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^ Hanunu is clearly the same name as Hanun king of Ammon, II
Sam., 10^ ff.; II Chron. 19- ff.; and is identical with the well-known
Carthaginian Hanno. Johns, Amer. Jour. Sem. Lang., 1902, 249, would
apply here his rule that names in -anu are derived from cities and dis-
covers a city Hana here. But it merely means " the favored one."
Is it possible that we have a present-day remembrance of the old hero
in the Muslim saint, Nebi Hanun, who lives at Bet Hanun, a little
mud village surrounded by cactus hedges on the open plain a short
distance northeast of Gaza? We visited and photographed the place
in January, 1905.

The modern Ghazzeh still preserves the ancient form Ghazzat, as it
occurs in the South Arabian inscription, Glaser 1083, in Glaser, Die
Abessinier in Arabien und Afrika, 1895, 75- The Hebrew 'Azzeh was



BABYLONIA AND SYRIA 55

who was enabled by his success in Gaza to produce the
rebelHon of Hoshea of Israel.-

Shalmaneser secured the fall of Samaria, but was put out
of the way before he could attack Gaza, and Sargon now
took up his work. What happened when he reached Gaza
is not clear, but he seems to have fought a battle before its
gates. ^*^ The city was captured and the allies fell back
toward Egypt, perhaps toward Rhinocolura, on the " Brook "
of Egypt, where a frontier post seems always to have been
held. Sibu summoned his tartan, or lieutenant, to come to

also pronounced Ghazzeh, as the Greek Gaza shows. On the other hand,
the Assyrians used the form Hazite, H being their usual transliteration
of Ghain. The older city was undoubtedly near the present harbor
or Mineh, the classical Maiuma. In spite of the steamers, there is
still a brisk land trade with Egypt, and traces of Egyptian influence
are much more marked than in any other part of Syria. There is
no real harbor, but several tramp steamers lie off the coast to take on
grain during harvest. Visited in January, 1905.

^ The Hebrew form So is admittedly incorrect. The pointing is gen-
erally changed to Sewe. Eleven Greek MSS. quoted by Holmes and
Parsons have Soba, Zoba, Somba with a b. The relation of these
MSS. is not clear, but three seem to be Hesychian, that is, these read-
ings go back to an Egyptian source. It is tempting to assume that
this form actually goes back to some extra canonical source which
knew of a Sibu, but it is perhaps more probable that in the b we have
only a later transliteration oi a. v sound. It may be only a coincidence
that Sibu and Shabaka look somewhat alike, but I am not quite sure yet.
The change in the sibilants would make no trouble and H. Brugsch,
History of Egypt, 1879, H. 273, followed by W. M. F. Petrie, History
of Egypt, III. 1 90s, 284, believes that ka is a postfixed article. Stein-
dortf, Beitr. zur Assyr., I. 342, denies the force of this, pointing oul
that ki is rather the Dat.-Acc. ending. I know nothing of Nubian
and therefore have no right to an opinion on this question. A more
serious objection to the identification is the fact that Shabaku is
actually found in Ashur bani pal. Ras. Cyl., II. 22.

"^ A. 27 has ] kun ma. This may be restored Abiktushunu ash-
ktinma, "their destruction I accomplished," Winckler, Sargon, XIX,
n. 7, or itti Piru shar Muguri kidra ishkunma, " he made alliance with
Piru, king of Egypt," Winckler, Untersuch., 93. I prefer the former.



56 WESTERN ASIA IN THE DAYS OF SARGON

his aid, and the two armies met at Rapihu, where now the
boundary between Egypt and Syria is marked and where
later Lagidse and Seleucidae contested the control of South-
ern Syria.^^ Sibu fled " as a shepherd deprived of his
flock," so Sargon boasts, and Syria knew his intrigues no
more. Hanunu was less fortunate, but was captured and
taken to the city of Ashur with nearly ten thousand of his
men. Rapihu,^^ probably at that time only a fortified camp,
was destroyed, but Gaza,^^ perhaps as a reward for treachery,
was spared.^* Under the direct control of the crown, it
lasted on and flourished through Assyrian, Babylonian, and
Persian times until Alexander, by his destruction of Tyre,
showed his hostility to Syrian commerce. Then first Gaza
resisted the powers that be and met its fate.

