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abundance of the waters with which it was surrounded; but when wars and troubles arose, these were either neglected or destroyed, and the populous province accordingly returned to a state of nature, and became a country of lakes and morasses.

Mr. Ainsworth considers this Waasut to be the seat of the ancient Cybate, and adopts the opinion that the Nahrawan which appears in the valley is the same which originates at Samarra on the Tigris. Probably some of the lakes described by Abulfeda represented in his day the Chaldean one of Pliny, which, according to the English traveller, lay beyond the former course of the Tigris and Nahrawan, and was, no doubt, connected with it. The whole country east of the Hye is indeed of a very low and marshy character, "while the dry land on the banks of the Euphrates stretches beyond the Shut el Hye, protected by the date-plantations, the rampart-enclosed reed huts, and the more stable habitations of the Montefic Arabs from Kut (Koote), by Sook el Shiook to Omu el Bak, the 'mother of moschetoes;' the inland country to the east and to the west in the parallel of the 'Sheik's Market-town' becomes already occupied by an almost perpetual inundation; and at Omu el Bak the waters spread from the banks of the river in every direction like a great lake, extending to the extreme verge of the horizon, and only here and there interrupted by groves of date-trees, and occasional huts islanded in the desert of waters. On the ascent of the steamer Euphrates in the latter end of October, and the descent of the same vessel in the beginning of November, 1836, the extent of this great inundation had undergone very little diminution from what it had been in the month of June, nearly at the period of the great floods."* But few particulars are known of the former extent of the several lakes or morasses which are separated by slips of higher land, where the Beni Ruffeyah and other Arabs pitch their tents. At the end of this Chaldean lake Pliny places Ampe, which Mr. Ainsworth is disposed to think is now represented by Korna, at the junction of the two rivers. D'Anville, however, considers this town as identical with Ptolemy's Apamea and the Digla of Pliny. On the other side of the present bed of the Tigris are found the marshes of Susiana,

* Ainsworth's Researches, p. 128, 129.

which, if the river formerly ran through the valley of the Hye, must have been continuous with the Chaldean Lake, or only separated by the low territory of the Messina of Pliny, Ptolemy, Strabo, and others. Indeed, the whole country of Susiana, which lies on the left bank of the current, appears to be little more than one succession of mo



History of the Assyrian Monarchy.

Uncertainty of the Chronology of these Periods.-Necessity of adopting some consistent System of Notation.-Errors of Usher, Lloyd, and others. Discrepancy of Opinion between various Authors.-Mode of Notation adopted.-Sources of Information.-Sacred Writ. - Greek Historians. Herodotus-Ctesias. - Commencement of the Assyrian Empire according to each.-Syncellus and Polyhistor.-Beke's "Origines Biblica."-Scriptural Account.-Lists of Kings of both Monarchies to the Fall of Babylon.-Claims of Ctesias to Credit discussed.Opinions divided.-His Account of the Assyrian Monarchy.-Ninus. -Semiramis.-Ninyas, &c.-Thonos Concolerus.-His Identity with Sardanapalus.-Errors of Ctesias.-History of the Monarchy according to Scripture and Ptolemy's Canon.-Asshur Founder of it.-Pul.Tiglath-Pileser.-Shalmaneser. - Sennacherib.-Esarhaddon, supposed to be the warlike Sardanapalus.-Saosducheus, &c.-Various Conjectures.-Nabuchodonosor.-Fall of Nineveh-And of the Assyrian


HAVING thus given a description of the boundaries, divisions, and general aspect of the countries hereafter to be more minutely delineated, we shall endeavour, as succinctly as possible, to sketch the history of the monarchies of which, from the earliest times, they were the seat. This is a task of no ordinary difficulty; for so obscure is the chronology of those remote periods, and perplexing are the names and actions attributed by various writers to individuals who are said to have flourished during them, that, in spite of the numerous attempts to connect the detached notices on the subject, it still remains not a little dark and confused. As an instance of this, and of the discrepancy which prevails among chronologists on some of the most important epochs, it may be mentioned that Dr. Hales, in


his learned work, recites upward of 120 several opinions in reference to the interval which elapsed between the creation of the world and the birth of our Saviour, and the extremes are removed from each other by no less than 3268 years. A difference of 1142 years occurs, in like manner, among authors in fixing the era of the Deluge; they disagree, also, to the extent of 300 years regarding the time of the fall of Nineveh; and a like diversity prevails upon the date of the Exode of the Jews from Egypt.

