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From An Introduction to the History of History, by James T. Shotwell; Columbia University Press; New York; 1922; pp. 66-78.




THE art of writing in cuneiform — making wedge-shaped marks in clay by means of a reed — was developed as early as the fourth millennium B.C. by the people who lived in the mud flats and among the reedy marshes of the lower Euphrates. They were not Semites, like the nomads of the desert to the west, but “Sumerians,” a strange Asiatic people, living mainly in towns and engaged already in business or in truck-farming where dikes secured that most fertile soil. History, in that part of the world, dawns for us, — since the rise of modern archæology, — with the scratches of those early scribes, noting the sales of a merchant, the title to a plot of land or some such item of current business, or a religious text. For, not only has time preserved many a hardened lump of clay, which served them for book and paper; but also, the art of writing itself was never lost, through all the changing civilizations which followed each other on the soil of Babylonia.1 Indeed it remained one of the fundamentals in Mesopotamian culture; an essential in the transaction of business and of government. From the days when Hammurabi dictated his despatches and had his laws inscribed, to the closing of the Persian era, the little lumps of clay, baked and sealed, were as important instruments in carrying on affairs as the armies of the kings or the goods of the merchants. And if the devices of literacy helped to hold the Mesopotamian world together, they also united the centuries. Libraries preserved the tablets by scores and hundreds, and scholars copied the classical ones or those their royal patrons were interested in. In short, from a time so remote that it was almost as far away to the Persians as to us, through three millenniums at least, the people of Babylonia-Assyria kept producing and studying the data of history; yet the thing itself they never produced.2


The history of History in Babylonia is very similar to that in Egypt, so similar that we do not need to delay long over the details. But there is an added significance in the failure of Babylonia; for it did develop the two elements which are the essentials in historical production: a curiosity about the origin of things which resulted in a mythical literature that has been of lasting importance in religion; and a care for the texts of the past, which is the first step toward historical criticism. Had criticism supervened, we should have had genuine history. But criticism presupposes skepticism; and in Babylon as in Egypt, religion — or superstition — blocked the way to science.

The myths of Babylon have a personal interest for us, not so much on account of what they contain as on account of their subsequent history. Preserved and transformed by the Jews, they became the basis of our own story of the origin of things; and when the originals were found and deciphered, only a few years ago, the controversies which they aroused passed the frontiers of either science or religions, as the very foundations of biblical faith seemed shaken. Here, however, we have no theological problems to solve, and must limit ourselves to considering them in their own time and setting, although it must be admitted that, were it not for their later use, we should hardly be tempted to do so, seeing that we passed by in silence the Pyramid texts of Egypt, with a content intrinsically not less significant.3 But the coming of Osiris, however much it contributed to that process of intricate and subtle syncretism which tinged with wistful hope and moral purpose the Greco-Roman world in early Christian days, did not enter into the fabric of Jewish belief as did the Babylonian stories of Creation and the Flood, and so its conscious influence in western thought is not to be compared with theirs.

The myth of Creation4 as preserved on seven tablets, is long and involved, with much repetition; but the parts of interest for 68 comparison with the story in Genesis are only a few lines. It begins with the creation of the gods themselves.

“When above the heaven was not named.
  And beneath the earth bore no name,
  And the primeval Apsu, who begat them,
  And Mummu and Tiamat, the mother of them all, —
  Their waters were mingled together,
  And no field was formed, no marsh seen,
  When no one of the gods had been called into being,
  And none bore a name, and no destinies [were fixed],
  Then were created the gods in the midst of [heaven].”5

Then comes a struggle between Tiamat, dragon of darkness and disorder, and the champion of the parent god Anshar, who was Ea when the tale was told in Eridu, Marduk when it was told in Babylon. The text rises to fine epic quality as it describes the hero advancing to the combat.