'^ Rapihu is the Raphia where Ptolemy IV defeated Antiochus the
Great in 217, Polyb. V. 82 ff., cf. for a good account of the battle,
J. P. Mahaffy, Hermathena, X, 140 if. References to the mediaeval
geographers who use the form Rafh, G. Le Strange, Palestine under the
Moslems, 1890, 517. We visited the modern Tell and Bir Refah in
February, 1905. The tell, which is rapidly being covered with sand,
is a fine one and would merit excavation. The Display inscription
makes Sibu himself tartan. I prefer the more accurate Annals where,
though mutilated, we seem to be led to take the " his " in " his tartan "
to refer to Sibu.

2A. 27 if.', D. 25 f.] XIV. 16 /.; P. IV. 38 ^. A deportation of
gods can hardly be assumed with Cheyne, Expos. Times, June, 1899,
art. Gaza. Ency. Bibl., from II Kings 17'*; 18^*; 19"; Isaiah 37^^ since
the emendation he proposes *ZH (Gaza) for 'WH (Aveh), though easy,
is unlikely. K. 1349 does not mention the Gaza expedition. Winckler,
Keilinschr. und d. Alte Test.^ 67, therefore, would not accept the date of
the Annals, Prism B., however, has a passage about Muguri and Martu
(Syria) which seems to belong to year II. The statement that Hanunu
was carried to Ashur may indicate that only a general was in charge.

^' We may surmise this from later conditions.

"* A discussion of this campaign demands a consideration of the
MuQri question which, since first laid down by Winckler in his
Forschungen and more fully in the Mitth. V order asiat. GeselL, 1898,
I, has become what is perhaps the most vexing problem in Oriental



BABYLONIA AND SYRIA 57

It is interesting to note that Sargon did not attempt to
follow up his advantages and attack Egypt or even Rhino-
colura. Perhaps his forces had already suffered severely,
or perhaps he felt that the conquest of Egypt was impos-
sible, until he had secured a firmer hold in Syria. For the

History. Briefly stated, the problem is as follows. Are all the
references in the Bible to Migraim and to Mugri in the Assyrian in-
scriptions to be assigned to Egypt, or is some other country or countries
to be here considered?

The present note cannot be, and does not pretend to be, an adequate
study of this question. What is here aimed at is a discussion of the
Assyrian sources with special reference to the question as to the exis-
tence of a kingdom of Mugri. More general matters will be touched
upon only where necessary for clearness.

One fact gives me more confidence in undertaking this work. For
the last three years, the members of the Semitic Department at Cornell
University have been engaged in a study of the history of the Negeb
or South Country, the region to the south of Judah. Two years ago,
these members went to Syria as students in the American School for
Oriental Study at Jerusalem, under Professor Schmidt's directorship.
Three expeditions were made to the Negeb. All the sites of any
special importance were visited. During these trips, important results
from an archaeological and topographical standpoint were secured, and
Professor Schmidt will soon issue a work on the historical geography
of that region. During these trips, the pertinent literature was taken
along and studied on the spot. The discussions with Professor Schmidt
and Messrs. Charles and Wrench, both then and later, have been of
great value and are thankfully acknowledged, but the ideas here given
are primarily the results of the author's own study in his own special
field, and the others should not be held responsible for these views.
Other phases will be dealt with by them later.

It should be noted that several distinct questions are here involved,
and much of the confusion of thought on this subject seems due to a
confusion of issues. These questions are as follows. First, were
derivations from the root MCR used as the proper names of countries
or regions other than Egypt? Second, was one of these names used
in connection with the Negeb, in other words, are some of the references
in the Bible to Migraim and in the Assyrian inscriptions to Mugri
to be referred rather to the Negeb than to Egypt? It should be noted
that an answer to this question is a matter of fact pure and simple
and that an affirmative reply does not commit one to any theory as to



58 WESTERN ASIA IN THE DAYS OF SARGON

next few years much attention was devoted to settlement of
Syrian affairs. Those cities which were not directly impli-

how the same name came to be applied to both the Negeb and to Egypt.
Nor does an affirmative of necessity demand a like answer to the third
question, " Does the acceptance of the term Mugri-Migraim as applied
to the Negeb likewise require the acceptance of a theory that this Negeb
Mugri was a kingdom important enough to take the place of Egypt
for several centuries in contemporaneous thought ? "

