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Hebrew monarchy, from Ahab's elder contemporary Asa downwards, and the Assyrian empire, always implacable, save when soothed by slavish submission and heavy tribute, may seem to give undue prominence to Shalmaneser II. and his victory at Karkar. But the reader, it may be hoped, will hardly think so any longer when told that by far the most remarkable of the latest finds brought by Mr. Hormúzd Rassam from the Tigris valley to enrich the British Museum is a magnificent and altogether unique historical monument belonging to this great king of kings—nothing less, in short, than a colossal pair of gates from his palace, plated with noble bronzes illustrative of the battle in question, amongst the other glories of his reign. Of the circumstances under which the discovery was made, and of the monument thus rescued from oblivion, a brief account must now be given.
It was at the end of 1877 that the Trustees of the British museum, having resolved on the resumption of Mr. George Smith's renewed exploration of the Assyrian mounds, entrusted the enterprise to Mr. Rassam. Many years before he had been successfully engaged in the same work under the direction of Sir Henry Rawlinson, and accordingly the results to which he could point on his return in the following autumn not only fully justified the confidence with which he had already been honoured, but led to his being sent out again, after a rest of a few weeks, armed with far larger powers and a widely extended commission. He had naturally, following Mr. George Smith's lead, begun with ransacking once more the debris of the royal libraries in the Kouyunjik mound, where Nineveh once stood, opposite the site of the modern Mosul. The fresh search was rewarded by the recovery of about 1,500 new cuneiform fragments, most of which are sure to be found to fit others already in the British Museum. In a corner of Assurbanipal's library Mr. Rassam found a beautiful decagonal cylinder, inscribed with the annals of that king down to his twentieth year, each of the ten faces running to a hundred and twenty lines. Proceeding to Nimroud, a score of miles down the Tigris, he reopened the trenches abandoned by Sir A. H. Layard thirty years before, and brought to light portions of the palace of Assurnazirpal, the father of Shalmaneser II., as well as the temple of Istar, the Assyrian Venus. It was during his excavations here that tidings reached Mr. Rassam which awakened his keenest interest. At the mound of Balewat, about nine miles to the northeast of Nimroud, some Arab gravediggers, in plying their calling, had unearthed a number of ancient bronzes. By an extraordinary coincidence, it so happened that several years before he had come into possession of a couple of Assyrian bronze fragments of just the same kind, which had been found at this very spot, and two or three other pieces had been bought by a French archæologist, M. Schlumberger, of Paris. The latter were shown in the Trocadéro at the late Paris Exposition, and were described by M. Lenormant in the
'Revue Archaeologique. They join Mr. Rassam's pieces, of which an account was given some time ago by Mr. W. St. Chad Boscawen be fore the Society of Biblical Archæology, as we are reminded in the paper read before the same learned body by Mr. Theophilus G. Pinches, which is the groundwork of the present article. It may be imagined, therefore, how eager Mr. Rassam was for closer acquaintance with an old friend. Taking with him a large staff of his workmen he lost no time in making his way to Balawat, and though ánnoyed at times by riots amongst the Arabs for disturbing a Moslem cemetery, succeeded, partly by good temper and partly by making the best use of the Sultan's firman, in making extensive excavations on the hitherto virgin site. The mound may be described as pretty nearly rectangular in shape, and its corners may be said in a general way to be turned towards the four cardinal points of the compass. It represents an ancient Assyrian city, which before the reign of Assurnazirpal, father of Shalmaneser II., was known by the name of Kharuta. Though very near to Nineveh, the old Assyrian capital, it had been taken and held by the Babylonians during the long period of the rival empire's political decline. But when Assurnazirpal came to the throne, which he held from B. C. 885 to B. C. 860, he soon showed himself a great warrior, not only by expelling the invaders from his country, but by the