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22 NtNEVEH AND ITS DISCOVERERS.
East; and now the continuation of the researches at Khorsabad placed at Botta's disposal new means of alleviating tho misery of the refugees. He found among them a whole population of labourers at once robust and docile, whose assistance was the more useful, as it was almost impossible to procure the requisite number of workmen among the inhabitants of the environs. Besides their demand for high wages, the natives had certain singular superstitions which inspired them with repugnance for the work he offered, and this influence was trebly powerful when it was proposed to interfere with the village of Khorsabad itself. They said they were afraid it would bring misfortune upon themselves and their families. As regarded the Nestorians, although they suffered a great deal from the climate of the plain, so different from that of the high mountains they had until then inhabited, they worked with great spirit, and many of them were enabled to return to their own country, carrying with them savings which made them much richer than they had ever been before.
All obstacles being removed, about the middle of the month of May, 1844, Botta once more proceeded with his researches, nor did he pause in his labours before the end of the month of October in the same year. As Monsieur Flandin was first obliged to copy the bas-reliefs discovered before his arrival, the works progressed, in the beginning, but slowly; but the scientific labourers were able gradually to increase their scale of operations, until at last they had almost three hundred workmen in full employment. During these six months each had but one thought, which was to unite every effort to turn Botta's discovery to the best possible account. Accordingly, they worked together with the most cordial understanding. Monsieur Flandin used to copy, with the greatest care, the bas-reliefs as fast as they were uncovered; to measure the building and draw up a definite plan of it: while Botta, on his side, was occupied not less actively, in transcribing the numerous inscriptions which covered a part of the walls. It is true that both had to suffer much, but they were amply recompensed for it by the results and the nature of the work; for it was with a feeling of delight that they were able, from hour to hour, to observe what the pick-axe of the workmen had uncovered, and to endeavour to guess the direction of the BOTTA. 23
.walls which were still huried, to realise the scenes they would offer to view, and even to divine the signification of the basreliefs as they were successively brought to light.
Botta liberally acknowledges the zeal with which Flandin joined in the researches into the secrets of a buried city. Being less accustomed than the consul himself to the miseries of eastern life, flandin, it appears, felt more keenly the inconveniences of a prolonged stay in a miserable village, beneath a burning sky: and his health suffered more than once in consequence. But his courage never failed him, not even at a most serious conjuncture, when the consulate of Mosul, and the existence of the whole Christian population, were for a moment endangered.1 His share in the undertaking was not limited to the execution of the artistic portions with which he was more especially charged. Botta's official duties not allowing him to remain constantly at Khorsabad, he relied upon Flandin to superintend and employ the work-people: and the artist, thus left in charge, discovered certain objects which would otherwise, perhaps, have escaped notice,—such, for instance, as the little statues in terra-cotta, hidden under the pavement, and the sepulchral urns. Thus the two Frenchmen worked in concert with each other, and Monsieur FlandilPcan, with justice, lay claim to a part of the merit of the operations which led to the complete exhumation of the monument of Khorsabad.
At the period when Botta was obliged by Mohammed Pasha to suspend the works, he had only to follow into the interior of the mound the walls already laid bare. The work then completed naturally pointed out the direction their further labours should be made to take, and they pursued this indication until all traces of construction disappeared. The monument, how
1 In the month of July, 1844, tho Dominican Missionaries settled at M6sul having had a house repaired in order to add it to their original monastery, were, as Botta had formerly been himself, accused of wishing to erect a fortress. The weakness of the new Pasha, who had just succeeded Mohammed Pasha, having encouraged the populace, the ridiculous accusation occasioned a serious riot, during which the monastery was destroyed, the church pillaged, and one of the missionaries assassinated. This circumstance, as he could easily foresee, produced similar feelings in the inhabitants of Khorsabad: and it was only the firmness of Monsieur Flandin which could keep them in check, until such time as efficient assistance arrived.
24 NINEYEU AND ITS DISCOVERERS.
ever, had formerly extended further, and for some time they still followed the brick walls, but the coverings of sculptured slabs no longer existed; and various signs clearly proved that, even in the most ancient times, a part of the monument had been intentionally destroyed, and the solid materials carried off, to be employed somewhere else for other purposes. In anticipation of still meeting with the lost trace, trenches were opened at various points of the mound; but in vain, and they were at last obliged to renounce the hope of seeing a new store of riches added to those they had already found. At the end of the month of October, 1844, Botta therefore put a stop to the works.
