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the names of thirty-four kings, and Valleius Paterculus reckons the same number. The Armenian Eusebius omits the last Ninus, and gives thirty-five kings after Ninus I. Africanus agrees with Eusebius in all but the five names inserted from Abydenus. Ctesias of Cnidus, and after him, Diodorus Siculus, reckons but thirty kings. Major Rawlinson has already made out half of this number from the various inscriptions collected by Mr. Layard and Botta, and we see no reason to doubt that enough more may be made out to establish the substantial accuracy of the ancients in regard to the Assyrian succession and empire. In this connection it is proper for us to allude to a few points of history upon which the discoveries of Botta and Layard have a direct and important bearing.
The ancients universally assigned high antiquity, great power, and much magnificence to the Assyrian Empire; and for many ages the truth of their testimony was scarcely questioned. But in modern times Marsham, Newton, Montfaucon, Du-Pin, and the learned authors of the Ancient Universal History have denied both the antiquity and power of the Assyrian monarchy. The authors of the last, following Sir Isaac Newton, undertake to demonstrate the impossibility of the ancient accounts, and to prove that Ctesias, one of the principal authors, was altogether unworthy of credit, which they did so plausibly and with such show of learning, that for a long time few scholars were bold enough to differ from them. Recently, however, Ctesias has been gaining credit for the general accuracy of his facts, though not regarded as altogether reliable in respect to his dates.
The antiquity of the Assyrian Empire is the first point to which we shall allude. The period of that empire was computed at 1360 years, by Ctesias, as the fragments of his work now read, but which, as Brown has shown in his Ordo Seculorum, was undoubtedly at first, 1460. Diodorus says 1400 years, Castor 1280, Africanus 1484, Eusebius 1240, Velleius Paterculus 1230, Orosius 1164, Syncellus 1460, Augustin 1305, Trogus and Justin 1300. These variations are caused to a great extent by the epochs from and to which the several writers computed. All agree in assigning a period of about 1460 years from Ninus to the destruction of Nineveh; that is, 1460 y.+606 y.=2066 y. B. C. To this antiquity, objection has been made, as being improbable and unsupported, and that a strong presumption is raised against it by the fact that there is no mention in the Bible of any Assyrian king before Pul, about B. C. 770, and Herodotus allows only five hundred and twenty years to the Assyrian Empire. On this point the testimony
of the ancients receives strong confirmation from the discoveries at Nimroud, Khorsabad, and Kouyunjik. That a close correspondence existed between Assyria and Egypt about the period of the twenty-second dynasty, (cir. B. C. 1000,) is rendered highly probable, by a comparison of the remains of both, and that this was at the time of the erection of the later Assyrian temples, is also pretty certain. And that an interval of considerable length elapsed between the earlier and later buildings discovered at Nimroud, cannot well be doubted. further comparison of the Assyrian and Egytian antiquities leads to the conclusion, that sometime during the eighteenth dynasty of Egyptian kings, (cir. B. C. 1800,) the architecture and arts of Egypt received a sudden impulse from abroad, imparting characteristics which are now known to be Assyrian, thus leading to the conclusion that Egypt was more indebted to Assyria than Assyria to Egypt. It should also be remarked that the name of Nineveh (Nen-i-vi) has been found upon an Egyptian monument about B. C. 1500; and, also, that since the building of the city is mentioned in Genesis, it must have been founded before the death of Moses. All the presumptions arising from the ancient ruins of Assyria, go to confirm the testimony of the ancients in regard to the antiquity of that kingdom. This conclusion is further strengthened by the fact, that the ancients do not carry back the begining of the Assyrian Empire within one or two centuries of the time from which other nations date the commencement of the period of authentic history. Varro dates it about B. C. 2350,-the Chinese do the same,-Manetho dates the Egyptian historic period from about B. C. 2340; while the epoch of Ninus, according to many of the ancients, does not reach to B. C. 2100, and none carry it beyond 2400. Now when Callisthenes was in Babylon, B. C. 330, the Chaldean Astronomers had recorded observations of the heavenly bodies from the foundation of the Assyrian Empire, which they computed to be 1903 years, fixing the rise of the monarchy B. C. 2233.
Another point of objection to the testimony of the ancients has been, the wonderful exploits ascribed to Ninus and Semiramis, and especially their great conquests. But whoever will read the fragments of Ctesias, in connection with the work of our author, and compare the history with the sculptures, can have no doubt of the substantial truth of the historian. The conquest of Bactria, which is dwelt upon at length by Ctesias, forms a conspicuous and important part of the inscriptions in the oldest palace of Nimroud; and the great mound which Semiramis is said to have raised over the body of Ninus,
after his death, seems almost identical with the high conical mound of Nimroud which Mr. Layard examined without finding any remains. The Ancient Universal History also assumes that the Assyrian empire never extended to the west of the Euphrates before the time of Pul. Yet the representations on the palace of Kouyunjik describe the conquest of a people that seem to have been the Tyreans, or some other people on the Mediterranean.
The size of the city of Nineveh has also been a stumblingblock to the captious historian. The existence of a walled city, eighteen miles by twelve, which, after having been mistress of the world, should itself be so completely annihilated that its very site should be forgotten, and its name cease to exist, seemed incredible. And yet the relative position of the ruins examined by Mr. Layard, render the descriptions of the ancients probable, if not certain. The distance from the northern extremity of Kouyunjik to the southern extremity of Nimroud, differs but a fraction from eighteen miles, the length ascribed to Nineveh by the ancient historians; and the distance of twelve miles, extending on both sides of the Tigris, the width attributed to the ancient city, includes the villages of Karamles, Karah-Kush, Nebbi-Yonah, and Hammun-Ăli, where ruins are known to exist, beside the Negoub Tunnel, Hussient Mound, and the Awai, or great dam across the Tigris, a short distance below Selamiyah, similar to that said to have been built by Semiramis.