recovery of long-lost conquests reviving its ancient glories. He ruled from the Zagros mountains and the Armenian lake Van as far as the Lebanon range and the Syrian coasts of the Mediterranean. Aramæa, Mesopotamia, and Babylonia he brought under his yoke. To the recovered city, now marked by the ruins at Balawat, he gave the name of Imgur-Beli, “ the fortress of Bel," and with the stones of a deserted palace built a temple to the war-god, Makhir, or Adar, as the name is read by some, near the city's north-eastern wall. These facts are recorded on alabaster tablets which Mr. Rassam found in a coffer made of the same material, deposited beneath the altar of the temple itself. They shed a fresh and welcome ray of light on the period of decay which preceded the reign of this monarch, and which has always been one of the
darkest in Assyrian history. In the opposite or western half of the Balawat mound were laid bare four stone platforms, marking the sides of an irregular square. It was here that the bronze fragments had been lighted on by the Arab gravediggers, and by further and more systematic excavations round these platforms, carried on with the utmost care, immense plates of that metal, covered with historical bas-reliefs in' repousse 'work, were taken out bodily. The most perfect specimens were 87 feet long by about 1 foot broad, the historical representations ranging in an upper and a lower tier. The subjects treated on these plates are Shalmaneser's battles, sieges, triumphal processions, the tortures inflicted on his prisoners, acts of royal worship, and his marches through difficult countries, over hill and down dale, as well (e. the Tigris and other dan. gerous rivers, both out and home. It was not until their arrival ai the British Museum that these bas-reliefs were recognized as having originally ornamented an immense pair of rectangular folding gates, probably of cedar, each leaf being about 22 feet high, 6 feet broad, and 3 inches thick. The height was deduced from the length of the two strips of bronze edging found with this set of bas-reliefs, which it was seen must have been nailed upon those portions of the gates where they clipped, and which are technically called the
styles.” The “style" bronzes are inscribed with a history in duplicate of the first nine years of Shalmaneser's reign, these inscriptions on the vertical edgings thus furnishing the text, to which the chasings on the fourteen rilievi, seven for each leaf, nailed horizontally across the gates at equal distances, add most artistic and telling illustrations. The doorposts were cylindrical, and about a foot and a quarter in diameter, as is inferred from the existing bulge of several of the best-preserved horizontal plates, which at that end are shaped like a drum. Between the inner edge of the drum and the style the distance is 4+ feet, as measured in the writer's presence by the British Museum expert, Mr. Ready, who was the first to identify as a pair of gates this unique and grand Assyrian monument—which, added to the diameter of the drum, gives a total breadth of six feet for each leaf, as above. The posts were shod with pivots, on which the gates turned in sockets, being held up at the top by strong rings fixed in the masonry. The pivots are at the Museum, but the sockets and rings are unfortunately missing:
The inscription on the "styles," although fuller for the period it embraces than the other great historical texts of Shalmaneser II., is found to be very carelessly engraved, besides neglecting the strict chronological order of events. As yet it has been only very partially translated. Of the horizontal chased bands a large proportion are in a sadly fragmentary state. The subjects are nearly always indicated by short legends accompanying the pictures. Thus the titles of a couple of plates, which at the date of the visit spoken of above to the British Museum were likely to be soonest added to the four already on public view, consist of but a few words put into the triumphant king's mouth. On the upper band of the first plate he says, “ The city Arnè of Arame I captured.” on the lower band, “ The city . (name undeciphered) of Arame son of Gusi I captured.' The legends of the other bronze, relating to the same Armenian war, are for the upper and lower tiers respectively, “ The capital of Arame of the people of Ararat I captured
The tribute of the Gozanians.” To the same war belongs one of the four bronze bas-reliefs already publicly shown.