“He made ready the bow, appointed it as his weapon,
  He seized a spear, he fastened . . .
  He raised the club, in his right hand he grasped it,
  The bow and the quiver he hung at his side.
  He put the lightning in front of him,
  With flaming fire he filled his body.”6

It was only after Tiamat’s body was cut, so that one half made heaven and the other half the earth, that Marduk determined to create plants and animals, and man.7

“When Marduk heard the word of the gods,
  His heart moved him and he devised a cunning plan.
  He opened his mouth and unto Ea he spoke,
  That which he had conceived in his heart, he made known unto him:
  ‘My blood will I take and bone will I fashion,
  I shall make man that man may . . .
  I shall create man who shall inhabit the earth,
  Let the worship of the gods be established, let their shrines be built.”

There is also the legend of a certain Adapa — or perhaps Adamu8 — who is cautioned by his father Ea not to eat or drink 69 of the food the gods will provide him, and by obeying — not by disobeying — he misses eternal life. This Adam is not a first man but a god who breaks the wings of the south wind. It is a pretty story, even in the form in which we have it.

But the great myth-epic of Babylonia was that of Gilgamesh and the Flood. It is “the most beautiful, most impressive and most extensive poem which has been preserved to us of the literature of the ancient Babylonians.”9 The text we have was written on twelve large closely written tablets, some of which are badly broken; and was copied for a royal Assyrian library, that of Ashur-bani-pal (668-626 B.C.), from some old Babylonian sources, such as have been in part preserved as well from the first Babylonia dynasty, of about 2000 B.C. Gilgamesh was the ruler of one of the city-states, Erech or Uruk, who wandered to that mysterious country beyond the western sea, where he learned from the lips of Noah himself, — whose Babylonian name was Ut-napishtim, — the story of the Flood. The epic which preserves this tale is a strange mixture of sublime Oriental poetry, rich with imagery, swift and powerful in narration, with sections of commonplace details as to the measurements of the ark and of the business routine of its management. The more prosy account in Genesis is here embedded in a poem that rivals the Hellenic or Germanic epics. Evidently a real event had drifted over into the realm of legend and romance.

The myths of Babylonia reflect, though dimly, real conditions and events, but they lack the secular tone of the Homeric epics. They belong with religion rather than forming a part of the preliminary processes of history. Myths of origin or of half-fabulous heroes have in them the data of history; but they can seldom reveal their historical qualities to the people who produce them; for that requires an attitude of unbelief on the part of the listener, sufficient to enable him to apply the ruthless surgery of criticism. And the age that applies such methods to discover the truth must know how to use the scalpel or it simply kills the whole process, so that myth 70 and fact alike disappear. It was not until the present that readers of the ancient texts could so discriminate between fact and superstition in the early tales of Babylonia; the scholars of later Babylonian ages took them as they were.

This scholarship did produce another set of sources, however, which brings one to the very threshold of historical literature. No civilization ever produced more codification of documents. The code of Hammurabi was but one of several, and recent discoveries carry the procedure back to Sumerian beginnings.10 The data of religion were codified as well as those of law; vast literatures of omens and charms grew up for the conduct of life in that borderland of luck and morals which was the field of Babylonian magic and religion. Mathematics and a study of the stars finally brought the content to the verge of science, through astrology, and so left a doubly deep impress upon the ancient world.11 But the interest in this work of codifying and passing along the ancient lore was in the application for the future, as the codifying of laws was for the present. The interest in the past was not destined to produce as notable a contribution, mere lists of names and dates rising at last to the dignity of chronicles.