Monsieur Flandin having finished his drawings, was enabled to quit Mosul on the 9th of November, and proceed to Paris to submit his work to the Academy. Arrived there, a commission was named by the Academy to draw up a report upon Monsieur Flandin's drawings. Through the medium of its reporter, Monsieur Raoul Rochette, the commission rendered a tribute of deserved praise to the labours of the artist, and suggested the propriety of issuing, in a special publication, Flandin's drawings, as well as the explanatory matter Botta might bring with him, for th^study of scholars and artists. In a meeting of the 16th of May, 1845, the Academy adopted the conclusions of the commission, ordered the report to be printed, and thus gave both Botta and his artistic coadjutor the first reward of their labours, by publishing the results in a series of magnificent folio volumes, with the public approval, and at the public expense.
Although Flandin had been able, in the beginning of the month of November, 1844, to return to France, in order to enjoy that repose of which he stood so much in need, after six months of suffering and fatigue, Botta's own task was not so soon ended. In the first place he had to complete his copies of the inscriptions—a work that had been commenced a year before Monsieur Flandin's arrival at Mosul, that was continued during the whole period of his stay, and which occupied several months after his departure. Besides this, in conformity with the orders of the government, Botta and Flandin had chosen together the most remarkable and best-preserved pieces of sculpture to send to France; and after Flandin's departure, BOTTA. 25
Botta was left alone to prepare and pack these precious relics, to get them conveyed to Mosul, and thence to send them to Baghdad. The Porte had at first imposed certain restrictions on the removal of the sculptures, hut had ended hy yielding to the persevering efforts of the French Ambassador, Baron de Bourqueney, who had shown the most unceasing and lively interest in the exhumation of Nineveh. He obtained the necessary orders, and Botta was at liberty to remove to France all the objects he deemed most worthy.
Now a new species of difficulties arose. Neither the needful machinery nor workmen accustomed to the kind of operations were to be had. The object was to convey, for a distance of four leagues, a number of blocks, some of which weighed as much as two or three tons. Botta had to invent everything, to teach everything—and, above all, not to despair of success alter many fruitless attempts. Much against his will, he was obliged to saw up into a number of pieces several blocks, the weight and size of which would have rendered the carriage, not only difficult, but too dear. As regards the packing, it was so impossible to procure cases sufficiently strong, that he was obliged to adopt the most simple plan, and contented himself with covering the sculptured surfaces of the bas-reliefs with beams, which were fastened by screws to corresponding pieces of wood placed upon the opposite side of the stone. These means of protection fortunately proved to be sufficient.
The most difficult part of the whole affair was the conveyance of the blocks. Great trouble had to be taken to get a car built of sufficient strength, and Botta was even under the necessity of erecting a forge in order to construct axle-trees strong enough to support so heavy a load. The reader may fancy the kind of workmen available for the task by one fact —the axle-trees took six weeks to make!
Patient perseverance secured at last the necessary car, but an almost equal amount of trouble had to be taken for finding the means of dragging it. The Pasha of Mosul had at first lent some buffaloes used to work of this description, but, from an inexplicable whim, he took them back again. Botta then endeavoured, but in vain, to employ oxen, and at last was forced to have recourse to the thews and sinews of the Nestorians themselves. In addition to all this, the road from
S 26 NINEVEH AND ITS BISCOVEREBS.
Khorsabad to Mosul being soaked through with continual rain, had no firmness, so that the wheels of the car, although they were made very broad, sank into the mud up to their axles. In several places it was necessary to pave the road, or to cover it over with planks. Two hundred men were scarcely sufficient to draw along some of the blocks. "The difficulties were indeed so great, that more than once," says Botta, "I feared I should not be able to transport, that year, the most interesting blocks, because they happened to be also the heaviest. I had no time to lose: although a great amount of rain obstructed my operations at Mosul, by a most unfortunate contrast very little snow had fallen in the mountains during the winter of 1844-45, so that not only was the Tigris far from attaining its usual height, but it began to decrease much before the accustomed time. It was necessary, however, to avail myself of its rise, in order to send to Baghdad the objects which I had determined to transport to France, for the carriage of the sculptures required rafts of unusual dimensions, and a delay of a few days might oblige me to wait until the next year. By dint of great exertions, I succeeded in surmounting the obstacles and terminating these wearisome operations before the Tigris had finished falling. In the month of June, 1845, eight months after my researches were ended, all the sculptures had been removed to the side of the river, and, by means of an inclined plane formed in the bank, embarked on the rafts. This last part of my task was, unfortunately, attended by a sad accident. The men were employed in embarking the last block, and had already placed it upon the inclined plane: in order to move it, one of the Nestorians, in spite of my reiterated warnings, persisted in pulling it from the front; it was impossible to stop the course of the ponderous mass already in motion, and the miserable workman was crushed between it and the blocks previously on the raft. This was the only accident I had to regret during the whole duration of the works."
The Tigris is navigated by means of rafts constructed of pieces of wood, which are supported by inflated skins. These rafts (which are called by the natives kelUk) are well adapted for descending the stream, which in summer is very shallow; but they are of no use for going up. When the rafts have