Over the upper tableau we read, “ An image of my Majesty over against the sea of the land of Nairi (the modern Lake Van) I set up, victims to my gods I sacrificed;" over the lower, “The city Saguni of Arame king of Ararat I captured,” Over the resposentation of captives coming be
fore the king in a rocky country, given on the upper band of another of the four, there is no legend; in the lower the king says, “The royal city of Rizuta I captured-in the fire I burnt.” The other two both belong to the great Syrian war in which the Benhadad and Ahab of the Bible, with their allies, were so signally defeated. On both bands of the one bronze is read the legend, “The tribute of Sangara of the Carchemishians I received,” and in both instances it surmounts a representation of the city Carchemish, taken, however, from different points of view. It will be remembered that, accord-, ing to the Kurkh inscription, Sangara, king of Carchemish, was a member of the Syrian League. Another prominent leader was the Hamathite King Urkhileni, and to the loss of three of his cities the bas reliefs on the last of the four horizontal plates, first shown at the Museum, refer. The upper row is superscribed, The city Parga of Urkhileni of the Hamathites I captured,” and in the same line, " The city Ada I captured.” Beneath either legend is depicted, in the same noble style of art characteristic of the monument throughout, the beleaguering of the walls by the Assyrian hosts, and from the arrangement of the scenes to right and left of Shalmaneser's camp it is thought that the two_sieges must have been going on at one and the same time. Parga, to the left, seems to have been the stronger of the two, since it is attacked by the battering-ram, which, armed with its formidably pointed head, is seen advancing up the slopes of the hill crowned by the battlemented towers. On the other side a strong body of archers protected by an immense covering shield are drawing the bow against the garrison. - The chariots with their prâncing horses and exulting warriors seem to have cleared the way, like cavalry in the times before artillery superseded its functions, for these decisive operations. In the siege of Ada the King himself shoots the arrow against it. The legend over the lower row of bas-reliefs reads, “ The city Karkar of Urkhileni of the Hamathites I took.” It was near this important city on the river Orontes, which has been identified with Aroer, that as will be recollected, the decisive battle of the campaign was fought. Here then we have for the first time before our eyes in a contemporary work of art the very scene and catastrophe, so to speak, of the tragedy in which Ahab and Benhadad were conspicuous actors. The drama has its beginning, middle, and end. In one Assyrian tent we see the inauguration of the siege with religious rites, whilst in another goes forward the work of the commissariat department. One woman before her kneading-trough is making loaves for the troops, which a second bakes in a round field-oven, whilst a third piles them up in a field overtopping their heads. The beleaguering army is depicted with great spirit, both in the moment of its being led forth in bounding chariots to the assault, and as it returns in triumph to the royal pavilion, in which, as the centre of the whole Tepresentation, we seem to hear Shalmaneser from his throne antici:
pating Cæsar's boast, “I came,
Guarded by their conquerers, and introduced by court officials, envoys of high rank, who have fled from the burning city, present to the king their tribute of gold, silver, copper, changes of raiment, and horses, while a long file of wretched captives brings up the rear. To the extreme left is seen Karkar in fiames. Alike as a work of high art, such as could hardly have been looked for from Assyria in the ninth century before the Christian era, and for its interesting association with the history of Biblical personages, it will be owned on all hands to be a most striking tableau.
BASIL H. COOPER, in Sunday Magazine.
“I SHOULD ha' forgot it; I should certainly ha' forgot it,” was the exclamation of Mr. Samuel Weller on a well-known occasion; and it was the same phenomenon which acted thus upon the mind of that distinguished character that recalled to the recollection of the present writer an almost forgotten intention to say a few words in praise of the study of Entomology. I can hardly hope to produce anything at all equal to those flowers of eloquence which bloomed in Mr. Weller's valentine under the genial influence of “nine-penn'orth of brandy-andwater, luke;" but the spring of the year seems to be a peculiarly appropriate season for the publication of a plea for entomology, à departinent of natural history the scientific importance of which seems hardly to be sufficiently recognised, and I must trust to the good nature of the reader to forgive any deficiencies that may be apparent in the present article under the comparison that I have so injudiciously provoked.
It must be confessed that there were few indications of spring in the weather at the time when the shopwindows this year displayed those tempting absurdities, which, we may presume, a good many people find pleasure in sending to each other, seeing that their delivery leads to the practical result of a great increase in the postman's labour ; but. on the other hand, the matter to which I wish to direct the reader's attention has its interest at all periods of the year, although there is, perhaps, a special fitness at the present season in delivering a lecture on the study of entomology. For while it is quite true that even in winter many exceedingly interesting insects are to be met with, generally by hunting them up in their places of concealment among moss, under the bark of trees, under stones, and in other recondite places, it must be confessed that the entomologist's great harvest is to be reaped during the other three seasons