An attempt to reconcile the various systems that have produced such discordant opinions would be but an idle waste of time, and unsuited to a work of this nature, which professes rather to give results than to enter into laboured disquisitions. It is proposed only to state the issue of the most successful investigations on the subject of the ancient Babylonish and Assyrian monarchies. But, in order to succeed even in this, some system of chronology must be adopted, and we shall shortly explain the nature of that which has been preferred.

It is generally known that the scheme of Usher, Lloyd, and others, which furnishes the marginal dates in the authorized version of the Scriptures, and was adopted in the eighth century in place of the more ancient notation of the Septuagint, is now held to be altogether erroneous. The era of creation, according to that account, is only 4004 years anterior to the birth of Christ.

The following are considered as among the highest authorities on this subject:

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Dr. Russell, who, in his "Connexion of Sacred and Profane History," has examined this subject with great assiduity and learning, and who has consulted not only the writings of Jewish and pagan historians, and of the early

* Vol. i., Preliminary Dissertation; and vol. ii., chap. i.

fathers, but also the works of the most distinguished modern chronologists, inclines to fix this important point in the year B.C. 5441, which, being nearly a mean of the best authorities, we will venture to adopt as that by which to determine such dates as admit of precise notation. On the same grounds, he places the era of the Deluge in

Or after the Creation

Making, till the era of redemption




Assuming, therefore, this point as established, we shall proceed to the history of those early ages so far as there are grounds on which to base our narrative.

The principal sources of information are, first, the Scriptures of the Old Testament; and, secondly, the writings of several Greek historians who have treated of those times.

Of these last, the two most important are, Herodotus, who lived about the year B.C. 430, contemporary with Nehemiah and Malachi, and who himself visited Babylon and saw its condition only a hundred years after it was taken by Cyrus. The other is Ctesias, a physician of Cnidos, who, accompanying Cyrus the younger in that quality on his expedition against his brother Artaxerxes Mnemon, was taken prisoner at the battle of Cunaxa, B.C. 399, and resided at the court of that monarch seventeen years.

From the writings of these two historians, it will be found that all subsequent annalists and geographers, including Diodorus and Strabo, have chiefly drawn their materials; and it is these original elements, multiplied and often distorted by the theories and conjectures of numerous commentators, that supply all the information we really possess regarding those early and obscure periods in the history of man.

The authors of the "Universal History," a work of deep erudition and research, incline to reject almost entirely the testimony of Ctesias, whose long list of kings, with its mixture of Greek, Egyptian, Persian, and Median names, seems to destroy the pretensions of its compiler to veracity; while they attach much credit to the accounts of Herodotus, as agreeing far better than those of other historians with the chronology of Sacred Writ and the few insulated facts that can be brought to bear upon the subject.

According to their computation, after this historian, the Assyrian monarchy commenced 1236 B.C., and continued 520 years.*

Dr. Russell, in his very elaborate examination of the question, for which we must refer our readers to the work itself (vol. ii., chap. i.), comes to the conclusion that the account of Ctesias is by no means to be altogether rejected; and the result of his inquiry is to place the origin of the Assyrian empire in the year B.Č.2126

Or after the Flood

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which, with the assumed period from the Creation to

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makes, up to the birth of Christ

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And he observes that this comes to within one year of the date fixed by Ctesias for the commencement of his catalogue of the Assyrian monarchs, the accession of Ninus being placed in the year B.C. 2127.

Proceeding with his retrospect, and quoting from the Chronographia of Syncellus of the Chaldean. kings who succeeded Nimrod at Babylon, Dr. Russell carries back the commencement of that monarch's reign, or the origin of the first Babylonish monarchy, to the year 601, or 619 after the Deluge, that is, to B.C. 2566: the difference between the two former sums arising from an equivalent difference assigned to the duration of certain reigns, according to Syncellus and Alexander Polyhistor. A third dynasty has been added to these by Moses of Chorene, an Armenian historian, who quotes from Abydenus, a compiler of Chaldean records; but he inclines to reject this as being quite unknown to the two former authors.

It is to be observed that these three later and Christian writers are the only ones who have touched upon this portion of Babylonian history; all others commencing their labours only where Sacred Writ terminates its short but invaluable notices upon this dark era.

This fact has been prominently set forward by Mr. Beke in his laborious and interesting work of "Origines Biblicæ," in which he examines with great ingenuity every

* Ancient Universal History, 8vo, Lond., 1747-1754, vol. iv., p. 264270.

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