 
and of course Babylonian, in its secondary origin, 
but from time to time it was added to, so that such 
gods as were at a later date adopted into the Baby- 
lonian pantheon might be explained and accounted 
for by it ; but the legend of the creation arising in 
the city of Babylon, the local folk-tale known and 
understood by the people, was never entirely shelved 
by the more consequential and polished epic, which 
was perhaps only known and appreciated in literary 
and aesthetic circles, and bore the same relation to 
the humbler folk-story that Milton's Paradise Lost 
bears to the medieval legends of the casting out of 
Satan from heaven. 

Although it is quite easy to distinguish influences 
of extreme antiquity in the Babylonian creation 
myth, it is clear that in the shape in which it has 
come down to us it has been altered in such a manner 
as to make Merodach reap the entire credit of Tiawath's 
F 2 83 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

defeat instead of En-lil, or the deity who was his 
predecessor as monarch of the gods. Jastrow holds 
that the entire cosmological tale has been constructed 
from an account of a conflict with a primeval monster 
and a story of a rebellion against Ea ; that these 
two tales have become fused, and that the first is 
again divisible into three versions, originating one 
at Uruk and the other two at Nippur at different 
epochs. The first celebrates the conquest of Anu 
over Tiawath, the second exalts Ninib as the con- 
queror, and the third replaces him by En-lil. We 
thus see how it was possible for the god of a con- 
quering or popular dynasty to have a complete 
myth made over to him, and how at last it was 
competent for the mighty Merodach of Babylon to 
replace an entire line of deities as the central figure 
of a myth which must have been popular with untold 
generations of Akkadian and Babylonian people. 

Type of Babylonian Cosmology 

We must now consider the precise nature of the 
Babylonian cosmology and its place among other 
creation myths. Like the cosmological efforts of 
most primitive or barbarian peoples it does not par- 
take of the character of a creation myth so much 
as an account of an evolution from chaos and the 
establishment of physical laws. The primitive mind 
cannot grasp the idea of the creation of something 
out of nothing, and the Babylonians and Akkadians 
did not differ in this respect from other races in the 
same stage of development. In whatever direction 
we look when examining the cosmologies of barbarian 
or semi-civilized peoples, we find a total inability to 
get behind and beyond the idea that the matter of 
creation lay already to the hand of the creative 
84 



TYPE OF BABYLONIAN COSMOLOGY 

agency, and that in order to shape a world it had but 
to draw the material therefor from the teeming deep or 
the slain body of a hostile monster. Not only does 
the idea of creating land and water out of nothingness 
seem absurd to the primitive mind, but man as well 
must be framed from dust, mud, clay, or the blood of 
the creative god himself. Yet Merodach was able to 
bring a garment out of nothingness and to return 
it thither by merely speaking a word ! Why, then, 
did not the theology which admitted the possibility 
of such a phenomenon carry out its own conception 
to a logical conclusion and own the likelihood of 
the god's ability to create an entire universe in the 
self-same manner ? Perhaps the step was too bold 
for an individual to take in the face of an entire 
theological college, and in any case what would seem 
a perfectly feasible act of magic to the theologians 
of Babylon when applied to a garment might not 
serve for application to the making of the earth and 
all that is therein. The cosmology of Babylon is 
therefore on a par with those of Scandinavia, China, 
and many North American Indian tribes, nor does 
it reach so high an imaginative level as those of 
ancient Egypt, India, or the Maya of Central America, 
in some of which the vocal command of a god is 
sufHcient to bring about the creation of the earth and 
the waters surrounding it. 

The making of the sun, the moon, and the other 
heavenly bodies is, as will be more fully shown later, 
of great importance in Babylonian myth. The 
stars appear to have been attached to the firmament 
of heaven as to a cloth. Across this the sun passed 
daily, his function being to inspect the movements 
of the other heavenly bodies. The moon, likewise, 
had her fixed course, and certain stars were also 

85 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

supposed to move across the picture of the night 
with greater or less regularity. The heavens were 
guarded at either end by a great gateway, and 
through one of these the sun passed after rising from 
the ocean, whilst in setting he quitted the heavens 
by the opposite portal. 

The terrestrial world was imagined as a great 
hollow structure resting on the ' deep.' Indeed, 
it would seem to have been regarded as an island 
floating on an abyss of waters. This conception of 
the world of earth was by no means peculiar to the 
Babylonians, but was shared by them with many 
of the nations of antiquity. 

As emanating from the blood of Merodach himself, 
man was looked upon as directly of heavenly origin. 
An older tradition existed to the effect that Merodach 
had been assisted in the creation of mankind by the 
goddess Aruru, who figures in the Gilgamesh epic 
as the creatress of Eabani out of a piece of clay. 
We also find an ancient belief current that humanity 
owed its origin to the god Ea, but when Merodach 
displaced this god politically, he would, of course, 
' taj<;e over ' his entire record and creative deeds 
as well as his powers and sovereignties. At Nippur 
Bel was looked up to as the originator of man. But 
these beliefs probably obtained in remoter times, 
and would finally be quenched by the advance to full 
and unquestioned power of the great god Merodach. 

Connexion with the Jonah Legend 

Some mythologists see in the story of Jonah a 
hidden allusion to the circumstances of Babylonian 
cosmology. Jonah, as we remember, was summoned 
to Nineveh to prophesy against it, but proceeding 
instead to Joppa (the scene of the later myth of 
86 



CONNEXION WITH THE JONAH LEGEND 

Perseus and Andromeda) the ship in which he set sail 
was storm-tossed, and he himself advised the sailors 
to cast him overboard. They did so, and " a great 
fish " swallowed him. This ' fish,' it has been 
claimed, is merely a marine form of Tiawath, the 
dragon of chaos, and the three days and nights which 
Jonah remains inside it are " the winter months." ^ 
This does not seem very clear. Hercules in like 
manner descended into the belly of a fish and emerged 
again after three days, according to the Phoenicians. 
The name of Jonah may be compared with that of 
Cannes or Ea. The love-god, in the Hindu Vishnu 
Purana, thrown into the sea, is swallowed by a fish, 
like the ring of Gyges. Was there a local sea- 
monster at Joppa, a variant of Tiawath, and is it 
the same in the Jonah myth as that in the tale of 
Perseus ? A tawny fountain at Joppa was thought 
to derive its colour from the blood of the sea-monster 
slain by Perseus, says Pausanias. Was then the 
monster who lay in wait oft" Joppa, Tiawath the 
goddess of darkness, and was Jonah none other than 
Ea or Cannes, her mortal foe, the god of light, whom 
she would mythologically swallow during the sere 
months of winter ? 

^ Bible Folk Lcre, London, 18S4. Anonymous. 



87 



CHAPTER III: EARLY BABYLONIAN 
RELIGION 

The Beginnings of Babylonian Religion 

THE true beginning of a religion is that epoch 
in its history when it succeeds, by reason of 
local or national circumstances and environ- 
ment and by racial genius, in raising itself from those 
purely animistic influences which are characteristic 
of early faith and from which all great religions have 
emerged, if they have not been able entirely to free 
themselves from associations which by reason of their 
antiquity and the hold they achieve on the mind of 
humanity are particularly difficult to cast off. Thus 
a sense of nationality and the attainment of a high 
standard of righteousness assisted in shaping Jewish 
religion. The necessity for military efficiency and 
therefore of sacrifice to the gods was moulding a 
real if terrible religion in ancient Mexico when the 
invading Spaniards ended the hideous masque of 
tragedy. Insight and meditation lent an air of 
ethical exaltation to the Vedic religion of India. 
Thus in a manner peculiarly its own, and according 
to the trend of its particular genius, did each race 
evolve a suitable religion from an original animistic 
basis. 

If we are to discover the foundations of any 
system or cult, however, if we are to excavate the 
soil religious as we would the soil archaeological in 
the hope of coming upon the basis of any particular 
faith, we must undertake the work in a manner as 
thorough as that of the antiquary who, pick in hand, 
delves his way to the lowest foundations of palace 
or temple. The earliest Babylonian religious ideas — 
that is, subsequent to the entrance of that people 
88 



SPIRITS AND GODS 

into the country watered by the Tigris and Euphrates 
— were undoubtedly coloured by those of the non- 
Semitic Sumerians whom they found in the country. 
They adopted the alphabet of that race, and this 
affords strong presumptive evidence that the im- 
migrant Semites, as an unlettered people, would 
naturally accept much if not all of the religion of the 
more cultured folk whom they found in possession of 
the soil. 

There is no necessity in this place to outline the 
nature of animistic belief at any length. This has 
been done in so many other volumes of this series 
and in such detail that it is sufficient to state here 
succinctly that animism is a condition of thought 
or belief in which man considers everything in the 
universe along with himself to be the possessor of 
' soul,' ' spirit,' or at least volition. Thus, the wind, 
water, animals, Vthe heavenly bodies, all live, move, 
and have their being, and because of his fear of or 
admiration for them, man placates or adores them 
until at length he almost unconsciously exalts them 
into a condition of godhead. Have we any reason to 
think that the ancient Semites of Babylonia regarded 
the universe as peopled by gods or godlings of such 
a type ? The proofs that they did so are not a few. 

Spirits and Gods 

Spirits swarmed in ancient- Babylonia, as the 
reader will observe when he comes to peruse the 
chapter dealing with the magical ideas of the rste. 
And here it is important to note that the deter- 
minative or symbolic written sign for ' spirit ' 
is the same as that for ' god.' Thus the god and 
the spirit must in Babylonia have had a common 
descent. The manner in which we can distinguish 

89 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

between a god and a spirit, however, is simple. Lists 
of the ' official ' gods are provided in the historical 
texts, whereas spirits and demons are not included 
therein. But this is not to say that no attempt 
had been made to systematize the belief in spirits 
in Babylonia, for just as the great gods of the universe 
were apportioned their several offices, so were the 
spirits allotted almost exactly similar powers. Thus 
the Annunaki were perhaps regarded as the spirits 
of earth and the Igigi as spirits of heaven. So, 
at least, are they designated in an inscription of 
Rammannirari I. The grouping evidently survived 
from animistic times, when perhaps the spirits which 
are embraced in these two classes were the only 
' gods ' of the Babylonians or Sumerians, and 
from whose ranks some of the great gods of future 
times may have been evolved. In any case they 
belong to a very early period in the Babylonian 
religion and play no unimportant part in it almost 
to the end. The god Anu, the most ancient of the 
Babylonian deities, was regarded as the father of 
both companies, but other gods make use of their 
services. They do not appear to be well disposed to 
humanity. The Assyrian kings were wont to invoke 
them when they desired to inculcate a fear of their 
majesty in the people, and from this it maybe inferred 
that they were objects of peculiar fear to the lower 
orders of the population — for the people often cling 
to the elder cults and the elder pantheons despite 
tht' innovations of ecclesiastical politicians, or the 
religious eccentricities of kings. There can, however, 
be no doubt as to the truly animistic character of 
early Babylonian religion. Thus in the early inscrip- 
tions one reads of the spirits of various kinds of 
diseases, the spirit of the south wind, the spirits of 
90 



WAS BABYLONIAN RELIGION SEMITIC? 

the mist, and so forth. The bit-ili or sacred stones 
marking the residence of a god were probably a link 
between the fetish and the idol, remaining even after 
the fully developed idol had been evolved. 

"Was Babylonian Religion Semitic in Type ? 

It has already been stated that the religion of 
ancient Babylon was probably greatly influenced by 
those non-Semitic people whom the Semitic Baby- 
lonians found occupying the country when they 
entered it. The question then arises (and it is one 
of high importance), how far did the religion of 
ancient Babylonia and Assyria partake of the charac- 
ter of that group of religions which has been called 
' Semitic' The classical pronouncement upon this 
phase of the subject is probably that of the late 
Professor Robertson Smith, who in his Religion of 
the Semites (p. 13) says ^ : "The preponderating 
opinion of Assyriologists is to the effect that the 
civilization of Assyria and Babylonia was not purely 
Semitic, and that the ancient population of these 
parts contained a large pre-Semitic clement, whose 
influence is especially to be recognized in religion and 
in the sacred literature of the cuneiform records. 
If this be so, it is plain that the cuneiform material 
must be used with caution in our enquiry into the 
type of traditional religion characteristic of the 
ancient Semites. That Babylonia is the best starting- 
point for a comparative study of the sacred beliefs 
and practices of the Semitic peoples, is an idea 
which has lately had some vogue, and which at 
first sight appears plausible on account of the great 
antiquity of the monumental evidence. But, in 
matters of this sort, ancient and primitive are not 
^ The passage is quoted by kind permission of Messrs A. & C. Black. 

91 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

synonymous terms ; and we must not look for the 
most primitive form of Semitic faith in a region 
where society was not primitive. In Babylonia, 
it would seem, society and religion alike were based 
on a fusion of two races, and so were not primitive 
but complex. Moreover, the official system of Baby- 
lonian and Assyrian religion, as it is known to us 
from priestly texts and public inscriptions, bears 
clear marks of being something more than a popular 
traditional faith ; it has been artificially moulded 
by priestcraft and statecraft in much the same way 
as the official religion of Egypt ; that is to say, it is 
in great measure an artificial combination, for im- 
perial purposes, of elements drawn from a number 
of local worships. In all probability the actual 
religion of the masses was always much simpler than 
the official system ; and in later times it would 
seem that, both in religion and in race, Assyria 
was little different from the adjacent Aramaean 
countries. These remarks are not meant to throw 
doubt on the great importance of cuneiform studies 
for the history of Semitic religion ; the monumental 
data are valuable for comparison with what we 
know of the faith and worship of other Semitic 
peoples, and peculiarly valuable because, in religion 
as in other matters, the civilization of the Euphrates- 
Tigris valley exercised a great historical influence 
on a large part of the Semitic field." 

Totemism in Babylonian Religion 

Signs of totemism are not wanting in the Baby- 
lonian as in other religious systems. Many of the 
gods are pictured as riding upon the backs of certain 
animals, an almost certain indication that at one 
time they had themselves possessed the form of the 
92 



THE GREAT GODS 

animal they bestrode. Religious conservatism would 
probably not tolerate the immediate abolition of the 
totem-shape, so this means was taken of gradually 
' shelving ' it. But some gods retained animal form 
until comparatively late times. Thus the sun-god 
of Kis had the form of an eagle, and we find that 
Ishtar took as lovers a horse, an eagle, and a lion — 
surely gods who were represented in equine, aquiline, 
and leonine forms. The fish-form of Cannes, the god 
of wisdom, is certainly a relic of totemism. Some 
of the old ideographic representations of the names 
of the gods are eloquent of a totemic connexion. 
Thus the name of Ea, the god of the deep, is expressed 
by an ideograph which signifies ' antelope.' Ea 
is spoken of as ' the antelope of the deep,' ' the 
lusty antelope,' and so forth. He was also, as a 
water-god, connected with the serpent, a universal 
symbol of the flowing stream. The strange god Uz, 
probably an Akkadian survival, was worshipped 
under the form of a goat. The sun-god of Nippur, 
Adar, was connected with the pig, and was called 
' lord of the swine.' Merodach may have been a 
bull-god. In early astronomical literature we find 
him alluded to as ' the bull of light.' The storm- 
god Zu, as is seen by his myth, retained his birdllkc 
form. Another name of the storm-bird was Lugal- 
banda, patron god of the city of Marad, near Sippara. 
Like Prometheus — also once a bird-god, as is proved 
by many analogous myths — he stole the sacred fire from 
heaven for the service and mental illumination of man. 

The Great Gods 

In the phase in which it becomes first known 
to us, Babylonian religion is neither Semitic nor 
Akkadian, but Semitic-Akkadian : that is, the ele- 

93 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

ments of both religious forms are so intermingled 
in it that they cannot be distinguished one from 
another ; but very little that is trustworthy can 
be advanced concerning this shadowy time. Each 
petty state (and these were numerous in early Baby- 
lonia) possessed its own tutelar deity, and he again 
had command over a number of lesser gods. When 
all those pantheons were added together, as was 
the case in later days, they afforded the spectacle 
of perhaps the largest assembly of gods known to 
any religion. The most outstanding of these tribal 
divinities, as they might justly be called, were 
Merodach, who was worshipped at Babylon ; Sha- 
mash, who was adored at Sippar ; Sin, the moon- 
god, who ruled at Ur ; Anu, who held sway over 
Erech and Der ; Ea, the Cannes of legend, whose 
city was Eridu ; Bel, who ruled at Nippur, or Niifur ; 
Nergal of Cuthah ; and Ishtar, who was goddess 
of Nineveh. The peoples of the several provinces 
identified their prominent gods one with another, 
and indeed when Assyria rose to rivalry with Baby- 
lonia, its chief divinity, Asshur, was naturally 
identified with Merodach. 

In the chapter on cosmology we have seen how 
Merodach gained the lordship of heaven. It has 
been shown that the rise of this god to power was 
comparatively recent. Prior to the days of Khammu- 
rabi a rather different pantheon from that described 
in later inscriptions held sway. In those more 
primitive days the principal gods appear to have 
been Bel or En-lil, Belit or Nin-lil his queen, Nin- 
girsu, Ea, Nergal, Shamash, Sin, Anu, and other 
lesser divinities. There is indeed a sharp distinction 
between the pre- and post-Khammurabic types of 
religion. Attempts had been made to form a pan- 
94 




^^ 



^■*'" 



J 



I 



* 1 "^l 






r. ) 



/ 



J 



Types of En-lil, the Chief God of Nippur, and of 
his Consort, Nin-lil 

rn.m Ri-lisious DcUcI aud r,,iiticc in Biibvlonia ciul .lssv//.(, 

by I'lulLSSiii- M(irris Jastrow 

By permission of Messrs G. P. Putnam's Sons 



BEL 

theon before Khammurabi's day, but his exaltation 
of Merodach, the patron of Babylon, to the head of 
the Babylonian pantheon was destined to destroy 
these. A glance at the condition of the great gods 
before the days of Khammurabi will assist lis to 
understand their later developments. 

Bel 

Bel, or, to give him his earlier name, En-lil, is 
spoken of in very early inscriptions, especially in 
those of Nippur; of which city he was the tutelar 
deity. He was described as the ' lord of the lower 
world,' and much effort seems to have been made 
to reach a definite conception of his position and 
attributes. His name had also been translated 
' lord of mist.' The title ' Bel ' had been given 
to Merodach by Tiglath-pileser I about 1200 B.C., 
after which he was referred to as ' the older Bel.' 
The chief seat of his worship was at Nippur, where 
the name of his temple, E-Kur or ' mountain-house,' 
came to be applied to a sanctuary all over Baby- 
lonia. He was also addressed as the ^ lord of the 
storm ' and as the ' great mountain,' and his consort 
Nin-lil is also alluded to as ' lady of the mountain.' 
Jastrow rightly concludes that " there are substantial 
reasons for assuming that his original city was on 
the top of some mountain, as is so generally the 
case of storm-deities. . . . There being no mountains 
in the Euphrates valley, however, the conclusion 
is warranted that En-lil was the god of a people 
whose home was in a mountainous region and who 
brought their god with them when they came to the 
Euphrates valley." ^ 

En-lil is undoubtedly of the class of tempest- 

^ Religious Belief in Babylonia and Assyria, p. 69. 

95 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

deities who dwell on mountain peaks. No text 
appears to have been found which alludes to him as 
of a red colour. The flashing of the lightning through 
the clouds which veil the mountain summits usually 
generates a belief in the mind of primitive man that 
the god who is concealed by the screen of vapour 
is red in hue and quick in movement. The second 
tablet of a text known as the ' crying storm ' 
alludes to En-lil as a storm-god. Addressing him 
it says : " Spirit that overcomes no evildoing, spirit 
that has no mother, spirit that has no wife, spirit that 
has no sister, spirit that has no brother, that knows 
no abiding place, the evil-slaying spirit that devas- 
tates the fold, that wrecks the stall, that sweeps 
away son and mother like a reed. As a huge deluge 
it tears away dwellings, consumes the provisions 
of the home, smites mankind everywhere, and 
wickedly drowns the harvests of the land. Devoted 
temples it devastates, devoted men it afflicts, him 
that clothes himself in a robe of majesty the spirit 
lays low with cold, him of wide pasture lands with 
hunger it lays low. When En-lil, the lord of lands, 
cries out at sunset the dreadful word goes forth 
unto the spacious shrine, ' Destroy.' " 

Nippur, the city of En-lil, was of Sumerian 
origin, so we must connect the earliest cult of En-lil 
with the Sumerian aborigines. Many of his lesser 
names point to such a conclusion. But he greatly 
outgrew all local circumstances, and among other 
things he appears to have been a god who fostered 
vegetation. Some authorities appear to be of opinion 
that because En-lil was regarded as a god of vegeta- 
tion the change was owing to his removal from a 
mountainous region to a more level neighbourhood. 
The truth is, it would be difficult to discover a god 
96 



BEL AND THE DRAGON 

who wielded the powers of the wind and rain who 
was not a patron of agriculture, but as he sends 
beneficent rains, so also may he destroy and devastate, 
as we have seen from the foregoing text. The noise 
of the storm was spoken of as his ' word.' Probably, 
too, because he was a very old god he was regarded 
in some localities as a creator of the world. The 
great winged bull of Assyrian art may well often 
represent En-lil : no symbol could better typify 
the tempest which the Babylonians regarded as 
rushing and rioting unrestrained over country and 
city, overturning even tower and temple with its 
violence, and tumbling the wretched reed huts of the 
lower caste into the dust. 

The word HI which occurs in the name En-lil, 
signifies a ' demon,' and En-lil may therefore mean 
the ' chief-demon.' This shows the very early, 
animistic nature of the god. There appear to be 
other traditions of him as a war-god, but these are 
so obscure as scarcely to be worth notice. In the 
trinity which consisted of Bel, Ea, and Anu, he is 
regarded as the ' god of the earth,' that is, the 
earth is his sphere, and he is at times addressed as 
* Bel, the lord of the lands.' 

We find the ' word ' of the wind or storm-god 
alluded to in the Popol Vuh of the Kiches of Central 
America, where Hurakan (the deity from whose 
name we probably get our word ' hurricane ') 
sweeps over the face of the primeval deep, voicing his 
commands. 

Bel and the Dragon 

The picturesque legend of Bel and the Dragon 
which appears in the Apocrypha, and which was at one 
time appended to the Book of Daniel, shows us the 

G 97 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

manner in which Bel was worshipped at Babylon, 
and how he was supposed to take human shape, 
devour food, and behave very much as a man might. 
The legend states that the Babylonians lavished 
every day upon the idol of Bel twelve great measures 
of fine flour, and forty sheep, and six vessels of wine. 
King Cyrus of Persia, who had overthrown the 
Babylonian kingdom, went daily to worship Bel, 
and asked Daniel why he did not do likewise. The 
prophet replied that his religion did not permit him 
to worship idols, but rather the living God who had 
created the heavens and the earth. 

'' Then said Cyrus : ' Thinkest thou not that 
Bel is the living God ? Seest thou not how much he 
eateth and drinketh every day ? ' 

" Then Daniel smiled and said, * King, be not 
deceived, for he is but clay within and brass without, 
and can never eat or drink anything.' 

" Cyrus was exceeding wroth, and calling for 
his priests said to them, ' If ye tell me not who 
this is that devoureth these expenses ye shall die, 
but if ye can show me that Bel devours them 
Daniel shall die, for he hath spoken blasphemy 
against Bel ; ' " and to this Daniel cheerfully 
agreed. 

It would have been surprising had not the pro- 
visions vanished, because we are told that the priests 
of Bel were threescore and ten in number and had 
numerous wives and children. So Cyrus and Daniel 
betook themselves to the temple of Bel, and the 
priests asked them to bless the meat and wine before 
Bel, and to shut the door fast and seal it with the 
King's own signet, stating that if they came on the 
morrow they would find that Bel had eaten up all 
ofnhe provisions. 
98' 



BEL AND THE DRAGON 

But they had taken good care to protect them- 
selves, for they had made a secret entrance underneath 
the great table in the temple which they used con- 
stantly, so that they might consume the good things 
that were set before the idol. 

And Cyrus did as the priests asked, setting the 
meat and wine before the statue of Bel, but Daniel 
commanded his servants to bring ashes, which they 
strewed throughout the temple in the presence of 
the King ; then they went out and shut the door 
and sealed it with the King's signet. 

And in the night time the priests with their wives 
and families entered the temple by the secret way 
and speedily consumed the provisions. 

In the morning Cyrus and Daniel betook them- 
selves to the temple, and the King broke the seals 
and opened the door, and when he perceived that 
all the provisions had vanished he called out with 
a loud voice, " Great art thou, Bel, and with thee 
is no deceit at all.' 

But Daniel laughed, and barring the King's 
way into the temple requested him to look at the 
pavement and mark well whose footsteps he saw 
there. 

And Cyrus replied, " I see the footsteps of men, 
women, and children." 

He at once called the priests, who when they 
saw that their stratagem had been discovered showed 
him the secret way into the temple ; and in his 
rage Cyrus slew them and delivered Bel into Daniel's 
power. The prophet speedily destroyed the idol and 
the temple which sheltered it. 

Now in that temple was a great dragon worshipped 
by the people of Babylon, and the King said to 
Daniel : " Wilt thou also say that this is of brass, 

G 2 99 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

for behold ! he liveth, he eateth and drinketh, 
therefore shouldest thou worship him ! " 

But Daniel shook his head and said to Cyrus : 
" Give me leave, King, and I will slay this dragon 
without sword or staff." 

Then Daniel took pitch and fat and hair and 
boiled them all together, and shaped them into great 
pieces. These he placed in the dragon's mouth, and 
shortly the dragon burst asunder. 

Now the people of Babylon became greatly 
incensed at these doings and clamoured to Cyrus, 
asking him to deliver Daniel up to them, or else 
they would destroy him and all belonging to him. 
And, continues the legend, Cyrus being afraid for 
his crown delivered Daniel to the people, who cast 
him into a lions' den where he remained for six days. 
Seven lions were in the den and their food was 
removed from them so that they might be the fiercer, 
and the Apocrypha story, which differs considerably 
from that given in the sixth chapter of the Book of 
Daniel, states that the angel of the Lord took up 
a certain prophet called Habbacuc, who was about 
to carry a mess of pottage to certain reapers, and 
taking him by the hair of the head, conveyed him 
all the way from Palestine to Babylon along with 
the food, which he set at Daniel's feet. Daniel 
partook of the meal, and Habbacuc was conveyed 
back to Palestine in the same manner as that in 
which he had come. 

And on the seventh day Cyrus came to the den 
to mourn for Daniel, and when he looked in Daniel 
was there. So impressed was Cyrus with the power f 
of Daniel's God that he resolved to worship Him 
in future, and seizing those who had been instru- 
mental in casting the Hebrew prophet into the den, 



THE TEMPLE OF BEL 

he thrust them before the lions, and they were 
devoured in a moment. 

Beltis 

Beltis, or Nin-lil, the wife of En-lil, shared his 
authority over Nippur, where she had a temple 
which went back in antiquity to the First Dynasty of 
Ur. As has been said, she was also called the ' lady 
of the mountain,' and as such she had a sanctuary 
at Girsu, a quarter of Lagash. In certain inscrip- 
tions she is described as ' the mother of the gods.' 
The name Beltis meant ' l^^dy,' and as such was 
accorded to her as being ' the ' lady, but it was 
afterwards given to many other goddesses. 

The Temple of Bel 

In 1876 Mr George Smith discovered a Baby- 
lonian text giving a remarkable account of the 
temple of Bel at Babylon. This temple, the wonder 
of Babylon, was founded while that city was still 
a place of no very great importance, but its fabric 
lasted until the days of Herodotus and Strabo, who 
have furnished us with accounts of it. The former 
states that it consisted of eight stages or towers 
one above another, forming a pyramid, the holy of 
holies being placed upon the highest stage of all, 
the height of the entire building being about 600 
feet — a very questionable dimension. 

In the cuneiform tablet the measurements of the 
outer court are given as 11 56 feet in length and 900 
feet in breadth. An adjoining court, that of Ishtar 
and Zamama, was 1056 feet by 450 feet, and had six 
gates which admitted worshippers to the temple — 
the grand gate, the gate of the rising sun looking 
eastward, the great gate, the gate of the Colossi, 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

flanked by enormous figures, the canal gate, and the 
gate of the tower-view. 

A walled space, platform or birut, orientated so 
as to face the four cardinal points, is next described. 
Inside this stood a building the name of which is 
indecipherable. It was connected in some manner 
with the Ziggurat or great tower, around the base 
of which were ranged the temples of the principal 
gods, all of which faced one or other of the four chief 
points of the compass. 

On the eastern side of the group stood a large 
temple 117 feet by 6j feet broad, containing no 
less than sixteen shrines, the principal of which 
were sacred to Nebo, the son of Bel, and his wife 
Tashmit. To the north were temples to Ea and 
Nusku, the first 142 feet long by 50 feet broad and 
the second a square 58 feet either way. To the 
south was a shrine to Bel and Anu 117 feet by 50 
, feet. 

The purpose of the buildings on the western 
side of the great tower is only to be conjectured. 
It is known, however, that the couch of Bel and his 
throne of gold alluded to by Herodotus were housed 
in one or other of the buildings on this side. The 
couch is said to have measured 15 feet by 6 feet 
8 inches. 

In the centre towered the great Ziggurat, rising 
stage upon stage, its sides facing the cardinal points. 
The first stage was 300 feet square and no feet high 
and was ornamented with buttresses. The second 
was 260 feet square and 60 feet high, the third 200 
feet square and 20 feet high up to the seventh stage, 
which was 80 feet long, 70 feet broad, and 50 feet 
high. The entire height of the Ziggurat was thus 
300 feet, exactly equal to the breadth of the 



THE TEMPLE OF BEL 

base, or only half the height attributed to it by 
Herodotus. 

Regarding the possible site of this temple Mr 
Smith says : " The only ruin now existing at or 
near Babylon which can be supposed to represent 
the temple of Belus is the mound and enclosure of 
Babil, the ruins corresponding fairly with the account 
of these structures in the Greek authors and in the 
inscription. The sides of the building face the 
cardinal points, like those in the inscription ; the 
remains of the two sides of the enclosure now existing 
indicate a circumference about equal to the Greek 
measurement, and slightly in excess of that in the 
inscription ; but it must be remembered that the 
exact length of the Babylonian measures is not 
known, and there are different opinions even as to 
the length of the Greek stade, while the present 
remains of the wall require careful measurement to 
determine more exactly their length and the dimen- 
sions they indicate. On the other side of the 
Euphrates stands a ruin, Birs Nimrud, also con- 
sisting of an enclosure, various temples, and a temple- 
tower ; but this represents the site of the temple 
of Nebo at Borsippa, and its angles, instead of its 
sides, face the cardinal points, while not a single one 
of its known dimensions agrees with the corresponding 
point in the inscription. The mound of Babil, which 
is already identified by the best authorities with the 
temple of Belus, consists now of the lower stage of 
the tower and the ruins of the buildings round it."^ 

Yet Herodotus' account of the temple of Bel 
was not wholly false. He says : " It had gates of 
brass, and was two stadia every way, being quad- 
rangular ; in the middle of the temple a solid tower 
1 Athenceum, Feb. 12, 1876. 

103 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

was built, a stadium in height and breadth, and on 
this tower was placed another, and another still 
on this, to the number of eight towers in all. The 
ascent was on the outside, and was made by a winding 
passage round all the towers ; and about half up 
the ascent there is a landing and seats for rest, where 
those ascending may repose ; and in the highest 
tower there is a large temple, and in the temple a 
large bed well furnished, and beside it a golden table ; 
but there is no statue erected in it ; and by night no 
one lodges in it, except a single woman of the country, 
whom the god has selected from the rest, as say the 
Chaldaeans, who are the priests of this god." 

An inscription was discovered and translated 
by Sir H. C. Rawlinson, in which King Nebuchad- 
rezzar boasts of having repaired and completed this 
tower in honour of his god Merodach. " Behold 
now the building named ' The Stages of the Seven 
Spheres,' which was the wonder of Borsippa, had 
been built by a former king. He had completed 
forty-two ammas (of the height), but he did not 
finish its head. From the lapse of time it had 
become ruined ; they had not taken care of the 
exits of the waters, so the rain and wet had pene- 
trated into the brickwork ; the casing of burnt 
brick had bulged out, and the terraces of crude 
brick lay scattered in heaps. Then Merodach, my 
great lord, inclined my heart to repair the building. 
I did not change its site, nor did I destroy the foun- 
dation platform ; but in a fortunate month, and on 
an auspicious day, I undertook the rebuilding of 
the crude brick terraces and the burnt brick casing 
(of the temple). I strengthened its foundations, 
and I placed a titular record in the parts that I had 
rebuilt. I set my hand to build it up, and to finish 
104. 



NERGAL 

Its summit. As it had been in former days, thus I 
exalted its head." 

Nei-gal 

Nergal was the patron god of Cuthah, eastward 
from Babylon. He was a god of extremely ancient 
origin, and indeed the first inscription which alludes 
to him is dated about 2700 B.C. He is mentioned 
in the Old Testament (2 Kings xvii 30) as an 
idol whom the Babylonians who re-peopled Israel 
brought with them. He seems to have had a close 
connexion with the nether world, indeed he is prac- 
tically the head of its pantheon. He appears to 
have been a god of gloom and death, and his name 
may signify ' the lord of the great dwelling place,' 
that is, the grave. His city, Cuthah, may possibly 
have been renowned as a burial-place. We find him 
associated with pestilence and famine, but he has 
also a solar significance. He is indeed the sun in 
its malevolent form, fierce and destroying, for in 
myth the sun can be evil as well as good. We 
thus find the solar power depicted as a fierce warrior 
slaying his thousands and tens of thousands. Again 
it is quite possible for a solar deity to have an under- 
world connexion, seeing that the sun is supposed 
to travel through that gloomy region during the 
night. We thus see how Nergal could combine so 
many seemingly conflicting attributes. As god of 
the dead he has a host of demons at his command, 
and it may be these who do his behests in spreading 
pestilence and war. Where he goes violent death 
follows in his wake. At times he is called the ' god 
of fire,' the ' raging king,' ' he who burns,' and 
the ' violent one,' and he is identified with the 
fierceness of flame. In this respect he is not at all 

105 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

unlike the Scandinavian lioki who typifies the 
malevolence of fire. 

Dibarra 

Dibarra was probably a variant of Nergal, in 
his guise as solar destroyer. Concerning him a 
strange myth is recounted as follows : 

" The sons of Babylon were as birds and thou 
their falconer. In a net thou didst catch them, 
enclose them, and destroy them, O warrior Dibarra. 
Leaving the city, thou didst pass to the outside, 
taking on the foim of a lion, thou didst enter the 
palace. The people saw thee and drew their 
weapons." 

So spoke Ishum, the faithful attendant of Dibarra, 
by way of beginning an account of the havoc wrought 
in the valley of Euphrates by the war- and plague- 
god. " Spare no one," is the gist of his commands 
to his satellites. " Have neither fear nor pity. 
Kill the young as well as the old and rob Babylon 
of all its treasures." 

Accordingly against the first city a large army 
was dispatched to carry out these instructions, 
and the battle with bow and sword was begun, a 
strife which ended so disastrously for the soldiers and 
inhabitants that their blood flowed " like torrents 
of water through the city's highways." This defeat 
the great lord Merodach was compelled to witness, 
powerless to help or avert it. Enraged at his help- 
lessness and overcome with fury, he cursed his 
enemies until he is said to have lost consciousness 
because of his grief. 

From this scene of devastation Dibarra turned 
his attention to Erech, appointing others of his host 
to mete out to this city the fate of Babylon. Ishtar, 
1 06 



DIBARRA 

goddess of Erech, saw her devoted city exposed to 
plunder, pillage, and bloodshed, and had to endure 
the agony of inactivity experienced by Merodach. 
Nothing she could do or say would stay the violence 
of Dibarra's vengeance. 

" warrior Dibarra, thou dost dispatch the just, 
thou dost dispatch the unjust ; who sins against 
thee thou dost dispatch, and the one who does not 
sin against thee thou dost dispatch." 

These words were used by Ishum, Dibarra's servant, 
in a subsequent address to the god of war. He knew 
his lord's craving for battle and bloodshed was still 
unappeased, and he himself was planning a war more 
terrible than any he had yet conducted, a conflict 
not only world-wide but which was to embrace 
heaven itself. So in order to gain Dibarra's consent 
to the hideous destruction he anticipated, he con- 
tinued to pander to his war-like tendencies. 

Said he : " The brightness of Shul-panddu I 
will destroy, the root of the tree I will tear out 
that it no longer blossom. Against the dwelling 
of the king of gods I will proceed." 

To all of which the warrior-god listened with 
growing pleasure, until fired by his myrmidon's 
words he cried out in sudden fierce resolve — " Sea- 
coast against sea-coast, Subartu against Subartu, 
Assyrian against Assyrian, Elamite against Elamite, 
Cassite against Cassite, Sutaean against Sutaean, 
Kuthean against Kuthean, Lullubite against LuUu- 
bite, country against country, house against house, 
man against man. Brother is to show no mercy 
towards brother ; they shall kill one another." 

" Go, Ishum," he added later, " carry out the 
word thou hast spoken in accordance with thy 
desire." 

107 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

And with alacrity Ishum obeyed, " directing his 
countenance to the mountain of Khi-khi. This, 
with the help of the god Sibi, a warrior unequalled, 
he attacked and destroyed all the vineyards in the 
forest of Khashur, and finally the city of Inmarmaon. 
These last atrocious acts roused Ea, the god of 
humanity, and filled him with wrath," though what 
attitude he adopted towards Dibarra is not known. 

" Listen all of you to my words, because of sin 
did I formerly plan evil, my heart was enraged and 
I swept peoples away." 

This was Dibarra's defence when eventually 
he was propitiated and all the gods were gathered 
together in council with him. Ishum at this point 
changing his tactics urged on Dibarra the necessity 
for pacifying the gods he had incensed. 

" Appease," said he, " the gods of the land who 
are angry. May fruits and corn flourish, may moun- 
tains and seas bring their produce." 

As he had listened to Ishum before, Dibarra 
listened again, and the council of the gods was closed 
by his promising prosperity and protection to those 
who would fittingly honour him. 

" He who glorifies my name will rule the world. 
Who proclaims the glory of my power will be without 
rival. The singer who sings of my deeds will not 
die through pestilence, to kings and nobles his words 
will be pleasing. The writer who preserves them 
will escape from the grasp of the enemy, in the 
temple where the people proclaim my name, I will 
open his ear. In the house where this tablet is 
set up, though war may rage and the god Sibi work 
havoc, sword and pestilence will not touch him 
— he will dwell in safety. Let this song resound 
for ever and endure for eternity. Let all lands hear 
io8 



SHAMASH 

it and proclaim my power. Let the inhabitants of 
all places learn to glorify my name." 

Shamash 

Shamash, god of the sun, was one of the most 
popular deities of the Babylonian and Assyrian 
pantheon. We find him mentioned first in the reign 
of E-Anna-Tum, or about 4200 b.c. He is called the 
son of Sin, the moon-god, which perhaps has refer- 
ence to the fact that the solar calendar succeeded 
the lunar in Babylonia as in practically all civiliza- 
tions of any advancement. The inscriptions give 
due prominence to his status as a great lord of light, 
and in them he is called the ' illuminator of the 
regions,' ' lord of living creatures,' ' gracious one 
of the lands,' and so forth. He is supposed to 
throw open the gates of the morning and raise his 
head over the horizon, lighting up the heaven and 
earth with his beams. The knowledge of justice 
and injustice and the virtue of righteousness were 
attributed to him, and he was regarded as a judge 
between good and evil, for as the light of the sun 
penetrates everywhere, and nothing can be hidden 
from its beams, it is not strange that it should stand 
as the symbol for justice. Shamash appears at 
the head of the inscription which bears the laws of 
Khammurabi, and here he stands as the symbol 
for justice. The towns at which he was principally 
worshipped were Sippar and Larsa, where his sanc- 
tuary was known as E-Babbara, or the ' shining 
house.' Larsa was probably the older of the two 
centres, but from the times of Sargon, Sippar became 
the more important, and in the days of Khammurabi 
ranked immediately after Babylon. In fact it appears 
to have threatened the supremacy of the capital 

109 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

to some extent, and Nabonidus, the last King of 
Babylon, as we shall remember, offended Merodach 
and his priests by his too eager notice of Shamash. 
During the whole course of Babylonian history, 
however, Shamash retained his popularity, and was 
perhaps the only sun-god who was not absorbed 
by Merodach. One finds the same phenomenon 
in ancient Mexico, where various solar deities did 
not succeed in displacing or absorbing Totec, the 
ancient god of the sun far excellence. But Shamash 
succeeded in absorbing many small local sun-gods, 
and indeed we find his name used as that of the sun 
throughout Semitic lands. There were several solar 
deities, such as Nergal, and Ninib, whom Shamash 
did not absorb, probably for the reason that they 
typify various phases of the sun. There is reason to 
believe that in ancient times even Shamash was not 
an entirely beneficent solar deity, but, like Nergal, 
could figure as a warrior on occasion. But in later 
times he was regarded as the god who brings light 
and life upon all created things, and upon whom 
depends everything in nature from man to vegetable. 
His consort was Aa, who was worshipped at Sippar 
along with him. Her cult seems to have been one 
of great antiquity, but she does not appear to have 
any distinctive character of her own. She was sup- 
posed to receive the sun upon his setting, and from 
this circumstance it has been argued she perhaps 
represents the ' double sun,' from the magnified 
disk which he presents at sunset ; but this explana- 
tion is perhaps rather too much on allegorical lines. 
Jastrow thinks that she may have been evolved 
from the sun-god of a city on the other side of the 
Euphrates from Sippar. " Such an amalgamation 
of two originally male deities into a combination 



EA 

of male and female, strange as it may seem to us," 
he says, " is in keeping with the lack of sharp dis- 
tinction between male and female in the oldest forms 
of Semitic religions. In the old cuneiform writing 
the same sign is used to indicate ' lord ' or ' lady ' 
when attached to deities. Ishtar appears amongst the 
Semites both as male and femile. Sex was primarily 
a question of strength ; the stronger god was viewed 
as masculine, the weaker as feminine." 

Ea 

Ea was the third of the great Babylonian triad 
of gods, which consisted of Anu, En-lil, and himself. 
He was a god of the waters, and like Anu is called 
the ' father of the gods.' As a god of the abyss 
he appears to have been also a deity of wisdom and 
occult power, thus allegorically associated with the 
idea of depth or profundity. He was the father of 
Merodach, who consulted him on the most important 
matters connected with his kingship of the gods. 
Indeed he was consulted by individuals of all classes 
who desired light to be thrown upon their crafts 
or businesses. Thus he was the god of artisans in 
general — ^blacksmiths, stone-cutters, sailors, and arti- 
ficers of every kind. He was also the patron of 
prophets and seers. As the abyss is the place where 
the seeds of everything were supposed to fructify, 
so he appears to have fostered reproduction of every 
description. He was supposed to dwell beside Anu, 
who inhabited the pole of the ecliptic. The site 
of his chief temple was at Eridu, which at one time 
stood, before the waters receded, upon the shore of 
the Persian Gulf. We have seen already that Ea, 
under his Greek name of Cannes, was supposed to 
bring knowledge and culture to the people of Eridu. 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

There are many confusing myths connected with 
him, and he seems in some measure to enter into the 
Babylonian myth of the deluge. Alexander Poly- 
histor, ApoUodorus, and Eusebius, copying from 
Berossus, state that he rose from the sea upon his 
civilizing mission, and Abydenus says that in the 
time of Daon, the shepherd king of the city of Panti- 
biblon (meaning the ' city where books were gathered 
together '), " Annedatus appeared again from the 
Eruthrean sea, in the same form as those who had 
showed themselves before, having the shape of a 
fish blended with that of a man. Then reigned 
Aedorachus of Pantibiblon for the term of eighteen 
sari. In his days there appeared another personage 
from the sea of Eruthra, like those above, having 
the same complicated form between fish and man : 
his name was Odacon." From remarks by ApoUo- 
dorus it would seem that these beings were messengers 
from Cannes, but the whole passages are very obscure. 
The chief extract from the fragments of Berossus 
concerning Cannes states that : " In the first year 
there made its appearance from a part of the Eruth- 
rean sea, which bordered upon Babylonia, an animal 
endowed with reason, who was called Cannes. 
According to the accounts of ApoUodorus the whole 
body of the animal was like that of a fish ; and had 
under a fish's head another head, and also feet 
below, similar to those of a man, subjoined to the 
fish's tail. His speech, too, was articulate and human ; 
and there was a representation of him to be seen 
in the time of Berossus. This Being in the day- 
time used to converse with men ; but took no food at 
that season ; and he gave them an insight into letters 
and science, and every kind of art. He taught them 
to construct houses, to found temples, to compile 

112 



THE WRITINGS OF CANNES 

laws, and explained to them the principles of geo- 
metrical knowledge. He made them distinguish 
the seeds of the earth, and showed them how to 
collect fruits ; in short, he instructed them in every- 
thing which could tend to soften manners and 
humanize mankind. From that time, so universal 
were his instructions, nothing material has been added 
by way of improvement. When the sun set, it was 
the custom of this Being to plunge again into the 
sea, and abide all the night in the deep." After 
this there appeared other creatures like Oannes, of 
which Berossus promises to give an account when 
he comes to the history of the kings. 

The Writings of Oannes 

" Moreover," says Polyhistor, '' Oannes wrote 
concerning the generation of mankind ; of their 
different ways of life, and of civil polity ; and the 
following is the purport of what he said : " ' There 
was nothing but darkness, and an abyss of water, 
wherein resided most hideous beings, which were 
produced of a twofold principle. Men appeared 
with two wings, some with four, and with two faces. 
They had one body, but two heads ; the one of a 
man, the other of a woman. They were likewise in 
their several organs both male and female. Other 
human figures were to be seen with the legs and 
horns of goals. Some had horses' feet : others 
had the limbs of a horse behind ; but before were 
fashioned like men, resembling hippocentaurs. Bulls 
likewise bred there with the heads of men ; and dogs 
with fourfold bodies, and the tails of fishes. Also 
horses with the heads of dogs : men too, and other 
animals, with the heads and bodies of horses, and 
the tails of fishes. In short, there were creatures 

H 11^ 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

with the limbs of every species of animals. Add to 
.these, fishes, reptiles, serpents, with other wonder- 
ful animals ; which assumed each other's shape and 
countenance. Of all these were preserved delinea- 
tions in the temple of Belus at Babylon. The person, 
who was supposed to have presided over them, 
had the name of Omorca. This in the Chaldaic 
language is Thalath ; which the Greeks express tha- 
lassa, the sea : but according to the most probable 
theory, it is equivalent to selene, the moon. All 
things being in this situation, Belus came, and cut 
the woman-creature asunder : and out of one half 
of her he formed the earth, and of the other half the 
heavens. At the same time he destroyed the animals 
in the abyss. All this, Berossus said,^ was an alle- 
gorical description of nature. For the whole universe 
consisting of moisture, and, animals being continually 
generated therein, the Deity (Belus) above-mentioned 
cut off his own head, upon which the other gods 
mixed the blood, as it gushed out, with the earth, 
and from this men were formed. On this account 
it is, that they are rational, and partake of divine 
knowledge. This Belus, whom men call Dis, divided 
the darkness, and separated the heavens from the 
earth ; and reduced the universe to order. But the 
animals so lately created, not being able to bear the 
prevalence of light, died. Belus upon this, seeing a 
vast space quite uninhabited, though by nature very 
fruitful, ordered one of the gods to take off his head ; 
and when it was taken off, they were to mix the blood 
with the soil of the earth ; and from thence to form 
other men and animals, which should be capable 

^ Polyhistor is still speaking. The passage is somewhat obscure, 
and of course relates to the myth of Merodach and Tiawath — Bel 
representing Merodach, and " the woman-creature " Tiawath. 
114 



THE WRITINGS OF CANNES 

of bearing the light. Belus also formed the stars, and 
the sun, and moon, together with the five planets.' " 

This myth, related by Ea or Cannes regarding 
the creation of the world, bears a very close relation 
to that of Merodach and Tiawath, told in Chapter II. 
It is not often that one finds a fish-god acting as a 
culture hero, although we find in Mexican myth a 
certain deity alluded to as the " old fish-god of our 
flesh." Allegorical mythology would have seen in 
Ea a hero arriving from another clime in a wave- 
tossed vessel, who had landed on the shores of the 
Persian Gulf, and had instructed the rude inhabitants 
thereof in the culture of a higher civilization. There 
is very little doubt that Ea has a close connexion 
in some manner with the Noah legend of the deluge. 
For example, a Sumerian text exists in which it 
would seem as if the ship of Ea was described, as the 
timbers of which its various parts were constructed 
are mentioned, and the refugees it saved consisted of 
Ea himself, Dawkina his wife, Merodach, and Inesh, 
the pilot of Eridu, along with Nin-igi-nagir-sir. 

Of course it would seem natural to the Babylo- 
nians to regard the Persian Gulf as the great abyss 
whence all things emanated. As Jastrow very justly 
remarks : " In the word of Ea, of a character more 
spiritual than that of En-lil, he commands, and what 
he plans comes into existence — a wholly beneficent 
power he blesses the fields and heals mankind. His 
most striking trait is his love of humanity. In con- 
flicts between the gods and mankind, he is invari- 
ably on the side of the latter. When the gods, 
at the instance of En-lil as the ' god of storms,' 
decide to bring on a deluge to sweep away mankind, 
it is Ea who reveals the secret to his favourite, 
Ut-Napishtim (Noah), who saves himself, his family, 

H 2 115 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

and his belongings on a ship that he is instructed to 
build." ^ The waters personified by him are not those 
of the turbulent and treacherous ocean, but those 
of irrigating streams and commerce-carrying canals. 
He is thus very different from the god En-lil, the 
' lord of heaven ' who possesses so many attributes 
of destruction. Ea in his benevolent way thwarts 
the purpose of the riotous god of tempest, which 
greatly enrages En-lil, and it has been thought that 
this myth suggests the rivalry which perhaps at one 
time existed between the two religious centres of 
Eridu and Nippur, cities of Ea and En-lil respectively. 
In an eloquent manner Ea implores En-lil not to 
precipitate another deluge, and begs that instead of 
such wholesale destruction man may be punished 
by sending lions and jackals, or by famines or pesti- 
lences. En-lil hearkens to his speech, his heart is 
touched, and he blesses Utnapishtim and his wife. 
If this myth is a piece of priestcraft, it argues 
better relations between the ecclesiastical authorities 
at Eridu and Nippur. Ea had many other names, 
the chief of which, Nin-a-gal, meaning ' god of great 
strength,' alluded to his patronage of the smith's 
art. He was also called En-ki, which describes 
him as ' lord of the earth ' through which his waters 
meandered. In such a country as Babylonia earth 
and water are closely associated, as under that soil 
water is always to be found at a distance of a few feet : 
thus the interior of the earth is the domain of Ea. 

The Story of Adapa and the South Wind 

Here is the story of Adapa, the son of Ea, who, but 
for his obedience to his father's command, might have 
attained deification and immortality. 

^ Religious Belief in Babylonia and Assyria, p. 88. 
ii6 



STORY OF ADAPA AND THE SOUTH WIND 

One day when Adapa was out in liis boat fishing 
the South Wind blew with sudden and malicious 
violence, upsetting the boat and flinging the fisher- 
man into the sea. When he succeeded in reaching 
the shore Adapa vowed vengeance against the South 
Wind, which had used him so cruelly. 

" Shutu, thou demon," he cried, " I w^ll stretch 
forth my hand and break thy wings. Thou shalt 
not go unpunished for this outrage ! " 

The hideous monster laughed as she soared in the 
air above him, flapping her huge wings about her 
ungainly body. Adapa in his fury leapt at her, 
seized her wings, and broke them, so that she was 
no longer able to fly over the broad earth. Then 
he went his way, and related to his father what he 
had done. 

Seven days passed by, and Anu, the lord of heaven, 
waited for the coming of the South Wind. But 
Shutu came not ; the rains and the floods were de- 
layed, and Anu grew impatient. He summoned to 
him his minister Ilabrat. 

" Wherefore doth Shutu neglect her duty ? " he 
asked. " What hath chanced that she travels not 
afield ? " 

Ilabrat bowed low as he made answer : " Listen, 
Anu, and I will tell thee why Shutu flieth not 
abroad. Ea, lord of the deep and creator of all 
things, hath a son named Adapa, who hath crushed 
and broken the wings of thy servant Shutu, so that 
she is no more able to fly." 

" If this be true," said Anu, " summon the youth 
before me, and let him answer for his crime." 

" Be it so, Anu ! " 

When Adapa received the summons to appear in 
heaven he trembled greatly. It was no light thing 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

to answer to the great gods for the ill-usage of their 
servant, the demon Shutu. Nevertheless he began 
to make preparations for his journey, and ere he 
set out his father Ea instructed him as to how he 
should comport himself in the assembly of the 
gods. 

" Wrap thyself not in a vesture of gold, my son, 
but clothe thee in the garments of the dead. At the 
gates of heaven thou wilt find Tammuz and Gish- 
zida guarding the way. Salute the twain with due 
respect, I charge thee, baring thy head and show- 
ing all deference to them. If thou dost find favour 
in their eyes they will speak well of thee before Anu. 
And when thou standest within the precincts of 
heaven, don the garment that is given thee to wear, 
and anoint thy head with the oil that is brought thee. 
But when the gods offer thee food and drink, touch 
them not ; for the food will be the ' Meat of Death,' 
and the drink the ' Water of Death ' ; let neither 
pass within thy lips. Go now, my son, and remember 
these my instructions. Bear thyself with humility, 
and all will be well." 

Adapa bade his father farewell and set out on his 
journey to heaven. He found all as his father had 
predicted ; Tammuz and Gishzida received him at 
the portals of the divine dwelling, and so humble 
was Adapa's attitude that they were moved with 
compassion towards him. They led him into the 
presence of Anu, and he bowed low before the great 
god. 

" I am come in answer to thy summons," said he. 
*' Have mercy upon me, O thou Most High ! " 

Anu frowned upon him. 

" It is said of thee," he made answer, " that thou 
hast broken the wings of Shutu, the South Wind. 

ii8 



STORY OF ADAPA AND THE SOUTH WIND 

What manner of man art thou, who darest destroy 
Shutu in thy wrath ? Knowest thou not that the 
people suffer for lack of nourishment ; that the 
herb droopeth, and the cattle lie parched on the 
scorching ground ? Tell me why hast thou done 
this thing ? " 

" I was out on the sea fishing," said Adapa, 
" and the South Wind blew f iolently, upsetting my 
boat and casting me into the water. Therefore I 
seized her wings and broke them. And lo ! I am 
come to seek thy pardon." 

Then Tammuz and Gishzida, the deities whose 
favour Adapa had won at the gates of heaven, stepped 
forth and knelt at the feet of their king. 

" Be merciful, Anu ! Adapa hath been sorely 
tried, and now is he truly humble and repentant. 
Let his treatment of Shutu be forgotten." 

Anu listened to the words of Tammuz and Gish- 
zida, and his wrath was turned away. 

" Rise, Adapa," he said kindly ; " thy looks please 
me well. Thou hast seen the interior of this our 
kingdom, and now must thou remain in heaven for 
ever, and we will make thee a god like unto us. 
What sayest thou, son of Ea ? " 

Adapa bowed low before the king of the gods and 
thanked him for his pardon and for his promise of 
godhead. 

Anu therefore commanded that a feast be made, 
and that the ' Meat of Life ' and the ' Water of 
Life ' be placed before Adapa, for only by eating 
and drinking of these could he attain immortality. 

But when the feast was spread Adapa refused to 
partake of the repast, for he remembered his father's 
injunctions on this point. So he sat in silence at the 
table of the gods, whereupon Anu exclaimed : 

119 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

" What now, Adapa ? Why dost thou not eat or 
drink ? Except thou taste of the food and water 
set before thee thou canst not hope to live for 
ever." 

Adapa perceived that he had offended his divine 
host, so he hastened to explain. " Be not wroth, 
most mighty Anu. It is because my lord Ea hath 
so commanded that I break not bread nor drink 
water at thy table. Turn not thy countenance from 
me, I beseech thee." 

Anu frowned. " Is it that Ea feared I should 
seek thy life by offering thee deadly food ? Truly 
he that knoweth so much, and hath schooled thee 
in so many different arts, is for once put to 
shame ! " 

Adapa would have spoken, but the lord of heaven 
silenced him. 

" Peace ! " he said ; then to his attendants — 
" Bring forth a garment that he may clothe himself, 
and oil bring also to anoint his head." 

When the King's command had been carried out 
Adapa robed himself in the heavenly garment and 
anointed his head with the oil. Then he addressed 
Anu thus : 

" Anu, I salute thee ! The privilege of godhead 
must I indeed forego, but never shall I forget the 
honour that thou wouldst have conferred upon me. 
Ever in my heart shall I keep the words thou hast 
spoken, and the memory of thy kindness shall I 
ever retain. Blame me not exceedingly, I pray 
thee. My lord Ea awaiteth my return." 

" Truly," said Anu, " I censure not thy decision. 
Be it even as thou wilt. Go, my son, and peace 
go with thee ! " 

And thus Adapa returned to the abode of Ea, 



ANU 

lord of the dead, and there for many years he lived 
in peace and happiness. 

Anu 

Along with En-lil and Ea, Anu makes up the 
universal triad. He is called the ' father of the 
gods,' but appears to be descended from still older 
deities. His name is seldom discovered in the 
inscriptions prior to the time of Khammurabi, but 
such notices as occur of him seem to have already 
fixed his position as a ruler of the sky. His cult 
was specially associated with the city of Erech. 
It is probable that in the earliest days he had been 
the original Sumerian sky-father, as his name is 
merely a form of the Sumerian word for ' heaven.' 
This idea is assisted by the manner in which his 
name is originally written in the inscriptions, as 
the symbol signifying it is usually that employed 
for ' heaven.' It is plain, therefore, that Anu was 
once regarded as the expanse of heaven itself, just 
as are the ' sky-fathers ' of numerous primitive 
peoples. Several .writers who deal with Anu appear 
to be of the opinion that a god of the heavens is an 
' abstraction.' " Popular fancy," says Jastrow, " deals 
with realities and with personified powers whose 
workings are seen and felt. It would as little, there- 
fore, have evolved the idea that there was a power 
to be identified with the heavens as a whole, of which 
the azure sky is a symbol, as it would personify the 
earth as a whole, or the bodies of waters as a whole. 
It is only necessary to state the implications involved 
to recognize that the conception of a triad of gods 
corresponding to three theoretical divisions of the 
universe is a bit of learned speculation. It smacks 
of the school. The conception of a god of heaven 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

fits in moreover with the comparatively advanced 
period when the seats of the gods were placed in 
the skies and the gods identified with the stars." ^ 
A merely superficial acquaintance with the nature 
of animism and the sky-myths of primitive and 
barbarian peoples would lead us to the conclusion 
that the opposite is the case. In Egyptian, Po-ly- 
nesian, and North American Indian myth the sky 
itself is directly personalized. Egyptian mytho- 
logical illustration depicts the sky in female form, 
for in Egyptian myth the sky is the mother and the 
earth the father of everything. Lang has shown 
that the sky-father is frequently personalized as a 
" magnified non-natural man " among races which 
possess no theological schools. We do not say that 
the arrangement of Anu, Ea, and En-lil into a triad 
is not " a bit of learned speculation," but to state 
that early animism did not first personalize the sky 
and the earth and the sea is rash in the extreme. 
When Deucalion and Pyrrha in the Greek myth 
asked the gods how they might best replenish the 
earth with the human race, they were instructed to 
cast " the bones of their mother " behind them, 
and these bones they interpreted as the stones and 
rocks and acted accordingly. So would primitive 
man all the world over have interpreted this advice, 
for universally he believes the very soil upon which 
he walks to be the great mother which produced 
his ancestors, out of whose dust or clay they were 
formed, and who still nourishes and preserves him. 

Jastrow proceeds to state that " Anu was origi- 
nally the personification of some definite power of 
nature, and everything points to this power having 
been the sun in the heavens. Starting from this 
^ Religious Belief in Babylonia and Assyria, p. 8i. 



ISHTAR 

point of view we quite understand how the great 
illuminer of heaven should have been identified with 
the heavens in an artificially devised theological 
system, just as En-lil became in this system the 
designation of the earth and of the region above the 
earth viewed as a whole." ^ The very fact that in 
the earliest times Anu was identified with the expanse 
of the sky itself, and that the symbol used to denote 
him meant ' heaven,' is against this supposition. 
Again, the theory suffers from lack of analogy. In 
what other mythology is there to be found a sky-god 
who at one time possessed a solar significance ? 
The converse might be the case. Some sky-gods 
have attained the solar connexion because of their 
rule over the entire expanse of the heavens, just as 
they have attained the power of wielding lightning 
and the wind. But we are at a loss to recall any 
deity originally of distinctive solar attributes who 
later took the position of a sky-god. 

Anu was regarded as head of the triad and the 
father of En-lil. We arc told that the goddess 
Aruru first shaped man in the image of Anu, who 
must thus have attained an anthropomorphic con- 
dition. He appears also to have been regarded as 
the conqueror of primeval chaos. His consort was 
Anatu, probably a later feminine form of himself. 

Ishtar 

Ishtar was undoubtedly a goddess of Semitic 
origin and symbolized the fertility of the earth. 
She was the ' great mother ' who fostered all vege- 
tation and agriculture. It is probable that her cult 
originated at Erech, and in the course of centuries 
and under many nominal changes dispersed itself 
^ Religious Belief in Babylonia and Assyria, p. 82. 

133 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

throughout the length and breadth of western Asia 
and even into Greece and Egypt. It is probable 
that a number of lesser goddesses, such as Nana and 
Anunit, may have become merged in the conception 
of this divinity, and that lesser local deities of the 
same character as herself may have taken her name 
and assisted to swell her reputation. She is fre- 
quently addressed as ' mother of the gods,' and 
indeed the name ' Ishtar ' became a generic designa- 
tion for ' goddess.' But these were later honours. 
When her cult centred at Erech, it appears to have 
speedily blossomed out in many directions, and, as 
has been said, lesser cults probably eagerly identified 
themselves with that of the great earth-mother, 
so that in time her worship became more than a 
Babylonian cult. Indeed, wherever people of Semitic 
speech were to be found, there was the worship of 
Ishtar. As Ashteroth, or Astarte, she was known 
to Canaanites, Phoenicians, and Greeks, and there 
is some likelihood that the cult of Aphrodite had 
also its beginnings in that of Ishtar. We shall 
enquire later whether she can be the Esther of the 
Scriptures. Astrologically she was identified with 
the planet Venus, but so numerous were the attributes 
surrounding her taken from other goddesses with 
which she had become identified that they threatened 
to overshadow her real character, which was that 
of the great and fertile mother. More especially 
did her identification with Nin-lil, the consort of 
En-lil, the storm-god, threaten to alter her real 
nature, as in this guise she was regarded as a goddess 
of war. It is seldom that a goddess of fertility or 
love achieves such a distinction. Gods possessing 
an agricultural significance are nearly always war- 
gods, but that is because they bring the fertilizing 





^ ^' 



?J 







. o 



THE DESCENT OF ISHTAR INTO HADES 

thunder-clouds and therefore possess the lightning 
arrow or spear. But Ishtar is specifically a goddess 
of the class of Persephone or Isis, and her identifica- 
tion with battle must be regarded as purely accidental. 
In later times in Assyria she was conceived as the 
consort of Asshur, head of the Assyrian pantheon, in 
days when a god or goddess who did not breathe war 
was of little use to a people like the Assyrians, who were 
constantly employed in hostilities, and this circum- 
stance naturally heightened her reputation as a war- 
like divinity. But it is at present her original char- 
acter with which we are occupied, indeed in some texts 
we find that, so far from being able to protect herself, 
Ishtar and her property are made the prey of the 
savage En-lil, the storm-god. " His word sent me 
forth," she complains ; " as often as it comes to me it 
casts me prostrate upon my face. The unconsecrated 
foe entered my courts, placed his unwashed hands 
upon me, and caused me to tremble. Putting forth 
his hand he smote me with fear. He tore away my 
robe and clothed his wife therein : he stripped off 
my jewels and placed them upon his daughter. Like 
a quivering dove upon a beam I sat. Like a fleeing 
bird from my cranny swiftly I passed. From my 
temple like a bird they caused me to fly." Such is 
the plaint of Ishtar, who in this case appears to be 
quite helpless before the enemy. 

The myth which best illustrates her character is 
that which speaks of her journey to Aralu, the 
underworld. 

The Descent of Ishtar into Hades 

The poem, which in its existing form consists 
of 137 lines in cuneiform characters, appears to be 
incomplete. We are not told therein what was the 

125 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

purpose of the goddess in journeying to the ' House 
of No-return,' but we gather from various legends 
and from the concluding portion of the poem 
itself that she went thither in search of her bride- 
groom Tammuz, the sun-god of Eridu. The im- 
portance of the myth of Ishtar and Tammuz lies 
partly in the fact that, travelling westwards to 
Greece by way of Phoenicia, it furnished a ground- 
work for classic myths of the Adonis-Attis type, 
which still provide mythologists with matter for 
endless speculation. The mythological significance 
of the poem and the persons it mentions will be 
dealt with later ; the theories concerning the primi- 
tive status of Tammuz and Ishtar are numerous 
and distinct, more than one of them being suffi- 
ciently plausible to call for a careful scrutiny. 
Consideration of the myth may therefore be de- 
ferred till we have glanced at the Babylonian story 
itself and some of its principal variants and 
analogues. 

Tammuz and Ishtar 

The myth of Tammuz is one of high antiquity, 
dating possibly from 4000 B.C. or even earlier. Both 
Tammuz and Ishtar were originally non-Semitic, 
the name of the former deity being derived from the 
Akkadian Dumu-zi, ' son of life,' or ' the only son,' 
perhaps a contraction of Dumu-zi-apsu, ' offspring 
of the spirit of the deep,' as Professor Sayce indicates. 
The ' spirit of the deep ' is, of course, the water- 
god Ea, and Tammuz apparently typifies the sun, 
though he is not, as will presently be seen, a simple 
solar deity, but a god who unites in himself the 
attributes of various departmental divinities. An 
ancient Akkadian hymn addresses Tammuz as " Shep- 
126 



TAMMUZ AND ISHTAR 

herd and lord, husband of Ishtar the lady of heaven, 
lord of the under-world, lord of the shepherd's seat ; " 
as grain which lies unwatered in the meadow, which 
beareth no green blade ; as a sapling planted in a 
waterless place ; as a sapling torn out by the root. 
Professor Sayce identifies him with that Daonus, 
or Daos, whom Berossus states to have been the 
sixth king of Babylonia during the mythical period. 
Tammuz is the shepherd of the sky, and his flocks 
and herds, like those of St Ilya in Slavonic folk-lore, are 
the cloud-cattle and the fleecy vapours of the heavens. 
Ishtar has from an early period been associated 
with Tammuz as his consort, as she has, indeed, with 
Merodach and Assur and other deities. Yet she is 
by no means a mere reflection of the male divinity, 
but has a distinct individuality of her own, differ- 
ing in this from all other Babylonian goddesses and 
betraying her non-Semitic origin. The widespread 
character of the worship of Ishtar is remarkable. 
None of the Babylonian or Assyrian deities were 
adopted into the pantheons of so many alien ra.ces. 
From the Persian Gulf to the pillars of Hercules 
she was adored as the great mother of all living. She 
has been identified with Dawkina, wife of Ea, and is 
therefore mother of Tammuz as well as his consort. 
This dual relationship may account for that which 
appears in later myths among the Greeks, where 
Smyrna, mother of Adonis, is also his sister. Ishtar 
was regarded sometimes as the daughter of the sky- 
god Anu, and sometimes as the child of Sin, the lunar 
deity. Her worship in Babylonia was universal, 
and in time displaced that of Tammuz himself. The 
love of Ishtar for Tammuz represents the wooing of 
the sun-god of spring-time by the goddess of fertility ; 
the god is slain by the relentless heat of summer, and 

127 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

there is little doubt that Ishtar enters Aralu in search 
of her youthful husband. The poem we are about 
to consider briefly deals with a part only of the myth — 
the story of Ishtar's descent into Aralu. It opens 
thus : " To the land of No-return, the region of 
darkness, Ishtar, the daughter of Sin, turned her 
ear, even Ishtar, the daughter of Sin, turned her ear, 
to the abode of darkness, the dwelling of Irkalla, to 
the house whose enterer goes not forth, to the road 
whence the wayfarer never returns, to the house 
whose inhabitants see no light, to the region where 
dust is their bread and their food mud ; they see no 
light, they dwell in darkness, they are clothed, like the 
birds, in a garment of feathers. On the door and the 
bolt hath the dust fallen." The moral contained in 
this passage is a gloomy one for mortal man ; he who 
enters the dread precincts of Aralu goes not forth, 
he is doomed to remain for ever in the enveloping 
darkness, his sustenance mud and dust. The men- 
tion of the dust which lies " on door and bolt " 
strikes a peculiarly bleak and dreary note ; like other 
primitive races the ancient Babylonians painted the 
other world not definitely as a place of reward or 
punishment, but rather as a weak reflection of the 
earth-world, a region of darkness and passive misery 
which must have offered a singularly uninviting 
prospect to a vigorous human being. The garment 
of feathers is somewhat puzzling. Why should the 
dead wear a garment of feathers ? Unless it be 
that the sun-god, identified in some of his aspects 
with the eagle, descends into the underworld in a 
dress of feathers, and that therefore mortals who 
follow him must appear in the nether regions in 
similar guise. The description above quoted of the 
Babylonian Hades tallies with that given in dream 
12S 



AT THE GATES OF ARALU 

to Eabani by the temple-maiden Ukliut (Gilgamesh 
epic, tablet VII). 

At the Gates of Aralu 

Coming to the gate of Aralu, Ishtar assumes a 
menacing aspect, and threatens to break down the 
door and shatter its bolts and bars if she be not 
admitted straightway. The keeper of the gate 
endeavours to soothe the irate deity, and goes to 
announce her presence to Eresh-ki-gal (Allatu), the 
mistress of Hades. From hip words it would appear 
that Ishtar has journeyed thither in search of the 
waters of life, wherewith to restore her husband Tam- 
muz to life. Allatu receives the news of her sister's 
advent with a bitter tirade, but nevertheless instructs 
the keeper to admit her, which he proceeds to do. 

Ishtar on entering the sombre domains is obliged 
to pass through seven gates, at each of which she is 
relieved of some article of dress or adornment (evi- 
dently in accordance with the ancient custom of 
Aralu), till at last she stands entirely unclad. At 
the first gate the keeper takes from her " the mighty 
crown of her head " ; at the second her earrings are 
taken ; at the third her necklace ; at the fourth the 
ornaments of her breast ; at the fifth her jewelled 
girdle ; at the sixth her bracelets ; and at the seventh 
the cincture of her body. The goddess'does not part 
with these save under protest, but the keeper of the 
gate answers all her queries with the words : " Enter, 
lady, it is the command of Allatu." The divine 
wayfarer at length appears before the goddess of 
the underworld, who shows her scant courtesy, bid- 
ding the plague-demon, Namtar, smite her from 
head to foot with disease — in her eyes, side, feet, 
heart, and head. 