These theories and the questions they raise cannot be brushed aside
as mere foolishness, as some seem inclined to do. The men who
propose them have been the leaders in showing the importance of the
South Arabian civilization and its possible influence on the near-by
nations, while Winckler, the original author, is more at home in Assyrian
than in anything else, wide as his interests are. A fair consideration
of the theories is therefore demanded. Professor Winckler makes
his main claim for support on the Assyrian data. Consideration of
authorities cannot influence us. If, as Professor Winckler claims,
Jensen is the only Assyriologist who openly opposes the theory, there
is every reason to suppose that a large and influential body of Assyri-
ologists have not written on the subject, because they do not consider
the question probable enough for discussion. The Egyptologists are,
it should be noted, strongly opposed to it, as is but natural. Certainly
the evidence from Egyptian sources should be considered, and it is a
pity that no Egyptologist has thought the question worth a thorough
discussion from his standpoint. We also notice that some of the
leaders in Palestinian topography are not followers of Winckler. The
small number of the authorities we would expect to be interested who
actually have thought this question worthy of even unfavorable com-
ment is enough to make us pause, however enthusiastic we may be.

To the first question, " Can the root MCR be used as the proper
name for a boundary province ? " affirmative answer must be given. The
noun migir is common in Assyrian, compare Muss-Arnolt. A moun-
tain MuQur was near Dur Sharrukin, Cylinder 44. Other references to
Mugur in north Syria are possible. Is the same true of Migraim in
the Biblical writings? This is more doubtful. Leaving aside the
question of the Negeb Mugri, we have I Kings 10^ and II Kings 7'
cited as proof texts for a northern Mugri. In the former, it is per-
fectly natural for Solomon to take horses from the Egyptians to the
south of him and to sell them to the Hittites and Aramaeans to the
north. To suppose, with Winckler, that he brought them, presumably
by the sea the control of which he never had, from Que (Cilicia),
and the Cappadocian Mugri, far to the north, and sold them to the



BABYLONIA AND SYRIA 59

cated in the revolts were allowed to retain their autonomy
under the local kings. Those which were, Samal Cimirra,

kindred Hittites and the Aramaeans, again to the north, is to suppose
that trade does not follow natural lines. This line is certainly un-
natural, and a reason for this should be given. Nothing in the political
or social situation justifies such an idea. As for the latter, would not
the terror of the Aramaeans have been all the greater, if they feared
they were being caught in a trap between the armies of the south and
of the north ? And when could a better time for hiring Egyptian
kings or princes be found than just when the dynasty which, from
control of the camp of the mercenaries had gone to control of the
kingdom, was breaking up, and all the petty Delta rulers were trying
to follow suit.

If, however, we cannot allow a Migraim other than the Migraim
which may be Egypt or the Negeb, perhaps we may in the case of the
South Arabian references. In Gl. 1155, 1183, 1302, we have references
to a Migran which Winckler has naturally taken to be his Negeb Mugri.
But can we accept this identification? In Gl. 1183, we have Migran
Ma'in, " the boundary land of Ma'in." This seems to indicate that
we have to do with the name of a mark which has grown up in
Minaean territory independently and therefore has no necessary, per-
haps better, has no probable connection with Egyptian territory. Note
that it is Migran, not Migr, " the mark " par excellence, as the use of
the article shows. It is in marked contrast to this that in the late
Minaean sarcophagus inscription of Gizeh, we have Migr used of Egypt
without the article. It would then seem that these two forms represent
two independent developments. Nor do we in the Assyrian inscriptions
have any form which seems to point to use of final nun. If this
Migran really was the boundary mark of Ma'in, we should naturally
place it somewhere to the north where Minaean control seems to be
proved. A good site would be the region around El Oela where
Doughty found two Minaean inscriptions and which we must place near
the most northern part where definite Minaean control can be assumed.
At any rate, we have no right to assume that the Migran of the
South Arabian inscriptions is a Negeb Mugri, or is Egypt, without
consideration of these points.

As regards the second question, an affirmative answer is again re-
quired. In many Biblical passages, as already pointed out by Winckler
and Cheyne, Migraim is used for a region to the east and north of
the Isthmus of Suez and therefore outside of Egypt proper. What
does this fact prove as to political history? Absolutely nothing,
although it may suggest certain interesting questions. That a Migrite



