Gaston Camille Charles Maspero.

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

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Online LibraryGaston Camille Charles MasperoHistory of Egypt, Chaldæa, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria, Volume 7 (of 12) → online text (page 1 of 27)
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Produced by David Widger

[Illustration: Spines]

[Illustration: Cover]


By G. MASPERO, Honorable Doctor of Civil Laws, and Fellow of Queen's
College, Oxford; Member of the Institute and Professor at the College of

Edited by A. H. SAYCE, Professor of Assyriology, Oxford

Translated by M. L. McCLURE, Member of the Committee of the Egypt
Exploration Fund


Volume VII.




[Illustration: 001.jpg Frontispiece]

Slumber Song - After painting bv P. Grot. Johann

[Illustration: Titlepage]

[Illustration: 002.jpg PAGE IMAGE]



_The line of Assyrian kings after Assurirba, and the Babylonian
dynasties: the war between Rammân-nirâri III. and Shamash-mudammiq; his
victories over Babylon; Tukulti-ninip II. (890-885 B.C.) - The empire at
the accession of Assur-nazir-pal: the Assyrian army and the progress of
military tactics; cavalry, military engines; the condition of Assyria's
neighbours, methods of Assyrian conquest._

_The first campaigns of Assur-nazir-pal in Nairi and on the Khabur
(885-882 B.C.): Zamua reduced to an Assyrian province (881 B.C.) - The
fourth campaign in Naîri and the war on the Euphrates (880 B.C.); the
first conquest of BU-Adini - Northern Syria at the opening of the IXth
century: its civilisation, arts, army, and religion - The submission
of the Hittite states and of the Patina: the Assyrians reach the

_The empire after the wars of Assur-nazir-pal - Building of the palace
at Calah: Assyrian architecture and sculpture in the IXth century - The
tunnel of Negub and the palace of Balawât - The last years of
Assur-nazir-pal: His campaign of the year 867 in Naîri - The death of
Assur-nazir-pal (860 B.C.); his character._

_Shalmaneser III. (860-825 B.C.): the state of the empire at his
accession - Urartu: its physical features, races, towns, temples, its
deities - Shalmaneser's first campaign in Urartu: he penetrates as far
as Lake Van (860 B.C.) - The conquest of Bît-Adini and of Naîri (859-855

_The attack on Damascus: the battle of Qarqar (854 B.C.) and the war
against Babylon (852-851 B.C.) - The alliance between Judah and Israel,
the death of Ahab (853 B.C.); Damascus successfully resists the attacks
of Assyria (849-846 B.C.) - Moab delivered from Israel, Mesha; the death
of Ben-hadad (Adadidri) and the accession of Hazael; the fall of the
house of Omri-Jehu (843 B.C.) - The defeat of Hazael and the homage of
Jehu (842-839 B.C.). Wars in Cilicia and in Namri (838-835 B.c.): the
last battles of Shalmaneser III.; his building works, the revolt
of Assur-dain-pal - Samsi-rammân IV. (825-812 B.C.), his first three
expeditions, his campaigns against Babylon - Bammdn-nirdri IV, (812-783
B.C.) - Jehu, Athaliah, Joash: the supremacy of Hazael over Israel and
Judah - Victory of Bammdn-nirdri over Mari, and the submission of all
Syria to the Assyrians (803 B.C.)._

_The growth of Urartu: the conquests of Menuas and Argistis I., their
victories over Assyria - Shalmaneser IV. (783-772 B.C.) - Assurdân III.
(772-754 B.C.) - Assur-niruri III. (754-745 B.C.) - The downfall of
Assyria and the triumph of Urartu._

[Illustration: 003.jpg PAGE IMAGE]


_Assur-nazir-pal (885-860) and Shalmaneser III. (860-825) - The kingdom
of Urartu and its conquering princes: Menuas and Argistis._

Assyria was the first to reappear on the scene of action. Less hampered
by an ancient past than Egypt and Chaldæa, she was the sooner able to
recover her strength after any disastrous crisis, and to assume again
the offensive along the whole of her frontier line.

Image Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a bas-relief at Koyunjik
of the time of Sennacherib. The initial cut, which is also
by Faucher-Gudin, represents the broken obelisk of Assur-
nazir-pal, the bas-reliefs of which are as yet unpublished.

