Myths and Legends of Babylonia and Assyria

Page: 160

A Great Lesson

The answer to such a question depends upon ourselves—upon each and every one of us. If we quit ourselves as civilized men, striving and ever striving to refine and purify our lives, our conduct, our intellectual outlook, to spiritualize our faith, then though the things of our hands may be dust, the works of our minds, of our souls shall not vanish, but shall remain in the consciousness of our descendants so long as human memory lasts. The faith of ancient Babylon went under because it was built rather on the worship of frail and bestial gods than the love of truth,—gods many of whom were devils in disguise, but devils no whit worse than our fiends of ambition, of greed, of pugnacity, of unsympathy. Through the worship of such gods Babylon came to oblivion. Let us contemplate the colossal wreck of that mighty work of man, and as we gaze over the gulf of a score of centuries to where its "cloud-capp'd towers and gorgeous palaces" glitter in the mirage of legend, let us brace ourselves for the struggle which humanity has yet to wage with darkness, with disease, with superstition. But while we remember her fall with sadness, let us think[Pg 380] generously and kindly of her dead mightiness, of the ancient effort she made, striving after her lights, of her picturesque and many-coloured life, and, not least, of her achievements—the invention of those symbols by which the words of man can be transferred to his brother across the silent ocean of time.

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Assyrian differs in many respects from the other Semitic languages. There are few gutturals, these having been mostly smoothed out. Thus 'Ba'l' became 'Bel,' and 'Hadad,' 'Adad.' On the other hand it is thought that the cuneiform inscriptions may have omitted guttural sounds. The cuneiform system of writing is so imperfect and complicated that we must make certain reservations in our acceptance of the transcriptions of contemporary Assyriologists, and it must therefore be understood that Assyrian names and words as we know them and as found in the present work and index may be yet greatly modified by future researches. Assyrian names as known to-day are pronounced according to analogy gleaned from the pronunciation of the other Semitic languages. Thus 'Shin'ar' is spelt with the Hebrew 'ain, (guttural a) in the Scriptures, and we are unaware whether the Scriptural author interpolated the guttural or not. Analogy in this instance is not nearly so valuable a guide as in the case of Egyptian, where we have in Coptic the modern form of the Egyptian language to guide us, nor is it at all likely that we shall ever know much more than we do concerning the pronunciation of a language the written symbols of which are so uncertain as regards their precise alphabetic values.



Aa or Â. Consort of Shamash, 110
ABED'NEGO. One of Daniel's companions, 38
AB'RAM. Ur, city of, 15, 145, 249;
Nimrod and, 51-56;
Jewish legends re, 51, 52;
Persian traditions re, 52, 53;
another tradition re, preserved in the East, 53-56;
star Venus and, 55
AB'U-HABB'AH. The ancient site of Sippar, 177
ABYDENUS. Statement of, re Ea, 112
ABYSS, THE. Paradise and, 82
ACCA'D. Part of Nimrod's kingdom, 49
ACHÆMENIDÆ. Cyaxares' son dethroned by, 333
A'DAD. Equivalent, Hadad, 187-191
A'DAD-EA. Ut-Napishtim's ferry-man, 172;
Gilgamesh consults, 172;
Ut-Napishtim, Gilgamesh and, 178
A'DAD-NARARI IV. Son of Assur-Dan III, 308
ADAM. The sons of, 232
AD'APA. The South Wind and, story of, 116-121
AD'AR. Sun-god of Nippur;
Hymn to, 68;
connected with the pig, 93, 294
AD'NA. Wife of Azar;
according to an Eastern tradition the parents of Abram, 54
AD-ÔNIS. Smyrna, mother of, reference to, 127;
myth of related to that of Tammuz, 131
AEDORACHUS. Of Pantibiblon, reference to, 112
ÆLIAN. Of Gilgamos (Gilgamesh);
grandson of Sokkaros, 157
AF-AN-AS-I'EF. On vampires, 266
AFRICA, 329;
Semitic religion in, 331
A'HAB. King of Israel, overthrown by Shalmaneser II, 24
A'HI-MI-TI. Sargon displaces Azuri by, 210
AH'RI-MAN. Mazda and Sraosha overcome, 337
AHURA MAZDA. Good principle of Zarathustra's religion, 334;
creator of the universe, 335
A-I'BU. The serpent, 289
AKK'AD. Kingdom founded by Semites, 16;
King Sargon of, founds first great Semitic empire in Babylonia, 16
AKK-AD'IANS. Description of, 13-16;
language, 13, 14;
Babylonian Semites receive germs of culture from the, 14;
modern equivalent for the older, is the expression 'Sumerian,' 15;
stars studied by, 231
AKK'U-LU (Eater). Attendant hound of Merodach, 202
A-LAL'U. The eagle;
Ishtar and, 167
'ALL'AH.' Modern Arabic name, 325
ALL-A-TU. Equivalent, Eresh-ki-gal, mistress of Hades, 129;
realms of, 237
Al-ô-nim. Descriptive term of Phœnicians for their gods,