60 WESTERN ASIA IN THE DAYS OF SARGON

Damascus, the mainland Tyre, and Samaria, soon appear
with Assyrian governors, and it is probable that this took

is an inhabitant of the Negeb does not prove that he is subject to
Egypt, that his Negeb is independent, or anything of the sort. The
United States government officially calls itself " American " yet there
is no reason for assuming that an " American " is a citizen of the
United States, is a member of an independent republic, or is not loyal
to King Edward VII. Nor does the fact that an immigrant inspector
returns a man as a " Turk " prove that he is not a Christian Syrian
from the Lebanon. At the same time, some sort of connection of the
terms at some time is rendered probable, and the fact that the adjoining
countries of Egypt and the Negeb bore similar names would prove some
sort of connection, even if we did not know that, at a time earlier than
any of our references to a Negeb Mugri, Egypt held more or less
secure control of the Negeb. We should then suppose that Egypt
had caused its name to be extended over the lands conquered. But
Mugri is unfortunately not the native name of Egypt and is rather a
Semitic form. What then was its origin and how did it come to be
used by natives of Egypt themselves? Answers that are satisfactory
are not forthcoming. Any attempt to answer must note that already
in the Amarna tablets the king of Egypt acknowledged the title " king
of Migri," even when communicating with the kings of Assyria and
Babylonia. The antiquity of the application of the term to Egypt is
therefore considerable.

But, as already stated, affirmative answers to the first two questions
do not of necessity demand an affirmative answer to the third, and
indeed I would return a decided negative to the question. Was there
during the later Assyrian period a kingdom of Mugri in the Negeb which
was not only independent but so powerful that it for some centuries
took the place of Egypt as the great antagonist of Assyria in the con-
test for Syria? The mere supposition is difficult to make that two
kingdoms of exactly similar names should exist side by side (Winckler's
attempts to distinguish between Mugri and Migri are admitted failures),
one a great power which has retained its essential identity from the
dawn of history to the present day and has often taken its place as
one of the great world powers, the other springing suddenly out of
obscurity, taking the place of the other, holding its position in the
face of the greatest empire the world had yet seen, then suddenly once
more disappearing into a like obscurity while as suddenly Egypt once
more comes into conflict with Assyria. We are naturally prejudiced
against such a theory and, as we advance, new objections appear.



BABYLONIA AND SYRIA 6 1

The Negeb Mugri kingdom, to accept the conjectures of Winckler,
lasted about as long a time and was nearly as important as the king-
dom of Haldia which succeeded in holding Armenia against the con-
stant attacks of the Assyrians. Armenia has been continuously oc-
cupied since and there has been ample opportunity for destruction of
monuments, yet we have several hundred inscriptions in the Haldian
language and important architectural remains. The Negeb has been
a desert for at the very least half the time since the Negeb Mugri is
supposed to have existed. Where are the monuments? There are,
to be sure, fine ruins in the Negeb, but they are all Roman and mostly
Christian at that. This is clearly proved by the late type of the
archaeology and the late dates of the inscriptions. Another noticeable
feature is that the towns are generally built in the plain, thus showing
a period of peace. We are probably to place the full civilization of
this region only in the second century A. D. Much stronger are two
negative facts. One is the absence of pre-Roman pottery. At every
site, we eagerly searched for such, but among the great heaps only
Roman types were found. The other fact is the absence of tells, or
artificial mounds, in the Negeb region proper. To be sure, we have a
fine tell at Raphia, but this is on the direct road to Egypt and in part
is surely Graeco-Roman. In the days of the kingdom of Judah, that
is in the days when the Mugri kingdom is supposed to have flourished,
the boundary was from Geba to Beersheba, cf. " Dan to Beersheba."
Beersheba would appear to have been the southern boundary of civil-
ization to the Israelites and this is confirmed by the fact that, while
along this border and to the north there is a good plenty of tells, to
the south, in the Negeb proper, there is an utter absence of such
mounds, the only example being an insignificant one in the Wadi el
*Ain. No doubt the Negeb was inhabited before Roman times and
perhaps even settled, as the Joshua lists indicate, but a civilization
which, on the broad fertile plains which make up half the Negeb could
not leave tells or pottery deposits, may safely be assumed not to have
been important enough to have taken the place of Egypt in general
history for several centuries.

If strong negative objections can be gained from lack of remains
of a real civilization, even stronger are those connected with his-
torical geography. Where the topography is so all compelling as in
Syria, history may be expected to, and does, repeat itself very closely.
In studying the operations of the various armies, ancient and modern,
one is amazed to see how alike these operations are and how the
details of one account may be used to supplement the gaps of another.
It is therefore evidence of no small value when we can show that, age
after age, Egypt has been in the position of a fortified camp, always



62 WESTERN ASIA IN THE DAYS OF SARGON

open to attack most seriously on its northeast frontier and therefore
always having its advanced lines as far as possible on Syrian soil.
That this has always been so and is so to-day may be seen from a
brief survey of Egypt's history with this one point in view.

