Early Israel and the Surrounding Nations eBook

Archibald Sayce
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 247 pages of information about Early Israel and the Surrounding Nations.

If we may trust the representations of the Assyrian artists, the people of Ararat did not all belong to the same race.  Two ethnic types have been handed down to us—­one with beardless faces, resembling that of the Hittites, the other of a people with high fore-heads, curved and pointed noses, thin lips, and well-formed chin.  Both, however, wear the same dress.  On the head is a crested helmet like that of the Greeks, on the feet the Hittite boot with upturned end; the body is clad in a tunic which reaches to the knee, and a small round target is used in battle.

For many centuries the Semites and the people of the north contended for the possession of the Syrian plains.  Horde after horde descended from the northern mountains, capturing the Aramaean cities and setting up kingdoms in their midst.  At one time it seemed as if the Semites of the east and west were to be permanently sundered from one another.  The decay of Babylonia and Egypt enabled the Mitannians and Hittites to establish themselves in Mesopotamia and Syria, and to gain possession of the fords of the Euphrates and the great lines of trade.  But the northerner was not suited by nature for the hot and enervating climate of the south.  His force diminished, his numbers lessened, and the subjugated Semite increased in strength.  Mitanni perished like the Hittite empire, and with the rise of the second Assyrian empire the intruding nations of the north found themselves compelled to struggle for bare existence.  Ararat had become the leader among them, and in the latter days of the older Assyrian dynasty had wrested territory from the Assyrians themselves, and had imposed its dominion from the borders of Cappadocia to the shores of Lake Urumiyeh.  But on a sudden all was changed.  Tiglath-pileser swept the land of Ararat to the very gates of its capital, destroying and plundering as he went, and a war began between north and south which ended in the triumph of Assyria.  Ararat indeed remained, though reduced to its original dimensions in the neighbourhood of Lake Van; but its allies in Comagene and Cappadocia, in Cilicia and among the Hittites, were subjugated and dispersed.  The tribes of Meshech and Tubal retreated to the coasts of the Black Sea, and Ararat and its sister-kingdom of Minni were too exhausted to withstand the invasion of a new race from new quarters of the world.  The Aryan Kimmerians from Russia poured through them, settling on their way in Minni; while other Aryans from Phrygia made themselves masters of Ararat, which henceforth took the name of Armenia.  The Aramaean was avenged:  the invaders who in days before the Exodus had already robbed him of his lands were themselves pursued to their northern retreats.  The south proved to them a land of decay and destruction; Gog and his host were given, “on the mountains of Israel,” to the vulture and the beast of prey.



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Early Israel and the Surrounding Nations from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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