During the years immediately following the ephemeral victories and
reverses of Assurirba, both the country and its rulers are plunged in
the obscurity of oblivion. Two figures at length, though at what date
is uncertain, emerge from the darkness - a certain Irbarammân and an
Assur-nadinakhê II., whom we find engaged in building palaces and making
a necropolis. They were followed towards 950 by a Tiglath-pileser II.,
of whom nothing is known but his name.* He in his turn was succeeded
about the year 935 by one Assurdân II., who appears to have concentrated
his energies upon public works, for we hear of him digging a canal to
supply his capital with water, restoring the temples and fortifying
towns. Kammân-nirâri III., who followed him in 912, stands out more
distinctly from the mists which envelop the history of this period;
he repaired the gate of the Tigris and the adjoining wall at Assur, he
enlarged its principal sanctuary, reduced several rebellious provinces
to obedience, and waged a successful warfare against the neighbouring
inhabitants of Karduniash. Since the extinction of the race of
Nebuchadrezzar I., Babylon had been a prey to civil discord and foreign
invasion. The Aramaean tribes mingled with, or contiguous to the
remnants of the Cossoans bordering on the Persian gulf, constituted
possibly, even at this period, the powerful nation of the Kaldâ.**

* Our only knowledge of Tiglath-pileser II. is from a brick,
on which he is mentioned as being the grandfather of Rammân-
nirâri II.

** The names Chaldæa and Chaldæans being ordinarily used to
designate the territory and people of Babylon, I shall
employ the term Kaldu or Kaldâ in treating of the Aramæan
tribes who constituted the actual Chaldæan nation.

It has been supposed, not without probability, that a certain
Simashshikhu, Prince of the Country of the Sea, who immediately followed
the last scion of the line of Pashê,* was one of their chiefs. He
endeavoured to establish order in the city, and rebuilt the temple of
the Sun destroyed by the nomads at Sippar, but at the end of eighteen
years he was assassinated. His son Eâmukinshurnu remained at the head of
affairs some three to six months; Kashshu-nadinakhê ruled three or
six years, at the expiration of which a man of the house of Bâzi,
Eulbar-shakinshumi by name, seized upon the crown.** His dynasty
consisted of three members, himself included, and it was overthrown
after a duration of twenty years by an Elamite, who held authority for
another seven.***

* The name of this prince has been read Simbarshiku by
Peiser, a reading adopted by Rost; Simbarshiku would have
been shortened into Sibir, and we should have to identify it
with that of the Sibir mentioned by Assur-nazir-pal in his
Annals, col. ii. 1. 84, as a king of Karduniash who lived
before his (Assur-nazir-pal's) time (see p. 38 of the
present volume).

** The name of this king may be read Edubarshakîn-shumi. The
house of Bâzi takes its name from an ancestor who must have
founded it at some unknown date, but who never reigned in
Chaldæa. Winckler has with reason conjectured that the name
subsequently lost its meaning to the Babylonians, and that
they confused the Chaldæan house of Bâzi with the Arab
country of Bâzu: this may explain why in his dynasties
Berosos attributes an Arab origin to that one which
comprises the short-lived line of Bît-Bâzi.

*** Our knowledge of these events is derived solely from the
texts of the Babylonian Canon published and translated by G.
Smith, by Pinches, and by Sayce. The inscription of
Nabubaliddin informs us that Kashu-nadînakhê and Eulbar-
shâkinshumu continued the works begun by Simashshiku in the
temple of the Sun at Sippar.

It was a period of calamity and distress, during which the Arabs or the
Aramæans ravaged the country, and pillaged without compunction not only
the property of the inhabitants, but also that of the gods. The
Elamite usurper having died about the year 1030, a Babylonian of noble
extraction expelled the intruders, and succeeded in bringing the larger
part of the kingdom under his rule.*

* The names of the first kings of this dynasty are destroyed in
the copies of the Royal Canon which have come down to us. The three
preceding dynasties are restored as follows: -

[Illustration: 006.jpg TABLE OF KINGS]

