Gaston Camille Charles Maspero.

History of Egypt, Chaldæa, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria, Volume 7 (of 12) online

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Kharidi ought in that case to be looked for on the opposite
bank, near Abu-Subân and Aksubi, where Chesney points out
ancient remains. A day's march beyond Kabr Abu-Atîsh brings
us to El-Khass, so that the town of Anat would be in the
Isle of Moglah. Shuru must be somewhere near one of the two
Tell-Menakhîrs on this side the Balikh.


At length, on reaching Shuru, Shadadu, the Prince of Sukhi, trusting
in his Cossoans, offered him battle; but he was defeated by
Assur-na'zir-pal, who captured the King of Babylon's brother, forced
his way into the town after an assault lasting two days, and returned to
Assyria laden with spoil. This might almost be considered as a repulse;
for no sooner had the king quitted the country than the Aramaeans in
their turn crossed the Euphrates and ravaged the plains of the Khabur.*
Assur-nazir-pal resolved not to return until he was in a position
to carry his arms into the heart of the enemy's country. He built
a flotilla at Shuru in Bît-Khalupi on which he embarked his troops.
Wherever the navigation of the Euphrates proved to be difficult, the
boats were drawn up out of the water and dragged along the banks over
rollers until they could again be safely launched; thus, partly afloat
and partly on land, they passed through the gorge of Halebiyeh, landed
at Kharidi, and inflicted a salutary punishment on the cities which had
defied the king's wrath on his last expedition. Khindânu, Kharidi, and
Kipina were reduced to ruins, and the Sukhi and the Laqi defeated, the
Assyrians pursuing them for two days in the Bisuru mountains as far as
the frontiers of Bit-Adini.**

* The _Annals_ do not give us either the _limmu_ or the date
of the year for this new expedition. The facts taken
altogether prove that it was a continuation of the preceding
one, and it may therefore be placed in the year B.C. 878.

** The campaign of B.C. 878 had for its arena that of the
Euphrates which lies between the Khabur and the Balikh; this
time, however, the principal operations took place on the
right bank. If Mount Bisuru is the Jebel-Bishri, the town of
Kipina, which is mentioned between it and Kharidi, ought to
be located between Maidân and Sabkha.

A complete submission was brought about, and its permanency secured
by the erection of two strongholds, one of which, Kar-assur-nazir-pal,
commanded the left, and the other, Nibarti-assur, the right bank of the

This last expedition had brought the king into contact with the most
important of the numerous Aramaean states congregated in the western
region of Mesopotamia. This was Bît-Adini, which lay on both sides of
the middle course of the Euphrates.** It included, on the right bank, to
the north of Carchemish, between the hills on the Sajur and Arabân-Su, a
mountainous but fertile district, dotted over with towns and fortresses,
the names of some of which have been preserved - Pakarrukhbuni, Sursunu,
Paripa, Dabigu, and Shitamrat.*** Tul-Barsip, the capital, was situated
on the left bank, commanding the fords of the modern Birejîk,****
and the whole of the territory between this latter and the Balîkh
acknowledged the rule of its princes, whose authority also extended
eastwards as far as the basaltic plateau of Tul-Abâ, in the Mesopotamian

* The account in the Annals is confused, and contains
perhaps some errors with regard to the facts. The site of
the two towns is nowhere indicated, but a study of the map
shows that the Assyrians could not become masters of the
country without occupying the passes of the Euphrates; I am
inclined to think that Kar-assur-nazir-pal is El-Halebiyeh,
and Nibarti-assur, Zalebiyeh, the Zenobia of Roman times.

** Bît-Adini appears to have occupied, on the right bank of
the Euphrates, a part of the cazas of Aîn-Tab, Rum-kaleh,
and Birejîk, that of Suruji, minus the nakhiyeh of Harrân,
the larger part of the cazas of Membîj and of Rakkah, and
part of the caza of Zôr, the cazas being those represented
on the maps of Vital Cuinet.

*** None of these localities can be identified with
certainty, except perhaps Dabigu, a name we may trace in
that of the modern village of Dehbek.