The earliest records are lists of the names of kings. These are of great importance for the archæologist, and two such lists, known as the Babylonian King Lists A and B,12 copied out in the late Babylonian period, show how these could persist in their mud tables for centuries, to be available for the scholars of the last age of Babylon; since similar Sumerian lists have also been discovered, enabling comparison. This shows that as early as the days when Hammurabi was inscribing his code, scribes were also ensuring an accurate statement of the succession of rulers. Date-lists 71 were also kept, in order to place the years, the Babylonian way, by events or names.13

When we turn from these meagre lists to inscriptions recording events, we find, as in Egypt, that the notable ones deal with current affairs, for the most part glorifying a single monarch. A common device is to present the narrative either as coming from the king himself or from a god — a sure mark of authenticity combined thriftily with devotion! The chronicle grows out of these naturally, but the growth in Babylonia was slight enough. The monastic hand is traceable throughout. Thin dynastic narratives have been found, which carry a continuous story from reign to reign — or would if the fragments were less fragmentary.14 There are some that go back to recite the exploits of Sargon I, the Semitic Charlemagne of this monastic literature, whose legendary figure loomed large through later ages, and Naram-Sin his son.15 But after all, we have only a few lines at best.

The closing chapter of Babylonian history is, strangely enough, a chapter of our survey. For the last king, Nabonidus,16 was himself, if not a royal historian, at least an archæologist. While the Persians under Cyprus were gathering in the nations along the north and making ready to strike at the old centre of civilization there, the king of Babylonia was excavating the remains of its distant past as he sunk the foundations for his own new temples through the débris of the city where they stood. Although his son Belshazzar, to whom the administration of the realm fell, could see the handwriting on the wall, Nabonidus was not interested in war, but was recording with a scholar’s enthusiasm such facts as that he had unearthed a foundation stone of Naram-Sin “which no king before me had seen for 3200 years.”17 To these archæological interests of Nabonidus the modern archæologist is indebted; yet the contribution is rather in the field of chronology than of history proper. The scribes of Nabonidus searched the libraries to be 72 able to place the kings whose inscriptions he found in their proper places in the lists, and to calculate the stretch of years before their time. But gods and men share honors alike, in this careful though undiscriminating survey of what were already ancient times in Babylonia.

The contribution of Assyria to historiography is so closely linked with that of Babylonia that little is left to be said concerning it. Like the meagre lists of Babylonia, we find here lists of those officers whose names gave the name to the year, arranged in an Eponym Canon.18 On some of these, as on the calendar tablets of the mediæval monasteries, they jotted down short notes of events in the year, especially military expeditions, which were to Assyria what temple-building was to Babylonia. More significant were synchronistic chronicles, giving the parallel events in Babylonia and Assyria. All of these are of great importance to modern scholars, but are slight enough in themselves.

The chief approach to history in Assyria is again the boastful record of single reigns, set forth for the glory of the king. Some of these are detailed and graphic, and they leave us living pictures of Sennacherib, Tiglath-Pileser, Shelmaneser and Esarhaddon,19 who are now as real to us as the figures of classical history. There is a persistent minor note which runs through these proud boastful assertions of the royal power, which should not escape the modern reader. For, however sure the king may be of his control of the world of his own day, he is uneasy about the future. It is to safeguard that, that “memorial stones” are inscribed for the coming generations. Yet even the inscriptions may not be safe at the hands of one’s descendants. The thought is disquieting; and the kings either plead with or threaten those who are to come after. There have been few more ruthless criminals in the world’s history than Ashur-nasir-pal III,20 the Assyrian Tamerlane, and few annals from the monuments equal his account of his conquests which established the Assyrian power in the western Asia. Yet his grasp upon the future is feeble enough; he pleads as follows:


“. . . Oh thou future prince among the kings, my sons . . . thou shalt not blot out my name which is inscribed (hereon), but thy own name thou shalt inscribe beside my name.”21

But the records of the Assyrian kings were hardly safe if left to the kindly offices of their successors. Curses were more effective, as Shakespeare, too, thought; and so the chronicle would close with a good round formula, the power of which must have been considerable in the land of omens and augural science. The curse of Ashur-nasir-pal presents so realistic a picture of what may happen to royal records that it may be quoted at length;