Five or six of his descendants had passed away, and a certain
Shamash-mudammiq was feebly holding the reins of government, when the
expeditions of Rammân-nirâri III. provoked war afresh between Assyria
and Babylon. The two armies encountered each other once again on
their former battlefield between the Lower Zab and the Turnat.
Shamash-mudammiq, after being totally routed near the Yalmân mountains,
did not long survive, and Naboshumishkun, who succeeded him, showed
neither more ability nor energy than his predecessor. The Assyrians
wrested from him the fortresses of Bambala and Bagdad, dislodged him
from the positions where he had entrenched himself, and at length took
him prisoner while in flight, and condemned him to perpetual captivity.*

* Shamash-mudammiq appears to have died about 900.
Naboshumishkun probably reigned only one or two years, from
900 to 899 or to 898. The name of his successor is destroyed
in the _Synchronous History_; it might be Nabubaliddin, who
seems to have had a long life, but it is wiser, until fresh
light is thrown on the subject, to admit that it is some
prince other than Nabubaliddin, whose name is as yet unknown
to us.

His successor abandoned to the Assyrians most of the districts situated
on the left bank of the Lower Zab between the Zagros mountains and the
Tigris, and peace, which was speedily secured by a double marriage,
remained unbroken for nearly half a century. Tukulti-ninip II. was fond
of fighting; "he overthrew his adversaries and exposed their heads upon
stakes," but, unlike his predecessor, he directed his efforts against
Naîri and the northern and western tribes. We possess no details of his
campaigns; we can only surmise that in six years, from 890 to 885,* he
brought into subjection the valley of the Upper Tigris and the mountain
provinces which separate it from the Assyrian plain. Having reached the
source of the river, he carved, beside the image of Tiglath-pileser I.,
the following inscription, which may still be read upon the rock. "With
the help of Assur, Shamash, and Rammân, the gods of his religion, he
reached this spot. The lofty mountains he subjugated from the sun-rising
to its down-setting; victorious, irresistible, he came hither, and like
unto the lightning he crossed the raging rivers."**

* The parts preserved of the Eponym canon begin their record
in 893, about the end of the reign of Rammân-nirâri IL The
line which distinguishes the two reigns from one another is
drawn between the name of the personage who corresponds to
the year 890, and that of Tukulti-ninip who corresponds to
the year 889: Tukulti-ninip II., therefore, begins his reign
in 890, and his death is six years later, in 885.

** This inscription and its accompanying bas-relief are
mentioned in the _Annals of Assur-nazir-pal_.

He did not live long to enjoy his triumphs, but his death made no
impression on the impulse given to the fortunes of his country. The
kingdom which he left to Assur-nazir-pal, the eldest of his sons,
embraced scarcely any of the countries which had paid tribute to former
sovereigns. Besides Assyria proper, it comprised merely those districts
of Naîri which had been annexed within his own generation; the
remainder had gradually regained their liberty: first the outlying
dependencies - Cilicia, Melitene, Northern Syria, and then the provinces
nearer the capital, the valleys of the Masios and the Zagros, the
steppes of the Khabur, and even some districts such as Lubdi and
Shupria, which had been allotted to Assyrian colonists at various
times after successful campaigns. Nearly the whole empire had to be
reconquered under much the same conditions as in the first instance.
Assyria itself, it is true, had recovered the vitality and elasticity of
its earlier days. The people were a robust and energetic race, devoted
to their rulers, and ready to follow them blindly and trustingly
wherever they might lead. The army, while composed chiefly of the same
classes of troops as in the time of Tiglath-pileser I., - spearmen,
archers, sappers, and slingers, - now possessed a new element, whose
appearance on the field of battle was to revolutionize the whole method
of warfare; this was the cavalry, properly so called, introduced as an
adjunct to the chariotry. The number of horsemen forming this contingent
was as yet small; like the infantry, they wore casques and cuirasses,
but were clothed with a tight-fitting loin-cloth in place of the
long kilt, the folds of which would have embarrassed their movements.
One-half of the men carried sword and lance, the other half sword and
bow, the latter of a smaller kind than that used by the infantry. Their
horses were bridled, and bore trappings on the forehead, but had no
saddles; their riders rode bareback without stirrups; they sat far back
with the chest thrown forward, their knees drawn up to grip the shoulder
of the animal.


Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a bas-relief in bronze on the
gate of Balawât. The Assyrian artist has shown the head and
legs of the second horse in profile behind the first, but he
has forgotten to represent the rest of its body, and also
the man riding it.

Each horseman was attended by a groom, who rode abreast of him, and held
his reins during an action, so that he might be free to make use of
his weapons. This body of cavalry, having little confidence in its own
powers, kept in close contact with the main body of the army, and was
not used in independent manouvres; it was associated with and formed an
escort to the chariotry in expeditions where speed was essential, and
where the ordinary foot soldier would have hampered the movements of the

* Isolated horsemen must no doubt have existed in the
Assyrian just as in the Egyptian army, but we never find any
mention of a _body_ of cavalry in inscriptions prior to the
time of Assur-nazir-pal; the introduction of this new corps
must consequently have taken place between the reigns of
Tiglath-pileser and Assur-nazir-pal, probably nearer the
time of the latter. Assur-nazir-pal himself seldom speaks of
his cavalry, but he constantly makes mention of the horsemen
of the Aramaean and Syrian principalities, whom he
incorporated into his own army.


Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from one of the bronze bas-reliefs
of the gate of Balawât.

The army thus reinforced was at all events more efficient, if not
actually more powerful, than formerly; the discipline maintained was as
severe, the military spirit as keen, the equipment as perfect, and the
tactics as skilful as in former times. A knowledge of engineering had
improved upon the former methods of taking towns by sapping and scaling,
and though the number of military engines was as yet limited, the
besiegers were well able, when occasion demanded, to improvise and make
use of machines capable of demolishing even the strongest walls.*

* The battering-ram had already reached such a degree of
perfection under Assur-nazir-pal, that it must have been
invented some time before the execution of the first bas-
reliefs on which we see it portrayed. Its points of
resemblance to the Greek battering-ram furnished Hoofer with
one of his mam arguments for placing the monuments of
Khorsabad and Koyunjik as late as the Persian or Parthian

The Assyrians were familiar with all the different kinds of
battering-ram; the hand variety, which was merely a beam tipped with
iron, worked by some score of men; the fixed ram, in which the beam was
suspended from a scaffold and moved by means of ropes; and lastly,
the movable ram, running on four or six wheels, which enabled it to be
advanced or withdrawn at will. The military engineers of the day allowed
full rein to their fancy in the many curious shapes they gave to this
latter engine; for example, they gave to the mass of bronze at its point
the form of the head of an animal, and the whole engine took at times
the form of a sow ready to root up with its snout the foundations of the
enemy's defences. The scaffolding of the machine was usually protected
by a carapace of green leather or some coarse woollen material stretched
over it, which broke the force of blows from projectiles: at times it
had an additional arrangement in the shape of a cupola or turret in
which archers were stationed to sweep the face of the wall opposite to
the point of attack.


Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from one of the bronze bas-reliefs
of the gate of Balawât.

The battering-rams were set up and placed in line at a short distance
from the ramparts of the besieged town; the ground in front of them was
then levelled and a regular causeway constructed, which was paved with
bricks wherever the soil appeared to be lacking in firmness. These
preliminaries accomplished, the engines were pushed forward by relays
of troops till they reached the required range. The effort needed to set
the ram in motion severely taxed the strength of those engaged in the
work; for the size of the beam was enormous, and its iron point, or the
square mass of metal at the end, was of no light weight. The besieged
did their best to cripple or, if possible, destroy the engine as it
approached them.


Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a bas-relief brought from
Nimroud, now in the British Museum.

Torches, lighted tow, burning pitch, and stink-pots were hurled down
upon its roofing: attempts were made to seize the head of the ram by
means of chains or hooks, so as to prevent it from moving, or in order
to drag it on to the battlements; in some cases the garrison succeeded
in crushing the machinery with a mass of rock. The Assyrians, however,
did not allow themselves to be discouraged by such trifling accidents;
they would at once extinguish the fire, release, by sheer force of
muscle, the beams which the enemy had secured, and if, notwithstanding
all their efforts, one of the machines became injured, they had others
ready to take its place, and the ram would be again at work after only a
few minutes' delay. Walls, even when of burnt brick or faced with small
stones, stood no chance against such an attack.


Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a bas-relief from Nimroud, now
in the British Museum.