I 129 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

During the time that Ishtar is confined within the 
bounds of Aralu all fertility on the earth is suspended, 
both in the animal and vegetable kingdoms. Know- 
ledge of this disastrous state of affairs is conveyed to 
the gods by their messenger, Pap-sukal, who first 
tells the story to Shamash, the sun-god. Shamash 
weeps as he bears the matter before Ea and Sin, 
gods of the earth and the moon respectively ; but Ea, 
to remedy the sterility of the earth, creates a being 
called Ashushu-namir, whom he dispatches to the 
underworld to demand the release of Ishtar. AUatu 
is greatly enraged when the demand is made " in 
the name of the great gods," and curses Ashushu- 
namir with a terrible curse, condemning him to 
dwell in the darkness of a dungeon, with the garbage 
of the city for his food. Nevertheless she cannot 
resist the power of the conjuration, wherefore she 
bids Namtar, the plague-demon, release the Annunaki, 
or earth-spirits, and place them on a golden throne, 
and pour the waters of life over Ishtar. Namtar 
obeys ; in the words of the poem he " smote the 
firmly-built palace, he shattered the threshold which 
bore up the stones of light, he bade the spirits of 
earth come forth, on a throne of gold did he seat 
them, over Ishtar he poured the waters of life and 
brought her along." Ishtar is then led through the 
seven gates of Arula, receiving at each the article 
of attire whereof she had there been deprived. 
Finally she emerges into the earth-world, which 
resumes its normal course. Then follow a few lines 
addressed to Ishtar, perhaps by the plague-demon 
or by the keeper of the gates. " If she (Allatu) 
hath not given thee that for which the ransom is 
paid her, return to her for Tammuz, the bridegroom 
of thy youth. Pour over him pure waters and 
130 



ISHTAR AND PERSEPHONE 

precious oil. Put on him a purple robe, and a ring 
of crystal on his hand. Let Samkhat (the goddess 
of joy) enter the liver. ..." These lines indicate 
with sufficient clearness that Ishtar descended into 
Hades in order to obtain the waters of life and thus 
revive her bridegroom Tammuz. The poem does 
not relate whether or not her errand was successful, 
but we are left to conjecture that it was. There still 
remain a few lines of the poem, not, however, con- 
tinuing the narrative, but forming a sort of epilogue, 
addressed, it may be, to the hearers of the tale. 
Mention is made in this portion of mourners, " wailing 
men and wailing women," of a funeral pyre and the 
burning of incense, evidently in honour of the god 
Tammuz. 

Ishtar and Persephone 

As has been indicated already, the myth of Tammuz 
and Ishtar furnished the groundwork for certain 
myths of classic Greece and Rome. The Phoenician 
Astarte (Ashtoreth), a development of Ishtar, became 
in time the Aphrodite of the Greeks, a deity who 
plays a part in the Adonis legend analogous to that 
of Ishtar in the Tammuz story. The name Adonis 
itself is derived from Adoni (' my lord '), the word 
with which the Phoenician worshippers of Tammuz 
hailed the setting sun. The myth of Adonis is 
perhaps the most nearly related of any to that of 
Tammuz, since its chief characters are acknowledged 
counterparts of those in the Babylonian legend, 
while the tale of Ishtar's descent into Hades may be 
regarded as a sequel to the Greek story, or rather 
to an early Babylonian variant thereof. Briefly 
outlined, the story runs as follows : Adonis was 
the fruit of an unnatural union between the Syrian 
1 2 131 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

king Theias and his daughter Smyrna (Myrrha). 
Theias pursued the princess, intending to take her 
life for the crime, but the pity of the gods turned 
her into a tree from which, at the end of ten months, 
Adonis was born. It is said that a boar rent open the 
tree-trunk with its tusk, and thus enabled the divine 
infant to see the light. Aphrodite, charmed with 
the beauty of the child, gave him into the care of 
Persephone, who was so enamoured of her charge 
that she afterwards refused to give him up. The 
goddesses appealed to Zeus, who decreed that Adonis 
should spend six months of each year with Aphrodite 
and six with Persephone in the underworld ; or, 
according to another version, four months were to 
be passed with Aphrodite and four with Persephone, 
while the remaining four were to be at his own 
disposal. He was afterwards slain by a boar sent 
against him by Artemis (herself, by the way, a 
development of Ishtar). It may be remarked that 
Aphrodite, who figures, like Ishtar, as the goddess of 
love and beauty, is also closely associated with the 
nether regions, perhaps because she was identified 
with the Babylonian goddess in her journey to Hades 
in search of her spouse. 

Akin to Adonis is the god Attis, who likewise, 
according to one version of his myth, is slain by 
a boar. After his death he becomes a pine-tree, 
and from his blood violets spring. He is beloved 
of Cybele, the mother-goddess, who laments his un- 
timely end. 

In the Adonis legend there is evidence of some 
overlapping. Persephone, or Proserpine, who here 
corresponds to the Allatu of the Babylonian variant, 
figures in another well-known myth as the prototype 
of Tammuz. When she is carried off to the nether- 
132 



ISHTAR AND PERSEPHONE 

world by Pluto, her mother, Ceres, will not suffer the 
corn to grow while her daughter remains a prisoner. 
Like Ishtar in search of her spouse, the mother- 
goddess seeks her child with weeping and lamen- 
tation. Through the eating of a pomegranate seed, 
Proserpine is finally obliged to pass four (or six) 
months of every year with her dark captor, as his 
consort. 

Another myth which has affinities with the tale 
of Tammuz and Ishtar is the Egyptian one which 
deals with the quest of Isis. The god Osiris is 
slain through the machinations of his brother Set 
(who, being identified elsewhere with a black hog, 
recalls the boar which slew Adonis and Attis), and 
his body, enclosed in a chest, is cast into the Nile. 
Afterwards the chest is thrown up by the waves, 
and round it springs miraculously a tamarisk tree. 
Meanwhile Isis, wife and sister to Osiris, travels 
hither and thither in search of his remains, which in 
due time she finds. However, the chest is stolen 
from her by Set, who, taking therefrom the body of 
Osiris, tears the corpse into fourteen pieces, which 
he scatters broadcast through the land. Isis still 
pursues her quest, till she has found all the portions 
and buried them. 

These tales were the mythical correlates of certain 
ritualistic practices designed to bring about the 
change of seasons, and other natural phenomena, 
by means of sympathetic magic. The burden of 
a great duty falls upon the shoulders of primitive 
man ; with his rites and spells and magic arts he 
must assist the universe in its course. His esoteric 
plays, typifying the mysterious fact of growth, are 
necessary to ensure the sprouting of the corn ; his 
charms and incantations are essential even for the 

133 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

rising of the sun ; lacking the guarantee of science 
that one season shall follow another in its proper 
order, he goes through an elaborate performance 
symbolizing the decay and revival of vegetation, 
believing that only thus can the natural order be 
maintained. Through the force of sympathetic 
magic he sees his puny efforts related to the mighty 
results which follow them. 

This, then, is the origin of the ritual of the Tammuz 
festival, which may conceivably have had an existence 
prior to that of the myth itself. The representation 
of the death and resurrection of the god, whether 
in myth or ritual, had undoubtedly a seasonal sig- 
nificance, wherefore the date of his festival varied 
in the different localities. In Babylonia it was 
celebrated in June, thus showing that the deity 
was slain by the fierce heat of the sun, burning up 
all the springtide vegetation. Ishtar's sojourn in 
Hades would thus occupy the arid months of summer. 
In other and more temperate climes winter would be 
regarded as the enemy of Tammuz. An interesting 
account of the Tammuz festival is that given by an 
Arabic author writing in the tenth century, and 
quoted by Sir James Frazer in his Golden Bough. 
" Tammuz (July). In the middle of this month is 
the festival of el-Bugat, that is, of the weeping 
women, and this is the Ta-uz festival, which is 
celebrated in honour of the god Ta-uz. The women 
bewail him, because his lord slew him so cruelly, 
ground his bones in a mill, and then scattered them 
to the wind. The women (during this festival) eat 
nothing which has been ground in a mill, but limit 
their diet to steeped wheat, sweet vetches, dates, 
raisins, and the like." The material for this descrip- 
tion was furnished by the Syrians of Harran. Of 
134 



LAMENTATIONS FOR TAMMUZ 

the curious legend attaching to the mourning rites 
more will be said later. 

Lamentations for Tammuz 

Characteristic of the Tammuz ritual are the 
lamentations, of which several series are still extant. 
In later times it appears that a different cause 
was assigned for the weeping of the " wailing men 
and wailing women." They no longer mourned the 
death of Tammuz, but the departure of Ishtar into 
the netherworld, and so the legend of her journey 
to Aralu came to be recited in the temples. Sir 
James Frazer suggests that the ritualistic counterpart 
of the Tammuz-Ishtar myth may have included the 
pouring of water over an effigy of the god, the practice 
corresponding to the pouring of the water of life 
over him in order to bring him back to life. If this 
indeed formed a part of the Tammuz ritual we may 
take it that it was intended as a rain-charm. 

Likewise the Adonia festival of the Greeks sym- 
bolized the death and resurrection of Adonis. This 
feast occupied two days; on the first day, images 
of Adonis and Aphrodite were made and laid each 
on a silver couch ; on the second day, these images 
were cast by the women into the sea, together with 
' Adonis gardens,' as they were called — pots filled 
with earth in which cut flowers were stuck. It is 
believed that this rite was meant to signify the revi- 
val of vegetation under the influence of rain. The 
persons engaged in it indulged in such lamentations 
as were uttered by the worshippers of Tammuz in 
Babylonia, tore their hair, and beat their breasts. 
The festival of Adonis fell in the summer-time at 
Alexandria and Athens, in the spring at Byblus, 
while in Phoenicia it occurred in the season when the 

135 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

river Nahr Ibrahim (formerly called Adonis) bore 
down from the mountains of Lebanon the red earth 
in which the devout saw the blood of the slain Adonis. 
Golden boxes of myrrh were employed at the Adonia 
festival, incense was burned, and pigs were sacrificed. 
Pigs were sacrificed also to Osiris, whose cult, as 
has been shown, had much in common with that of 
Tammuz and Adonis. The Egyptian god was cast 
by his enemies into the waters of the Nile ; and it 
may be that this myth too had a ritualistic counter- 
part, designed as a charm to produce rain. 

It has been indicated already that the elucidations 
of the myth of Ishtar's journey to Aralu are many 
and divergent. The variants above enumerated 
s^rve each to cast light on the other, and from a 
comparison of these we may succeed in arriving at 
a satisfactory conclusion. To begin with, however, 
it must be remembered that when the cult of any 
deity has reached a fairly advanced stage it is impos- 
sible to assign to him any one department of nature, 
to say that he is a sun-god, a rain-god, a corn-god, 
for he may possess the attributes of all of these. In 
giving any god a departmental designation we are 
striving to express his primitive or predominant 
characteristics merely. 

An Allegorical Interpretation of the Myth 

A truly allegorical elucidation of the myth of 
Ishtar's descent into Hades would depict Ishtar, 
as the goddess of fertility, seeking in the underworld 
for her husband, the sun-god, slain by the icy breath 
of winter. During her sojourn in the nether regions 
all fertility ceases on the earth, to be resumed only 
when she returns as the joyful bride of the spring- 
tide sun. The surrender of her clothing and jewels 
136 




The Mother-goddess Ishtar 
Evelyn Paul 



136 



AN ALLEGORICAL INTERPRETATION 

at the seven gates of Aralu represents the gradual 
decay of vegetation on the earth, and the resumption 
of her garments the growing beauty and verdure 
which mark her return. Another hypothesis identifies 
Ishtar with Dawkina, goddess of the earth, wife of 
Ea and therefore mother as well as consort of Tammuz. 
According to this view Ishtar represents not the 
fertility of the earth, but the earth itself, deprived 
of its adornments of flowers and leafage by the 
approach of winter, or variously, by the burning 
heat of summer. The waters of life, with which 
she sprinkles and restores her husband,^ are the 
revivifying rains which give to the sun-god his 
youthful vigour and glory. Against this view it has 
been urged {e.g. by Sir James Frazer) that " there 
is nothing in the sun's annual course within the 
temperate and tropical zones to suggest that he is 
dead for half or a third of the year, and alive for 
the other half or two-thirds." 

Alternatively it is suggested that Tammuz is 
a god of vegetation, and that Ishtar doubles the 
role. The slaying of Tammuz and the journey of 
Ishtar would thus represent two distinct myths, 
each typifying the decay and subsequent revival 
of vegetation. Other instances may be recalled in 
which two myths of the same class have become 
fused into one. This view, then, presents some 
elements of probability ; not only Tammuz but 
most of his variants appear to possess a vegetable 
significance, while the Ishtar type is open to inter- 
pretation on the same lines. Thus Adonis is asso- 
ciated with the myrrh-tree, from whose trunk he 
was born, and Osiris with the tamarisk, used in the 
ritual connected with his cult, while Attis after his 
^ Elsewhere Ishtar herself is sprinkled. See p. 1 30. 

137 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

death became a pine-tree. Tammuz himself was 
conceived of as dwelling in the midst of a great 
world-tree, whose roots extended down to the under- 
world, while its branches reached to the heavens. 
This tree appears to have been the cedar, for which 
the ancient Babylonians had an especial reverence. 
One feature which leads us to identify the deities of 
this class, both male and female, with gods of vege- 
tation is their association with the moon. Osiris 
is regarded, and with much reason, as a moon-god ; 
in one of her aspects Aphrodite is a lunar deity, 
while a like significance belongs to Proserpine and 
to the Phoenician Ashtoreth. Ishtar herself, it is 
true, was never identified with the moon, which 
in Babylonia was a male divinity ; yet she was 
associated with him as his daughter. Among 
primitive peoples the moon is believed to exercise a 
powerful influence on vegetation, and indeed on all 
manner of growth and productivity. The association 
of a god with the moon therefore argues for him also 
a connexion with vegetation and fertility. It may 
be remarked, in passing, that a lunar significance 
has been attached by some authorities to the story 
of Ishtar's descent into Hades, and to kindred myths. 
It is held that the sojourn of the goddess in Aralu 
typifies a lunar eclipse, or perhaps the period between 
the waning of the old moon and the appearance of 
the new. But, as has been said, the ancient Baby- 
lonians saw in the luminary of night a male deity, so 
that any lunar characteristics pertaining to Ishtar 
must be regarded as of merely secondary importance. 

Ishtar, Tammuz, and Vegetation 

If it be granted, then, that Ishtar and Tammuz 
are deities of vegetation, it is possible still further to 
138 



ISHTAR, TAMMUZ, AND VEGETATION 

narrow their sphere by associating them particularly 
with the corn. Adonis and Aphrodite are connected 
with the growth of the crops. Ceres, who forbids the 
corn to spring while her daughter is in the realm of 
Pluto, is undoubtedly a corn-mother, and Proserpine 
evidently partakes of the same nature. Osiris was 
the culture-deity who introduced corn into Egypt. 
A representation of him in the temple of Isis at 
Philae depicts corn-stalks growing out of his dead 
body — the body of Osiris (the grain) is torn to pieces, 
scattered through the land, and the pieces buried 
(or planted) in the earth, when the corn sprouts 
from it. Moreover, Tammuz himself was cruelly 
disposed of by his lord, who " ground his bones in a 
mill, and then scattered them to^he wind " — plainly 
a type of the treatment meted out to the corn. 
An Arabic writer relates that Tammuz was cruelly 
killed several times, but that he always came to 
life again, a story which recalls Robert Burns' John 
Barleycorn^ itself perhaps based on mythical matter. 

May not these examples suggest an elucidation on 
animistic lines ? Deities of the Tammuz type appear 
to symbolize the corn-grain and nothing more — 
cut down, bruised and beaten, buried in the earth, 
and finally springing to renewed life. Who, then, 
are the goddesses, likewise identified with the corn, 
who seek in the underworld for lover or child, en- 
deavouring with tears to ransom the corn from the 
dark earth ? Are they not the primitive corn-spirits, 
the indwelling animistic spirits of the standing grain, 
doomed at the harvest to wander disconsolately 
through the earth till the sprouting of the corn once 
more gives them an opportunity to materialize ? 

The stories of the mutilation and dispersion of 
the bodies of Tammuz and Osiris, and of the many 

139 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

deaths of the former god, furnish a basis for yet 
another explanation of the Tammuz myth. Sir 
James Frazer brings forward the theory that the 
' Lamentations ' of the ancient Babylonians were 
intended not for mourning for the decay of vegeta- 
tion, but to bewail the cruel treatment of the grain 
at harvest-time, and cites in this connexion the 
ballad of John Barleycorn, which, we are told, was 
based on an early English poem, probably itself of 
iliythological origin. 

It is, however, most likely that the myth of 
Tammuz and Ishtar is of a composite nature, as 
has already been indicated. Possibly a myth of the 
sun-god and earth-goddess has been superimposed 
on the early groundwork of the corn-spirit seeking 
the corn. It would certainly seem that Ishtar in 
her descent into Aralu typified the earth, shorn of 
her covering of vegetation. Then in time she might 
come to symbolize the vegetation itself, or the 
fertility which produced it, and so would gain new 
attributes, and new elements would enter into the 
myths concerning her. Only by regarding her as a 
composite deity is it possible to reach an under- 
standing of the principles underlying these myths. 

Ishtar and Esther 

We have already questioned whether the Scripture 
story of Esther is in some manner connected with 
the goddess Ishtar. Writing of the Jewish feast 
of Purim, Sir James Frazer says {Golden Bough, 
vol. iii, p. 153) : " From the absence of all notice 
of Purim in the older books of the Bible, we may 
fairly conclude that the festival was instituted or 
imported at a comparatively late date among the 
Jews. The same conclusion is supported by the 
140 



ISHTAR AND ESTHER 

Book of Esther itself, which was manifestly written 
to explain the origin of the feast and to suggest 
motives for its observance. For, according to the 
author of the book, the festival was established to 
commemorate the deliverance of the Jews from 
a great danger which threatened them in Persia 
under the reign of King Xerxes. Thus the opinion - 
of modern scholars that the feast of Purim, as cele- 
brated by the Jews, was of late date and Oriental / 
origin, is borne out by the tradition of the Jews them- 
selves. An examination of that tradition and of the^ 
mode of celebrating the feast renders it probable ■ 
that Purim is nothing but a more or less disguised 
form of the Babylonian festival of the Sacsea or 
Zakmuk. . . . But further, when we examine the 
narrative which professes to account for the institution 
of Purim, we discover in it not only the strongest 
traces of Babylonian origin, but also certain singular 
analogies to those very features of the Sacaean 
festival with which we are here more immediately 
concerned. The Book of Esther turns upon the 
fortunes of two men, the vizier Haman and the de- 
spised Jew Mordecai, at the court of a Persian king. 
Mordecai, we are told, had given mortal offence 
to the vizier, who accordingly prepares a tall 
gallows on which he hopes to see his enemy hanged, 
while he himself expects to receive the. highest mark 
of the King's favour by being allowed to wear the 
royal crown and the royal robes, and thus attired 
to parade the streets, mounted on the King's own 
horse and attended by one of the noblest princes, 
who should proclaim to the multitude his temporary 
exaltation and glory. But the artful intrigues of the 
wicked vizier miscarried and resulted in precisely 
the opposite of what he had hoped and expected ; 

MI 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

for the royal honours which he had looked for fell 
to his rival Mordecai, and he himself was hanged on 
the gallows which he had made ready for his foe. 
In this story we seem to detect a reminiscence, more 
or less confused, of the Zoganes of the Sacaea, in 
other words, of the custom of investing a private 
man with the insignia of royalty for a few days, and 
then putting him to death on the gallows or the 
cross. . . . 

" A strong confirmation of this view is furnished 
by a philological analysis of the names of the four 
personages. It seems to be now generally recognised 
by Biblical scholars that the name Mordecai, which 
has no meaning in Hebrew, is nothing but a slightly 
altered form of Marduk or Merodach, the name of 
the chief god of Babylon, whose great festival was 
the Zakmuk ; and further, it is generally admitted 
that Esther in like manner is equivalent to Ishtar, 
the great Babylonian goddess whom the Greeks 
called Astarte, and who is more familiar to English 
readers as Ashtaroth. The derivation of the names 
of Haman and Vashti is less certain, but some high 
authorities are disposed to accept the view of Jensen 
that Haman is identical with Humman or Homman, 
the national god of the Elamites, and that Vashti 
is in like manner an Elamite deity, probably a god- 
dess whose name appears in inscriptions." 

Lang on the Esther Stofy 

Commenting on this theory, Lang in his Magic 
and Religion (p. i6i) says : " The name Mordecai 
resembles Marduk, Esther is like Ishtar, Haman is 
like Humman, the Elamite god, and there is a divine 
name in the inscriptions, read as resembling ' Vashti,' 
and probably the name of an Elamite goddess. Thus 
142 



LANG ON THE ESTHER STORY 

the human characters in Esther are in peril of merg- 
ing in Babylonian and Elamite gods. But, lest that 
should occur, we ought also to remember that Mor- 
decai was the real name of a real historical Jew of 
the Captivity, one of the companions of Nehemiah in 
the return from exile to Jerusalem. Again, Esther 
appears to me to be the crown-name of the Jewish 
wife of Xerxes, in the Book of Esther : ' Hadassah, 
that is Esther.' In the Biblical story she conceals 
her Jewish descent. Hadassah, says Noldeke, ' is no 
mere invention of the writer of Esther.' Hadassah 
is said to mean ' myrtle bough,' and girls are still 
called Myrtle. Esther appears to have been an 
assumed name, after a royal mixed marriage. Now 
if a real historical Jew might be named Mordecai, 
which we know to be the case, a Jewess, whether 
in fact, or in this Book of Esther, which, says Dr. 
Jastrow, ' has of course some historical basis,' might 
be styled Esther. . . . But, if Mordecai be, as it is, 
an historical name of a real Jew of the period, while 
Esther may be, and probably is, a name which a 
Jewess might bear, it is not ascertained that Vashti 
really is the name of an Elamite goddess. Yet 
Vashti is quite essential as a goddess to Mr. Frazer's 
argument. ' The derivation,' he says, ' of the names 
of Haman and Vashti is less certain, but some high 
authorities are disposed to accept the view of Jensen 
that Haman is identical with Humman or Homman, 
the national god of the Elamites, and that Vashti 
is in like manner an Elamite deity, probably a god- 
dess whose name appears in inscriptions.' " 

It is thus seen that the facts regarding these 
names make such an explanation as is advanced by 
Sir James Frazer rather a hazardous one. Haman, 
according to his theory, would represent the dying 

143 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

god, whilst Mordecai would play the part of the re- 
risen god of vegetation. Lang puts forward a counter- 
theory, and that is that Haman or Humman was 
a conquering god of the Elamites, which accounts 
for him having been whipped and hanged in derision. 
This Humman was, he thinks, possibly an Elamite 
god of vegetation. 

Nin'Girsu 

Girsu was a part of the city of Lagash, and the 
name Nin-Girsu means ' Lord of Girsu.' Gods fre- 
quently had lordship over a city quarter, one of the 
best-known instances of this being that of Huitzi- 
lopochtli, who ruled over that part of the city of 
Tenochtitlan, called Mexico, which afterwards gave 
its name to the entire community. Girsu had 
originally been a city itself and had become merged 
into Lagash, so its god was probably of ancient 
origin. Nin-Girsu is frequently alluded to as ' the 
warrior of Bel ' — he who broke through the hostile 
ranks to aid the worshippers of the great god of the 
netherworld. Like many combatant deities, how- 
ever, he presided over local agriculture, and in this 
connexion he was known as Shul-gur, ' Lord of the 
corn heaps.' He is even identified with Tammuz. 

Bau 

In ancient inscriptions, especially those of Gudea, 
Urbau, and Uru-kagina, the goddess Bau is alluded 
to as the great mother of mankind, who restores the 
sick to health. She is called ' chief daughter of 
Anu,' and seems to play the part of a fate to some 
extent. She has also an agricultural side to her 
character. Gudea was especially devoted to her, 
and has left it on record that she " filled him with 
144 



NANNAR 

eloquence." Her temple was at Uru- 
quarter of Lagash, and as the goddess of that neigh- 
bourhood she would, of course, have come into close 
contact with Nin-Girsu. Indeed she is spoken of as 
his consort, and when Uru-Azagga became part of 
Lagash, Bau was promoted as tutelar goddess of 
that city and designated ' Mother of Lagash.' 
She has been identified with the primeval watery 
depths, the primitive chaos, and this identification has 
been founded on the similarity between the name 
Bau and the Hebrew bohu^ the word for ' chaos,' 
but proof is wanting to support the conjecture. A 
closely allied form of her seems to be Ga-tum-dug, 
a goddess who has probably a common origin with 
Bau, and who certainly is in some manner connected 
with water — perhaps with the clouds. 

Nannar 

Nannar was the moon-god of Ur, the city whence 
came Abram, and with that place he was connected 
much as was Shamash with Sippar — that is to say, 
Ur was his chief but not his only centre of adoration. 
Why he came to have his principal seat at Ur it would 
be difficult to say. The name Ur signifies ' light,' 
so it may be that a shrine dedicated to Nannar 
existed upon the site of this city and constituted 
its nucleus. In Babylonian mythology the sun was 
regarded as the offspring of the moon, and it is easy 
to see how this conception arose in the minds of a 
race prone to astronomical study. In all civiliza- 
tions the lunar method of computing time precedes 
the solar. The phases of the moon are regarded as 
more trustworthy and more easily followed than the 
more obscure changes of the brighter luminary, there- 
fore a greater degree of importance was attached to 
K 145 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

the moon in very early times than to the sun. The 
moon is usually represented on Babylonian cylinders 
as bearing a crescent upon his head and wearing a 
long, flowing beard described as of the colour of 
lapis-lazuli — much the same shade as his beams pos- 
sess in warmer latitudes. Nannar was frequently 
alluded to as * the heifer of Anu,' because of the 
horn which the moon displays at a certain phase. 
Many monarchs appear to have delighted in the 
upkeep and restoration of his temple, among them 
Nur-Ramman and Sin-iddina. 



Nannar in Decay- 
But, as happens to many gods, Nannar became 
confounded with some earthly hero — was even alluded 
to as a satrap of Babylonia under the Median monarch 
Artaios — a personage unknown to history. Ctesias 
hands down to us a very circumstantial tale con- 
cerning him as follows : ^ 

" There was a Persian of the name of Parsondes, 
in the service of the king of the Medes, an eager 
huntsman, and an active warrior on foot and in the 
chariot, distinguished in council and in the field, 
and of influence with the king. Parsondes often 
urged the king to make him satrap of Babylon in 
the place of Nannaros, who wore women's clothes 
and ornaments, but the king always put the petition 
aside, for it could not be granted without breaking 
the promise which his ancestor had made to Belesys. 
Nannaros discovered the intentions of Parsondes, 
a-.id sought to secure himself against them, and to 
take vengeance. He promised great rewards to the 
cooks who were in the train of the king, if they 

^ Translation from Prof. Sayce's Hibhert Lectures, p. 157. 
146 



NANNAR IN DECAY 

succeeded in seizing Parsondes and giving him up. 
One day, Parsondes in the heat of the chase strayed 
far from the king. He had already killed many 
boars and deer, when the pursuit of a wild ass carried 
him to a great distance. At last he came upon the 
cooks, who were occupied in preparations for the 
king's table. Being thirsty, Parsondes asked for 
wine ; they gave it, took care of his horse, and in- 
vited him to take food — an invitation agreeable to 
Parsondes, who had been hunting the whole day. 
He bade them send the ass which he had captured 
to the king, and tell his own servants where he was. 
Then he ate of the various kinds of food set before 
him, and drank abundantly of the excellent wine, 
and at last asked for his horse in order to return to 
the king. But they brought beautiful women to 
him, and urged him to remain for the night. He 
agreed, and as soon as, overcome by hunting, wine, 
and love, he had fallen into a deep sleep, the cooks 
bound him and brought him to Nannaros. Nannaros 
reproached Parsondes with calling him an effeminate 
man, and seeking to obtain his satrapy ; he had the 
king to thank that the satrapy granted to his ancestors 
had not been taken from him. Parsondes replied 
that he considered himself more worthy of the ofhce, 
because he was more manly and more useful to the 
king. But Nannaros swore by Bel and Mylitta that 
Parsondes should be softer and whiter than a woman, 
called for the eunuch who was over the female players, 
and bade him shave the body of Parsondes and 
bathe and anoint him every day, put women's clothes 
on him, plait his hair after the manner of women, 
paint his face, and place him among the women who 
played the guitar and sang, that he might learn their 
arts. This was done, and soon Parsondes played and 
K 2 147 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

sang better at the table of Nannaros than any of the 
women. Meanwhile the king of the Medes had 
caused search to be made everywhere for Parsondes ; 
and since he could nowhere be found, and nothing 
could be heard of him, he believed that a lion or 
some other wild animal had killed him when out 
hunting, and lamented for his loss. Parsondes had 
lived for seven years as a woman in Babylon, when 
Nannaros caused a eunuch to be scourged and 
grievously maltreated. This eunuch Parsondes in- 
duced by large presents to retire to Media and tell 
the king the misfortune which had come upon him. 
Then the king sent a message commanding Nannaros 
to give up Parsondes. Nannaros declared that he 
had never seen him. But the king sent a second 
messenger, with orders to put Nannaros to death if 
he did not surrender Parsondes. Nannaros enter- 
tained the messenger of the king ; and when the 
meal was brought, 150 women entered, of whom some 
played the guitar, while others blew the flute. At 
the end of the meal, Nannaros asked the king's 
envoy which of all the women was the most beauti- 
ful and had played best. The envoy pointed to 
Parsondes. Nannaros laughed long and said, ' That 
is the person whom you seek,' and released Parsondes, 
who on the next day returned home with the envoy 
to the king in a chariot. The king was astonished 
at the sight of him, and asked why he had not avoided 
such disgrace by death. Parsondes answered, ' In 
order that I might see you again and by you execute 
vengeance on Nannaros, which could never have been 
mine had I taken my life.' The king promised him 
that his hope should be realized, as soon as he came 
to Babylon. But when he came there, Nannaros 
defended himself on the groand that Parsondes, 
148 



- >■ J -.^ ^ ' , 




Assyrian Rock Sculpture 

From Tlic Monuments of Xincvch, by Sir IIenr_v I,ayard 



148 



ARALU OR ERES^KLGAL 

though in no way injured by him, had maligned him, 
and sought to obtain the satrapy over Babylonia. 
The king pointed out that he had made himself judge 
in his own cause, and had imposed a punishment 
of a degrading character ; in ten days he would pro- 
nounce judgment upon him for his conduct. In terror, 
Nannaros hastened to Mitraphernes, the eunuch of 
greatest influence with the king, and promised him 
the most liberal rewards, lo talents of gold and loo 
talents of silver, lo golden and 200 silver bowls, if 
he could induce the king to spare his life and retain 
him in the satrapy of Babylonia. He was prepared 
to give the king 100 talents of gold, 1000 talents of 
silver, 100 golden and 300 silver bowls, and costly 
robes, with other gifts ; Parsondes also should receive 
100 talents of silver and costly robes. After many 
entreaties, Mitraphernes persuaded the king not to 
order the execution of Nannaros, as he had not 
killed Parsondes, but to exact from him the compen- 
sation which he was prepared to pay Parsondes and 
the king. Nannaros in gratitude threw himself at 
the feet of the king ; but Parsondes said, ' Cursed 
be the man who first brought gold among men ; 
for the sake of gold I have been made a mockery 
to the Babylonians.' " 

It is impossible to say what the mythological 
meaning hidden in this tale may portend. We 
have the moon-god attempting to feminize an unfor- 
tunate enemy. Does this mean that Parsondes came 
under the influence of the moon-god — that is, that 
he became a lunatic ? 

Aralu, or EreS'ki'Gal 

The deities of the underworld, of the region of the 
dead, are usually of later origin than those of the 

149 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

heavens. 1 They are frequently the gods of an older 
and discredited religion, and are relegated to the 
' cold shades of opposition,' dwelling there just as 
the dead are supposed to ' dwell ' in the grave. A 
legend exists regarding Aralu which was discovered 
among other texts at Tel-el-Amarna. The story 
goes that the gods once gave a feast to which they 
invited Aralu, apologizing at the same time that they 
were unable to go down to her and regretting that 
she could not ascend to them. In their dilemma they 
requested her to send a messenger to bring to her the 
viands which fell to her share. She complied with 
the request, and when the messenger arrived all the 
gods stood up to do him honour for his mistress's 
sake — all save Nergal. The messenger acquainted 
Aralu with this slight, and greatly enraged she sent 
him back to the dwelling of the gods to ask that the 
delinquent might be delivered into her hands so that 
she might slay him. The gods after some discussion 
requested the messenger to take back him who had 
offended the dark goddess, and in order that the 
envoy might the more easily discover him, all the 
gods were gathered together. But Nergal remained 
in the background. His absence was discovered, 
however, and he was despatched to the gloomy realm 
of Aralu. But he had no mind to taste death. 
Indeed Aralu found the tables turned, for Nergal, 
seizing her by the hair, dragged her from her throne 
and prepared to cut off her head. She begged to 
be allowed to speak, and upon her request being 
granted, she offered herself as a wife to her con- 
queror, along with the dominions over which she 

1 These deities of the underworld must not be confounded with the 
gods of the abyss referred to at great length in Chapter 11. The first 
group are gods of the dead, the second gods of the primeval waters. 
ISO 



DAGON 

held sway. Nergal assented to her proposals and 
they were wed. 

Nergal is the sun which passes through the gloomy 
underworld at night just as does Osiris, and in this 
character he has to conquer the powers of death 
and the grave. It is rare, however, to find the sun- 
hero allying himself by marriage to one of the infernal 
powers, although in the Central American Popol 
Vuh one of the explorers to the underworld weds the 
daughter of one of its overlords, and Persephone, 
the corn-goddess, is forced to become the spouse of 
the lord of Hades. 

Dagon 

Dagon, alluded to in the Scriptures, was, like 
Oannes, a fish-god. Besides being worshipped in 
Erech and its neighbourhood, he was adored in 
Palestine and on occasion among the Hebrews 
themselves. But it was in the extreme south of 
Palestine that his worship attained its chief import- 
ance. He had temples at Ashdod and Gaza, and 
perhaps his worship travelled westward along with 
that of Ishtar. Both were worshipped at Erech, 
and where the cult of the one penetrated it is likely 
that there would be found the rites of the other. 

Dagon his name ; sea-monster, upward man 
And downward fish, 

as Milton expresses it, affords one of the most dramatic 
instances in the Old Testament of the downfall of a 
usurping idol. 

" And the Philistines took the ark of God, and 
brought it from Eben-ezer unto Ashdod. 

" When the Philistines took the ark of God, they 
brought it into the house of Dagon, and set it by 
Dagon. 

151 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

" And when they of Ashdod arose early on the 
morrow, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to 
the earth before the ark of the Lord. And they took 
Dagon, and set him in his place again. 

" And when they arose early on the morrow morning, 
behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the ground 
before the ark of the Lord ; and the head of Dagon 
and both the palms of his hands were cut off upon 
the threshold ; only the stump of Dagon was left to 
him. 

" Therefore neither the priests of Dagon, nor any 
that come into Dagon's house, tread on the threshold 
of Dagon in Ashdod unto this day. 

" But the hand of the Lord was heavy upon them 
of Ashdod, and- he destroyed them, and smote 
them with emerods, even Ashdod and the coasts 
thereof. 

" And when the men of Ashdod saw that it was 
so, they said. The ark of the God of Israel shall not 
abide with us : for his hand is sore upon us and upon 
Dagon our god." 

Thus in the Bible story only the ' stump ' or 
fish's tail of Dagon was left to him. In some of the 
Ninevite sculptures of this deity, the head of the 
fish forms a kind of mitre on the head of the man, 
while the body of the fish appears as a cloak or 
cape over his shoulders and back. This is a sure 
sign to the mythological student that a god so 
adorned is in process of quitting the animal for the 
human form. ^ 

^ In sacrifice, too, the totemic or symbolic animal of the god is 
often flayed and the skin worn by the priest, who in this manner 
personates the god. In ancient Mexico the priests of Centeotl wore 
the skin of a woman sacrificed annually to that goddess. 

152 



NIRIG OR ENU'RESTU 

Nirig, or EnU'Restu 

This deity is alluded to in an inscription as " the 
eldest of the gods." He was especially favoured 
by the Kings of Assyria, and we find his name entering 
into the composition of several of their texts. In a 
certain poem he is called the " son of Bel," and is 
described as being made " in the likeness of Anu." 
He rides, it is said, against the gods of his enemies 
in a chariot of lapis-lazuli, and his onset is full of 
the fury of the tempest. Bel, his father, commands 
him to set forth for the temple of Bel at Nippur. 
Here Nusku, the messenger of Bel, meets him, bestows 
a gift upon him, and humbly requests that he will 
not disturb the god Bel, his father, in his dwelling- 
place, nor terrify the earth-gods. It would appear 
from this passage that Nirig was on the point of 
taking the place of Bel, his father, but that he ever 
did so is improbable. As a deity of storm he is 
also a god of war, but he was the seed-scatterer upon 
the mountains, therefore he had also an agricultural 
significance. It is strange that in Babylonia tempest- 
gods possess the same functions and attributes — 
those of war and agriculture — ^as do rain or thunder, 
or rain-thunder, or wind and rain deities elsewhere — 
a circumstance which is eloquent of the power of 
climatic conditions in the manufacture of myth. 
In Mesopotamia fierce sand-storms must have given 
the people the idea of a savage and intractable deity, 
destructive rather than beneficent, as many hymns 
and kindred texts witness. 

We have now briefly examined the elder gods of 
the Babylonian pantheon. Other, and in some cases 
more imposing, gods were yet to be adopted by the 
Babylonians, as we shall see in the following chapters. 

153 



CHAPTER IV: THE GILGAMESH^ EPIC 

AS it is probable that the materials of the Gil- 
gamesh epic, the great mythological poem 
^ of Babylonia, originally belong to the older 
epoch of Babylonian mythology, it is fitting that it 
should be described and considered before passing 
to the later developments of Chaldean religion. 

The Gilgamesh epic ranks with the Babylonian 
myth of creation as one of the greatest literary pro- 
ductions of ancient Babylonia. The main element 
in its composition is a conglomeration of mythic 
matter, drawn from various sources, with perhaps 
a substratum of historic fact, the whole being woven 
into a continuous narrative around the central 
figure of Gilgamesh, prince of Erech. It is not 
possible at present to fix the date when the epic was 
first written. Our knowledge of it is gleaned chiefly 
from mutilated fragments belonging to the library 
of Assur-bani-pal, but from internal and other evi- 
dence we gather that some at least of the traditions 
embodied in the epic are of much greater antiquity 
than his reign. Thus a tablet dated 2100 b.c. 
contains a variant of the deluge story inserted in the 
XI th tablet of the Gilgamesh epic. Probably this and 
other portions of the epic existed in oral tradition 
before they were committed to writing — that is, in 
the remote Sumerian period. 

Assur-bani-pal was an enthusiastic and practical 
patron of literature. In his great library at Nineveh 
(the nucleus of which had been taken from Calah by 
Sennacherib) he had gathered a vast collection of 
volumes, clay tablets, and papyri, most of which 
had been carried as spoil from conquered lands. He 
also employed scribes to copy older texts, and this 
154 



THE GILGAMESH EPIC 

is evidently how the existing edition of the Gilgamesh 
epic came to be written. From the fragments now 
in the British Museum it would seem that at least four 
copies of the poem were made in the time of Assur- 
bani-pal. They were not long permitted to remain 
undisturbed. The great Assyrian empire was already 
declining ; ere long Nineveh was captured and its 
library scattered, while plundering hordes burnt the 
precious rolls of papyrus, and buried the clay tablets 
in the debris of the palace which had sheltered them. 
There they were destined to lie for over 2000 
years, till the excavations of Sir A. H. Layard, 
George Smith, and others brought them to light. 
It is true that the twelve tablets of the Gilgamesh 
epic (or rather, the fragments of them which have 
so far been discovered) are much defaced ; frequently 
the entire sense of a passage is obscured by a gap 
in the text, and this, when nice mythological eluci- 
dations are in question, is no light matter. Yet 
to such an extent has the science of comparative 
religion progressed in recent years that we are pro- 
bably better able to read the true mythological 
significance of the epic than were the ancient Baby- 
lonians themselves, who saw in it merely an account 
of the wanderings and exploits of a national hero. 

The epic, which centres round the ancient city of 
Erech, relates the adventures of a half-human, half- 
divine hero, Gilgamesh by name, who is king over 
Erech. Two other characters figure prominently 
in the narrative — Eabani, who evidently typifies 
primitive man, and Ut-Napishtim, the hero of the 
Babylonian deluge myth. Each of the three would 
seem to have been originally the hero of a separate 
group of traditions which in time became incorporated, 
more or less naturally, with the other two. 

155 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

The first and most important of the trio, the hero 
Gilgamesh, may have been at one time a real person- 
age, though nothing is known of him historically.^ 
Possibly the exploits of some ancient king of Erech 
have furnished a basis for the narrative. His name 
(for a time provisionally read Gisdhuhar, or Izdubar, 
but now known to have been pronounced Gilgamesh ^) 
suggests that he was not Babylonian but Elamite 
or Kassite in origin, and from indications furnished 
by the poem itself we learn that he conquered Erech 
(or relieved the city from a besieging force) at the 
outset of his adventurous career. It has been sug- 
gested also that he was identical with the Biblical 
Nimrod, like him a hero of ancient Babylon ; but 
there are no other grounds for the suggestion. 

So much for the historical aspect of Gilgamesh. 
His mythological character is more easily established. 
In this regard he is the personification of the sun. 
He represents, in fact, the fusion of a great national 
hero with a mythical being. Throughout the epic 
there are indications that Gilgamesh is partly divine 
by nature,though nothing specific is said on that head. 
His identity with the solar god is veiled in the popular 
narrative, but it is evident that he has some con- 
nexion with the god Shamash, to whom he pays his 
devotions and who acts as his patron and protector. 

The Birth of Gilgamesh 

Among the traditions concerning his birth is one 
related by yElian (Historia Animalium, XII, 21) 

1 That is, we have no definite historical notices concerning him, 
but we may infer from internal evidence in his saga that he possesses 
a certain amount of historicity. 

' By the discovery by Mr T. Pinches in a lexicographical tablet 
that Gisdhubar= Gilgamesh. 
156 



THE BIRTH OF GILGAMESH 

of Gilgamos (Gilgamesh), the grandson of Sokkaros. 
Sokkaros, who, according to Berossus, was the first 
king to reign in Babylonia after the deluge, was 
warned by means of divination that his daughter 
should bear a son who would deprive him of his throne. 
Thinking to frustrate the designs of fate he shut her 
up in a tower, where she was closely watched. But 
in time she bore a son, and her attendants, knowing 
how wroth the King would be to learn of the event, 
flung the child from the tower. But before he reached 
the ground an eagle seized him up and bore him off 
to a certain garden, where he was duly found and 
cared for by a peasant. And when he grew to man- 
hood he became King of the Babylonians, having, 
presumably, usurped the throne of his grandfather. 

Here we have a myth obviously of solar significance, 
conforming in every particular to a definite type of 
sun-legend. It cannot have been by chance that it 
became attached to the person of Gilgamesh. Every- 
thing in the epic, too, is consonant with the belief that 
Gilgamesh is a sun-god — his connexion with Shamash 
(who may have been his father in the tradition given 
by JElian, as well as the eagle which saved him from 
death), the fact that no mention is made of his 
father in the poem, though his mother is brought in 
more than once, and the assumption throughout the 
epic that he is more than human. 

Given the key to his mythical character it is not 
hard to perceive in his adventures the daily (or annual) 
course of the sun, rising to its full strength at noonday 
(or mid-summer), and sinking at length to the western 
horizon, to return in due time to the abode of men. 
Like all solar deities — like the sun itself — his birth 
and origin are wrapped in mystery. He is, indeed, 
one of the ' fatal children,' like Sargon, Perseus, 

157 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

or Arthur. When he first appears in the narrative 
he is already a full-grown hero, the ruler and (it 
would seem) oppressor of Erech. His mother, Rimat- 
belit, is a priestess in the temple of Ishtar, and 
through her he is descended from Ut-Napishtim, 
a native of Shurippak, and the hero of the Baby- 
lonian flood-legend. Early in the narrative he is 
brought into contact with the wild man Eabani, 
originally designed for his destruction by the gods, 
but with whom he eventually concludes a firm 
friendship. The pair proceed to do battle with the 
monster Khumbaba, whom they overcome, as they 
do also the sacred bull sent against them by Anu. 
Up to the end of the Vlth tablet their conquer- 
ing and triumphant career is without interruption ; 
Gilgamesh increases in strength as does the sun 
approaching the zenith. At the Vllth tablet, how- 
ever, his good fortune begins to wane. Eabani dies, 
slain doubtless by the wrath of Ishtar, whose love 
Gilgamesh has rejected with scorn ; and the hero, 
mourning the death of his friend, and smitten with 
fear that he himself will perish in like manner, decides 
to go in search of his ancestor, Ut-Napishtim (who, 
as sole survivor of the deluge, has received from the 
gods deification and immortality), and learn of him 
the secret of eternal life. His further adventures 
have not the triumphal character of his earlier 
exploits. Sunwise he journeys to the Mountain of 
the Sunset, encounters the scorpion-men, and crosses 
the Waters of Death. Ut-Napishtim teaches him 
the lesson that all men must die (he himself being 
an exception in exceptional "circumstances), and 
though he afterwards gives Gilgamesh an opportunity 
of eating the plant' of life, the opportunity is lost. 
However, Ut-Napishtim cures Gilgamesh of a disease 
158 



EABANI 

which he has contracted, apparently while crossing 
the Waters of Death, and he is finally restored to 
Erech. In these happenings we see the gradual 
sinking of the sun into the underworld by way of the 
Mountain of the Sunset. It is impossible for the sun 
to attain immortality, to remain for ever in the land 
of the living ; he must traverse the Waters of Death 
and sojourn in the underworld. Yet the return of 
Gilgamesh to Erech signifies the fresh dawning of 
the day. It is the eternal struggle of day and night, 
summer and winter ; darkness may conquer light, 
but light will emerge again victorious. The contest 
is unending. 

Some authorities have seen in the division of the 
epic into twelve tablets a connexion with the months 
of the year or the signs of the zodiac. Such a con- 
nexion probably exists, but when we consider that 
the artificial division of the epic into tablets scarcely 
tallies with the natural divisions of the poem, it 
seems likely that the astrological significance of the 
former was given to the epic by the scribes of Nineveh, 
who were evidently at some pains to compress the 
matter into twelve tablets. Of the astro-theological 
significance of the narrative itself (one of its most 
important aspects), we shall perhaps be better able to 
judge when we have considered it in detail. 

Eabani 

The most important of the various mythological 
strata underlying the Gilgamesh myth is probably that 
concerning Eabani, who, as has been said, is a type 
of primitive man, living among the beasts of the field 
as one of themselves. But he is also, according to 
certain authorities, a form of the sun-god, even as 
Gilgamesh himself. Like the hero of Erech, he 

159 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

rises to the zenith of his powers in a triumphal 
progress, then descends into the underworld. He is 
not lost sight of, however, but lives in the memory of 
his friend Gilgamesh ; and in the XII th tablet he is 
temporarily brought forth from the underworld (that 
is, his ghost, or utukku), which in a dim and shadowy 
fashion may typify the daily restoration of the sun. 

Another important stratum of myth is that which 
concerns Ut-Napishtim, the Babylonian Noah ; but 
whereas the myths of Eabani and Gilgamesh, though 
still distinguishable, have become thoroughly fused, 
the deluge story of which Ut-Napishtim is the hero 
has been inserted bodily into the Xlth tablet of 
the epic, being related to Gilgamesh by Ut-Napishtim 
himself. When he first appears in the narrative he 
has the attributes and powers of a god, having 
received these for his fidelity to the gods during the 
flood, from whose waters he alone of all mankind 
escaped. The object of his narrative in the Gilgamesh 
epic seems to be to point out to the hero that only 
the most exceptional circumstances — unique circum- 
stances, indeed — can save man from his doom. 

Other distinct portions of the epic are the battle 
with the monster Khumbaba, the episode of Ishtar's 
love for Gilgamesh, the fight with the sacred bull of 
Anu, and the search for the plant of life. These, 
whatever their origin, have become naturally incor- 
porated with the story of Gilgamesh. But besides 
the various historical and mythical elements herein 
presented, there is also a certain amount of Baby- 
lonian religious doctrine, evident to some extent in 
the Xlth tablet (which points the moral that all 
men must die), but doubly so in the Xllth tablet, 
wherein the shade of Eabani appears to Gilgamesh, 
relates the misfortunes of the unburied dead or of 
i6o 



GILGAMESH AS TYRANT 

those uncared for after death, and inculcates care 
for the deceased as the only means whereby they 
may evade the grievous woes which threaten them 
in the underworld. 

Let us examine in detail the Gilgamesh epic as 
we have it in the broken fragments which remain 
to us. The 1st and Ilnd tablets are much muti- 
lated. A number of fragments are extant which 
belong to one or other of these two, but it is not 
easy to say where the 1st ends and the Ilnd begins. 
One fragment would seem to contain the very be- 
ginning of the 1st tablet — a sort of general preface 
to the epic, comprising a list of the advantages to be 
derived from reading it. After this comes a fragment 
whose title to inclusion in the epic is doubtful. 
It describes a siege of the city of Erech, but makes 
no mention of GUgamesh. The woeful condition of 
Erech under the siege is thus picturesquely detailed : 
" She asses (tread down) their young, cows (turn upon) 
their calves. Men cry aloud like beasts, and maidens 
mourn like doves. The gods of strong-walled Erech 
are changed to flies, and buzz about the streets. The 
spirits of strong-walled Erech are changed to serpents, 
and glide into holes. For three years the enemy 
besieged Erech, and the doors were barred, and the 
bolts were shot, and Ishtar did not raise her head 
against the foe." If this fragment be indeed a 
portion of the Gilgamesh epic, we have no means 
of ascertaining whether Gilgamesh was the besieger, 
or the raiser of the siege, or whether he was con- 
cerned in the affair at all. 

Gilgamesh as Tyrant 

Now we come to the real commencement of the 

poem, inscribed on a fragment which some authorities 

I. i6i 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

assign to the beginning of the Ilnd tablet, but which 
more probably forms a part of the 1st. In this 
portion we find Gilgamesh filling the double role of 
ruler and oppressor of Erech — the latter evidently 
not inconsistent with the character of a hero. There 
is no mention here of a siege, nor is there any record 
of the coming of Gilgamesh, though, as has been 
indicated, he probably came as a conqueror. His 
intolerable tyranny towards the people of Erech 
lends colour to this view. He presses the young 
men into his service in the building of a great wall, 
and carries off the fairest maidens to his court ; he 
" hath not left the son to his father, nor the maid to 
the hero, nor the wife to her husband." Finally his 
harshness constrained the people to appeal to the 
gods, and they prayed the goddess Aruru to create 
a mighty hero who would champion their cause, 
and through fear of whom Gilgamesh should be 
forced to temper his severity. The gods themselves 
added their prayers to those of the oppressed people, 
and Aruru at length agreed to create a champion 
against Gilgamesh. " Upon hearing these words (so 
runs the narrative), Aruru conceived a man (in the 
image) of Anu in her mind. Aruru washed her hands, 
she broke off a piece of clay, she cast it on the ground. 
Thus she created Eabani, the hero." When the 
creation of this champion was finished his appear- 
ance was that of a wild man of the mountains. " The 
whole of his body was (covered) with hair, he was 
clothed with long hair like a woman. His hair was 
luxuriant, like that of the corn-god. He knew (not) 
the land and the inhabitants thereof, he was clothed 
with garments as the god of the field. With the 
gazelles he ate herbs, with the beasts he slaked his 
thirst, with the creatures of the water his heart 
162 




Assyrian Type of Gilgamesh 
Found at Khorsabad 

From KcligioHS Belief and Practice in liabylonia and 

Assyria, by Professor Morris Jaslrow 

By permission of Messrs G. P. Putnam's Sons 



THE BEGUILING OF EABANI 

rejoiced." In pictorial representations on cylinder- 
seals and elsewhere Eabani is depicted as a sort of 
satyr, with the head, arms, and body of a man, and 
the horns, ears, and legs of a beast. As we have 
seen, he is a type of beast-man, a sort of Caliban, 
ranging with the beasts of the field, utterly ignorant 
of the things of civilization. 

The Beguiling of Eabani 

The poem goes on to introduce a new character, 
Tsaidu, the hunter, apparently designed by the gods 
to bring about the meeting of Gilgamesh and Eabani. 
How he first encounters Eabani is not quite clear 
from the mutilated text. One reading has it that the 
King of Erech, learning the plan of the gods for his 
overthrow, sent Tsaidu into the mountains in 
search of Eabani, with instructions to entrap him by 
whatever means and bring him to Erech. Another 
reading describes the encounter as purely accidental. 
However this may be, Tsaidu returned to Erech and 
related to Gilgamesh the story of his encounter, 
telling him of the strength and fleetness of the wild 
man, and his exceeding shyness at the sight of a 
human being. By this time it is evident that Gil- 
gamesh knows or conjectures the purpose for which 
Eabani is designed, and intends to frustrate the 
divine plans by anticipating the meeting between 
himself and the wild man. Accordingly he bids 
Tsaidu return to the mountains, taking with him 
Ukhut, one of the sacred women of the temple of 
Ishtar. His plan is that Ukhut with her wiles 
shall persuade Eabani to return with her to Erech. 
Thus the hunter and the girl set out. " They took 
the straight road, and on the third day they reached 
the usual drinking-place of Eabani. Then Tsaidu 
L 2 163 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

and the woman placed themselves in hiding. For 
one day, for two days, they lurked by the drinking- 
place. With the beasts (Eabani) slaked his thirst, 
with the creatures of the waters his heart rejoiced. 
Then Eabani (approached) ..." The scene which 
follows is described at some length. Ukhut had no 
difhculty in enthralling Eabani with the snares of her 
beauty. For six days and seven nights he remem- 
bered nothing because of his love for her. When at 
length he bethought him of his gazelles, his flocks 
and herds, he found that they would no longer follow 
him as before. So he sat at the feet of Ukhut while 
she told him of Erech and its king. " Thou art 
handsome, Eabani, thou art like a god. Why 
dost thou traverse the plain with the beasts ? Come, 
I will take thee to strong-walled Erech, to the bright 
palace, the dwelling of Anu and Ishtar, to the palace 
of Gilgamesh, the perfect in strength, who, like a 
mountain-bull, wieldeth power over man." Eabani 
found the prospect delightful. He longed for the 
friendship of Gilgamesh, and declared him.self willing 
to follow the woman to the city of Erech. And so 
Ukhut, Eabani, and Tsaidu set out on their journey. 

Gilgamesh meets Eabani 

The feast of Ishtar was in progress when they 
reached Erech. Eabani had conceived the idea that 
he must do battle with Gilgamesh before he could 
claim that hero as a friend, but being warned (whether 
in a dream, or by Ukhut, is not clear) that Gilgamesh 
was stronger than he, and withal a favourite of the 
gods, he wisely refrained from combat. Meanwhile 
Gilgamesh also had dreamed a dream, which, inter- 
preted by his mother, Rimat-belit, foretold the coming 
of Eabani. That part of the poem which deals with 
164 



GILGAMESH MEETS EABANI 

the meeting of Gilgamesh and Eabani is unfortu- 
nately no longer extant, but from the fragments which 
take up the broken narrative we gather that they 
met and became friends. 

The portions of the epic next in order appear 
to belong to the Ilnd tablet. In these we find 
Eabani lamenting the loss of his former freedom 
and showering maledictions on the temple-maiden 
who has lured him thither. However, Shamash, 
the sun-god, intervenes (perhaps in another dream 
or vision ; these play a prominent part in the narra- 
tive), and showing him the benefits he has derived 
from his sojourn in the haunts of civilization, en- 
deavours with various promises and inducements 
to make him stay in Erech— " Now Gilgamesh, thy 
friend and brother, shall give thee a great couch to 
sleep on, shall give thee a couch carefully prepared, 
shall give thee a seat at his left hand, and the kings of 
the earth shall kiss thy feet." With this, apparently, 
Eabani is satisfied. He ceases to bewail his position 
at Erech and accepts his destiny with calmness. In 
the remaining fragments of the tablet we find him 
concerned about another dream or vision ; and before 
this portion of the epic closes the heroes have planned 
an expedition against the monster Khumbaba, guar- 
dian of the abode of the goddess Irnina (a form of 
Ishtar), in the Forest of Cedars. 

In the very mutilated IlIrd tablet the two heroes 
go to consult the priestess Rimat-belit, the niother of 
Gilgamesh, and through her they ask protection from 
Shamash in the forthcoming expedition. The old 
priestess advises her son and his friend how to pro- 
ceed, and after they have gone we see her alone in the 
temple, her hands raised to the sun-god, invoking his 
blessing on Gilgamesh : " Why hast thou troubled 

165 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

the heart of my son Gilgamesh ? Thou hast laid 
thy hand upon him, and he goeth away, on a far 
journey to the dwelling of Khumbaba ; he entereth 
into a combat (whose issue) he knoweth not ; he 
foUoweth a road unknown to him. Till he arrive and 
till he return, till he reach the Forest of Cedars, till 
he hath slain the terrible Khumbaba and rid the 
land of all the evil that thou hatest, till the day of his 
return — ^let Aya, thy betrothed, thy splendour, re- 
call him to thee." With this dignified and beautiful 
appeal the tablet comes to an end. 

The Monster Khumbaba 

The IVth tablet is concerned with a description 
of the monster with whom the heroes are about to 
do battle. Khumbaba, whom Bel had appointed to 
guard the cedar {i.e., one particular cedar which 
appears to be of greater height and sanctity than the 
others), is a creature of most terrifying aspect, the 
very presence of whom in the forest makes those 
who enter it grow weak and impotent. As the heroes 
draw near Eabani complains that his hands are feeble 
and his arms without strength, but Gilgamesh speaks 
words of encouragement to him. It may be noted, 
in passing, that the word Khumbaba is of Elamite 
origin, a fact which has led certain authorities to 
identify the monster with an Elamite dynasty which 
anciently dominated Erech, and which came to grief 
about 2250 B.C. It is difficult, if not impossible, 
to establish the connexion between the mythical en- 
counter and a definite historical event ; but it may 
at least be presumed that the bestowal of an Elamite 
designation on the monster argues a certain enmity 
between Elam and Babylon. 

The next fragments bring us into the Vth tablet. 
166 



ISHTAR'S LOVE FOR GILGAMESH 

The heroes, having reached " a verdant mountain," 
paused to survey the Forest of Cedars. When they 
entered the forest the death of Khumbaba was fore- 
told to one or other, or both of them, in a dream, 
and they hastened forward to the combat. Unfortu- 
nately the text of the actual encounter has not been 
preserved, but we learn from the context that the 
heroes were successful in slaying Khumbaba. 

Ishtar*s Love for Gilgamesh 

In the Vlth tablet, which relates the story of Ishtar's 
love for Gilgamesh, and the slaying of the sacred 
bull, victory again waits on the arms of the heroes, 
but here nevertheless we have the key to the mis- 
fortunes which later befall them. On his return to 
Erech after the destruction of Khumbaba, Gilgamesh 
was loudly acclaimed. Dofhng the soiled and blood- 
stained garments he had worn during the battle, he 
robed himself as befitted a monarch and a conqueror. 
Ishtar beheld the King in his regal splendour, the 
flowers of victory still fresh on his brow, and her 
heart went out to him in love. In moving and seduc- 
tive terms she besought him to be her bridegroom, 
promising that if he would enter her house " in 
the gloom of the cedar " all manner of good gifts 
should be his — his flocks and herds would increase, 
his horses and oxen would be without rival, the river 
Euphrates would kiss his feet, and kings and princes 
would bring tribute to him. But Gilgamesh, knowing 
something of the past history of this capricious god- 
dess, rejected her advances with scorn, and began to 
revile her. He taunted her, too, with her treatment 
of former lovers — of Tammuz, the bridegroom of her 
youth, to whom she clung weepingly year after year ; 
of Alalu the eagle ; of a lion perfect in might and a 

167 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

horse glorious in battle ; of the shepherd Tabulu and 
of IsuUanu, the gardener of her father. All these 
she had mocked and ill-treated in cruel fashion, 
and Gilgamesh perceived that like treatment would 
be meted out to him should he accept the proffered 
love of the goddess. The deity was greatly enraged 
at the repulse, and mounted up to heaven : " More- 
over Ishtar went before Anu (her father), before Anu 
she went and she (said) : ' my father, Gilgamesh 
has kept watch on me ; Gilgamesh has counted 
my garlands, my garlands and my girdles.' " Under- 
lying the story of Ishtar's love for Gilgamesh there 
is evidently a nature-myth of some sort, perhaps a 
spring-tide myth ; Gilgamesh, the sun-god, or a hero 
who has taken over his attributes, is wooed by Ishtar, 
the goddess of fertility, the great mother-goddess 
who presides over spring vegetation. In the recital 
of her former love-affairs we find mention of the 
Tammuz myth, in which Ishtar slew her consort 
Tammuz, and other mythological fragments. It is 
possible also that there is an astrological significance 
in this part of the narrative. 

The Bull of Anu 

To resume the tale : In her wrath and humiliation 
Ishtar appealed to her father and mother, Anu and 
Anatu, and begged the former to create a mighty bull 
and send it against Gilgamesh. Anu at first demurred, 
declaring that if he did so it would result in seven 
years' sterility on the earth ; but finally he consented, 
and a great bull, Alu, was sent to do battle with 
Gilgamesh. The portion of the text which deals 
with the combat is much mutilated, but it appears 
that the conflict was hot and sustained, the celestial 
animal finally succumbing to a sword-thrust from 

io8 



THE BULL OF ANU 

Gilgamesh. Ishtar looks on in impotent anger. 
" Then Ishtar went up on to the wall of strong-walled 
Erech ; she mounted to the top and she uttered a 
curse, (saying), ' Cursed be Gilgamesh, who has 
provoked me to anger, and has slain the bull from 
heaven.' " Then Eabani incurs the anger of the deity 
— " When Eabani heard these words of Ishtar, he 
tore out the entrails of the bull, and he cast them 
before her, saying, ' As for thee, I will conquer thee, 
and I will do to thee even as I have done to him.' " 
Ishtar was beside herself with rage. Gilgamesh 
and his companion dedicated the great horns of 
the bull to the sun-god, and having washed their 
hands in the river Euphrates, returned once more to 
Erech. As the triumphal procession passed through 
the city the people came out of their houses to do 
honour to the heroes. The remainder of the tablet 
is concerned with a great banquet given by Gilgamesh 
to celebrate his victory over the bull Alu, and with 
further visions of Eabani. 

The Vllth and Vlllth tablets are extremely 
fragmentary, and so much of the text as is preserved 
is open to various readings. It is possible that to the 
Vllth tablet belongs a description of the underworld 
given to Eabani in a dream by the temple-maiden 
Ukhut, whom he had cursed in a previous tablet, 
an,d who had since died. The description answers 
to that given in another ancient text — the myth 
of Ishtar's descent into Hades — and evidently 
embodies the popular belief concerning the under- 
world. " Come, descend with me to the house of 
darkness, the abode of Irkalla, to the house whence 
the enterer goes not forth, to the path whose way has 
no return, to the house whose dwellers are deprived 
of light, where dust is their nourishment and earth 

169 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

their good. They are clothed, like the birds, in a 
garment of feathers ; they see not the light, they 
dwell in darkness." 

The Death of Eabani 

This sinister vision appears to have been a presage 
of Eabani's death. Shortly afterwards he fell ill 
and died at the end of twelve days. The manner of 
his death is uncertain. One reading of the mutilated 
text represents Eabani as being wounded, perhaps in 
battle, and succumbing to the effects of the wound. 
But another makes him say to his friend Gilgamesh, 
" I have been cursed, my friend, I shall not die as 
one who has been slain in battle." The breaks in the 
text are' responsible for the divergence. The latter 
reading is probably the correct one ; Eabani has 
grievously offended Ishtar, the all-powerful, and 
the curse which has smitten him to the earth is 
probably hers. In modern folk-lore phraseology he 
died of ju-ju. The death of the hero brings the 
Vlllth tablet to a close. 

In the IXth tablet we find Gilgamesh mourning 
the^loss of his friend. 

The Quest of Gilgamesh 

On the heart of Gilgamesh, likewise, the fear of 
death had taken hold, and he determined to go in 
search of his ancestor, Ut-Napishtim, who might be 
able to show him a way of escape. Straightway put- 
ting his determination into effect, Gilgamesh set out 
for the abode of Ut-Napishtim. On the way he had 
to pass through mountain gorges, made terrible by 
the presence of wild beasts. From the power of these 
he was delivered by Sin, the moon-god, who enabled 
him to traverse the mountain passes in safety. 
170 



THE QUEST OF GILGAMESH 

At length he came to a mountain higher than the 
rest, the entrance to which was guarded by scorpion- 
men. This was Mashu, the Mountain of the Sun- 
set, which lies on the western horizon, between the 
earth and the underworld. " Then] he came to the 
mountain of Mashu, the portals of which are guarded 
every day by monsters ; their backs mount up to the 
ramparts of heaven, and their foreparts reach down 
beneath Aralu. Scorpion-men guard the gate (of 
Mashu) ; they strike terror into'^men, and it is death 
to behold them. Their splendour is great, for it 
overwhelms the mountains ; from sunrise to sunset 
they guard the sun. Gilgamesh beheld them, and 
his face grew dark with fear and terror, and the 
wildness of their aspect robbed him of his senses." 
On approaching the entrance to the mountain Gil- 
gamesh found his way barred by these scorpion-men, 
who, perceiving the strain of divinity in him, did 
not blast him with their glance, but questioned him 
regarding his purpose in drawing near the mountain 
of Mashu. When Gilgamesh had replied to their 
queries, telling them how he wished to reach the 
abode of his ancestor, Ut-Napishtim, and there 
learn the secret of perpetual life and youthfulness, 
the scorpion-men advised him to turn back. Before 
him, they said, lay the region of thick darkness ; 
for twelve kasbu (twenty-four hours) he would have 
to journey through the thick darkness ere he again 
emerged into the light of day. And so they refused 
to let him pass. But Gilgamesh implored, " with 
tears," says the narrative, and at length the monsters 
consented to admit him. Having passed the gate 
of the Mountain of the Sunset (by virtue of his 
character as a solar deity) Gilgamesh traversed the 
region of thick darkness during the space of twelve 

171 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

kasbu. Toward the end of that period the darkness 
became ever less pronounced ; finally it was broad 
day, and Gilgamesh" found himself in a beautiful 
garden or park studded with trees, among which 
was the tree of the gods, thus charmingly depicted in 
the text — " Precious stones it bore as fruit, branches 
hung from it which were beautiful to behold. The 
top' of the tree was lapis-lazuli, and it was laden with 
fruit which dazzled the eye of him that beheld." 
Having paused to admire the beauty of the scene, 
Gilgamesh bent his steps shoreward. 

The Xth tablet describes the hero's encounter 
with the sea-goddess Sabitu, who, on the approach 
of one " who had the'appearance of a god, in whose 
body was grief, and who looked as though he had 
made a long journey," retired into her palace and 
fastened the door. But Gilgamesh, knowing that 
her help was necessary to bring him to the dwelling of 
Ut-Napishtim, told her of his quest, and in despair 
threatened to break down the door unless she opened 
to him. At last Sabitu consented to listen to him 
whilst he asked the way to Ut-Napishtim. Like 
the scorpion-men, the sea-goddess perceived that 
Gilgamesh was not to be turned aside from his quest, 
so at last she bade him go to Adad-Ea, Ut-Napish- 
tim's ferryman, without whose aid, she said, it would 
be futile to persist further in his mission. Adad- 
Ea, likewise, being consulted by Gilgamesh, advised 
him to desist, but the hero, pursuing his plan of 
intimidation, began to smash the ferryman's boat 
with his axe, whereupon Adad-Ea was obliged to 
yield. He sent his would-be passenger into the 
forest for a new rudder, and after that the two 
sailed away. 



THE DELUGE MYTH 

Gilgamesh and Ut'Napishtim 

Ut-Napishtim was indeed surprised when he beheld 
Gilgamesh approaching the strand. The hero had 
meanwhile contracted a grievous illness, so that 
he was unable to leave the boat ; but he addressed 
his queries concerning perpetual life to the deified 
Ut-Napishtim, who stood on the shore. The hero 
of the flood was exceeding sorrowful, and explained 
that death is the common lot of mankind, " nor is it 
given to man to know the hour when the hand of 
death will fall upon him — the Annunaki, the great 
gods, decree fate, and with them Mammetum, the 
maker of destiny, and they determine death and 
life, but the days of death are not known." 

The narrative is continued without interruption 
into the Xlth tablet. Gilgamesh listened with pardon- 
able scepticism to the platitudes of his ancestor. 
" ' I behold thee, Ut-Napishtim, thy appearance 
differs not from mine, thou art like unto me, thou 
art not otherwise than I am ; thou art like unto 
me, thy heart is stout for the battle . . . how 
hast thou entered the assembly of the gods ; how 
hast thou found life ? ' " 

The Deluge Myth 

In reply Ut-Napishtim introduces the story of 
the Babylonian deluge, which, told as it is without 
interruption, forms a separate and complete narrative, 
and is in itself a myth of exceptional interest. Pre- 
sumably the warning of the deluge came to Ut- 
Napishtim in a vision. The voice of the god said : 
' Thou man of Shurippak, son of Ubara-Tutu, pull 
down thy house, build a ship, forsake thy possessions, 
take heed for thy life ! Abandon thy goods, save 
thy life, and bring up living seed of every kind into 

173 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

the ship.' The ship itself was to be carefully planned 
and built according to Ea's instructions. When the 
god had spoken Ut-Napishtim promised obedience 
to the divine command. But he was still perplexed 
as to how he should answer the people when they 
asked the reason for his preparations. Ea therefore 
instructed him how he should make reply, ' Bel 
hath cast me forth, for he hateth me.' The purpose 
of this reply seems clear, though the remaining 
few lines of it are rather broken. Ea intends that 
Ut-Napishtim shall disarm the suspicions of the 
people by declaring that the object of his ship- 
building and his subsequent departure is to escape 
the wrath of Bel, which he is to depict as falling on 
him alone. He must prophesy the coming of the 
rain, but must represent it, not as a devastating 
flood, but rather as a mark of the prosperity which 
Bel will grant to the people of Shurippak, perhaps 
by reason of his (Ut-Napishtim's) departure there- 
from. 