“Whosoever shall not act according to the word of this, my memorial stone, and shall alter the words of my inscription, or shall destroy this image or conceal it, or shall smear it with grease or bury it in the earth, or burn it in the fire, or cast it into the water, or place it so that beasts may tread on it or cattle pass over it, or prevent men from beholding and reading the words of my inscription, or shall do violence to my memorial stone so that none may behold it; or, because of these curses shall send a foe . . . or a prisoner or any living creature and cause him to take it, and he shall deface it or scrape it or change it into a foreign tongue, or he shall turn his mind . . . to alter the words — whether he be scribe or soothsayer or any other man — . . . and he shall say ‘I know him not! Surely during his own rule men slew him and overthrew his image and destroyed it and altered the words of his mouth,’ . . . may Ashur, the great lord, the god of Assyria, the lord of destinies, curse his destiny, and may he alter his deeds and utter an evil curse that the foundation of his kingdom may be rooted up. . .  ” 22

With such an appeal to the guardianship of the gods and the fears of men one might leave the record to the keeping of history. It was all one could do. Yet it was not enough. The history of the Assyrians was soon lost. Already by the time of Xenophon, no one could tell the true meaning of the nameless mounds in which lay embedded all that was left of the splendor of Nineveh.23 The Greeks knew something of Babylon, but almost nothing of Assyria.24


It remains only to note the attempt made under the last of the great Assyrian kings. Ashur-bani-pal (668-626 B.C.), to improve upon his predecessors and to give to his inscriptions something of the character of history. The king himself was not only a famous conqueror but a patron of learning, and found time from his wars to bring together a vast library; some 20,000 tablets remain to show the activity of his scribes, who copied the great cuneiform heritage.25 His own inscriptions forsake the terse phrases of the older style for an essay in history in the grand style, the finest product Assyria could yield. But the substance remains much the same; and the attempt to rearrange events in some topic order instead of following the strict chronological sequence, leads to confusion and loses more than it gains.

The Persians continued the regal tradition of Babylon-Assyria, and one of the greatest records in the world is that which, on the almost inaccessible precipice of Behistun, recites the deeds and exalts the glory of Darius the Great to the untenanted desert! But though the desert roads are unfrequented now, this Gibraltar-like rock stands facing the one great highway between central Asia and Mesopotamia, and there, where the traffic between East and West would pass, on the bare face of the cliff, three hundred feet above the roadway, were sculptured the figures of Darius and the “rebels” he overthrew, and the long inscription describing the events of his reign.26

The inscription was destined to do more than Darius could have imagined, for by means of it the key was found which unlocked 75 cuneiform to modern scholars. The text had been recorded in Persian, Susian and Babylonian, and when, in 1833-1837 (and again in 1844), Sir Henry Rawlinson, then a young officer in the Indian service, at the risk of his life clambered up the rock and copied the inscription, he was able (later) to translate it as well. In such dramatic fashion, the Behistun inscription became the Rosetta stone of the cuneiform texts.27

The inscription of Darius is divided into some fifty or sixty sections, each devoted to a different subject and each beginning “Thus saith Darius the king.” The first ten give the genealogy of Darius and a description of the provinces of his empire. With the tenth section the history begins, and it may be quoted to give an idea of how the succeeding ones run:

“(Thus) saith Darius, the king: This is what was done by me after I became king. He who was named Cambyses, the son of Cyrus, one of our race, was king here before me. That Cambyses had a brother, Smerdis by name, of the same mother and the same father as Cambyses. Afterwards Cambyses slew this Smerdis. When Cambyses slew Smerdis, it was not known unto people that Smerdis was slain. Thereupon Cambyses went into Egypt. When Cambyses had departed into Egypt, the people became hostile, and the lie multiplied in the land, even in Persia, as in Media, and in the other provinces.”28

The inscription closes with an appeal to posterity, similar to those of the other regal chronicles described above:

“If thou seest this inscription beside these sculptures and destroyest them not, but guardest them as thou livest, then shall Auramazda be thy friend and thy race shalt thou perpetuate, and thou shalt live a long life and whatsoever thou desirest to do shall Auramazda cause to prosper.” 29

But if not, then the curse of Auramazda is invoked on the evil-doer. Fortunately the curse has not been tested by the vandal; the texts are too inaccessible.