**** Tul-Barsip has been identified with Birejîk.

To the south-east, Bît-Adini bordered upon the country of the Sukhi and
the Laqi,* lying to the east of Assyria; other principalities, mainly of
Aramoan origin, formed its boundary to the north and north-west - Shugab
in the bend of the Euphrates, from Birejîk to Samosata,** Tul-Abnî
around Edessa,*** the district of Harrân,**** Bît-Zamani, Izalla in
the Tektek-dagh and on the Upper Khabur, and Bît-Bakhiâni in the plain
extending from the Khabur to the Kharmish.^

* In his previous campaign Assur-nazir-pal had taken two
towns of Bît-Adini, situated on the right bank of the
Euphrates, at the eastern extremity of Mount Bisuru, near
the frontier of the Lâqi.

** The country of Shugab is mentioned between Birejîk (Tul-
Barsip) and Bît-Zamani, in one of the campaigns of
Shalmaneser III., which obliges us to place it in the caza
of Rum-kaleh; the name has been read Sumu.

*** Tul-Abnî, which was at first sought for near the sources
of the Tigris, has been placed in the Mesopotamian plain.
The position which it occupies among the other names obliges
us to put it near Bît-Adini and Bît-Zamani: the only
possible site that I can find for it is at Orfah, the Edessa
of classical times.

**** The country of Harrân is nowhere mentioned as belonging
either to Bît-Adini or to Tul-Abnî: we must hence conclude
that at this period it formed a little principality
independent of those two states.

^ The situation of Bît-Bakhiâni is shown by the position
which it occupies in the account of the campaign, and by the
names associated with it in another passage of the _Annals_.

Bît-Zamani had belonged to Assyria by right of conquest ever since the
death of Ammibaal; Izalla and Bît-Bakhiâni had fulfilled their duties
as vassals whenever Assur-nazir-pal had appeared in their neighbourhood;
Bît-Adini alone had remained independent, though its strength was more
apparent than real. The districts which it included had never been able
to form a basis for a powerful state. If by chance some small kingdom
arose within it, uniting under one authority the tribes scattered over
the burning plain or along the river banks, the first conquering
dynasty which sprang up in the neighbourhood would be sure to effect its
downfall, and absorb it under its own leadership. As Mitâni, saved by
its remote position from bondage to Egypt, had not been able to escape
from acknowledging the supremacy of the Khâti, so Bît-Adini was destined
to fall almost without a struggle under the yoke of the Assyrians. It
was protected from their advance by the volcanic groups of the Urâa and
Tul-Abâ, which lay directly in the way of the main road from the marshes
of the Khabur to the outskirts of Tul-Barsip. Assur-nazir-pal, who might
have worked round this line of natural defence to the north through
Nirbu, or to the south through his recently acquired province of Lâqi,
preferred to approach it in front; he faced the desert, and, in spite of
the drought, he invested the strongest citadel of Tul-Abâ in the month
of June, 877 B.C. The name of the place was Kaprabi, and its inhabitants
believed it impregnable, clinging as it did to the mountain-side "like
a cloud in the sky."*

* The name is commonly interpreted "Great Rock," and divided
thus - Kap-rabi. It may also be considered, like Kapridargila
or Kapranishâ, as being formed of _Kapru_ and _abi_; this
latter element appears to exist in the ancient name of
Telaba, Thallaba, now Tul-Abâ. Kapr-abi might be a fortress
of the province of Tul-Abâ.

The king, however, soon demolished its walls by sapping and by the use
of the ram, killed 800 of its garrison, burned its houses, and carried
off 2400 men with their families, whom he installed in one of the
suburbs of Calah. Akhuni, who was then reigning in Bît-Adini, had not
anticipated that the invasion would reach his neighbourhood: he at once
sent hostages and purchased peace by a tribute; the Lord of Tul-Abnî
followed his example, and the dominion of Assyria was carried at a blow
to the very frontier of the Khâti. It was about two centuries before
this that Assurirba had crossed these frontiers with his vanquished
army, but the remembrance of his defeat had still remained fresh in the
memory of the people, as a warning to the sovereign who should attempt
the old hazardous enterprise, and repeat the exploits of Sargon of Agadê
or of Tiglath-pileser I. Assur-nazir-pal made careful preparations for
this campaign, so decisive a one for his own prestige and for the future
of the empire. He took with him not only all the Assyrian troops at his
disposal, but requisitioned by the way the armies of his most recently
acquired vassals, incorporating them with his own, not so much for the
purpose of augmenting his power of action, as to leave no force in his
rear when once he was engaged hand to hand with the Syrian legions.
He left Calah in the latter days of April, 876 B.C.,* receiving
the customary taxes from Bît-Bakhiâni, Izalla, and Bît-Adini, which
comprised horses, silver, gold, copper, lead, precious stuffs, vessels
of copper and furniture of ivory; having reached Tul-Barsip, he accepted
the gifts offered by Tul-Abni, and crossing the Euphrates upon rafts of
inflated skins, he marched his columns against Oarchemish.