From the time of the first dynasty, Egypt held the Sinaitic peninsula.
Stress has hitherto been laid entirely on the commercial reasons for
this. But it must also have its military importance in keeping back
those Bedawin whose conquest is so often mentioned. With the
Hyksos conquest, the danger clearly showed itself, a forerunner of
the many conquests of Egypt from this side. The reaction against
these Hyksos, as is well known, resulted in a sudden extension of the
frontier to the Euphrates. We have no reason to suppose that this
sudden advance was due entirely, or even primarily, to desire for
revenge, to lust for conquest, or to hopes of gain. By this time, it
must have been apparent to thinking Egyptians that Egypt proper could
be protected against barbarian inroads only when a buffer on Syrian
soil existed. In very truth, when once these Syrian barriers have been
beaten down, generally by long patient attack, Egypt itself nas been
taken with a rush. How important this outer line was considered may
be seen from the frantic attempts of the Ramessidae to hold it against
ever increasing odds. At last, all was lost and the last important
attempt to hold Syria was that of Shishak.

Now, it will be generally admitted, it is Egypt and no other power
which is interfering in Syria. Under no circumstances can room be
found for a Negeb Mugri, for we have the accounts of the Egyptian
rulers themselves in good Egyptian. We have, then, no inscriptional
proof of such a Negeb kingdom until at least after 948 or thereabouts,
since Shishak was then the leading power on the south frontier. Nor
do the advocates of the theory find any such proof after 674, when
Esarhaddon made the first of his attacks on Egypt. All the political
events, then, in which Mugri can have been concerned as a nation, must
have occurred, if at all, between 948 and 674. Let us, however, for
the moment, leave these centuries aside and continue our study of
Egypt in Syria.

The Assyrian conquest of Egypt was temporary. As soon as they
were expelled, we find the new native dynasty, not content with Egypt
alone, trying to secure advanced lines in Syria. Psammetichus about
640 besieged Ascalon. Necho managed for three years, 608-605, to
hold the whole country to the Euphrates. Even after his defeat by
Nebuchadnezzar, he retained, if we can trust II Kings 24^, the territory
to the south of the brook of Egypt. It was on the help of Apries of
Egypt that Zedekiah relied when he revolted from the Babylonians.

The conquest of Syria by the Persians naturally led to the easy con-



BABYLONIA AND SYRIA 63

quest of Egypt. Conversely, when the Egyptians revolted against
Persia, the first idea was to block Persian advance by implicating
Syria in the revolt. Examples are the invasion of Syria by Tachos
and the revolt of Sidon instigated by Nectanebo. When Sidon fell,
note again the close connection, Artaxerxes III had no difficulty in
again taking the Nile valley.

It is a commonplace among historians that, of all the generals of
Alexander, Ptolemy was the wisest in that he laid aside hopes of
general dominion and concentrated his energies on one definite and
distinct part of the empire, there to found a kingdom. Remembering
this, it is extremely interesting to see that he too saw the necessity of
the Syrian barrier. So long as this barrier was held, Egypt was per-
fectly secure, but when Antiochus III in 198 won Palestine, the way
was opened for the advance of Antiochus I V and only the intervention
of Rome to preserve an artificial balance of power prevented the
natural result, the conquest of Egypt, from following this loss.

We see exactly the same condition of affairs during the Crusades.
The Muslims of Egypt never felt safe while Syria was in the hands
of the Franks and strove, generally with success, to hold a part of
Southern Syria as a barrier. On the other hand, the possession of a
base in Syria, whence wealthy Egypt might be attacked, played no
small part in Crusading policy. Nor is it out of place to mention the
tenacity of Mamluk control of Southern Syria.

The same conditions have held good in modern times. Napoleon
saw how weak was his power in Egypt when Syria was in the hands
of the enemy, and failure there led in no small measure to the failure
in Egypt. Muhammed Ali as clearly recognized the need of Syria to
his attempt to found a dynasty in Egypt. And to-day it is the same.
England in Egypt has seen this need, and the boundary is not at the
Isthmus of Suez, the seemingly natural boundary, but at Raphia, five
days to the northeast across the desert. The most northern garrison


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Online LibraryA. T. (Albert Ten Eyck) OlmsteadWestern Asia in the days of Sargon of Assyria → online text (page 6 of 18)