The Seven Great Monarchies Of The Ancient Eastern World, Vol 2. (of 7): Assyria eBook

George Rawlinson
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 492 pages of information about The Seven Great Monarchies Of The Ancient Eastern World, Vol 2. (of 7).

The religion of the Assyrians so nearly resembled—­at least in its external aspect, in which alone we can contemplate it—­the religion of the primitive Chaldaeans, that it will be unnecessary, after the full treatment which that subject received in an earlier portion of this work, to do much more than notice in the present place certain peculiarities by which it would appear that the cult of Assyria was distinguished from that of the neighboring and closely connected country.  With the exception that the first god in the Babylonian Pantheon was replaced by a distinct and thoroughly national deity in the Pantheon of Assyria, and that certain deities whose position was prominent in the one occupied a subordinate position in the other, the two religious systems may be pronounced, not similar merely but identical.  Each of them, without any real monotheism, commences with the same preeminence of a single deity, which is followed by the same groupings of identically the same divinities; and after that, by a multitudinous polytheism, which is chiefly of a local character.  Each country, so far as we can see, has nearly the same worship-temples, altars, and ceremonies of the same type—­the same religious emblems—­the same ideas.  The only difference here is, that in Assyria ampler evidence exists of what was material in the religious system, more abundant representations of the objects and modes of worship; so that it will be possible to give, by means of illustrations, a more graphic portraiture of the externals of the religion of the Assyrians than the scantiness of the remains permitted in the case of the primitive Chaldaeans.

At the head of the Assyrian Pantheon stood the “great god.”  Asshur.  His usual titles are “the great Lord,” “the King of all the Gods,” “he who rules supreme over the Gods.”  Sometimes he is called “the Father of the Gods,” though that is a title which is more properly assigned to Belus.  His place is always first in invocations.  He is regarded throughout all the Assyrian inscriptions as the especial tutelary deity both of the kings and of the country.  He places the monarchs upon their

CHAPTER VIII.

RELIGION.

“The graven image, and the molten image.”—­NAHUM i. 14

The religion of the Assyrians so nearly resembled—­at least in its external aspect, in which alone we can contemplate it—­the religion of the primitive Chaldaeans, that it will be unnecessary, after the full treatment which that subject received in an earlier portion of this work, to do much more than notice in the present place certain peculiarities by which it would appear that the cult of Assyria was distinguished from that of the neighboring and closely connected country.  With the exception that the first god in the Babylonian Pantheon was replaced by a distinct and thoroughly national deity in the Pantheon of Assyria, and that certain deities whose position was prominent

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The Seven Great Monarchies Of The Ancient Eastern World, Vol 2. (of 7): Assyria from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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