The Babylonian Ark 

Ut-Napishtim employed many people in the con- 
struction of the ship. During four days he gathered 
the material and built the ship ; on the fifth he laid 
it down ; on the sixth he loaded it ; and by the 
seventh day it was finished. On a hull 120 cubits 
wide was constructed a great deck-house 120 cubits 
high, divided into six stories, each of which was 
divided in turn into nine rooms. The outside of the 
ship was made water-tight with bitumen, and the 
inside with pitch. To signalise the completion of his 
vessel, Ut-Napishtim gave a great feast, like that 
which was wont to be held on New Year's Day ; 
oxen were slaughtered and great quantities of wine 
174 



THE BABYLONIAN ARK 

and oil provided. According to the command of 
Ea, Ut-Napishtim brought into the ship all his 
possessions, his silver and his gold/ living seed of 
every kind, all his family and household, the cattle 
and beasts of the field, the handicraftsmen, all that 
was his. 

A heavy rain at eventide was the sign for Ut- 
Napishtim to enter the ship and fasten the door. 
All night long it rained, and with the early dawn 
" there came up from the horizon a black cloud. 
Ramman in the midst thereof thundered, and Nabu 
and Marduk went before, they passed like messengers 
over mountain and plain. Uragal parted the anchor- 
cable. There went Niiiib, and he made the storm to 
burst. The Annunaki carried flaming torches, and 
with the brightness thereof they lit up the earth. 
The whirlwind of Ramman mounted up into the 
heavens, and all light was turned into darkness." 
During a whole day darkness and chaos appear to 
have reigned on the earth. Men could no longer 
behold each other. The very gods in heaven were 
afraid and crouched " like hounds," weeping, and 
lamenting their share in the destruction of mankind. 
For six days and nights the tempest raged, but on 
the seventh day the rain ceased and the floods began 
to abate. Then, says Ut-Napishtim — " I looked 
upon the sea and cried aloud, for all mankind was 
turned back into clay. In place of the fields a 
swamp lay before me. I opened the window and 
the light fell upon my cheek, I bowed myself down, 
I sat down, I wept ; over my cheek flowed my 
tears. I looked upon the world, and behold all 



1 The inconsistency in details is caused by the composite nature of 
the tale, which is drawn from two different tablets. 

175 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

The Bird Messengers 

At length the ship came to rest on the summit of 
Mount Nitsir. There are various readings of this 
portion of the text , thus : " After twelve (days) 
the land appeared ; " or " At the distance of twelve 
(kasbu) the land appeared ; " or " Twelve (cubits) 
above the water the land appeared." However this 
may be, the ship remained for six days on the moun- 
tain, and on the seventh Ut-Napishtim sent out a 
dove. But the dove found no resting-place, and 
so she returned. Then he sent out a swallow, which 
also returned, having found no spot whereon to rest. 
Finally a raven was sent forth, and as by this time 
the waters had begun to abate, the bird drew near 
to the ship " wading and croaking," but did not 
enter the vessel. Then Ut-Napishtim brought his 
household and all his possessions into the open air, 
and made an offering to the gods of reed, and cedar- 
wood, and incense. The fragrant odour of the 
incense came up to the gods, and they gathered, 
" like flies," says the narrative, around the sacrifice. 
Among the company was Ishtar, the Lady of the 
Gods, who lifted up the necklace which Anu had 
given her, saying : " What gods these are ! By 
the jewels of lapis-lazuli which are upon my neck 
I will not forget ! These days I have set in my 
memory, never will I forget them ! Let the gods 
come to the offering, but Bel shall not come to the 
offering since he refused to ask counsel and sent the 
deluge, and handed over my people unto destruction." 

The god Bel was very wroth when he discovered 
that a mortal man had survived the deluge, and 
vowed that Ut-Napishtim should perish. But Ea 
defended his action in having saved his favourite 
from destruction, pointing out that Bel had refused 
176 




*:.„^w^*%-_^_.;..">^^.^% 



Ut-Napishtim makes Offering to the Gods 
Allan Stewart 

By permission of Messrs Hutchinson and Co. 



76 



THE BIRD MESSENGERS 

to take counsel when he planned a universal disaster, 
and advising him in future to visit the sin on the 
sinner and not to punish the entire human race. 
Finally Bel was mollified. He approached the ship 
(into which it would appear that the remnants of 
the human race had retired during the altercation) 
and led Ut-Napishtim and his wife into the open, 
where he bestowed on them his blessing. " Then 
they took me," says Ut-Napishtim, " and afar off, at 
the mouth of the rivers, they made me to dwell." 

Such is the story of the deluge which Ut-Napishtim 
told to Gilgamesh. No cause is assigned for the 
destruction of the human race other than the en- 
mity which seems to have existed between man and 
the gods — particularly the warrior-god Bel. But it 
appears from the latter part of the narrative that in 
the assembly of the gods the majority contemplated 
only the destruction of the city of Shurippak, and 
not that of the entire human family. It has been 
suggested, indeed, that the story as it is here given 
is compounded of two separate myths, one relating 
to a universal catastrophe, perhaps a mythological 
type of a periodic inundation, and the other dealing 
with a local disaster such as might have been occa- 
sioned by a phenomenal overflow of the Euphrates. 

The antiquity of the legend and its original char- 
acter are clearly shown by comparison with another 
version of the myth, inscribed on a tablet found at 
Abu-Habbah (the ancient site of Sippar) and dated 
in the twenty-first century before our era. Not- 
withstanding the imperfect preservation of this text 
it is possible to perceive in it many points of resem- 
blance to the Gilgamesh variant. Berossus also 
quotes a version of the deluge myth in his history, 
substituting Chronos for Ea, King Xisuthros for 

M 177 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

Ut-Napishtim, and the city of Sippar for that of 
Shurippak. In this version immortality is bestowed 
not only on the hero and his wife, but also on his 
daughter and his pilot. One writer ingeniously 
identifies these latter with Sabitu and Adad-Ea 
respectively. 

To return to the epic : The recital of Ut-Napishtim 
served its primary purpose in the narrative by proving 
to Gilgamesh that his case was not that of his deified 
ancestor. Meanwhile the hero had remained in the 
boat, too ill to come ashore ; now Ut-Napishtim took 
pity on him and promised to restore him to health, 
first of all bidding him sleep during six days and 
seven nights. Gilgamesh listened to his ancestor's 
advice, and by and by " sleep, like a tempest, breathed 
upon him." Ut-Napishtim's wife, beholding the 
sleeping hero, was likewise moved with compassion, 
and asked her husband to send the traveller safely 
home. He in turn bade his wife compound a magic 
preparation, containing seven ingredients, and ad- 
minister it to Gilgamesh while he slept. This was 
done, and an enchantment thus put upon the hero. 
When he awoke (on the seventh day) he renewed his 
importunate request for the secret of perpetual life. 
His host sent him to a spring of water where he might 
bathe his sores and be healed ; and having tested 
the efficacy of the magic waters Gilgamesh returned 
once more to his ancestor's dwelling, doubtless to 
persist in his quest for life. Notwithstanding that 
Ut-Napishtim had already declared it impossible 
for Gilgamesh to attain immortality, he now directed 
him (apparently at the instance of his wife) to the 
place where he would find the plant of life, and 
instructed Adad-Ea to conduct him thither. The 
magic plant, which bestowed immortalitv and eternal 
178 



THE BIRD MESSENGERS 

youth on him who ate of it, appears to have been a 
weed, a creeping plant, with thorns which pricked 
the hands of the gatherer ; and, curiously enough, 
Gilgamesh seems to have sought it at the bottom 
of the sea. At length the plant was found, and the 
hero declared his intention of carrying it with him 
to Erech. And so he set out on the return journey, 
accompanied by the faithful ferryman not only on 
the first, and watery, stage of his travels, but also 
overland to the city of Erech itself. When they 
had journeyed twenty kashu they left an offering 
(presumably for the dead), and when they had jour- 
neyed thirty kasbu, they repeated a funeral chant. 
The narrative goes on : " Gilgamesh saw a well of 
fresh water, he went down to it and offered a libation. 
A serpent smelled the odour of the plant, advanced 
. . . and carried off the plant. Gilgamesh sat 
down and wept, the tears ran down his cheeks." 
He lamented bitterly the loss of the precious plant, 
seemingly predicted to him when he made his offering 
at the end of twenty kasbu. At length they reached 
Erech, when Gilgamesh sent Adad-Ea to enquire con- 
cerning the building of the city walls, a proceeding 
which has possibly some mythological significance. 

The XUth tablet opens with the lament of Gil- 
gamesh for his friend Eabani, whose loss he has not 
ceased to deplore. " Thou canst no longer stretch 
thy bow upon the earth ; and those who were slain 
with the bow are round about thee. Thou canst 
no longer bear a sceptre in thy hand ; and the spirits 
of the dead have taken thee captive. Thou canst no 
longer wear shoes upon thy feet ; thou canst no longer 
raise thy war-cry on the earth. No more dost thou 
kiss thy wife whom thou didst love ; no more dost thou 
smite thy wife whom thou didst hate. No more dost 
M 2 179 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

thou kiss thy daughter whom thou didst love ; no 
more dost thou smite thy daughter whom thou didst 
hate. The sorrow of the underworld hath taken 
hold upon thee." ^ Gilgamesh went from temple 
to temple, making offerings and desiring the gods 
to restore Eabani to him ; to Ninsum he went, 
to Bel, and to Sin, the moon-god, but they heeded 
him not. At length he cried to Ea, who took com- 
passion on him and persuaded Nergal to bring the 
shade of Eabani from the underworld. A hole was 
opened in the earth and the spirit of the dead man 
issued therefrom like a breath of wind. Gilgamesh 
addressed Eabani thus : " Tell me, my friend, tell 
me, my friend ; the law of the earth which thou hast 
seen, tell me." Eabani answered him : " I cannot 
tell thee, my friend, I cannot tell thee." But after- 
wards, having bidden Gilgamesh " sit down and 
weep," he proceeded to tell him of the conditions 
which prevailed in the underworld, contrasting the 
lot of the warrior duly buried with that of a person 
whose corpse is cast uncared for into the fields. " On 
a couch he lieth, and drinketh pure water, the man 
who was slain in battle — thou and I have oft seen such 
an one — his father and his mother (support) his 
head, and his wife (kneeleth) at his side. But the 
man whose corpse is cast upon the field — thou and I 
have oft seen such an one — his spirit resteth not 
in the earth. The man whose spirit has none to 
care for it — thou and I have oft seen such an one — 
the dregs of the vessel, the leavings of the feast, 
and that which is cast out upon the streets, are his 
food." Upon this solemn note the epic closes. 

^ These remarks are perhaps not to be taken Kterally of Eabani. 
They represent the entirely formal manner in which any deceased 
Babylonian was addressed. 
i8o 



THE BIRD MESSENGERS 

The doctrine of the necessity for ministering to the 
dead is here enunciated in no uncertain fashion. 
Unless their bodies are decently buried and offerings 
of food and drink made at their graves, their lives 
in the otherworld must be abjectly miserable. The 
manner in which they meet their end is likewise 
taken into account, and warriors who have fallen 
on the field of battle are pre-eminently fortunate. 
Eabani is evidently one of the ' happy ' spirits ; 
his ghost is designated utukku, a name applied not 
only to the fortunate dead, but likewise to a class of 
beneficent supernatural beings. The term edimmu, 
on the other hand, designates a species of malevo- 
lent being as well as the errant and even vampirish 
spirits of the unhappy dead. The due observance of 
funeral and commemorative rites is thus a matter 
which touches the interests not only of the deceased 
but also of his relatives and friends. 

We have seen from the foregoing that the epic of 
Gilgamesh is partly historical, partly mythological. 
Around the figure of a great national hero myths 
have grown and twined with the passing of the 
generations, and these have in time become woven 
into a connected narrative, setting forth a myth 
which corresponds to the daily or annual course of 
the sun. Within this may be discerned other myths 
and fragments of myths — solar, seasonal, and diluvian. 

But there is in the epic another important element 
which has already been referred to — the astro-theo- 
logical. The zodiacal significance of the division of 
the epic into twelve tablets may be set aside, since, 
as has been indicated, the significance is in all pro- 
bability a superficial one merely, added to the poem 
by the scribes of Assur-bani-pal, and not forming 
an integral part of it. At the same time it is not 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

hard to divide the epic naturally into twelve episodes, 
thus : (i) Gilgamesh's oppression of Erech ; (2) the 
seduction of Eabani ; (3) the slaying of the monster 
Khumbaba ; (4) the wooing of Ishtar ; (5) the fight 
with the sacred bull; (6) Eabani's death; (7) Gil- 
gamesh's journey to the Mountain of the Sunset ; 

(8) his wanderings in the region of thick darkness ; 

(9) the crossing of the waters of death ; (10) the 
deluge-story ; (11) the plant of life ; (12) the return 
of Eabani's spirit. Throughout the epic there are 
indications of a correspondence between the exploits 
of the hero and the movements of heavenly bodies. 
It is possible, for instance, that Gilgamesh and his 
friend Eabani had some relation to the sign Gemini, 
also associated in ancient Chaldean mythology 
with two forms of the solar deity, even as were the 
hero and his friend. The sign Leo recalls the slaying 
of Khumbaba, the allegorical victory of light over 
darkness, represented on monuments by the figure 
of a lion (symbol of fire) fighting with a bull. 
Following the sign of Leo, the wooing of the hero 
by the goddess Ishtar falls naturally into the sign of 
Virgo, the virgin. The sign of Taurus is represented 
by the slaying of the celestial bull, Alu, by Gilgamesh. 
The journey of the hero to Mashu and his encounter 
with the scorpion-men at the gate of the sunset are, 
of course, mythological representations of the sign of 
Scorpio, as are also his wanderings in the region 
of thick darkness. It is noticeable in this respect 
that Babylonian astrology often doubled the eighth 
sign (Scorpio) to provide a seventh; it is therefore 
not unlikely that this sign should correspond with 
two'^distinct episodes in the poem. The first of these 
episodes is associated with Scorpio by virtue of the 
introduction of scorpion-men ; and the second, on 
182 



THE BIRD MESSENGERS 

the assumption that the scorpion is symbolical, of 
darkness. Perhaps the sea-goddess Sabitu is associ- 
ated astrologically with the fish-tailed goat which 
is the conventional representation of Capricornus. 
Then the placing of the deluge-story in the Xlth 
tablet, corresponding with the eleventh sign of the 
zodiac, Aquarius, the water-bearer, is evidently m 
keeping with the astrological aspect of the epic. 
Chaldean mythology connected the rainy eleventh 
month with the deluge, just as the first month of 
spring was associated mythologically with the creation. 
The healing of Gilgamesh's sickness by Ut-Napishtim 
may possibly symbolise the revival of the sun after 
leaving the winter solstice. Lastly, the sign _ of 
Pisces, the twelfth sign of the zodiac, correspondmg 
to the return of Eabani from, the underworld, and 
perhaps also to the restoration of Gilgamesh to 
Erech, is emblematic of life after death, and of the 
resumption of ordinary conditions after the deluge. 
It has been suggested, though without any very 
definite basis, that the epic was first put together before 
the zodiac was divided into twelve— that is, more than 
two thousand years before the Christian era. Its 
antiquity, however, rests on other grounds than these. 
In later times the Babylonian astrological system 
became very complicated and important, and so lent 
its colour to the epic that, whatever the original plan 
of that work may have been, its astral significance 
became at length its most popular aspect. 



CHAPTER V: THE LATER PANTHEON 
OF BABYLONIA 

THE reign of Khammurabi is a convenient 
point at which to observe general changes 
in and later introductions to the pantheon 
of the Babylonian gods. The political alterations 
in the kingdom were reflected in the divine circle. 
Certain gods were relegated to the cold shades of 
obscurity, whilst new deities were adopted and others, 
hitherto regarded as negligible quantities, were exalted 
to the heights of heavenly omnipotence. The worship 
of Merodach first came into prominence in the days 
of Khammurabi. But his cult is so outstanding and 
important that it has been deemed better to deal with 
it in a separate and later chapter. Meanwhile we 
shall examine the nature of some of the gods who 
sprang into importance at or about the era of the 
great law-maker, and note changes which took place 
with regard to others. 

Nebo 

The popularity of Nebo was brought about through 
his association with Merodach. His chief seat of 
worship was at Borsippa, opposite to Babylon, and 
when the latter city became the seat of the imperial 
power the proximity of Borsippa greatly assisted the 
cult of Nebo. So close did the association between 
the deities of the two cities become that at length 
Nebo was regarded as the son of Merodach — a relation- 
ship that often implies that the so-called descendant 
of the elder god is a serious rival, or that his cult is 
nearly allied to the elder worship. Nebo had acquired 
something of a reputation as a god of wisdom, and 
probably this it was which permitted him to stand 
1S4 




K. 



Nebo 

^Icrodach, (-.nil ,,f Wisdo 
the inventnr of writin.t; 
Phcto W. A. M^mscU and Co. 



'*>■-/•' 



an<l 



[84 



NEBO 

separately from Merodach without becoming absorbed 
in the cult of the great deity of Babylon. He was 
credited, like Ea, with the invention of writing, the 
province of all ' wise ' gods, and he presided over 
that department of knowledge which interpreted 
the movements of the heavenly bodies. The priests 
of Nebo were famous as astrologers, and with the 
bookish king Assur-bani-pal, Nebo and his consort 
Tashmit were especial favourites as the patrons of 
writing. By the time that the worship of Merodach 
had become recognised at Babylon, the cult of Nebo 
at Borsippa was so securely rooted that even the proxi- 
mity of the greatest god in the land failed to shake it. 
Even after the Persian conquest the temple-school 
at Borsippa continued to flourish. But although 
Nebo thus ' outlived ' many of the greater gods 
it is now almost impossible to trace his original 
significance as a deity. Whether sola-r or aqueous 
in his nature — and the latter appears more likely — 
he was during the period of Merodach's ascendancy 
regarded as scribe of the gods, much as Thoth was the 
amanuensis of the Egyptian otherworld — that is to 
say, he wrote at the dictation of the higher deities. 
When the gods were assembled in the Chamber of 
Fates in Merodach's temple at Babylon, he chronicled 
their speeches and deliberations and put them on 
record. Indeed he himself had a shrine in this temple 
of E-Sagila, or ' the lofty house,' which was known 
as E-Zila, or ' the firm house.' Once during the 
New Year festival Nebo was carried from Borsippa 
to Babylon to his father's temple, and in compliment 
was escorted by Merodach part of the way back to his 
own shrine in the lesser city. It is strange to see how 
closely the cults of the two gods were interwoven. 
The Kings of Babylonia constantly invoke them 

185 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

together, their names and those of their temples are 
found in close proximity at every turn, and the 
symbols of the bow and the stylus or pen, respectively 
typical of the father and the son, are usually dis- 
covered in one and the same inscription. Even 
Merodach's dragon, the symbol of his victory over 
the dark forces of chaos, is assigned to Nebo ! 

Nebo as Grairi'God 

But Nebo seems to have had also an agricultural 
side to his character. In many texts he is praised 
as the god " who opens up the subterranean sources 
in order to irrigate the fields," and the withdrawal of 
his favour is followed by famine and distress. This 
seems to favour the idea of his watery nature. His 
name, ' the proclaimer,' does not assist us much in 
fixing his mythological significance, unless it was 
assigned to him in the role of herald of the gods. 

Tashmit 

Nebo's consort was Tashmit. It is believed that 
Khammurabi, unsuccessful in suppressing the cult 
of Nebo, succeeded with that of his spouse. She 
seems to have been the same as a goddess Ealur 
who became amalgamated with Zarpanitum, the 
wife of Merodach. The name may mean, according 
to some, ' the hearer/ and to others a ' revelation,' 
and in view of the character of her wise husband, 
was perhaps one of the original designations of 
Merodach himself. Tashmit had therefore but little 
individuality. None the less she possessed consider- 
able popularity. On a seal-impression dating some- 
where between 3500-4500 B.C. there are outlined 
two figures, male and female, supposed to represent 
Nebo and Tashmit. The former has a wide-open 



HADAD 

mouth and the latter ears of extraordinary size. 
Both are holding wild animals by the horns, and 
the representation is thought to be typical of the 
strength or power of speech and silence. 

Shamash and Khammurabi 

We find that Khammurabi was very devoted to 
Shamash, the early type of sun-god. His improve- - 
ments and restorations at Sippar and Larsa were 
extensive. The later Babylonian monarchs followed 
his example, and one of them,Mili-Shikhu {c. 1450 b.c.) 
even placed Shamash before Merodach in the pan- 
theon ! The early connexion between Merodach 
and Shamash had probably much to do with the great 
popularity of the latter. That this was the case, so 
far at least as Khammurabi was concerned, is obvious 
from certain of his inscriptions, in which he alludes . 
in the same sentence to Merodach and Shamash and ■ 
to their close relationship. Khammurabi appears 
also to have been greatly attached to the cult of a 
goddess Innana or Ninni (' lady ' or ' great lady '), 
who was evidently the consort of some male deity. 
He improved her temple at Hallabi and speaks of her 
as placing the reins of power in his hands. There was 
another goddess of the same name at Lagash whom 
Gudea worshipped as ' mistress of the world,' but she 
does not seem to have been the same as the Innana of 
Hallabi, near Sippar, as she was a goddess of fertility 
and generation, of the ' mother goddess ' type, and 
there do not appear to be any grounds for the assertion 
that the goddess of Hallabi can be equated with her. 

Hadad 

Ramman or Rimmon, identified with Hadad or , 
Adad, is a deity of later type and introduction. '' 

187 ■. 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

Indeed Ramman may be merely a variant or sub- 
sidiary name, meaning as it does ' the thunderer,' 
quite a common title for several types of deities. 
The worship of Hadad was widespread in Syria and 
Palestine, and he was a god of storms or rains, whose 
symbol was the thunderbolt or the 
lightning which he holds in his grasp 
like a fiery sword. But he bears solar 
emblems upon his apparel, and seems 
to wear a solar crown. He does not, 
however,appear to have hadany centre 
of worship in Babylonia, and was pro- 
bably a god of the Amorites, and be- 
coming popular with the Babylonians, 
was later admitted into their pan- 
theon. At Asshur in Assyria he was 
worshipped along with Anu, with 
whom he had a temple in common. 
This building, which was excavated in 
1908, contains two shrines having but 
the one entrance, and the date of its 
foundation is referred so far back as 
B.C. 2400. There can be little doubt 
that the partnership of Hadad with 
Anu was a late one. Perhaps it was 
on Assyrian and not Babylonian soil 
that Hadad first entered from the alien world. 

In many of his characteristics Hadad closely 
resembled En-lil. Like him he was designated ' the 
great mountain,' and seems to have been conceived 
of as almost a counterpart of the older god. It is 
peculiar that while in Assyria and Babylonia Hadad 
has many of the characteristics of a sun-god, in his 
old home in Syria he possessed those of a thunder- 
god who dwelt among the mountains of northern 
188 




Hadad or Rimmon 
From Religious 
Belief and Prac- 
tice in Babylonia 
and Assyria, by 
Prof. Jastrow; 
(G. P. Putnam's 
Sons.) 



HADAD, DADA, DAVID, AND DIDO 

Palestine and Syria and spoke in thunder and wielded 
the lightning. But even in Assyria the stormy char- 
acteristics of Hadad are not altogether obscured. 
Hadad's cult in Babylonia is probably not much 
older than the days of Khammurabi, in whose time 
the first inscriptional mention of him is made. His 
worship obtained a stronger hold in the times of the 
Kassite dynasty, for we find many of its monarchs 
incorporating his name with their own and altogether 
affording him a prominent place. 

Hadad, Dada> David, and Dido 

In a curious and interesting passage in his Hibbert 
Lectures,'^ Professor Sayce indicates resemblances 
between the name Hadad, Dada, the abbreviated 
form of the name of Abd-Hadad, who reigned at 
Hierapolis in the fourth century. Queen Dido of 
Carthage, and that of the Biblical David. Speaking 
of Hadad he says : " He was, as I have said, the 
supreme Baal or Sun-god, whose worship extended 
southward from Carchemish to Edom and Palestine. 
At Damascus he was adored under the Assyrian 
name of Rimmon, and Zechariah (xii ii) alludes to 
the cult of the compound Hadad-Rimmon in the 
close neighbourhood of the great Canaanitish fortress 
of Megiddo. Coins bear the name of Abd-Hadad, 
' the servant of Hadad,' who reigned in the fourth 
century at Hierapolis, the later successor of Car- 
chemish, and, under the abbreviated form of Dada, 
Shalmaneser speaks of ' the god Dada of Aleppo ' 
(Khalman). The abbreviated form was that current 
among the nations of the north ; in the south 
it was confounded with the Semite word which 
appears in Assyrian as dadu, ' dear little child.' This 
1 Pp. s<^ ff. 

189 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

is the word which we have in Be-Dad or Ben-Dad, ' the 
son"'of Dad,' the father of the Edomite Hadad ; 
we have it also in the David of the Old Testament. 
David, or Dod, as the word ought to be read, which 
is sometimes written Dodo with the vocalic sufhx 
of the nominative, is the masculine corresponding 
to a Phoenician goddess whose name means ' the 
beloved one,' and who was called Dido by the writers 
of Rome. Dido, in fact, was the consort of the 
Sun-god, conceived as Tammuz, ' the beloved son,' 
and was the presiding deity of Carthage, whom 
legend confounded with Elissa, the foundress of the 
city. In the article I have alluded to above, I 
expressed my conviction that the names of Dodo 
and David pointed to a worship of the Sun-god, under 
the title of ' the beloved one,' in southern Canaan 
as well as in Phoenicia. I had little idea at the time 
how soon my belief would be verified. Within the 
last year, the squeeze of the Moabite stone, now in 
the Louvre, has been subjected to a thorough exami- 
nation by the German Professors Socin and Smend, 
with the result of correcting some of the received 
readings and of filling up some of the lacunae. One 
of the most important discoveries that have been 
thus made is that the Israelites of the northern 
kingdom worshipped a Dodo or Dod by the side of 
Yahveh, or rather that they adored the supreme 
God under the name of Dodo as well as under that of 
Yahveh. Mesha, the Moabite king, in describing the 
victories which his god Chemosh had enabled him 
to gain over his Israelitish foes, tells us that he had 
carried away from Atarath ' the arel (or altar) of 
Dodo and dragged it before Chemosh,' and from 
Nebo ' the arels (or altars) of Yahveh,' which he 
likewise ' dragged before Chemosh.' Here the arel 
190 



EA IN LATER TIMES 

or ' altar ' of Dodo is placed in parallelism with the 
arels of Yahveh ; and it is quite clear, therefore, that 
Dodo, like Yahveh, was a name under which the 
deity was worshipped by the people of the land. 
I have suggested that Dod or Dodo was an old title 
of the supreme God in the Jebusite Jerusalem, and 
that hence Isaiah (v i), when describing Jerusalem 
as the tower of the vineyard the Lord had planted 
in Israel, calls him D6d-i, ' my beloved.' We can 
easily understand how a name of the kind, with 
such a signification, should have been transferred 
by popular affection from the Deity to the king of 
whom it is said that ' all Israel and Judah loved him ' 
(I Sam. xviii i6)." 

Ea in Later Times 

Ea developed with the centuries, and about the 
epoch of Khammurabi appears to have achieved a 
high standard of godhead, probably because of the 
very considerable amount of theological moulding 
which he had received. In the later Babylonian 
period we find him described as the protagonist of 
mankind, the father of Merodach, and, along with 
Anu and Bel, a member of a great triad. The priests 
of Babylon were the sole mythographers of these 
days. This is in sharp contradistinction to the 
mythographers of Greece, who were nearly always 
philosophers and never priests. But they were 
mythographers in a secondary sense only, for they 
merely rearranged, re-edited, or otherwise altered 
already existing tales relating to the gods, usually 
with a view to the exaltation of a certain deity or to 
enable his story to fit in with those of other gods. 
It is only after a religion or mythological system 
has enjoyed a vogue more or less extended that the 

191 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

relationship of the gods towards one another becomes 
fixed. 

The appointment of Merodach to the supreme 
position in the Babylonian pantheon naturally necessi- 
tated a rearrangement so far as the relationship of the 
other deities to him was concerned. This meant a 
re-shaping of myth and tradition generally for the 
purpose of ensuring consistency. The men fitted to 
accomplish such a task were to hand, for the age of 
Khammurabi was fertile in writers, scholastic and 
legal, who would be well equipped to carry out a 
change of the description indicated. Ea had not 
in the past enjoyed any very exalted sphere. But 
as the chief god of the important country in the 
neighbourhood of the Persian Gulf, the most ancient 
home of Babylonian culture, Ea would probably 
have exercised a great influence upon the antiquarian 
and historic sense of a man like Khammurabi. As 
the god of wisdom he would strongly appeal to a 
monarch whose whole career was marked by a love 
of justice and by sagacity and insight. From a 
local god of Eridu, Ea became a universal deity of 
wisdom and beneficence, the strong shield of man, 
and his benefactor by the gifts of harvest and water. 
Civilized and softer emotions must have begun to 
cluster around the cult of this kindly god who, when 
the angered deities resolved to destroy mankind, 
interceded for poor humanity and succeeded in 
preserving it from the divine wrath. As a god of 
medicine, too, Ea is humane and protective in 
character, and all the arts fall under his patronage. 
He is the culture-god of Babylon far excellence. 
He might not transcend Merodach, so he became 
his father. Thus did pagan theology ' succeed in 
merging the cults of deities which might otherwise 
192 



THE LEGEND OF ZU 

have been serious rivals and mutually destruc- 
tive. 

Zu 

Zu was a storm-god symboTized in the form of 
a bird. He may typify the advancing storm-cloud, 
which would have seemed to those of old as if hovering 
like a great bird above the land which it was about to 
strike. The North-American Indians possess such a 
mythological conception in the Thunder-bird, and it is 
probable that the great bird called roc, so well known 
to readers of the Arabian Nights^ was a similar 
monster — perhaps the descendant of the Zu-bird. 
We remember how this enormous creature descended 
upon the ship in which Sindbad sailed and carried him 
off. Certain it is that we can trace the roc or rukh 
to the Persian simurgh, which is again referable to a 
more ancient Persian form, the amru or sinamru, the 
bird of immortality, and we may feel sure that what 
is found in ancient Persian lore has some foundation in 
Babylonian belief. The Zu-bird was evidently under 
the control of the sun, and his attempt to break away 
from the solar authority is related in the following 
legend. 

The Legend of Zu 

It is told of the god Zu that on one occasion ambition 
awaking in his breast caused him to cast envious 
eyes on the power and sovereignty of Bel, so that he 
determined to purloin the Tablets of Destiny, which 
were the tangible symbols of Bel's greatness. 

At this time, it may be recalled, the Tablets of 

Destiny had already an interesting history behind 

them. We are told in the creation legend how Apsu, 

the primeval, and Tiawath, chaos, the first parents 

N 193 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

of the gods, afterward conceived a hatred for their 
offspring, and how Tiawath, with her monster-brood 
of snakes and vipers, dragons and scorpion-men 
and raging hounds, made war on the hosts of heaven. 
Her son Kingu she made captain of her hideous 
army — 

To march before the forces, to lead the host, 

To give the battle-signal, to advance to the attack, 

To direct the battle, to control the fight. 

To him she gave the Tablets of Destiny, laying them 
on his breast with the words : " Thy command shall 
not be without avail, and the word of thy mouth 
shall be established." Through his possession of 
the divine tablets Kingu received the power of Anu, 
and was able to decree the fate of the gods. After 
several deities had refused the honour of becoming 
champion of heaven, Merodach was chosen. He suc- 
ceeded at length in slaying Tiawath and destroying 
her evil host ; and having vanquished Kingu, her 
captain, he took from him the Tablets of Destiny, 
which he sealed and laid on his own breast. It 
was this Merodach, or Marduk, who afterward be- 
came identified with Bel. 

Now Zu, in his greed for power and dominion, was 
eager to obtain the potent symbols. He beheld the 
honour and majesty of Bel, and from contemplation 
of these he turned to look upon the Tablets of Destiny, 
saying within himself : 

" Lo, I will possess the tablets of the gods, and 
all things shall be subject unto me. The spirits of 
heaven shall bow before me, the oracles of the gods 
shall be in my hands. I shall wear the crown, symbol 
of sovereignty, and the robe, symbol of godhead, 
and then shall I rule over all the hosts of heaven." 
194 



THE LEGEND OF ZU 

Thus inflamed, he sought the entrance to Bel's 
hall, where he awaited the dawn of day. The text 
goes on : 

Now when Bel was pouring out the clear water, {i.e. the 

light of day ?) 
And his diadem was tsTken off and lay upon the throne, 
(Zu) seized the Tablets of Destiny, 

He took Bel's dominion, the power of giving commands. 
Then Zu fled away and hid himself in his mountain. 

Bel was greatly enraged at the theft, and all the 
gods with him. Anu, lord of heaven, summoned 
about him his divine sons, and asked for a champion 
to recover the tablets. But though the god Ramman 
was chosen, and after him several other deities, they 
all refused to advance against Zu. 

The end of the legend is unfortunately missing, 
but from a passage in another tale, the legend of 
Etana, we gather that it was the sun-god, Shamash, 
who eventually stormed the mountain-stronghold 
of Zu, and with his net succeeded in capturing the 
presumptuous deity. 

This legend is of the Prometheus type, but whereas 
Prometheus (once a bird-god) steals fire from heaven 
for the behoof of mankind, Zu steals the Tablets of 
Destiny for his own. These must, of course, be re- 
gained if the sovereignty of heaven is duly to con- 
tinue, and to make the tale circumstantial the sun-god 
is provided with a fowler's net with which to capture 
the recalcitrant Zu-bird. Jastrow believes the myth 
to have been manufactured for the purpose of showing 
how the tablets of power were originally lost by the 
older Bel and gained by Merodach, but he has dis- 
counted the reference in the Etana legend relating 
to their recovery. 

N 2 195 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

Bel 

We find a good deal of confusion in later Babylonian 
religion as to whether the name ' Bel ' is intended 
to designate the old god of that name or is merely 
a title for Merodach. Khammurabi certainly uses 
the name occasionally when speaking of Merodach, 
but at other times he quite as surely employs it for 
the older divinity, as for example when he couples 
the name with Anu. One of the Kassite kings, too, 
speaks of " Bel, the lord of lands," meaning the old 
Bel, to whom they often gave preference over Mero- 
dach. They also preferred the old city of Nippur 
and its temple to Babylon, and perhaps made an 
attempt at one time to make Nippur the capital 
of their Empire. 

Some authorities appear to think it strange that 
Bel should have existed at all as a deity after the 
elevation of Merodach to the highest rank in the 
pantheon. It was his association with Anu and Ea 
as one of a triad presiding ^over the heavens, the 
earth, and the deep which kept him in power. More- 
over, the very fact that he was a member of such a 
triad proves that he was regarded as theologically 
essential to the well-being of the Babylonian religion 
as a whole. The manufacture or slow evolution of 
a trinity of this description is by no means brought 
about through popular processes. It is, indeed, the 
work of a school, of a college of priests. Strangely 
enough Khammurabi seems to have associated Anu 
and Bel together, but to have entirely omitted Ea 
from their companionship, and it has been thought 
that the conception of a trinity was subsequent to 
his epoch. The god of earth and the god of heaven 
typify respectively that which is above and that 
which is below, and are reminiscent of the Father-sky 
196 



ANU 

and Mother-earth of many primitive mythologies, 
and there is much to say for the theory that Ea, god 
of the deep, although he had existed long prior to 
any such grouping, was a later inclusion. 

The Triad of Earth, Air, and Sea 

The habit of invoking the great triad became 
almost a commonplace in later Babylonia. They 
nearly always take precedence in religious inscrip- 
tions, and we even find some monarchs stating that 
they hold their regal authority by favour of the 
trinity. Whenever a powerful curse has to be 
launched, one may be certain that the names of 
the gods of the elements will figure in it. 

Dawkina 

Dawkina was the consort of Ea, and was occasion- 
ally invoked along with him. She was a goddess of 
some antiquity, and, strangely enough for the mate 
of a water-god, she appears to have originally been 
connected in some manner with the earth. There- 
fore she was' an elemental deity. In later times her 
attributes appear to have been inherited by Ishtar. 
According to some authorities Bel was the son of 
Ea and Dawkina, Bel in this case meaning Mero- 
dach. We find her name frequently alluded to in 
the Magical Texts, but her cult does not seem to 
have been very widespread. 

Anu 

We have already alluded to Ann's position in the 
triad with Ea and Bel in later Babylonian times. 
When he stands alone we find him taking a more 
human guise than as the mere elemental god of earlier 
days. He is frequently mentioned in the texts apart 

197 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 
from Ea and Bel, and is occasionally alluded to along 
with Ramman, the god of thunder and storms, who 
of course would naturally stand in close relationship 
with the sky. We also find him connected with 
Dagan of Biblical celebrity. But in this case Dagan 
appears to be the equivalent of Bel. 

There is also a host of lesser deities, the majority 
of whom are no more than mere names. They do not 
seem to have achieved much popularity, or if they did 
it was an evanescent one. The names of some are 
indeed only mentioned once or twice, and so little is 
known concerning them as almost to leave us entirely 
in the dark regarding their natures or characteristics. 



198 



CHAPTER VI: THE GREAT GOD 
MERODACH AND HIS CULT 

THE entire religious system of Babylonia is 
overshadowed by Merodach, its great patron 
deity. We remember liow he usurped the 
place of Ea, and in what manner even the legends 
of that god were made over to him, so that at last 
he came to be regarded as not only the national god 
of Babylonia but the creator of the world and of 
mankind. He it was who, at the pleading of the other 
gods, confronted the grisly Tiawath, and having 
defeated and slain her, formed the earth out of her 
body and its inhabitants out of his own blood. It 
is almost certain that this cosmological myth was 
at one time recounted of Ea, and perhaps even at an 
earlier date of Bel. The transfer of power from Ea 
to Merodach, however, was skilfully arranged by the 
priesthood, for they made Merodach the son of Ea, so 
that he would naturally inherit his father's attributes. 
In this transfer we observe the passing of the supre- 
macy of the city of Eridu to that of Babylon. Ea, or 
Oannes, the fish-tailed god of Eridu, stood for the 
older and more southerly civilization of the Baby- 
lonian race, whilst Merodach, patron god of Babylon, 
a very different type of deity, represented the newer 
political power. 

Originally Merodach appears to have been a sun-god 
personifying more especially the sun of the spring- 
time. Thus he was a fitting deity to defeat the 
chaotic Tiawath, who personified darkness and de- 
struction. But there is another side to him — the 
agricultural side. Says Jastrow {Religion in Baby- 
lonia and Assyria, p. 38) : "At Nippur, as we shall 
see, there developed an elaborate lamentation ritual 

199 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

for the occasions when national catastrophes, defeat, 
failure of crops, destructive storms, and pestilence 
revealed ^he displeasure and anger of the gods." 
At such times earnest endeavours were made, through 
petitions accompanied by fasting and other symbols 
of contrition, to bring about a reconciliation with the 
angered power. This ritual, owing to the religious 
pre-eminence of Nippur, became the norm and stan- 
dard throughout the Euphrates Valley, so that when 
Marduk (Merodach) and Babylonia came practically 
to replace En-lil and Nippur, the formulas and appeals 
were transferred to the solar deity of Babylon, who, 
representing more particularly the sun-god of spring, 
was well adapted to be viewed as the one to bring 
blessings and favours after the sorrows and tribu- 
lations of the stormy season. 

Strange as it will appear, although he was patron 
god of Babylon he did not originate in that city, but 
in Eridu, the city of Ea, and probably this is the 
reason why he was first regarded as the son of Ea. He 
is also directly associated with Shamash, the chief 
sun-god of the later pantheon, and is often addressed 
as the ' god of canals ' and ' opener of subterranean 
fountains.' In appearance he is usually drawn 
with tongues of fire proceeding from his person, thus 
indicating his solar character. At other times he is 
represented as standing above the watery deep, with 
a horned creature at his feet, which also occasionally 
serves to symbolize Ea. It is noteworthy, too, that 
his temple at Babylon bore the same name — E-Sagila, 
' the lofty house,' — as did Ea's sanctuary at Eridu. 

We find among the cuneiform texts — a copy of an 
older Babylonian text — an interesting little poem 
which shows how Merodach attracted the attributes 
of the other gods to himself. 



A NEW^ YEAR'S CEREMONY 

Ea is the Marduk (or Merodach) of canals ; 

Ninib is the Marduk of strength ; 

Nergal is the Marduk of war ; 

Zamama is the Marduk of battle ; 

Enlil is the Marduk of sovereignty and control ; 

Nebo is the Marduk of possession ; 

Sin is the Marduk of illumination of the night ; 

Shamash is the Marduk of judgments ; 

Adad is the Marduk of rain ; 

Tishpak is the Marduk of the host ; 

Gal is the Marduk of strength ; 

Shukamunu is the Marduk of the harvest. 

This would seem as if Merodach had absorbed the 
characteristics of all the other gods of any importance 
so successfully that he had almost established his posi- 
tion as the sole deity in Babylonia, and that there- 
fore some degree of monotheism had been arrived at. 

A New' Year's Ceremony 

On the first day of the Babylonian New Year an 
assembly of the gods was held at Babylon, when all 
the principal gods were grouped round Merodach 
in precisely the same manner in which the King was 
surrounded by the nobility and his officials, for many 
ancient faiths imagined that the polity of earth merely 
mirrored that of heaven, that, as Paracelsus would 
have said, the earth was the microcosm of the heavenly 
macrocosm — " as above, so below." The ceremony 
in question consisted in the lesser deities paying 
homage to Merodach as their liege lord. In this 
council, too, they decided the political action of 
Babylonia for the coming year. 

It is thought that the Babylonian priests at stated 
intervals enacted the myth of the slaughter of Tiawath. 
This is highly probable, as in Greece and Egypt the 
myths of Persephone and Osiris were represented 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

dramatically before a select audience of initiates. 
We see that these representations are nearly always 
made in the case of divinities who represent corn or 
vegetation as a whole, or the fructifying power of 
springtime. The name of Merodach's consort Zar- 
panitum was rendered by the priesthood as ' seed 
producing,' to mark her connexion with the god who 
was responsible for the spring revival. 

Merodach's ideograph is the sun, and there is abun- 
dant evidence that he was first and last a solar god. 
The name, originally Amaruduk, probably signifies 
* the young steer of day,' which seems to be a figure 
for the morning sun. He was also called Asari, which 
may be compared with Asar, the Egyptian name of 
Osiris, Other names given him are Sar-agagam, ' the 
glorious incantation,' and Meragaga, ' the glorious 
charm,' both of which refer to the circumstance that 
he obtained from Ea, his father, certain charms and 
incantations which restored the sick to health and 
exercised a beneficial influence upon mankind. 

Merodach was supposed to have a court of his own 
above the sky, where he was attended to by a host 
of ministering deities. Some superintended his food 
and drink supply, while others saw to it that water 
for his hands was always ready. He had also door- 
keepers and even attendant hounds, and it is thought 
that the satellites of Jupiter, the planet which repre- 
sented him, may have been dimly visible to those 
among the Chaldean star-gazers who were gifted with 
good sight. These dogs were called Ukkumu, ' Seizer,' 
Akkulu, ' Eater,' Iksuda, ' Grasper,' and Iltehu, 
' Holder.' It is not known whether these were sup- 
posed to assist him in shepherding his flock or in the 
chase, and their names seem appropriate either for 
sheep-dogs or hunting hounds. 



CHAPTER VII: THE PANTHEON 
OF ASSYRIA 



T 



HE Pantheon of Assyria, as befitted the reli- 
gious system of a nation of soldiers, was more 
^ highly organized than that of the kindred 
people of Babylonia, the ranks and relationships of 
the gods who comprised it were more definitely 
fixed, it was considerably more compact than that of 
the southern kingdom, and its lesser luminaries were 
fewer. It has been assumed that the deities of the 
Assyrians were practically identical in every respect 
with those of the Babylonians, with the single 
exception of Asshur, who equated with Merodach. 
With all due respect to practical Assyriologists the 
student of Comparative Religion may perhaps be 
granted leave to take exception to such a statement. 
Ethnological differences (and these certainly existed 
between the peoples of the northern and southern 
culture-groups), climatic conditions, a different poli- 
tical environment — all these as well as other con- 
siderations, as -important if less obvious, must have 
effected almost radical changes in the ideas of the 
gods as conceived by the Assyrians. Exactly what 
these changes were we shall probably never know. 
They are scarcely likely to be revealed by inscriptions 
or sacred writings which undoubtedly conserve for us 
little more than the purely ecclesiastical view-point, 
always anxious to embalm with scrupulous care the 
cherished theological beliefs of an older day. But 
little of the religious beliefs of a people can survive 
in priestly inscriptions and the labours of priestly 
copyists, nor is it safe or scientific to endorse the 
character of the faith of a race by comparison or 
analogy with that of a neighbouring folk. If a 

203 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

striking example were required of the danger of such 
a proceeding it might be found in the vain attempt 
to discover an exact parallel between the religious 
systems of ancient Mexico and those of Guatemala 
and Yucatan. The city-states of the more northerly 
group of people had evolved a separate system of 
worship for each pueblo or town, the deities of which, 
with minor differences, were substantially identical. 
But when the pantheons of the more southerly region 
come to be examined it will be found that, although 
the gods which figure in them spring apparently 
from the same stock as those of the Mexican people, 
and even possess names which are mere translations 
of those of the gods of Mexico, their attributes and 
characteristics differ profoundly from those of their 
Mexican congeners. The reason for this dissimilarity 
is to be found in variations of climate, culture, and 
politics, three sure factors in the modification of 
religion. If, then, we are satisfied that such differ- 
ences existed in the religious systems of two race- 
groups almost as closely connected as were the peoples 
of Babylonia and Assyria, may we not be pardoned 
for the supposition that similar divergences existed 
between the faiths of the two great races of Chaldea ? 

We find in the Assyrian pantheon numerous foreign 
deities whom the Assyrian kings included among the 
national gods by right of conquest. These we shall 
deal with later. It will suffice for the present to 
mention Assur-bani-pal, who speaks of the capture of 
twenty gods of the Elamites. It was, of course, 
only upon the rise of a distinct Assyrian empire that 
the religion of the northern kingdom acquired traits 
that distinguished it from that of Babylonia. 

Having outlined the reasons for the differences 
which we believe to have existed between the Baby- 
204 



THE PANTHEON OF ASSYRIA 

Ionian and Assyrian faiths, let us briefly consider 
the variation of type between the two peoples which 
must have caused this divergence. The languages 
of the two races were not more distinct than the 
dialects of northern and southern England — indeed 
among scholars they are designated by the common 
name of Assyrian. But the Assyrians had a pure 
strain of that Semitic blood which has done so much 
to systematize religions ancient and modern. The 
Semite cannot content himself with half-truths. It 
is essential to his very life, that he must feel himself 
upon sure religious ground. He hates doubt and 
despises the doubter. At an early time in his ancient 
career he had so securely systematized religion as to 
supply the earliest instances of pure dogma. There 
followed the relentless abjuration of all the troublous 
circumstances of mistrust. A code founded upon the 
rock of unquestioning faith was instituted. And 
in the religious systems of Babylonia and especially of 
Assyria we observe a portion of the process of evolu- 
tion which assisted in the upbuilding of a narrow 
yet highly spiritualized system. 

The great gods in Assyria were even more omnipo- 
tent than in Babylonia. One cause contributing to 
this was the absorption of the minor local cults by 
deities associated with the great centres of Assyrian 
life. Early religion is extremely sensitive to political 
change, and as a race evolves from the tribal or local 
state and bands itself into a nation, so the local gods 
become national and centralized, probably in the 
great deity of the most politically active city in the 
state. Nor is it essential to this process that the deities 
absorbed should be of a like nature with the absorbing 
god. Quite often a divinity assumes the name and 
attributes of one with whom he had little in common. 

205 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

Asshur 

The state religion of Assyria centres in Asshur, 
nor was any deity ever so closely identified with an 
empire as he. On the fall of the Assyrian state, 
Asshur fell with it. Moreover all the gods of Assyria 
may be said to have been combined in his person. 







Symbols of the God Asshur 

From Religions Belief and Practice in Babylonia and Assyria, 
by Prof. Jastrow (G. P. Putnam's S©ns). 

In Babylonia, Merodach was a leader of hosts. In 
Assyria, Asshur personified these hosts, that is, the 
other Assyrian gods had become attributes of Asshur, 
and we can only understand the remaining Assyrian 
gods if we regard them as lesser Asshurs, so to speak, 
as broken lights of the great god of battle and conquest. 
Asshur originated in the city of his name situated 
on the west bank of the Tigris, not far from the 
206 



ASSHUR 

point where the lower Zab flows into that river. 
It was not of course until the rise of this city to 
political pre-eminence that its god figured as all- 
powerful. There are conflicting estimates as regards 
his original nature, some authorities holding that he 
was lunar, others that he symbolized fire or water. 
The facts, however, point to the conclusion that he 
was solar in character. 

Merodach had chiefly been worshipped in Babylon. 
As other Babylonian territories became subject to 
that city we do not find them placing the god of 
Babylon above their own local god. But it was 
different with Asshur. We find temples to him 
broadcast over Assyria. Indeed as Assyrian history 
advances, we see different cities alluded to as the 
chief centre of his worship, and he resides now at 
Asshur, now at Calah, now at Nineveh, now at 
Khorsabad. Wherever the Kings of Assyria took up 
their official residence there Asshur was adored, and 
there he was supposed to dwell. He was not symbol- 
ized by an idol or any man-like statue which would 
serve to give the populace an idea of his physical 
likeness, but was represented by a standard consist- 
ing of a pole surrounded by a disc enclosed with two 
wings. Above the disc was the figure of a warrior 
with bent bow and arrow on string. This well sym- 
bolized the military nature of the Assyrian nation 
and of its tutelar deity. At the same time indications 
are not wanting that this pole and its accompanying 
symbols are the remains of a totem-standard upon 
which has been superimposed the anthropomorphic 
figure of a lightning- or tempest-god. The pole is a 
favourite vehicle for carrying the totem symbols into 
battle, and it looks here as if the sun had at one time 
been regarded as a tribal totem. The figure of the 

207 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

archer at the top seems representative of a lightning- 
or storm-god — a mythic character frequently associ- 
ated with the sun, that ' strong warrior.' By virtue 
of his possession of the lightning arrow the storm-god 
is often accepted as a god of war. 

The etymology of the name of Asshur throws little 
light upon his character as a divinity. The city which 
took his name was in all probability originally called 
' The city of the god Asshur.' To call it by the 
name of the god alone would not be unnatural. 
The name is derived from a root meaning ' to be 
gracious,' and therefore means ' the gracious god,' 
' the good god.' But there are indications that an 
older form of the name had existed, and it has been 
asserted that the form Anshar has priority. With 
Kishar, a god Anshar was created as the second pair 
of deities to see the light, and according to one 
version it is Anshar who dispatches Anu, Ea, and 
finally Merodach to destroy the monster Tiawath. 
This Anshar, then, appears as possessed with autho- 
rity among the gods. But we find no mention of him 
in the ancient texts and inscriptions of Babylonia. 
The version in which Anshar is alluded to may of course 
have been tampered with, and his inclusion in the crea- 
tion myth may be regarded as a concession to Assy- 
rian greatness. Indeed in one creation tablet we find 
Merodach displaced by Asshur as framer of the earth ! 

The Secret of Assyrian Greatness 

Asshur is mentioned in the oldest Assyrian inscrip- 
tion known to us, that of Samsi-Ramman {c. 1850 
B.C.), the priest-chief of Asshur, who ruled in the days 
when as yet the offices of king and high priest were 
undivided. Indeed, when the title of 'king ' had 
come into use some 350 years later, the monarchs 
208 



THE SECRET OF ASSYRIAN GREATNESS 

of Assyria still retained the right to call themselves 
' priests of the god Asshur.' The entire faith in 
and dependence on their beloved deity on the part 
of these early Assyrian rulers is touching. They are 
his children and rely wholly upon him first for pro- 
tection against their cruel enemies the Kassites and 
afterwards for the extension of their growing empire. 
No wonder that with such a faith to stimulate her 
Assyria became great. Faith in her tutelar god was, 
indeed, the secret of her greatness. The enemies of 
Assyria are ' the enemies of Asshur,' her soldiers are 
' the warriors of x4sshur,' and their weapons are ' the 
weapons of Asshur.' Before his face the enemies 
of Assyria tremble and are routed, he is consulted 
oracularly as to the making and conduct of war, and 
he is present on the battle-field. But the solitary 
nature of Asshur was remarkable. Originally he 
possessed ' neither kith nor kin,' neither wife nor 
child, and the unnaturalness of his splendid isola- 
tion appears to have struck the Assyrian scribes, who 
in an interesting prayer attempted to connect their 
divinity with the greater gods of Babylonia, to find 
him a wife, ministers, a court and messengers. 

A prayer to Asshur, the king of the gods, ruler over 

heaven and earth, 
the father who has created the gods, the supreme first-born 

of heaven and earth, 
the supreme muttallu who inclines to counsel, 
the giver of the sceptre and the throne. 
To Nin-lil, the wife of Asshur, the begetter, the creatress 

of heaven and earth, 
who by command of her mouth . . . 
To Sin, the lord of command, the uplifter of horns, the 

spectacle of heaven, 
To the Sun-god, the great judge of the gods, who causes 

the lightning to issue forth, 

o 209 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

To Anu, the lord and prince, possessing the life of Asshur, 

the father of the great gods. 
To Rammon, the minister of heaven and earth, the lord of 

the wind and the lightning of heaven. 
To Ishtar, the queen of heaven and the stars, whose seat 

is exalted. 
To Merodach, the prince of the gods, the interpreter of 

the spirits of heaven and earth. 
To Adar, the son of Mul-lil the giant, the first-born . . . 
To Nebo, the messenger of Asshur (Ansar) . . . 
To Nergal, the lord of might and strength . . . 
To the god who marches in front, the first-born . . . 
To the seven gods, the warrior deities . . . 
the great gods, the lords of heaven and earth. 

Asshur as Conqueror 

An incident which well illustrated the popularity 
of the Assyrian belief in the conquering power of 
the national god is described in an account of the 
expedition of Sargon against Ashdod stamped on 
a clay cylinder of that monarch's reign. Sargon 
states that in his ninth expedition to the land beside 
the sea, to Philistia and Ashdod, to punish King 
Azuri of that city for his refusal to send tribute and 
for his evil deeds against Assyrian subjects, Sargon 
placed Ahimiti, nephew of Azuri, in his place and fixed 
the taxes. But the people of Ashdod revolted against 
the puppet Sargon had placed over them, and by 
acclamation raised one Yaran to the throne, and 
fortified their dominions. They and the surrounding 
peoples sought the aid of Egypt, which could not 
help them. For the honour of Asshur, Sargon then 
engaged in an expedition against the Hittites, and 
turned his attention to the state of affairs in Philis- 
tia (<:.- 711 B.C.), hearing which Yaran, for fear of 
Asshur, fled to Meroc on the borders of Egypt, 
where he hid ignominiously. Sargon besieged and 
210 



ISHTAR IN ASSYRIA 

captured the city of Ashdod, with the gods, wives, 
children, and treasures of Yaran. 

It is plain that this punitive expedition was under- 
taken for the personal honour of Asshur, that he was 
believed to accompany the troops in their campaign 
against the rebellious folk of Ashdod, and that 
victory was to be ascribed to him and to him alone. 
All tribute from conquered peoples became the 
property of Asshur, to whom it was offered by the 
Kings of Assyria. Even the great and proud monarchs 
of this warlike kingdom do not hesitate to affirm 
themselves the creatures of Asshur, by whom they 
live and breathe and by whose will they hold the 
royal authority, symbolized by the mighty bow 
conferred upon them by their divine master. That 
these haughty rulers were not without an element of 
affection as well as fear for the god they worshipped 
is seen from the circumstance that they frequently 
allude to themselves as the sons of Asshur, whose 
viceroys on earth they were. Asshur was, indeed, in 
later times the spirit of conquering Assyria person- 
alized. We do not find him regarded as anything else 
than a war-god. We do not find him surrounded by 
any of the gentler attributes which distinguish non- 
militant deities, nor is it likely that his cult would 
have developed, had it lasted, into one distinguished 
for its humanizing influence or its ethical subtlety. 
It was the cult of a war-god pure and simple, and 
when Asshur was beaten at his own business of war 
he disappeared into the limbo of forgotten gods as 
rapidly as he had arisen. 

Ishtar in Assyria 

Next to Asshur in the affections of the Assyrian 
people stood Ishtar. As a goddess in Assyria she was 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

absolutely identical with the Babylonian Ishtar, her 
favourite shrines in the northern kingdom being 
Nineveh, Arbela, and the temple of Kidmuru, also in 
Nineveh. The Assyrians appear to have admitted 
her Babylonian origin, or at least to have confessed 
that theirs was originally a Babylonian Ishtar, for 
Tiglath-pileser I lays emphasis upon the circum- 
stance that a shrine he raised to Ishtar in his capital 
is dedicated to ' the Assyrian Ishtar.' The date of 
this monarch is loio B.C., or near it, so that the above 
is a comparatively early allusion to Ishtar in Assyrian 
history. The Ishtars of Arbela and Kidmuru do not 
appear in Assyrian texts until the time of Esar-haddon 
(68 1 B.C.), thus the Ishtar of Nineveh was much the 
most venerable of the three. Arbela was evidently a 
religious centre of importance, and the theory has 
been advanced that it became the seat of a school 
of prophets connected with the worship of Ishtar. 
Jastrow in his Religion of Babylonia and Assyria 
(1898, p. 203), writing on this point, says, " It is quite 
possible, if not probable, that the three Ishtars are 
each of independent origin. The ' queen of Kidmuru,' 
indeed, I venture to think, is the indigenous Ishtar 
of Nineveh, who is obliged to yield her place to the 
so-called ' Assyrian Ishtar,' upon the transfer of 
the capital of Assyria to Nineveh, and henceforth is 
known by one of her epithets to distinguish her from 
her more formidable rival. The cult of Ishtar at 
Arbela is probably, too, of ancient date ; but special 
circumstances that escape us appear to have led to 
a revival of interest in their cults during the period 
when Assyria reached the zenith of her power. The 
important point for us to bear in mind is that no 
essential distinctions between these three Ishtars 
werejmade by the Assyrians. Their traits and 



ISHTAR AS A WAR^GODDESS 

epithets are similar, and for all practical purposes 
we have only one Ishtar in the northern empire." 

Ishtar as a War'Goddcss 

Ishtar was frequently placed by the side of Asshur 
as a war-goddess. Ere she left the plains of Baby- 
lonia for the uplands of Assyria she had evinced 
certain bellicose propensities. In the Gilgamesh epic 
she appears as a deity of destructive and spiteful 
character, if not actually of warlike nature. But if 
the Babylonians regarded her first and foremost 
as the great mother-goddess, the Assyrians took but 
little notice of this side of her character. To them 
she was a veritable Valkyrie, and as the Assyrians 
grew more and more military so she became more 
the war-goddess and less the nature-mother of love 
and agriculture. She appeared in dreams to the 
war-loving Kings of Assyria, encouraging and heart- 
ening them with words of cheer to further military 
exploits. Fire was her raiment, and, as became 
a goddess of battle, her appearance was terrific. 
She consumed the enemies of Assur-bani-pal with 
flames. Still, strangely enough, in the religious texts, 
influenced probably by Babylonian sources, she was 
still to a great extent the mild and bountiful mother 
of nature. It is in the historical texts wliich ring 
with tales of conquest and the grandiloquent boastings 
of conquering monarchs that she appears as the 
leader of armies and the martial goddess who has 
slain her thousands and her tens of thousands. So 
has it ever been impossible for the priest and the 
soldier to possess the selfsame idea of godhead, and 
this is so in the modern no less than in the ancient 
world. Yet occasionally the stern Assyrian kings 
unbent, and it was probably in a brief interval of 

213 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

peace that Assur-nazir-pal alluded to Ishtar as the 
lady who " loves him and his priesthood." Senna- 
cherib also spoke of the goddess in similar terms. 
It is necessary to state that the name or title of 
Belit given to Ishtar does not signify that she is the 
wife or consort of Bel, but merely that she is a ' great 
lady,' for which the title ' Belit ' is a generic term. 
If she is at times brought into close association with 
Asshur she is never regarded as his wife. She is not 
the consort of any god, but an independent goddess 
in her own right, standing alone, equal with Asshur 
and the dependant of no other divinity. But it was 
later only that she ranked with Asshur, and purely 
because of her military reputation. 

Ninib as an Assyrian War'God 

Such a deity as Ninib (another name for Nin- 
girsu, the god of Lagash) was certain to find favour 
among the Assyrians by virtue of those character- 
istics which would render him a valuable ally in war. 
We find several kings extolling his prowess as a 
warrior, notably Tiglath - pileser I, and Assur- 
rishishi, who allude to him as " the courageous one," 
and " the mighty one of the gods." His old status 
as a sun-and-wind god, in which he was regarded as 
overthrowing and levelling with the ground every- 
thing which stood in his path, would supply him 
with the reputation necessary to a god of battles. 
He is associated with Asshur in this capacity, and 
Tiglath-pileser brackets them as those " who fulfil 
his desire." But Ninib's chief votary was Assur- 
nazir-pal (858-60 B.C.), who commenced his annals 
with a paean of praise in honour of Ninib, which so 
abounds in fulsome eulogy that we feel that either 
he must have felt much beholden to the god, or else 



NINIB AS AN ASSYRIAN WAR^GOD 

have suffered from religious mania. The epithets 
he employs in praise of Ninib are those usually 
lavished upon the greatest of gods only. This pro- 
ceeding secured immense popularity for Ninib 
and gave him a social and political vogue which 
nothing else could have given, and we find Shamsi- 
ramman, the grandson of Assur-nazir-pal, employing 
the selfsame titles in honouring him. 

The great temple of Ninib was situated in Calah, 
the official residence of Assur-nazir-pal, and within 
its walls that monarch placed a tablet recording his 
deeds, and a great statue of the god. He further 
endowed his cult so that it might enjoy continuance. 

We can readily understand how the especial 
favour shown to such a god as Ninib by an Assyrian 
monarch originated. Asshur would be regarded by 
them as much too popular and national a deity to 
choose as a personal patron. But more difhcult to 
comprehend are the precise reasons which actuated 
the Assyrian kings, or indeed the kings of any similar 
ancient state, in choosing their patrons. Does a 
polytheistic condition of religion permit of the fine 
selection of patron deities, or is it not much more 
probable that the artful offices of ecclesiastical and 
political wire-pullers had much to do with moulding 
the preferences of the King before and after he reached 
the throne ? The education of the monarch while 
yet a prince would almost certainly be entrusted to 
a high ecclesiastical dignitary, and although many 
examples to the contrary exist, we are pretty safe 
in assuming that whatever the complexion of the 
tutor's mind, that of the pupil would to some extent 
reflect it. On the other hand there is no resisting 
the conclusion that the Assyrian kings were very 
often vulgar parvenus, ostentatious and ' impossible,' 

2IC 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

as such people usually are, and that, after the 
manner of their kind, they ' doted ' upon every- 
thing ancient, and, possibly, everything Babylonian, 
just as the later Romans praised everything Greek. 

Ninib as Hunter^God 

But Ninib ministered to the amusement of his 
royal devotees as well as to their warlike desires. 
We find Assur-nazir-pal invoking him before com- 
mencing a long journey in search of sport, and Tig- 
lath-pileser I, who was a doughty hunter of lions 
and elephants, ascribes his success to Ninib, who 
has placed the mighty bow in his hands. 

Jensen in his Kosmologie points out that Ninib 
represents the eastern sun and the morning sun. 
If this is so, it is strange to find a god representing 
the sun of morning in the status of a war-god. It is 
usually when the sun-god reaches the zenith of the 
heavens that he slays his thousands and his tens of 
thousands. As a variant of Nin-girsu he would of 
course be identified with Tammuz. His consort was 
Gula, to whom Assur-nazir-pal erected a sanctuary. 

Dagan 

Dagan the fish-god, who, we saw, was the same as 
Cannes or Ea, strangely enough rose to high rank 
in Assyria. Some authorities consider him of Philis- 
tian or Aramean origin, and do not compare him 
with Ea, who rose from the waters of the Per- 
sian Gulf to enlighten his people, and it is evident 
that the Mesopotamian-Palestinian region contained 
several versions of the origin of this god, ascribing 
it to various places. In the Assyrian pantheon he 
is associated with Anu, who rules the heavens, Dagan 
supervising the earth. It is strange to observe a 
216 



I 




V 



W^m^^ 



Tiglalh-Pileser I directed by Nmib 
Evelyn Paul 



ANU 

deity, whose sphere must originally have been the 
sea, presiding over the terrestrial plane, and this 
transference it was which cost Dagan his popularity 
in Assyria, for later he became identified with Bel 
and disappeared almost entirely from the Assyrian 
pantheon. 

Anu 

Anu in Assyria did not differ materially from Anu in 
Babylon, but he suffered, as did other southern deities, 
from the all-pervading worship of Asshur. He had a 
temple in Asshur's own city, which was rebuilt by 
Tiglath-pile&er I 641 years, after its original foundation. 
He was regarded in Assyria as lord of the Igigi and 
Anunnaki, or spirits of heaven and earth, probably 
the old animistic spirits, and to this circumstance, 
as well as to the fact that he belonged to the old 
triad along with Bel and Ea, he probably owed the 
prolongation of his cult. As an elemental and funda- 
mental god opposition could not possibly displace 
him, and as ruler of the spirits of air and earth he 
would have a very strong hold upon the popular 
imagination. Gods who possess such powers often 
exist in folk-memory long after the other members 
of the pantheon which contained them are totally 
forgotten, and one would scarcely be surprised to 
find Anu lingering in the shadows of post-Assyrian 
folk-lore, if any record of such lore could be discovered. 
Anu was frequently associated with Ramman, but 
more usually with Bel and Eausas in Babylonia. 

Ramman 

Ramman enjoyed much greater popularity in 
Assyria than in Babylonia, for there he exercised the 
functions of a second Asshur, and was regarded as 

217 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

destruction personified. Says an old Assyrian hymn 
concerning Ramman : 

The mighty mountain, thou hast overwhelmed it. 

At his anger, at his strength. 

At his roaring, at his thundering. 

The gods of heaven ascend to the sky. 

The gods of the earth ascend to the earth, 

Into the horizon of heaven they enter, 

Into the zenith of heaven they make their way. 

What a picture have we here in these few simple 
lines of a pantheon in dread and terror of the wrath 
and violence of one of its number. We can almost 
behold the divine fugitives crowding in flight, some 
into the upper regions of air to outsoar the anger 
of the destroyer, others seeking the recesses of the 
earth to hide themselves from the fierceness of his 
countenance, the roar of his thunderbolts, and the 
arrows of his lightning. Simple, almost bald, as the 
lines are they possess marvellous pictorial quality, 
bringing before us as they do the rout of a whole 
heaven in a few simple words. 

The weapons of Ramman are lightning, deluge, 
hunger, and death, and woe to the nation upon whom 
he visits his wrath, for upon it he visits flood and 
famine. Thus his attributes as a storm-god are 
brought into play when he figures as a war deity, 
for just as a weather-god of the lightning wields it 
as a spear or dart in the fight, so Ramman as storm- 
god brings to bear the horrors of tempest upon the 
devoted head of the enemy. 

So highly did the Assyrian kings value the assist- 
ance of Ramman that they sacrificed to him during 
the stress and bustle of a campaign in the field. They 
liken an attack of their troops to his onslaught, and 
if they wish to depict the stamping out of an adversary, 
218 



RAMMAN 

his ,' eating up,' as Chaka's Zulus were wont to term 
the process, they declare that their men swept over the 
enemy as Ramman might have done. Assur-nazir- 
pal alludes to Ramman as ' the mightiest of the 
gods,' but as in reality that phrase was employed 
in connexion with all the principal deities at one 
time or another by kings or priests who favoured 
them, there is no reason to suppose that anything 
more is intended than that Ramman occupied a 
place of importance in the Assyrian pantheon. 

The worship of Ramman in later times came very 
much into prominence. It was only in the days of 
Khammurabi that he came into his kingdom, as 
it were, and even then his worship was not very 
firmly established in Babylonia. With the rise of 
the Kassite dynasty, however, we find him coming 
more into favour, and his name bestowed upon 
Babylonian kings. He seems to have formed a triad 
with Sin and Shamash, and in the Hymn of Kham- 
murabi we find him appealed to along with Shamash 
as ' Divine Lords of Justice.' Nebuchadrezzar I 
appears to have held him in high esteem, although 
he was unfriendly to the dynasty which first brought 
him into prominence, and this monarch couples him 
with Ishtar as the divinity who has chiefly assisted 
him in all his great undertakings. Indeed, Nebuch- 
adrezzar evinced much partiality for Ramman, per- 
haps feeling that he must placate the especial god 
of those he had cast from power. He speaks of 
him as the ' lord of the waters beneath the earth,' 
and of the rains from heaven. 

The place of Ramman's origin seems obscure. 
We have already dealt with his manifestations in 
more primitive days, but opinions appear to differ 
regarding the original seat of his worship, some 

219 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

authorities holding that it was Muru in Southern 
Babylonia, others that it is necessary to turn to 
Assyria for traces of his first worship. His cult is 
found in Damascus and extended as far south as the 
Plain of Jezreel. As Milton says : 

. . . Rimmon, whose delightful seat 
Was fair Damascus, on the fertile banks 
Of Abbana and Pharphar, lucid streams. 
He also 'gainst the house of God was bold 
A leper once he lost, and gained a king, 
Ahaz his sottish conqu'ror, whom he drew 
God's altar to disparage and displace 
For one of Syrian mode, whereon to burn 
His odious offerings, and adore the gods 
Whom he had vanquish'd." 

This later theory would make him of Aramaic 
origin, but his cult appears to have been of very 
considerable antiquity in Assyria, and it might have 
been indigenous there. Moreover, the earliest men- 
tion of his worship is in the city of Asshur. As 
has been indicated, he was probably a storm-god 
or a thunder-and-lightning god, but he was also 
associated with the sun-god Shamash. But what- 
ever he may have been in Babylonia, in Assyria 
he was certainly the thunder-deity first and fore- 
most. 