The first blow of the ram sufficed to shake them, and an opening was
rapidly made, so that in a few days, often in a few hours, they became
a heap of ruins; the foot soldiers could then enter by the breach which
the pioneers had effected.

It must, however, be remembered that the strength and discipline which
the Assyrian troops possessed in such a high degree, were common to
the military forces of all the great states - Elam, Damascus, Naîri, the
Hittites, and Chaldæa. It was owing to this, and also to the fact that
the armies of all these Powers were, as a rule, both in strength and
numbers, much on a par, that no single state was able to inflict on any
of the rest such a defeat as would end in its destruction. What decisive
results had the terrible struggles produced, which stained almost
periodically the valleys of the Tigris and the Zab with blood? After
endless loss of life and property, they had nearly always issued in the
establishment of the belligerents in their respective possessions,
with possibly the cession of some few small towns or fortresses to the
stronger party, most of which, however, were destined to come back to
its former possessor in the very next campaign. The fall of the capital
itself was not decisive, for it left the vanquished foe chafing under
his losses, while the victory cost his rival so dear that he was unable
to maintain the ascendency for more than a few years. Twice at least
in three centuries a king of Assyria had entered Babylon, and twice the
Babylonians had expelled the intruder of the hour, and had forced him
back with a blare of trumpets to the frontier. Although the Ninevite
dynasties had persisted in their pretensions to a suzerainty which
they had generally been unable to enforce, the tradition of which,
unsupported by any definite decree, had been handed on from one
generation to another; yet in practice their kings had not succeeded in
"taking the hands of Bel," and in reigning personally in Babylon, nor
in extorting from the native sovereign an official acknowledgment of
his vassalage. Profiting doubtless by past experience, Assur-nazir-pal
resolutely avoided those direct conflicts in which so many of his
predecessors had wasted their lives. If he did not actually renounce
his hereditary pretensions, he was content to let them lie dormant. He
preferred to accommodate himself to the terms of the treaty signed a
few years previously by Rammân-nirâri, even when Babylon neglected
to observe them; he closed his eyes to the many ill-disguised acts of
hostility to which he was exposed,* and devoted all his energies to
dealing with less dangerous enemies.

* He did not make the presence of Cossoan troops among the
allies of the Sukhi a casus belli, even though they were
commanded by a brother and by one of the principal officers
of the King of Babylon.

Even if his frontier touched Karduniash to the south, elsewhere he was
separated from the few states strong enough to menace his kingdom by
a strip of varying width, comprising several less important tribes and
cities; - to the east and north-east by the barbarians of obscure race
whose villages and strongholds were scattered along the upper affluents
of the Tigris or on the lower terraces of the Iranian plateau: to the
west and north-west by the principalities and nomad tribes, mostly of
Aramoan extraction, who now for a century had peopled the mountains
of the Tigris and the steppes of Mesopotamia. They were high-spirited,
warlike, hardy populations, proud of their independence and quick
to take up arms in its defence or for its recovery, but none of them
possessed more than a restricted domain, or had more than a handful
of soldiers at its disposal. At times, it is true, the nature of their
locality befriended them, and the advantages of position helped to
compensate for their paucity of numbers.

[Illustration: 017.jpg THE ESCARPMENTS OF THE ZAB]

Drawn by Boudier, from a photograph by M. Binder.

Sometimes they were entrenched behind one of those rapid watercourses
like the Radanu, the Zab, or the Turnat, which are winter torrents
rather than streams, and are overhung by steep banks, precipitous as a
wall above a moat; sometimes they took refuge upon some wooded height
and awaited attack amid its rocks and pine woods. Assyria was
superior to all of them, if not in the valour of its troops, at least
numerically, and, towering in the midst of them, she could single out
at will whichever tribe offered the easiest prey, and falling on it
suddenly, would crush it by sheer force of weight. In such a case the
surrounding tribes, usually only too well pleased to witness in safety
the fall of a dangerous rival, would not attempt to interfere; but their
turn was ere long sure to come, and the pity which they had declined
to show to their neighbours was in like manner refused to them. The
Assyrians ravaged their country, held their chiefs to ransom, razed
their strongholds, or, when they did not demolish them, garrisoned
them with their own troops who held sway over the country. The revenues

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