The Seven Great Monarchies Of The Ancient Eastern World, Vol 1. (of 7): Chaldaea eBook

George Rawlinson
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 158 pages of information about The Seven Great Monarchies Of The Ancient Eastern World, Vol 1. (of 7).
which their contents have been again inscribed, so as to present externally a duplicate of the writing within; and the tablet in its cover has then been baked afresh.  That this was the process employed is evident from the fact that the inner side of the envelope bears a cast, in relief, of the inscription beneath it.  Probably the object in view was greater security—­that if the external cover became illegible, or was tampered with, there might be a means of proving beyond a doubt what the document actually contained.  The tablets in question have in a considerable number of cases been deciphered; they are for the most part deeds, contracts, or engagements, entered into by private persons and preserved among the archives of families.

Besides their writings on clay, the Chaldaeans were in the habit, from very early times, of engraving inscriptions on gems.  The signet cylinder of a very ancient king exhibits that archaic formation of letters which has been already noted as appearing upon some of the earliest bricks. [PLATE VII., Fig. 3.] That it belongs to the same period is evident, not only from the resemblance of the literal type, but from the fact that the same king’s name appears upon both.  This signet inscription—­so far as it has been hitherto deciphered—­is read as follows:—­“The signet of Urukh, the pious chief, king of Ur, . . . .  High-Priest (?) of . . . .  Niffer.”  Another similar relic, belonging to a son of this monarch, has the inscription, “To the manifestation of Nergal, king of Bit-Zida, of Zurgulla, for the saving of the life of Ilgi, the powerful hero, the king of Ur, . . . . son of Urukh . . . .  May his name be preserved.”  A third signet, which belongs to a later king in the series, bears the following legend:  “—­sin, the powerful chief, the king of Ur, the king of the Kiprat-arbat (or four races) . . . . his seal.”  The cylinders, however, of this period are more usually without inscriptions, being often plain, and often engraved with figures, but without a legend.

CHAPTER V.

ARTS AND SCIENCES.

“Chaldaei cognitione astrorum sollertiaque ingeniorum antecellunt.”  Cic. de Div. i. 41.

Among the arts which the first Ethiopic settlers on the shores of the Persian Gulf either brought with them from their former homes, or very early invented in their new abode, must undoubtedly have been the two whereby they were especially characterized in the time of their greatest power—­architecture and agriculture.  Chaldaea is not a country disposing men to nomadic habits.  The productive powers of the soil would at once obtrude themselves on the notice of the new comers, and would tempt to cultivation and permanency of residence.  If the immigrants came by sea, and settled first in the tract immediately bordering upon the gulf, as seems to have been the notion of Berosus, their earliest abodes may have

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The Seven Great Monarchies Of The Ancient Eastern World, Vol 1. (of 7): Chaldaea from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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