A Babylonian text of some antiquity contains a 
really fine hymn to Ramman, which might be para- 
phrased as follows, omitting redundancies : — 

" O lord Ramman, thy name is the great and 
glorious Bull, child of heaven, lord of Karkar, lord 
of plenty, companion of the lord Ea. He that 
rideth the great lion is thy name. Thy name doth 
charm the land, and covers it like a garment. Thy 
thunder shakes even the great mountain, En-lil, 



RAMMAN 

and when thou dost rumble the mother Nin-lil 
trembles. Said the lord En-lil, addressing his son 
Ramman : ' son, spirit of wisdom, with all-seeing 
eyes and high vision, full of knowledge as the Pleiades, 
may thy sonorous voice give forth its utterance. 
Go forth, go up, who can strive with thee ? The 
father is with thee against the cunning foe. Thou 
art cunning in wielding the hail-stones great and 
small. Oh, with thy right hand destroy the enemy 
and root him up ! ' Ramman hearkened to the 
words of his father and took his way from the dwell- 
ing, the youthful lion, the spirit of counsel." 

In later times in Babylonia Ramman seems to h-ave 
typified the rain of heaven in its beneficent as well as 
its fertilizing aspect. Not only did he irrigate the 
fields and fill the wells with water, but he was also 
accountable for the dreadful tempests which sweep 
over Mesopotamia. Sometimes he was malevolent, 
causing thorns to grow instead of herbs. The people, 
if they regarded him in some measure as a fertilizing 
agent, also seem to have looked upon him as a destruc- 
tive and lion-like deity quite capable of desolating 
the country-side and ' eating up the land.' His 
roar is typical of him, filling all hearts with affright 
as it does, and signifying famine and destruction. 
It is not strange that Mesopotamian regions should 
have had so many deities of a destructive tendency 
when we think of the furious whirlwinds which 
frequently rush across the face of the land, raising 
sand-storms and devastating everything in their track. 
Ramman was well likened to the roaring lion, 
seeking what he may devour, and this seems to have 
symbolized him in the eyes of the peasant population 
of the land. Indeed, the Assyrians, impressed by his 
destructive tendencies, made a war-god of him, and 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

considered his presence as essential to victory. No 
wonder that the great god of storm made a good 
war-god ! 

Shamash 

The cult of Shamash in Assyria dates from at least 
1340 B.C., when Pudilu built a temple to this god 
in the city of Asshur. He entitled Shamash ' The 
Protecting Deity,' which name is to be understood 
as that of the god of justice, whose hat 'is unchange- 
able, and in this manner Shamash differed somewhat 
from the Babylonian idea concerning him. In the 
southern kingdom he was certainly regarded as a just 
god., but not as the god of justice — a very different 
thing. It is interesting as well as edifying to watch 
the process of evolution of a god of justice. Thus in 
Ancient Mexico Tezcatlipoca evolved from a tribal 
deity into a god who was beginning to bear all the 
marks and signs of a god of justice when the con- 
quering Spaniards put an end to his career. We 
observe, too, that although the Greeks had a special 
deity whose department was justice, other divinities, 
such as Pallas Athene, displayed signs that they in 
time might possibly become wielders of the balances 
between man and man. In the Egyptian heavenly 
hierarchy Maat and Thoth both partook of the attri- 
butes of a god of justice, but perhaps Maat was the 
more directly symbolical of the two. Now in the 
case of Shamash no favours can be obtained from 
him by prayer or sacrifice unless those who supplicate 
him, monarchs though they be, can lay claim to 
righteousness. Even Tiglath-pileser I, mighty con- 
queror as he was, recognized Shamash as his judge, 
and, naturally, as the judge of his enemies, whom he 
destroys, not because they are fighting against Tiglath, 
222 







\ 




.^n 




y^^ 


-'^t , 




^ 
\ 




Assur-nazir-pal attended by a Winged Mythological Be 

Bas-relief from the north-western palace at 
Nimriid 

Photo W. A. Manscll and Co. 



SIN IN THE NORTHERN LAND 

but because of their wickedness. When he set cap- 
tives free Tiglath took care to perform the gracious 
act before the face of Shamash, that the god might 
behold that justice dwelt in the breast of his royal 
servant. Tiglath, in fact, is the viceroy of Shamash 
upon earth, and it would seem as if he referred many 
cases regarding whose procedure he was in doubt to 
the god before he finally pronounced upon them. 

Both Assur-nazir-pal and Shalmaneser II exalted 
the sun-cult of Shamash, and it has been suggested 
that the popularity of the worship of Ra in Egypt had 
reflected upon that of Shamash in Assyria. It must 
always be extremely difficult to trace such resem- 
blances at an epoch so distant as that of the ninth 
century B.C. But certainly it looks as if the Ra cult 
had in some manner influenced that of the old Baby- 
lonian sun-god. Sargon pushed the worship of 
Shamash far to the northern boundaries of Assyria, 
for he built a sanctuary to the deity beyond the 
limits of the Assyrian Empire — where, precisely, we 
do not know. Amongst a nation of warriors a god 
such as Shamash must have been valued highly, for 
without his sanction they would hardly be justified 
in commencing hostilities against any other race. 

Sin in the Northern Land 

We do not find Sin, the Babylonian moon-god, 
extensively worshipped in Assyria. Assur-nazir- 
pal founded a temple to him in Calah, and Sargon 
raised several sanctuaries to him beyond the Assyrian 
frontier. It is as a war-god chiefly that we find him 
depicted in the northern kingdom — why, it would 
be difficult to say, unless, indeed, ,it was that the 
Assyrians turned practically all the deities they 
borrowed from other peoples into war-gods. So far 

223 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

as is known, no lunar deity in any other pantheon 
possesses a military significance. Several are not 
without fear-inspiring attributes, but these are 
caused chiefly by the manner in which the moon is 
regarded among primitive peoples as a bringer of 
plague and blight. But we find Sin in Assyria 
freed from all the astrological significances which he 
had for the Babylonians. At the same time he is 
regarded as a god of wisdom and a framer of decisions, 
in these respects equating very fully with the Egyptian 
Thoth. Assur-bani-pal alludes to Sin as ' the first- 
born son of Bel,' just as he is alluded to in Baby- 
lonian texts, thus affording us a clue to the direct 
Babylonian origin of Sin. 

Nusku of the Brilliant Sceptre 

It is strange that although we know that Nusku 
had been a Babylonian god from early times, and had . 
figured in the pantheon of Khammurabi, it is not 
until Assyrian times that we gain any very definite 
information regarding him. The symbols used in 
his name are a sceptre and a stylus, and he is called 
by Shalmaneser I ' The Bearer of the Brilliant 
Sceptre.' This circumstance associates him closely 
with Nabu, to designate whom the same symbols are 
employed. It is difficult, however, to believe that 
the two are one, as some writers appear to think, 
for Nusku is certainly a solar deity, while Nabu 
appears to have originally been a water-god. There 
are, however, not wanting cases where the same 
deity has evinced both solar and aqueous character- 
istics, and these are to be found notably among the 
gods of American races. Thus among the Maya of 
Central America the god Kukulcan is depicted with 
both solar and aqueous attributes, and similar 
224 



PRISONER^GODS 

Instances could be drawn from lesser-known myth- 
ologies. Nusku and Nabu are, however, probably 
connected in some way, but exactly in wha't 
manner is obscure. In Babylonian times Nusku 
had become amalgamated with Gibil, the god of 
fire, which perhaps accounts for his virtual efface- 
ment in the southern kingdom. In Assyria we find 
him alluded to as the messenger of Bel-Merodach, 
and Assur-bani-pal addresses him as ' the highly 
honoured messenger of the gods.' The Assyrians 
do not seem to have identified him in any way with 
Gibil, the fire-god. 

BeI'Merodach 

Even Bel-Merodach was absorbed into the Assyrian 
pantheon. To the Assyrians, Babylonia was the 
country of Bel, and they referred to their southern 
neighbours as the ' subjects of Bel.' This, of course, 
must be taken not to mean the older Bel, but Bel-Mero- 
dach. They even alluded to the governor whom they 
placed over conquered Babylonia as the governor of 
Bel, so closely did they identify the god with the 
country. It is only in the time of Shalmaneser II — 
the ninth century b.c. — that we find the name Mero- 
dach employed for Bel, so general did the use of the 
latter become. Of course ^it was impossible that 
Merodach could take first' place in Assyria as he 
had done in Babylonia, but it was a tribute to the 
Assyrian belief in his greatness that they ranked him 
immediately after Asshur in the pantheon. 

Prisoner'Gods 

The Assyrian rulers were sufficiently politic to 

award this place to Merodach, for they could not but 

see that Babylonia, from which they drew their arts 

p 225 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

and sciences, as well as their religious beliefs, and 
from which they benefited in many directions, must 
be worthily represented in the national religion. And 
just as the Romans in conquering Greece and Egypt 
adopted many of the deities of these more cultured 
and less powerful lands, thus seeking to bind the 
inhabitants of the conquered provinces more closely 
to themselves, so did the Assyrian rulers believe that, 
did they incorporate Merodach into their hierarchy, 
he would become so Assyrian in his outlook as to 
cease to be wholly Babylonian, and would doubtless 
work in favour of the stronger kingdom. In no other 
of the religions of antiquity as in the Assyrian was 
the idea so powerful that the god of the conquered 
or subject people should become a virtual prisoner 
in the land of the conquerors, or should at least be 
absorbed into their national worship. Some of the 
Assyrian monarchs went so far as to drag almost 
every petty idol they encountered on their conquests 
back to the great temple of Asshur, and it is obvious 
that they did not do this with any intention of up- 
rooting the worship of these gods in the regions they 
conquered, but because they desired to make political 
prisoners of them, and to place them in a temple- 
prison, where they would be unable to wreak venge- 
ance upon them, or assist their beaten worshippers 
to war against them in the future. 

It may be fitting at this point to emphasize how 
greatly the Assyrian people, as apart from their 
rulers, cherished the older beliefs of Babylonia. Both 
peoples were substantially of the same stock, and 
any movement which had as its object the destruc- 
tion of the Babylonian religion would have met with 
the strongest hostility from the populace of Assyria. 
Just as the conquering Aztecs seem to have had 
226 



THE ASSYRIAN BEL AND BELIT 

immense reverence for the worship of the Toltecs, 
whose land they subdued, so did the less cultivated 
Assyrians regard everything connected, with Babylonia 
as peculiarly sacred. The Kings of Assyria, in fact, 
were not a little proud of being the rulers of Baby- 
lonia, and were extremely mild in their treatment of 
their southern subjects — very much more so, in fact, 
than they were in their behaviour toward the people 
of Elam or other conquered territories. We even 
find the kings alluding to themselves as being nomi- 
nated by the gods to rule over the land of Bel. 

The Assyrian monarchs strove hard not to disturb 
the ancient Babylonian cult, and Shalmaneser II, 
when he had conquered Babylonia, actually entered 
Merodach's temple and sacrificed to him. 

The Assyrian Bel and Belit 

As for Bel, whose place Merodach usurped in the 
Babylonian pantheon, he was also recognized in 
Assyria, and Tiglath-pileser I built him a temple in 
his city of Asshur. Tiglath prefixes the adjective 
* old ' to the god's name to show that he means Bel, 
not Bel-Merodach. Sargon, too, who had anti- 
quarian tastes, also reverts to Bel, to whom he 
alludes as the * Great Mountain,' the name of the 
god following immediately after that of Asshur. Bel 
is also invoked in connexion with Anu as a granter 
of victory. His consort Belit, although occasionally 
she is coupled with him, more usually figures as the 
wife of Asshur, and almost as commonly as a variant 
of Ishtar. In a temple in the city of Asshur, 
Tiglath-pileser I made presents to Belit consisting 
of the images of the gods vanquished by him in 
his various campaigns. Assur-bani-pal, too, re- 
garded Belit as the wife of Asshur, and him- 
p 2 227 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

self as their son, alluding to Belit as ' Mother of 
the Great Gods,' a circumstance which would go 
to show that, like most of the Assyrian kings, his 
egoism rather overshadowed his sense of humour. 
In Assur-bani-pal's pantheon Belit is placed close 
by her consort Asshur. But there seems to have 
been a good deal of confusion between Belit and 
Ishtar because of the general meaning of the word 
Belit. 

Nabu and Merodach 

As in Babylonia so in Assyria, Nabu and Merodach 
were paired together, often as Bel and Nabu. Especi- 
ally were they invoked when the affairs of Babylonia 
were being dealt with. In the seventh century B.C. 
we find the cult of Nabu in high popularity in Assyria, 
and indeed Ramman-Nirari III appears to have 
made an attempt to advance Nabu considerably. 
He erected a temple to the god at Calah, and granted 
him many resounding titles. But even so, it does 
not seem that Ramman-Nirari intended to exalt 
Nabu at the expense of Asshur. Indeed it would 
have been impossible for him to have done so if he had 
desired to. Asshur was as much the national god of 
the Assyrian people as Osiris was of the Egyptians. 
Nabu was the patron of wisdom, and protector of the 
arts ; he guided the stylus of the scribe ; and in these 
attributes he is very close to the Egyptian Thoth, 
and almost identical with another Babylonian god, 
Nusku, alluded to on pages 224, 225. Sargon calls 
Nabu ' the Seer who guides the gods,' and it would 
seem from some notices of him that he was also 
regarded as a leader of heavenly or spiritual forces. 
Those kings who were fond of erudition paid great 
devotion to Nabu, and many of the tablets in 
228 



LESSER GODS 

their literary collections close with thanksgiving to 
him for having opened their ears to receive wisdom. 

Ea _ 

Ea was of course accepted^Tinto the Assyrian 
pantheon because of his membership in the old 
Assyrian triad, but he was also regarded as a god of 
wisdom, possibly because of his venerable reputation ; 
and we find him also as patron of the arts, and 
especially of building and architecture. Threefold 
was his power of direction in this respect. The great 
Colossi, the enormous winged bulls and mythological 
figures which flanked the avenues leading to the 
royal places, the images of the gods, and, lastly, the 
greater buildings, were all examples of the archi- 
tectural art of which he was the patron. 

Dibbarra 

Another Babylonian deity who was placed in the 
ranks of the Assyrian pantheon was Dibbarra, the 
plague-god, who can only be called a god through a 
species of courtesy, as he partook much more of a 
demoniac character, and was at one time almost 
certainly an evil spirit. We have already alluded 
to the poem in which he lays low people and armies 
by his violence, and it was probably from one of 
the texts of this that Assur-bani-pal conceived the 
idea that those civilians who had perished in his 
campaigns against Babylonia had been slaughtered 
by Dibbarra. 

Lesser Gods 

Some of the lesser Babylonian gods, like Damku 
and Sharru-Ilu, seem to have attracted a passing 
interest to themselves, but as little can be found 

229 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

concerning them in Babylonian texts, it is scarcely 
necessary to take much notice of them in such a 
chapter as this. Most probably the Assyrians ac- 
cepted the Babylonian gods on the basis not only 
of their native reputation, but also of the occur- 
rence of their names in the ancient religious texts, 
with which their priests were thoroughly acquainted, 
and though, broadly speaking, they accepted prac- 
tically the whole of the Babylonian religion and 
its gods in entirety, there is no doubt that some of 
these by their very natures and attributes appealed 
more to them than others, and therefore possessed 
a somewhat different value in their eyes from that 
assigned to them by the more peace-loving people 
of the southern kingdom. 




Procession of Gods 
Rock-relief at Malatia (Anti-Taurus range). Order from right 
to left : Asshur, Ishtar, Sin, En-lil, Shamash, Adad, and Ishtar 
of Arbela. — From Religious Belief and Practice in Babylonia 
and Assyria, by Prof. Jastrow (G. P. Putnam's Sons). 



230 



CHAPTER VIII: BABYLONIAN STAR^ 
WORSHIP 

A NCIENT Chaldea was undoubtedly the birth- 
/ \ place of that mysterious science of astrology 
L V which was destined to exert such influence 
upon the European mind during the Middle Ages, 
and which indeed has not yet ceased to amuse the 
curious and flatter the hopes of the credulous. 
Whether any people more primitive than the Akka- 
dians had studied the movements of the stars it 
would indeed be extremely difflcult to say. This 
the Akkadians or Babylonians were probably the 
first to attempt. The plain of Mesopotamia is 
peculiarly suited to the study of the movements 
of the stars. It is level for the most part, and there 
are few mountains around which moisture can collect 
to obscure the sky. Moreover the climate greatly 
assists such observations. 

Like most primitive people the Babylonians origin- 
ally believed the stars to be pictures drawn on the 
heavens. At a later epoch they were described as 
the ' writing of heaven ' ; the sky was supposed to 
be a great vault, and the movements observed by 
these ancient astronomers were thought to be on the 
part of the stars alone. Of course it would be noticed 
at an early stage that some of the stars seemed fixed 
while others moved about. Lines were drawn between 
the various stars and planets, and the figures which 
resulted from these were regarded as omens. Again, 
certain groups or constellations were connected 
with such lines which led them to be identified with 
various animals, and in this we may observe the 
influence of animism. The Babylonian zodiac was, 
with the exception of the sign of Merodach, identified 

231 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

with the eleven monsters forming the host of Tiawath. 
Thus it would seem that the zodiacal system as a 
whole originated in Babylonia. The knowledge of 
the Chaldean astronomers appears to have been con- 
siderable, and it is likely that they were familiar 
with most of the constellations known to the later 
Greeks. 

Legend of the Origin of Staf'Worship and Idolatry 

The following legend is told regarding the origin of 
astrology by Maimonides, the famous Jewish rabbi 
and friend of Averroes, in his commentary on the 
Mischnah : 

" In the days of Enos, the son of Seth, the sons of 
Adam erred with great error : and the council of 
the wise men of that age became brutish ; and Enos 
himself was of them that erred. And their error 
was this : they said, — Forasmuch as God hath 
created these stars and spheres to govern the world, and 
hath set them on high, and hath imparted honour 
unto them, and they are ministers that minister 
before Him, it is meet that men should laud and 
glorify and give them honour. For this is the will of 
God that we laud and magnify whomsoever He magni- 
fieth and honoureth, even as a king would honour 
them that stand before him. And this is the honour 
of the king himself. When this thing was come up 
into their hearts they began to build temples unto 
the stars, and to offer sacrifice unto them, and to 
laud and magnify them with words, and to worship 
before them, that they might, in their evil opinion, 
obtain favour of their Creator. And this was the 
root of idolatry ; for in process of time there stood 
up false prophets among the sons of Adam, which said, 
that God had commanded them and said unto them, — 
232 



SPECULATIONS OF THE CHALDEANS 

Worship such a star, or all the stars, and do sacrifice 
unto them thus and thus ; and build a temple for it, 
and make an image of it, that all the people, women 
and children, may worship it. And the false prophet 
showed them the image which he had feigned out 
of his own heart, and said that it was the image of 
that star which was made known to him by prophecy. 
And they began after this manner to make images 
in temples, and under trees, and on the tops of moun- 
tains and hills, and assembled together and worshipped 
them ; and this thing was spread through all the world 
to serve images, with services different one from 
another, and to sacrifice unto and worship them. 
So, in process of time, the glorious and fearful Name 
was forgotten out of the mouth of all living, and 
out of their knowledge, and they acknowledged Him 
not. And there was found on earth no people that 
knew aught, save images of wood and stone, and 
temples of stone which they had been trained up 
from their childhood to worship and serve, and to 
swear by their names ; and the wise men that were 
among them, the priests and such like, thought that 
there was no God save the stars and spheres, for 
whose sake, and in whose likeness^ they had made 
these images ; but as for the Rock Everlasting, there 
was no man that did acknowledge Him or know Him 
save a few persons in the world, as Enoch, Methusaleh, 
Noah, Shem, and Heber. And in this way did the 
world work and converse, till that pillar of the 
world, Abram our father, was born." 

Speculations of the Chaldeans 

To arrive at a proper comprehension of Babylonian 
religious doctrines it is necessary to understand the 
nature of the astrological speculations of the ancient 

233 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

Chaldeans. They recognized at an early period that 
eternal and unchangeable laws underlay planetary 
motion, and seem to have been able to forecast eclipses. 
Soon also did they begin to identify the several 
heavenly bodies with the gods. Thus the path of the 
sun was known as the ' way of Anu,' and the course 
of the moon and planets they determined with refer- 
ence to the sun's ecliptic or pathway. It is strange, 
too, that they should have employed the same 
ideograph for the word ' star ' and the word ' god,' 
the only difference being that in the case of a god they 
repeated the sign three times. If the sun and moon 
under animistic law are regarded as gods, it stands to 
reason that the stars and planets must also be looked 
upon as lesser deities. Indeed, poets still use such 
an expression regarding them as ' the host of heaven,' 
and we frequently encounter in classical authors the 
statement that the stars in their courses fought for 
such and such a person. This is tantamount to 
saying that the stars possess volition, and even 
although omens were looked for out of their move- 
ments, it may have been believed that these were the 
outcome of volition on the part of the stars them- 
selves as deities or deific individuals. Again we can 
see how the idea that the gods reside in ' heaven ' 
— that is, the sky — arose from early astrological 
conceptions. The gods were identified in many 
cases with the stars, therefore it is only natural to 
suppose that they resided in the sky-region. It is, 
indeed, one of the most difficult matters for even an 
intelligent and enlightened man in our enlightened 
age to dissociate the idea of God from a residence 
in the sky or ' somewhere up there.' 

The idea of space, too, must have assisted in such 
a conception as the residence of the gods in the upper 
234 



PLANETS IDENTIFIED WITH GODS 

regions of air. The earth would not be large enough 
for them, but the boundless vault above would afford 
them plenty of space in which to dwell. Again, the 
sun and moon being gods, it would be only natural 
for the other deities to dwell beside them, that is, in 
the ' heaven of Anu,' as the Babylonians called the 
sky. It has been suggested that the conception of a 
pantheon dwelling in the sky originated in theological 
processes forwarded by a school or priesthood, but 
there is no reason to suppose that this was so, and 
the possibilities are easily covered by the circum- 
stances of the animistic theory. 

Planets identified with Gods 

Jupiter, the largest of the planets, was identified 
with Merodach, head of the Babylonian pantheon. 
We find him exercising control over the other stars 
in the creation story under the name Nibir. Ishtar 
was identified with Venus, Saturn with Ninib, 
Mars with Nergal, Mercury with Nabu. It is more 
than strange that gods with certain attributes should 
have become attached to certain planets in more 
countries than one, and this illustrates the deep and 
lasting influence which Semitic religious thought 
exercised over the Hellenic and Roman theological 
systems. The connexion is too obvious and too 
exact not to be the result of close association. There 
are, indeed, hundreds of proofs to support such a 
theory. Who can suppose, for example, that Aphro- 
dite is any other than Ishtar ? The Romans identified 
their goddess Diana with the patroness of Ephesus. 
There are, indeed, traces of direct relations of the 
Greek goddess with the moon, and she was also, like 
Ishtar, connected with the lower world and the sea. 
The Greeks had numerous and flourishing colonies 

235 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

in Asia Minor in remote times, and these probably 
assisted in the dissemination of Asiatic and especially 
Babylonian lore. 

The sun was regarded as the shepherd of the stars, 
and Nergal, the god of destruction and the under- 
world, as the ' chief sheep,' probably because the 
ruddy nature of his light rendered him a most con- 
spicuous object. Anu is the Pole Star of the ecliptic, 
Bel the Pole Star of the equator, while Ea, in the 
southern heavens, was identified with a star in the 
constellation Argo. Fixed stars were probably 
selected for them because of their permanent and 
elemental nature. The sun they represented as riding 
in a chariot drawn by horses, and we frequently 
notice that the figure representing the luminary on 
Greek vases and other remains wears the Phrygian 
cap, a typically Asiatic and non-Hellenic head-dress, 
thus assisting proof that the idea of the sun as a 
charioteer possibly originated in Babylonia. Lunar 
worship, or at least computation of time by the phases 
of the moon, frequently precedes the solar cult, and 
we find traces in Babylonian religion of the former 
high rank of the moon-god. The moon, for example, 
is not one of the flock of sheep under guidance of the 
sun. The very fact that the calendar was regulated 
by her movements was sufficient to prevent this. 
Like the Red Indians and other primitive folk, the 
Babylonians possessed agricultural titles for each 
month, but these periods were also under the direct 
patronage of some god or gods. Thus the first month, 
Nizan, is sacred to Anu and Bel ; and the second, lyar, 
to Ea. Siwan is devoted to Sin, and as we approach 
the summer season the solar gods are apportioned 
to various months. The sixth month is sacred to 
Ishtar, and the seventh to Shamash, great god of the 
236 



PLANETS IDENTIFIED WITH GODS 

sun. Merodach rules over the eighth, and Nergal 
over the ninth month. The tenth, curiously enough, 
is sacred to a variant of Nabu, to Anu, and to Ishtar. 
The eleventh month, very suitably, to Ramman, the 
god of storms, and the last month, Adar, falling 
within the rainy season, is presided over by the 
seven evil spirits. 

None of the goddesses received stellar honours. 
The names of the months were probably quite 
popular in origin. Thus we find that the first month 
was known as the ' month of the Sanctuary,' the 
third as the ' period of brick-making,' the fifth as 
the * fiery month,' the sixth as the ' month of the 
mission of Ishtar,' referring to her descent into the 
realms of Allatu. The fourth month was designated 
' scattering seed,' the eighth that of the opening of 
dams, and the ninth was entitled ' copious fertility,' 
while the eleventh was known as ' destructive rain.' 

We find in this early star-worship of the ancient 
Babylonians the common origin of religion and science. 
Just as magic partakes in some measure of the nature 
of real science (for some authorities hold that it is 
pseudo-scientific in origin) so does religion, or perhaps 
more correctly speaking, early science is very closely 
identified with religion. Thus we may believe that 
the religious interest in their early astronomy spurred 
the ancient star-gazers of Babylonia to acquire more 
knowledge concerning the motions of those stars and 
planets which they believed to be deities. We find 
the gods so closely connected with ancient Chaldean 
astronomy as to be absolutely identified with it in 
every way. A number was assigned to each of the 
chief gods, which would seem to show that they were 
connected in some way with mathematical science. 
Thus Ishtar's number is fifteen ; that of Sin, her 

237 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

father, is exactly double that. Anu takes sixty, and 
Bel and Ea represent fifty and forty. Ramman is 
identified with ten. 

It would be idle in this place to attempt further 
to outline astrological science in Babylonia, con- 
cerning which our knowledge is vague and scanty. 
Much remains to be done in the way of research be- 
fore anything more definite can be written about it, 
and many years may pass before the workers in 
this sphere are rewarded by the discovery of texts 
bearing on Chaldean star-lore. 



238 



CHAPTER IX: THE PRIESTHOOD, 
CULT, AND TEMPLES 

AT an early period in Babylonian history the 
ZA priesthood and kingship were blended in 
L \. one office, and it is not until after several 
centuries from the beginnings of Babylonian history 
as we know it that the two offices were separated. 
Indeed, long afterward the monarchs of Babylonia 
and Assyria appear to have taken especial pleasure 
in styling themselves the priests of such and such a 
deity, and in all likelihood they personally officiated 
at the altars of the gods on occasions of high reli- 
gious sanctity. The priesthood in general was called 
shangu, which may mean ' sacrificer,' and there is 
little doubt that at first, as among other peoples, the 
Babylonian priest was practically a medicine-man. 
It was his business to secure people from the attacks 
of the evil demons who caused disease and the wiles 
of witches, and to forecast the future and discover 
the will and intentions of the gods. It is quite clear 
how such an official as this came to be known as the 
' sacrificer,' for it would seem that the best way to 
find favour with the gods was to make offerings to 
them through an accredited intermediary. Indeed 
the early priesthood of Babylonia appears to have 
been as much magical as religious, and we read of 
the makhkhu, or soothsayer, the mushelu, or necro- 
mancer, the asipu, or sorcerer, and the mashmashu, 
or charmer, whose especial functions are probably 
outlined in their several titles. 

But as civilization proceeded and theological 
opinion took shape, religious ceremonial began to 
take the place of what was little better than sorcery. 
It has been said that magic is an attempt to force the 

239 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

hands of the gods, to overawe them, whereas religion 
is an appeal to their protective instincts. Now 
when the feeling began to obtain that there was such 
a quality as justice in the universe, and when the 
idea of just gods had an acceptance among the people 
through the instruction of thinking theologians, the 
more vulgar practices of the sorcerer-priests fell 
out of favour with the upper classes, if not with the 
populace, and a more imposing ceremonial took the 
place of mere incantation. Besides, being founded 
on the idea of mercy as opposed to mere power, 
religion has invariably recommended itself, politi- 
cally speaking, to the class of mind which makes for 
immediate and practical progress as apart from 
that which seeks to encourage mere speculation. 
As the ritual grew the necessity for new branches 
of the priesthood was discovered. At the head of 
the priestly organization was the shangan-makhu, 
and each class of priests had its chief as well. The 
priests were a caste, — that is, it is probable 
that the right to enter the priesthood was vested 
in certain families, but many young men were 
educated by the priests who did not in after life 
exercise their functions, but who became scribes or 
lawyers. 

As in the case of most primitive religions, the day 
of the priest was carefully subdivided. It was made 
up of three watches, and the night was divided into 
a similar number of watches. Three relays of priests 
thus officiated through the day and three through the 
night. 

Priestesses were also known in Babylonia, and 
many references are made in the texts to the ' sacred 
women.' Some of these were exorcisers, and others, 
like the, Greek pythonesses, presided at oracular 
240 



SACRIFICES 

shrines. The cult of Ishtar in especial had many 
attendant priestesses, and these were of several 
classes. 

Sacrifices 

Like the other Semitic peoples the Babylonians 
attached great importance to the question of sacrifices. 
Professor Robertson Smith has put it on record in 
his Religion of the Semites, that sacrifice among 
that race was regarded as a meal shared between 
the worshipper and the deity. This view of sacri- 
fice is almost world-wide among peoples in the 
higher stages of barbarism if not in those of 
savagery. 

There is no source from which we can definitely 
discover the exact manner of Babylonian and Assyrian 
sacrifices. As civilization advanced what was in- 
tended for the god almost invariably went for the 
use of the temple. Certain parts of the animal 
which were not fit to eat were burned to the glory 
of the deity. The blood of the animal may, however, 
have been regarded as more directly pleasing to the 
gods, and was probably poured out upon the altar. 
This practice is distinctly of magical origin. The 
wizard believes that the dead, demons, and super- 
natural beings in general have a special desire for 
blood, and we remember Homer's vivid description 
of how, when the trench was cut and the blood of the 
victims poured therein, the shadowy presentments 
of the dead flocked about it and devoured the steam 
arising from the sacrifice. In some cults blood alone 
is offered to the gods, and perhaps the most striking 
instance of this is afforded by the religion of ancient 
Mexico, in which blood was regarded as the pabulum 
or food of the gods, and the body of the victim as 
Q 241 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

the ceremonial corpse of the deity to be eaten by 
his worshippers. 

The Temples of Babylonia and Assyria 

The temple-building phase is characteristic of 
Babylonian religion from an early stage. More than 
3000 years before the final extinction of the cult we 
find places of worship being raised in the Euphrates 
Valley. Even in later times these Babylonian 
structures would appear to have been built for 
practical rather than aesthetic purposes, and in the 
early part of the temple-building epoch they were 
of the crudest description, mere rude structures of 
brick, without an attempt at architectural elabora- 
tion. An early ideal was to reproduce in miniature 
the ' mountain of all lands ' — Khursag-kurkura, 
the birthplace of the gods — and to this end the 
temple was erected on a mountain-like heap of earth. 
To the primitive one-storied building other stories 
came to be added, till in pursuit of a general ideal 
of height they came to be veritable Towers of Babel, 
aspiring to reach to heaven. These zikkurats, or 
staged towers, as they have been called, were built 
of brick, and were quadrangular in form, their four 
sides facing north, south, east, and west respectively. 
Their sombre and unlovely appearance was relieved 
to some extent by the use of brilliant colourings, but 
in neither form nor colour need we look for any 
particular artistic interest, nor any especial religious 
or other symbolism, though attempts have been 
made both in later Babylonian and in our own times 
to find astrological interpretations of these. By and 
by the zikkurat ^came to be more of a 'high-place' 
than a temple, the altars and sanctuary proper being 
disposed about its base. 
242 



£ >,,a — », 



•itf^ 




w 



i % 



.h^ 



'A^i^*-. i i 




1 



/-- 


., -"-^ 


1 




/'" 


"• 


1 

J 








i 


^ 


I. Zikkurats of the A 
2. Stage-tower 


nu-Adad at 
at Samarra 


Ashur 


I'rom Religious Belief n ml 

and Assyria, by Profcs 

By permission of Messrs 


: Practice ii 
■.^OT Jlorris 
G P Putt 


1 Bab 
Jastr 


yUjnia. 

Sons 
242 



TEMPLES OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

With this development of the temple area a new 
phase was inaugurated. Huge courts were built, 
supported by brick columns, and enclosing all the 
various buildings connected with the cult of the deity 
to whom the temple was dedicated. These courts, 
which were for the most part open to the sky, covered 
a large area — as much, perhaps, as ten or twelve 
acres in some cases. Brick was still the material 
employed in their structure, though wood was used 
for gateways and for roofs for the smaller temples. 
As time went on they became more richly decorated, 
precious metals and woods were imported for their 
adornment, and draperies and coloured bricks were 
employed with more or less aesthetic intent. In 
some Assyrian temples stone columns were employed. 
The interior of the temple proper consisted of a central 
hall, a ' holy of holies,' wherein was set the statue of 
the god in whose honour the sanctuary was built, and 
an assembly-room where the gods of the pantheon met. 

The temples of Babylonia resemble very closely 
those of ancient Mexico and Central America, for 
just as the Chaldean temple was evolved from the 
idea of the ' holy hill,' so was the Mexican teocalli, 
or ' house of God.' Originating probably in a rude 
mound of earth, the temple in both countries came 
through the march of civilization under the influence 
of architecture proper. In America there are still 
extant many links in the chain of evolution between 
the rude earth-mound and the carven teocalli, but 
in the case of Babylonia we have only inference to 
support the theory of such a development. This 
inference is, however, of a very powerful character. 
Commencing probably with a one-story structure, 
we find both the Mexican and Babylonian ' high 
places ' developing a second, then a third, fourth, 
Q 2 243 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

fifth, and even sixth stage in the case of Babylonia, 
and sometimes a fourth in the case of Mexico. 

A sharp distinction must be drawn between the 
Egyptian pyramid and the temples of Babylonia 
and Assyria. The pyramid of the Nile country was 
undoubtedly developed from the grave-mound, the 
cairn. It is the burial-place of a monarch, and has 
nothing whatever to do with religious worship. The 
zikkurats of Babylonia and the teocallis of Mexico, 
as their names imply, were unquestionably religious in 
origin, and had nothing whatsoever to do with burial. 

But one essential difference there was between 
them, and that is, that whereas in Mexico the teocallis 
seldom possessed interiors, this was very frequently 
the case with the temples of Babylonia. It is true 
that the Mexican temples had attached to them 
buildings called teopan^ but these appear to have 
been dwelling-places for the various grades of priests. 
In Babylonia, on the other hand, another descrip- 
tion of residence arose. This was the temple proper, 
apart from the zikkurat or tower. Most Babylonian 
cities had a definite religious quarter, and excava- 
tions have made us familiar to some extent with the 
plan and appearance of these. Perhaps the best 
known example is that at Nippur, the extent of 
which appears to have been about sixteen acres. 
A large court was lined with brick columns, and 
when excavated was found to have supported a 
wooden roof. Close to this was the building in 
which the temple records were kept. The people 
gathered for worship in a second court of sixty wooden 
columns with supports and capitals of metal, and 
there, in a basin specially built for the purpose, 
they made their ablutions before offering up sacrifice. 
At the eastern end of this courtyard was placed a 
241- 



TEMPLES OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

tent containing the ark. This kind of courtyard 
may be said to be characteristic of the Semitic 
worship, as there was undoubtedly such a structure 
in most Hebrew temples. This court of columns 
was surrounded by chambers which probably served 
the purpose of administrative ofhces and perhaps 
dwellings for the priests and attendants, or booths 
for the sale of sacrificial offerings. The training 
college for the younger priests was also within the 
temple area, as were the astronomical observatories, 
and around these gathered the learned of the district, 
just as they did in the temple at Jerusalem to dispute 
concerning religious matters and to split theological 
hairs. The Babylonian priests were also the lawyers 
of their period, and the courts of justice were probably 
hard by the temple. 

Many of these religious areas, as, for example, 
those at Babylon, Nippur, Sippar, and Ur, must have 
been so extensive as to have constituted what were 
in reality sacred cities. The whole was enclosed 
by a containing wall, and even the several divisions 
of the temple buildings were also surrounded by 
lesser walls. The material of which these edifices 
were built was the universal one of brick. In early 
days sun-dried brick was employed, but as its use 
resulted in the crumbling and speedy destruction 
of most of the edifices composed of it, kiln-dried 
bricks were substituted for it, and as these were 
often glazed their durability was much enhanced. 
The cement used to hold these together was common 
bitumen, found in great quantities in Babylonia, 
and the roof was usually built of wood, cedars from 
Lebanon being a favourite material for carpentering. 

From the restoration plans with which several 
explorers have furnished us we can judge how stately 

2|5 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

and striking the interior of many of the Babylonian 
temples must have been. The enamelled bricks, 
the highly-polished woodwork, the brilliant precious 
stones, the gold and silver inlaid on the walls and 
ceilings must indeed have dazzled the beholder. 
The Semites were prone to the use of bright colours, 
and as it was the aim of the architects to outshine 
the sun itself in their interiors, we can judge of the 
effect. Draperies and rugs were probably also lavishly 
used. The wooden gates were overlaid with bronze 
in high relief. Passing through them the worshipper 
must have been deeply affected by the wonderful 
play of colour and shadow combined in the mterior. 
The vastness of length and height would inspire 
him with deep awe, and the curtain screening the 
holy of holies would be for him the boundary betwixt 
the human and the divine. Behind this curtain was 
probably the statue of the god, and the chamber which 
contained this was known as the papakhu, which 
means ' shut off.' In all probability no one had 
access to it but the king and high religious officials. 
It was indeed the holy of holies. A stone tablet found 
at Sippar represents the god Shamash seated in such a 
chamber. He is sitting on a low throne, and before 
him is an altar containing a symbol of the sun-god. 
A monarch and priest stand before him. The decora- 
tion of such a chamber was lavish in the extreme, the 
floors, walls, and ceiling being inlaid with precious 
stones, and in some cases, as that of Merodach in 
the temple of Babylon, the statue and the altar 
in front of it were of solid gold. 

The Great Temple- Builders 

The history of temple-building in Babylonia begins 
at an early date. We find Sargon and Naram-sin 
246 



THE GREAT TEMPLE^BUILDERS 

calling themselves ' Builder of the Temple of En-lil in 
Nippur.' Gudea was probably the first potentate 
to achieve great results in temple-building. Kham- 
murabi was also active as a builder of sanctuaries. 
But besides planning the erection of new temples, 
the kings of Babylonia and Assyria appear to have 
been zealous in the restoration and improvement of the 
older temples in the land. Restoration was frequently 
necessary because of the fact that many of the older 
shrines had been built of sun-dried brick, which had 
not the same lasting power as the glazed brick dried 
in kilns used in later times. 

The Assyrian conquerors of Babylonia considered 
it their policy as well as their pleasure to restore many 
of the ancient shrines of the land they had subdued, 
and in doing so they frequently allude in their 
records to the age of the temple on which they are 
at work, sometimes providing us with a clue to the 
date of its foundation. In this way we can trace the 
history of some of these ancient buildings over a 
space of more than 3000 years. Such a sanctuary 
must have appeared to the Assyrian monarch who 
rebuilt it, as an edifice erected in the days of Solomon 
would seem to us. Thus in the times of the later 
Assyrian kings some of the older temples would have 
behind them a record as ancient as that of the temple 
at Jerusalem to-day ! 

The Assyrian restorers of these ancient fanes 
refer piously to their original builders. They care- 
fully unearthed the old foundation-stones, which they 
preserved, and clung tenaciously to the ritual which 
had been celebrated in the temples of Babylonia from 
very early times. 

There are many long lists of temples in existence, 
and, assuming that each god possessed his own shrine, 

247 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

hundreds of temples must have been scattered over 
the length and breadth of the northern and southern 
lands. These were probably much more numerous 
in Babylonia, which was older, and whose people 
exhibited a greater religious feeling. 

The Temple of E'Kur 

The oldest known temple in Babylonia was that 
of E-Kur at Nippur, sacred to En-lil. It was pro- 
bably founded somewhere about 4000 B.C., or even 
at an earlier date. Before the time of Sargon we 
find the rulers of Nippur embellishing the temple 
there. The climate of the place necessitated frequent 
repairs, and by reason of occasional popular revolu- 
tions the fabric received considerable damage. We 
find Urban about 2700 B.C. building a zikkurat in the 
temple area at Nippur, and a few centuries after- 
ward Bur-sin repairing this zikkurat and adding a 
new shrine. E-Kur saw numerous political changes, 
and when foreign dynasties ruled the land its im- 
portance waned somewhat. But later alien rulers 
shrewdly saw the advantage of restoring its rather 
tarnished splendour, and we find several kings of 
the Kassite dynasty {c. 1400 B.C.) so far honouring 
it as to place within its confines a votive object from 
Elam, which had originally been placed in the temple 
of Ishtar at Erech, whence it had been removed 
by an Elamite conqueror about 900 years before. 
This was almost as remarkable as if the Stone of 
Destiny, the Lia Fail, in Westminster Abbey were 
to be restored to its original seat in Ireland. 

The temple at Nippur was at this time dedicated 
to Bel before that deity was ousted by Merodach. 
Almost every one of the Kassite rulers made more 
or less costly additions to the temple at Nippur, and 
248 



UR THE MOON^CITY 

from their several inscriptions we can follow its 
history down to Assyrian times. About the twelfth 
century B.C. E-Kur yielded its supremacy to E-Sagila. 
It was sacked and partially destroyed, until later 
restored by Assyrian monarchs, who conscientiously 
re-decorated it and erected many new buildings 
within its area. But during the new Babylonian 
period it was once more sacked by order of southern 
rulers, and at the end of the seventh century b.c. 
its history comes to a close. Its site, however, did 
not lose its sanctity, for it was used as a cemetery 
and partially inhabited till the twelfth century a.d. 

The Brilliant House 

This outline of the history of E-Kur will serve for 
that of many other Babylonian temples. The temple 
of Shamash at Sippar, which was known as E-babbara, 
or the ' Brilliant House,' can be traced back as 
far as the days of Naram-Sin. This was also restored 
by monarchs of the Kassite dynasty, but the nomadic 
tribes, who ever threatened the peace of Babylonia, 
made an inroad, scattered the priesthood, and de- 
stroyed the great idol of Shamash. It was nearly 
500 years after this that the ' Brilliant House'' 
was restored to its former glory by Nabu-baliddin. 
Nebuchadrezzar rebuilt portions of the temple, as 
did the last King of Babylonia, Nabonidus, who 
scandalized the priests of Babylon by his preference 
for the worship of Shamash. 

Ur, the Moon-City 

We shall remember that one of the principal 
centres of the cult of the moon was at Ur, the city 
whence came Abram the Patriarch, and it is 
probable that he was originally a moon-worshipper. 

249 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

Another such centre of lunar adoration was Harran. 
These places were regarded as especially sacrosanct, 
as the moon-cult was more ancient than that of the 
sun, and was therefore looked upon with a greater 
degree of veneration. Both of these cities possessed 
temples to Sin, the moon-god, and in them astrology 
and stellar observation were enthusiastically carried 
on. Harran was more than once overrun by the 
fierce nomadic tribes of the desert, but its prestige 
survived even their destructive tendencies. 

The temple of E-anna at Erech, dedicated to 
Ishtar, was one of the most famous sanctuaries in 
Babylonia. It is alluded to in one of the creation 
legends, as were also the temples at Nippur, as ' The 
bright house of the gods.' 

The Twin Temples 

The temple of Merodach at E-Sagila and that of 
Nabu at E-Zida were inseparably associated, for a 
visit to one practically necessitated a visit to both. 
An original rivalry between the gods had ended in a 
species of amalgamation, and together they may be 
said to have symbolized the national religion of 
Babylonia. Indeed so great was their influence that 
it can scarcely be over-estimated. The theological 
thought of the country emanated from the schools 
which clustered around them, and they were the 
great literary centres of Babylonia, and thus the 
progenitors of Assyrian culture. 

Temples as Banks 

It was perhaps typical of the race that its places 
of worship should gradually "become great financial 
centres and the nuclei of trade and usury. Heavily 
endowed as they were by the kings of Babylonia 




Excavated Ruins of the Temple of E-Sagila 

The two walls in the centre mark the entrance to the passage, a 

quarter of a mile long, which connected the Tower of Babel 

with this temple 

Copyright by Underwood and Underwood, London 



FEASTS AND FESTIVALS 

and Assyria, and boasting immense wealth in lands, 
subsidies, and slaves, they also had at their com- 
mand an army of workmen and labourers. But 
their directors were also bankers and money-lenders, 
buyers and barterers of produce and manufactures 
of every kind, estate-agents and men of commerce 
generally. Sacred objects of every kind were on 
sale in the temple precincts, idols, votive offerings, 
amulets, and so forth. With what object did the 
priesthood of Babylonia pursue a commercial career ? 
It could scarcely have been one in which personal 
gain bulked largely, as the impersonal temple 
swallowed up all the profit. The cost of upkeep of 
such shrines must have been enormous, and when we 
think of the gorgeous nature of their interiors, and 
the costly character of the rich vessels and altars with 
which they were equipped, we can marvel no longer 
at what appears a degrading and unnecessary com- 
merce on the part of their priesthood. 

Feasts and Festivals 

Babylonian religious festivals were, as a rule, 
periods of jubilation and rejoicing. Each god had 
his own day of festival in the calendar. The first 
day of the year, or Zag-muku, was sacred to the goddess 
Bau. Gudea, who had made Nin-girsu his favourite, 
attempted to ' work him into ' this festival by uniting 
him in marriage with Bau, and he offers her marriage 
gifts on New Year's Day. But later the Zag-muku 
was transformed into a festival to Merodach. The 
circumstance that it was celebrated in the first month 
of the year shows that it did not originally belong 
to Merodach, whose month was Marcheshuan, the 
eighth. But it is eloquent of his popularity that 
the great New Year's feast should have been dedicated 

251 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

to him. It seems to have lasted for at least ten or 
twelve days. As has already been described, the 
union of Nabu and Merodach, father and son, was 
solemnly celebrated, Nabu piously paying a visit 
to his father's sanctuary. The other gods were sup- 
posed to assemble in spirit in Merodach's temple 
to witness the ceremony, and afterwards the priests 
of Merodach escorted the idol cf Nabu back to its 
shrine, themselves carrying the image of their deity. 
To behold this festival, which was celebrated with 
all possible magnificence, people flocked from all parts 
of Babylonia. The king, approaching the statue of 
the god, seized its hands in token of covenant, and 
in later times Assyrian monarchs, in order to legitima- 
tize themselves as rulers of Babylonia, went through 
this ceremony, which came to be recognized as duly 
fulfilling their claims to sovereignty in the southern 
land ; but whereas they went through the cere- 
mony once only, the kings of Babylonia celebrated it 
annually with the intensest possible devotion. 

The Chamber of Fates 

On the eighth day of the festival all the gods 
were thought to assemble in Merodach's ' Chamber 
of Fates,' to hearken to Merodach's decree concern- 
ing the fates of men for the ensuing year. This 
remarkable apartment was regarded as the repro- 
duction of the interior of the great mountain wherein 
the gods met in council, just as the zikkurat was 
thought to typify that mountain itself. It was 
situated in a special portion of the ' mountain ' 
known as the Ubshu-Kenna, and among its sacred 
names is one which may be translated ' brilliant 
chamber,' which shows that it must have been 
lavishly decorated. Ubshu-Kenna (or Upshukki- 
252 



LAMENTATION RITUALS 

naku) must be carefully distinguished from the 
' heaven ' proper of the Babylonian gods. It is 
situated in the east, in the Mountain of the Sunrise, 
not far from the edge of the world, where it was 
bounded by the waters of the great deep. It is, in 
fact, the ' brilliant chamber ' where the sun takes 
his rise. 

Lamentation Rituals 

On the occasion of any national or popular disaster, 
such as defeat in war, the appearance of a pestilence 
or an eclipse of the sun or moon, a certain formula 
of lamentation was gone through, which was thought 
to have the effect of lessening or averting the malign 
influence of evil powers, or the punitive measures 
of an angry god. This formula varied of course 
with the deity or demon who was considered to have 
caused the calamity. Many of these ancient lamen- 
tations are written in the Sumerian tongue, which 
witnesses to their great antiquity. From them it 
would seem that the Babylonians were of the opinion 
that if the people had in any way sinned, the gods 
averted their faces from them, and departing from 
their neighbourhood left them a prey to calamities 
of all kinds. A definite ritual accompanied these 
formulas, one of the provisions of which was fast- 
ing, and purification ceremonies of a very elaborate 
nature were also celebrated by the priests, probably 
in the hope of symbolically washing away the sin 
which had so offended the gods. 

The formula most in use in these propitiatory 
ceremonies was that which obtained in the sacred 
city of Nippur, and particularly in the temple of 
E-Kur. The monotony of these laments is typi- 
cal of ancient Semitic worship. They describe the 

253 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

disasters that have occurred, and piteously beg that 
the gods may be appeased. Only now and again 
in perusing them does a bright line or a picturesque 
phrase capture the eye and fire the imagination. 
A paraphrase of one of them may well characterize 
the whole. The god En-lil, shepherd of the dark- 
headed people, is implored to return to his city. 
He is entreated by the various names of his godhead, 
such as ' lord of lands,' ' lord of the faithful word,' 
' lord of self-created vision,' and so forth. Each 
separate part of the temple area is alluded to in the 
request that he will return — the great gate, the store- 
house, and the other religious departments. A touch- 
ing domestic picture is drawn of the deserted homes in 
the city ; where the woman could say to her young 
husband, " My husband," where she could say to the 
young child, " My child," where the maiden could 
say, " My brother," where the little girl could say, 
" My father," — there the little ones perish, there the 
great perish. In her banqueting-hall the wind holds 
revel, her streets are desolate. 

From some of the texts it would appear that the 
suppliants were ignorant of the sin they had com- 
mitted, and many so-called * penitential psalms ' 
are extant in which the stricken one appeals fervently 
to the gods to release him from the burden of his 
unknown sin. He weeps, and he is unable to restrain 
himself. He laments earnestly, and begs through 
the priest for the divine mercy. These appeals always 
end in the same way — that is, in the pious hope that 
the heart and liver of the god may be appeased. 
With the Babylonians, as with the modern Armenians, 
to whom they are perhaps related, the liver was 
regarded as the seat of the emotions. 

Occasionally a higher intellectual and ethical 
254 



THE TERROR OF ECLIPSE 

plane is reached by these prayers. " Men," says 
one of them, " are blind : which of them knows any- 
thing ? They do not even know good from evil." 
The god is fervently petitioned not to cast his servant 
off. He is in a deep morass, and he earnestly prays 
that the deity may take him by the hand, may 
change his sin to grace, and permit the wind to 
carry off his transgressions. 

The Terror of Eclipse 

The terror of eclipse of the sun or moon was a very 
real one to the ancient Babylonians. The tablet 
with the history of the seven evil gods or spirits, 
though much mutilated, gives us a hint of the attack 
made by them upon the moon. They dwelt in the 
lower part of heaven, and were rebellious in heart. 
Shaped like leopards, serpents, and angry beasts of 
prey, they went from city to city on the wings of an 
evil wind, destroying and smiting. And into the 
heaven of Anu they burst, but Bel and Ea took 
counsel, and set Sin the moon, Shamash the sun, and 
Ishtar the planet Venus in the lower part of heaven 
to govern and control it along with Anu. No 
sooner had this been accomplished than the seven 
evil spirits fiercely attacked the moon-god. But 
Bel saw the peril of Sin, and said to his attendant, 
the god Nusku, " Carry word of this thing to the 
ocean, to the god Ea." Ea heard the message, and 
called his son, the god Merodach. " Go, my son 
Merodach," quoth he, " enter into the shining Sin, 
who in heaven is greatly beset, and expel his enemies 
from heaven." It is impossible to decipher the 
context from the mutilated remains of the tablets, 
but we may take it for granted that the pious efforts 
of Merodach were rewarded with success. 

255 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

An eclipse to most primitive peoples means that 
the sun- or moon-god has either met with disaster 
or has withdrawn his face from his worshippers. The 
monthly waning of the moon made the ancients 
believe that it would be entirely blotted out unless 
the god was pacified. Thus if no eclipse took place 
it was considered that the efforts of priests and people 
had prevailed ; otherwise they were held to have 
failed, and panic ruled supreme. In a certain prayer 
Sin is adjured not to withhold his face from his 
people. The day of the monthly disappearance of 
the moon is called a day of distress, but a season 
of jubilee followed upon the advent of the new moon 
next day. 



256 



CHAPTER X : THE MAGIC AND DEMON. 
OLOGY OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

LIKE other primitive races the peoples of 
Chaldea scarcely discriminated at all between 
Jl religion and magic. One difference between 
the priest and the sorcerer was that the one employed 
magic for religious purposes whilst the other used it 
for his own ends. The literature of Chaldea— especi- 
ally its religious literature — teems with references 
to magic, and in its spells and incantations we see 
the prototypes of those employed by the magicians 
of mediaeval Europe. Indeed so closely do some 
of the Assyrian incantations and magical practices 
resemble those of the European sorcerers of the 
Middle Ages and of primitive peoples of the present 
day that it is difficult to convince oneself that they 
are of independent origin. 

In Chaldea as in ancient Egypt the crude and 
vague magical practices of primeval times received 
form and developed into accepted ritual, just as 
early religious ideas evolved into dogmas under 
the stress of theological controversy and opinion. 
As there were men who would dispute upon religious 
questions, so were there persons who would discuss 
matters magical. This is not to say that the terms 
' religion ' and 'jnagic ' possessed any well-defined 
boundaries for them. Nor is it at all clear that they 
do for us in this twentieth century. They overlap ; and 
it has long been the belief of the writer that their rela- 
tions are but represented by two circles which intersect 
one another and the areas of which partially coincide. 
The writer has outlined his opinions regarding 
the origin of magic in an earlier volume of this series,^ 
^ The Myths of Ancient Egypt. 

R 257 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

and has little to add to what he then wrote, except 
that he desires to lay stress upon the identification 
of early religion and magic. It is only when they 
begin to evolve, to branch out, that the two systems 
present differences. If there is any one circumstance 
which accentuates the difference more than another 
it is that the ethical element does not enter into 
magic in the same manner as it does into religion. 

That Chaldean magic was the precursor of European 
mediaeval magic as apart from popular sorcery and 
witchcraft is instanced not only by the similarity 
between the systems but by the introduction into 
mediaeval magic of the names of Babylonian and 
Assyrian gods and magicians. Again and again 
is Babylon appealed to even more frequently than 
Egypt, and we meet constantly with the names of 
Beelzebub, Ishtar (as Astarte), Baal, and Moloch, 
whilst the names of demons, obviously of Babylonian 
origin, are encountered in almost every work on the 
subject. Frequent allusions are also made to the 
' wise men ' and necromancers of Babylon, and to 
the ' star-gazers ' of Chaldea. The conclusion is irre- 
sistible that ceremonial magic, as practised in the 
Middle Ages, owed much to that of Babylon. 

Our information regarding Chaldean magic is much 
more complete than that which we possess concerning 
the magic of ancient Egypt. Hundreds of spells, incan- 
tations, and omen-inscriptions have been recovered, 
and these not only enlighten us regarding the class of 
priests who practised magic, but they tell us of the 
several varieties of demons, ghosts, and evil spirits ; 
they minutely describe the Babylonian witch and 
wizard, and they picture for us many magical cere- 
monies, besides informing us of the names of scores 
of plants and flowers possessing magical properties, of 
258 - 



THE ROOTS OF SCIENCE 

magical substances, jewels, amulets, and the like. 
Also they speak of sortilege or the divination of the 
future, of the drawing of magical circles, of the exor- 
cism of evil spirits, and the casting out of demons. 

The Roots of Science 

In these Babylonian magical records we have by 
far the most complete picture of the magic of the 
ancient world. It is a wondrous story that is 
told by those bricks and cylinders of stamped clay 
— the story of civilized man's first gropings for 
light. For in these venerable writings we must 
recognize the first attempts at scientific elucidation 
of the forces by which man is surrounded. Science, 
like religion, has its roots deep in magic. The 
primitive man believes implicitly in the efficacy of 
magical ritual. What it brings about once it can 
bring about again if the proper conditions be present 
and recognized. Thus it possesses for the barbarian 
as much of the element of certainty as the scientific 
process does for the chemist or the electrician. Given 
certain causes certain effects must follow. Surely, then, 
in the barbarous mind, magic is pseudo-scientific — of 
the nature of science. 

There appears a deeper gloom, a more ominous 
spirit of the ancient and the obscure in the magic 
of old Mesopotamia than in that of any other land. 
Its mighty sanctuaries, its sky-aspiring towers, 
seem founded upon this belief in the efficacy of the 
spoken spell, the reiterated invocation. Thousands 
of spirits various and grotesque, the parents of the 
ghosts and goblins of a later day, haunt the purlieus 
of the temple, battening upon the remains of sacri- 
fice (the leavings of the gorged gods), flit through 
the night-bound streets, and disturb the rest of the 
R 2 259 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

dwellers in houses. Demons with claw and talon, 
vampires, ghouls — all are there. Spirits blest and 
unblest, jinn, witch-hags, lemures, sorrowing un- 
buried ghosts. No type of supernatural being ap- 
pears to have been unknown to the imaginative 
Semites of old Chaldea. These must all be ' laid,' 
exorcised, or placated, and it is not to be marvelled 
at that in such circumstances the trade of the necro- 
mancer flourished exceedingly. The witch or wizard, 
however, the unprofessional and detached practitioner 
with no priestly status, must beware. He or she was 
regarded with suspicion, and if one fell sick of a strange 
wasting or a disease to which he could not attach 
a name, the nearest sorcerer, male or female, real or 
imaginary, was in all probability brought to book. 

Priestly Wizards 

There were at least two classes of priests who 
dealt in the occult — the baru, or seers, and the astpil, 
or wizards. The caste of the baru was a very ancient 
one, dating at least from the time of Khammurabi. 
The baru performed divination by consulting the 
livers of animals and also by observation of the 
flight of birds. We flnd many of the kings of Baby- 
lonia consulting this class of soothsayer. Sennacherib, 
for example, sought from the baru the cause of his 
father's violent death. The asipu, on the other hand, 
was the remover of taboo and bans of all sorts ; he 
chanted the rites described in the magical texts, 
and performed the ceremony of atonement. It is 

He that stilleth all to rest, that pacifieth all. 
By whose incantations everything is at peace. 

The gods are upon his right hand and his left, they 

are behind and before him. 

260 



PRIESTLY WIZARDS 

The wizard and the witch were known as Kassapti 
or KassapUt. These were the sorcerers or magicians 
proper, and that they were considered dangerous to 
the community is shown by the manner in which they 
are treated by the code of Khammurabi, in which it 
is ordained that he who charges a man with sorcery 
and can justify the charge shall obtain the sorcerer's 
house, and the sorcerer shall plunge into the river. 
But if the sorcerer be not drowned then he who 
accused him shall be put to death and the wrongly 
accused man shall have his house. 

A series of texts known as ' Maklu ' provides us, 
among other things, with a striking picture of the 
Babylonian witch. It tells how she prowls the streets, 
searching for victims, snatching love from handsome 
men, and withering beauteous women. At another 
time she is depicted sitting in the shade of the wall 
making spells and fashioning images. The suppliant 
prays that her magic may revert upon herself, that 
the image of her which he has made, and doubtless 
rendered into the hands of the priest, shall be burnt 
by the fire-god, that her words may be forced back 
into her mouth. " May her mouth be fat, may her 
tongue be salt," continues the prayer. The haltappen- 
pla7it along with sesame is sent against her. " 0, 
witch, like the circlet of this seal may thy face grow 
green and yellow ! " 

An Assyrian text says of a sorceress that her 
bounds are the whole world, that she can pass over 
all mountains. The writer states that near his door 
he has posted a servant, on the right and left of his 
door has he set Lugalgirra and Allamu, that they 
might kill the witch. 

The library of Assur-bani-pal contains many cunei- 
form tablets dealing with magic, but there are also 

261 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

extant many magical tablets of the later Babylonian 
Empire. These were known to the Babylonians by 
some name or word, indicative perhaps of the special 
sphere of their activities. Thus we have the Maklu 
('burning'), Surpu ('consuming'), Utukki limnuti 
(' evil spirits '), and Labartu (' witch-hag ') series, be- 
sides many other texts dealing with magical practices. 
The Maklu series deals with spells against witches 
and wizards, images of whom are to be consumed 
by fire to the accompaniment of suitable spells and 
prayers. The Surpu series contains prayers and 
incantations against taboo. That against evil spirits 
provides the haunted with spells which will exorcise 
demons, ghosts, and the powers of the air generally, 
and place devils under a ban. In other magical 
tablets the diseases to which poor humanity is prone 
are guarded against, and instructions are given on 
the manner in which they may be transferred to the 
dead bodies of animals, usually swine or goats. 

A Toothache Myth 

The Assyrian physician had perforce to be something 
of a demonologist, as possession by devils was held 
to be the cause of divers diseases, and we find incanta- 
tions sprinkled among prescriptions. Occasionally, 
too, we come upon the fag-end of a folk-tale or dip 
momentarily into myth, as in a prescription for the 
toothache, compounded of fermented drink, the 
plant sakilbir, and oil — probably as efficacious in 
the case of that malady as most modern ones are. 
The story attached to the cure is as follows : 

When Anu had created the heavens, the earth 
created the rivers, the rivers the canals, and the 
canals the marshes, which in turn created the worm. 
And the worm came weeping before Ea, saying, 
262 





'^it.\n 



Exorcising Demons of Disease 



From Religious UcUcf and Practice in Babylonia and Assyria 
Morris Jastrow 
By permission of Messrs G. P. Putnam's Sons 



THE WORD OF POWER 

" What wilt thou give me for my food, what wilt 
thou give me for my devouring ? " " I will give thee 
ripe figs," replied the god, " ripe figs and scented 
wood." " Bah," replied the worm, " what are ripe 
figs to me, or what is scented wood ? Let me drink 
among the teeth and batten on the gums that I 
may devour the blood of the teeth and the strength 
thereof." This tale alludes to a Babylonian super- 
stition that worms consume the teeth. 

The Word of Power 

As in Egypt, the word of power was held in great 
reverence by the magicians of Chaldea, who believed 
that the name, preferably the secret name, of a god 
possessed sufficient force in its mere syllables to defeat 
and scatter the hordes of evil things that surrounded 
and harassed mankind. The names of Ea and Mero- 
dach were, perhaps, most frequently used to carry de- 
struction into the ranks of the demon army. It was 
also necessary to know the name of the devil or person 
against whom his spells were directed. If to this 
could be added a piece of hair, or the nail-parings in 
the case of a human being, then special efficacy was 
given to the enchantment. But just as hair or nails 
were part of a man so was his name, and hence the 
great virtue ascribed to names in art-magic, ancient 
and modern. The name was, as it were, the vehicle 
by means of which the magician established a link 
between himself and his victim, and the Babylonians 
in exorcising sickness or disease of any kind were wont 
to recite long catalogues of the names of evil spirits 
and demons in the hope that by so doing they might 
chance to light upon that especial individual who 
was the cause of the malady. Even long lists of 
names of persons who had died premature deaths were 

263 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

often recited in order to ensure that they would not 
return to torment the living. 

Babylonian Vampires 

In all lands and epochs the grisly conception of the 
vampire has gained a strong hold upon the imagi- 
nation of the common people, and this was no less 
the case in Babylonia and Assyria than elsewhere. 
There have not been wanting those who believed that 
vampirism was confined to the Slavonic race alone, 
and that the peoples of Russia, Bohemia, and the 
Balkan Peninsula were the sole possessors of the 
vampire legend. Recent research, however, has ex- 
posed the fallacy of this theory and has shown that, 
far from being the property of the Slavs or even of 
Aryan peoples, this horrible belief is or was the pos- 
session of practically every race, savage or civilized, 
that is known to anthropology. The seven evil 
spirits of Assyria are, among other things, vampires 
of no uncertain type. An ancient poem which was 
chanted by them commences thus : 

Seven are they ! Seven are they !' 
In the ocean deep, seven are they ! 
Battening in heaven, seven are they ! 
Bred in the depths of the ocean ; 
Not male nor female are they. 
But are as the roaming wind-blast. 
No wife have they, no son can they beget ; 
Knowing neither mercy nor pity, 
They hearken not to prayer, to prayer. 
They are as horses reared amid the hills, 
The Evil Ones of Ea ; 
Throne-bearers to the gods are thev, 
They stand in the highway to befoul the path ; 
Evil are they, evil are they ! 
Seven are they, seven are they, 
Twice seven are they ! 
264 



BABYLONIAN VAMPIRES 

Destructive storms (and) evil winds are they, 

An evil blast that heraldeth the baneful storm, 

An evil blast, forerunner of the baleful storm. 

They are mighty children, mighty sons, 

Heralds of the Pestilence. 

Throne-bearers of Ereskigal, 

They are the flood which rusheth through the land. 

Seven gods of the broad earth, 

Seven robber(?)-gods are they. 

Seven gods of might, 

Seven evil demons. 

Seven evil demons of oppression. 

Seven in heaven and seven on earth. 

Spirits that minish heaven and earth, 

That minish the land, 

Spirits that minish the land. 

Of giant strength, 

Of giant strength and giant tread. 

Demons (like) raging bulls, great ghosts, 

Ghosts that break through all houses, 

Demons that have no shame, 

Seven are they ! 

Knowing no care, they grind the land like corn ; 

Knowing no mercy, they rage against mankind. 

They spill their blood hke rain, 

Devouring their flesh (and) sucking their veins. 

They are demons full of violence, ceaselessly devouring 
blood.^ 

This last line clearly indicates their character as 
vampires. They are akin to the Rakshasas of India 
or the arch-demons of Zoroastrianism. Such demons 
are also to be seen in the Polynesian tii, the Malayan 
hantu penyadin^ a dog-headed water-demon, and the 
kephu of the Karens, which under the form of a 
wizard's head and stomach devours human souls. 

^ From Semitic Magic, by R. Campbell Thompson, p. 47 f. (By 
permission of Messrs Luzac and Co., London.) 

265 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

Tylor considers vampires to be " causes conceived in 
spiritual form to account for specific facts of wasting 
disease." Afanasief regards them as thunder-gods 
and spirits of the storm, who during winter slumber 
in their cloud-coffins to rise again in spring and draw 
moisture from the clouds. B^it this theory will 
scarcely recommend itself to anyone with even a 
slight knowledge of mythological science. The Abbe 
Calmet's difficulty in believing in vampires was that 
he could not understand how a spirit could leave its 
grave and return thence with ponderable matter in 
the form of blood, leaving no traces showing that the 
surface of the earth above the grave had been stirred. 
But this view might be solved by the occult theory 
of the ' precipitation of matter ' ! 

The Bible and Magic 

The earliest Biblical account of anything supposed 
to be connected with magic, is to be found in the 
history of Rachel. When with her sister Leah, and 
her husband Jacob, she had left the house of her 
father. " Rachel had stolen the images that were her 
father's. . . . Then Laban overtook Jacob . . . and 
Laban said . . . yet wherefore hast thou stolen my 
gods ? . . . and Jacob answered and said, With 
whomsoever thou findest thy gods, let him not live : 
before our brethren discern thou what is thine with 
me, and take it to thee. For Jacob knew not that 
Rachel had stolen them. And Laban went into 
Jacob's tent, and into Leah's tent, and into the two 
maid-servants' tent, but he found them not. Then 
went he out of Leah's tent and entered into Rachel's 
tent. Now Rachel had taken the images, and put 
them in the camel's furniture and sat upon them. 
And Laban searched all the tent, but found them not. 
266 



THE SPEAKING HEAD 

And she said to her father, Let it not displease my 
lord that I cannot rise up before thee. . . _. And he 
searched, but found not the images." This passage 
has given no little trouble to commentators ; but most 
of them seem to consider these teraphim or images as 
something of a magical nature. 

The Speaking Head 

The targum of Jonathan Ben Uzziel gives the follow- 
ing version : " And Rachel stole the images of her 
father ; for they had murdered a man, who was a 
first-born son, and, having cut off his head, they 
embalmed it with salt and spices, and they wrote 
divinations upon a plate of gold, and put it under his 
tongue and placed it against the wall, and it conversed 
with them, and Laban worshipped it. And Jacob 
stole the science of Laban the Syrian, that he might 
not discover his departure." 

The Persian translation gives us astrolabes instead 
of teraphim, and implies that they were instruments 
used for judicial astrology, and that Rachel stole 
them to prevent her father from discovering their 
route. At all events the teraphim were means of 
divination among believers and unbelievers ; they 
were known among the Egyptians and among 
Syrians. What makes it extremely probable that 
they were not objects of religious worship is, that 
it does not appear from any other passage of Scrip- 
ture that Laban was an idolater ; besides which 
Rachel, who was certainly a worshipper of the true 
God, took them, it seems, on account of their sup- 
posed supernatural powers. It must, however, be 
observed that some have supposed these teraphim 
to have been talismans for the cure of diseases ; and 
others, that being really idols, Rachel stole them 

267 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

to put a stop to her father's idolatry. There is a 
not very dissimilar account related (Judges xviii) 
of Micah and his teraphim, which seems sufficient 
to prove that the use of them was not considered 
inconsistent with the profession of the true religion. 

Gods once Demons 

Many of the Babylonian gods retained traces of 
their primitive demoniacal characteristics, and this 
applies to the great triad, Ea, Anu, and En-lil, who 
probably evolved into godhead from an animistic 
group of nature spirits. Each of these gods was 
accompanied by demon groups. Thus the disease- 
demons were ' the beloved sons of Bel,' the fates 
were the seven daughters of Anu, and the seven 
storm-demons the children of Ea. In a magical 
incantation describing the primitive monster form 
of Ea it is said that his head is like a serpent's, the 
ears are those of a basilisk, his horns are twisted into 
curls, his body is a sun-fish full of stars, his feet are 
armed with claws, and the sole of his foot has no 
heel. 

Ea was ' the great magician of the gods ' ; his 
sway over the forces of nature was secured by the 
performance of magical rites, and his services were 
obtained by human beings who performed requi- 
site ceremonies and repeated appropriate spells. 
Although he might be worshipped and propitiated 
in his temple at Eridu, he could also be conjured in 
mud huts. The latter, indeed, as in Mexico, appear 
to have been the oldest holy places. 

The Legend of Ura 

It is told that Ura, the dread demon of disease, 
once made up his mind to destroy mankind. But 
268 



THE LEGEND OF URA 

Ishnu, his counsellor, appeased him so that he 
abandoned his intention, and he gave humanity a 
chance of escape. Whoever should praise Ura and 
magnify his name would, he said, rule the four 
quarters of the world, and should have none to 
oppose him. He should not die in pestilence, and 
his speech should bring him into favour with the 
great ones of the earth. Wherever a tablet with 
the song of Ura was set up, in that house there 
should be immunity from the pestilence. 