* On the 8th Iyyâr, but without any indication of limmu, or
any number of the year or of the campaign; the date 876 B.C.
is admitted by the majority of historians.

The political organisation of Northern Syria had remained entirely
unaltered since the days when Tiglath-pileser made his first victorious
inroad into the country. The Cilician empire which succeeded to the
Assyrian - if indeed it ever extended as far as some suppose - did not
last long enough to disturb the balance of power among the various races
occupying Syria: it had subjugated them for a time, but had not been
able to break them up and reconstitute them. At the downfall of the
Cilician Empire the small states were still intact, and occupied, as of
old, the territory comprising the ancient Naharaim of the Egyptians, the
plateau between the Orontes and the Euphrates, the forests and marshy
lowlands of the Amanos, the southern slopes of Taurus, and the plains of


Of these states, the most famous, though not then the most redoubtable,
was that with which the name of the Khâti is indissolubly connected, and
which had Carchemish as its capital. This ancient city, seated on the
banks of the Euphrates, still maintained its supremacy there, but though
its wealth and religious ascendency were undiminished, its territory had
been curtailed. The people of Bît-Adini had intruded themselves between
this state and Kummukh, Arazik hemmed it in on the south, Khazazu
and Khalmân confined it on the west, so that its sway was only freely
exercised in the basin of the Sajur. On the north-west frontier of the
Khâti lay Gurgum, whose princes resided at Marqasi and ruled over the
central valley of the Pyramos together with the entire basin of the
Ak-su. Mikhri,* Iaudi, and Samalla lay on the banks of the Saluara, and
in the forests of the Amanos to the south of Gurgum. Kuî maintained its
uneventful existence amid the pastures of Cilicia, near the marshes at
the mouth of the Pyramos. To the south of the Sajur, Bît-Agusi** barred
the way to the Orontes; and from their lofty fastness of Arpad, its
chiefs kept watch over the caravan road, and closed or opened it at
their will.

* Mikhri or Ismikhri, i.e. "the country of larches," was the
name of a part of the Amanos, possibly near the Pyramos.

** The real name of the country was Iakhânu, but it was
called Bît-Gusi or Bît-Agusi, like Bît-Adini, Bît-Bakhiâni,
Bît-Omri, after the founder of the reigning dynasty. We must
place Iakhânu to the south of Azaz, in the neighbourhood of
Arpad, with this town as its capital.

They held the key of Syria, and though their territory was small in
extent, their position was so strong that for more than a century and
a half the majority of the Assyrian generals preferred to avoid this
stronghold by making a detour to the west, rather than pass beneath its
walls. Scattered over the plateau on the borders of Agusi, or hidden in
the valleys of Amanos, were several less important principalities, most
of them owing allegiance to Lubarna, at that time king of the Patina and
the most powerful sovereign of the district. The Patina had apparently
replaced the Alasia of Egyptian times, as Bît-Adini had superseded
Mitâni; the fertile meadow-lands to the south of Samalla on the Afrîn
and the Lower Orontes, together with the mountainous district between
the Orontes and the sea as far as the neighbourhood of Eleutheros, also
belonged to the Patina.


Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a sketch by Perrot and Chipiez.

On the southern frontier of the Patina lay the important Phoenician
cities, Arvad, Arka, and Sina; and on the south-east, the fortresses
belonging to Hamath and Damascus. The characteristics of the country
remained unchanged. Fortified towns abounded on all sides, as well as
large walled villages of conical huts, like those whose strange outlines
on the horizon are familiar to the traveller at the present-day. The
manners and civilisation of Chaldæa pervaded even more than formerly the
petty courts, but the artists clung persistently to Asianic tradition,
and the bas-reliefs which adorned the palaces and temples were similar
in character to those we find scattered throughout Asia Minor; there
is the same inaccurate drawing, the same rough execution, the same
tentative and awkward composition.


Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph reproduced in Peters.

The scribes from force of custom still employed the cuneiform syllabary
in certain official religious or royal inscriptions, but, as it was
difficult to manipulate and limited in application, the speech of the
Aramæan immigrants and the Phoenician alphabet gradually superseded the
ancient language and mode of writing.*

* There is no monument bearing an inscription in this
alphabet which can be referred with any certainty to the
time of Assur-nazir-pal, but the inscriptions of the kings
of Samalla date back to a period not more than a century and
a half later than his reign; we may therefore consider the
Aramæan alphabet as being in current use in Northern Syria
at the beginning of the ninth century, some forty years
before the date of Mesha's inscription (i.e. the Moabite

Thus these Northern Syrians became by degrees assimilated to the people
of Babylon and Nineveh, much as the inhabitants of a remote province
nowadays adapt their dress, their architecture, their implements of
husbandry and handicraft, their military equipment and organisation, to
the fashions of the capital.*

* One can judge of their social condition from the
enumeration of the objects which formed their tribute, or
the spoil which the Assyrian kings carried off from their


Drawn by Boudier, from a bas-relief.

Their armies were modelled on similar lines, and consisted of archers,
plkemen, slingers, and those troops of horsemen which accompanied the
chariotry on flying raids; the chariots, moreover, closely followed the
Assyrian type, even down to the padded bar with embroidered hangings
which connected the body of the chariot with the end of the pole.


Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a bronze bas-relief on the
gates of Balawât.

The Syrian princes did not adopt the tiara, but they wore the long
fringed robe, confined by a girdle at the waist, and their mode of life,
with its ceremonies, duties, and recreations, differed little from that
prevailing in the palaces of Calah or Babylon. They hunted big game,
including the lion, according to the laws of the chase recognised at
Nineveh, priding themselves as much on their exploits in hunting, as on
their triumphs in war.


Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph by Hogarth, published in
the _Recueil de Travaux_.

Their religion was derived from the common source which underlay all
Semitic religions, but a considerable number of Babylonian deities were
also worshipped; these had been introduced in some cases without any
modification, whilst in others they had been assimilated to more ancient
gods bearing similar characteristics: at Nerab, among the Patina, Nusku
and his female companion Nikal, both of Chaldæan origin, claimed the
homage of the faithful, to the disparagement of Shahr the moon and
Shamash the sun. Local cults often centred round obscure deities held
in little account by the dominant races; thus Samalla reverenced Uru the
light, Bekubêl the wind, the chariot of El, not to mention El himself,
Besheph, Hadad, and the Cabin, the servants of Besheph.

[Illustration: 057.jpg THE GOD HADAD]

Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from the photograph in Luschan.

These deities were mostly of the Assyrian type, and if one may draw
any conclusion from the few representations of them already discovered,
their rites must have been celebrated in a manner similar to that
followed in the cities on the Lower Euphrates. Scarcely any signs of
Egyptian influence survived, though here and there a trace of it might
be seen in the figures of calf or bull, the vulture of Mut or the
sparrow-hawk of Horus. Assur-nazir-pal, marching from the banks of the
Khabur to Bît-Adini, and from Bît-Adini passing on to Northern Syria,
might almost have imagined himself still in his own dominions, so
gradual and imperceptible were the changes in language and civilisation
in the country traversed between Nineveh and Assur, Tul-Barsip and

His expedition was unattended by danger or bloodshed. Lubarna, the
reigning prince of the Patina, was possibly at that juncture meditating
the formation of a Syrian empire under his rule. Unki, in which lay his
capital of Kunulua, was one of the richest countries of Asia,* being
well watered by the Afrin, Orontes, and Saluara;** no fields produced
such rich harvests as his, no meadows pastured such cattle or were
better suited to the breeding of war-horses.

* The Unki of the Assyrians, the Uniuqa of the Egyptians, is
the valley of Antioch, the Amk of the present day. Kunulua
or Kinalia, the capital of the Patina, has been identified
with the Gindaros of Greek times; I prefer to identify it
with the existing Tell-Kunâna, written for Tell-Kunâla by
the common substitution of _n_ for _l_ at the end of proper

** The Saluara of the Assyrian texts is the present Kara-su,
which flows into the Ak-Denîz, the lake of Antioch.


Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from the impression taken from a
Hittite cylinder.

