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MESOPOTAMIA AND ASSYRIA,

ANCIENT AND MODERN.

CHAPTER I.

General Description of Mesopotamia and Assyria.

High Claims of these Countries on our Regard.-Interest attached to their early History.-Inquiry checked by Scantiness of authentic Records.-Little known of the Origin of either the Assyrian or Babylonian Empire, and their intimate Connexion with each other.-Definition of Assyria" according to the Greek Historians.-The Jewish Writers.-Boundaries.-Mesopotamia.-Limits defined.-Divisions of Assyria according to Ptolemy-Strabo-D'Anville.-Mesopotamia according to Strabo.-Modern Divisions of both Provinces.-Inhabitants. -Tribes.-Arabs, and their Locations.-Kurds.-Habits.-Face of the Country. Mountains.- Rivers.- Euphrates.-Its Course.-Scenery and Places along its Banks.-Periods of Rise and Fall.-The Tigris and Tributaries.-Its Course.-Shut el Arab.-Khabour and Hermas. -Greater and Lesser Zab.-Diala.-System of artificial Irrigation.Nature of the ancient Canals.-Names of those on Record.-The Pallacopas.-The Nahrawan and Dijeil.-Modern Canals.-Marshes of Babylonia.-Waasut.-The Shut el Hye.-Chaldean Marshes, and Marshes of Susiana.

It may be safely asserted that there are no regions in the world which possess more powerful claims on our regard than those which form the subject of the following

pages.

Mesopotamia and Assyria, if not actually the cradle of mankind, were, at all events, the theatre on which the descendants of Noah performed their first conspicuous part. The plains of Shinar witnessed not only the defeat of that presumptuous enterprise, which scattered them abroad upon the face of the earth, but also the exploits of the "Mighty Hunter," and the triumph of his ambition in the establishment of the first monarchy recorded either by sacred or profane writers.

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