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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).
of mankind only, and to devote the chief space to “winged fowl and four-footed beasts of the earth.”  They are aware of the tentative sending out of birds from it, and of their returning twice, but when sent out a third time returning no more.  They know of the egress from the ark by removal of some of its covering, and of the altar built and the sacrifice offered immediately afterwards.  They know that the ark rested in Armenia; that those who escaped by means of it, or their descendants, journeyed towards Babylon; that there a tower was begun, but not, completed, the building being stopped by divine interposition and a miraculous confusion of tongues.  As before, they are not content with the plain truth, but must amplify and embellish it.  The size of the ark is exaggerated to an absurdity, and its proportions are misrepresented in such a way as to outrage all the principles of naval architecture.  The translation of Xisuthrus, his wife, his daughter, and his pilot—­a reminiscence possibly of the translation of Enoch—­is unfitly as well as falsely introduced just after they have been miraculously saved from destruction.  The story of the Tower is given with less departure from the actual truth.  The building is, however, absurdly represented as an actual attempt to scale heaven; and a storm of wind is somewhat unnecessarily introduced to destroy the Tower, which from the Scripture narrative seems to have been left standing.  It is also especially to be noticed that in the Chaldaean legends the whole interest is made narrow and local.  The Flood appears as a circumstance in the history of Babylonia; and the priestly traditionists, who have put the legend into shape, are chiefly anxious to make the event redound to the glory of their sacred books, which they boast to have been the special objects of divine care, and represent as a legacy from the antediluvian ages.  The general interests of mankind are nothing to the Chaldaean priests, who see in the story of the Tower simply a local etymology, and in the Deluge an event which made the Babylonians the sole possessors of primeval wisdom.

CHAPTER VIII.

HISTORY AND CHRONOLOGY.

“The beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.”—­GEN.  X. 10.

The establishment of a Cushite kingdom in Lower Babylonia dates probably from (at least) the twenty-fourth or twenty-fifth century before our era.  Greek traditions’ assigned to the city of Babylon an antiquity nearly as remote; and the native historian, Berosus, spoke of a Chaldaean dynasty as bearing rule anterior to B.C. 2250.  Unfortunately the works of this great authority have been lost; and even the general outline of his chronological scheme, whereof some writers have left us an account, is to a certain extent imperfect; so that, in order to obtain a definite chronology for the early times, we are forced to have

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