Like Egypt, though, the Empires of Asia were touched into new life when the Greeks invaded them, either as travellers or as beneficiaries 76 of the Macedonian conquest. The earliest of these wanderers whose record of his impressions we possess was no less a personage than Herodotus, the “Father of History” himself.30 But the story of Assyria-Babylonia accepted in the ancient world was largely drawn from that of Ctesias of Cnidus, who lived from 415-398 B.C. as personal physician to the king of Persia, Artaxerxes Mnemon. His Persica was a magnum opus of twenty-three books, the first three of which dealt with the ancient kingdoms, the fourth with their overthrow by the Medes, and the remaining nineteen with Persian history.31 This uncritical mixture of invention and credulity, utterly unreliable, has not even the merits of a romance, since it imposed itself as history upon the sober chronographers of Alexandria.32

Berossos, a Babylonian priest of Bel, who wrote his three books, Babylonica or Caldaica, about 280 B.C., was better equipped to open up to the Hellenic world the mysteries of his home-land.33 He could know the sources in the original. This text is lost, but such extracts as have been preserved enable us to form a very fair idea of it.34 There were these different parts: first a mythical legendary section dealing with the period from Creation to the Flood; then a thin list of names of kings from the Flood to Nabonassar with no account of their deeds; and a closing section of detailed narrative of the more recent history. The whole work was prefaced with a description of the country apparently in the manner of Herodotus.35 The myth with which his 77 narrative begins, that of the gift of the arts of civilization to man by a sea-monster Oannes, is taken by modern historians to contain a possible dim reflection of a tradition that the Sumerians, that earliest of all the people of Babylon, came from India by way of the Persian Gulf.36 On the chance that it may be so, and that it is, therefore, the farthest echo of historical fact that has reached our ears from beyond the frontiers of knowledge, we may quote the grotesque narrative as Eusebius has preserved it:

“In the first years, so he (Berossos) says, there appeared from the Red Sea, even there in the midst of the territory of the Babylonians, a terrible monster, whose name was Oannes. . . . And of this animal he says that it was in daily intercourse with men, never touching food; and it taught men writing and the manifold arts, the building of cities and the founding of temples; also the giving of law and the terms of boundaries and divisions. Also it is said to have taught men the harvest of wheat and fruit; and indeed everything which is of use to the life of organized society was delivered by him to man. And since that time nothing more has been invented by anyone.37

“And at sunset the monster Oannes plunged again into the sea, and passed the night on the high sea. So that it led a double life to a certain extent. And later other similar monsters appeared which he says he treats of in the book of the kings. And Oannes, he says, has written the following account of the creation and the commonwealth and bestowed speech and aptness to the arts upon man.”38

That Berossos could turn from such luxuriant Oriental myths as this to a mere list of names in his historical section argues well for his sense of scholarship if not for his critical ability. For obviously he was following his sources closely, a fact which recent investigations tend to corroborate. But his antique editor took another point of view. The inference he drew was that one who knew so little in one section must be an unreliable witness in another! The 78 comment of Eusebius shows what temptations to give a little more than full measure lay in the path of the antique historian!39

It would be only fair to Berossus to quote, in contrast to these legendary and chronological sections, something from the later part, where he is on firmer historical ground. Josephus gives us a long enough excerpt of this to show that here it rose to something of the dignity of genuine history.40 There is a description of Babylon in its last splendor, with the “hanging gardens” and the other feats of engineering, and a criticism of the mistakes of Greek historians who held to the myth of the founding of Babylon by Semiramis. But this is about all we have; and in view of the relatively small fragment of the whole history which has been preserved, we are hardly justified in delaying further over it. And with Berossos we quit Babylonia.