His mountain provinces yielded him wood and minerals, and provided a
reserve of semi-savage woodcutters and herdsmen from which to recruit
his numerous battalions. The neighbouring princes, filled with
uneasiness or jealousy by his good fortune, saw in the Assyrian monarch
a friend and a liberator rather than an enemy. Carchemish opened its
gates and laid at his feet the best of its treasures - twenty talents of
silver, ingots, rings, and daggers of gold, a hundred talents of copper,
two hundred talents of iron, bronze bulls, cups decorated with scenes
in relief or outline, ivory in the tusk or curiously wrought, purple
and embroidered stuffs, and the state carriage of its King Shangara.
The Hittite troops, assembled in haste, joined forces with the Aramæan
auxiliaries, and the united host advanced on Coele-Syria. The scribe
commissioned to record the history of this expedition has taken a
delight in inserting the most minute details. Leaving Carchemish, the
army followed the great caravan route, and winding its way between the
hills of Munzigâni and Khamurga, skirting Bît-Agusi, at length arrived
under the walls of Khazazu among the Patina.*

* Khazazu being the present Azaz, the Assyrian army must
have followed the route which still leads from Jerabis to
this town. Mount Munzigâni and Khamurga, mentioned between
Carchemish and Akhânu or Iakhânu, must lie between the Sajur
and the Koweik, near Shehab, at the only point on the route
where the road passes between two ranges of lofty hills.

The town having purchased immunity by a present of gold and of finely
woven stuffs, the army proceeded to cross the Apriê, on the bank of
which an entrenched camp was formed for the storage of the spoil.
Lubarna offered no resistance, but nevertheless refused to acknowledge
his inferiority; after some delay, ifc was decided to make a direct
attack on his capital, Kunulua, whither he had retired. The appearance
of the Assyrian vanguard put a speedy end to his ideas of resistance:
prostrating himself before his powerful adversary, he offered hostages,
and emptied his palaces and stables to provide a ransom. This comprised
twenty talents of silver, one talent of gold, a hundred talents of
lead, a hundred talents of iron, a thousand bulls, ten thousand sheep,
daughters of his nobles with befitting changes of garments, and all the
paraphernalia of vessels, jewels, and costly stuffs which formed
the necessary furniture of a princely household. The effect of his
submission on his own vassals and the neighbouring tribes was shown in
different ways. Bît-Agusi at once sent messengers to congratulate the
conqueror, but the mountain provinces awaited the invader's nearer
approach before following its example. Assur-nazir-pal, seeing that they
did not take the initiative, crossed the Orontes, probably at the spot
where the iron bridge now stands, and making his way through the country
between laraku and Iaturi,* reached the banks of the Sangura* without
encountering any difficulty.

* The spot where Assur-nazir-pal must have crossed the
Orontes is determined by the respective positions of Kunulua
and Tell-Kunâna. At the iron bridge, the modern traveller
has the choice of two roads: one, passing Antioch and Beît-
el-Mâ, leads to Urdeh on the Nahr-el-Kebîr; the other
reaches the same point by a direct route over the Gebel
Kosseir. If, as I believe, Assur-nazir-pal took the latter
route, the country and Mount laraku must be the northern
part of Gebel Kosseir in the neighbourhood of Antioch, and
Iaturi, the southern part of the same mountain near Derkush.
laraku is mentioned in the same position by Shalmaneser
III., who reached it after crossing the Orontes, on
descending from the Amanos _en route_ for the country of

** The Sangura or Sagura has been identified by Delattre
with the Nahr-el-Kebîr, not that river which the Greeks
called the Eleutheros, but that which flows into the sea
near Latakia. Before naming the Sangura, the _Annals_
mention a country, whose name, half effaced, ended in _-ku_:
I think we may safely restore this name as [Ashtama]kou,
mentioned by Shalmaneser III. in this region, after the name
of laraku. The country of Ashtamaku would thus be the
present canton of Urdeh, which is traversed before reaching
the banks of the Nahr-el-Kebîr.

After a brief halt there in camp, he turned his back on the sea, and
passing between Saratini and Duppâni,* took by assault the fortress of
Aribua.** This stronghold commanded all the surrounding country, and was

Online LibraryGaston Camille Charles MasperoHistory of Egypt, Chaldæa, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria, Volume 7 (of 12) → online text (page 4 of 27)