As we read in the closing lines of the Gilgamesh 
epic, the dead were often left unburied in Babylonia, 
and the ghosts of those who were thus treated were, 
as in more modern times and climes, supposed to 
haunt the living until given proper sepulture. They 
roamed the streets and byways seeking for sustenance 
among the garbage in the gutters, and looking for 
haunted houses in which to dwell, denied as they 
were the shelter of the grave, which was regarded 
as the true ' home ' of the dead. They frequently 
terrified children into madness or death, and bitterly 
mocked those in tribulation. They were, in fact, 
the outcasts of mortality, spiteful and venomous 
because they had not been properly treated. The 
modern race which most nearly approximates to 
the Babylonian in its treatment of and attitude 
to the dead seems to be the Burmese, who are 
extremely circumspect as to how they speak and 
act towards the inhabitants of the spirit-world, as 
they believe that disrespect or mockery will bring 
down upon them misfortune or disease. An infinite 
number of guardian spirits is included in the Burman 
demonological system. These dwell in their houses 
and are the tutelars of village communities, and 
even of clans. These are duly propitiated, at which 

269 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

ceremonies rice, beer, and tea-salad are offered to 
them. Women are employed as exorcists for driving 
out the evil spirits. 

Purification 

Purification by water entered largely into Baby- 
lonian magic. The ceremony known as the ' Incan- 
cation of Eridu,' so frequently alluded to in Baby- 
lonian magical texts, was probably some form of 
purification by water, relating as it does to the home 
of Ea, the sea-god. Another ceremony prescribes 
the mingling of water from a pool ' that no hand 
hath touched,' with tamarisk, mastakal, ginger, alkali, 
and mixed wine. Therein must be placed a shining 
ring, and the mixture is then to be poured upon 
the patient. A root of saffron is then to be taken 
and pounded with pure salt and alkali and fat of 
the matku-h'ud. brought from the mountains, and with 
this strange mixture the body of the patient is to be 
anointed. 

The Chamber of the Priest'Magician 

Let us attempt to describe the treatment of a 
case by a priest-physician-magician of Babylonia. 
The proceeding is rather a recondite one, but by the 
aid of imagination as well as the assistance of Baby- 
lonian representation we may construct a tolerably 
clear picture. The chamber of the sage is almost 
certain to be situated in some nook in one of those 
vast and imposing fanes which more closely resembled 
cities than mere temples. We draw the curtain and 
enter a rather darksome room. The atmosphere is 
pungent with chemic odours, and ranged on shelves 
disposed upon the tiled walls are numerous jars, 
great and small, containing the fearsome compounds 
270 



THE CHAMBER OF THE PRIEST^MAGICIAN 

which the practitioner applies to the sufferings of 
Babylonian humanity. The asipu, shaven and austere, 
asks us what we desire of him, and in the role of 
Babylonian citizens we acquaint him with the fact 
that our lives are made miserable for us by a witch 
who sends upon us misfortune after misfortune, now 
the blight or some equally intractable and horrible 
disease, now an evil wind, now unspeakable enchant- 
ments which torment us unceasingly. In his capacity 
of physician the asipu examines our bodies, shrunken 
and exhausted with fever or rheumatism, and having 
prescribed for us, compounds the mixture with his 
own hands and enjoins us to its regular application. 
He mixes various ingredients in a stone mortar, 
whispering his spells the while, with many a prayer 
to Ea the beneficent and Merodach the all-powerful 
that we may be restored to health. Then he promises 
to visit us at our dwelling and gravely bids us adieu, 
after expressing the hope that we will graciously 
contribute to the upkeep of the house of religion to 
which he is attached. 

Leaving the darkened haunt of the asipu for the 
brilliant sunshine of a Babylonian summer afternoon, 
we are at first inclined to forget our fears, and to 
laugh away the horrible superstitions, the relics of 
barbarian ancestors, which weigh us down. But as 
night approaches we grow more fearful, we crouch 
with the children in the darkest corner of our clay- 
brick dwelling, and tremble at every sound. The 
rushing of the wind overhead is for us the noise 
of the Labartu, the hag-demon, come hither to tear 
from us our little ones, or perhaps a rat rustling in 
the straw may seem to us the Alu-demon. The 
ghosts of the dead gibber at the threshold, and even 
pale Uru, lord of disease, himself may glance in at 

271 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

the tiny window with ghastly countenance and eager, 
red eyes. The pains of rheumatism assail us. Ha, 
the evil witch is at work, thrusting thorns into the 
waxen images made in our shape that we may suffer 
the torment brought about by sympathetic magic, 
to which we would rather refer our aches than to the 
circumstance that we dwell hard by the river-swamps. 
A loud knocking resounds at the door. We tremble 
anew and the children scream. At last the dread 
powers of evil have come to summon us to the final 
ordeal, or perhaps the witch herself, grown bold by 
reason of her immunity, has come to wreak fresh 
vengeance. The flimsy door of boards is thrown 
open, and to our unspeakable relief the stern face of 
the asipu appears beneath the flickering light of the 
taper. We shout with joy, and the children cluster 
around the priest, clinging to his garments and 
clasping his knees. 

The Witch'Finding 

The priest smiles at our fear, and motioning us 
to sit in a circle produces several waxen figures of 
demons which he places on the floor. It is noticeable 
that these figures all appear to be bound with minia- 
ture ropes. Taking one of these in the shape of a 
Labartu or hag-demon, the priest places before it 
twelve small cakes made from a peculiar kind of meal. 
He then pours out a libation of water, places the 
image of a small black dog beside that of the witch, 
lays a piece of the heart of a young pig on the mouth 
of the figure and some white bread and a box of 
ointment beside it. He then chants something like 
the following : " May a guardian spirit be present 
at my side when I draw near unto the sick man, when 
I examine his muscles, when I compose his limbs, when 
272 



THE WITCH^FINDING 

I sprinkle the water of Ea upon him. Avoid thee 
whether thou art an evil spirit or an evil demon, 
an evil ghost or an evil devil, an evil god or an evil 
fiend, hag-demon, ghoul, sprite, phantom, or wraith, 
or any disease, fever, headache, shivering, or any 
sorcery, spell, or enchantment." 

Having recited some such words of power the asipu 
then directs us to keep the figure at the head of our 
bed for three nights, then to bury it beneath the 
earthen floor. But alas ! no cure results. The witch 
still torments us by day and night, and once more we 
have recourse to the priest-doctor; the ceremony is 
gone through again, but still the family health does 
not improve. The little ones suffer from fever, and 
bad luck consistently dogs us. After a stormy 
scene between husband and wife, who differ regarding 
the qualifications of the asipu, another practitioner 
is called in. He is younger and more enterprising 
than the last, and he has not yet learned that half the 
business of the physician is to ' nurse ' his patients, 
in the financial sense of the term. Whereas the 
elderly asipu had gone quietly home to bed after 
prescribing for us, this young physician, who has his 
spurs to win, after being consulted goes home to his 
clay surgery and hunts up a likely exorcism. 

Next day, armed with this wordy weapon, he 
arrives at our dwelling and, placing a waxen image 
of the witch upon the floor, vents upon it the full 
force of his rhetoric. As he is on the point of leaving, 
screams resound from a neighbouring cabin. Be- 
stowing upon us a look of the deepest meaning our 
asipu darts to the hut opposite and hales forth an 
ancient crone, whose appearance of age and illness 
give her a most sinister look. At once we recognize 
in her a wretch who dared to menace our children 

5 273 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

when in innocent play they cast hot ashes upon her 
thatch and introduced hot swamp water into her 
cistern. In righteous wrath we lay hands on the 
abandoned being who for so many months has cast a 
blight upon our lives. She exclaims that the pains of 
death have seized upon her, and we laugh in triumph, 
for we know that the superior magic of our asipu 
has taken effect. On the way to the river we are 
joined by neighbours, who rejoice with us that we 
have caught the witch. Great is the satisfaction 
of the party when at last the devilish crone is cast 
headlong into the stream. 

But ere many seconds pass we begin to look 
incredulously upon each other, for the wicked one 
refuses to sink. This means that she is innocent ! 
Then, awful moment, we find every eye directed 
upon us, we who were so happy and light-hearted 
but a moment before. We tremble, for we know 
how severe are the laws against the indiscriminate 
accusation of those suspected of witchcraft. As the 
ancient crone continues to float, a loud murmuring 
arises in the crowd, and with quaking limbs and 
eyes full of terror we snatch up our children and 
make a dash for freedom. 

Luckily the asipu accompanies us so that the 
crowd dare not pursue, and indeed, so absurdly 
changeable is human nature, most of them are 
busied in rescuing the old woman. In a few minutes 
we have placed all immediate danger of pursuit 
behind us. The asipu has departed to his temple, 
richer in the experience by the lesson of a false 
' prescription.' ^ After a hurried consultation we 
quit the town, skirt the arable land which fringes 

^ He is exempt from the punishment provided by the code of 
Khamraurabi for the false accusation, 
274 



THE MAGIC CIRCLE 

it, and plunge into the desert. She who was opposed 
to the employment of a young and inexperienced 
asipu does not make matters any better by reiterating 
" I told you so." And he who favoured a ' second 
opinion,' on paying a night visit to the city, 
discovers that the ' witch ' has succumbed to her 
harsh treatment ; that his house has been made 
over to her relatives by way of compensation, and 
that a legal process has been taken out against him. 
Returning to his wife he acquaints her with the 
sad news, and hand in hand with their weeping 
offspring they turn and face the desert. 

The Magic Circle 

The magic circle, as in use among the Chaldean 
sorcerers, bears many points of resemblance to that 
described in mediaeval works on magic. The Baby- 
lonian magician, when describing the circle, made 
seven little winged figures, which he set before an 
image of the god Nergal. After doing so he stated 
that he had covered them with a dark robe and 
bound them with a coloured cord, setting beside 
them tamarisk and the heart of the palm, that he 
had completed the magic circle and had surrounded 
them with a sprinkling of lime and flour. 

That the magic circle of medieval times must 
have been evolved from the Chaldean is plain from 
the strong resemblance between the two. Directions 
for the making of a mediaeval magic circle are as 
follows : — 

In the first place the magician is supposed to 
fix upon a spot proper for such a purpose, which 
must be either in a subterranean vault, hung round 
with black, and lighted by a magical torch, or else 
in the centre of some thick wood or desert, or upon 
s 2 275 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

some extensive unfrequented plain, where several 
roads meet, or amidst the ruins of ancient castles, 
abbeys, or monasteries, or amongst the rocks on 
the seashore, in some private detached churchyard, 
or any other melancholy place between the hours 
of twelve and one in the night, either when the 
moon shines very bright, or else when the elements 
are disturbed with storms of thunder, lightning, 
wind, and rain ; for, in these places, times, and 
seasons, it is contended that spirits can with less 
difficulty manifest themselves to mortal eyes, and 
continue visible with the least pain. 

When the proper time and place are fixed upon, 
a magic circle is to be formed within which the 
master and his associates are carefully to retire. 
The reason assigned by magicians and others for the 
institution and use of the circles is, that so much 
ground being blessed and consecrated by holy 
words and ceremonies has a secret force to expel 
all evil spirits from the bounds thereof, and, being 
sprinkled with sacred water, the ground is puri- 
fied from all uncleanness ; beside the holy names of 
God being written over every part of it, its force 
becomes proof against all evil spirits. 

Babylonian Demons 

Babylonian demons were legion and most of 
them exceedingly malevolent. The Utukku was 
an evil spirit that lurked generally in the desert, 
where it lay in wait for unsuspecting travellers, 
but it did not confine its haunts to the more barren 
places, for it was also to be found among the moun- 
tains, in graveyards, and even in the sea. An evil 
fate befel the man upon whom it looked. 

The Rabisu is another lurking demon that secretes 
276 



BABYLONIAN DEMONS 

itself in unfrequented spots to leap upon passers-by. 
The Labartu, which, has already been alluded to, is, 
strangely enough, spoken of as the daughter of Anu. 
She was supposed to dwell in the mountains or in 
marshy places, and was particularly addicted to the 
destruction of children. Babylonian mothers were 
wont to hang charms round their children's necks 
to guard them against this horrible hag. 

The Sedu appears to have been in some senses a 
guardian spirit and in others a being of evil propen- 
sities. It is often appealed to at the end of invoca- 
tions along with the Lamassu, a spirit of a similar 
type. These malign influences were probably the 
prototypes of the Arabian jinn, to whom they have 
many points of resemblance. 

Many Assyrian spirits were half-human and half- 
supernatural, and some of them were supposed to 
contract unions with human beings, like the Arabian 
jinn. The offspring of such unions was supposed 
to be a spirit called Alu, which haunted ruins and 
deserted buildings and indeed entered the houses of 
men like a ghost to steal their sleep. Ghosts proper 
were also common enough, as has already been 
observed, and those who had not been buried were 
almost certain to return to harass mankind. It 
was dangerous even to look upon a corpse, lest the 
spirit or edimmu of the dead man should seize upon the 
beholder. The Assyrians seemed to be of the opinion 
that a ghost like a vampire might drain away the 
strength of the living, and long formulae were in 
existence containing numerous names of haunting 
spirits, one of which it was hoped would apply to the 
tormenting ghost, and these were used for the pur- 
poses of exorcism. To lay a spirit the following 
articles were necessary : seven small loaves of roast 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

corn, the hoof of a dark-coloured ox, flour of roast 
corn, and a little leaven. The ghosts were then 
asked why they tormented the haunted man, after 
which the flour and leaven were kneaded into a paste 
in the horn of an ox and a small libation poured into 
a hole in the earth. The leaven dough was then 
placed in the hoof of an ox, and another libation poured 
out with an incantation to the god Shamash. In 
another case figures of the dead man and the living 
person to whom the spirit has appeared are to be made 
and libations poured out before both of them, then 
the figure of the dead man is to be buried and that 
of the living man washed in pure water, the whole 
ceremony being typical of sympathetic magic, which 
thus supposed the burial of the body of the ghost 
and the purification of the living man. In the 
morning incense was to be offered up before the sun- 
god at his rising, when sweet woods were to be burned 
and a libation of sesame wine poured out. 

If a human being was troubled by a ghost, it was 
necessary that he should be anointed with various 
substances in order that the result of the ghostly 
contact might be nullified. 

An old text says, " When a ghost appeareth in the 
house of a man there will be a destruction of that 
house. When it speaketh and hearkeneth for an an- 
swer the man will die, and there will be lamentation." 

Taboo 

The belief in taboo was universal in ancient Chaldea. 
Amongst the Babylonians it was known as mamit. 
There were taboos on many things, but especially 
upon corpses and uncleanness of all kinds. We find 
the taboo generally alluded to in a text " as the barrier 
that none can pass." 
278 



TABOO 

Among all barbarous peoples the taboo is usually- 
intended to hedge in the sacred thing from the pro- 
fane person or the common people, but it may also be 
employed for sanitary reasons. Thus the flesh of 
certain animals, such as the pig, may not be eaten 
in hot countries. Food must not be prepared by 
those who are in the slightest degree suspected of 
uncleanness, and these laws are usually of the most 
rigorous character ; but should a man violate the 
taboo placed upon certain foods, then he himself 
often became taboo. No one might have any inter- 
course with him. He was left to his own devices, 
and, in short, became a sort of pariah. In the 
Assyrian texts we find many instances of this 
kind of taboo, and numerous were the supplica- 
tions that these might be removed. If one drank 
water from an unclean cup he had violated a taboo. 
Like the Arab he might not " lick the platter clean." 
If he were taboo he might not touch another man, 
he might not converse with him, he might not pray 
to the gods, he might not even be interceded for by 
anyone else. In fact he was excommunicate. If 
a man cast his eye upon water which another person 
had washed his hands in, or if he came into contact 
with a person who had not yet performed his ablu- 
tions, he became unclean. An entire purification ritual 
was incumbent on any Assyrian who touched or even 
looked upon a dead man. 

It rnay be asked, wherefore was this elaborate 
cleanliness essential to avoid taboo ? The answer 
undoubtedly is — because of the belief in the power of 
sympathetic magic. Did one come into contact with 
a person who was m any way unclean, or with a corpse 
or other unpleasant object, he was supposed to come 
within the radius of the evil which emanated from it. 

27') 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

Popular Superstitions 

The superstition that the evil-eye of a witch or a 
wizard might bring blight upon an individual or com- 
munity was as persistent in Chaldea as elsewhere. 
Incantations frequently allude to it as among the 
causes of sickness, and exorcisms were duly directed 
against it. Even to-day, on the site of the ruins of 
Babylon children are protected against it by fastening 
small blue objects to their headgear. 

Just as mould from a grave was supposed by the 
witches of the Middle Ages to be particularly effica- 
cious in magic, so was the dust of the temple supposed 
to possess hidden virtue in Assyria. If one pared 
one's rails or cut one's hair it was considered necessary 
to bury them lest a sorcerer should discover them and 
use them against their late owner ; for a sorcery per- 
formed upon a part was by the law of sympathetic 
magic thought to reflect upon the whole. A like 
superstition attached to the discarded clothing of 
people, for among barbarian or uncultured folk the 
apparel is regarded as part and parcel of the man. 
Even in our own time simple and uneducated people 
tear a piece from their garments and hang it as an 
offering on the bushes around any of the numerous 
healing wells in the country that they may have 
journeyed to. This is a survival of the custom of 
sacrificing the part for the whole. 

If one desired to get rid of a headache one had to 
take the hair of a young kid and give it to a wise 
woman, who would " spin it on the right side and 
double it on the left," then it was to be bound into 
fourteen knots and the incantation of Ea pronounced 
upon it, after which it was to be bound round the head 
and neck of the sick man. For defects in eyesight the 
Assyrians wove black and white threads or hairs 



OMENS 

together, muttering incantations the while, and these 
were placed upon the eyes. It was thought, too, 
that the tongues of evil spirits or sorcerers could be 
' bound,' and that a net because of its many knots 
was efficacious in keeping evilly-disposed magicians 
away. 

Omens 

Divination as practised by means of augury was a 
rite of the first importance among the Babylonians 
and Assyrians. This was absolutely distinct from 
divination by astrology. The favourite method of 
augury among the Chaldeans of old was that by 
examination of the liver of a slaughtered animal. It 
was thought that when an animal was offered up in 
sacrifice to a god that the deity identified himself 
for the time being with that animal, and that the beast 
thus afforded a means of indicating the wishes of the 
god. Now among people in a primitive state of cul- 
ture the soul is almost invariably supposed to reside 
in the liver instead of in the heart or brain. More 
blood is secreted by the liver than by any other organ 
in the body, and upon the opening of a carcase it 
appears the most striking, the most central, and the 
most sanguinary of the vital parts. The liver was, 
in fact, supposed by early peoples to be the fountain 
of the blood supply and therefore of life itself. Hepa- 
toscopy or divination from the liver was undertaken 
by the Chaldeans for the purpose of determining 
what the gods had in mind. The soul of the animal 
became for the nonce the soul of the god, therefore if 
the signs of the liver of the sacrificed animal could be 
read the mind of the god became clear, and his inten- 
tions regarding the future were known. The animal 
usually sacrificed was a sheep, the liver of which 

281 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

animal is most complicated in appearance. The two 
lower lobes are sharply divided from one another and 
are separated from the upper by a narrow depression, 
and the whole surface is covered with markings and 
fissures, lines and curves which give it much the 
appearance of a map on which roads and valleys are 
outlined. This applies to the freshly excised liver 
only, and these markings are never the same in any 
two livers. 

Certain priests were set apart for the practice of 
liver-reading, and these were exceedingly expert, 
being able to decipher the hepatoscopic signs with 
great skill. They first examined the gall-bladder, 
which might be reduced or swollen. They inferred 
various circumstances from the several ducts and the 
shapes and sizes of the lobes and their appendices. 
Diseases of the liver, too, particularly common among 
sheep in all countries, were even more frequent 
among these animals in the marshy portions of the 
Euphrates Valley. 

The literature connected with this species of 
augury is very extensive, and Assur-bani-pal's library 
contained thousands of fragments describing the 
omens deduced from the practice. These enumerate 
the chief appearances of the liver, as the shade of 
the colour of the gall, the leng-th of the ducts, and 
so forth. The lobes were divided into sections, 
lower, medial, and higher, and the interpretation 
varied from the phenomena therein observed. The 
markings on the liver possessed various names, such 
as ' palaces,' ' weapons,' ' paths,' and ' feet,' which 
terms remind us somewhat of the bizarre nomen- 
clature of astrology. Later in the progress of the 
art the various combinations of signs came to be 
known so well, and there were so many cuneiform 
282 



/i 






'-J ' 



i 

Clay Object resembling a Sheep's Liver 

inscribed with magical iormulse ; it was prob 



Thi 

used for purposes of divination, and was employed bv 
the priests of I^abylon in their ceremonies 

Photo W. A. M.inscll and Co. 



282 



THE RITUAL OF HEPATOSCOPY 

texts in existence wliich afforded instruction in 
them, that a liver could be quickly ' read ' by the 
baru or reader, a name which was afterward applied 
to the astrologists as well and to those who divined 
through various other natural phenomena. 

One of the earliest instances on record of hepato- 
scopy is that regarding Naram-Sin, who consulted 
a sheep's liver before declaring war. The great 
Sargon did likewise, and we find Gudea applying to 
his ' liver inspectors ' when attempting to discover 
a favourable time for laying the foundations of the 
temple of Nin-girsu. Throughout the whole history 
of the Babylonian monarchy in fact, from its early 
beginnings to its end, we find this system in vogue. 
Whether it was in force in Sumerian times we have 
no means of knowing, but there is every likelihood 
that such was the case. 

The Ritual of Hepatoscopy 

Quite an elaborate ritual grew up around the 
readings of the omens by the examination of the 
liver. The baru who officiated must first of all 
purify himself and don special apparel for the cere- 
mony. Prayers were then offered up to Shamash 
and Hadad or Rammon, who were known as the 
* lords of divination.' Specific questions were 
usually put. The sheep selected for sacrifice must 
be without blemish, and the manner of slaughtering 
it and the examination of its liver must be made 
with the most meticulous care. Sometimes the 
signs were doubtful, and upon such occasions a second 
sheep was sacrificed. 

Nabonidus, the last King of Babylon, on one 
occasion desired to restore a temple to the moon- 
god at Harran. He wished to be certain that this 

283 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

step commended itself to Merodach, the chief deity 
of Babylonia, so he applied to the ' liver inspectors ' 
of his day and found that the omen was favourable. 
We find him also desirous of making a certain symbol 
of the sun-god in accordance with an ancient pattern. 
He placed a model of this before Shamash and con- 
sulted the liver of a sheep to ascertain whether the 
god approved of the offering, but on three separate 
occasions the signs were unfavourable. Nabonidus 
then concluded that the model of the symbol could 
not have been correctly reproduced, and on replacing 
it by another he found the signs propitious. In 
order, however, that there should be no mistake he 
sought among the records of the past for the result 
of a liver inspection on a similar occasion, and by 
comparing the omens he became convinced that 
he was safe in making a symbol. 

PecuHar signs, when they were found connected 
with events of importance, were specially noted in 
the literature of liver divination, and were handed 
down from generation to generation of diviners. 
Thus a number of omens are associated with Gilga- 
mesh, the mythical hero of the Babylonian epic, 
and a certain condition of the gall-bladder is said 
to indicate " the omen of Urumush, the king, whom 
the men of his palace killed." 

Bad signs and good signs are enumerated in the 
literature of the subject. Thus like most peoples 
the Babylonians considered the right side as lucky 
and the left as unlucky. Any sign on the right side 
of the gall-bladder, ducts or lobes, was supposed 
to refer to the king, the country, or the army, while 
a similar sign on the sinister side applied to the 
enemy. Thus a good sign on the right side appHed 
to Babylonia or Assyria in a favourable sense, a 
284 



THE MISSING CARAVAN 

bad sign on the right side in an unfavourable sense. 
A good sign on the left side was an omen favourable 
to the enemy, whereas a bad sign on the left side 
was, of course, to the native king or forces. 

It would be out of place here to give a more 
extended description of the liver-reading of the 
ancient Chaldeans. Suffice it to say that the subject 
is a very complicated one in its deeper significance, 
and. has little interest for the general reader in its 
advanced stages. Certain well-marked conditions 
of the liver could only indicate certain political, reli- 
gious, or personal events. It will be more interest- 
ing if we attempt to visuaHse the act of divination 
by liver reading, as it was practised in ancient 
Babylonia, and if our imaginations break down in 
the process it is not the fault of the very large 
material they have to work upon. 

The Missing Caravan 

The ages roll back as a scroll, and I see myself 
as one of the great banker-merchants of Babylon, 
one of those princes of commerce whose contracts 
and agreements are found stamped upon clay 
cylinders where once the stately palaces of barter 
arose from the swarming streets of the city of 
Merodach. I have that morning been carried in 
my litter by sweating slaves, from my white house 
in a leafy suburb lying beneath the shadow of the 
lofty temple-city of Borsippa. As I reach my place 
of business I am aware of unrest, for the financial 
operations in which I engage are so closely watched 
that I may say without self-praise that I represent 
the pulse of Babylonian commerce. I enter the 
cool chamber where I usually transact my business, 
and where a pair of ofllicious Persian slaves commence 

28s 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

to fan me as soon as I take my seat. My head 
clerk enters and makes obeisance with an expression 
on his face eloquent of important news. It is as 
I expected — as I feared. The caravan from the 
Persian Gulf due to arrive at Babylon more than 
a week ago has not yet made its appearance, and 
although I had sent scouting parties as far as Ninnur, 
these have returned without bringing me the least 
intelligence regarding it. 

I feel convinced that the caravan with my spices, 
woven fabrics, rare woods, and precious stones will 
never come tinkling down the great central street 
to deposit its wealth at the doors of my warehouses ; 
and the thought renders me so irritable that I sharply 
dismiss the Persian fan-bearers, and curse again 
and again the black-browed sons of Elam, who have 
doubtless looted my goods and cut the throats of 
my guards and servants. I go home at an early 
hour full of my misfortune. I cannot eat my evening 
meal. My wife gently asks me what ails me, but 
with a growl I refuse to enlighten her upon the 
cause of my annoyance. Still, however, she persists, 
and succeeds in breaking down my surly opposition. 

" Why trouble thy heart concerning this thing 
when thou mayest know what has happened to thy 
goods and thy servants ? Get thee to-morrow to 
the Baru, and he will enlighten thee," she says. 

I start. After all, women have sense. There 
can be no harm in seeing the Baru and asking him 
to divine what has happened to my caravan. But 
I bethink me that I am wealthy, and that the priests 
love to pluck a well-feathered pigeon. I mention 
my suspicions of the priestly caste in no measured 
terms, to the distress of my devout wife and the 
amusement of my soldier-son, 
286 



THE MISSING CARAVAN 

Restlessly I toss upon my couch, and after a sleep- 
less night feel that I cannot resume my business 
with the fear of loss upon me. So without breathing 
a word of my intention to my wife, I direct my 
litter-slaves to carry me to the great temple at 
Borsippa. 

Arrived there, I enquire for the chief B^ru. He 
is one of the friends of my youth, but for years our 
paths have diverged, and it is with surprise that he 
now greets me. I acquaint him with the nature 
of my dilemna, and nodding sympathetically he 
assures me that he will do his utmost to assist me. 
Somewhat reassured, I follow him into a tiled court 
near the far end of which stands a large altar. At a 
sign from him two priests bring in a live sheep and 
cut its throat. They then open the carcase and 
extract the liver. Immediately the chief Baru bends 
his grey head over it. For a long time he stares at 
it with the keenest attention. I begin to weary, 
and my old doubts regarding the sacerdotal caste 
return. At last the grey head rises from the long 
inspection, and the Baru turns to me with smiling 
face. 

" The omen is good, my son," he says, with a 
cheerful intonation. " The compass and the hepatic 
duct are short. Thy path will be protected by thy 
Guardian Spirit, as will the path of thy servants. 
Go, and fear not." 

He speaks so definitely and his words are so re- 
assuring that I seize him by the hands, and, thanking 
him effusively, take my leave. I go down to my 
warehouses in a new spirit of hopefulness and dis- 
regard the disdainful or pitying looks cast in my 
direction. I sit unperturbed and dictate contracts 
and letters of credit to mv scribe. 

287 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

Ha ! what is that ? By Merodach, it is — it is 
the sound of bells ! Up I leap, upsetting the 
wretched scribe who squats at my feet, and tramp- 
ling upon his still wet clay tablets, I rush to the 
door. Down the street slowly advances a travel-worn 
caravan, and at the head of it there rides my trusty 
brown-faced captain, Babbar. He tumbles out of 
the saddle and kneels before me, but I raise him in 
a close embrace. All my goods, he assures me, are 
intact, and the cause of delay was a severe sickness 
which broke out among his followers. But all have 
recovered and my credit is restored. 

As I turn to re-enter my warehouse with Babbar, 
a detaining hand is placed on my shoulder. It is 
a messenger from the chief Baru. 

" My brother at the temple saw thy caravan coming 
from afar," he says politely, " and his message to 
thee, my son, is that, since thou hast so happily 
recovered thine own, thou shouldst devote a tithe 
of it to the service of the gods." 



288 



CHAPTER XI: THE MYTHOLOGICAL 
MONSTERS AND ANIMALS OF CHALDEA 

TIAWATH was not the only monster known to 
Babylonian mythology. ' But she is some- 
times likened to or confounded with the 
serpent of darkness with which she had originally no 
connexion whatever. This being was, however, like 
Tiawath, the offspring of the great deep and the 
enemy of the divine powers. We are told in the 
second verse of Genesis that " the earth was without 
form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the 
deep," and therefore resembling the abyss of Baby- 
lonian myth. We are also informed that the serpent 
was esteemed as " more subtle than other beast of the 
field," and this, it has been pointed out by Professor 
Sayce, was probably because it was associated by the 
author or authors of Genesis with Ea, the god of 
waters and of wisdom. To Babylonian geographers 
as to the Greeks, the ocean was a coihng, snake-like 
thing, which was often alluded to as the great serpent, 
and this soon came to be considered as the source of 
all evil and misfortune. The ancients, and especially 
the ancient Semites, with the exception of the 
Phoenicians, appear to have regarded it with dread 
and loathing. The serpent appears to have been 
called Aibu, ' the enemy.' We can see how the ser- 
pent of darkness, the offspring of chaos and confu- 
sion, became also the Hebrew symbol for mischief. 
He was first the source of physical and next the 
source of moral evil. 

Winged Bulls 

The winged bulls so closely identified with ancient 
Chaldean mythology were probably associated with 

T 289 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

Merodach. These may have represented the original 
totemic forms of the gods in question, but we must not 
confound the bull forms of Merodach and Ea with 
those winged bulls which guarded the entrances to 
the temples. These, to perpetrate a double ' bull,' 
were not bulls at all but divine beings, the gods or 
genii of the holy places. The human head attached 
to them indicated that the creature was endowed 
with humanity and the bull-like body symbolized 
strength. When the Babylonian translated the word 

* bull ' from the Akkadian tongue he usually rendered 
it ' hero ' or ' strong one.' It is thought that the bull 
forms of Ea and Merodach must have originated at 
Eridu, for both of these deities were connected with 
the city. The Babylonians regarded the sky-country 
as a double of the plain in which they dwelt, and they 
believed that the gods as planets ploughed their way 
across the azure fields of air. Thus the sun was the 

* Bull of Light,' and Jupiter, the nearest of the 
planets to the ecliptic, was known as the ' Planet of 
the Bull of Light.' 

The Dog in Babylonia 

Strangely enough the dog was classed by the Baby- 
lonians as a monster animal and one to be despised 
and avoided. In a prayer against the powers of 
evil we read, " From the dog, the snake, the scorpion, 
the reptile, and whatever is baleful . . . may Mero- 
dach preserve us." We find that although the 
Babylonians possessed an excellent breed of dog 
they were not fond of depicting them either in paint- 
ing or bas-relief. Dogs are seen illustrated in a bas- 
relief of Assur-bani-pal, and five clay figures of dogs 
now in the British Museum represent hounds which 
belonged to that monarch. The names of these 
290 



A DOG LEGEND 

animals are very amusing, and appear to indicate that 
those who bestowed them must have suffered from 
a complete lack of the humorous sense, or else have 
been blessed with an overflow of it. Translated, the 
names are : ' He-ran-and-barked,' ' The-Producer- 
of-Mischief,' ' The-Biter-of-his-foes,' ' The-Judge-of- 
his-companions,' and ' The-Seizer-of-enemies.' How 
well these names would fit certain dogs we all know 
or have known ! Here is good evidence from the 
buried centuries that dog nature like human nature 
has not changed a whit. 

But why should the dog, fellow-hunter with early 
man and the companion of civilized humanity, have 
been regarded as evil ? Professor Sayce considers 
that the four dogs of Merodach " were not always 
sent on errands of mercy, and that originally they 
had been devastating winds." 

A Dog Legend 

The fragment of a legend exists which does not 
exhibit the dog in any very favourable light. 

Once there was a shepherd who was tormented 
by the constant assaults of dogs upon his flocks. 
He prayed to Ea for protection, and the great god 
of wisdom sent his son Merodach to reassure the 
shepherd. 

" Ea has heard thee," said Merodach. " When 
the great dogs assault thee, then, O shepherd, seize 
them from behind and lay them down, hold them 
and overcome them. Strike their heads, pierce 
their breasts. They are gone ; never may they re- 
turn. With the wind may they go, with the storm 
above it ! Take their road and cut off their going. 
Seize their mouths, seize their mouths, seize their 
weapons ! Seize their teeth, and make them ascend, 

T 2 291 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

by the command of Ea, the lord of wisdom ; by the 
command of Merodach, the lord of revelation." ^ 

Gazelle and Goat Gods 

The gazelle or antelope was a mythological animal 
in Babylonia so far as it represented Ea, who is 
entitled ' the princely gazelle ' and ' the gazelle 
who gives the earth.' But this animal was also 
appropriated to Mul-lil, the god of Nippur, who 
was specially called the ' gazelle god.' It is likely, 
therefore, that this animal had been worshipped 
totemically at Nippur. Scores of early cylinders 
represent it being offered in sacrifice to a god, and 
bas-reliefs and other carvings show it reposing in 
the arms of various deities. The goat, too, seems 
to have been peculiarly sacred, and formed one of 
the signs of the zodiac. A god called Uz has for his 
name the Akkadian word for goat. Mr Hormuzd 
Rassam found a sculptured stone tablet in a temple 
of the sun-god at Sippara on which was an inscription 
to Sin, Shamash, and Ishtar, as being " set as com- 
panions at the approach to the deep in sight of the 
god Uz." This god Uz is depicted as sitting on a 
throne watching the revolution of the solar disc, 
which is placed upon a table and made to revolve 
by means of a rope or string. He is clad in a robe 
of goat-skin. 

The Goat Cult 

This cult of the goat appears to be of very ancient 
origin, and the strange thing is that it seems to have 
found its way into mediaeval and even into modern 
magic and pseudo-religion. There is very little 

1 Sayce, Hibbert Lectures, p. 288 (by permission of Messrs Williams 
andjNorgate). 
292 



THE GOAT CULT 

doubt that it is the Baphomet of the knights-templai 
and the Sabbatic goat of the witchcraft of the Middle 
Ages. It seems almost certain that when the 
Crusaders sojourned in Asia-Minor they came into 
contact with the remains of the old Babylonian 
cult. When Philip the Fair of France arraigned 
them on a charge of heresy a great deal of curious 
evidence was extorted from them regarding the 
worship of an idol that they kept in their lodges. 
The real character of this they seemed unable to 
explain. It was said which the image was made in 
the likeness of ' Baphomet,' which name was said 
to be a corruption of Mahomet, the general Christian 
name at that period for a pagan idol, although 
others give a Greek derivation for the word. This 
figure was often described as possessing a goat's 
head and horns. That, too, the Sabbatic goat of 
the Middle Ages was of Eastern and probably Baby- 
lonian origin is scarcely to be doubted. At the 
witch orgies in France and elsewhere those who were 
afterwards brought to book for their sorceries declared 
that Satan appeared to them in the shape of a goat 
and that they worshipped him in this form. The 
Sabbatic meetings during the fifteenth century in 
the wood of Mofflaines, near Arras, had as their 
centre a goat-demon with a human countenance, and 
a like fiend was adored in Germany and in Scotland. 
From all this it is clear that the Sabbatic goat must 
have had some connexion with the East. Eliphas 
Levi drew a picture of the Baphomet or Sabbatic 
goat to accompany one of his occult works, alid 
strangely enough the symbols that he adorns it 
with are peculiarly Oriental — moreover the sun-disc 
figures in the drawing. Now Levi knew nothing of 
Babylonian mythology, although he was moderately 

293 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

versed in the mythology of modern occultism, and 
it would seem that if he drew his information from 
modern or mediaeval sources that these must have 
been in direct line from Babylonian lore. 

Adar, the sun-god of Nippur, was in the same 
manner connected with the pig, which may have 
been the totem of the city he ruled over ; and many 
other gods had attendant animals or birds, like the 
sun-god of Kis, whose symbol was the eagle. 

Those monsters who had composed the host of 
Tiawath were supposed, after the defeat and destruc- 
tion of their commandress, to have been hurled like 
Satan and his angels into the abyss beneath. We 
read of their confusion in four tablets of the creation 
epic. This legend seems to be the original source 
of the belief that those who rebelled against high 
heaven were thrust into outer darkness. In the 
Book of Enoch we read of a ' great abyss ' regarding 
which an angel said to the prophet, " This is a place 
of the consummation of heaven and earth," and again, 
in a later chapter, " These are of the stars who have 
transgressed the command of God, the Highest, and 
are bound here till 10,000 worlds, the number of 
the days of their sins, shall have consummated . . . 
this is the prison of the angels, and here they are 
held to eternity." Eleven great monsters are spoken 
of by Babylonian myth as comprising the host of 
Tiawath, besides many lesser forms having the heads 
of men and the bodies of birds. Strangely enough 
we find these monsters figuring in a legend concern- 
ing an early Babylonian king. 

The Invasion of the Monsters 

The tablets upon which this legend was impressed 
were at first known as ' the Cuthaean legend of 
294 



THE INVASION OF THE MONSTERS 

creation ' — a misnomer, for this legend does not 
give an account of the creation of the world at all, 
but deals with the invasion of Babylonia by a race 
of monsters who were descended from the gods, 
and who waged war against the legendary king 
of the period for three years. The King tells the 
story himself. Unfortunately the first portions of 
both tablets containing the story are missing, and we 
plunge right away into a description of the dread 
beings who came upon the people of Babylonia in 
their multitudes. We are told that they preferred 
muddy water to clear water. These creatures, 
says the King, were without moral sense, glorying 
in their power, and slaughtering those whom they 
took captives. They had the bodies of birds and 
some of them had the faces of ravens. They had 
evidently been fostered by the gods in some 
inaccessible region, and, multiplying greatly, they 
came like a storm-cloud on the land, 360,000 in 
number. Their king was called Benini, their mother 
Melili, and their leader Memangab, who had six 
subordinates. The King, perplexed, knew not what 
to do. He was afraid that if he gave them battle 
he might in some way oifend the gods, but at last 
through his priests he addressed the divine beings 
and made offerings of lambs in sacrifice to them. 
He received a favourable answer and decided to 
give battle to the invaders, against whom he sent an 
army of 120,000 men, but not one of these returned 
alive. Again he sent 90,000 warriors to meet them, 
but the same fate overtook these, and in the third 
year he despatched an army of nearly 70,000 
troops, all of whom perished to a man. Then the 
unfortunate monarch broke down, and, groaning 
aloud, cried out that he had brought misfortune 

295 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

and destruction upon his realm. Nevertheless, rising 
from his lethargy of despair, he stated his intention 
to go forth against the enemy in his own person, 
saying, " The pride of this people of the night I will 
curse with death and destruction, with fear, terror, 
and famine, and with misery of every kind." 

Before setting out to meet the foe he made offerings 
to the gods. The manner in which he overcame 
the invaders is by no means clear from the text, but 
it would seem that he annihilated them by means 
of a deluge. In the last portion of the legend the 
King exhorts his successors not to lose heart when in 
great peril but to take courage from his example. 

He inscribed a tablet with his advice, which he 
placed in the shrine of Nergal in the city of Cuthah. 
" Strengthen thy wall," he said, " fill thy cisterns 
with water, bring in thy treasure-chests and thy 
corn and thy silver and all thy possessions." He 
also advises those of his descendants who are faced 
by similar conditions not to expose themselves need- 
lessly to the enemy. 

It was thought at one time that this legend applied 
to the circumstances of the creation, and that the 
speaker was the god Nergal, who was waging war 
against the brood of Tiawath. It was believed that, 
according to local conditions at Cuthah, Nergal 
would have taken the place of Merodach, but it has 
now been made clear that although the tablet was 
intended to be placed in the shrine of Nergal, the 
speaker was in reality an early Babylonian king. 

The Eagle 

As we have seen, the eagle was perhaps regarded 
as a symbol of the sun-god. A Babylonian fable 
tells how he quarrelled with the serpent and incurred 
296 



r7"7*s?"[* Tjte 




Eagle-headed Mythological Being 

In thu Louvre 296 

Photo W. A. Manscll and Co. 



THE EAGLE 

the reptile's hatred. Feeling hungry he resolved to 
eat the serpent's young, and communicated his 
intention to his own family. One of his children 
advised him not to devour the serpent's brood, 
because if he did so he would incur the enmity of 
the god Shamash. But the eagle did not hearken 
to his offspring, and swooping down from heaven 
sought out the serpent's nest and devoured his young. 
On his arrival at home the serpent discovered his 
loss, and at once repaired in great indignation to 
Shamash, to whom he appealed for justice. His 
nest, he told the god, was set in a tree, and the eagle 
had swooped upon it, destroying it with his mighty 
wings and devouring the little serpents as they fell 
from it. 

" Help, Shamash ! " cried the serpent. " Thy 
net is like unto the broad earth, thy snare is like 
unto the distant heaven in wideness. Who can 
escape thee ? " 

Shamash hearkening to his appeal, described to 
him how he might succeed in obtaining vengeance 
upon the eagle. 

" Take the road," said he, " and go into the 
mountain and hide thyself in the dead body of a 
wild ox. Tear open its body, and all the birds of 
heaven shall swoop down upon it. The eagle shall 
come with the rest, and when he seeks for the best 
parts of the carcase, do thou seize him by his wing, 
tear oif his wings, his pinions, and his claws, pull 
him in pieces and cast him into a pit. There may 
he die a death from hunger and thirst." 

The serpent did as Shamash had bidden him. He 
soon came upon the body of a wild ox, into which he 
glided after opening up the carcase. Shortly after- 
wards he heard the beating of the wings of numberless 

297 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

birds, all of whicli swooped down and ate of the flesh. 
But the eagle suspected the purpose of the serpent 
and did not come with the rest, until greed and 
hunger prompted him to share in the feast. 

" Come," said he to his children, " let us swoop 
down and let us also eat of the flesh of this wild 
ox." 

Now the young eagle who had before dissuaded 
his father from devouring the serpent's young, again 
begged him to desist from his purpose. 

" Have a care, O my father," he said, " for I am 
certain that the serpent lurks in yonder carcase for 
the purpose of destroying you." 

But the eagle did not hearken to the warning of 
his child, but swooped on to the carcase of the wild 
ox. He so far obeyed the injunctions of his offspring, 
however, as closely to examine the dead ox for the 
purpose of discovering whether any trap lurked 
near it. Satisfied that all was well he commenced 
to feed upon it, when suddenly the serpent seized 
upon him and held him fast. The eagle at once 
began to plead for mercy, but the enraged reptile 
told him that an appeal to Shamash was irrevocable, 
and that if he did not punish the king of birds he 
himself would be punished by the god, and despite 
the eagle's further protests he tore off his wings and 
pinions, pulled him to pieces, and finally cast him 
into a pit, where he perished miserably as the god 
had decreed. 



CHAPTER XII: TALES OF THE BABY. 
LONIAN AND ASSYRIAN KINGS 

THE tales of the Babylonian and Assyrian 
kings which we present in this chapter are 
of value because they are taken at first hand 
from their own historical accounts of the great events 
which occurred during their several reigns. On a 
first examination these tablets appear dry and 
uninteresting, but when studied more closely and 
patiently they will be found to contain matter as 
absorbing as that in the most exciting annals of any 
country. Let us take for example the wonderful 
inscriptions of Tiglath-pileser II (950 B.C.) which 
refer to his various conquests, and which were dis- 
covered by George Smith at Nimrud in the temple 
of Nebo. 

Tiglath commences with the usual Oriental flourish 
of trumpets. He styles himself the powerful warrior 
who, in the service of Asshur, has trampled upon his 
haters, swept over them like a flood, and reduced 
them to shadows. He has marched, he says, from 
the sea to the land of the rising sun, and from the 
sea of the setting sun to Egypt. He enumerates 
the countless lands that he has conquered. The 
cities Sarrapanu and Malilatu among others he took 
by storm and captured the inhabitants to the number 
of 150,000 men, women, and children, all of whom 
he sent to Assyria. Much tribute he received from 
the people of the conquered lands — gold, silver, 
precious stones, rare woods, and cattle. His custom 
seems to have been to make his successful generals 
rulers of the cities he conquered, and it is noticeable 
that upon a victory he invariably sacrificed to the 
gods. His methods appear to have been drastic 

299 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

in the extreme. Irritated at the defiance of the 
people of Sarrapanu he reduced it to a heap of earth, 
and crucified King Nabu-Usabi in front of the gate 
of his city. Not content with this vengeance, Tiglath 
carried off his wealth, his furniture, his wife, his 
son, his daughters, and lastly his gods, so that no trace 
of the wretched monarch's kingdom should remain. 
It is noticeable that throughout these campaigns 
Tiglath invariably sent the prisoners to Assyria, 
which shows at least that he considered human life 
as relatively sacred. Probably these captive people 
were reduced to slavery. The races of the neighbour- 
ing desert, too, came and prostrated themselves be- 
fore the Assyrian hero, kissing his feet and bringing 
him tribute carried by sailors. 

Tiglath then begins to boast about his gorgeous 
new residence with all the vulgarity of a nouveau 
riche. He says that his house was decorated like a 
Syrian palace for his glory. He built gates of ivory 
with planks of cedar, and seems to have had his 
prisoners, the conquered kings of Syria, on exhibition 
in the palace precincts. At the gates were gigantic 
lions and bulls of clever workmanship which he 
describes as " cunning, beautiful, valuable," and this 
place he called ' The Palaces of Rejoicing.' 

In a fragment which relates the circumstances of 
his Eastern expeditions he tells how he built a city 
called Humur, and how he excavated the neighbour- 
ing river Patti, which had been filled up in the past, 
and along its bed led refreshing waters into certain 
of the cities he had conquered. He complains in 
one text that Sarduri, the King of Ararat, revolted 
against him along with others, but Tiglath captured 
his camp and Sarduri had perforce to escape upon 
a mare. Into the rugged mountains he rode by night 
300 







V 



)i y 



^^ 




" ■' ^.>5*?.. 



-u'^ 



'% 



Capture ot barrapanu by liglath-Pileser II 
Evelyn Paul 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF ASSUR^BANI-PAL 

and sought safety on their peaks. Later he took 
refuge with his warriors in the city of Turuspa. 
After a siege Tiglath succeeded in reducing the place. 
Afterwards he destroyed the land of Ararat, and 
made it a desert over an area of about 450 miles. 
Tiglath dedicated Sarduri's couch to Ishtar, and 
carried off his royal riding carriage, his seal, his 
necklace, his royal chariot, his mace, and lastly a 
' great ship,' though we are not told how he accom- 
plished this last feat. 

Poet or Braggart ? 

It is strange to notice the inflated manner in which 
Tiglath speaks in these descriptions. He talks about 
people, races, and rulers ' sinning ' against him as 
if he were a god, but it must be remembered that he, 
like other Assyrian monarchs, regarded himself as 
the representative of the gods upon earth. But 
though his language is at times boastful and absurd, 
yet on other occasions it is extremely beautiful and 
even poetic. In speaking of the tribute he received 
from various monarchs he says that he obtained from 
them " clothing of wool and linen, violet wool, royal 
treasures, the skins of sheep with fleece dyed in 
shining purple, birds of the sky with feathers of 
shining violet, horses, camels, and she-camels with 
their young ones." 

He appears, too, to have been in conflict with a 
Queen of Sheba or Saba, one Samsi, whom he sent 
as a prisoner to Syria with her gods and all her 
possessions. 

The Autobiography of Assur-bani-pal 

In a former chapter we outlined the mythicahhistory 
of Assur-bani-pal or Sardanapalus, and in this place 

301 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

may briefly review the story of his life as told in his 
inscriptions. He commences by stating that he is 
the child of Asshur and Beltis, but he evidently intends 
to convey that he is their son in a spiritual sense only, 
for he hastens to tell us that he is the " son of the great 
King of Riduti " (Esar-haddon). He proceeds to tell 
of his triumphal progress throughout Egypt, whose 
kings he made tributary to him. " Then," he remarks 
in a hurt manner, " the good I did to them they de- 
spised and their hearts devised evil. Seditious words 
they spoke and took evil counsel among themselves." 
In short, the kings of Egypt had entered into an 
alliance to free themselves from the yoke of Assur- 
bani-pal, but his generals heard of the plot and cap- 
tured several of the ringleaders in the midst of their 
work. They seized the royal conspirators and bound 
them in fetters of iron. The Assyrian generals then 
fell upon the populations of the revolting cities and 
cut off their inhabitants to a man, but they brought 
the rulers of Egypt to Nineveh into the presence of 
Assur-bani-pal. To do him justice that monarch 
treated Necho, who is described as ' King of Memphis 
and Sars,' with the utmost consideration, granting 
him a new covenant and placing upon him costly 
garments and ornaments of gold, bracelets of gold, a 
steel sword with a sheath of gold ; with chariots, 
mules, and horses. 

Dream of Gyges 

Continuing, Assur-bani-pal recounts how Gyges, 
King of Lydia, a remote place of which his fathers, 
had not heard the name, was granted a dream con- 
cerning the kingdom of Assyria by the god Asshur. 
Gyges was greatly impressed by the dream and sent 
to Assur-bani-pal to request his friendship, but having 
302 



DREAM OF GYGES 

once sent an envoy to the Assyrian court Assur-bani- 
pal seemed to think that he should continue to do 
so regularly, and when he failed in this attention the 
Assyrian king prayed to Asshur to compass his dis- 
comfiture. Shortly afterwards the unhappy Gyges 
was overthrown by the Cimmerians, against whom 
Assur-bani-pal had often assisted him. 

Assur-bani-pal then plaintively recounts how Saul- 
mugina, his younger brother, conspired against him. 
This brother he had made King of Babylon, and after 
occupying the throne of that country for some time 
he set on foot a conspiracy to throw off the Assyrian 
yoke. A seer told Assur-bani-pal that he had had 
a dream in which the god Sin spoke to him, saying 
that he would overthrow and destroy Saulmugina 
and his fellow-conspirators. Assur-bani-pal marched 
against his brother, whom he overthrew. The people 
of Babylon, overtaken by famine, were forced to 
devour their own children, and in their agony they 
attacked Saulmugina and burned him to death with 
his goods, his treasures, and his wives. As we have 
before pointed out, this tale strangely enough closely 
resembles the legend concerning Assur-bani-pal him- 
self. Swift was the vengeance of the Assyrian king 
upon those who remained. He cut out the tongues 
of some, while others were thrown into pits to be 
eaten by dogs, bears, and eagles. Then after fixing a 
tribute and setting governors over them he returned 
to Assyria. It is noticeable that Assur-bani-pal dis- 
tinctly states that he ' fixed upon ' the Babylonians 
the gods of Assyria, and this seems to show that 
Assyrian deities existed in contradistinction to those 
of Babylonia. 

In one expedition into the land of Elam, Assur-bani- 
pal had a dream sent by Ishtar to assure him that 

303 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

the crossing of the river Itite, which was in high flood, 
could be accomplished by his army in perfect safety. 
The warriors easily negotiated the crossing and in- 
flicted great losses upon the enemy. Among other 
things they dragged the idol of Susinay from its 
sacred grove, and he remarks that it had never been 
beheld by any man in Elam. This with other idols 
he carried off to Assyria. He broke the winged 
lions which flanked the gates of the temple, dried 
up the drinking wells, and for a month and a day swept 
Elam to its utmost extent, so that neither man nor 
oxen nor trees could be found in it — nothing but the 
wild ass, the serpent, and the beast of the desert. 
The King goes on to say that the goddess Nana, 
who had dwelt in Elam for over 1600 years, had 
been desecrated by so doing. " That country," he 
declares, " was a place not suited to her. The re- 
turn of her divinity she had trusted to me. ' Assur- 
bani-pal,' she said, ' bring me out from the midst of 
wicked Elam and cause me to enter the temple of 
Anna.' " The goddess then took the road to the 
temple of Anna at Erech, where the King raised to 
her an enduring sanctuary. Those chiefs who had 
trusted the Elamites now felt afflicted at heart and 
began to despair, and one of them, like Saul, begged 
his own armour-bearer to slay him, master and man 
killing each other. Assur-bani-pal refused to give 
his corpse burial, and cutting off its head hung it 
round the neck of Nabu-Quati-Zabat, one of the 
followers of Saulmugina, his rebellious brother. In 
another text Assur-bani-pal recounts in grandiloquent 
language how he built the temples of Asshur and 
Merodach. 

" The great gods in their assembly my glorious 
renown have heard, and over the kings who dwell 
304 



ASSUR^BANLPAL AS ARCHITECT 

in palaces, the glory of my name they have raised 
and have exalted my kingdom. 

Assur'bani'pal as Architect 

" The temples of Assyria and Babylonia which 
Esar-haddon, King of Assyria, had begun, their 
foundations he had built, but had not finished their 
tops ; anew I built them : I finished their tops. 

" Sadi-rabu-matati (the great mountain of the 
earth), the temple of the god Assur my lord, com- 
pletely I finished. Its chamber walls I adorned 
with gold and silver, great columns in it I fixed, 
and in its gate the productions of land and sea I 
placed. The god Assur into Sadi-rabu-matati I 
brought, and I raised him an everlasting sanctuary. 

" Saggal, the temple of Merodach, lord of the 
gods, I built, I completed its decorations ; Bel and 
Beltis, the divinities of Babylon and Ea, the divine 
judge from the temple of ... I brought out, and 
placed them in the city of Babylon. Its noble 
sanctuary a great . . . with fifty talents of . . . 
its brickwork I finished, and raised over it. I caused 
to make a ceiling of sycamore, durable wood, beauti- 
ful as the stars of heaven, adorned with beaten gold. 
Over Merodach the great lord I rejoiced in heart, 
I did his will. A noble chariot, the carriage of 
Merodach, ruler of the gods, lord of lords, in gold, 
silver, and precious stones, I finished its work- 
manship. To Merodach, king of the whole of 
heaven and earth, destroyer of my enemies, as a gift 
I gave it. 

" A couch of sycamore wood, for the sanctuary, 

covered with precious stones as ornaments, as the 

resting couch of Bel and Beltis, givers of favour, 

makers of friendship, skilfully I constructed. In 

u 305 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

the gate . . . the seat of Zirat-banit, which adorned 
the wall, I placed. 

" Four bulls of silver, powerful, guarding my royal 
threshold, in the gate of the rising sun, in the greatest 
gate, in the gate of the temple Sidda, which is in 
the midst of Borsippa, I set up." ^ 

A * Likeable* Monarch 

Esar-haddon, the father of Assur-bani-pal, has 
been called " the most likeable " of the Assyrian 
kings. He did not press his military conquests for 
the mere sake of glory, but in general for the main- 
tenance of his own territory. He is notable as the 
restorer of Babu and the reviver of its culture. He 
showed much clemency to political offenders, and 
his court was the centre of literary activity. Assur- 
bani-pal, his son, speaks warmly of the sound educa- 
tion he received at his father's court, and to that 
education and its enlightening influences we now 
owe the priceless series of cylinders and inscriptions 
found in his library. He does not seem to have 
been able to control his rather turbulent neighbours, 
and he was actually weak enough (from the Assyrian 
point of view) to return the gods of the kingdom of 
Aribi after he had led them captive to Assyria. He 
seems to have been good-natured, enlightened, and 
easy-going, and if he did not boast so loudly as his 
son he had probably greater reason to do so. 

One of the descendants of Assur-bani-pal, Bel- 
zakir-iskun, speaks of his restoration of certain 
temples, especially that of Nebo, and plaintively adds : 
" In after days, in the time of the kings my sons 
. . . When this house decays and becomes old 
who repairs its ruin and restores its decay ? May he 

* George Smith's translation. See his Assyrian Discoveries, p. 355 ff. 
306 



THE FATAL ECLIPSE 

who does so see my name written on this inscrip- 
tion. May he enclose it in a receptacle, pour out 
a libation, and write my name with his own ; but 
whoever defaces the writing of my name may the 
gods not establish him. May they curse and destroy 
his seed from the land." This is the last royal 
inscription of any length written in Assyria, and 
its almost prophetic terms seem to suggest that he 
who framed them must have foreseen the downfall 
of the civilization he represented. Does not the 
inscription almost foreshadow Shelley's wondrous 
sonnet on ' Ozymandias ' ? 

I met a traveller from an antique land 
Who said : Two vast and trunkless legs of stone 
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand, 
Half sunk, a shattered visage Hes, whose frown, 
And wrinkled hp, and sneer of cold command. 
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read 
Which yet survive, stamped on these Hfeless things. 
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed ; 
And on the pedestal these words appear : 
" My name is Ozymandias, king of kings : 
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair ! " 
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay 
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare. 
The lone and level sands stretch far away. 

The Fatal Eclipse 

The reign of Assur-Dan III (773-764 B.C.) supplies 
us with a picturesque incident. This Assyrian 
monarch had marched several times into Syria, 
and had fought the Chaldeans in Babylonia. 
Numerous were his tributary states and widespread 
his power. But disaster crept slowly upon him, 
and although he made repeated efforts to stave it 
off, these were quite in vain. Insurrection followed 
insurrection, and it would seem that the priests of 

U 2 307 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

Babylon, considering themselves slighted, joined 
the malcontent party and assisted to foment discord. 
At the critical juncture of the fortunes of Assur- 
Dan there happened an eclipse of the sun, and as the 
black shadow crept over Nineveh and the King lay 
upon his couch and watched the gradual blotting out 
of the sunlight, he felt that his doom was upon him. 
After this direful portent he appears to have resisted 
no longer, but to have resigned himself to his 
fate. Within the year he was slain, and his rebel 
son, Adad-Narari IV, sat upon his murdered 
father's throne. But Nemesis followed upon the 
parricide's footsteps, for he in turn found a rebel 
in his son, and the land was smitten with a terrible 
pestilence. 

Shalmaneser I (c. 1270) was cast in a martial and 
heroic mould, and an epic might arise from the 
legends of his conquests and military exploits. In 
his time Assyria possessed a superabundant popula- 
tion which required an outlet, and this the monarch 
deemed it his duty to supply. After conquering the 
provinces of Mitani to the west of the Euphrates, he 
attacked Babylonia, and so fiercely did he deal with 
his southern neighbours that we find him actually 
gathering the dust of their conquered cities and 
casting it to the four winds of heaven. Surely a 
more extreme manner of dealing summarily with a 
conquered enemy has never been recorded ! 

Although the life of the Babylonian or Assyrian 
king was lived in the full glare of publicity, he had 
not to encounter the same criticism as regards his 
actions that present-day monarchs must face, for 
the moral code of the peoples of Mesopotamia was 
fundamentally different from that which obtains 
at the present time. As the monarch was regarded 
308 




Shalmaneser I pouring out the Dust of a Conquered City 

Ambrose Dudley 308 

By permission of Messrs Hutchinson and Co. 



A ROYAL DAY 

as the vicegerent of the gods upon earth, it therefore 
followed that he could do no wrong. Submission 
to his will was complete. In the hands of a race 
of men who wielded this power unwisely it could 
have been nothing else but disastrous to both prince 
and people. But on the whole it may be said that 
the kings of this race bore themselves worthily 
according to their lights. If their sense of dignity 
at times amounted to bombast, that was because 
they were so full of their sense of delegated duty 
from above. There is every reason to believe that 
before entering upon their kingly state they had to 
undergo a most rigorous education, consisting of 
instruction upon religious subjects, some history, 
and the inculcation of moral precepts. On the 
other hand they were by no means mere puppets, 
for we find them initiating campaigns, presiding 
over courts of law, and framing the laws themselves 
and generally guiding the trend of the national 
policy. As a whole they were a strong and deter- 
mined race, wise as well as warlike, and by no means 
unmindful of the requirements of their people. 
But with them the gods were first, and their reading 
of the initial duty of a king seems to have been the 
building of temples and the celebration of religious 
ceremonies of which a gorgeous and prolonged ritual 
was the especial feature. 

I 
A Royal 'Day* 

A sketch of a day in the life of an Assyrian or 
Babylonian king may assist the reader to visualize 
the habits of royalty in a distant era. The ceremonies 
of robing and ablution upon rising would necessitate 
the attendance of numerous special officials, and, 
the morning repast over, a private religious ceremony 

309 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

would follow. The business of the court would 
supervene. Perhaps an embassy from Elam or 
Egypt would occupy the early hours of the morning, 
failing which the dictation of letters to the governors 
of provinces and cities or to distant potentates 
would be overtaken. As a scholar himself the 
King would probably carefully scrutinize these pro- 
ductions. A visit might then be paid to a temple 
in course of construction, where the architect would 
describe the progress of the building operations, 
and the King would watch the slow rising of shrine 
and tower ; or, perhaps, the afternoon would be 
set apart for the pleasures of the chase. Leashes 
of great dogs, not unlike those of the Danish boar- 
hound breed, would be gathered at a certain point, 
and setting out in a light but strong chariot, the 
King would soon arrive at that point where the 
beaters had assured themselves of the presence of 
gazelles, wild asses, or even lions. Matters would, 
of course, be so arranged that the chief glories of 
the day should be left with royalty. It is not clear 
whether the King was accompanied by his courtiers 
in the chase, as was the case in the Middle Ages, or 
if he was merely attended by professional huntsmen. 
Be that as it may, when the ceremony of pouring 
libations over the dead game came to be celebrated, 
we find no one except the King, the harpers, and 
professional huntsmen present, for the kings of this 
virile and warlike race did not disdain to face the 
lion unattended and armed with nothing but bow 
and arrows and a short falchion. Unless the in- 
scriptions which they have left on record are altogether 
mendacious we must believe that many an Assyrian 
king risked his life in close combat with lions. Great 
risk attends lion-hunting when the sportsman is 
310 




.5 2 ^ 

S 1 ° 

cj rt .2 

^ Cm " 



A ROYAL DAY 

armed with modern weapons of precision, but the 
risk attending a personal encounter with these savage 
animals when the hunter is armed with the most 
rudimentary weapons seems appalling, according 
to modern civilized ideas. 

Or again the afternoon might be occupied by a 
great ceremonial religious function, the laying of 
the foundation-stone of a temple, the opening of a 
religious edifice, or the celebration of a festival. 
The King^ attended by a glittering retinue of courtiers 
and priests, would be carried in a litter to the place 
of celebration where hymns to the god in whose 
honour the function was held were sung to the 
accompaniment of harps and other instruments, 
libations to the god were poured out, sacrifices 
offered up, and prayers made for continued protection. 

The private life of an Assyrian or Babylonian 
king was probably not of a very comfortable order, 
surrounded as he was by sycophantic officials, spies 
in the pay of his enemies, schemers and office-seekers 
of all descriptions. As in most Oriental countries, 
the harem was the centre of intrigue and political 
unrest. Its occupants were usually princesses from 
foreign countries who had probably received in- 
junctions on leaving their native lands to gain as 
much ascendancy over the monarch as possible 
for the purpose of swaying him in matters political. 
Many of these alliances were supposed to be made 
in the hope of maintaining peaceful relations between 
Mesopotamia and the surrounding countries, but 
there is little doubt that the numerous wives of a 
Mesopotamian king were only too often little better 
than spies whose office it was to report periodically 
to their relatives the condition of things in Babylon 
or Nineveh. 

3" 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

Slaves swarmed in the palaces, and these occupied 
a rather higher status than in some other countries. 
A slave who possessed good attainments and who 
was skilled in weaving, the making of unguents or 
preserves, was regarded as an asset. The slaves 
were a caste, but the laws regarding them were 
exact and not inhumane. They were usually sold 
by auction in the market-places of the large towns. 
A strange custom, too, is said by Herodotus to have 
obtained among the Babylonians in connexion with 
marriage. Every marriageable woman obtained a 
husband in the following manner : The most beauti- 
ful girls of marriageable age were put up to auction, 
and the large sums realized by their sale were given 
to the plainer young women as dowries, who, thus 
furnished with plentiful means, readily found hus- 
bands. The life of a Mesopotamian king was so 
hedged around by ceremonial as to leave little time 
for private pleasures. These, as in the case of 
Assur-bani-pal, sometimes took the form of literary 
or antiquarian amusements, but the more general form 
of relaxation seems to have been feasts or banquets at 
which the tables were well supplied with delicacies 
obtained from distant as well as neighbouring regions. 
Dancing and music, both furnished by a professional 
class, followed the repast, and during the evening the 
King might consult his soothsayers or astrologers 
as to some portent that had been related to him, 
or some dream he- had experienced. 

The royal lines of Mesopotamia seem to have 
been composed of men grave, sedate, and conscious 
of the authority which reposed in them. But few 
weaklings sat upon the thrones of Babylonia or 
Assyriar^nd those who did were not infrequently 
swept aside to make room for better men. 
312 



CHAPTER XIII : THE COMPARATIVE 
VALUE OF THE BABYLONIAN AND 
ASSYRIAN RELIGIONS 

THE comparative value of the religions of 
Babylonia and Assyria is very high, as they 
represent Semitic polytheism in evolution, 
and in a state of prosperity, though hardly in decay. 
They are, in fact, typical of Semitic religion as a 
whole, and as the Semitic race initiated no less than 
three of the great religious systems of the world — 
Judaism, Christianity, and Mohammedanism — they 
are well worth careful study on the part of those 
who desire to specialize in religious science. It is, 
however, for a variety of reasons, inevitable that 
we should compare them most frequently with the 
religion of Israel, the faith that in general most 
resembled them, although a wide cleavage existed 
between the ethics of that system and their moral 
outlook. That notwithstanding, there was direct 
contact between the Babylonian and Jewish religions 
for a prolonged period, and the influence thus ab- 
sorbed was quickened by racial relationship. 

Ere we deal with these purely Semitic and racial 
resemblances which are so important for the proper 
comprehension of Biblical history and religious 
science in general, let us briefly compare the faith 
of Babylonia and Assyria with some of the great 
religious systems of the world. It perhaps more 
closely resembles the composite general Egyptian 
religious idea (one cannot speak of an Egyptian reli- 
gion) than any other. But whereas in Egypt the 
deities had been almost universally evolved from 
nome or province-patrons, totemic or otherwise, 
a number often coalesced in one form, the gods of 

313 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

Chaldea were usually city- or district-gods, showing 
much less of the nature of the departmental deity 
in their construction than the divinities of Egypt. 
The Egyptian god-type was more exact and explicit. 
We have seldom much difficulty in discovering the 
nature of an Egyptian god. We have frequently, 
however, immense trouble in finding out for what a 
Mesopotamian deity stands. The Babylon-Assy- 
rian idea of godhead appears to have been princi- 
pally astral, terrestrial, or aquatic — that is, most 
Babylonian-Assyrian deities are connected either 
with the heavenly bodies, the earth, or the waters. 
It is only as an afterthought that they become gods 
of justice, of letters, of the underworld. This state- 
ment must of course be taken as meaning that their 
connexion with abstract qualities is much more loose 
than in the case of the Egyptian gods — that their 
departmental character is secondary to their original 
character as gods of nature. There is only one ex- 
ception to this, and that is to be found in the depart- 
ment of war, to which certain of them appear to have 
been relegated at an early period and later to have 
become identified with it very closely indeed. 

In one circumstance the Babylonian-Assyrian 
religion closely resembled the Egyptian, and that 
was the lasting effect wrought upon it by priestly 
cults and theological schools. Just as the priests of 
Thebes and Memphis and On moulded the varying 
cults of Egypt, added to their mythology, and read into 
them ethical significance, so did the priests of Nippur 
and Erech mould and form the faith of Babylon. 
We have plenty of evidence for such a statement, 
and nowhere perhaps was theological thought so 
rife in the ancient world as in Babylonia and Egypt. 

There are also points of contact with the great 
314 



COMPARATIVE VALUE OF RELIGIONS 

mythological system of Greece, that system which 
was so much a mythology that it could scarcely 
be called a religion. That Greece borrowed largely 
from Mesopotamia is not to be doubted, but we 
find the Hellenic departmental deities very explicit 
indeed in their nature. Pallas, for example, stands 
for wisdom, Poseidon for the sea. Ares for war, and 
so forth. One god usually possesses one attribute, 
and although Zeus has a number of minor attributes 
we do not find him combining in his one person so 
many as does Merodach. As has been said, it would 
seem that the departmental character of many 
Babylonian gods was purely accidental or fortuitous. 
The formula seems to run — take a local or city god, 
probably derived from totemic sources or perhaps 
of animistic origin, and, having conquered much 
surrounding territory, exalt him to the position of 
the god of a large region, which, being incorporated 
again with a still larger empire, leaves him only a 
local status. This status he cannot hold in a pantheon 
where each member must possess a specific attribute, 
therefore it becomes necessary to impose upon him 
some quality by which he can be specially recognized. 
Sometimes that quality is suitable to his character, 
in fact it may be indicated by it, but at other times it 
is merely arbitrary. Why, for example, should Ishtar 
have been made a goddess of war by the Assyrians ? 
This bestowal of departmental characteristics upon 
the gods of Babylonia and Assyria was contemporary 
with the erection of these countries into empires. 
No pantheon can exist on high without a political 
reflex in the world below. Like the granting of 
most departmental offices in religious systems, these 
changes took place at a comparatively late date in 
the evolution of Semitic religion. Whenever we find 

315 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

the departmental deities of a religious system more or 
less sharply outlined as to their duties and status we 
may premise two things : first, that temporal power 
has been acquired by the race which conceived them, 
and secondly that this power is of comparatively 
recent origin. 

Semitic Conservatism 

When we speak of departmental deities of a country 
like Babylonia or Egypt we must bear in mind that 
these lands knew so many dynasties and had such 
an extended history that their religious systems 
must from first to last have experienced the most 
profound changes. In Egypt, for example, religious 
phenomena altered slowly and by imperceptible de- 
grees. The changes experienced in the course of 
fifty centuries of religious evolution must have made 
the cults of Egypt exhibit very different conditions 
at the close of their development from, let us say, 
those seen midway in their evolutionary course. We 
have seen how the Babylonian and Assyrian faiths 
altered in the course of generations, but withal there 
appears to have been something more strongly 
conservative in the nature of Semitic religion than 
in any other. Probably in no other land did the 
same ritual and the same religious practices obtain 
over so long a period as in Babylonia, where the 
national life was much stronger and much more 
centralized than in Egypt, and where, if rival cults 
did exist, they were all subservient to one, as was 
by no means the case in the land of the Nile. 