The most useful guides to the non-technical student of Babylonian-Assyrian history are those of R. W. Rogers referred to above, his Cuneiform Parallels to the Old Testament (1912), and his History of Babylonia and Assyria (2 vols., 1915), in which a full account is given of the progress of modern scholarship and a helpful and adequate bibliographical apparatus. The works of Morris Jastrow, especially The Civilization of Babylonia and Assyria (1915) should also be consulted, as well as those of L. W. King. The articles by these two scholars in the Encyclopædia Britannica are good short surveys. Good discussions occur in H. R. Hall’s Ancient History of the Near East (1913), to which constant reference has been made in the text. References to the great collections of the original texts will be found in these works, but mention should be made of the remarkable series edited by H. V. Hilprecht, The Babylonian Expedition of the University of Pennsylvania (1893-1911), continued as Publications of the Babylonian Section, University of Pennsylvania Museum.


1  Cf. S. P. Handcock, Mesopotamian Archæology (1912), Chap. IV.

2  Berossos had Greek antecedents.

3   See J. H. Breasted’s analysis in Development of Religion and Thought in Ancient Egypt.

4  On these Babylonian myths see R. W. Rogers, Cuneiform Parallels to the Old Testament (1912) with bibliographies. Of the works mentioned there see especially those of L. W. King, The Seven Tablets of Creation (2 vols., 1902).

5  R. W. Rogers, Cuneiform Parallels to the Old Testament, p. 3.

6  Ibid., p. 26.

7  Ibid., Sixth tablet, II. 1-8, p. 36.

8  Ibid., pp. 67 sq.

9  Ibid., p. 80 (with bibliography). There is a detailed discussion in the article Gilgamesh by M. Jastrow in the Encyclopædia Britannica. Gilgamesh himself resembles in several ways the Greek Heracles. Vide L. R. Farnell, Greece and Babylon (1911).

10  Cf. E. Meyer, Geschichte des Altertums (5 vols., 1884-1902; 3d ed., Vol. I, 1910-1913), (3d ed.), Vol. I, Sects. 313 sq. The code of Hammurabi has been published several times in English translation. Cf. R. W. Rogers’ Parallels, pp. 398 sqq., and R. F. Harper’s The Code of Hammurabi (1904).

11  Vide J. T. Shotwell, The Discovery of Time, in The Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods, Vol. XII (1915), Nos. 8, 10, 12, as above; Franz Cumont, The Oriental Religions in Roman Paganism (tr. 1911), and Astrology and Religion among the Greeks and Romans (1912).

12  Cf. R. W. Rogers, Cuneiform Parallels to the Old Testament, p. 201; History of Babylonia and Assyria, Vol. I, p. 470.

13  Vide supra, Chap. IV. Cf. E. Meyer, Geschichte des Altertums (3d ed.), Vol. I, Sect. 323.

14  Vide L. W. King, Chronicles Concerning Early Babylonian Kings (2 vols., 1907).

15  Cf. L. W. King, ibid.; R. W. Rogers, History, Vol. II, p. 25; Parallels, p. 203.

16  Cf. R. W. Rogers, History, Vol. I, p. 493; Parallels, p. 373. Nabonidus’ reign was from 555 to 539 B.C.

17  Cf. R. W. Rogers, , Vol. I, p. 494, with references.

18  Vide supra, Chap. IV.

19  For Esarhaddon see E. A. W. Budge, The History of Esarhaddon (1880).

20  He reigned from 885 to 860 B.C. Cf. H. R. Hall, The Ancient History of the Near East, p. 445.

21  Cf. E. A. W. Budge and L. W. King, The Annals of the Kings of Assyria (1902), Vol. I, p. 165. See the similar plea of Tiglath-Pileser I, ibid., p. 104. Such formulæ are common in the inscriptions.

22  Ibid., Vol. I, pp. 249 sqq.

23  Anabasis, Bk. III, Chap. IV, Sects. 1-10. He marched past in 401 B.C.

24  It is striking that the case is somewhat reversed now; we know the history of Assyria better than that of more ancient Babylonia. As E. Meyer remarks, Geschichte des Altertums (3d ed.), Vol. I, Sects. 315-316, the sudden destruction of Nineveh was fortunate, for the remains were at once buried and so preserved, while Babylon was repeatedly despoiled.