Another point of coincidence between the ancient historians and the newly discovered ruins, is in the manner in which the city is said to have been destroyed. The ancients agree in representing Sardanapulus, after finding all hope of resistance vain, as shutting himself up in his palace, and causing it to be set on fire, and as consumed with his family. The fire continued fifteen days, making a breach in the walls, through which the enemy gained an entrance and destroyed the city. Now nothing can be more certain, from the appearance of the ruins at Nimroud and Kouyunjik, that all the later palaces, at both places, as well as those at Khorsabad, were destroyed by fire, and, as the circumstances would seem to indicate, at the very period when the city itself was destroyed, in strict accordance with the prophecy of Nahum concerning its end. The conclusion, therefore, seems inevitable, that the recent discoveries of Mr. Layard have determined the ancient site of Nineveh, and that they have confirmed the testimony of the ancients in regard to its antiquity and power in a most wonderful and striking manner.
What bearing the inscriptions will have, when deciphered, upon the succession of Assyrian kings, as preserved by the ancients, and upon the chronology of the ancient historians, it is impossible to tell. That a general correspondence will be found, we have no doubt, but the whole of their chronology is so evidently framed to a system, that we cannot look for any close correspondence. A general agreement is all that can be expected; for though the same view was taken by all of the general outlines, the different modes of filling up, the different disposition of the details has given rise to a great variety of dates. The rise and fall of nations being supposed to coincide with certain planetary conjunctions regulating the Great or Planetary year, the Annus Magnus of the ancients, their chronographies were almost all conformed to it, and the length of the several periods is so expanded or contracted as to correspond therewith. Hence, to some extent, the multiplicity and uncertainty of the dates in the ancient chronologies.
Another fact, too interesting to be passed unnoticed, is the tradition of the natives, that the ruins of Nineveh were the work of Nimrod, or rather of Athur, or Asshur in his behalf, and hence the name of Nimroud, which the place still bears. Such is the import of the language of Micah, as understood by Bochart and Bedford: "They shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof," by which they understand the same country, differently described. The antiquity thus ascribed to Assyria is still further confirmed by the language of Isaiah, spoken of Babylon: "Behold the land of the Chaldeans, this people was not till the Assyrian founded it for the dwellers in the wilderness; they set up the towers, they raised up the palaces thereof." And the same inference flows from the nature of the language in which the inscriptions were made, the number and character of the symbols employed, pointing to a period when the Chinese and Egyptian hieroglyphics took their origin. Indeed, there is some reason to suppose, that at the earliest period of which we have any knowledge of the Chinese or Egyptian, the Assyro-Babylonian language had been more highly cultivated and polished than either of the others,-the original form of the characters having been lost in the improvements and embellishments of art, which could only have happened after long use; as we know was subsequently the case with the others mentioned. These, and many other particulars which might be mentioned, point with unerring aim to ancient Assyria, as the cradle of the race, the source
and center of civilization, and as the radiating point from which the arts and sciences have spread in all directions. At the earliest period, when Egypt was seeking after the greatest perfection, and before she had realized her own ideal of truth and beauty, Assyria was her guide and instructor; and the finest examples of her ancient art betray an Assyrian or Chaldean influence. Greece, too, is largely indebted to the same people for her early civilization. The Ionic column to which Attica pointed as evidence of the delicacy of her taste and the perfection of her skill, was employed at Khorsabad before Ionia was known to history; and the arch, to which a comparatively modern date has been assigned, underlies the tombs of those who lived in Nineveh when Egyptian influence was at its height in the East. Egypt, too, received the germs of its Astronomical Science from the Chaldean observations. Its original year of three hundred and sixty days, as well as the additional five days called epagomana, were from the East, the last being added in the days of the Patriarch Joseph. In the language of one whose familiar acquaintance with the best sources of oriental knowledge renders him a competent judge, we may say: "In Astronomy, and in the admeasurement of time and space, the Chaldeans were the original discoverers, and the instructors, directly or indirectly, of the rest of the world. To them is to be ascribed, also, the invention of the alphabet, which, first carried abroad by their seafaring, colonizing brethren, the Phoenicians, became the parent type of all the alphabets of the world, excepting the Chinese and Indian."
To this it may also be added, that the simplest elements of the Chinese keys bear a much more striking resemblance to the primitive characters of the Chaldeans, both in form and meaning, and also to the more common characters of the Egyptian hieroglyphs, than has been noticed to any considerable extent. Indeed, the number of the Assyro-Babylonian, (300); Chinese, (214); and Egyptian hieroglyphic symbols, (175); compared with their names and signification, as far as known, point to an original identity of origin and meaning; the Assyro-Babylonian apparently furnishing the link that shall unite the Chinese and Egyptian. We might give abundant illustrations of this remark, would time and space allow. At present, however, we can only indicate the result to which the labors of the philologist, the antiquary, and the historian are tending, which is, to reduce the boasted antiquities of Egypt, India, and China, to the limits of sober history, as bounded by the chronology of the Hebrew Scriptures;