Teutonic and Celtic Comparisons 

Compared with the great Germanic religion the 
Babylonian offers few points of resemblance. In 
316 



BABYLONIAN RELIGION ANIMISTIC 

the faith of the Teutons departmental deities were 
the rule rather than the exception ; in fact in no 
mythic system are the gods so associated with depart- 
ments as in the Teutonic, and this despite the fact 
that no definite empire was ruled by Teutonic tribes. 
(Was the Teutonic system the remains of a religious 
aristocracy which had hived off from some centre 
of political power ?) Nor do the Semitic religions 
have much in common with the Celtic so far as 
their basis of polity is concerned, although numerous 
valiant attempts have been made by antiquarian 
gentlemen, of the type so common half a century ago 
and not yet defunct, to prove Babylonian influence 
upon Celtic faith and story. Thus we have been 
told that the Celtic Bile was as certainly allied to the 
Semitic Bel as the Roman Mars was to the Greek 
Ares, and this of course through Phoenician influence, 
the people 'of Tyre and Sidon having been traced 
to Ireland as colonists. These ' theories ' are, of 
course, not worth the paper they are printed upon, 
any more than is the supposition that the Scottish- 
Celtic festival of Beltane has any connexion with 
the Babylonian Bel. It was, in fact, presided over 
by the god Bile, a Celtic deity who has on other 
counts been confounded with the Babylonian god. 

Babylonian Religion Typically Animistic 

We learn, then, from the comparison of the Baby- 
lonian religion with that of other ancient races one 
circumstance of outstanding importance, that is, if 
the Babylonian gods were so perfunctorily attached 
to departments expressive of their functions and 
were so closely bound to the elements that they must 
have had an elemental origin, that they were indeed 
originally spirits of the earth, the air, and the water. 

317 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

This, of course, is no new conclusion, only the 
circumstance that the Babylonian gods were not 
strictly departmental, that they have only a slight 
hold upon their offices, assists in proving the correct- 
ness of the theory of their elemental origin. It is 
also of interest to the student of comparative religion 
as indicating to him a mythological system in which 
the majority of the gods are certainly of elemental 
origin as opposed to totemic or fetishistic origin. 
Of the spiritistic nature of the Babylonian pantheon 
small doubt remains. To the Semite, in whom 
imagination and matter-of-fact are so strongly com- 
bined, animistic influences would be sure to appeal 
most strongly. It stands to primitive reason that 
if man is gifted with life so is everything else, and 
this conviction gives imagination full play. We do 
not discover these animistic influences so strongly 
entrenched in ancient Egypt. The Osirian cult is 
certainly animistic to a degree, but the various 
totemic cults which rivalled it and which it at last 
embraced held their own for many a day. 

A Mother'Goddess Theory- 
One outstanding feature of Babylonian religion 
is the worship of the great earth-mother. This 
is a universal religious phase, but in few systems- 
do we find it so prominent as in Babylonia and 
indeed in the whole Mesopotamian tract. Efforts 
have been made to show that in Mesopotamia there 
encountered one another two streams of people of 
opposing worship, one worshipping a male, and the 
other a female deity. With those who worshipped 
the man-god — hunters and warriors with whom 
women were considered more as beasts of burden 
than anything else — man was the superior being. 
318 








•n 
3 - = 

< ^! 



INFLUENCE ON JEWISH RELIGION 

The other people who worshipped the woman-god 
were not necessarily more civilized ; the origin of 
their adoration may have been a scarcity of women 
in the tribe. Where these two streams fused the 
worship of an androgyne, or man-woman god, is said 
to have resulted. But were there peoples who speci- 
fically and separately worshipped male and female 
deities ? If certainty can be approached in debating 
such matters, these deities would assuredly be 
animistic, and a people who worship animistic gods 
do not worship one god or one sex, but scores of 
spirit-gods of both sexes. Wherever we find a 
mother-earth, too, we are almost certain to discover 
a father-sky. The cult of the great mother-goddess 
was of rather later origin. All localities and all 
regions in the Semitic world possessed such a deity 
and it was the fusion of these in one that produced 
Ishtar or Astarte, who was probably also the ' Diana 
of the Ephesians.' Perhaps the best parallel to 
this Semitic worship of the earth-mother is to be 
found in the mythology of the ancient Mexican 
races, where each pueblo, or city-state, possessed its 
earth-mother, several of whom were finally merged, 
after the conquest of their worshippers, in the great 
earth-mother of Mexico. 

Babylonian Influence on Jewish Religion 

But Babylonian-Assyrian religion is chiefly of interest 
to the student of comparative religion in that it casts a 
flood of light upon that wonderful Jewish faith with 
which the history of our own is so closely identified. 

Professor Sayce ^ writes : 

" There was one nation at all events which has 

^ Hihhert Lectures, pp. 38 ff. (by permission of Messrs Williams and 
Norgate). 

319 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AIND ASSYRIA 

exercised, and still exercises, a considerable influence 
upon our own thought and life, and which had been 
brought into close contact with the religion and cul- 
ture of Babylonia at a critical epoch in its history. 
The influence of Jewish religion upon Christianity, 
and consequently upon the races that have been 
moulded by Christianity, has been lasting and pro- 
found. Now Jewish religion was intimately bound 
up with Jewish history, more intimately perhaps 
than has been the case with any other great reli- 
gion of the world. It took its colouring from the 
events that marked the political life of the Hebrew 
people ; it developed in unison with their struggles 
and successes, their trials and disappointments. Its 
great devotional utterance, the Book of Psalms, is 
national, not individual ; the individual in it has 
merged his own aspirations and sufferings into those 
of the whole community. The course of Jewish 
prophecy is equally stamped with the impress of the 
national fortunes. It grows clearer and more catholic 
as the intercourse of the Jewish people with those 
around them becomes wider ; and the lesson is 
taught at last that the God of the Jews is the God 
also of the whole world. Now the chosen instruments 
for enforcing this lesson, as we are expressly told, 
were the Assyrian and Babylonian. The Assyrian 
was the rod of God's anger, while the Babylonish 
exile was the bitter punishment meted out to Judah 
for its sins. The captives who returned again to 
their own land came back with changed hearts and 
purified minds ; from henceforth Jerusalem was to 
be the unrivalled dwelling-place of ' the righteous 
nation which keepeth the truth.' 

" Apart, therefore, from any influence which the 
old religious beliefs of Babylonia may have had 
320 



INFLUENCE ON JEWISH RELIGION 

upon the Greeks, and which, as we shall see, was not 
so wholly wanting as was formerly imagined, their 
contact with the religious conceptions of the Jewish 
exiles must, to say the least, have produced an effect 
which it is well worth our while to study. Hitherto 
the traditional view has been that this effect exhibited 
itself wholly on the antagonistic side; the Jews 
carried nothing away from the land of their captivity 
except an intense hatred of idolatry, more especially 
Babylonian, as well as of the beliefs and practices 
associated therewith." 

Professor Ignatius Goldziher, of Budapest, has 
enlightened us, in a passage in his Mythology among 
the Hebrews, as to the great influence wielded by 
Babylonian upon Jewish religion. He says : "_ The 
receptive tendency of the Hebrew manifested itself 
again prominently during the Babylonian Captivity. 
Here first they gained an opportunity of forming for 
themselves a complete and harmonious conception 
of the world. The influence of Canaanitish civiliza- 
tion could not then be particularly powerful on the 
Hebrews; for that civilization, the highest point 
of which was attained by the Phoenicians, was quite 
dwarfed by the mental activity exhibited m the 
monuments of the Babylonian and Assyrian Empire, 
which we are now able to admire in all their grandeur. 
There the Hebrews found more to receive than 
some few civil, political, and religious institutions. 
The extensive and manifold literature which they 
found there could not but act on a receptive niind 
as a powerful stimulus ; for it is not to be imagined 
that the nation then dragged into captivity lived 
sc long in the Babylonian-Assyrian Empire without 
gaining any knowledge of its intellectual treasures. 
Schrader's latest publications on Assyrian poetry 
X 321 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

have enabled us to establish a striking similarity 
between both the course of ideas and the poetical 
form of a considerable portion of the Old Testament, 
especially of the Psalms, and those of this newly- 
discovered Assyrian poetry. It would be a great 
mistake to account for this similarity by reference 
to a common Semitic origin in primeval times ; for 
we can only resort to that in cases which do not go 
beyond the most primitive elements of intellectual 
life and ideas of the world, or designations of things 
of the external world. Conceptions of a higher and 
more complicated kind, as well as aesthetic points, 
can certainly not be carried off into the mists of a 
prehistoric age. It is much better to keep to more real 
and tangible ground, and to suppose those points 
of contact between Hebrew and Assyrian poetry 
which are revealed by Schrader's, Lenormant's, and 
George Smith's publications, to form part of the 
contributions made by the highly civilized Babylo- 
nians and Assyrians to the Hebrews in the course 
of the important period of the Captivity. 

" We see from this that the intellect of Babylon 
and Assyria exerted a more than passing influence on 
that of the Hebrews, not merely touching it, but 
entering deep into it and leaving its own impress 
upon it. The Assyrian poetry of the kind just 
mentioned stands in the same relation to that of the 
Hebrews as does the plain narrative texts of the 
Hebrews, and as does the sacrificial Tablet of Mar- 
seilles to the Hebrews' beginnings of a sacerdotal 
constitution. The Babylonian and Assyrian in- 
fluence is of course much more extensive, pregnant, 
and noteworthy." 

The Abbe Loisy in a French work, Les myths 
babyloniens, et les 'premiers chapitres de la Genese 
322 



INFLUENCE ON JEWISH RELIGION 

(Paris, 1901), says a few things upon Jewish and 
Babylonian mythical relations worth translating : 

" We can no longer take the first eleven or twelve 
chapters of Genesis as a whole and treat them as 
a monotheistic redaction of the Babylonian myths. 
. . . The Biblical accounts are not mere transcrip- 
tions . . . and the gaps between them presuppose 
much assimilation and transformation, much time, 
and probably many intermediaries to boot. . . . 
If the relationship of the Biblical narratives to the 
Chaldean legends is in many respects less intimate 
than was thought, it now appears to be more general. 
The Creation, and the Flood in particular, are still 
the most obvious points of resemblance ; but the 
story of Adam and Eve, the earthly paradise, the 
food of life, the explanation of death,— all of which 
have sometimes been sought where they were not to 
be found, — are now found where there was no thought 
of seeking them. . . . The Biblical texts have no 
literary dependence upon the Babylonian texts ; 
they do not even stand to them in a relation of direct 
dependence in the case of the special traditions 
they exhibit : but they rest on a similar— we might 
say a common — foundation, of Chaldean origin, 
whose antiquity cannot be even approximately 
estimated. ... On the other hand, h appears 
certain that the period of Assyrian dominance, and 
the Captivity, quickened the recollection of the old 
traditions and supplemented them by fresh materials 
easy to graft on the ancient stem. . . . We may 
well believe that the metamorphosis was complete in 
the oral tradition of the people before the legend was 
embodied in the Biblical narrative." 



123 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

Babylonian Influence upon the other Semites 

The influence of the Babylonian religion upon other 
Semitic cults is worthy of notice, although its effect 
upon the Jewish faith was more marked than on any 
other Semitic form of belief. Yet still through con- 
quest and other causes it undoubtedly exercised a 
strong influence upon the surrounding peoples, espe- 
cially those of related stock. We must regard the 
whole of Asia Minor, or at least its most civilized 
portion, as peopled by races of diverse origin who yet 
possessed a general culture in common. Some of 
those races, if we be permitted to employ rather 
time-worn ethnological labels, were ' Semitic,' like 
the Assyrians and Hebrews, others were of the 
* Ural-Altaic ' or ' Armenoid ' type, like the Hittites, 
whilst still others, like the Philistines, appear to 
have been of ' Aryan ' race, resembling the Greeks 
and Goths. But all these different races had em- 
braced a common culture, their architecture, pottery, 
weapons, crafts, and laws seem to have come from 
a common source, and lastly their religious systems 
were markedly alike. 

The Canaanites 

We find a people called the Canaanites as the first 
historic dwellers in the countries now known as Syria 
and Palestine. We do not know whether the name 
Canaan originated with the land or the race, but the 
name ' Canaanites ' is now used as a general designa- 
tion of the pre-Israelite inhabitants of Palestine. 
These people were probably neolithic in origin and 
appeared to have been Semitic. In any case they 
spoke a language very much akin to Hebrew. They 
exercised a strong influence upon Egypt about 
1400 B.C., and thousands of them settled in that 
324 



THE CANAANITES 

country as slaves or officials. They invaded Baby- 
lonia at an early date under the name of Amorites, 
and many of the personal names of Babylonian kings 
during the Hammurabi dynasty seem to be Amorite 
in origin. From the Egyptian records it seems 
pretty clear that as early as 2500 B.C. they had in- 
vaded Palestine, had exterminated the inhabitants, 
and that this invasion synchronized with that of 
Babylonia. Their religion seems to have been 
markedly Semitic in type but of the earlier variety, 
that is, animism was just beginning to emerge into 
polytheism. The gods were not called by their 
personal names, but rather by their attributes. The 
general name for ' god ' was ' ^/,' which was used also 
by the Hebrews, and which we find in such names 
as Jezebel, Elkanah, and perhaps in the modern 
Arabic ' Allah.' But this word was not employed by 
the Canaanites in a monotheistic sense, it was generic 
and denoted the particular divinity who dwelt in a 
certain place. It was indeed the word ' god ' — a 
god, any god, but not the God. But such a god 
having a sanctuary or presiding over a community 
was known as ' Ba^alJ This might apply to any 
supernatural being from fetish to full-fledged deity, 
and only meant that the spirit or divinity had estab- 
lished a relation with a particular holy place. 

We also find amongst the Canaanitish deities 
Shamash, the sun-god so widely worshipped in 
Babylonia, Sin the moon-god, Hadad or Rimmon, 
and Uru, god of light, whose name is found in Uru- 
Salim or Jerusalem. Dagon, too, is held by some 
authorities to have been purely an Amorite divinity. 
The worship of animals was also general, and bulls, 
horses, and serpents were represented as deities. 
There were also an immense number of nameless 

325 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

gods or spirits presiding over all sorts of physical ob- 
jects, and these were known as ba'alim. They were 
the resultants of animistic ideas. The early inhabi- 
tants of Canaan were also ancestor-worshippers like 
many other primitive people, and they seem to have 
shown a marked preference for the cult of the dead. 
But many of their departmental deities were 
either identical with or strongly resembled the gods 
of the Babylonians. Ashtart was of course Ishtar. 
In the mounds of Palestine large numbers of terra 
cotta plaques bearing her effigy are found. She 
is often depicted on these with a tall head-dress, 
necklace, anklets, and girdle quite in the Babylo- 
nian style. But other representations of her reveal 
Egyptian, Cypriote, and Hittite influences, and this 
goes to show that in all probability the great mother- 
goddess of Babylon and Asia Minor was compounded 
of various early types fused into one. To confine 
ourselves to those deities who are more closely 
connected with the Babylonian religion, we find 
the name of Ninib translated by the Canaanites as 
En-Mashti, and it has been thought that Ninib was 
a god of the West who had migrated to Babylonia. 
The name of Nebo, the Babylonian patron of Borsippa, 
who also acted as scribe to the gods, appears in that 
of the town of Nebo in Moab in Judea, and that 
Canaanites were conversant with the name of Ner- 
gal, the war-god, is proved by a sealed cylinder of 
Canaanitish workmanship which bears the inscription, 
" Atanaheli, son of Habsi servant of Nergal." Resheph 
also appears to have been known to the Canaanites. 

The Gods of the Phoenicians 

The Phoenicians who were the lineal descendants 
of the Canaanites adopted many of the deities of 
326 




Elijah prevailing over the Priests of Baal 

Evelyn Paul 



THE GODS OF THE PHCENICIANS 

Babylonia. Like the early deities of that great 
empire, the Phoenician gods were associated either 
with the earth, the waters, or the air. Some of 
these in later times held sway over more than one 
element. Thus the god Melkarth of Tyre had both 
a celestial and a marine aspect, and Baal and Ashtart 
assumed celestial attributes in addition to their 
earthly one. The Phoenicians described their gods 
in general as alonim, much as the Israelites in early 
times must have described theirs, for we find in the 
first chapters of Genesis the word elohim employed. 
Both then went back to the singular form el, the 
common Semitic name for ' god,' adding to it the 
Semitic plural ending im. The god of a locality 
or shrine was known as its ' ba'al,'' and, as in early 
times, this did not apply to any particular deity. 
Although their gods all had names, yet still they 
were merely the ha-alim of Tyre, the chief of whom 
was Melkarth, whose name signifies merely ' king ' 
or patron of the city. Perhaps one of their most 
venerated gods was Ba'al-Hamman, who was also 
worshipped in Carthage, a Phoenician colony. One 
of the most strongly marked characteristics of the 
Phoenician religion was the unvarying addition of 
a female to every male god. Ashtart or Ishtar 
was quite as popular in modern Phoenicia as she 
has been in ancient Canaan. It must be borne 
in mind that Tyre and Sidon were closely in touch 
with Assyria, and that their ships probably carried 
Assyrian commerce far and wide throughout the 
Mediterranean, exchanging Syrian goods for Egyptian, 
Cyprian, and Hellenic. Ashtart or Ishtar had temples 
at Sidon and Askelon, and Phoenician mariners 
seem to have carried her worship as far as Cyprus 
and even Sicily. Indeed it was probably through 

327 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

their agency that she was introduced into the Greek 
world, but there were Greek colonies on the shores 
of Asia Minor at an early date, and these may have 
transferred her cult to the people of their own race 
in the Greek motherland. Another goddess specially 
honoured at Carthage was Tanith, who was also 
called the ' Countenance of Ba'al.' Eshmun, the 
god of vital force and healing, seems to have been 
worshipped especially at Sidon but also at Carthage. 
Melkarth, the patron deity of Tyre, the Greeks 
equated with their Heracles ; Reshef, the lightning 
god, was of Syrian origin, and was identified by the 
Greeks with Apollo. The Phoenicians were also 
prone to fuse their gods one with another, so that 
we have such combinations as Eshmun-Melkarth, 
Melkarth-Reshef, and so forth. Phoenician religion 
was also strongly influenced by Egyptian ideas, 
and Plutarch has put it on record that when Isis 
journeyed to Byblus she was called Astarte. Certain 
Phoenician settlers at Piraeus, the port of Athens, 
worshipped the Assyrian god Nergal, and many of 
their proper names are compounded of the names 
of Babylon deities. The worship of Moloch was 
also popular in Phoenicia, where he was called Melk 
(' King '), and to him, as to the Moloch of the other 
Semitic peoples, infants were offered up in sacrifice. 
The Phoenicians likewise adopted the custom of 
burning the chief god of the city in effigy or in 
the person of a human representative at Tyre 
and Carthage. (See remarks on Hamman, pages 
142-144; and on Sardanapalus, pages 31-34.) 

We know very little concerning Phoenician myth. 
We cannot credit what is written by Philo of Byblus 
concerning it, as he professed that he had used as 
his authority the writings of one Sanchuniathon, an 
328 



THE CARTHAGINIAN RELIGION 

ancient Phoenician sage, who, he says, derived his 
information from inscribed stones in Phoenician 
temples. All of Philo that remains (and thus all 
of Sanchuniathon) is preserved in the works of 
Eusebius. It would seem, however, to be unfair to 
regard Eusebius as the inventor of Sanchuniathon. 
As we have already remarked in the paragraphs 
dealing with the legend of Cannes or Ea, several of 
the myths he quotes as coming from the Phoenician 
sage are manifestly of Babylonian origin. 

Like all Semites the Phoenicians closely identified 
themselves with their gods, in whom, if inscriptions 
can be believed, they seemed to find a great deal 
of comfort. They were assiduous devotees of their 
several cults, and as prone to sacrifice as were their 
cousins of Babylonia. Probably, too, their voyages 
and mercantile ventures made them firm believers in 
the efficacy of divination, and it cannot be doubted 
that the trade of the seer in ancient Tyre or Sidon 
must have been a flourishing one indeed. 

The Carthaginian Religion 

Very little is known concerning the religion of the 
Semites of Carthage, those colonists from Phoenicia 
who settled on the north-western shores of Africa 
at an early date, and this is probably owing to the 
circumstance that the jealousy of their Roman 
conquerors ordained that all records pertaining to 
them should so far as possible be blotted out. In 
Virgil's Alneid, we find Queen Dido of Carthage 
worshipping and sacrificing to the gods of Rome, 
but whether this error is due to Roman lack of 
imagination or otherwise it would be difficult to 
say. Carthaginian religion was strongly influenced 
by Assyrian belief. The chief gods worshipped in 

329 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

Carthage were Baal-ammon or Moloch, Tanit, goddess 
of the heavens and the moon, Ashtart or Ishtar, and 
Eshmun, the patron deity of the city. The cultjof 
Tammuz-Adonis was also greatly in vogue, as was 
that of the god Patechus, a repulsive monster who 
may have been of Eygptian origin. The Tyrian 
Melkarth, too, was widely worshipped. We also 
encounter in inscriptions the names of deities con- 
cerning whom we know nothing, such as Rabbat 
Umma, ' the Great Mother,' Illat, Sakon, and 
Tsaphon. 

About the beginning of the third century B.C. the 
intimate relations between the Carthaginians and 
the Greeks of Sicily favoured the introduction of 
a Hellenic element into the Punic religion, and 
there was reciprocal borrowing on the part of the 
Greeks. In the forum of Carthage was a temple 
to Apollo containing a colossal statue which was 
later removed to Rome, and on one occasion the 
Carthaginian worshippers of Apollo actually sent 
offerings to Delphi. We also find their goddess 
Tanit compared with the Greek Demeter. Her 
symbol is a crescent moon, and in her temple at 
Carthage was preserved a famous veil which was 
regarded as the palladium or ' mascot ' of the city, 
its luck-bringer. Inscriptions to Tanit and Baal- 
ammon abound, and as these are usually found in 
conjunction it is only reasonable to suppose that 
these two deities are worshipped together. Tanit 
was, in fact, frequently alluded to as ' The Coun- 
tenance of Baal,' whose name we find in those of 
the Carthaginian heroes, Hannibal and Hasdrubal. 
The Carthaginian Baal-ammon is represented as an 
old man with ram's horns on his forehead, and that 
animal was frequently portrayed along with him. 
330 



THE CARTHAGINIAN RELIGION 

He also holds a scythe. At Carthage children were 
sacrificed to him, and their bodies were placed in the 
arms of a colossal bronze statue which represented 
him. When they grew tired they slipped through 
the embrace of the god into a furnace below amid 
the excited cries of the fanatical worshippers. Even 
Roman severity could not put an end to these horrors, 
which persisted in secret until a relatively late date. 

It is strange to think that after the fall of Carthage 
the goddess Tanit became identified with Dido by 
the new Roman colonists of the city. Virgil had 
celebrated her misfortunes, and a public Dido cult 
grew up, the colonists even claiming to have dis- 
covered the very house from which she had watched 
the departure of ^Eneas. 

It is not unlikely that through the agency of the 
Phoenicians some fragments of the Babylonian religion 
may have penetrated even to our own shores. We 
know that they traded for tin with the ancient in- 
habitants of Cornwall and the Scilly Isles, and some 
writers believe they have philology on their side 
when they try to show that several Cornish names 
are of Phoenician origin. For example, the name 
Marazion appears to mean in Semitic ' Hill by the 
Sea,' and Polgarth, say some, owes its second 
syllable to the Phoenician word for ' city.' But it 
will not do to be dogmatic regarding these names, 
which may after all be explicable from Cornish or 
other sources. 

We see then that the Semitic religion travelled 
over a considerably wide area, that beginning in 
all probability in Arabia it spread itself through 
Mesopotamia northward as far as Lake Van, and 
southward through the Sinaitic peninsula into Egypt 
and the north of Africa. It is strange to observe 

331 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

that the later Semitic religion of Mohammed followed 
almost precisely the same course, and that its early 
progress westward halted almost on the very site 
of ancient Carthage ; that when it overflowed into 
Spain its disciples were acting precisely as Cartha- 
ginian Hannibal had done long before, and that it 
was beaten back by European effort in almost 
exactly the same way 

Robertson Smith in his valuable work, 7he Religion 
of the Semites, mentions that in his view Semitic 
religion does not differ so fundamentally from the 
other types of world religion as many writers on the 
subject appear to think. But the longer one considers 
it the greater do the barriers between Semitic and 
other religions appear and the more clearly marked 
their lines of demarcation. The prolonged isolation 
to which the Semitic peoples seem to have been 
subjected appears to have greatly affected their 
manner of religious thought. They are in truth 
a ' peculiar people,' practical yet mystical, strongly 
of the world yet finding their chief solace in those 
things which are not of the world. 

The materials for a complete inquiry into the 
history of Semitic religion are lacking, and we must 
perforce fill up the gaps which are many by compara- 
tive methods. But in this we are greatly assisted by 
the numerous manifestations of Semitic faith which, 
including as it does Babylonian, Assyrian, Canaanitish, 
Phoenician, Arabian, and Mohammedan cults, pro- 
vides us with rich comparative material. 

The Religion of Zoroaster 

The faith which immediately supplanted that of 
ancient Babylonia and Assyria could not fail to draw 
considerably from it. This was the Zoroastrian 
332 



THE RELIGION OF ZOROASTER 

faith, the religion of the Persians introduced by the 
reformer Zarathustra, the earliest form of Zoroaster's 
name as given in the Avesta. Uncertainty hangs 
over the date and place of his birth. The Greeks 
spoke of him as belonging to a remote age, but modern 
scholars assign the period of his life to the latter 
half of the seventh and early sixth century b.c. It 
seems certain that he was not a Persian, but a Mede 
or a Bactrian, either supposition being supported by 
indications of one kind or another. From the whole 
tenor of the Gathas, the most ancient part of the 
Avesta, we are led, says Dr. Haug, their translator, 
to feel that he was a man of extraordinary stamp 
acting a grand part on the stage of his country's 
history. Zarathustra speaks of himself as a messenger 
from God sent to bring the people the blessing of 
civilization and to destroy idolatry. Many legends 
grew up around his memory, of miraculous signs at 
his birth, of his precocious wisdom, whereby even as a 
child he confounded the Magi, of his being borne up 
to the highest heaven and there receiving the word of 
life from Deity itself, together with the revelation 
of all secrets of the future. He retired as a young 
man from the world to spend long years of contempla- 
tion before he began his teaching at thirty, and he 
lived to the age of seventy-seven. The religion he 
taught was the national religion of the Persians from 
the time of the Ach^menidae, who dethroned Cyaxares' 
son, 558 B.C., to the middle of the seventh century a. d. 
It declined after Alexander's conquest under the 
Seleucidae and the succeeding dynasty of the Arsacidae, 
but was revived by the Sassanian rulers and flourished 
for the four centuries a.d. 226-651. Then followed 
the Mohammedan conquest, accompanied by persecu- 
tion, before which the faithful followers of Zarathustra 

333 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

fled to India, where they are now represented by their 
descendants, the Parsis of Bombay. 

The religious belief taught by Zarathustra is based 
on the dual conception of a good principle, Ahura 
Mazda, and an evil principle, Anra Mainyu, and the 
leading idea of his teaching is the constant conflict 
between the two, which must continue until the end 
of the period ordained by Ahura Mazda for the dura- 
tion of the world, when evil will be finally overcome ; 
until then the god's power is to some degree limited, 
as evil still withstands him. Zarathustra's doctrine 
was essentially practical and ethical ; it was not in 
abstract contemplation, or in separation from the 
world, that man was to look for spiritual deliverance, 
but in active charity, in deeds of usefulness, in kind- 
ness to animals, in everything that could help to make 
the world a well-ordered place to live in, in courage 
and all uprightness. To build a bridge or dig a canal 
was to help to lessen the power of evil. As Reinach 
has concisely expressed it, " a life thoroughly occupied 
was a perpetual exorcism." 

The two figures of Ahura Mazda and Anra Mainyu, 
the one with his attendant archangels and angels, 
and the other with his arch-demons and demons, or 
Divs, compose the Zarathustrian celestial hierarchy, 
as represented in the earlier sacred writings ; in the 
later ones other figures are introduced into the 
pantheon. The sacred writings that have been pre- 
served are of different periods, and outside the range 
of Zarathustra's moral system of religion there are 
traces in them of revivals of an older primitive 
nature worship, and of the beliefs of an early nomadic 
shepherd life, as, for instance, the sacredness in 
which cow and dog are held, as well as reminiscences 
of general Indo-Germanic myths. 
334 



THE RELIGION OF ZOROASTER 

Ahura Mazda was the creator of the universe for 
the duration of which he fixed a certain term. It 
seems uncertain whether the Persians pictured the 
world as round or flat, but according to their idea it 
was divided into seven zones, of which the central 
one was the actual habitable earth. Between these 
zones and enveloping the whole was the great abyss 
of waters. Between earth and heaven rose the 
celestial mountain whence all the rivers upon earth had 
their source, and on which was deposited the Haoma. 

The central feature of Zoroastrian ritual was the 
worship of fire, an old-established worship which 
had existed before Zoroaster's time. In the oldest 
period images were forbidden, and holy rites could 
be performed without temples, portable fire-altars 
being in use. Temples were, however, built in quite 
early times, and within these was the sanctuary 
from which all light was excluded, and where the 
sacred fire was kept alight, which could only be 
approached by the priest with covered hands and 
mouth. The Persians carried the fear of defilement 
to an extreme, and had even more elaborate regu- 
lations than most Easterns concerning methods of 
purification and avoidance of defilement, both as 
regards personal contamination or that of the sacred 
elements of earth, fire, and water. Even hair and 
nails could not be cut without special directions 
as to how to deal with the separated portions. But 
this perpetual and exhausting state of caution and 
protective effort against contact with defiling objects 
and rigorous system of purification had an ultimate 
concern with the great struggle going on between 
good and evil. Death and everything that partook 
of death, or had any power of injury, were works 
of the arch-enemy. 

335 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

It was owing to the fear of contaminating the 
three elements named above that the Persians 
neither buried nor cremated their dead, and looked 
upon it as a criminal act to throw a corpse into the 
water. The old mode of disposing of the dead 
was similar to that now practised by the Parsis 
of Bombay, who carry the body to one of the Towers 
of Silence. So the Persians exposed the corpse, 
till one or other devouring agent, birds of prey or 
the elements, had reduced it to a skeleton. As 
regards man himself he was thought to be a reason- 
able being of free will with conscience, soul, and 
a guardian spirit or prototype of himself who dwelt 
above, called a Fravashi — his own character, in- 
deed, put into a spiritual body, almost identical 
with the amei-malghen or spiritual nymphs of the 
Araucanian Indians of Chile. He had the choice 
of good and evil, and consequently suifered the 
due punishment of sin. For the first three days 
after death the soul of the dead was supposed to 
hover about its earthly abode. 

During this time friends and relatives performed 
their funerary rites, their prayers and offerings be- 
coming more earnest and abundant as the hour 
drew nigh when the soul was bound to start on its 
journey to the beyond. This was at the beginning 
of the fourth day, when Sraosha carried it aloft, 
assailed on the way by demons desirous of obtain- 
ing possession of his burden. On earth everything 
was being done to keep the evil spirits in check, fires 
lighted as particularly effective against the powers 
of darkness. And, thus assisted, Sraosha arrived 
safely with his charge at the bridge that spanned 
the space between earth and heaven. Here at 
the entrance to the ' accountants' bridge ' the soul's 
336 



BABYLONIAN ETHICS 

account was cast up by Mithra and Rashnu ; the 
latter weighed its good and evil deeds, and even 
if the good deeds turned the scale, the soul had still 
to undergo immediate penance for its transgression, 
so strict was the justice meted out to each. Now 
the bridge may be crossed, and a further automatic 
kind of verdict is given, for to those fit for heaven 
the bridge appears a wide and easy way; to the 
unfortunate ones doomed to destruction it seems 
but of a hair's breadth, and stepping on to it they 
straightway fall into the yawning gulf beneath. 
The blessed ones are met at heaven's gate by a 
radiant figure, who leads them through the ante- 
chambers that finally open into the everlasting 
light of the celestial abode. This is the triumph 
of the individual soul ; but there is ' a far-off divine 
event ' awaiting, which will be heralded by signs 
and wonders. For 3000 years previous to it there 
are alternate intervals of overpowering evil and 
conquering peace. At last the great dragon is let 
loose and the evil time comes, but Mazda sends a 
man to slay it. Then the saviour Saoshyant is born 
of a virgin. The dead arise, the sheep and goats 
are divided, and there is lamentation on the earth. 
The mountains dissolve and flood the earth with 
molten metal, a devouring agent of destruction to 
the wicked, but from which the good take no hurt. 
The spiritual powers have now to battle it out. Mazda 
and Sraosha overcome Ahriman and the dragon, and 
" then age, decay, and death are done away, and 
in their place are everlasting growth and life." 

Babylonian Ethics 

And, lastly, what of the ethics of ancient Babylon 

and Assyria ? On the whole the moral standard 

Y 337 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

of these countries was not by any means so exalted 
as our own, although the religious outlook was not 
a low one. To begin with, the character of Baby- 
lonian myth was a great deal purer than that of 
Hellenic or Scandinavian myth. The gods of Baby- 
lonia appear to be more dignified than those of the 
Greeks or Norsemen, for example. They do not 
descend to the same puerilities, and their record is 
immeasurably cleaner. This may have something 
to do with the very great body of ritual connected 
with the Babylonian religion, for when a people is 
so hedged in by religious custom as were the ancient 
Chaldeans, so threatened on every side by taboo, 
the mere thought of wrongdoing and the consequence 
thereof is sufficient to deter them from acting other- 
wise than reasonably. In course of time sin becomes 
so ugly and repulsive in the light of punishment 
that the moral code receives a tremendous impulse. 

There is no doubt that the Babylonians devoutly 
believed that their gods demanded rigid adherence 
to the moral code. It was generally thought that 
misfortune and illness were the consequences of 
moral transgression. But the Babylonians did not 
believe that the cardinal sins alone were heinous, for 
they included in transgression such misdemeanours 
as maliciousness, fraud, unworthy ambitions, and 
injurious teaching. 



338 



CHAPTER XIV: MODERN EXCAVA. 
TION IN BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

IN no land has excavation assisted history so 
greatly as in Mesopotamia. In Egypt, although 
spade-work has widened our knowledge of life 
and religion in the Nile country, most of what 
we know of these subjects has been gleaned from 
temples and pyramids, rock-tombs and mastabas, 
for the proper examination of which little or no 
digging was necessary, and generally speaking it may 
be said that excavation in Egypt has furnished us 
with a greater insight into the earlier periods of 
Egyptian progress, its ' prehistoric ' life. But in 
the Babylonian-Assyrian region, practically every 
discovery has been due to strenuous labour with 
pick and spade ; our knowledge of Chaldea in its 
hey-day has literally been dug up piece by piece. 

The honour of beginning the great task of un- 
earthing the buried cities of Mesopotamia belongs 
to M. Botta, who was French consul at Mosul in 
1842. Moved by the belief that many of the great 
sand-covered mounds which are so conspicuous a 
feature of the Mesopotamian landscape probably 
concealed ruins of a vanished civilization, Botta 
commenced to excavate the large mound of 
Kouyunjik, which is situated close to the village 
where he resided. But he found little to reward 
his labours, and he does not seem to have gone about 
the business of excavation in a very workmanlike 
manner. His attention was called by an intelligent 
native to the mounds of Khorsabad, the site of 
ancient Nineveh, and he dispatched a party of 
workmen to the spot. Soon his perseverance was 
rewarded by^the discovery of some sculptures, and 
^ 2 339 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

recognizing the superior importance of Khorsabad 
for archaeological purposes, he transferred his estab- 
lishment to that village and resolved to devote him- 
self to a thorough investigation of the site. 

Soon a well-planned sinking operation came upon 
one of the palace walls, and subsequent digging was 
rewarded by the discovery of many chambers and 
halls faced with slabs of gypsum covered with mytho- 
logical figures, battle scenes, processions, and similar 
subjects. He had, in fact, unearthed a palace built 
at Nineveh by Sargon, King of Assyria, who reigned 
722-705 B.C., one of the finest examples of Assyrian 
palatial architecture. He continued his excavations 
at Khorsabad until 1845, and was successful in 
bringing to light a temple and a grand porch deco- 
rated by three pairs of wings, under which passed 
the road from the city to the palace. Many of the 
fruits of his labours were removed to Paris and 
deposited in the Louvre. His successor, Victor 
Place, continued Botta's work at Khorsabad, and 
discovered a city gate guarded by winged bulls, 
the backs of which supported the arch of the 
entrance. 

Sir Henry Layard 

Meanwhile Mr, afterward Sir Henry, Layard had 
visited the country in 1840, and was greatly impressed 
by Botta's work and its results. Five years later, 
through the assistance of Sir Stratford Canning, he 
was enabled himself to commence excavations at 
Nimrud. He soon unearthed the remains of extensive 
buildings — in fact he discovered two Assyrian palaces 
on the very first day of his excavations ! At the 
outset he had only eleven men in his employ, and 
being anxious to push on the work in fear that the 
340 



Mos JTae "Kquyunjik 

W"cl^^ iRBELA 

Nimcud 

ASHURJ o 
Kalat V.*^ 
Sberkat 



EXCAVATIONS IN 

BABYLONIA 

AND ASSYRIA. 




From Guide to the Babylonian and Assyrian Antiquities, by per- 
mission of the Director of the British Museum. 



341 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

local Turkish governor or the approach of the winter 
season would put an end to his operations, he 
increased his staff to thirty men. The peasants 
laboured enthusiastically, but to the excavator's 
disgust the Turkish authorities forbade him to pro- 
ceed. Layard, nevertheless, hoodwinked the authori- 
ties, and succeeded in uncovering several large 
figures of winged bulls and lions. 

Soon after this Layard spent Christmas with 
Sir Henry Rawlinson of the British Museum, with 
whom he cemented a warm friendship, and to- 
gether they were able to overcome the unfriendli- 
ness of the Turkish officials. Hormuzd Rassam, 
an intelligent native Christian, came to Layard's 
assistance, and operations were once more com- 
menced at Nimrud. Rassam's labours were quickly 
crowned by success, for he came upon a large hall 
in a fine state of preservation. The serious work 
of excavation was not without its humorous side, 
for if they chanced to unearth a carven monster 
with the body of a bull and the head of a bearded 
man, the native labourers threw down their tools 
and ran. The Turkish Governor, too, hearing from 
a native source that ' Nimrod ' had been found, sent 
a message to the effect that " his remains should be 
treated with respect and be no further disturbed." 

Layard had now unearthed many valuable sculp- 
tures, and he resolved to attempt their dispatch 
to England. Rawlinson sent a small steamer, the 
Nitocris, to Nimrud, but it was found impossible to 
ship the massive pieces on this frail craft, and even 
the smaller sculptures had perforce to be floated 
down the Tigris on rafts. Layard's health was by 
this time in no very robust state, but a two months' 
mountain holiday in Kurdistan refreshed him, and 
342 




The 'Black Obelisk' of Shalmaneser II 

Photo W. A. ManscII and Co, 



SIR HENRY LA YARD 

once more he recommenced his labours at Nimrud, 
heartened by the news that the British Government 
had awarded a grant for the continuation of his 
researches. The grant, however, was distressingly 
small, and its inadequacy compelled him to limit 
his excavations in the most unsatisfactory way. 
Despite this, the new operations were rich in results, 
especially those in the building known as the ' south- 
west palace.' This palace, he ascertained from 
bricks unearthed, had been built by Esar-haddon, 
King of Assyria. Sculptures glorifying King Assur- 
nazir-pal (885-860 b.c.) were also discovered at 
the north-west palace, some of them of a most 
spirited character, representing the King in battle, 
crossing a river full of turtles and fishes, or leading 
his army. 

It was in the central building, however, that one 
of his most important discoveries awaited him. 
This was the obelisk of Shalmaneser II (860-825 b.c), 
nearly seven feet high, and in admirable preserva- 
tion. The monarch had erected this in his palace 
to commemorate the leading military events of his 
career. It contains twenty small bas-reliefs and 210 
lines of cuneiform inscription, alluding among other 
things to the receipt of the tribute of " Jehu, son of 
Omri." ^ This priceless relic is one of the treasures 
in the keeping of the British Museum. 

Layard devoted the first four months of 1847 to 
the exploration of the north-west palace, and dis- 
closed painted chambers on which were represented 
hunting-scenes and various religious ceremonies, 
each design separated by a conventional representa- 
tion of the sacred tree. Many of the lesser objects 
found here exhibited Egyptian influence. Here he 
^ I But cf. I Kings xix 16, ff.; 2 Kings ix and x. 

343 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

also came upon the oldest Assyrian arch ever dis- 
covered. 

He had now collected a large number of important 
sculptures, and of these he succeeded in sending 
three by raft to Basra, whence they were later shipped 
to England. By the middle of May 1847 he had 
finished his work at Nimrud, and had commenced 
his search for the ruins of Nineveh in the mound of 
Kouyunjik, near Mosul, where Botta had laboured 
before him. He dug for the platform of sun-dried 
bricks which he knew by experience formed the 
foundation of all large Assyrian edifices, and came 
upon it, as he had expected, at a depth of twenty 
feet, shortly afterward discovering the entrance, 
flanked by the inevitable winged bulls. But the 
building itself had been so damaged by fire as to 
present little more than crumbling heaps of lime. 

Layard returned to England in June 1847, and 
was appointed attache to the Embassy at Constan- 
tinople. Meanwhile his published works had created 
an extraordinary impression throughout Europe, and 
the pressure of public opinion so wrought upon the 
Government that he was requested to lead a second 
expedition to Nineveh. 

Where Rawlinson Slept 

Better equipped, Layard left Constantinople in 
August 1849 and arrived at Kouyunjik in October. 
Employing about a hundred men, he set strenuously 
to work, removing only as much earth as was 
necessary to show the sculptured walls. Having 
fairly started the work at Kouyunjik, Layard, 
accompanied by Rassam, returned to Nimrud, and 
recommenced work there. One morning he was 
inspecting the trenches when he found Rawlinson 
344 



WHERE RAWLINSON SLEPT 

asleep on the floor of an excavated chamber, wrapped 
in his travelling cloak, " wearied out by a long and 
harassing night's ride." He was on his way home to 
England, which he had not seen for twenty-two years. 
The rich finds in the painted palace of Sennacherib 
at Kouyunjik consisted chiefly of mural paintings 
and bas-reliefs. Of these Professor Hilprecht says : ^ 
" Hundreds of figures cover the face of the slabs from 
top to bottom. We become acquainted with the 
peculiarities, in type and dress, of foreign nations, 
and the characteristic features and products of their 
lands ; we are introduced into the very life and 
occupations of the persons represented. The sculptor 
shows us the Babylonian swamps with their jungles 
of tall reeds, frequented by wild boars, and barbarous 
tribes skimming over the waters in their light boats 
of wicker-work, exactly such as are used to-day by 
the inhabitants of the same marshes ; or he takes 
us into the high mountains of Kurdistan, covered 
with trees and crowned with castles, endeavouring 
even to convey the idea of a valley by reversing 
the trees and mountains on one side of the stream, 
which is filled with fishes and crabs and turtles. 
He indicates the different head-gear worn by female 
musicians, or by captive women carried with their 
husbands and children to Nineveh. Some wear their 
hair in long ringlets, some plaited or braided, some 
confined in a net ; others are characterized by hoods 
fitting close to their heads, others by a kind of 
turban ; Elamite ladies with their hair in curls 
falling on their shoulders, bound above the temples 
by a band or fillet, while those from Syria wear 
a high conical head-dress, similar to that which is 
frequently found to-day in those regions." 

^ Explorations in Bible Lands (T. and T. Clark, 1903). 

345 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

^The excavation o£ Sennacherib's palace with its 
seventy rooms, halls, and galleries was indeed one 
of the most striking results of Layard's second 
expedition to Nineveh. But even more remarkable 
was the find of Assur-bani-pal's famous royal library 
at Nineveh, which has already been described. 
Results at Nimrud, too, had been favourable, per- 
haps the most interesting being the discovery of 
the tower of Calah, regarded at first as the tomb of 
Sardanapalus. Now for the second time Layard 
began to feel the effects of overwork and exposure, 
and in April 1851, accompanied by Rassam, he 
turned from the ruins of Nineveh "with a heavy 
heart." Twenty-four years later he was to become 
Ambassador at Constantinople, in which capacity 
he loyally assisted the zealous Rassam, his worthy 
subordinate. 

In 1 85 1 Rawlinson was entrusted by the British 
Government with the excavations in Assyria and 
Babylonia. He had the invaluable assistance of 
Rassam as ' chief practical excavator.' Stationing 
his workmen at as many sites as possible, he un- 
earthed the annals of Tiglath-pileser I at Qal'at 
Sherqat, discovered E-zide, the temple of Nebo at 
Nimrud, and a ' stele ' of Samsi-Adad IV (825- 
812 B.C.). At Kouyunjik he came upon the palace 
of Assur-bani-pal. A beautiful bas-relief was re- 
covered representing Assur-bani-pal in his chariot 
on a hunting expedition. The ' lion-room,' the 
walls of which represented a lion-hunt, was also 
unearthed, and was shown to have been used both 
as a library and a picture-gallery, many thousands 
of clay book-tablets being found therein. 

Abandoning excavation for a political appointment, 
Mr Rassam was followed by William Kennet Loftus, 
346 







} k 




O 11 



'^1 



GEORGE SMITH 

who did good work at the ruins of Warka in Babylo- 
nia. Meanwhile the French expedition under Fresnel, 
Oppert, and Thomes was excavating at Babylon, 
coming upon the remains of the Nebuchadrezzar 
period and excavating the mound of Babil. 

George Smith 

One who was to perform yeoman service for 
Assyriology now entered the field. This was George 
Smith, whose name is so unalterably associated with 
the romantic side of that science he loved so well. 
Writing of himself he says : " Everyone has some 
bent or inclination which, if fostered by favourable 
circumstances, will colour the rest of his life. My 
own taste has always been for Oriental studies, and 
from my youth I have taken a great interest in 
Eastern explorations and discoveries, particularly 
in the great work in which Layard and Rawlinson 
were engaged. For some years I did little or nothing, 
but in 1866, seeing the unsatisfactory state of our 
knowledge of those parts of Assyrian history which 
bore upon the history of the Bible, I felt anxious 
to do something towards settling the questions 
involved." ^ Smith found the Deluge tablets among 
the scores of fragments sent to the British Museum 
by Layard and Loftus, and this and other discoveries 
whetted his desire to go to Mesopotamia and unearth 
its treasures with his own hands. In consequence 
of the wide interest taken at the time in these dis- 
coveries the proprietors of The Daily Telegraph 
came forward with the offer of a thousand guineas 
for fresh researches at Nineveh, with the proviso 
that Smith should head the expedition and supply 
the journal with accounts of his discoveries. The 
1 Assyrian Discoveries, p. 9 (London, 1875). 

347 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

offer was accepted, and Smith, now a member of 
the staff of the British Museum, received leave of 
absence for six months. 

Arrived at Nimrud, Smith settled down to excava- 
tion there, commencing operations at the temple 
of Nebo; but he found little to justify his labour, 
as the structure was in a ruinous condition and had 
latterly been used as a granary. On each side of 
the entrance stood a colossal figure of the god with 
crossed arms in an attitude of meditation, and lesser 
images of him were found inside the ruined building. 
Smith's reason for digging here was that he suspected 
the presence of inscriptions which might cast light 
upon the reign of Tiglath-pileser II (745 B.C.) and 
therefore upon Bible history. His industry was 
rewarded by the discovery of the upper portion of 
a tablet of this monarch, but further finds of 
importance were not forthcoming. 

The Palace of Nimrud 

Smith then instituted systematic excavations in 
the south-east palace, and made some interesting 
discoveries. On examining this part of the mound 
he saw a considerable tunnel in the south face, 
commencing on the sloping part of the mound. 
This tunnel appeared to go along the middle of a 
chamber, the floor having been cut through and 
appearing in a line on each side of the tunnel. 
Further on, the tunnel reached the wall at the end 
of the chamber, and the face of this had been cleared 
for some little distance ; then, descending below 
the foundation of this wall, the passage ran for some 
distance into the base of the mound. He com- 
menced on the two sides of this cutting, and cleared 
away to the level of the pavement, soon coming to 
348 



THE PALACE OF NIMRUD 

the wall on each side. The southern wall of the 
chamber had fallen over into the plain, as it was 
here close to the edge of the platform, and the chamber 
commenced with two parallel walls running north 
and south. The right-hand wall, in a place near 
the edge where it was much broken down, showed 
three steps of an ascent which had gone apparently 
to some upper chambers. Further on it showed 
two recesses, each ornamented on both sides with 
three square pilasters. The left hand showed an 
entrance into a second chamber running east to 
west, and from this turned a third, running parallel 
with the first. Altogether in this place he opened 
six chambers, all of the same character, the entrances 
ornamented by clusters of square pilasters and 
recesses in the rooms in the same style. The walls 
were coloured in horizontal bands of red, green, and 
yellow on plaster ; and where the lower parts of the 
chambers were panelled with small stone slabs, the 
plaster and colours were continued over these. In 
one of these rooms there appeared a brick receptacle 
let into the floor, and on lifting the brick which 
covered this Smith found six terra-cotta winged 
figures, closely packed in the receptacle. Each figure 
was full-faced, having a head like a lion, four wings, 
with one hand across the breast, holding a basket 
in the other, and clothed in a long dress to the feet. 
These figures were probably intended to preserve 
the building against the power of evil spirits. 

All the eastern and southern portions of the mound 
of Nimrud had been destroyed by being turned into 
a burial-place. The ruins had been excavated after 
the fall of the Assyrian empire, walls had been dug 
through, and chambers broken into, and the openings 
filled with coffins. 

349 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

Mr Smith then turned his attention to the ruins 
of Nineveh at Kouyunjik and Nebbi Yunas. Layard 
and even the Turkish Government had both been 
before him here. He commenced operations by 
cutting trenches at the south-eastern corner of Assur- 
bani-pal's palace. But at first nothing of great 
interest resulted, and he diverted operations to the 
palace of Sennacherib hard by. Here he came upon 
a number of inscriptions which compensated him 
for his labour. At length the excavations in Assur- 
bani-pal's palace bore fruit, for there were unearthed 
the greater portion of seventeen lines of inscription 
belonging to the first column of the Deluge narrative, 
and fitting into the only place where there was a 
serious blank in the story. 

The palace of Sennacherib also steadily produced 
its tribute of objects, including a small tablet of 
Esar-haddon, King of Assyria, some new fragments 
of one of the historical cylinders of Assur-bani-pal, 
and a curious fragment of the history of Sargon, 
King of Assyria, relating to his expedition against 
Ashdod, which is mentioned in the twentieth chapter 
of the Book of Isaiah. On the same fragment was 
also part of the list of Median chiefs who paid tribute 
to Sargon. 

The proprietors of 7he Daily telegraph considered 
that with the finding of the Deluge fragment the 
purpose of the expedition had been served, and that 
further excavation in Mesopotamia should be carried 
on under national auspices. Mr Smith was there- 
fore forced to return to England, but not before 
he had discovered further a valuable syllabary, and 
two portions of the sixth tablet of the Deluge story, 
as well as other minor objects of interest. 

About the end of 1873, however, the British 
350 



THE PALACE OF NIMRUD 

Museum authorities dispatched Mr Smith once 
more to Mesopotamia, where he recommenced opera- 
tions at Kouyunjik, and unearthed on this occasion 
an inscription of Shalmaneser I, King of Assyria 
(1300 B.C.), recording that he founded the palace 
of Nineveh, and alluding to his restoration of the 
temple of Ishtar. Inscriptions of his son Tukulti- 
ninip were also found at this place, as were dedica- 
tions of Assur-nazir-pal (885 b.c.) and Shalmaneser II 
(860 B.C.). Some very curious pottery, too, came 
from this spot, ornamentations being laid on the 
clay, as in many examples of the pottery of the 
Maya of Central America. At the same time frag- 
ments of sculptured walls representing marching 
warriors were brought to light, and some tablets 
of great importance giving the names of six new 
Babylonian kings, a sixth tablet of the Deluge series, 
and a bilingual tablet in fine preservation. 

In the south-west palace Smith excavated at 
the grand entrance to see if any records remained 
under the pavement, but there were none. This 
part of the pavement had been broken through, 
and anything under it had long ago been carried 
away. He sank some trenches in the grand hall 
and found a fragment of inscription, and further on 
in the palace several other fragments. His principal 
excavation was, however, carried on over what 
Layard called the library chamber of this palace. 
Layard, who discovered the library chamber, describes 
it as full of fragments of tablets, up to a foot or 
more from the floor. This chamber Layard had 
cleared out and he had brought its treasures to 
England, but Smith thought on examining the 
collection at the British Museum that not one-half 
of the library had been removed, and steadily adhered 

351 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

to the belief that the rest of the tablets must be in 
the palace of Sennacherib. On excavating he found 
nearly three thousand fragments of tablets in the 
chambers round Layard's library chamber, and 
from the position of these fragments he was led to 
the opinion that the library was not originally 
situated in these chambers but in an upper story 
of the palace, and that on the collapse of the building 
they fell into the chambers below. Some of the 
chambers in which he found inscribed tablets had 
no communication with each other, while fragments 
of the same tablets were in them ; and looking at 
this fact, and the positions and distribution of the 
fragments, he was convinced that the tablets were 
scattered over a wide area and resolved to excavate 
over an extensive section of the palace. 

" In the long gallery, which contained scenes 
representing the moving of winged figures," says 
Smith, " I found a great number of tablets, mostly 
along the floor ; they included syllabaries, bilingual 
lists, mythological and historical tablets. Among 
these tablets I discovered a beautiful bronze Assyrian 
fork, having two prongs joined by ornamental 
shoulder to shaft of spiral work, the shaft ending in 
the head of an ass. This is a beautiful and unique 
specimen of Assyrian work, and shows the advances 
the people had made in the refinements of life. 
South of this there were numerous tablets round 
Layard's old library chamber, and here I found part 
of a curious astrolabe, and fragments of the history 
of Sargon, King of Assyria, 722 b.c. In one place, 
below the level of the floor, I discovered a fine 
fragment of the history of Assurbanipal, containing 
new and curious matter relating to his Egyptian 
wars, and to the affairs of Gyges, King of Lydia. 
352 



THE PALACE OF NIMRUD 

From this part of the palace I gained also the 
shoulder of a colossal statue, with an inscription of 
Assurbanipal. In another spot I obtained a bone 
spoon, and a fragment of the tablet with the history 
of the seven evil spirits. Near this I discovered a 
bronze style, with which I believe the cuneiform 
tablets were impressed. In another part of the 
excavation I found part of a monument with the 
representation of a fortification. In the western 
part of the palace, near the edge of the mound, I 
excavated and found remains of crystal and alabas- 
ter vases, and specimens of the royal seal. Two 
of these are very curious ; one is a paste seal, the 
earliest example of its kind, and the other is a clay 
impression of the seal of Sargon, King of Assyria. 
Near where the principal seals were discovered I 
found part of a sculpture with a good figure of a 
dead buffalo in a stream. Among these sculptures 
and inscriptions were numerous small objects, in- 
cluding beads, rings, stone seals, etc." ^ 

By January i, 1874, Smith had no less than six 
hundred men employed. But he had to encounter 
tremendous local difficulties, especially demands 
that he should pay immense sums to the proprietors 
of the land which he excavated. Soon afterward, 
the season being unpropitious, he returned to 
England. A third visit to Mesopotamia proved 
his last, as he became ill and passed away at Aleppo 
in 1876, to the universal regret not only of those 
who were privileged to have his friendship, but to 
all who had perused his works and were aware of 
his strenuous life and studies. From the position 
of a bank-note engraver he had raised himself to 
that of an esteemed scholar, and his kindness of 
^ Assyrian Discoveries, p. 148 (London, 1875). 

Z 353 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

heart and honesty of purpose, no less than his out- 
standing abilities, make him one of the most gracious 
figures in the history of a science to which many men 
of high endeavour have devoted their lives, 

Hormuzd Rassam 

The lamented death of Smith caused the British 
authorities to request Mr Hormuzd Rassam, who 
had retired into private life in England, to take up 
the vacant post. Mr Rassam at once accepted the 
trust, and started for Constantinople in November 
1876. At first there was serious trouble with the 
Turkish Government, but in January 1878 Rassam 
was enabled to commence excavations, which he 
carried on almost continuously for five years. 
Layard, as ambassador at Constantinople, stood 
him in good stead. He took much advantage of 
native talent, which, if not up to the standard of 
European efficiency, he found in no wise despicable. 
But too many excavations were being carried on at 
one and the same time. Again, Rassam was prone 
to attempt sensational finds rather than to keep 
steadily at the more solid and less showy work of 
excavation. Guided by certain indications of the 
presence of objects of the Shalmaneser period at 
Kouyunjik, he dug there once more and succeeded 
in unearthing the bronze plaques which had covered 
the cedar gates of a large Assyrian building at least 
2500 years old, and built by Shalmaneser II. They 
represented warriors and equestrian figures, and it 
was found that the site on which they were dis- 
covered had been the city of Imgur-Bel. Rassam 
also recovered further clay tablets from the library 
of Assur-bani-pal at Kouyunjik. With his return to 
England in 1882 it may be said that the Assyrian 
354 







Work of the Excavators in Babylon 

One hundred workmen laboured in digging this cut, which is 
40 feet deep 

Copyright by Underwood and Underwood, London 



DE SARZEC 

excavations of the nineteenth century, in contra- 
distinction to those carried out on Babylonian soil, 
came to an end. 

De Sarzec 

With the excavations of the Frenchman de Sarzec 
at Tello the second great period of Chaldean archaeo- 
logical research may be said to have commenced. 
Ernest de Sarzec was French Vice-consul at Basra, 
but by his private efforts he succeeded in making 
Tello ' the Pompeii of early Babylonian antiquity.' 
The two principal mounds excavated by him are 
known to Assyriologists as ' Mound A ' and ' Mound 
B.' Digging in the former he soon collected sufficient 
evidence to convince him that he stood on a site 
of great antiquity. He found indeed that Mound A 
consisted of a platform of unbaked bricks crowned 
by an' edifice of considerable size and extent. He 
unearthed part of a great statue, on the shoulder of 
which was engraved the name of Gudea (2700 B.C.), 
patesi, or ruler, of Lagash, with which city Mound A 
proved to be identical, and later exposed numerous 
large columns of bricks of the time of Gudea, the 
' stele of vultures ' erected by King E-anna-tum, and 
two large terra-cotta cylinders of Gudea, each in- 
scribed with about 2000 lines of early cuneiform 
writing. 

On a later visit, at the end of 1880 and beginning 
of 1 88 1, he further developed excavation in Mound A, 
and discovered nine large dolerite statues, fragments 
of precious bas-reliefs, and numerous inscriptions. 
He also came upon layers of more ancient re- 
mains beneath the building he had unearthed in 
Mound A. 

The collection of early Babylonian sculptures re- 
2 2 355 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

gained by de Sarzec was hailed with acclamation 
in Paris. An Oriental section was instituted in the 
Louvre, and Leon Heuzy commenced the publica- 
tion of a monumental work, Decouvertes en Chaldee 
far Ernest de Sarzec (Paris, 1884, seq.), which laid 
the foundation for a methodical treatment of ancient 
Chaldean art. The subsequent excavation of de 
Sarzec in Tello and its neighbourhood carried the 
history of the city back to at least 4000 B.C., and 
a collection of more than 30,000 tablets of the time 
of Gudea was gradually unearthed. 

In 1 886-1 887 a German expedition under Dr 
Koldewey explored the cemetery of El Hibba to the 
South of Tello, and succeeded in throwing much 
light upon the burial customs of ancient Babylonia. 
A second German expedition under Dr Andrae, 
working at Babylon in 1889, laid bare the palace 
of Nebuchadrezzar and the great processional road, 
and subsequently conducted excavations at Qal'at 
Sherqat, the site of Asshur. 

The American Expedition of 1889 

There had been keen interest in Babylonian 
archaeology in America almost from the inception 
of the series of excavations dealt with in this sketch, 
and this was in all likelihood due to the popularity 
of Biblical studies in the great republic of the West. 
The Babylonian Exploration Fund was instituted 
on November 30, 1887. Excavatory labours were 
commenced at Nippur in 1889, and on first beholding 
the immense mass of the mounds which concealed 
the ruins of the temple-city the members of the 
expedition were not a little disturbed. " Even at 
a distance I began to realize that not twenty, not 
fifty years would suffice to excavate this important 
356 



THE AMERICAN EXPEDITION OF 1889 

site thoroughly," writes Professor Hilprecht.^ The 
ruins resembled " a picturesque mountain range " 
rather than " the last impressive remains of human 








^1 //Ui 



ill 



•;c-^ 




Plan of Nineveh (Nippur) 

A. Palace of Sennacherib. B. Palace of Assur-bani-pal. 

By permission of the Director of the British Museum. 

constructions." But the Americans ' sat down ' 
before the mass with the courage of their race, 
resolved to probe into its innermost secrets. At 
first they speculated as to the character of the 
^ Explorations in Bible Lands (T. and T. Clark, 1903). 

3S7 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

buildings hidden from their view. The director, 
Dr Peters, was rapidly exhausting his fund of 
$15,000 without coming upon anything of value, 
and recognizing the necessity for the prompt dis- 
covery of important objects if opinion at home was 
to be placated, Hilprecht pointed out to him the 
desirability of attacking an isolated mound which 
in his judgment contained the residences of the 
priests and the temple library. Peters agreed to 
the proposal, and almost at once an important series 
of tablets was discovered. The mound seemed, in- 
deed, inexhaustible, and most of its contents were 
of a date about 2000 B.C., but there were also later 
tablets belonging to the reign of Nabopolasser, 
Nebuchadrezzar, Nabonidus, and even Cyrus, Cam- 
byses, and Darius. Shortly after this the first expedi- 
tion was brought to a close. 

In the second expedition, also undertaken at 
Nippur, Dr Peters decided to dispense with the 
services of Messrs Hilprecht and Field, the expert 
Assyriologists who had been dispatched to advise 
him professionally. Himself not an Assyriologist, 
he laboured at a disadvantage without the assistance 
of these experts. The work of the first expedition 
had concentrated at three conspicuous points — the 
temple, the ' tablet ' hill which had yielded such 
good results, and the ' Court of Columns.' The 
principal objective was now the conical hill of Bint- 
el-Amir, containing the zikkurat and temple of Bel. 
Peters regarded the temple as having been built 
by a king " not far removed from Nebuchadrezzar 
in time," but many of his inferences have been tra- 
versed by Hilprecht. " In his endeavour to reach 
the older remains before the more recent strata had 
been investigated in the least adequately, Peters 
358 



THE BUSINESS QUARTER OF NIPPUR 

broke through the outer casing of the zikkurat, 
built of ' immense blocks of adobe,' in a cavity of 
which he discovered a well-preserved goose egg, and 
perceived that there was an older stage-tower of 
quite a different form and much smaller dimensions 
enclosed within the other. By means of a diagonal 
trench cut through its centre, he ascertained its 
height and characteristic features down to the level 
of Ur-Gur, and came to the conclusion (which, how- 
ever, did not prove correct) that the zikkurat of 
this ancient monarch was the earliest erected at 
Nippur. ' Wells and similar shafts were sunk at 
other points of the temple,' especially at the northern 
and western corners, where he reached original 
constructions of Ashurbanapal (668-626 b.c.) and 
Ur-Gur (about 2700 B.C.), and discovered scattered 
bricks . . . ' showing that many kings of many 
ages had honoured the temple of Bel at Nippur.' " ^ 

The Business Quarter of Nippur 

The excavators soon concluded that they had hit 
upon the business quarter of Nippur, basing their 
belief upon the commercial character of the tablets 
found, the large number of day labels pierced for 
attachment to sacks and jars, books of entry in clay, 
and weights and measures. So much damage had 
been done to the buildings while excavating, how- 
ever that the appearance and plan of any of the 
Babylonian business houses and warehouses could 
not be arrived at. 

In August 1893 Haynes commenced a search for 
the original bed and embankment of the river 
Chebar, which he came upon at a depth of twenty 

^ Hilprecht, Explorations in Bible Lands, p. 232 (T. and T. Clark, 
1903). 

359 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

feet from the surface. In the dried-up bed of the 
river or canal he found a round terra-cotta fountain 
in three fragments, decorated with birds from whose 
mouths the water passed. 

The Fourth Campaign 

The fourth campaign covered the years 1 898-1 900, 
and was under the direct control of the University 
of Pennsylvania. Excavations were commenced at 
the extreme south-eastern end of the west ridge. 
Spring and summer were spent by Haynes in a 

* nervous search ' for tablets, although a strictly 
scientific examination of Nippur had been asked 
for. Late tablets and coffins resulted from this 
search ; finds of old Babylonian character were 
meagre. The director did not see eye to eye with 
his architects, and one of them, Mr Fisher, resigned, 
returning, however, in the autumn of 1899. The 
Committee in America requested Haynes to confine 
his efforts to the exploration of the eastern half of 
the temple court, and to this task he addressed 
himself with zeal if only with partial success. 
Tablets, according to the director, sufficient to 
institute " a distinct library by itself," continued to 
pour out of ' Tablet Hill.' But technical and expert 
advice was lacking. The architects desired to remove 
a Parthian round tower, Haynes reluctantly con- 
sented, and upon its removal the gate of an ancient 
temple was unearthed. 

Hilprecht Returns 

Professor Hilprecht now reappeared, and his 
coming put a new complexion on affairs. A trained 
and efficient archaeologist, he saw at once that 

* Tablet Hill ' represented the site of the temple 
360 



HILPRECHT RETURNS 

library, so resolved to leave its excavation to a later 
expedition, and meantime to settle " the more essen- 
tial topographical questions." He saw that these 
once answered, " it would be a comparatively easy 
task for the Committee to have the single mounds 
excavated one after another by somebody else, if 
necessity arose, who was less familiar with the ruins 
and the history of their exploration. Every trench 
cut henceforth — and there were a great many — was 
cut for the sole purpose of excavating structures 
systematically and of gathering necessary data for 
the history and topography of ancient Nippur. If 
these trenches yielded tangible museum results at 
the same time, so much the better ; if they did not," 
he says, " I was not troubled by their absence." 
However, " antiquities were found so abundantly 
in the pursuit of the plan described, that the prin- 
ciple was established anew that a strictly scientific 
method of excavating is at the same time the 
most profitable." 

Summarizing his ' explanations ' of the ruins at 
Bint-el-Amir, Hilprecht writes : " i. A stage-tower 
of smaller dimensions existed at Nippur before 
Sargon I (about 3800 b.c). 2. In pre-Sargonic 
times the ground around the sacred enclosure was 
a vast graveyard, a regular fire necropolis. 3. One 
of the names of the stage-tower of Nippur suggested 
the idea of a tomb to the early inhabitants of the 
country. In the course of time certain zikkurats 
were directly designated by the Babylonians as 
tombs of the gods. 4. The stage-tower of Bel did 
not occupy the centre of the enclosed platform, but 
the south-west section of it, while the north-east 
part was reserved for ' the house of Bel,' his principal 
sanctuary, which stood at the side of the stage-tower. 

361 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

5. The temple of Bel consisted of two large courts 
adjoining each other, the north-west court with the 
zikkurat and ' the house of Bel ' representing the 
most holy place or the inner court, while the south- 
east (outer) court seems to have been studded with 
the shrines of all the different gods and goddesses 
worshipped at Nippur, including one for Bel himself. 

6. Imgur-Marduk and Nimit-Marduk, mentioned in 
the cuneiform inscriptions as the two walls of Nippur 
(duru and Shalkhu), cannot have surrounded the 
whole city. According to the results of the excava- 
tions conducted under my own supervision, only 
the temple was enclosed by a double wall, while in 
all probability the city itself remained unprotected. 

7. The large complex of buildings covering the top 
of Bint-el-Amir has nothing to do with the ancient 
temple below, but represents a huge fortified Parthian 
palace grouped around and upon the remains of the 
stage-tower then visible." ^ 

By means of careful tunnelling Hilprecht also 
unearthed the south-east side of a pre-Sargonic 
temple-tower, but the nature of the excavation, 
risking as it did a sudden collapse of soil and 
bricks, was too dangerous to permit of further 
labours upon it. 

The House of the Dead 

A building-record of Assur-bani-pal was brought 
to light which described the temple-tower of Nippur 
as E-gigunnu, ' House of the Tomb.' Before this 
other titles of it had been recovered which alluded 
to it as ' Mountain of the Wind,' and it was under- 
stood to have been a local representation of the 
great mythological ' mountain of the world,' Kharsag- 

^ Explorations in Bible Lands (T, and T. Clark, 1903). 
362 



A BABYLONIAN MUSEUM 

kurkura. This was puzzling until Hilprecht found 
that the tower penetrated so far into the earth as 
to descend to the ' city of the dead ' which, according 
to Babylonian belief, was directly below and within 
the earth. 

The Temple Library 

Hilprecht now turned his attention to the temple 
library in ' Tablet Hill,' with results most important 
for the science of Assyriology. This building, con- 
temporary with the time of Abram, now yielded 
large quantities of ancient tablets, occurring in strata 
of from one to four feet in thickness, as if they had 
once been disposed upon wooden shelves. 

A Babylonian Museum 

An important find was made of a jar containing 
about twenty inscribed objects, mostly clay tablets, 
which constituted a veritable small Babylonian 
museum, evidently collected by a late Babylonian 
priest or someone connected with the temple library. 
Archaeology was probably fashionable about the time 
of Nabonidus (556-539 B.C.), himself a monarch of 
antiquarian tastes. The collector of this ' museum ' 
had actually taken a ^ squeeze ' or impression of an 
inscription of Sargon I (3800 B.C.), in his time about 
3340 years old, and had even placed upon it a 
label stating that the object was a ' squeeze ' or 
' mould ' of an inscribed stone '' which Nabuzerlishir, 
the scribe, saw in the palace of King Naram-Sin at 
Agade." 

Says Hilprecht concerning this remarkable col- 
lection, " The owner, or curator, of the little 
museum of Babylonian originals must have obtained 
his specimens by purchase or through personal 

363 



MYTHS OFiiBABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

excavations carried out in the ruined buildings of 
Bel's city. He doubtless lived in the sixth century, 
about the time of King Nabonidos, and was a man 
well versed in the ancient literature of his nation 
and deeply interested in the past history of Nippur. 
This follows from the fact that his vase was found in 
the Neo-Babylonian stratum of * Tablet Hill,' and 
from the circumstance that the latest antiquity of 
his collection is dated in the government of Sin- 
sharishkuD, the last representative of the Assyrian 
dynasty (about 615 b.c.)." 