25  Cf. E. Meyer, Geschichte des Altertums, loc. cit.; R. W. Rogers, History, Vol. II, pp. 427 sqq. H. R. Hall, Ancient History, p. 500. To it we owe the preservation of such sources for Babylonian history as the Sargon chronicle, etc.

26  Professor A. V. W. Jackson, who visited Behistun in 1903, thus describes it in Persia, Past and Present (1906), p. 187: “With all I had read about Behistun, with all I had heard about it, and with all I had thought about it beforehand, I had not the faintest conception of the Gibraltar-like impressiveness of this rugged crag until I came into its Titan presence and felt the grandeur of its sombre shadow and towering frame. Snow and clouds capped its peaks at the time, and birds innumerable were soaring around it aloft or hovering near the place where the inscriptions were hewn into the rock. There, as I looked upward, I could see, more than three hundred feet above the ground, the bas-relief of the great King Darius.”

27  See the fine volume, with notable illustrations, The Sculptures and Inscription of Darius the Great on the Rock of Behistun, published anonymously by the British Museum (1907). The authors are L. W. King and R. C. Thompson, who prepared a new copy by careful work on the spot. Cf. R. W. Rogers, History, Vol. I. p. 80.

28   L. W. King and R. C. Thompson, op. cit., Persian text, pp. 6-7.

29  Ibid., Susian text, p. 149.

30  As Herodotus reproduced Hecatæus in part, we have some trace of his investigations as well.

31  Cf. C. Wachsmuth, Einleitung in das Studium der alten Geschichte (1895), pp. 367 sqq.; R. W. Rogers, History, Vol. I, p. 391. It was still complete in the ninth century A.D. Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca Historica (Bk. II, Chaps. I-XXXIV), repeats the stories about the Assyrian part.

32  A. H. Sayce, The Ancient Empires of the East (1900), p. xxiii, took occasion to say a good word for him, however, while criticising Herodotus.

33  Cf. H. R. Hall, The Ancient History of the Near East, p. 14; R. W. Rogers, History, Vol. I, p. 388, Parallels, pp. 76 sqq. (for translation of a section).

34  The extracts, as in the case of Manetho, were preserved by Josephus, Against Apion, Book I, Sects. 19 sqq., and Eusebius at the opening of his Chronicorum Liber Primus, quoting Alexander Polyhistor, an antiquarian of the time of Sulla. Texts and translation by I. P. Cory in Ancient Fragments of Phœnician, Chaldæan, Egyptian, . . . and Other Writers.

35  Eusebius (op. cit., Bk. I, Chap. II) summarizes this as follows: “And first, he says, that the land of the Babylonians lies on the river Tigris and that the Euphrates flows through the midst of it, and the land brings forth of itself, wheat, barley, lentils, millet, and sesame. And in the swamps and reeds of the river were certain edible roots called gong, which have the strength of barley-bread. Dates and apples and all kinds of other fruits grow there too, and there are fishes and fowls and birds of fields and swamps. The land has also arid and barren territories (the Arabian); and opposite the land of Arabia, it is mountainous and fruitful. But in Babylon an enormous mass of strange people was settled, in the land of the Chaldæans, and they lived in licentiousness, like the unreasoning animals and the wild cattle.”

36  Cf. H. R. Hall, The Ancient History of the Near East, p. 174, note.

37  Note this magnificent statement of the static, conservative idea.

38  Eusebius, Chronicorum Liber Primus, Chap. II.

39  Cf. Eusebius, ibid.; “If they (the Chaldæans) had only told of deeds and works accomplished by the long succession of rulers in these thousands of years, corresponding to the vast extent of time, one might properly hesitate whether there were not some truth in the matter after all. But since they have merely assigned to the rule of those ten men so many myriads of years, who is there who should not regard such indiscriminate accounts as myths.”

40  Josephus, Against Apion, Book I, Sects. 19-20.


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