صور الصفحة
PDF

4 NINEVEH AND ITS DISCOVERERS.

lost. Cylinders, like those of Babylon, and some other antiques, are occasionally found here; but I have never seen or heard of inscriptions. From the assurances given me by the Pasha of Mosul, I entertain great hopes that any monument which may be hereafter discovered will be rescued from destruction.1 A ruined city, as Major Rennel justly observes, is a quarry above ground. It is very likely that a considerable part of Mosul, at least of the public works, was constructed with the materials found at Nineveh.5 Kouyunjik Tepe has been dug into in some places in search of them; and to this day stones of very large dimensions, which sufficiently attest their high antiquity, are found in or at the foot of the mound which forms the boundary. These the Turks break into small fragments, to employ in the construction of their edifices. The permanent part of the bridge of Mosul was built by a late Pasha wholly with stones found in the part of the boundary which connects the mound of Kouyunjik with the mound of Nebbi Younis (the prophet Jonah), and which is the least considerable of all. The small river Khausar traverses the area above described from cast to west, and divides it into two nearly equal parts; it makes a sweep round the east and south sides of Kouyunjik Tepe, and then discharges itself into the Tigris above the bridge of Mosul. It is almost superfluous to add, that the mount of Kouyunjik Tep6 is wholly artificial."

Rich remarks that the ramparts and hollows among the ruins of Nineveh, would seem to indicate that the city had a double wall; and farther, that the walls on the east side had become quite a concretion of pebbles, like the natural hills. The jealousy with which every motion was watched rendered actual surveys difficult; nevertheless, his examination of the buildings upon Nebbi Younis satisfied him that they were partly formed of ancient chambers. In the kitchen of a wretched house an inscribed piece of gypsum was found, which appeared to form part of the wall of a small passage, said to reach far into the mound. The passage itself had been dog into, but was subsequently closed up with rubbish, from an

1 Similar assurances had been given to the English and French Consuls of Egypt by Mohammed Ali; nevertheless, since that time, all the ruins that marked the site of Autinopolis, and some nearly perfect temples, have entirely disappearid.

'' This is partially contradicted by Botta.

[graphic]

RIGH, a

apprehension of undermining the houses above. In another small room, not far distant, and parallel with the passage before mentioned, an inscription was seen, which was the more curious, because it seemed to occupy its original position: for it was discovered on building the room, and left just where it was found. At Kouyunjik, Rich also saw a piece of coarse grey stone, shaped like the capital of a column, such as at this day surmounts the wooden pillars or posts of Turkish or Persian verandahs. On the south side, or face of the enclosure, and not far from Nebbi Younis, some people who had been digging for stones had turned up many large hewn stones, with bitumen adhering to them. The excavation was about ten feet deep, and consisted of huge stones laid in separate layers of bitumen and lime mortar; there were also some very thick layers of red clay, which had become as hard as burnt brick, but without any indication of reeds or straw having been used, sandstone cut into blocks, and large slabs of inscription with bitumen adhering to the under side. Kich's opinion was, that all the vestiges of the building were of the same period; that they did not mark the entire extent of the great city itself; but that these mounds and ruins were either the citadel or royal precincts. He finally inferred that very few bricks were used in building Nineveh, but that the walls, &c., were formed of the rubbish of the country, well rammed down with a wash of lime poured upon it, which in a short time would convert the whole into a solid mass. At the present day the natives mix pebbles, lime, and red earth, or clay, together, and after exposure to water, they become like the solid rock.1

Rich made Nineveh the subject of a further paper, but all the results he arrived at were that a granite lion at Babylon, the fragment of a statue at Kalah Slierghat on the banks of the Tigris, and a bas-relief at the mouth of the Nahr-el-Kelb, near Beyrout, were productions of Assyrian art. In the various museums of Europe a small number of seals and cylinders, covered with mythological emblems, were carefully collected, which prove that the Assyrians were acquainted with the process of working the hardest materials, but which were, generally, little calculated to give us a just idea of the skill they had acquired in the art of representing objects. In a word, it may be said that though we had some belief in the existence of Assyrian 1 Kick's "Residence in Koordistan."

b NINEVFH AND 1T3 DISCOVERERS.

art, Assyrian architecture and Assyrian sculpture were totally unknown to us.

As to inscriptions, we were no richer in them than in other Assyrian works. The chief were an inscription engraven upon a stone sent to London by Sir Harford Jones, and preserved in the Museum of the East India Company; a circular-headed tablet; two egg-shaped stones; and still more recently the cast from the Nahr-el-Kelb monument, in the British Museum: and another of the same form in the Cabinet des Antiques of the National Library of Paris, known by the name of Caillou i* Michaud. The mottoes of a few cylinders and some insignificant fragments completed all that was known in Europe. Copies of inscriptions were more numerous, but they all came from monuments situated beyond the limitsof Assyria, properly so called. M. Schulz had collected a considerable number on the banks of the lake Van, and the Assyrian transcriptions of the inscriptions of Persepolis had also been more or less faithfully copied.

Thus although up to within a short time we possessed nothing which could add to what the ancient writers had handed down to us concerning the history and the arts of Assyria; yet all interested in the subjects anticipated far different results when favourable circumstances should allow the ground to be more attentively explored.

That these hopes were not disappointed is now a matter of history, and the two following chapters will therefore be devoted to a description of the labours of those whose exertions have revealed the monuments of ancient Assyrian civilisation, of which all trace seemed to be lout.

[graphic][merged small]
« السابقةمتابعة »