In the second year of this campaign Peters con- 
tented himself with ' sounding ' as many places as 
possible rather than settling down to the steady 
work of excavation, in which preference he resembled 
Rassam. But his labours were crowned with no 
little success, for he came upon a large number of 
Kassite votive objects, the first great collection of 
antiquities of this dynasty ever found, and a shrine 
of King Bur-Sin I dedicated to Bel about 2600 b.c. 
The excavation of the large and important building 
remains grouped around the temple tower of Bel 
was, however, Peters' principal task during his 
second campaign. But his hope of discovering many 
inscribed tablets while excavating these ruins was 
not to be realized. He was more fortunate, how- 
ever, in the triangular mound (that known as 
' Mound IV ') to the south of the temple, which 
yielded some 2000 tablets, scientific, literary, and 
financial manuscripts, and even school exercises 
being turned up by the spade. About the same 
time excavations in the south-eastern wing of the 
large mounds disclosed the presence of thousands 
of tablets and many figures of Bel and his consort 
Beltis. Most of the tablets here were commercial, 
364 



HAYNES* WORK AT NIPPUR 

and of date about 2600 to 2000 B.C. In May the 
labours of the second campaign came to a close. 

Haynes* "Work at Nippur 

The third campaign (i 893-1 896) Peters delegated 
to Haynes, who commenced operations at Nippur 
in the great ridge which stretches along the south- 
ward bank of the Shatt-en-Nil, where numerous 
tablets had already been unearthed. In about four 
months he had collected some 8000 tablets, and 
when the supply of these began to fail he trans- 
ferred his attention to the temple mound which had 
been worked at before, and which he continued to 
explore until April 1894. With the help of Joseph 
A. Meyer, a young American architect, Haynes 
concentrated his work on the zikkurat at Nippur. 
Unfortunately Meyer died in December, but not 
until he had rendered priceless service to Haynes in 
his capacity as advisory architect. Haynes, unable 
to continue the exploration of the temple-mound 
without expert advice, undertook to unearth a suf- 
ficient quantity of tablets to meet Peters' demand 
for inscribed material. Later he pursued excava- 
tions at the Bint-el-Amir, where Peters had worked 
before him, cleared the zikkurat of Assur-bani-pal 
there and excavated the court of that building down 
to the water level. The excavation of the immense 
fagade of this great erection was a work of enormous 
labour, hundreds of thousands of cubic feet of rubbish 
having to be removed before a partial clearance was 
effected. 

The excavation of the south-west court of the 
zikkurat of Assur-bani-pal was the most interesting 
part of Haynes' work on the temple of Bel. First 
he had to clear away the Parthian ruins super- 

365 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

imposed upon the site, until he came to the brick 
pavement of Assur-bani-pal. He then came upon 
a pavement of the Sargonic period which extended 
through a considerable part of the mound as a 
dividing line. The rubbish which lay beneath this 
was about sixteen feet in depth, and had been 
accumulated within a period of more than three 
thousand years (3800-350 B.C.). The most important 
of the many strata of this rubbish-heap is that which 
lies between the pavement of King Ur-Ninib and 
that immediately below it. Over 600 fragments of 
vases, statues, and slabs were gathered here, all 
seemingly deliberately broken, " by somebody who 
lived between the reigns of Ur-Gur of Ur and Ur- 
Ninib of Nisin " — perhaps the leader of an Elamite 
raid. The famous text of Lugalzuggisi, King 
of Erech, with its 132 lines of writing, was found 
here and restored by Hilprecht from sixty-four 
fragments. 

Digging elsewhere, Haynes unearthed the oldest 
arch in the world at a considerable depth, drain- 
pipes of the date about 4500 B.C., and pre-Sargonic 
cellars containing large wine- or oil-jars. In one 
chamber twenty feet below the surface were found 
the business archives of a great Babylonian firm, 
Murashu and Sons, bankers and brokers at Nippur 

(C. 464-424 B.C.). 

Recent Research 

Recent research in Mesopotamia has centred 
around the site of Babylon, where results of a most 
interestingpand encouraging description have been 
achieved. The German Oriental Society commenced 
work upon the site in the spring of 1899, and after 
twelve years of incessant labour under the direction 
366 




Ruins of Babylon 

Uncovered after twelve years' labour by Cerman archaeologists, 

who began excavating in lyoo 366 

Copyright by Underwood and Underwood, London 



THE OUTER WALL 

of Dr Robert Koldewey, published the report of 
their labours in 191 1. 

The Babylon of Nebuchadrezzar II 

The portion of the city laid bare in these twelve 
years of digging was contemporary with the reigns 
of Nebuchadrezzar II and Nabonidus, the last native 
King of Babylon, but certain parts of the ruins 
unearthed had been built in the much more ancient 
era of Khammurabi, the great law-maker, and even 
during the First Dynasty. The later Babylon is 
known to us from the pages of Herodotus and Ctesias, 
and the explorers speedily found that the accounts 
of these writers in nowise squared with the actual 
topographical conditions of the ruins unearthed and 
surveyed. Herodotus speaks of a Babylon 53 miles 
in circumference, and Ctesias is not much more 
modest in his estimate of over 40 miles. The city 
wall to the north-east side may still be traced in its 
entirety, and remains to prove that the city on this 
side measured not more than 2f miles, and judging 
from this, we obtain an approximate circumference 
of II miles — a figure far short of the estimate of the 
' Father of History.' 

The Outer Wall 

The walls themselves are of considerable interest. 
The outer wall was nearly twenty feet in thickness, 
and was built of burnt bricks impressed with the 
royal stamp of Nebuchadrezzar. Here and there 
its length was broken by towers for outlook or 
defensive purposes. Herodotus states that so broad 
was the top of the wall that a_^ four-horse chariot 
could easily turn upon its surface, and^that two of 
these vehicles had a sufficiency of room to pass one 

367 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

another without risk to horses or driver. Companies 
of men could be moved along this mural highway in 
time of siege, so that a supply of defenders could be 
brought with dispatch to guard any portion of the 
defences that was imminently threatened. 

Babil as a Citadel 

The mound of Babil, to which we have frequently 
referred in this account of Babylonian excavation, 
was recognized by the German expedition as a 
citadel built for defensive purposes by Nebuchad- 
rezzar — a place of refuge to which the King and 
court could repair in case of the capture of the city 
itself. It contained the royal stores and treasury, 
a large armoury and arsenal, and there is reason to 
believe that the monarch resided there even in times 
of peace. It was, indeed, a miniature city, a lesser 
Babylon, containing everything necessary for the 
royal support and pleasure. 

BabyIon*s Water' Supply 

The question of a suitable water-supply agitated 
municipal Babylon just as keenly as it does any 
of our own great centres of population, and recent 
excavations have illustrated the manner in which 
the Euphrates was utilized for this purpose. Nabo- 
polasser has left inscriptions to show how he re- 
built the walls of a channel called the Arakhtu to 
lead the river Euphrates past the city boundaries. 
Nebuchadrezzar built a massive fortification with 
walls of from fifty to sixty feet in thickness into the 
bed of the Euphrates to prevent the formation of 
sandbanks in the river which possibly caused the 
flooding of the left bank above the temple of 
E-Sagila. This left a narrow channel between the 
368 



THE GREAT THRONE ROOM 

new wall and the old quay, and it is probable that 
this huge construction caused a subsequent change 
in the course of the Euphrates. 

Nebuchadrezzar^s Palace 

Nebuchadrezzar's palace was situated in the 
southern citadel on the mound known as the Kasr. 
On this building he lavished both time and treasure. 
When he came to the throne he found the site occupied 
by the residence of his father Nabopolasser, but when 
he returned from his triumphant Egyptian cam- 
paigns he despised the plain old place and, like some 
modern potentates, resolved to build himself a royal 
edifice which would symbolize the power and majesty 
of the empire he had won for himself. He turned 
his father's palace into a mere platform upon which 
to rear his own more flamboyant structure, and filled 
in its rooms, courts, and spaces with rubble. 

The Palace without Windows 

For the most part the palace was built round 
open courts, much in the Spanish fashion, and there 
is no trace of windows, a phenomenon which con- 
stantly recurs in ancient buildings in the East, in 
Egypt, and in Central America. But when we 
consider the extremes of heat encountered in these 
latitudes we can appreciate the desire for a cool 
semi-gloom which called for the windowless chamber. 
The flat roofs, too, were used for sleeping purposes, 
so that the inhabitants did not wholly dispense with 
fresh air. 

The Great Throne Room 

But by far the most interesting apartment in the 

palace is the great Throne Room of Nebuchadrezzar, 

2 A 369 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

the apartment upon which he lavished so much 
personal care and consideration. It stands im- 
mediately south of the Great Court, and is much the 
most spacious room in the palace. In the wall 
opposite the grand entrance from the court is a deep 
recess or niche, where it is thought the royal throne 
must have stood, so that not only the courtiers 
in the Throne Room but the lesser dignitaries 
thronging the courtyard without could have had 
sight of the monarch of the Eastern World seated 
in all his splendour upon his imperial throne. 
Strangely enough the walls of this great apartment 
of state were merely plastered with white gypsum, 
while the brickwork of the outer fagade which faced 
the court was decorated with brightly coloured 
enamels displaying the most involved designs, floral 
and geometrical, in blue, yellow, black, and white. 
Such ornamentation would probaby be banned from 
the Throne Room because of the high reflections from 
a brightly polished enamelled surface, and as we 
have seen heat and light were taboo in Babylonian 
interiors. 

The Drainage System 

Doors in the throne-room wall communicated 
with what were probably the King's private apart- 
ments. The harem and other purely private suites 
were placed further to the west, over the earlier 
residence of Nabopolasser, the official portion of the 
palace being situated towards the east. There was 
a most elaborate drainage system which not only 
carried rain-water from the flat roofs but from the 
courts and walls as well. The larger drains had 
corbel-shaped roofs, but the smaller ones were 
formed of bricks set together in the shape of a ' V ' 
370 




The Hanging Gardens of Babylon 
M. Dovaston, R.I5.A. 

By permission of Messrs Hutchinson and Co. 



370 



THE HANGING GARDENS 

and closed in at the top with other bricks laid flat. 
Vertical shafts and gutters were also in use, and 
these were conducted down the sides of towers 
and fortifications. 

The Hanging Gardens 

Another structure has been indicated as perhaps 
the foundation of the famous Hanging Gardens 
of Babylon. It consists of a number of barrel- 
vaulted cells, seven on each side of a central passage. 
These cells are roofed over with semi-circular arches, 
and are flanked on the north by the palace wall. It 
is known that hewn stone was employed in the 
construction of this ' wonder of the world,' and only 
in three other places in the palace demesne (the 
Sacred Road, the bridge over the Euphrates, and the 
Kasr Wall) is stone employed. This points to the 
identification of the site in question as being that 
of the Hanging Gardens, on which layers of earth 
were laid and the shrubs, trees, and arbours which 
decorated it planted thereon. Berossus distinctly 
states that these gardens were within the build- 
ings by which Nebuchadrezzar enlarged his father's 
palace. But the dimensions of this structure do 
not tally with those given by Strabo and Diodorus, 
and the imagination revolts at the conception of 
these famous and romantic gardens having for their 
foundation this obscure and prosaic cellarage. 
Archeology must leave us something. By all means 
let us have truth and enlightenment — unless where 
truth is itself uglier than falsehood ! It has been 
shrewdly conjectured by Professor King ^ that these 
cellars formed the palace granary, and we must be 
grateful to him ifor the suggestion. 

^ History of Babylon, p. 50 (1915). 

2 A 2 371 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

The Great Gate of Ishtar 

It was in the spring of 1902 that Dr, Koldewey 
made the important discovery of the Great Gate of 
the goddess Ishtar which spanned the Sacred Way of 
the imperial city. This turreted erection, ornamented 
in relief by the figures of mythical animals in coloured 
brick, has been excavated clean out of the super- 
incumbent earth, and constitutes a double monument 
to its ancient builders and to the patient archaeologists 
who recovered it from the sands of antiquity. It 
was the main gate in the north citadel wall, and had 
been reconstructed by the zealous Nebuchadrezzar. 
It is double (for the fortification line in which it 
stood was twofold), and in front consists of two 
high towers with gate-houses behind. The figures 
of the animals are so arranged that to the eye of 
one approaching the city they would seem advancing 
to meet him. At least 575 of these creatures were 
depicted on the gate, the favourite subjects being 
bulls and dragons, beautifully and realistically 
modelled in relief. 

The Street of Processions 

A portion of the Street of Processions upon which 
this gateway opened has also been excavated. This 
highway was of imposing breadth, and ran its course 
from north to south directly across the city. It 
was a species of Via Sacra, for over its stones was 
carried the image of Merodach upon his day of high 
festival. Its use was restricted to foot-passengers, 
and no chariots or other horse-drawn vehicles were 
permitted to make use of it. Its foundation is of 
burnt brick upon which is overlaid an upper pave- 
ment of breccia (conglomerate rock) in slabs. 



372 



THE TEMPLES OF BABYLON 

The Temples of Babylon 

Interest has naturally centred around the excava- 
tion of the five great temples of Babylon, the ground- 
plans of four of which have been laid bare. The 
temple of E-Makh, dedicated to the goddess Nin- 
Makh was the first to be excavated. It contains 
one of the only two altars found in Babylon, a 
structure of plain, crude brick, simple and unadorned, 
which stands outside its main entrance. As the 
only other example in the city occupies an exactly 
similar position, we must conclude that custom or 
ritual dictated an exterior site for the sacrificial altar. 
The temple of Nin-Makh was a simple shrine of mere 
mud-brick, decorated with black and white designs 
superimposed upon a scanty coating of whitewash. 
Nin-Makh (the great lady) was one of the titles of 
Ishtar. The temple appears to have been built 
round a large court, and to have been entered by a 
gateway fianked by a series of square, solid towers, 
three on either side. There is a long, narrow passage 
behind the shrine, which probably gave access to 
a concealed opening in the back wall of the temple 
behind the image of the goddess, who could thus 
have been made to give forth oracular utterances. 
In the courtyard was a well from which water was 
drawn for the purpose of performing lustral rites. 

We are ignorant of the precise form of the upper 
part of Babylonian temples (apart from the zikkurats 
or towers), as only the lower portions of their walls 
in most cases remain to us. But from certain 
plaques and seals on which temples are represented 
we can glean that they were probably turreted or 
castellated in front and perhaps at the sides as well, 
and that the entrance was arched, the frontage 
presenting a picture not very unlike that of a heavily 

373 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

constructed castle of the Norman epoch. Indeed one 
unidentified temple bears resemblance to a prison, so 
forbidding is it in its almost unbroken line of turret 
and retaining wall. We must remember, however, 
that colour lent embellishment to these buildings, 
the otherwise heavy facades of which would have 
been dreary indeed. 

E'Sagila 

The temple of E-Sagila, which was dedicated to 
Merodach, patron deity of Babylon, is of course by 
far the most important within' the city bounds. 
It has not been wholly excavated from the mound 
of Tell Amran, but the main western portion of it 
has been brought to light, and has been shown, like 
other Babylonian shrines, to have consisted of a 
series of chambers built round an open court. In 
the centre of each side was an open gateway where 
once stood the famous eight bronze serpents, two 
to each entrance. The especial shrine of Merodach, 
which has not yet been unearthed, lay on the western 
side, and had a towered entrance and decorated fagade 
which Nebuchadrezzar stated he caused ' to shine 
like the sun.' He coated the walls of the shrine with 
gold and roofed it with the choicest cedars from 
Lebanon, ' the noble forest.' Here, says Herodotus, 
the mighty figure of the god rested, which, with the 
throne, dais, and table before it was fashioned of 
pure gold, of 800 talents in weight. To the north 
of Merodach's temple rose its zikkurat or tower. So 
far excavation upon it has in a measure disproved 
the account of Herodotus that it consisted of a 
stepped tower in eight stages with the ascent to 
the summit encircling the outside. The first stage, 
now uncovered, has a triple stairway built against 
374 



THE ELDER BABYLON 

one side of the tower, but we shall never know what 
the upper stories were like, for they have long since 
crumbled into desert dust. Dr. Koldewey considers 
that the great tower was built in one stage, decorated 
with coloured bands, and surmounted by a shrine. 

The Great Tower of Nabu (E'Zida) 

The foundations of the great tower of Nabu at 
Borsippa, a suburb of Babylon, still awaits excava- 
tion, but as it stands it rises to a height of over 
lOO feet above the desert. The clearing of its base 
will necessitate a colossal amount of labour, but 
when effected, our knowledge of these temple-towers 
will be considerably enhanced. 

The Euphrates Bridge 

The bridge over the river Euphrates is worthy of 
mention, since it represents the oldest bridge known 
to the science of archaeology. It possessed stone 
piers, built in the shape of boats, thus showing that 
it had been evolved from an earlier bridge of boats. 
The bows of these piers point up-stream, and thus 
break the force of the current. The river at the point 
where it was crossed by the bridge was at least sixty 
feet broad, and the passage-way of wood was laid 
across the boat-piers, and must have been rather 
narrow. The structure was the work of Nabopolasser. 

The Elder Babylon 

During the first years of their labours the excava- 
tors were under the impression that the destruction 
of the older portions of the city by Sennacherib 
had been so complete that but few of iis remains 
were to be looked for in the course of txcavation. 
But as time progressed it was found th^t the relics 

375 



r 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

of the older quarters lay mostly beneath the present 
water-level. In the Menkes Mound a quarter of the 
ancient city has been unearthed at a depth of some 
thirty feet, and the outline of its streets clearly 
shown. Still lower were found houses dating from 
the period of Merodach-baladan I (1201-1189 b.c.) 
and Meli-shipok II (i 216-1202 b.c). A thick layer 
of ashes showed that a still earlier portion of the city 
had been destroyed by fire, and this archaic quarter 
has been identified as the city of Khammurabi, the 
princely law-maker (2123-2081 B.C.), and his imme- 
diate successors, according to dated tablets found 
among the burnt debris — mute witnesses of the 
disaster which overtook Babylon's First Dynasty. 

Towri'Planning 

It is noticeable that the later streets follow closely 
the trend and plan of the older thoroughfares, which, 
generally speaking, ran north and south, parallel 
to the course of the Sacred Way. Professor King^ 
gives it as his opinion that here we have a deliberate 
attempt at town-planning on a scientific basis ! 
He credits this to the Semitic element in the popu- 
lation, as in Sumerian towns there is no trace of 
town-planning. And yet Babylon was strangely 
conservative. As she commenced, so she continued, 
and her early efforts were only superseded in mag- 
nitude, not in quality of purpose. 

^ History of Babylon, p. 85. 



376 



CHAPTER XV : THE TWILIGHT OF 
THE GODS 

WITH the fall of the Assyrian empire In 606 
B.C., Babylonia once more regained her 
national status. This meant that her 
national god Merodach was no longer subservient to 
the Assyrian Asshur in a political sense, and regained 
his place as sole head of the Babylonian pantheon. 

Great must have been the satisfaction of the 
people of Babylon when, this comparatively mild 
tyranny removed, they could worship their own 
gods in their own way, free from the humiliating 
remembrance that their northern neighbours regarded 
all Babylonian sacred things as appanages of the 
Assyrian empire. Nabopolasser and Nebuchadrezzar, 
his successor, gave effect to these changes, and the 
latter king placed Nabu on a footing of equality 
with Merodach. Was this the cause of his punish- 
ment ? Was it because he had offended in a religious 
sense that he had to undergo the terrible infliction 
of which we read in the Scriptures ? The priesthood 
of Merodach must have possessed immense and prac- 
tically unlimited power in Babylon, and we may 
feel sure that any such interference with their new- 
found privilege, as is here suggested, would have 
met with speedy punishment. Was the wretched 
monarch led to believe that an enchantment had 
been cast upon him, and that he had been transformed 
into animal shape at the command of an outraged 
deity ? We cannot say. The cause of his misfortune 
must for ever remain one of the mysteries of the 
ancient world. 

The unfortunate Nabonidus, too, attempted to 
replace the cults of Merodach and Nabu by that 

377 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

of Shamash. And that hastened his doom, for the 
priests became his bitter enemies, and when the 
Persian Cyrus entered the gates of Babylon as a 
conqueror he was hailed as the saviour of Merodach's 
honour. 

The last native kings of Babylonia were great 
temple-builders, and this policy they continued until 
the end. Indeed in the time of Nebuchadrezzar 
there was a revival of ancient and half-forgotten 
cults, and many local gods were exalted to a pitch 
of popularity hitherto unknown. 

The Conquering Cyrus 

Then in 539 B.C. came the conquering Cyrus, 
and the period of the decay of the Babylonian reli- 
gion began. The victor merely upheld the cults of 
Merodach and Nabu for reasons of policy, and when 
in turn the Greeks ruled over Babylonia they followed 
the Persian lead in this respect. By the defeat of the 
Persian Darius at the battle of Arbela (331 B.C.) the 
way to Babylon was left open to the mighty Alex- 
ander the Great. This was the beginning of the end. 
The old religion dragged out a broken existence 
until about the beginning of the Christian era, then 
slowly but surely vanished beneath the attacks of 
Hellenic scepticism. Christian propaganda, and pagan 
caprice. 

That a faith so virile, so ancient, so entrenched 
in the love of a people as that of Babylonia should 
fall into an oblivion so profound as to be totally 
forgotten for nearly nineteen centuries is a solemn 
and impressive reminder of the evanescent cha- 
racter of human affairs. They were men of their 
hands, these ancient Mesopotamians, great theolo- 
gians, great builders, great soldiers. Yet their mighty 
378 



A GREAT LESSON 

works, their living faith left ' not a wrack behind ' 
save mounds of rubbish which, when excavated by 
the modern antiquary, were found to contain a few 
poor vestiges of the splendour that was Babylon 
and the pomps of the city of Asshur. Does there 
not reside in this a great lesson for modernity ? 
Must our civilization, our faith, all that is ours and 
that we have raised — must these things, too, fade 
into the shadows of unremembrance as did the 
civilization of Mesopotamia ? 

A Great Lesson 

The answer to such a question depends upon 
ourselves — upon each and every one of us. If we 
quit ourselves as civilized men, striving and ever 
striving to refine and purify our lives, our conduct, 
our intellectual outlook, to spiritualize our faith, 
then though the things of our hands may be dust, 
the works of our minds, of our souls shall not vanish, 
but shall remain in the consciousness of our descen- 
dants so long as human memory lasts. The faith 
of ancient Babylon went under because it was built 
rather on the worship of frail and bestial gods than 
the love of truth, — gods many of whom were devils 
in disguise, but devils no whit worse than our fiends 
of ambition, of greed, of pugnacity, of unsympathy. 
Through the worship of such gods Babylon came to 
oblivion. Let us contemplate the colossal wreck 
of that mighty work of man, and as we gaze over 
the gulf of a score of centuries to where its " cloud- 
capp'd towers and gorgeous palaces " glitter in the 
mirage of legend, let us brace ourselves for the 
struggle which humanity has yet to wage with 
darkness, with disease, with superstition. But while 
we remember her fall with sadness, let us think 

379 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 

generously and kindly of her dead mightiness, of 
the ancient effort she made, striving after her lights, 
of her picturesque and many-coloured life, and, not 
least, of her achievements — the invention of those 
symbols by which the words of man can be trans- 
ferred to his brother across the silent ocean of 
time. 



380 



GLOSSARY AND INDEX 



THE PRONUNCIATION OF ASSYRIAN 

Assyrian differs in many respects from the other Semitic languages. 
There are few gutturals, these having been mostly smoothed out. Thus 
' Ba'l ' became ' Bel,' and ' Hadad,' ' Adad.' On the other hand it 
is thought that the cuneiform inscriptions may have omitted guttural 
sounds. The cuneiform system of writing is so imperfect and compli- 
cated that we must make certain reservations in our acceptance of the 
transcriptions of contemporary Assyriologists, and it must therefore be 
understood that Assyrian names and words as we know them and as 
found in the present work and index may be yet greatly modified by 
future researches. Assyrian names as known to-day are pronounced 
according to analogy gleaned from the pronunciation of the other 
Semitic languages. Thus ' Shin'ar ' is spelt with the Hebrew 'ain, 
(guttural a) in the Scriptures, and we are unaware whether the Scriptural 
author interpolated the guttural or not. Analogy in this instance is 
not nearly so valuable a guide as in the case of Egyptian, where we have 
in Coptic the modern form of the Egyptian language to guide us, nor 
is it at all likely that we shall ever know much more than we do concern- 
ing the pronunciation of a language the written symbols of which are 
so uncertain as regards their precise alphabetic values. 



GLOSSARY AND INDEX 



AAorA. Consortof Shamash, no 

Abed'nego. One of Daniel's com- 
panions, 38 

Ab'ram. Ur, city of, 15, 145, 249 ; 
Nimrod and, 51-56 ; Jewish 
legends re, 51, 52 ; Persian tra- 
ditions re, 52, 53 ; another tra- 
dition re, preserved in the East, 
53-56 ; star Venus and, 55 

Ab'u-Habb'ah. The ancient site 
of Sippar, 177 

Abydenus. Statement of, re Ea, 
112 

Abyss, The. Paradise and, 82 

Acca'd. Part of Nimrod's king- 
dom, 49 

Ach^menid;^; Cyaxares' son de- 
throned by, 333 

A'dad. Equivalent, Hadad, 187- 
191 

A'dad-Ea. Ut-Napishtim's ferry- 
man, 172 ; Gilgamesh consults, 
172 ; Ut-Napishtim, Gilgamesh 
and, 178 

A'dad-Narari IV. Son of As- 
sur-Dan III, 308 

Adam. The sons of, 232 

Ad'apa. The South Wind and, 
story of, 1 1 6-1 2 1 

Ad'ar. Sun-god of Nippur ; 

[, Hymn to, 68 ; connected with 
the pig, 93, 294 

Ad'na. Wife of Azar ; according 
to an Eastern tradition the 
parents of Abram, 54 

Ad-6nis. Smyrna, mother of, 
reference to, 127 ; myth of 
related to that of Tammuz, 
131 

Aedorachus. Of Pantibiblon, re- 
ference to, 112 

i^LiAN. Of Gilgamos (Gilgamesh) ; 
y grandson of Sokkaros, 157 

Af-an-as-i'ef. On vampires, 266 

Africa, 329 ; Semitic rehgion in, 
331 



A'hab. King of Israel, over- 
thrown by Shalmaneser II, 24 

A'hi-mi-ti. Sargon displaces Azuri 
by, 210 

Ah'ri-man. Mazda and Sraosha 
overcome, 337 

Ahura Mazda. Good principle 
of Zarathustra's religion, 334 ; 
creator of the universe, 335 

A-i'bu. The serpent, 289 

Akk'ad. Kingdom founded by 
Semites, 16 ; King Sargon of, 
founds first great Semitic empire 
in Babylonia, 16 

Akk-ad'ians. Description of, 13- 
16 ; language, 13, 14 ; Babylo- 
nian Semites receive germs of 
culture from the, 14 ; modem 
equivalent for the older, is the 
expression ' Suraerian,' 15 ; stars 
studied by, 231 

Akk'u-lu (Eater,) . Attendant 
hound of Merodach, 202 

A-lal'u. The eagle ; Ishtar and, 
167 

Alexander the Great, 378 

'All'ah.' Modern Arabic name, 
325 

All-a-tu. Equivalent, Eresh-ki- 
gal, mistress of Hades, 129 ; 
realms of, 237 

Al-6-nim. Descriptive term of 
Phoenicians for their gods, 327 

Altar-s. Of Dodo, and of Yah- 
veh, 190, 191 

A'lu. Bull, sent by Anu against 
Gilgamesh, 168, 169 

Al'u-Demon. The, 271, 277 

A-mar'uduk. The name Mero- 
dach, originally, 202 

Am'en-Het'ep IV. King of 
Egypt ; letters to, unearthed at 
Tel-el- Amarna, 22 

Amorite-s. Hadad, a god of the, 
18S ; deity ; Dagon an, 352 

An'a-tu. The consort of Anu, 
123 ; mother of Ishtar, 168 

Ancestor-worship. The Canaan- 
ites and, 326 

383 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 



Andrae, Dr. a German ex- 
plorer, 356 

Animals. Babylonian gods having 
form of, 92, 93 ; mythological 
monsters and, of Chaldea, 289- 
298 ; the dog, 290-292 ; the pig, 
294 

Animistic. Babylonian religion 
typically, 317, 319 

An-ne-da'tus. Appears from Eru- 
threan Sea, 112 

Ann'-u-na-ki, The. Generic 

name for the gods of the earth, 
82, 130 ; spirits of earth, 90 ; de- 
cree fate, 173 ; torches carried 
by, 175 

An'sar. God ; birth of, 71 ; 
Tiawath and, 76 

An'shar. Variant of Asshur ; 
created with Kishar, 208 ; Anu, 
Ea, and Merodach sent to de- 
stroy Tiawath, 208 

An'u. God of the sky ; son of 
Ansar and Ivisar, 72 ; Ansar 
and, 76 ; Merodach and, 79 ; 
most ancient of Babylonian 
deities, 90 ; held sway over 
Erech and Der, 94 ; temple of, 
102 ; South Wind and, 117-121 ; 
En-hl, Ea and, the universal 
triad, 121 ; significance, 121- 
123 ; Anatu, the consort of, 
123; Bauand, 144; sacred bull 
sent against Gilgamesh by, 
158 ; father of Ishtar, 168 ; 
Hadad worshipped with, at 
Asshur, 188 ; the Tablets of 
Destiny and, 195 ; in a triad 
with Ea and Bel, but more 
frequently in the texts apart 
from them, 197, 198 ; Dagan 
and, 198 ; in Assyria — in Baby- 
lon, 217 ; invoked with Bel, 
227 ; the Pole Star, 236 ; 
eclipses and, 255 

Anu'nit. Lesser goddess, merg- 
ed in conception of Ishtar, 
124 

Aph-ro-di't6. Ishtar and cult, 
of, 124; Ishtar and, connected, 
235 

Apocrypha. Legend of Bel and 

1 the Dragon in, 97 

384 



Apollo. Temple to, at Carthage, 
330 

Apollodorus. Statement of, re 
Ea, 112 

Ap'su. The deep, or ' house 
of knowledge,' 72 ; alternative, 
Zigarun ; mother of Ea, 
72, 73, 74; the primeval. 
193 

Aquarius, Sign of. The deluge 
story and, 183 

Arabia. Semites believed to have 
come from, 15, 16 ; Naram-Sin 
penetrates, 17; Semitic religion 
in, 331 

Ar-akh'tu. Nabopolasser and 
the channel called the, 368 

Ar-a-l^. I. The underworld, 125 ; 

128-131, 171. 2. Goddess ; vari- J 

ant, Eres-ki-gal ; Nergal and, 

150 

Ar-be'la. Ishtar's shrine in, 212 ; ' 
battle of, 378 

Archeology. Babylonian, 46, 
47 ; Chaldean, 339-366 ; Ameri- 
can interest in Babylonian, 
356-366 ; fashionable about 
the time of Nabonidus (556- 
539 B.C.), 363 

Ares. Greek god, 315 

Ar'go. Ea identified with a 
star in the constellation, 236 

Ark. The Babylonian, 174-178 

Ar-ta'ios. Median monarch ; 
Nannar confounded with, 146 

Artemis. Reference to, 132 

Art-s. Babylonian ; gem-cut- 
ting, etc., 17 ; Babylonian liter- 
ature and, under Khammurabi 
the Great, 20 ; all the, under 
Ea's patronage, 192 

A-ru'-ru. Goddess who aided 
the formation of man, 82, 86, 
123 ; creates a champion 
against Gilgamesh, 162 

Ar'y-an . Race ; the PhiUstines 
of, 324 

As-a'ri. Appellation of Mero- 
dach, 202 ; may be compared 
with Asar (Osiris), 202 

Ash'dod. Temple of Dagon 
at, 151 ; Sargon's expedition 
against, 210, 211, 350 



GLOSSARY AND INDEX 



AsH'xARTorlsH'TAR. Worshipped 
in Carthage, 327, 330 

Ash'ter-oth or As-tar'te. Ish- 
tar known to Canaanites, 
Phoenicians, and Greeks as, 
124, 319, 326 ; the Aphrodite 
of the Greeks, 131 ; Phoenician 
god, 328 

Ashurban'apal. See Assur-bani- 
pal. 

A-shu'shu-na'mir. Created by 
Ea, 130 

Asia. Submitted to Ninus, 25 ; 
Tiglath-pileser III invested with 
sovereignty of, 30 ; Beht and 
Asshur in pantheon of, 228 

Asia Minor. Greek colonies in, 
235, 236 ; peopled by diverse 
races, 324 ; worship of Ash- 
tart in, 328 

A'si-pu. The wizards, 260; 273, 
274 

As'ke-lon. Temple of Ashtart 
(Ishtar) at, 327 

Assh'ur. I. City; site of, ex- 
plored by the German expedi- 
tion of 1899, 47 ; residence of 
god Asshur, 207 ; Bel's temple 
in, 227. 2. God; identified with 
Merodach, 94 ; Ishtar, consort 
of, 125 ; rehgion of Assyria 
centres in, 206-211 ; etymo- 
logy of name, 208 ; variant, 
Anshar, 208 ; mentioned in 
inscription of Samsi-Ramman, 
208 ; Sargon and the conquer- 
ing power of, 210, 211 ; Ishtar 
and, 214 ; Bel-Merodach placed 
after, in the Assyrian Pantheon, 
225, 377 ; prisoner-gods and, 
226 ; Beht and, 227 

Assur-ban'i-pal. King of As- 
syria ; Greek equivalent, Sar- 
danapalus, 32 ; historic reality, 
33 ; death of, 33 ; succeeded 
Esar-haddon, 34 ; Samus-sum- 
yukin, brother of, 34 ; his 
death, 35 ; his library at 
Nineveh, 35, 46, 71, 261, 282, 
346 ; patron of literature, 154 ; 
Sin and, 224 ; Belit and, 227, 
228 ; capture of twenty gods of 
the Elamites by, 204 ; tablets 



dealing with magic in library 
of, 261 ; the five hounds of, 
290, 291 ; autobiography of, 
301-306 ; palace of, discovered 
by Rawlinson, 346 ; frag- 
ment of history of, discovered 
by George Smith, 352 ; tablets 
of, 354; zikkurat of, 365 

Ass'ur-Dan III. The fatal eclipse 
and, 307-309 

Assur-naz'ir-pal. Son of Tuk-ul- 
ti-in-Aristi, 23 ; places Hadad- 
nadin-akhi on throne of Baby- 
lon, 23 ; Ishtar and, 214 ; 
Ninib, and, 214, 216 ; Calah 
residence of, 215; Shamash 
and, 223 ; Sin and, 223 ; sculp- 
tures glorifying, 343 ; dedica- 
tions of, unearthed, 351 

Assur-naz'ir-pal III. King of 
Assyria, reference to his reign, 
23 

Ass'uR-Ri-SHi'-SHi'. Ninib and, 
214 

Ass'ur-yu-ball'idh. The Kas- 
site king of Babylonia marries 
daughter of, 22 

AssYRiA-NS. Race origin, 12 ; 
Hittite and Amorite elements 
intermingled with, 12, 13 ; land 
boundaries, the Tigris and 
Euphrates, 12 ; the Akkadians 
and, 13 ; Tiglath-pileser, King 
of, 23 ; Semiramis the Great, 
Queen of, 24-29 ; Assur-bani- 
pal desired to make the centre of 
religious influence of the empire, 

35 ; Scythians penetrate into, 

36 ; Sin-sar-iskin, last King of, 
36 ; cuneiform writing of, 
60-66 ; religion, Semitic in- 
fluence on, 91, 92 ; the Pan- 
theon of, 203-230 ; religion of, 
centres in Asshur, 206 ; great- 
ness ; secret of, 208, 209 ; Ish- 
tar in, 21 1-2 1 4 ; worship of 
Ramman in, 220 ; Sham- 
mash's cult in, 222, 223 ; Bel- 
Merodach and, 225 ; cult of 
Nabu in, 228 ; temples of, 
242-251 ; culture ; progenitors 
of, 250 ; magic and demonology, 
257-288 ; behef in taboo, 278; 

B 385 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 



religions of Babylonia and, 
comparative value of, 313-337 ', 
religion of Zoroaster supplanted 
that of ancient, 332 ; ethics, 
337> 338 ; modern excavations 
in, 339-366 ; empire, fall of, in 
606 B.C., 377 

Astrology. Birthplace of, 231 

Atarath. The arel (or altar) of 
Dodo carried from, 190 

Atarga'tus. God; Dagon wor- 
shipped as, 27 

Ataryat'is. Alternative, Der- 
keto. Fish-goddess, legendary 
mother of Semiramis, 25 

Athenag'oras. Refers to wor- 
ship of Semiramis, 27 

Athens. Piraeus, port of, 328 

At'tis . A god akin to Adonis ,132 

Au'ra Ma-i-nyu. Evil principle 
of Zarathustra's religion, 334 

A-verr'-o-es. Friend of Mai- 
monides, 232 

AvESTA. Earliest form of Zoro- 
aster's name in the, 333 

A'ya. The betrothed of Sham- 
ash, 166 

Az'ar. One of Nimrod's guards ; 
traditional father of Abram, 

54 

Az'tecs. Reverence of, for wor- 
ship of Toltecs, 226, 227 

Az-u-ri, King. Sargon displaces, 
by Ahimiti, 210 



B 



Baal. Sun-god ; Hadad the su- 
preme, 189 ; magic and, 258 ; 
Phoenician god, 327 ; Tanit allu- 
ded to as ' The Countenance 
of — .' 330 

' Ba'al.' Canaanitish god, 325 ; 
term applied by Phoenicians, 

327 
Baal-Amm'on or Mo'loch. See 

Moloch 
Ba'al-Hamm'an. Phoenician god 

worshipped in Carthage, 327 
Ba'alim. Presiding spirits, 326 ; 

of Tyre, the Phoenicians and, 

327 
386 



Ba'bel. The Tower of, 48; 
Hebrew verb bahal confused 
with word babel, 48 ; story of 
Tower of, suggested by one of 
the towers of Babylon ; the 
beginning of Nimrod's kingdom 
was, 49 

BAbil. Mound and enclosure of 
103, 347 ; as a citadel, 368 

Ba'bu. Esar-haddon, restorer of, 
306 

Babylon-ia-n. Racial origin, 12 ; 
mother of astrology and magic, 
12 ; land boundaries, the Tigris 
and Euphrates, 12 ; the Akka- 
dians and, 13 ; Semites — receive 
germs of culture from Akka- 
dians, 14 ; language, 14 ; civil- 
ization, 14 ; offshoot of culture 
of Eridu, 15 ; first founders, 
15 ; Semite conquerors enter, 
15, 16 ; first great Semitic em- 
pire in, founded by Sargon of 
Akkad, 16 ; Syria and Pales- 
tine welded with, by Sargon, 1 7 ; 
kings, vicegerents of ;the gods, 
17; art; gem-cutting, etc., 17; 
communication between island 
of Cyprus and, 18 ; fall of ' First 
Dynasty of — ' 21 ; Burna-bur- 
yas. King of, 22 ; Tukulti-in- 
Aristi takes, and slays King 
Bitilyasu, 22 ; built by Semira- 
mis, 26 ; finally conquered by 
Tiglath-pileser III, 30 ; sur- 
render of, through starvation, 
34 ; literature ; Assur-bani-pal 
and, 35 ; Nebuchadrezzar leads 
Jews into captivity in, 37 ; 
Kings ; Nabonidus, last of, 40 ; 
independence of, recovered after 
death of Darius, 41 ; Persians 
conquer, 41 ; destruction of, 
41 ; Seleucia built out of ruins 
of, 42 ; archaeology, 46, 47 ; 
legend of confusion of tongues 
and towers of, 47 ; E-Sagila, 
tower of, 47 ; built by Nim- 
rod, 50 ; cuneiform writing 
of, 60-66 ; cosmogony, 70-87 ; 
reUgion, early, 88-153 ; spirits 
and gods in ancient, 89-153 ; 
religion, Semitic influence on, 



GLOSSARY AND INDEX 



91, 92 ; religion, signs of to- 
temism in, 92 ; the Pantheon 
— Early, 94, 95 : Later, 184- 
198 ; Nippur preferred to, 
196 ; the country of Bel, 225 ; 
star-worship in, 231-238 ; tem- 
ples of, 242-251 ; magic and 
demonology, 257-288 ; belief in 
taboo, 278 ; conquered by Shal- 
maneser I, 308 ; religions of 
Assyria and, comparative value, 
313-336, etc.; captivity, 321; 
religion, penetrated to Britain, 
331 ; the religion of Zoroaster 
supplanted that of ancient, 332 ; 
ethics, 337, 338 ; myth, com- 
pared with Hellenic and Scandi- 
navian, 338 ; moral code, 338 ; 
modem excavations in, 339- 
366 ; the, of Nebuchadrezzar 
II, 367 ; water supply of, 368 ; 
hanging gardens of, 371 ; the 
elder, 375, 376; national status 
of, regained, 377 ; religion, de- 
cay of, 378, 379 
Bab-y-lon'ic-a. A work by lam- 
bhchus, containing fragments 
of Babylonian history, 56 ; refer- 
ence to an epitome of the, by 
Photius, 56 
Banks. Temples as, 250, 251 
Baphomet. Name of pagan idol, 

293 

Barbaro, Josaphat. Cuneiform 
writing and, 61 

Bar-sa'nes. King of "Armenia, 
25 

Baril. The seers, 260 

Bas'ra. Layard sends sculptures 
to, 344 ; Ernest de Sarzec, 
French vice-consul at, 355 

Bas-relief-s. Found in palace 
of Sennacherib at Kouyunjik, 
345 ; found in palace of Assur- 
bani-pal, 346 

Bau. Goddess ; mother of man- 
kind, ' chief daughter of Anu,' 
144, 145 ; Zag-muku and, 251 

Be-Dad or Ben-Dad. The 

father of the Edomite Hadad, 
190 

Be-el'ze-bub. Magic and, 258 

Be-his-t^n. Persian text at, Gs 



Bel. Babylonian sun-god, 41 ; 
the Dragon and 71; Merodach 
and, 79, 194 ; at Nippur, 
looked on as creator of man, 
86 ; ruled at Nippur (Niffur), 
94 ; eariier variant, En-hl ; 
description of, 95-97 ; legend 
of the Dragon and, in the 
Apocrypha, 97 ; worship of, at 
Babylon, 98 ; King Cyrus and 
worship of, 98-101 ; the temple 
of, 101-105 ; discovery of Mr 
George Smith re temple of, 
loi ; Nebo, son of, 102 ; 
father of Nirig, 153 ; Ut- 
Napishtim and, 174, 176; 
Gilgamesh resorts to, 180 ; 
Tablets of Destiny and, 193- 
195 ; Dagan and, 198, 216 ; 
the Assyrians and the country 
of, 225 ; Merodach usurped 
place of, 227 ; the Pole Star 
(of equator), 236 ; eclipses and, 
255; Bile allied with, 317; 
shrine to, of King Bur-Sin 1 , 364 

Bel, The Observations of. In 
library founded by Sargon, 
18 ; translated into Greek by 
Berossus, 18 

Bel'it. a generic term given to 
Ishtar, 214, 227 ; Ann's con- 
sort, 227 ; figures as wife of 
Asshur, 227 ; Tiglath-pileser I 
and, 227 ; Assur-bani-pal and, 
227 

Bel-ku'dur-u'zur. The last of 
the old Assyrian line, killed by 
Hadad-nadin-akhi, 23 

Bel-Mer'o-dach. Babylonian 
god ; avenged by Cyrus, 41 ; 
son of Ea and Dawkina, 73 ; 
absorbed into the Assyrian 
pantheon, 225 

Be'los. See variant, Bel-Mero- 
dach, 73 

Bel-te-shazz'ar. Babylonian ap- 
pellation for Daniel, 37 

Bel'tis. Variant, Nin-hl ; the 
wife of En-lil, loi ; sanctuary 
of, at Girsu, loi ; name signi- 
fied ' lady,' loi ; tablets and 
figures of, found by Dr Peters, 
364 ^ 1 

B 2 387 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 



Bel'us. Temple of ; mound of 
Babil identified with, 103 ; 
delineations of animals pre- 
served in temple of, 114 ; 
variant, Dis, 114 

Bel-zak'ir-isk'un. Descendant 
of Assur-bani-pal, 306, 307 

Be-na'ni. God; husband of Me- 
HH, 82 

Be-ni'ni. King of the monsters, 
295, 296 

Ber-oss'us. I . Babylonian histor- 
ian ; translates The Observations 
of Bel into Greek, 18 ; narrative 
of, re creation of man, 81 ; 
his statement re Ea copied by 
Alexander Polyhistor, etc., 112, 
113 ; quotes version of the 
deluge myth, 177, 178 ; the 
hanging gardens of Babylon 
and, 371. 2. A priest of Bel 
at Babylon, 42 ; ' history ' by, 
42-45 ; extracts from history 
of, preserved by Josephus and 
Eusebius, 42 ; Sisuthrus and, 
42 ; his legend of Cannes, 42 ; 
his account of the deluge, 42- 
44 ; Daonus and, 127 

BiLt. A Celtic deity, 317 

Bint-el-Amir. Hill of, 358, 361, 
362, 365 

Bird messengers. Ut-Napish- 
tim sends out, 176 

BiRS NiMRtJD. Ruins of, 103 

Bit-ili, The. Sacred stones, 19 

Bit-il-ya'su. King of Babylon, 
slain by Tukulti-in-Aristi, 22 

Bombay. The Parsis of, 336 

BoR-sip'PA. Site of Nebo's tem- 
ple at, 103 ; ' The Stages of the 
Seven Spheres,* the wonder of, 
104 ; chief seat of Nebo's wor- 
ship, 184 

BoTTA, M. Archaeological re- 
searches at Nineveh, 46 ; 
French Consul at Mosul ; his 
excavations in Mesopotamia, 
339. 340 

British Museum. Bricks in, 
containing Assur-bani-pal's re- 
searches, 35, 71, 154, 155, 290 ; 
obelise of Shalmaneser II 
in, 343 

388 



Bull. Sacred, slain by Gilga- 
mesh and Eabani, 158 ; Ram- 
man's name the great, 220 ; 
forms of Ea and Merodach, 290 

Bull, Winged. Symbol of and 
En-hl, 97 ; associated with Me- 
rodach, 289, 290 

Burmese. Attitude of, to the 
dead, 269 

Bur'na-bur'yas. King of Baby- 
lonia, 22 

Burnouf. Cuneiform writing and, 

63 

Bur-sin. Repairs Urbau's zik- 
kurat, 248 ; shrine to Bel dedi- 
cated by, 364 

Byb'lus. Journey of Isis to, 
328 ; Philo of, 328 



Ca'lah. Sennacherib takes nu- 
cleus of Assur-bani-pal's lib- 
rary from, 154 ; residence of 
Asshur, 207 ; Ninib's temple 
at, 215 ; residence of Assur- 
nazir-pal, 215 ; Sin's temple of, 
223 ; tower of, discovered by 
Layard, 346 

Calmet, Abb6. Disbelief of, in 
vampires, 266 

Cal'neh. Part of Nimrod's king- 
dom, 49 

Cam-by'ses. Son of Cyrus, 41 

Canaanites, The. First historic 
dwellers in Syria and Palestine, 
324-326 ; gods of, 325, 326 ; 
ancestor-worship and, 326 

Canning, Sir Stratford. Sir 
Henry Layard assisted by, in 
his excavations at Nimrud, 340 

Capricornus, Sign of. Sea- 
goddess Sabitu and, 183 

Captivity, The Babylonian, 

321-323 

Caravan. The story of the miss- 
ing, 285-288 

Car-che'mish. Worship of Ha- 
dad extended from, to Edom, 
189 

Carthage. Dido, the presiding 
deity of, 190 ; Ba'al-Hamman 



I 



GLOSSARY AND INDEX 



worshipped in, 327 ; Tanith 
honoured at, 328 ; Eshmun 
worshipped at, 328 ; religion of 
Semites of, 329 ; Dido, Queen 
of, 329; Apollo's temple at, 330; 
Mohammedanism at, 332 

Celtic. Teutonic religion and, 
compared, 317 ; deity ; Bile 
a, 317 

Ce'res. Reference to, 133 

Chal'chis. lamblichus a native 
of, 56 

Chaldean MYTHOLOGY. The sign 
Gemini, associated with the two 
forms of the solar deity in, 182 

Chal-de'a-n-s. Birthplace of 
Abram, 52 ; Nimrod, King 
of, 52 ; star- gazers, 202 ; differ- 
ence between the faiths of the 
two great races of, 204 ; astro- 
logers, 231, 232 ; speculations, 
233-235 ; magic, 258, 259 ; 
belief in taboo, 278 ; behef in 
superstitions, 280 ; divination, 
281 ; excavations in, 339 

Cha'os. Tiawath, 193 

Chardin, John. Cuneiform writ- 
ing and, 61 

Che'mosh. God of the Moabite 
king, Mesha, 190 

Christianity. Initiated by Semi- 
tic race, 313; Jewish influence 
upon, 320 

Chro'nos. Berossus substitutes for 
Ea in the version of the deluge 
myth quoted in his history, 177 

Chus. The /Ethiop ; equivalents, 
Cush, or Cash (a coloured race), 
49 ; father of Nimrod, 49 

Circle, The Magic. Chaldean 
sorcerers and, 275, 276 

Code, Moral. Of the Baby- 
lonians, 338 

Colossi. Gate of, loi ; example 
of art of which Ea was patron, 
229 

Cor-cy're-an Mountains. Refer- 
ence to, by Berossus, 44 

Corn-spirits. The primitive, 139 

Cornwall. Phoenicians in, 331 

Cosmogony. Babylonian, 70-87 ; 
Jastrow's opinion, 84; type of, 
84-87 



Creation. Babylonian myth of, 
70-87 ; story of, in Genesis ; 
myths found in Egyptian 
papyri ; and that in the Popol 
Viih, 70 ; Seven Tablets of, 71 ; 
of man, by Merodach, 80, 81 ; 
legend ; Apsu and Tiawath in, 
193; 'Cutha^an legend of — ,'294- 
296 ; common origin of Biblical 
and Babylonian accounts of, 323 

Ctes'i-as. His tale re Parsondes, 
146-149; reference to, 367 

Cune-i-form Texts. Merodach 
and, 200 

Cuneiform writing. See Writing 

Cush, or Cash. See equivalent, 
Chus 

Cu'thah. Temple of Nergal at, 
82, 94, 105 ; 296 

Cu-th^'an Legend, The. Of 
creation, 294-296 

Cyaxares. Scythian king of Ec- 
batana, 36 ; son of, dethroned 
by Achaemenidae, 333 

Cybe'l6. The mother-goddess. 
132 

Cyprus. Among the conquest 
of Sargon, 18 ; communication 
between Babylonia and island 
of, 19 ; worship of Ashtart at, 
327 

Cyrus, King. The worship of 
Bel and, 98-101 

Cyrus the Persian. Invasion 
of Babylonia by, 41 ; the pre- 
tended avenger of Bel-Mero- 
dach, 41 ; Cambyses, son of, 
41 ; conqueror of Babylon and 
saviour of Merodach's honour, 
378 



Da'da. Abbreviated form of 
Abd-Hadad ; resemblances be- 
tween Hadad, Dido, Davad, 
and, 1 89-1 91 ; Shalmaneser (II) 
speaks of, 189 

Dag'an. Palestinian form of 
Dagon ; a fish-god, same as 
Oannes or Ea, 216, 217; as- 
sociated with Bel, 217; Anu 
and, igS 

389 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 



Dag'on. God Atargatus wor- 
sliipped under the name of, 
27 ; a fish-god, 151, 152 ; an 
Amorite deity, 325 

Dam'as. One of the two eunuchs 
appointed to watch Rhodanes 
and Sinonis, 57 

Dam-as'ci-us. The last of the 
Neoplatonists, 72 ; author of 
Doubts and Solutions of the First 
Principles, 73 

Dam-as'cus. Worship of Hadad 
at, under name of Rimmon, 
189 ; worship of Ramman in, 
220 

Dam'ku. One of the lesser Baby- 
lonian gods, 229 

Dan'i-el. Babylonian appella- 
tion, Belteshazzar, 37 ; Nebu- 
chadrezzar and, 37-40 ; Sha- 
drach, Meshach, and Abednego 
companions of, 38 ; reference 
to a corrupted story of the 
dehverance of the three Hebrew 
princes recorded by, 53 ; Book 
of, 97 ; the worship of Bel and, 
98-101 

Da'on. The shepherd king of 
Pantibiblon, 112 

Da-o'nus or Dags. King of 
Babylonia, vide Berossus, 127, 

Dar-i'us. Babylonia independ- 
ence recoveied after death of, 
41 ; defeated at Arbela, 378 

Da'vid. Resemblances between 
Hadad, D4da, Dido, and, 189- 
191 ; variants, Dod, Dodo, 190 

Daw-ki'na. Belos (Bel-Mero- 
dach), the son of Ea, and, 73 ; 
saved from the deluge, 115; 
Ishtar identified with, 127, 137 ; 
consort of Ea, 197 

De Morgan. Unearths monu- 
ment of Naran-Sin at Susa, 
17 ; copy of Khammurabi's 
code found by, 21 

De Sar'zec, Ernest. French 
vice-consul at Basra ; diorite 
statues of Gudea (2700 B.C.) 
found by, 47 ; excavations of, 
at Tello, 355, 356 ; Decouvertes 
en Chald&e par, reference to, 
356 

39° 



Dead. The doctrine of minis- 
tering -; to, 181; often left 
unburied in Babylonia, 269 ; 
attitude of Burmese to, 269 ; 
Canaanites and cult of the, 
326 ; Persians and their, 336 ; 
Parsis and their, 336 ; ' House 
of the — ,' at Nippur, 362 

Della Valle, Pietro. Cunei- 
form writing and, 61 

Delphi. Worshippers of Apollo 
send offerings to, 330 

Deluge, The. Berossus' account 
of, 42-45 ; reference to account 
of, in Gilgamesh Epic, 42 ; 
analogies with Flood Myth, 45, 
46 ; Babylonian and Hebrew 
story of, have a common origin, 
45, 323 ; myth of, 112, 173- 
178; refugees saved from — 
Ea, etc., 115 

Demeter. Tanit compared with, 

330 

Demonology. Of Babylonia 
and Assyria, 257-288 

Demons. Many Babylonian gods 
evolved from, 268 ; Babylo- 
nian, described, 276-278 

Destiny. Mammetum, the maker 
of, 173 ; Zu and the Tablets 
of, 193-195 ; the Lia Fail, the 
Stone of, reference to, 248 

Devil-s. Possession by, 262 

Di-a'na. Goddess, 235, 319 

Di-barr'a. a variant of Ner- 
gal, 106 ; a Babylonian deity 
placed in the Assyrian pan- 
theon, 229 

Di'do. Resemblances between 
Hadad, D4da, David, and, 
1 89-1 91 ; Queen of Carthage, 
329 ; Tanit identified with, 
331 

Dis. Variant of Belus, 114 

Divination. Practice of, by 
Babylonians and Assyrians, 
281-288; Shamash, Hadad, and 
Rimmon, ' lords of — ,' 283 ; 
Phoenicians' belief in, 329 

Divinities, Tribal. The most 
outstanding, 94 

Divs. Arch-demons and demons, 
334 



GLOSSARY AND INDEX 



DoD or Dodo. See David; wor- 
ship of, by the side of Yahveh, 
190 

DoG-s. The, in Babylonia ; five 
hounds of Assur-bani-pal, 290, 
291 ; legend of a, 291, 292 

Dragon, The. Bel and, 71 ; 
China and, 80 ; in Egypt, it 
is the serpent Apep, 80 ; in 
India, the serpent Vritra (Ahi), 
80 ; in Australia and in parts 
of N. America a great frog, 80 ; 
Beowulf and, 80 ; Faffnir and, 
80 ; legend of Bel and, in the 
Apocrypha, 97 ; Merodach's, 
186 ; the, in Zoroaster's reli- 
gion, 337 

Dream-s. Nebuchadrezzar's, and 
Daniel, 37-40 ; of Gyges, King 
of Lydia, 302, 303 

Du-mu-zi. a contraction of Du- 
mu-zi-apsu ; name of Tam- 
muz derived from, 126 

Dun'gi. Gudea vassal of the 
throne of, 19 

Dynasty. ' The First, of Baby- 
lon,' 21 ; a Kassite, founded 
by Kandis, 21 ; the First, of 
Ur, loi ; Khumbaba, and an 
Elamite, 166 ; reference to 
Kassite, 248 ; the Hammurabi, 
325 ; the Seleucidse and the 
Arsacidae, 333 



E'a, or O'an-nes. The Baby- 
lonian god of light and wisdom, 
14 ; held sway at Eridu, 14 ; 
legendary father of Semiramis, 
25 ; source of all things and, 

72 ; Apsu (Zigarun), mother 
of, 72 ; variant, Nudimmud, 

73 ; Tiawath and, 76 ; Mero- 
dach and, 79 ; displaced 
politically by Merodach, 86, 
199 ; name of Jonah may be 
compared with that of, 87 ; 
fish-form of, 93 ; the god 
of the deep, 93 ; Eridu, city 
of, 94 ; temple of, 102 ; the 
god of the waters and of the 



abyss, 111-116; father of 
Merodach, iii, 191 ; Greek 
name, Cannes, 11 1 ; instruc- 
tions tending to humanize man- 
kind, 112, 113; writings of, 
1 1 3-1 16; myth re creation of 
world and, 115 ; variant, Nin- 
a-gal, 116; variant, En-ki, 
116; Adapa, son of, 116; 
Dagon (Dagan) same as, 151, 
152, 216, 217; Ut-Napishtim 
instructed by, 174, 176 ; in 
later times, 191-1 93 ; Dawkina, 
consort of, 197 ; identified with 
a star in the constellation 
Argo, 236 ; eclipses and, 255 ; 
demons and name of, 263 ; 
gazelles and, 292 

Ea-ba'ni. Goddess Aruru and, 
86 ; temple maiden Ukhut and, 
129, 163 ; typifies primitive 
man in Gilgamesh epic, 155, 
159, 160 ; the monster Khum- 
baba and, 158 ; slain by wrath 
of Ishtar, 158 ; shade of, 
appears to Gilgamesh, 160 ; 
a sort of satyr, 163 ; the 
beguihng of, 163, 164 ; Gilga- 
mesh meets, 164-166 ; death 
of, 170 ; Gilgamesh laments, 
179 ; ghost of, designated 
utiikkii, 181 

Eagle. Symbol of Kis, 294, 296 ; 
Babylonian fable re the, 296-298 

Ea-lur. Goddess ; amalgamated 
with Zarpanitum, 186 

E-Anna. Temple of, at Erech, 
250 

E-Anna-Tum. Shamash first 
mentioned in reign of, 109 ; 
' stele of vultures ' erected by, 
discovered by de Sarzec, 355 

Earth. The Annunaki, the 
spirits of, 90 ; -mother, wor- 
ship of, 318, 319 

E - Babb'ara. ' The shining 
house ' ; name of Shamash's 
sanctuary, 109, 249 

Ec-ba-ta'na. Cyaxares, the Scy- 
thian king of, 36 

Eclipse. Terror of, to Baby- 
lonians, 255, 256 ; the fatal, in 
case of Assur-Dan III, 307-309 

391 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 



E'dom. Worship of Hadad ex- 
tended from Carchemish to, 189 

E-GiG-UN-NU. ' House of the 
Tomb ' ; the temple-tower of 
Nippur, 362 

Egypt. Semitic immigrants in, 
15 ; conquered by Semiramis, 
26 ; Esar-haddon wars with, 
31 ; Nebuchadrezzar invades, 
37 ; cult of Ishtar in, 124 ; 
Semitic religion in, 331 ; exca- 
vations in, 339 

E-KuR. The temple of, 248, 253 ; 
temples of E-Sagila and, 249 

E'lam-ites. Northern Mesopo- 
tamia and, overcome by Sargon, 
1 7 ; yoke of, thrown off by 
Khammurabi, 20 ; name of 
Khumbaba argues enmity 
between Babylon and, 166 ; 
Assur-bani-pal and gods of 
the, 204 ; votive object from, 
248 

El-EugAt. Feast of, 134 

El-is'sa. Dido confounded with, 
190 

Elohim. Term employed in 
Genesis, 327 

En-ki. Variant of Ea, 116 

En-lil. The god, 14 ; temple of, 
unearthed, 47 ; Merodach and, 
84 ; earlier name of Bel, 95- 
97 ; a god of vegetation, 96 ; 
symbol of winged bull repre- 
sents, 97 ; word HI signifies a 
'demon,' 97; Beltis (Nin-lil), 
wife of, loi ; Hadad resembled, 
188 ; Ramman, son of, 221 ; 
temple of E-Kur sacred to, 248 

En-Mash'ti. Name of Ninib trans- 
lated by Canaanites as, 326 

E'noch, Book of. Quoted, 294 

E'nos. Son of Seth, 232 

Eph'es-us. Patroness of, and 
Diana, 235 

Ep-i-pha'ni-us. His allegations 
re Nimrod, 49 

Er'ech. Part of Nimrod's king- 
dom, 49 ; temple of, 82 ; Di- 
barra plunders, 106-109; centre 
of Ishtar 's cult, 124 ; Gilgamesh, 
prince of, 154 ; temple of Ish- 
tar at, 248 

392 



Er'esh-ki-gal (Allatu). The 
mistress of Hades, 129 

Er-i-du. Babylonian civiliza- 
tion grouped round, 14 ; the 
home of Ea, or Cannes, the 
god of hght and wisdom, 14 ; 
Ur a near neighbour of, 15 ; 
culture of, and Babylon, 15 ; 
' magical ' hymns emanated 
from, 68 ; worshippers of Ea 
at, 72 ; temple of Ea at, iii ; 
the deluge and, 116 ; suprem- 
acy of, passes to Babylon, 199 ; 
Merodach originated at, 200 

E-Sag-i'la. Nabonidus and the 
priests of, 41 ; Nebo's shrine, 
E-Zila, in temple of, 185 ; 
name of Merodach's temple at 
Babylon, 200 ; temples of E- 
Kur and, 249 ; temple of, 250, 
368, 374, 375 

E-Sagila. Tower in Babylon, 
47. 374. 375 

E'sar-had'don. Son of Senna- 
cherib, 31 ; Assur-bani-pal suc- 
ceeded, as King of Assyria, 34 ; 
Ishtar and, 212 ; ' the most 
likeable ' of the Assyrian kings, 
306, 307 ; palace built by, 
unearthed by Layard, 343 

EsHMUN. The god of force and 
healing, 328, 330 

Eshmun-Mel'karth. Phoenician 
combination, 328 

Es'ther. Ishtar and, 124, 140- 
144 ; Book of, why written, 
141 ; equivalent, Ishtar, 142 ; 
Lang, on story of, 142, 143 ; 
Xerxes and, 143 ; variant, 
Hadassah, 143 ; Dr Jastrow 
on Book of, 143 

Et-a'na. The legend of, 195 

Ethics. Babylonian and Assyrian, 
337. 338 

Ethnological differences. Be- 
tween the peoples of the 
northern and southern culture- 
groups, 203 

Euphrates, i. River, 177, 368, 
369 ; 2. Bridge, 375 

Euph-ra'tes - Tig'ris. Valley ; 
civilization of, influenced Semi- 
tic field, 92 



GLOSSARY AND INDEX 



Eu-se'bi-us. Sanchuniathon, Phi- 
lo, and, 329 

ExcAVATiON-s. Modern, in Baby- 
lonia and Assyria, 339-366 ; 
in Egypt, 339; map relating 
to, in Babylonia and Assyria, 
341 ; at Nineveh by George 
Smith, 347-354 ; at Kouyunjik 
by Rassam, 354, 355 ; of de 
Sarzec at Tello, 355, 356 ; 
Babylonian Exploration Fund 
instituted in America, 356-366; 
under control of the Univer- 
sity of Pennsylvania, 360-366 ; 
recent, by German Oriental 
Society, 367-377 

E-Zi'da. I. Temple of Nabu at, 
250 ; discovered by Rawlinson 
346 ; 2. Great tower of Nabu, 

375 
E-ZiLA. ' The firm house ' ; 
Nebo's shrine in temple of 
E-Sagila, 185 



Fable. A Babylonian, re the 
eagle, 296-298 

Fate-s. The great gods Annu- 
naki decree, 173 ; the Chamber 
of, 185, 252, 253 

Father-sky. Of primitive myth- 
ologies, 196 

Feast-s. The Jewish, of Purim, 
140 ; Babylonian, 251, 252 

Festival-s. Of Adonis, T35 ; of 
the Sacaea or Zakmuk, 141 ; 
New Year ; Nebo and, 185 ; 
Babylonian ; Zag-muku, sacred 
to Bau, 251, 252 ; Scottish- 
Celtic, of Beltane, 317. 

Field. An expert Assyriologist, 
358 

Fire-god. Gibil, the, 225 

Fire-worship. The central fea- 
ture of Zoroastrian ritual, 335 

Fisher, Mr. Architect in Ameri- 
can exploration campaign, 360 

Flood. See Deluge. 

Fra-vash'i. Guardian spirit of 
the Persians, 336 

Frazer, Sir James. On the 



Greek way of representing As- 
hurbanapal [i.e. Sardanapalus), 
32 ; on the real and the mock 
Sardanapalus, 34 ; Tammuz, 
and his Golden Bough, 134 ; 
Ishtar and, 137 ; feast of Purim 
and, 140 ; on Vashti, 143 
Fresnel. French exploration ex- 
pedition and, 347 



Gardens, Hanging. Of Baby- 
lon, 371 

Gar'mus. King of Babylon ; 
romance of Sinonis and, 56-60 ; 
Rhodanes and, 56-60 

Gathas. The most ancient part 
of the Avesta, 333 

Ga-tum-dug. Goddess ; allied 
form of Bau, 145 

Ga'za. Temple of Dagon at, 151 

Gazelle. Goat and, gods, 292- 
294 

Gem'i-ni, Sign. Gilgamesh and 
Eabanisome relation to the, 182 

Genesis, Book of. Reference to, 
re Nimrod, 49 ; creation story 
in, 70, 289 ; Abbe Loisy and, 
322, 323 ; term elohim in, 327 

Germany. Goat-demon adored 
in, 293 

Ghosts. Assyrian, 277, 278 

Gi'bi. Prayer and the god, 68 

Gib'il. The god of fire ; Nusku 
and, 225 

Gilgamesh. Hero; Nimrod iden- 
tified with, 50, 156 ; epic ; 
goddess Aruru figures in, 86 ; 
prince of Erech, 154-183 ; pro- 
visional name Gisdhubar, or 
Izdubar, 156 ; Shamash and, 
156 ; birth of , related by ^Elian, 
156 ; Rimatbelit, mother of, 
158 ; shade of Eabani appears 
to, 160 ; Ishtar's love for, 167, 
168 ; mourning the loss of Ea- 
bani, 1 70 ; his quest for the 
secret of perpetual life, 170-173 ; 
his ancestor, Ut-Napishtim, 170 ; 
Sin delivers, 170; seeks from 
Ut-Napishtim the secret of 

393 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 



perpetual life, 173-180 ; Adad- 
Eaand, 178, 179 

Gil-ga'mesh Epic, The. Account 
of deluge in, reference to, 42 ; 
one of the greatest literary 
productions of ancient Baby- 
lonia, 154-183 ; Ishtar in, 213 

Gir'su. Beltis' sanctuary at, loi 

Gis-dhu'bar or Izdu'bar. Gil- 
gamesh's provisional name, 156 

Gish-zi'da. One of the guardians 
of the gates of heaven, 118 

Goats. Gazelle and, gods, 292-294 

GoD-s. Ea, or Cannes, 14, 25, 72, 
73. 76, 79, 86, 87, 93, 94, 102, 
111-116, 216, 229; En-hl, 14, 
47, 84, 95-97, loi ; Baby- 
lonian kings the direct vice- 
gerents of the, on earth, 17 ; 
Babylonian, Merodach, 41, 47, 
50, 68, 76-82, 81, 84, 86, 93, 94, 
103, 106, 184-198, 199-202 ; 
Bel, Babylonian sun-, 41, 
196, 197 ; the birth of the, 71- 
87 ; Tiawath, Apsu, and Mum- 
mu, a trinity of, 74 ; Horus, 
reference to, 75 ; Ivingu ; Tia- 
wath and, 75 ; Merodach, the 
creator of the, 82 ; Semites and, 
89 ; spirits and, in ancient 
Babylonia, 89-91 ; Anu, most 
ancient of Babylonian, 90, 121- 
123, 197, 198, 217 ; invoked by 
Assyrian kings, 90 ; Kis. the 
sun-, 93, 294 ; under animal 
forms, 92, 93 ; the great, 93- 
153; Sin, moon-, 94, 109, 128, 
170. 325 ; tribal divinities, 94 ; 
pantheon that held sway prior 
to Khammurabi, 94, 95 ; de- 
scription of Bel, 96 ; a trinity of 
(Bel, Ea, and Anu), 97 ; Sibi, 
108 ; Shamash, the sun-, 41, 
94, 109, 187, 222, 223, 325 ; 
Nergal, 82, 94, 105, 106, 
151, 180, 235, 326, 328, 329 ; 
Adapa, 116-121 ; Ishtar, 123- 
144; Tammuz.sun-godof Eridu, 
126-144 <■ Ishtar and Perse- 
phone, 131-135 ; Nin-Girsu, 
144 ; Bau, 144 ; Pap-sukal, 
messenger of the, 130 ; Ga- 
tum-dug, 145 ; Nannar, the 

394 



moon-god of Ur, 145-149 ; 
Dagon, a fish-, 151, 152, 216, 
217, 325 ; Nirig, or Enu-Res- 
tu, 153 ; Gilgamesh, a sun-, 
157 ; Eabani, a sun-, 159 ; 
Later Pantheon of Babylonia, 
184-198 ; Nebo, 184-186, 326 ; 
Ramman, 187-189, 195, 217- 
222, 325 ; Hadad or Adad, 
187-191, 325 ; Baal, a sun-, 
189, 327, 328 ; Ddda, Dido, 
Dodo, 189-191 ; Zu, a storm-, 
193-195 ; Merodach originally 
a sun-, 199 ; the great, of 
Assyria, 205-229 ; Asshur, 94, 
124, 206-211 ; Nin-ib, war-god 
and hunter-, 214-216, 326 ; 
the moon-, 94, 109, 128, 170, 
180, 223, 224 ; Nusku, 224, 
225 ; Gibil, the fire-, 225 ; 
Bel-Merodach, 225 ; prisoner-, 
225, 226 ; Belit alluded to as 
' Mother of the Great — ', 228 ; 
procession of — see illustration, 
230 ; ideographthesamefor ' star ' 
and, 234 ; planets identified 
with, 235 ; Nabu and Merodach, 
228 ; Dibbarra, 229 ; Damku 
and Sharru-Ilu, 229 ; many 
Babylonian, evolved from de- 
mons, 268 ; gazelle- and goat-, 
292-294; Hellenic departmental, 
315 ; departmental character- 
istics of the, of Babylonia and 
Assyria, 315, 316; general equi- 
valent, ' el,' used by Canaanites 
and Hebrews, 325, 326 ; of light 
— Uru, 325 ; of the Phoenicians, 
327-329; Resheph, a Canaanite, 
326, 328 ; Melkarth of Tyre, 
327 ; Ashtart, 326, 327, 330 ; 
Eshmun, god of vital force, 328 ; 
Moloch, 328 ; Carthaginian Mo- 
loch, 330; Patechus, a monster, 
330 ; Illat, 330 ; Sakon, 330 ; 
Tsaphon, 330 ; of Babylon more 
dignified than those of the 
Greeks or Norsemen, 338; the 
Twilight of the, 377-380 
GoDDESs-ES. Ishtar, 28, 94, loi, 
106, 107, 111, 123-144, 158, 165- 
168, 176,211-214, 326; 'Ish- 
tar ' a generic designation for, 



GLOSSARY AND INDEX 



124 ; Nanji and Anunit, 124 ; 
Samkhat — of joy, 131 ; Cy- 
bele, the mother-, 132 ; Bau, 
' mother of Lagash,' 144, 145 ; 
Ga-tum-dug, allied form of 
Bau, 145 ; Azalu, 149-151 ; 
Sabitu, a sea-, 172 ; Ealur, 
amalgamated with Zarpanitum, 
186 ; Innana or Ninni, 187 ; 
Davvkina, 197 ; worship of 
great mother, 318, 319 ; Tanith, 
328 ; Ashtart, 326, 327, 328 ; 
Isis (Astarte), 32 8 ; Tanit, the 
moon, 330 ; Rabbat Umma, 
330 ; Tanit, 330 
Grain-God. Nebo as, 186 
Greece. Cult of Ishtar in, 124 
Greeks. Babylonia ruled over 

by, 378 
Grotefend, Georg. Cuneiform 

writing and, 62-64 
Gu-barr'a. Prayer and god, 68 
Gu-de'a. a vassal of the throne 
of Dungi, 19 ; high-priest of 
Lagash, 19 ; his building and 
architectural ability, 19, 247 ; 
diorite statues of, found by de 
Sarzec, 47 ; Bau alluded to in 
ancient inscriptions of, 144 ; 
worship of Innana by, 187 ; 
Nin-girsu favourite of, 251 ; 
hepatoscopy and, 283 ; de 
Sarzec and, 355 
Gu'la. Consort of Ninib, 216 
Gy'ges. King of Lydia ; Assur- 
bani-pal and, 302, 303 ; George 
Smith's discoveries re, 352 



H 



Habb'ac-uc. a prophet ; sent to 
feed Daniel, 100 

Ha'dad or Adad. Ramman or 
Rimmon identified with, 187- 
191 ; resemblances between 
Dada, Dido, David and, 189- 
191 ; the supreme Baal, 189 ; a 
Canaanitish god, 325 

Ha'dad-na'din-akhi. Placed on 
throne of Babylon by Assur- 
nazir-pal, 23 ; kills the Assyrian 
monarch, Bel-kudur-uzur, 23 



Had-ass'ah. Variant of Esther, 
143 

Ha'des. Descent of Ishtar into, 
125, 126, 128-131 ; Erish-ki-gal 
(Allatu), mistress of, 129 

Hal'la-bi. Innana's temple at, 
187 

Ham'an. The Book of Esther and, 
141 ; accepted identity with 
Humman or Homman, 142 

Hammurabi. Dynasty, 325 

Han'ni-bal. Carthaginian hero, 
330. 332 ; Baal's name in, 330 

Ha-o'ma. Deposited on the 
celestial mountain, 335 

Har-an'. Abram's youngest 
brother, 52 

Har' ran. a centre of lunar 
adoration, 250, 283 

Has'dru-bal. Carthaginian hero ; 
Baal's name in, 330 

Haug, Dr. Translator of the 
Gathas, 333 

Haynes. Excavations of, at 
Nippur, 360-366 

Haynes, Mr J. H. Sent in 1889 
to excavate at Nippur, 47 

Heaven. The Igigi the spirits 
of, 90 

Hebrew-s. I. Symbol ; the ser- 
pent the, for mischief, 285 ; 2. 
Rehgion ; Babylonian influence 
upon, 321, 322 

He-pat-os'co-py. Ritual and 
practice of, 282-288 

Her'ac-les. Melkarth equated 
with, 328 

Her'cu-les. Reference to, 87 

Her-o'dot-us. Statements of, re 
Semiramis, 28 ; account of, re 
temple of Bel, loi, 103 ; mar- 
riage customs in Babylonia 
described by, 312 ; reference 
to, 367, 374 

Hez-ek-i'ah. Iving of Judah, 
30, 37 ; Sennacherib's campaign 
against, 30 ; praise of, sung by 
Byron in his Hebrew Melodies, 30 

Hi-er-a'pol-is. Memorials of 
Semiramis preserved at, 27 

Hilprecht, Professor. An ex- 
pert Assyriologist, 345, 357, 
360-363 

395 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 



HiNKS, Rev. Edward. Language 
found at Persepolis deciphered 
by. 65 

Ho'rus. The Egyptian god of 
hght ; Tiawath reminds of, 75 

' House of no Return.' Equi- 
valent, Hades, 126 

HuiTziLOPOCHTLi (pron. Hweet- 
zil-o-potch-tlee) . Reference to, 
144 

Hur-ak-An. The storm-god al- 
luded to in the Popol Vuh, 97 

Hymn-s. To Adar, 68 ; to Nebo, 
69 ; to Nusku, 69 ; ' magical,' 
emanated from Eridu, 68 ; 
Akkadian, in which Tammuz 
is addressed, 126 ; of Kham- 
murabi, 219 ; to Ramman, 220 



I-am'bli-chus. Author of a Baby- 

lonica, 56 

Idolatry. Legend re origin of, 

232 ; Laban's images, 266-268 

Ig'i-gi, The. Spirits of heaven, 90 

Ik-su'da (Grasper). Attendant 

hound of Merodach, 202 
Il-a-brat. Minister of Anu, 117 
Ill'at. Carthaginian deity, 330 
Il-te'hu (Holder). Attendant 

hound of Merodach, 202 
Image-s. Stars and, 233 
Im-gur-Bel. City of, 354 
' Incantation of Eridu.' The 

ceremony of the, 270 
India-ns. Semiramis makes war 
on Strabrobates, Kng of, 26, 27 ; 
followers of Zarathustra fled to ; 
descendants, the Parsis of, 334 ; 
Araucanian, of Chile, 336 
In'esh. The pilot of Eridu, 115 
In'mar-ma'on. City of, 108 
Inscription-s. Of Shalmaneser 

I, 351 ; of Tukulti-ninip, 351 
Ir'kal-la. The abode of ; the 

house of darkness, 128, 169 
Ir'ni-na. a form of Ishtar, 165 
Is-ai'ah. Jerusalem described by, 
191 ; reference to Sargon's ex- 
pedition against Ashdod men- 
tioned by, 350 
Ish'nu. Ura's counsellor, 269 



Ish'tar. Goddess ; fame of 
Semiramis mingled with that 
of the, 28 ; goddess of Nineveh, 
94, 212 ; court of Zamama and, 
loi ; witnesses plunder of Erech 
by Dibarra, 106, 107 ; both 
male and female, in ; signi- 
ficance, 123-144 ; generic de- 
signation for goddess, 124 ; 
equivalents, Ashteroth or As- 
tarte, 124, 327 ; cult of Aphro- 
dite began in that of, 124 ; 
Esther and, 124, 140-144 ; 
identified with Venus, 124, 235 ; 
identified with Nin-lil, 124 ; the 
consort of Asshur, 125 ; descent 
into Hades of, 125-126 ; war- 
goddess, 127, 213, 214; consort 
of Tammuz, 127 ; consort of 
Merodach and Assur, 127 ; 
identified wih Dawkina, 137 ; 
a goddess of vegetation, 137, 
138 ; slays Eabani, 158 ; Ir- 
nina a form of, 165 ; love of, 
for Gilgamesh, 167, 168 ; Anu 
father of, 168 ; Anatu mother 
of, 168 ; Lady of ' the Gods,' 
176 ; Assyrians and, 211-214 ; 
Assur-nazir-pal and, 214 ; con- 
fusion between Belit and, 228 ; 
Aphrodite and, connected, 235 ; 
sixth month sacred to, 236 ; 
temple of E-anna dedicated to, 
250 ; magic and, 258 ; variant, 
Ashtart, 326, 327, 330 ; great 
gate of, discovered by Dr Kol- 
dewey, 372 

Ish'um. Attendant of Dibarra, 
106-108 

I'sis. Osiris and, 133 ; journey 
to, as Astarte, 328 

Israelites. Worship of Dodo, or 
Dod, by the side of Yahveh, by 
the, 190 

I'yar. The second month, sacred 
to Ea, 236 

Iz-du'bar or GiSDHUBAR. Pro- 
visional name of Gilgamesh, 156 

J 

Ja'cob. Laban and, 267 

J e-ho'ia-kim. liing of Jerusa- 



GLOSSARY AND INDEX 



lem ; Nebuchadrezzar puts to 
death, 37 

Je'hu, Son of Omri {sic) ; obelisk 
of Shalmaneser and, 343 

Jen'sen. View of, re Hamon, 
142, 143 ; explanation of, re 
Ninib, 216 

Jerusalem. Reference to deliver- 
ance of, from Sennacherib, 30 ; 
King Nebuchadrezzar wars 
against, 37 ; Isaiah describes, 
191 

Jew-s. Nebuchadrezzar leads 
into captivity, 37 ; feast of 
Purim and, 140 ; Mordecai 
name of a real, 143 

Jewish. Religion ; Babylonian 
influence on, 319-329 

Jo'nah. Story of, and supposed 
allusion to Babylonian cos- 
mology, 86 ; Tiawath and the 
• fish ' of, 87 

Jop'PA. Place, 86 

Judaism. Initiated by the Semitic 
race, 313 

Ju'piT-ER. The planet ; repre- 
sented Merodach, 202, 235 ; 
controlled stars under name 
Nibir, 235 ; the ' Planet of the 
Bull of Light,' 290 



K 



Kaa'ba (Temple). The cele- 
brated, at Mecca, 52 

Kan'dis. a Kassite dynasty 
founded by, 21 

Kas'sa-pu or Kas'sap-tu. Names 
by which the wizard and the 
witch were known, 261 

Kass'ite. Dynasty ; founded 
by Kandis, 21 ; King of Baby- 
lonia marries daughter of 
Assur-yubaUidh of Assyria, 22 ; 
dynasty, reference to, 248 ; 
rulers and temple at Nippur, 
248 ; votive objects found by 
Dr Peters, 358, 359, 364, 365 

Kham-mur-a'bi the Great. 
Most famous name in Baby- 
lonian history, 20 ; art and 
literature blossomed under care 



of, 20 ; is to be regarded as 
the Babylonian Alfred, 21 ; 
pantheon that held sway prior 
to, 94 ; worsliip of Merodach 
and, 184 ; Nebo, Tashmit, and, 

186 ; Shamash and, 187 ; 
goddess Innana or Ninni and, 

187 ; age of, fertile in writers, 
192 ; Hymn of — Ramman and 
Shamash appealed to in, 219 ; 
builder of sanctuaries, 247 ; 
city of, discovered, 376 

Kharsag-Kurkura. ' Mountain 

of the World,' 362 
Khi-khi. Mountain of, 108 
Khor'sa-bad. City ; residence 
of Asshur, 207 ; M. Botta and 
mounds of, 339 ; Victor Place's 
work at, 340 
Khum'ba-ba. Monster, over- 
come by Gilgamesh and Eabani, 
158, 160, 166, 167 
Khur'sag Kur'kur-a. The 

birthplace of the gods, 242 
Kid'mu-ru. Ishtar'sshrinein, 212 
King, Professor, 371, 376 
King-s. Of Babylonia and 
Assyria — Sargon of Akkad, 16- 
21, 47, 210, 211, 340, 350, 
352 ; ' of the Four Zones ' — 
Naram-Sin, 17; of Ur — Dungi, 
19 ; of Lagash — Gudea, 19 ; 
of Babylonia — Khammurabi 
the Great, 20, 21, 109 ; of 
Babylonia (Kassite dynasty) — • 
Kandis, 21 ; of Egypt — Amen- 
hetep IV, 22 ; of Babylonia — 
Burna-buryas, 22 ; of Assyria — 
Shalmaneser I, 22, 351 ; of 
Assyria — Tukulti-in-Aristi, 22 ; 
of Babylon^Bitilyasu, 22 ; of 
Babylon — Hadad-nadin-akhi, 
23 ; of Assyria — Bel-kudur- 
uzur, 23 ; of Assyria — Tiglath- 
pileser I, 23, 346 ; of Assyria — 
Assur-nazir-pal III, 23, 214- 
216, 223, 343, 351 ; of Assyria 
— Shalmaneser II, 24, 343, 
551 ; of Israel — Ahab, 24 ; of 
Assyria — Samsi-Rammon, 24 ; 
of Assyria — 'Ninus, 25; of 
I Armenia — Barsanes, 25 ; of 
i India — Strabrobates, 26 ; 'of 

397 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 



the World, etc., etc' — Semi- 
ramis, 29 ; of Assyria — Tiglath- 
pileser III, 29 ; of Assyria — 
Shalmaneser IV, 30 ; of Judah 
— Hezekiah, 30, 37 ; of Assyria 
— Sennacherib, 30 ; of Assyria 
— Esar-haddon, 31, 306, 307, 
343. 350 ; of Assyria — Assur- 
bani-pal (Sardanapalus), 31, 
32, 301-306, 346 ; of Assyria — 
Ashurbanapal, 33 ; of Assyria 
— Sin-sar-iskin, 36 ; of Ecba- 
tana — Cyaxares, 36 ; of Baby- 
lonia — Nebuchadrezzar II, 36- 
40, 47, 104 ; of Babylonia — 
Nabonidus, 40, 249 ; Cyrus 
the Persian, 41 ; of Babylon — 
Cambyses,' 41 ; Alexander the 
Great, 42 ; of Chaldea — Nim- 
rod, 52 ; Rammannirari I, 90 ; 
of Persia — Cyrus, 98 ; Daon, 
the shepherd, of Pantibiblon, 
112 ; of Persia — Xerxes, 141 ; 
of Babylonia — Sokkaros, 157 ; 
of Babylonia — Mili-Shikhu, 187; 
the Moabite — Mesha, 190 ; of 
Ashdod — Azuri, 210, 211 ; of 
Babylonia, and soothsayers, 
260 ; tales of Babylonian and 
Assyrian, 299-312 ; Nabu- 
Usabi, King of Sarrapanu, 300 ; 
Gyges, King of ' Lydia, 302 ; 
Tiglath-pileser II, 299-301 ; 
of Assyria — Assur-Dan III, 308; 
of Assyria — Adad-Narari IV, 
308 ; a royal ' day,' 309-312 ; 
of Assyria — Ur-Gur, 359, 366 ; 
of Assyria — Ur-Ninib, 366 

Kin'gu. God ; ' only husband' 
of Tiawath, 75 ; bound by 
Merodach, 78 ; son of Tia- 
wath, 194 

Kis. The Babylonian sun-god, 
93. 294 

Ki'sAR. God ; birth of, 71 

KoLDEWEY, Dr. German ex- 
plorer, 356, 367 ; great gate 
of Ishtar discovered by, 372 ; 
temple of E-Sagila and, 374, 375 

Kosmologie. Jensen's, 216 

Kou-YUN-jiK. M. Botta and 
mound of, 339 ; Layard's 
searches in mound of, 344, I 

398 



345 ; George Smith's excava- 
tions at, 351 ; Rassam's exca- 
vations at, 354, 355 
KuK-uL-CAN. Reference to the 
god, 224 



Lab'an. Jacob and, 267 
Lab'ar-tu. The hag-demon, 271, 

277 
Lady of the Gods. Ishtar the, 

176 
Lag'ash. The modem Tel-lo, 
earliest Semite monuments 
come from, 16 ; the priests of 
became kings, 16 ; Gudea 
high-priest of, 19, 355 ; Bau 
' mother of,' 145 
La'ha-m6. God ; birth'of, 71 
Lah'mu. God ; birth of, 71 
Lam-as'su. a spirit of similar 

type to the Sedu, 277 
Lamentation-s. For Tammuz, 
135,136,140; Rituals, 253-255 
Language. The Akkadian, 13, 
14; Babylonian priesthood pre- 
served old Akkadian tongue 
as a sacred, 14 ; Sumerians 
borrowed from rich Semitic 
tongue, 15 ; cuneiform writing, 
60-66, see Writing ; Median, 
65 ; Susian, 65 ; Assyrian, 65 ; 
Longperier's translation of As- 
syrian, 66 ; of Babylonia and 
Assyria, compared, 205 
Lar'sa. Shamash worshipped at, 
109; Khammurabi's improve- 
ments at, 187 
La'yard, Sir Henry. Assur- 
bani-pal's library at Nineveh 
and, 35, 46 ; archaeological re- 
searches at Nineveh, 46, 155, 
344, 346 ; researches of, at 
Nimriid, 340, 342-344, 346 
Legend-s. Jewish, re Abram and 
Nimrod, 51 ; Persian, re Abram 
and Nimrod, 52, 53 ; the 
creation, 193-195 ; of Etana, 
195 ; of the origin of star- 
worship, 232-3 ; the, of Ura, 
268-270 ; of a dog, 291, 292 ; 
' Cuthsean, of creation,' 294-296 



GLOSSARY AND INDEX 



Lenormant. Hebrew and Assy- 
rian poetry and, 322 

Leo, Sign of. Recalls the slay- 
ing of Khumbaba, 182 

Letter-s. Franked by clay seals 
bearing name of Sargon, 18 

Levi, Eliphas. The Baphomet 
goat and, 293 

LiA Fail, The. The Stone of 
Destiny; reference to, 248 

Library. Assur-bani-pal's, 35, 46, 
71, 261, 282, 346 ; the temple 
in • Tablet Hill," 363 

Light. Merodach and Tiawath, 
and the primal strife between 
darkness and, 79 

Literature. Babylonian 'art 
and, under Khammurabi the 
Great, 20 ; Assur-bani-pal and 
Babylonian, 35 ; sacred, of 
Babylonia, 67-69 

Liver-reading. By priests, 281- 
283 

LOFTUS,'WlLLIAM KeNNET. SuC- 

cessor of Mr Hormuzd Rassam, 

346, 347 
Lo'ki. God of fire ; Nergal not 

unlike, 106 
Lu'gal-ban'da. Storm-bird god; 

like Prometheus, 93 
Lu'gal-zug-gi'si. King of Erech ; 
-- famous text of, found by Hil- 
r precht, 366 



M 



Maat. Reference to, 222 
Magi. Confounded by Zoroaster, 

333 

Magical Texts. Dawkina allu- 
ded to in the, 197 ; Anu men- 
tioned in, 198 ; of Babylonia 
and Assyria, 257, 288 ; alluded 
to in Bible, 266, 267 ; circle, 
the, 275, 276 

Magician-s. The word of power 
and, 263 ; Ea, the great, of the 
gods, 268 

Mahomet-an. ' Baphomet ' a cor- 
ruption of, 293 ; conquest, 333 

Mai-mon'i-des. Jewish rabbi, 
friend of Averroes ; his com- 
mentary on the Mischnah, 232J 



' Mak'lu.' a series of texts 

known as, 261 
Mam'it. Equivalent for taboo, 

278 
Mam-met'um. The maker of des- 
tiny, 173 
Man-kind. Creation of, by Mero- 
dach, 80, 81 ; goddess Aruru 
assists in the creation of, 82, 
86 ; humanizing of, 112, 113 
Marazion. Signifies in Semitic, 

' Hill by the Sea,' 331 
Mar - CHESH - uan. Merodach's 

month, 251^ 
Mar'duk. See Merodach, 175, 

200 
Marriage. Customs in Baby- 
lonia, 312 
Mars. Identified with Nergal, 

235 
Mas'hu. The Mountain of Sun- 
set, 171 
Maz'da. One of the spiritual 
powers in Zoroaster's religion, 
337 
Mec'ca. Reference to the cele- 
brated Kaaba (temple) at, 52 j 
Mede. Zoroaster a, 333 
Me'di-a. Subdued by Ninus, 25 
Medicine. Ea, a god of, 192 
Meg-id'do. The Canaanitish for- 
tress of, 189 
Me-li'li I. Queen; wife of 
Benani, 82 ; 2. Mother of the 
monsters, 295, 296 
Mel'i-ship'ok II. Houses found 

dating from period of, 376 
Melk ('King') . Variant of Moloch, 

328 
Mel'karth. Phoenician god of 
Tyre, 327, 328 ; worship of, in 
Carthage, 330 
Mel'karth-Resh'ef. Phoenician 

combination, 328 
Mem-an-gab. Leader of the mon- 
sters, 295, 296 
Mem'phis. Assyrians enter, 31 
Men'kes Mound, 376 
Mer-ag-a'ga. Variant of Mero- 
dach, 202 
Mer'cury. Identified with Nabu, 

235 
Mkr'oc. Yaran flees to, 210, 211 

399 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 



Mer'o-dach. Babylonian god, 
41 ; temple of, 47, 374 ; Nim- 
rod identified with, 50 ; prayer 
and god, 68 ; Tiawath and, 
76-82 ; creates man, 81 ; the 
central figure of a popular 
myth, 84 ; god Ea displaced 
by, 86, 199 ; may have been 
a bull-god, 93 ; worshipped at 
Babylon, 94 ; Asshur identi- 
fied with, 94 ; Nebuchadrezzar 
and, 104 ; Diabarra and, 106 ; 
the name Mordecai a form of, 
142 ; great festival of, the 
Zakmuk, 141 ; worship of, 
first prominent in days of 
Khammurabi, 184-198 ; associ- 
ation with Nebo, 184-186 ; 
the Chamber of Fates in temple 
of, 185 ; Zarpanitum, wife of, 
186, 202 ; supremacy of, 192 ; 
variant Marduk, 194, 200 ; 
Shamash and, 200 ; variants, 
Amaruduk, Asari, Saragagam, 
and Mer-agaga, 202 ; atten- 
dant hounds of, 202 ; usurped 
place of Bel, 227 ; Bel paired 
with, 228 ; Jupiter, identified 
with, 235 ; eighth month ruled 
over by, 237 ; month Mar- 
cheshuan belonged to, 251 ; 
eclipses and, 256 ; demons 
and the name of, 263 ; four 
dogs of, 291 ; head of the 
Babylonian Pantheon, 377 ; 
Nabonidus, 377 

Mer'o-dach-Bal-a-dan I. Houses 
found dating from period of, 
376 

Mesh'a. The Moabite king; 
Chemosh, god of, 190 

Mesh'ach. One of Daniel's 
companions, 38 

Mes-o-pot-a'mi-a. Elam and 
Northern — , overcome by 
Sargon, 17 ; Semitic religion 
in, 331 ; excavations in, 339, ff. ; 
George Smith dispatched to, 
351 ; recent research in, 366- 
376 

Mexico. Reference to rehgious 
system of ancient, 204 ; refer- 
ence to temples, on, 243 

400 



Mic'ah. Reference to his tera- 
phim, 268 

Middle Ages. The Sabbatic 
goat of the witchcraft of the, 
293 

Mi-li-Shik'hu. Babylonian mon- 
arch ; Shamash and, 187 

Misch'nah. Commentary on the, 
232 

MiTANi. Provinces of, conquered 
by Shalmaneser I, 308 

Mith'ra. Rashnu and, 337 

Mit-ra-pher'nes. Artaios' eun- 
uch, 149 

MOFFLAINES. Wood Of, 293 

Mohammedanism. Initiated by 
the Semitic race, 313, 332 

Mo'loch. Magic and, 258 ; wor- 
ship of, in Phoenicia, 328 ; wor- 
ship of, in Carthage, as Baal- 
ammon, 330 ; children sacri- 
ficed to, 331 

MoMMU Ti-a-wath. The primeval 
ocean, 71. See Moumis 

MoNSTER-s. ■ Mythological ani- 
mals and, of Chaldea, 289-298 ; 
the dog, 290, 291 ; invasion 
of the, 294-296 ; Patechus, 
330 

MoNTH-s. Titles of, by Baby- 
lonians, 236-238 

Moon. Babylonian religion and, 
236 ; city ; Ur, the, 249, 250 ; 
Abram, probably a moon-wor- 
shipper, 249 ; eclipses and the, 
256 

Moon-Deities. Osiris, 138 ; 
Aphrodite, 138 ; Proserpine, 
138 ; Phoenician Ashtoreth, 
138 ; Nannar, moon-god of Ur, 
145-149 ; Sin, 94, 109, 128, 170, 
223, 224, 250 ; Tanit, 330 

Mor'de-ca-i. The Book of Esther 
and, 141 ; a form of Marduk or 
Merodach, 142 

Mosul. M. Botta French Consul 
at, 339 ; Layard's researches 
at, 340-344 

Mother-earth. Of primitive 
mythologies, 197 

Mother-Goddess. Theory, 318, 
319 ; compounded of various 
types, 326 



GLOSSARY AND INDEX 



' Mother of the Great Gods,' 
Belit alluded to as, 228 

Mou'mis or Mum'mu. Son of 
Tiawath and Apsu, 73 ; name 
at one time given to Tiawath, 

73 

Mountain. Of the Sunset, Gil- 
gamesh journej's to, 158, 159, 
171 ; of the Sunrise, 253 ; of 
the Earth, 305 ; of the Wind, 
362 ; of the World, 362 

MuL-LiL. The ' gazelle god ' of 
Nippur, 292 

Mu-rash'u and Sons. Bankers 
and brokers at Nippur, 366 

Mu'ro. Worship of Ramman 
originated at, 220 

Meyer, Joseph A. An American 
architect who assisted Haynes 
at Nippur, 365 

Myrrh. Used at the Adonia fes- 
tival, 136 ; -tree and Adonis, 

137 
Myth-s. Of Sardanapalus, refer- 
ence to, 32 ; analogies with 
Flood-, 45 ; North American 
Indian, reference to, 46, 122 ; 
Algonquin, reference to, 46 ; 
Babylonian, of creation, 70-87 ; 
confusing, connected with Ea, 
112; of deluge, iii, 173-178; 
of Merodach and Tiawath, 
reference to, 78, 114, 199; 
Mexican, reference to, 115 ; 
Greek, reference to, 122, 315 ; 
of Tammuz, 126-129 ; Tam- 
muz and Ishtar, groundwork 
of those of Greece and Rome, 
131 ; of Adonis, 131-133 ; 
Egyptian, re quest of Isis, 
133 ; Tammuz-Ishtar, 135 ; 
various strata underlying the 
Gilgamesh, 159, 160; of the 
slaughter of Tiawath, 201 ; 
of Persephone and of Osiris, 
201 ; a toothache-, 262, 263 ; 
Phoenician, little known re, 
328 ; Indo-Germanic, remi- 
niscences in Zarathustra's reli- 
gion, 334 ; character of Baby- 
lonian, compared with that 
of Hellenic and Scandinavian, 
338 



Na-bo-ni'des. Archaeology fash- 
ionable in time of, 363 

Nabonidos. See Naboniduf, 364 

Na-bo-ni'dus. The last of the 
Babylonian kings, 40, no, 283 ; 
displaced by Cyrus, 41 ; cults 
of Merodach, Nabu, and Sha- 
mash, and, 377 

Nab'o-pol-as'ser. Reference to 
inscriptions of, 368 ; father of 
Nebuchadrezzar, 369, 370 ; Eu- 
phrates bridge, work of, 375 ; 
god Merodach and, 377 

Nab'u, 175 ; Nusku and, con- 
nected, 225 ; Merodach and, 
paired, 228 ; Bel paired with, 
228 ; Ramman-Nirari and, 
228 ; called by Sargon ' the Seer 
who guides the gods,' 228 ; 
Mercury and, 235 ; tenth month 
sacred to, 237 ; tower of, 375 ; 
Nebuchadrezzar and, 377 ; Na- 
bonidus and, 377 

Nab'u-Baliddin. Shamash's 

temple restored by, 249 

Nabu-Qua'ti-Za'bat. Assur-bani- 
pal and, 304 

Nab'u-Usa'bi, King. Crucified 
by Tiglath-pileser II, 300 

Na-bu-zer-l}-shir. Scribe, 363 

Nam'tar. The plague-demon, 129 

Nana. Merged in conception of 
Ishtar, 124 ; Assur-bani-pal 
and, 304 

Nan'nar. The moon-god of Ur, 
145-149 

Nann'ar-os. Satrap of Babylon, 
146-149 

Nann'a-ru. The new moon, es- 
tablished by Merodach, 79 

Na'ram-Sin. Son of Sargon ; 
title, ' King of the Four Zones,' 
17, 19; Nabonidus and, 41; 
bricks discovered with name of, 
on, 47 ; ' Builder of the Temple 
of En-lil,' 247 ; omens and, 
283 ; ' mould' of an inscribed 
stone belonging to Sargon I in 
palace of, 363 

Ne'bo. Hymn to, 69 ; son of 

Bel, 102 ; shrine sacred to, 

C 401 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 



I02 ; Tashnit, wife of, 102, 185, I 
186 ; association with Mero- 
dach, 184-186; chief seat, 
Borsippa, 184, 326 ; as grain- 
god, 186 ; the altars of Yahveh 
dragged from, 190 ; temple of, 
306, 346, 348 
Neb'rod. See Nimrod 
Ne-buch-ad-rez'zar 1. Ramman 

and, 219 
Nebuchadrezzar II (or Ne- 
buchadnezzar). King of Baby- 
lonia, reign of, 36-40 ; invades 
Egypt 37 ; wars against Jeru- 
salem, 37 ; puts Jehoiakim to 
death, 37 *, sets up Zedekiah as 
King of Jerusalem, 37 ; Daniel 
and, 37-40 ; his dreams, 37-40 ; 
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed- 
nego, and, 38 ; ruins of palace 
of, explored in 1899, 47 ; Sir 
H. C. Rawlinson's discovery 
re, 104 ; Shamash's temple 
restored by, 249 ; Dr Andrae's 
discovery re, 356; Merodach 
and, 377 
Nebuchadrezzar III. King of 

Babylonia, 41 
Nem'art. See Nimrod 
Ner'gal. Temple of, at Cuthah, 
82, 296 ; of Cuthah, 94 ; patron 
god of Cuthah, 105 ; not unlike 
Loki, 106 ; Dibarra, variant of, 
106 ; Aralu and, 150, 151 ; 
shade of Eabani, and, 180 ; 
Mars and, 235 ; Canaanitish 
war-god, 326 ; worshipped by 
Phoenicians, 328 
New Year. Assembly of gods at 
Babylon on first day of, 201 ; 
Merodach and, 201 ; Bau and, 
251 ; Gudea and, 251 
Ni-bi'ru, Merodach's star, 79 
Nim'rod. The mighty hunter, 
49-56 ; son of Chus, the 
iEthiop, 49 ; a reputed descen- 
dant of Ham, 49 ; figures in 
Biblical and Babylonian tradi- 
tion, 49 ; built Babylon, 50 ; 
Greek named Nebrod or Nebros, 
50 ; identified with Merodach, 
Gilgamesh, and Orion, 50 ; 
name found in Egyptian docu- 

402 



ments of XXII Dynasty as 
' Nemart,' 50 ; derivation of 
name may mean ' rebel,' 50 ; 
legends of, related by Philo in 
his De Gigantibus, 50; Abram 
and, 51-56 ; King of Chaldea, 
52 ; suggested identity with 
Gilgamesh, 156 
Nim'rud. Sir Henry Layard's 
excavations at, 340, 342-344 ; 
Rassam's searches at, 344 ; 
George Smith's searches at, 348- 

354 

NiN-A-GAL. Variant of Ea, 116 
Nin'ev-eh. Built by Sennacherib, 
31 ; Assur-bani-pal's library at, 
35)7i)i54>346; archaeological 
researches of Layard and Botta 
at, 46 ; George Smith's labours 
at, 46 ; Mr Hormuzd Rassam's 
work at, 47 ; built by Asshur, 
49 ; tablet written for temple 
of Nergal discovered at, 82 ; 
residence of Asshur, 207 ; Ish- 
tar's shrine in, 212 ; M. Botta 
and site of, 339, 340 ; Layard 
and, 344 ; plan of, 357 

Nin-Gir'su. Name means ' Lord 
of Girsu,' 144 ; known as Shul- 
gur (' Lord of the corn heaps '), 
144 ; identified with Tammuz, 
144 ; variant, Ninib, 214, 216 ; 
favourite of Gudea, 251 ; 
temple of, 283 

Nin'ib, 84, 175 ; a war-god, 214 ; 
variant of, Nin-girsu, 214, 216 ; 
Tiglath-pileser I, Assur-rishishi, 
Assur-nazir-pal, and, 214 ; as 
hunter-god, 216 ; extolled by 
Tiglath-pileser I, 216 ; in- 
voked by Assur-nazir-pal, 216 ; 
Gula, consort of, 216 ; Saturn 
and, 235 ; translated as En- 
Meishti by Canaanites, 326 

Nin-igi-nag'ir-sir. Saved with 
Ea, etc., from deluge, 115 

NiN-LiL. Variant of Beltis, loi ; 
consort of En-lil ; Ishtar and, 
124 

Nin'ni. Variant of Innana, 187 

Nin'sum. Gilgamesh resorts to, 
180 

Ni'nus. King of Assyria, 25 ; 



GLOSSARY AND INDEX 



Semiramis, wife of, 25 ; Ninyas, 
son of, 26 

Nin'yas. Son of Ninus ; during 
minority of, Semiramis assumed 
the regency, 26 

Nippur. Babylonian civilization 
grouped round, 14 ; god En-lil 
and, 14 ; city of Ur colonized 
by, 15 ; Mr Haj^nes' excava- 
tions at, 47, 359, 360, 365, 366 ; 
temple of, 82 ; cosmological 
tales at, 84 ; of Sumerian 
origin, 96 ; preferred to Baby- 
lon, 196 ; lamentation ritual at, 
199, 200 ; temple of E-Kur at, 
248 ; business quarter of, un- 
earthed, 359, 360 ; stage-tower 
of, 361 ; temple-tower of, 362 

Nir'ig. God ; variant, Enu- 
Restu ; Bel, father of, 153 

Niz'an. First month ; sacred to 
Anu and Bel, 236 

No'ah. Patriarch, reference to, 
45 ; legend of deluge and Ea, 
115; variant, Ut-Napishtim, 
116 

No-Return. Land of, 128 

Nu-DiM-MUD. Variant of name of 
Ea, 73 ; Tiawath and, 76 

Numbers. Assigned to each of 
the gods, 237, 238 

Nus'ku. The messenger of Mul- 
lil, 68 ; hymn to, 69 ; temple of, 
102 ; of the ' Brilliant Sceptre,' 
224, 225 ; Nabu and, connected, 
225 ; eclipses and, 255 



O-an'nes. See Ea, 14 

Obelisk. Of Shalmaneser II, 343 

O-da'con. Appears from sea of 
Eruthra, 112 

Omen-s. Library of Sargon con- 
tained book dealing with, 18; 
divination by, 281, 282 

O-mor'ca. Chaldaic equivalent, 
Thalath ; Greek, thalassa, 114 

On'nes. One of Ninus' generals, 
husband of Semiramis, 25 

Oppert. French exploration ex- 
pedition and, 347 



O-Ri'oN. Nimrod identified with, 
50 

O-si'ris. Isis and, reference to, 
133 ; reference to, 201, 228 

' O-zy-man'di-as.' Shelley's son- 
net on, 307 



Paintings. Discovered in Sen- 
nacherib's palace at Kouyunjik, 
345 

Palace-s. Built at Nineveh by 
Sargon ; M. Botta unearths, 340 ; 
Assyrian, two discovered at 

: Nimrud, 340 ; built by Esar- 
haddon, unearthed by Layard, 
343 ; of Sennacherib, found by 

' Layard, 345 ; Assur-bani-pal's, 

^^ discovered by Rawlinson, 346 ; 

r of Nimrud, George Smith's ex- 

? cavations in, 348, 349 ; Nebu- 

g chadrezzar's, excavated, 369- 

' 371 

Palestine. Syria and, invaded 
by Sargon, 17; worship of 
Hadad in, 188 ; the Canaanites 
first dwellers in, 324 

Pall'as A-the-n^. Reference to, 
222, 315 

Pan'the-on, Assur-bani-pal's. 
BeUt and Asshur in, 228 

Pantheon of Assyria, 203-230 ; 
differences between the Baby- 
lonian and, 203, 204 ; Dagon in, 
associated with Anu, 216, 217 ; 
Bel-Merodach absorbed in the, 
225 ; Ea in the, 229 ; Dib- 
barra, in the, 229 

Pantheon of Babylonia, i. 
Early. Prior to Khammurabi, 
94, 95- 2. Later. General 
changes in and additions to, 
184-198; Bel's place usurped 
in the, by Merodach, 227 ; 
spiritistic nature of, 318 

Pap-suk'al. The messenger of 
the gods, 130 

Paradise. The Abyss and, 82 

PAR'sis. Of Bombay, 334 

Par-son'des. Ctesias' tale re, 
146-149 

2 403 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 



Pat-e'chus. God ; a repulsive 

monster, 330 
Patriarch, The. See Abram 
Per-seph'o-n6 or Pros'er-pine. 
Reference to, 132, 201 ; corres- 
ponds to AUatu, 132 
Per-se'polis. Reference to, 61 ; 
language found at, deciphered 
by Lowenstern and Hinks, 65 ; 
Longperier translated language 
found at, 66 
Per'se-us. Reference to, 87 
Persian-s. Signs in connexion 
with cuneiform writing, 60-66 ; 
religion of (Zoroaster's), 332- 
336, etc. ; fear of defilement, 

335 
Peters, Dr. Director of Ameri- 
can expeditions, 358, 359, 364, 

365 

Phil-is't'i-a. Sargon's expedi- 
tion against, 210, 211 

Phce-nic'i-a. Worship of Moloch 
in, 328 

Phcenician-s. The Gods of the, 
326-329 ; religion ; Egyptian 
influence, 328 

Picture-writing. Cuneiform 

and, 66. See Writing 

PiR-^'us. Port of Athens, 328 

Pis'cES, Sign of. Eabani and, 

183 
Place, Victor. Botta's work at 

Khorsabad, continued by, 340 
Planet-s. Identified with gods, 

235 
Plutarch. Isis (Astarte) and, 328 
Plu'to. Reference to, 133 
Poetry. Assyrian, 321, 322 
Polgarth. Phoenician word 

' city' and, 331 
Pol-y-his'tor, Alexander. God 

Ea and, 112, 113 
Polytheism. Semitic, 313 
Pop'ol Vuh. Reference to, 97, 

151 

Pos-ei'don. Greek god, 315 

Prayer-s. To the sun-god, etc., 
67, 68 

Priest-s. Akkadian tongue pre- 
served by Babylonian, 14 ; 
those of Lagash became lungs, 
16 ; high, of Asshur, took title 

404 



of king, 21, 208 ; sole mytho- 
graphers, 191 ; -hood, cult and 
temples, 239-241 ; wizards 
and, 260 ; -magician ; the 
chamber of the, 270-275 ; liver- 
reading by, 282 ; of Thebes, 
Memphis, and On, 314 ; of 
Nippur and Erech, 314 

Priestesses. In Babylonia, 240, 
241 

Priest-hood. See Priests 

Prisoner-Gods. Assyrian rulers 
and, 225, 226 

Pro-me'the-us. Lugalbanda and, 
93 ; Zu and, 195 

Psalms, Book of the. National, 
not individual, 320 ; poetical 
form of, 322 

Pu'nic. Religion, 330 

Purification, 270 ; by water, 
in connexion with Babylonian 
magic, 270 

Pfi^RiM. Feast of, 140, 141 



Q 

Qal'at Sher'qat. Annals of 
Tiglath-pileser I discovered by 
RawHnson, 346 ; Dr Andrae's 
excavations at, 356 



Ra. Worship of, in Egypt, 223 

Rab'bat Um'ma. ' The Great 
Mother,' 330 

Rab-i'su. a lurking demon, 276, 
277 

Races. Asia Minor peopled with 
diverse, 324 

Rachel. The stolen images and, 
266-268 

Rach'met. Reference to, 61 

Ram'man, 175 ; equivalent, Rim- 
mon ; identified with Hadad 
or Adad, 187-189 ; the Tablets 
of Destiny and, 195 ; popu- 
larity and functions, 217-222; 
weapons of, 218 ; worsliip of, 
in days of Khammurabi and 
Nebuchadrezzar I, 219 ; Assur- 



GLOSSARY AND INDEX 



nazir-pal and, 219 ; attributes 
and signification, 218-222 ; 
eleventh month sacred to, 

237 

Ram'man-nir-a'ri I. The Annu- 
naki and Igigi and, 90 

Ram'man-Ni-ra'ri III. Nabu ex- 
alted at expense of Asshur by, 
228 

Rash'nu. Mithra and, 337 

Rass'am, Mr Hor'muzd. Assur- 
bani-pal's library at Nineveh 
and, 35 ; his archaeological 
researches at Nineveh and at 
Abu-habba, 47 ; stone tablet 
found at Sippard by, 292 ; 
researches at Nimrud, 342, 
344, 346, 354. 355 

Rawlinson, Major (Sir) Henry. 
Cuneiform writing and, 64-66 ; 
his discovery re Nebuchad- 
rezzar, 104 ; Layard and, 342, 

344. 345. 346 
Red Indians. Titles of months 

and, 236 
Reinach. Reference to, 334 
Religion-s. Akkadian tongue 
used as a sacred language by 
Babylonian priesthood, 14 ; 
early Babylonian, 88-153 ; Jew- 
ish, 88 ; of ancient Mexico, 
88 ; Vedic, of India, 88 ; Semitic 
influence on Babylonian, 91, 
92 ; official system of Baby- 
lonian and Assyrian, 92 ; 
Semitic, Euphrates-Tigris in- 
fluence on, 92 ; totemism in 
Babylonian, 92 ; system of, 
in Babylonia, overshadowed 
by Merodach, 199 ; Jastrow's 
Religion in Babylonia and 
Assyria quoted, 199, 212 ; 
star-worship, the origin of, 
237 ; of the Semites quoted, 
91, 241, 332 ; cult of the gods, 
292 ; comparative value of 
the, of Babylonia and Assyria, 
313-336 and on ; Teutonic 
and Celtic, comparisons, 316 ; 
Babylonian, typically ani- 
mistic, 317, 318 ; worship of 
great earth-mother, 318, 319 ; 
Jewish, 319-329 ; Canaanite, 



324-326 ; Carthaginian, 329 ; 

Semitic, 329, 331 ; Punic, 330 ; 

Mohammedanism, 313, 332 ; 

of the Persians (Zoroaster). 

332-337 ; of Babylonians, 338 ; 

decay of Babylonian, 378, 379 
Resh'eph. Known to the Ca- 

naanites, 326 ; the hghtning 

god ; origin ; identified with 

Apollo, 328 
Rho-da'nes. Romance of Sino- 

nis and, 56-60 
Rim'at-Bel'it. Mother of Gil- 

gamesh, 158 ; interprets Gil- 

gamesh's dream, 164 
Rim'mon. See Rammon 
Ritual. Lamentation at Nippur, 

199, 200 ; of hepatoscopy, 283- 

288 ; Zoroastrian fire worship 

central feature of, 335 



Sabbatic Goat. Witchcraft of 

Middle Ages and the, 293 
Sab-i'tu. The sea-goddess ; Gil- 

gamesh and, 1 72 ; sign Capri- 
corn us and, 183 
Sac'a. One of the two eunuchs 

appointed to watch Rhodanes 

and Sinonis, 57 
Sac-^^'a. The Asiatic equivalent 

of the Saturnalia, 33 ; festival 

of Zakmuk, or, 141 
Sacrifice-s. Babylonian, 241, 

242 
Sadi-rab'u-ma-ta'ti. The great 

mountain of the earth, 305 
Sag'gal. Temple of Merodach, 

305 
Sak'on. Carthaginian deity, 330 
Sam-as-sum-yu'kin. Viceroy of 

Babylonia, 34 ; raises revolt 

in Assyrian empire, 34 ; his 

death, 34 
Sam'khat. Goddess of joy, 131 
Sam-mur'a-mut. Assyrian title 

of Semiramis. See Semiramis 
Sam'si - A'dad IV. Rawlmson 

discovers stele of, 346 
Sam'si-Ram'mon. Son of Shal- 

maneser II ; succeeds his father 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 



as King of Assyria, 24 ; Sam- 
muramat favourite of, 24 ; 
Asshur mentioned in inscription 
of, 208 

Sanch-un-i-a'thon. Philo and, 
preserved in works of Eusebius, 
329 

Saoshyant. The saviour, in 
Zoroaster's religion, 337 

Sar-ag-ag'am. Variants of Mero- 
dach, 202 

Sar-a'kos. Greek equivalent for 
Sin-sarkin, 36 

Sar-da-na-pal'us the Splendid. 
Assur-bani-pal known to Greek 
legend as, 31 ; Kng of Assyria, 
31 ; reference to, in The Golden 
Bough, 32 ; Sir James Frazer 
on, 32, 34 ; prominent features 
in legends of, 33 ; weaving of 
legend of, 34 

Sar'gon. I. Of Akkad, founds 
first great Semitic empire in 
Babylonia, 16 ; a Babylonian 
Arthur, 16, 21 ; the legend of 
his birth, 16, 17; invasions 
of Syria and Palestine, 17; 
Elam and N. Mesopotamia 
overcome by, 17 ; Naram- 
Sin son of, 17, 19; letters 
franked by clay seals bearing 
name of Sargon, 18 ; first 
founder of Babylonian library, 
18 ; bricks discovered with 
name of, on, 47; Asshur's 
conquering power and, 210, 
211; King Azuri and, 210; 
Ahimiti and, 210 ; Yaran and, 
210 ; Sin and, 223 ; Bel and, 
227 ; Nabu termed ' that Seer 
who guides the gods,' 228 ; 
' Builder of the Temple of 
En-lil,' 247 ; hepatoscopy and, 
283 ; palace built by, un- 
earthed at Nineveh, 340 ; 
George Smith finds fragments 
of history of, 352. II. Usurping 
general, claimed descent from 
Sargon the Great, 30 ; father 
of Sennacherib, 30 

Sar'ra-pan-u. Tiglath-pileser II 
captures, 299 

Sass-an'i-an. Rulers, 333 

406 



Sat'urn. Identified with Ninib, 
235 

Saul - mu - gi'na. Rebellious 
brother of Assur-bani-pal, 304 

ScHRADER. Assyrian poetry and, 
321, 322 

Science. Star-worship the ori- 
gin of, 237 ; the roots of, 259 

SciLLY Islands. Phoenicians in, 
331 

Scor'pio, Sign of. Gilgamesh 
and, 182 

Scotland. Goat-demon adored 
in, 293 

Sculpture-s. Discovery of , glori- 
fying Assur-nazir-pal, 343 ; 
Babylonian, discovered by de 
Sarzec, 355 

Scythian-s. Penetrate into As- 
syria, 36 

Sed'u. a guardian (sometimes 
an evil) spirit invoked with 
the Lamassu, 277 

Sel-eu'ci-a. City, built out of 
ruins of Babylon, 42 

Sem-ir'a-mis the Great. As- 
syrian Queen, 24-29 ; legen- 
dary origin, 25 ; wife of Onnes, 
and later of Ninus, 26 ; Ninyas 
son of, 26 • engages in battle 
Strabrobates, King of India, 
27 ; fame of, 28, 29 ; Sam- 
muramat, her Assyrian title, 
29 ; wife of Samsi-Rammon, 
29 ; mythical connexion with 
Ishtar, 29 ; worshipped by 
the Syrians, 27 ; esteemed as 
the daughter of Dercatus, 27 ; 
district round Lake Van called 
after, Shamiramagerd, 28 

Semites. Germs of culture re- 
ceived from Akkadians by 
Babylonian, 13 ; their love 
of wisdom, 14, 15 ; Babylon 
entered by, 15, 16 ; believed 
to have come from Arabia, 
15, 16 ; made by the code of 
Khammurabi, 21 ; ancient, and 
gods, 89 ; serpent loathed by, 
289 ; animistic influences ; ap- 
peal of, to, 318 

Semitic. Empire, first great, 
founded in Babylonia by Sar- 



GLOSSARY AND INDEX 



gon of Akkad, i6 ; religious 
thought, 235 ; worship and, 
lamentations, 253 ; polytheism 
313 ; conservatism, 316 ; cults ; 
Babj^lonian influence upon, 324 ; 
religion, 329, 331 ; peoples ; 
a ' peculiar people,' 332 ; faith, 
includes various manifesta- 
tions, 332 

Sen-nach'e-rib. Son of usurping 
general Sargon, 30 ; campaign 
of, against Hezekiah, 30 ; Nine- 
veh built by, 30 ; Esar-haddon 
son of, 31 ; takes nucleus of 
Assur-bani-pal's library from 
Calah, 1 54 ; soothsayers and his 
death, 260 ; Layard's discoveries 
in palace of, 345 

Serpent. The ancients and the, 
289 ; equivalent, Aibu (' the 
enemy '), 289 

Set. Osiris and, reference to, 133 

Set-a'po. a wealthy Babylonian 
who harbours Sinonis, 59 

' Seven Spheres, the Stages of.' 
A building, the wonder of 
Borsippa, 104 

Seven Tablets. Of creation ; 
primary object of, 71 

Shad'rach. One of Daniel's com- 
panions, 38 

Shal-ma-ne'ser I. King of As- 
syria, 22, 308 ; Tukulti-in-Aristi, 
son of, 22 ; Nusku and, 224 ; 
inscription of, unearthed by 
George Smith, 351 

Shal-ma-ne'ser II. King of As- 
syria in succession to Assur- 
nazir-pal III, 24 ; overthrows 
Ahab, King of Israel, 24 ; 
Samsi-Rammon son of, 24 ; 
the god Ddda and, 189 ; Mero- 
dach (Bel) and, 225, 227 ; 
discovery of obelisk of, 343 ; 
dedications of, unearthed, 351 

Shal-ma-ne'ser IV. Successor 
of Tiglath-pileser III, 30 

Sham'ash. I. Temple of, at Sip - 
par, restored by Nabonidus, 
41 ; adored at Sippar, 94 ; 
the sun-god, 109-111 ; son of 
Sin, 109 ; Aa, consort of, no ; 
Ishtar and, 130 ; Gilgamesh 



and, 156, 165 ; Khammurati 
and, 187 ; Zu captured by, 
195 ; Merodach and, 200 ; 
cult of, in Assyria, 222, 223 ; 
seventh month sacred to, 236 ; 
aCanaanitishgod, 325 ; Naboni- 
dus and, 377. 2. The great 
idol of, 249 

Shar'ru-ilu. One of the lesser 
Babylonian gods, 229 

Shatt - en - NiL. Excavations 
along bank of, by Haynes, 
365 

She'ba, Queen of. Tiglath- 
pileser II quarrels with, 301 

Shepherd. The sun the, of the 
stars, 236 ; En-lil, of the dark- 
headed people, 254 

Shepherd King, The. Daon, of 
Pantibiblon, 112 

Shi'nar, Plain of. Babylon 
built on, 52 

Shul-gur. Variant of Nin-Girsu, 
144 

Shu-ripp'ak. I. Son of Ubara- 
Tutu, 173. 2. City of, 177, 178 

Shu'tu. Variant of South Wind, 
117 

Si'bi. The god, 108 

Sicily. Worship of Ashtart 
(Ishtar) at, 327 

Sid'da. The temple, 306 

Si'don. Tyre and, in touch with 
Assyria, 327 ; Ashtart or Ish- 
tar, temple of, in, 327 ; Eshmun 
worshipped at, 328 

SiGN-s. Gemini, Leo, Virgo, 
Taurus, Scorpio, 1S2 ; Capri- 
cornus, Aquarius, Pisces, 183 

Silence, Towers of. Parsis' 
dead and the, 336 

Sin (perhaps pron. 5m). The 
moon-god, 94, 223, 224 ; ruled 
at Ur, 94 ; Shamash son of, 
109 ; Ishtar daughter of, 128 ; 
Gilgamesh delivered by, 170; 
Gilgamesh resorts to, 180 ; 
eclipses and god, 256 ; a 
Canaanitish god, 325 

Sin-a-it'ic Peninsula. Semitic 
rehgion in, 331 

Si-no'nis. Romance of Garmus 
and, 56-60 

407 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 



Sin-sar-is'kin. Last King of 
Assyria, 36 ; the Sarakos of 
the Greeks, 36 

Sin-Shar-ish'kun. The last re- 
presentative of the Assyrian 
dynasty, 364 

SiP'PAR. Shamash worshipped at, 
109; Aa worshipped at, no; 
Abu-Habbab, the ancient site 
of, 177 ; Berossus substitutes, 
for Shurippak, 178; Kham- 
murabi's improvements at, 
187 ; Shamash's temple at, 
249 

Sip'PA-RA. Temple of sun-god, 
Mr Rassam discovers, 47, 292 

Sis-u'thrus. The Flood Myth 
and, 45 

Si'wAN. Month sacred to Sin, 236 

Smith, George. Reference to 
archaeological labours, 46, 155, 
347-354 ; discovery of, re Bel, 
loi ; discovery of, ve Tiglath- 
pileser II, 299 ; Babylonian 
and Assyrian poetry and, 322 

Smyr'na. Mother of Adonis, 
reference to, 127 

Soul. Supposed to reside in the 
liver, 281 

Spain. Mohammedanism in, 332 

Speaking Head, The. Laban 
and, 267 

Spirit-s. Assyrian, 277, 278 

Sokk-a'ros. First king to reign 
in Babylonia after the deluge, 
157 ; iElian the grandson of, 157 

Soothsayers. Sennacherib and, 
260 

Sor-acch'us. Magistrate, who 
sends Sinonis to Babylon, 58 

Sorcerers. Chaldean, and the 
magic circle, 275, 276 

Sra-o'sha. Soul carried by, to 
the beyond, 336, 337 

Star-s. Formed by Belus, 115 ; 
Babylonian worship of, 231- 
238 ; ideograph the same for 
' god ' and, 234 ; the sun the 
shepherd of the, 236 ; Anu 
the Pole, 236 ; Bel the Pole 
(equator), 236 ; Ea and star 
in constellation Argo, 236 ; 
-gazers of Chaldea, 258 
408 



St Il'ya. Tammuz compared 
with, 127 

Stone. The Moabite, 190 ; ex- 
amined by Professors Socin 
and Smend, 190 

Stra-bro-ba'tes. King of India; 
Semiramis makes war on, 26, 27 

' Su-me'ri-an.' Modern equiva- 
lent for the old expression 
' Akkadian,' 15 

Sun. Merodach's ideograph is 
the, 202 ; known as the ' Way 
of Anu,' 234; the 'Bull of 
Light,' 290 

Sun-god. See Gods. 

Superstition-s. In Chaldea, 280, 
281 

Su'sa. Monument of Naram-Sin 
unearthed by de Morgan at, 17; 
copy of Khammurabi's code 
found at, by J. de Morgan, 21 

Sus'i-AN. Language ; alterna- 
tive, Median, 65 

Sus'iN-AY. Idol of, 304 

Syria. Palestine and, invaded 
by Sargon, 17; worship of 
Hadad in, 188; the Canaanites 
first dwellers in, 324 

System-s. Official, of rehgion 
in Babylonia and Assyria, 92 ; 
of religion in Babylonia, 199 ; 
religious, of ancient Mexico, 
Guatemala, and Yucatan ; re- 
ference to, 204 ; Hellenic and 
Roman, 235 ; religions — Juda- 
ism, Christianity, Mohammed- 
anism, 313 ; of rehgious races 
in Asia Minor, 324 ; Zarathus- 
tra's moral, 334 



' Tablet Hill.' Haynes' dis- 
coveries at, 360 ; the temple 
hbrary in, 363 ; King Naboni- 
dos' (Nabonidus) vase found at, 
364 

Tablets. Twelve, of the Gilga- 
mesh epic, 155, 158, 159 ; 
detailed examination of, 161- 
180 : of Destiny, 193-195 ; 
cuneiform, dealing with magic, 



GLOSSARY AND INDEX 



261, 262 ; Surpu and Maklu, 
series of, 262 ; the deluge, 
discovered by Smith, 347, 351, 
352 ; discovered by Rassam, 
354 ; of Nabopolasser, Nebu- 
chadrezzar, Nabonidus, Cyrus, 
Cambyses, and Darius, 358 

Tab'oo. Prayers, etc., against, 
262 ; beUef in, in Chaldea, 
278 ; known in Babylonia as 
mamit, 278 

Tam'muz. One of the guardians 
of the gates of heaven, 118; 
Ishtar's search for, 126 ; myth 
of, 126-129 ; name derived 
from Dumu-zi, 126 ; Professor 
Sayce and, 126 ; addressed as 
' shepherd and lord ' in Akka- 
dian hymn, 126 ; Ishtar, con- 
sort of, 127 ; Adonis myth 
related to that of, 131 ; Sir 
James Frazer's Golden Bough 
and, 134 ; lamentations for, 
135, 136, 140 ; a god of vegeta- 
tion, 137, 138 ; Nin-Girsu (Shul- 
gur) identified with, 144 ; the 
bridegroom of Ishtar's youth, 
167; Dido and, 190; Ninib and, 
216 

Tam'muz-A-do'nis. Worshipped 
in Carthage, 330 

Tam'tu. Assyrian term signify- 
ing ' the deep sea,' 72 

Ta'nit. Goddess of the heavens 
and the moon ; compared with 
Demeter, 330 ; inscriptions to, 
330 ; identified with Dido, 331 

Ta'nith. Goddess, honoured at 
Carthage, 328 

Tash'mit. Nebo's consort, 102, 
185, 186 ; patron of writing, 

185 

Tau'rus, Sign of. Represented 
by the slaying ot the celestial 
bull, Alu, 182 

Tell Am'ran. Mound of, 374 

Tel-l6. Ernest de Sarzec's re- 
searches at, 355, 356 

Temple-s. Of Bel, 101-105, 227 ; 
of Nebo and Tashmit, 102 ; of Ea 
and Nusku, 102 ; of Bel and 
Anu, 102 ; of Belus, reference 
to, 103 ; of Ea, iii ; of Belus, 



reference to, 114 , of Dagon, 
at Ashdod and Gaza, 151 ; of 
Merodach, at Babylon, 185, 
374 ; of Asshur, 207 ; of Sin, at 
Calah, 223 ; priesthood, cult 
and, 239-241 ; of Babylonia 
and Assyria, 242-251 ; oldest, 
in Babylonia, was E-Kur, 248 ; 
as banks, 250 ; begun by Esar- 
haddon, 305 ; Saggal, of Mero- 
dach, 305 ; Sidda, 306 ; of Ash- 
tart or Ishtar, at Sidon and 
Askelon, 327; to Apollo, 330; 
Zoroastrian, 335 ; of Nebo, 348 ; 
of Babylon, 373-375 

Te'rah. Father of Abraham, 51, 
52 

Testament, Old. Nergal men- 
tioned in, 105 ; Dagon in, 151, 
152 ; David of the, 190 ; 
poetical form of, 322 

Teutonic. Celtic religion and, 
compared, 316, 317 

Texts, Cuneiform. See Cunei- 
form 

Texts, Magical. Dawkina al- 
luded to in, 197 ; Anu mentioned 
in, 197, 198 ; a series known as 
' Maklu,' 261, 262 

Tez-cat-li-po'ca. Reference to, 
222 

Thal-ath. Chaldaic equivalent 
for Omorca, 114 

Theias, King. Reference to, 132 

T'hom or ' Deep.' Tiawath a 
parallel to the Old Testament 
expression, 72 

Thomes. French exploration ex- 
pedition and, 347 

Thoth. Reference to, 185, 222, 
224, 228 

Thunder-Bird. North-American 
Indian conception, 193 

Thunder-God. Hadada, iSS, 189 

Ti'a-mat. Variant of Tiawath, 
71 

Ti'awath. Variant, Tiamat, 71 ; 
a parallel to Old Testament 
expression T'hom (or ' deep '), 
72, 73 ; her ill-will toward the 
gods of heaven, 76-78 ; her 
death by Merodach, 78, 199 ; 
the ' lish ' of Jonah and, 87 ; 
409 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 



chaos, 193 ; slaughter of, en- 
acted, 201 ; the host of, 232 ; 
not the only Babylonian mon- 
ster, 289 

Tig'lath-pil-e'ser I. Alterna- 
tive, Tukulit-pal-E-saria, King 
of Assyria, 23 ; god Bel (En-lil) 
and, 95 ; Ishtar and, 212 ; 
Ninib and, 214, 216 ; Sha- 
mash and, 222 ; Merodach and, 
227 ; Rawlinson discovers an- 
nals of, 346 

Tig'lath-pil-e'ser II. Tales of, 
299-301 

Tig'lath-pil-e'ser III. Second 
Assyrian Empire commenced 
with, 29 ; conquers Babylon 
and is invested with the sove- 
reignty of ' Asia,' 36 

Tigris. The river, 206, 342 

Tol'tecs. Reference to Aztecs, 
and, 226, 227 

Tongues. Babylonian towers 
and legend of confusion of, 47 ; 
legend of confusion of, found in 
Central America, 48 ; among 
African tribes some such myth 
found, 49 ; certain Australian 
and Mongohan peoples possess 
a similar tradition, 49 

Toothache Myth, A, 262 

ToTEMiSM. Signs of, in Babylo- 
nian rehgion, 92 

Tower of Babel. Legend of 
confusion of tongues and, 47. 
See Babel 

Tree-s. Adonis and myrrh-, 137 ; 
Osiris and tamarisk-, 137 ; Attis 
and pine-, 137, 138; Tammuz 
and cedar, 138 

Triad. See Trinity 

Tribal Divinities. The most 
outstanding, 94 

Trinity, A. Tiawath, Apsu, and 
Mummu, 74 ; Bel, Ea, and 
Anu, 97, III, 191, 196-198 ; 
En-lil, Ea, and Anu, 121 ; 
of earth, air, and sea, 197 ; 
Ramman, Sin, and Shamash, 
219 ; Ea, Anu, and Enhl evolved 
from demons, 268 

Tsai'du. The hunter ; Gilga- 
mesh, Eabani, and, 163-166 

410 



Tsa'phon. Carthaginian deity, 
330 

Tuk-ul'ti-in-Ar-is'ti. Son of 
Shalmaneser I ; takes Babylon 
and slays its king, Bitilyasu, 22 

Tuk-ul'ti-nin'ip. Son of Shal- 
maneser I ; inscriptions of, 351 

Tyre. Sidon and, in touch with 
Ass3'ria, 327 



U 



U-ba'ra-Tu-tu. Shurippak son 
of, 173 

Ub'shu-Ken'na (or Upshukkina - 
ku). The ' brilhant chamber ' 
where the sun takes his rise, 
252, 253 

Uk'hut. Eabani and, 129, 163 ; 
one of the sacred women of the 
temple of Ishtar, 163 

Ukk'u-mu (Seizer). Attendant 
hound of Merodach, 202 

Underworld, The, 125, 128- 
132, 136 ; Eabani descends 
into, 160 ; description of, in 
Vllthof Gilgamesh tablets, 169 

Ur. City from whence Abram 
came, a near neighbour of 
Eridu, colonized by Nippur, 15 ; 
fall of the dynasty, 20 ; Nannar, 
the moon-god, of, 145-149 ; 
the moon-city, 249, 251 

U'ra. The legend of, 268-270 

Ur-a-gal, 175 

Ur'bau. Bau alluded to in in- 
scriptions of, 144; Zikkurat 
built by, at Nippur, 248 

Ur'ga. a town in Mesopotamia ; 
equivalents, Caramit and Diar- 
bekr, 52 

Ur-Gur. King of Assyria, 359, 
366 

Ur-Nin'ib. Reference to pave- 
ment of, 366 

U'ru. Canaanitish god of light ; 
name found in Uru-Salim, 325 

Uru-Az-ag'ga. Ban's temple at, 
145 

Ur'uk. Place, 84 

Uru-Kag-i'na. Bau alluded to 
in inscriptions of, 144 



GLOSSARY AND INDEX 



Ut-Nap-ish'tim. Variant of 
Noah, ii6, i6o ; hero of Baby- 
lonian deluge myth, figures in 
Gilgamesh epic, 155, 158, 1 60 ; 
Gilgamesh's ancestor, 170-173 ; 
Gilgamesh seeks secret of per- 
petual hfe from, 173-178 ; the 
deluge myth and, 173-178 

Ut-ukku. Ghost of Eabani de- 
signated, 181 ; an evil spirit, 
276 

Uz. God ; worshipped under form 
of a goat, 93, 292 

Uzz'i-EL, Jonathan, Ben. The 
targum of, 267 



Vampires, Babylonian, 264-266 

Van. Lake, 331 

Vash'ti. Reference to, 142 ; 
Frazer on, 143 

Ved'ic Gods. Reference to, 77 

Vegetation. En-hl (Bel), a god 
of, 96 ; Ishtar, ' great mother ' 
of, 123, 137, 138, 168 ; seven 
gates of Aralu and the decay 
of, 137; Tammuz, a god of, 
137. 138, 140 ; Adonis and 
Aphrodite connected with, 139 ; 
Ceres, a corn -mother, 139 ; 
Proserpine, same nature, 139 ; 
Osiris introduced corn into 
Egypt, 139 ; Mordecai as god 
of, 144 ; Humman an Elamite 
god of, 144 

Ve'nus. Star ; Abram and, 55 ; 
temple of, 58; Ishtar and, 124, 
235 

Vir'go, Sign of. Ishtar and 
the, 182 

W 

War. Ishtar, goddess of, 127, 

213, 214 ; -god, Ninib a, 214 ; 

-god, Ramman a, 221 
War-ka. Work of Loftus at, 

346. 347 
Water. Purification by, 270 
Waters of Death. Gilgamesh 

crosses, 158, 159 



Westergaard. Median language 

and, 65 
Wind, South. Adapa and the, 
story of, II 6-1 2 1 ; variant, 
Shutu, 117 
Windows. None in Nebuchad- 
rezzar's palace at Babylon, 369 
Witch. Known as Kassaptu, 
261 ; -finding, 272-275 ; -orgies 
in France, 293 
Wizards. Priestly, 260-262 ; 

known as Kassapu, 261 
Word of Powf.r, The The 
magicians of Chaldea and, 263 
Worship. Of gods by gods, 77 ; 
of gods under animal forms, 92, 
93 ; of Bel, 98-101 ; of Sha- 
mash, 109 ; of Aa, no ; of 
Ishtar, 124 ; of Dagon, 151 ; 
of Merodach, 184, 185 ; of 
Nebo, 1S4, 185 ; of Hadad, in 
Syria, 188 ; of the Sun-god in 
Canaan and Phoenicia, 190 ; 
of Dodo or Dod, by the side of 
Yahveh, 190 ; of Ramman, 219, 
220 ; of Aztecs and Toltecs, 
226, 227 ; of stars, Babylonian, 
231-238 ; lunar, 236 ; moon-, 
249 ; Semitic, and lamenta- 
tions, 253 ; of the gazelle and 
goat, 292-294 ; of great earth- 
mother, 318, 319 ; of ancestors ; 
Canaanites, 326 ; of Moloch, 
328 ; Carthaginian, 329-332 ; 
Zoroastrian, 332-336 ; of fire, 
335, etc. 
Writing, Cuneiform. Restora- 
tion of 60-67 ; Josaphat Bar- 
baro and, 61 ; Pietro della 
Vallc and, 61 ; Sir John 
Chardin and, 61 ; Niebuhr and, 
61 ; Tychsen and, 61 ; Mun- 
ter and, 61 ; Georg Grotefend, 
and, 62 ; Prof essor Lassen and, 
63 ; Burnouf and, 63 ; Major 
Henry Rawlinson and, 64-66 ; 
Westergaard and, 65 ; Morris 
and, 63 ; Lowenstern and, 65 ; 
Hinks and, 65 ; Longperier 
and, 66 ; origin of, 66, 67 ; 
on obehsk of Shalmaneser II, 
343 
Writing-s. ReHgions, of Baby- 
411 



MYTHS OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA 



Ionia, 67 ; of Cannes, 113-116 ; 
Nebo credited, like Ea, with the 
invention of, 185 ; Tashmit 
patron of, 185 ; stars, the, of 
heaven, 231 ; Zarathustrian 
sacred, 334 



Xer'xes, King. Reference to, 
141 ; Esther, the crown-name of 
Jewish wife of, 143 



Yah'weh. The Hebrew name of 
God, 49 ; worship of, by the 
side of Dodo, by the Israehtes, 
190 

Yar'an. Sargon and, 210, 211 

Year, New. See New 



Zab. The river, 207 
Zag-Mu'ku (Zak-muk). Festival 

of Sacaea or, 141 ; goddess 

Bau and, 251 
Z/VK-MUK. See Zag-muku. 
Za'mama. Court of Ishtar and, 

lOI 



Za-ra-thus'tra. See Zoroaster"^ 

Zar-pa-ni'tum. Goddess, wife 

of Merodach, 186, 202 ; Ealur 

amalgamated with, 186 

Zech-a-ri'ah. Allusion of, to 

Hadad-Rimmon, 189 
Zed-ek-i'ah. King of Jerusalem ; 

Nebuchadrezzar and, 37 
Zeus. Reference to, 132, 315 
ZiG-A-RUN. Variant of Apsu, 72 
ZiK-KU-RAT-s. Staged towers ; 
described, 242, 246 ; of Assur- 
bani-pal, 365 
Zi'rat-ba'nit. The seat of, 306 
Zis-u'thros, King. Berossus 
substitutes, for Ut-Napishtim, 
177, 178 
Zo'diac. Signs of the, in the 
Babylonian astrological system, 
183 , 231, 232 ; the goat, one of 
the signs of the, 292 
Zog-a'nes. The, of the Sacsea, 142 
Zor-o-as'ter. The rehgion of, 
332- ; earUest form of name 
Zarathustra, 333 ; a Mede, 
333 ; good and evil principles 
of religion of, 334 
Zu. The storm-god ; retained a 
bird-Uke form, 93, 193-195 ; 
legend of, 193-195 
Zu-bird. The bird roc, in Ara- 
bian Nights, a possible descen- 
dant of, 193 



Date Due 



MUl 



Tjur 



- iCi^S 



n\/ Q 



^9FP 



^«6S^ 



JUL2FT55B 



® 



, S "' 



5 /■ 



3 9000 005 848 325 



r^ 






M