Myths of Babylonia and Assyria

Page: 186

[355] Genesis, x, 11.
[356] "A number of tablets have been found in Cappadocia of the time of the Second Dynasty of Ur which show marked affinities with Assyria. The divine name Ashir, as in early Assyrian texts, the institution of eponyms and many personal names which occur in Assyria, are so characteristic that we must assume kinship of peoples. But whether they witness to a settlement in Cappadocia from Assyria, or vice versa, is not yet clear." Ancient Assyria, C.H.W. Johns (Cambridge, 1912), pp. 12-13.
[357] Sumerian Ziku, apparently derived from Zi, the spiritual essence of life, the "self power" of the Universe.
[358] Peri Archon, cxxv.
[359] Religion of Babylonia and Assyria, p. 197 et seq.
[360] Julius Caesar, act iii, scene I.
[361] Isaiah, xiv, 4-14.
[362] Eddubrott, ii.
[363] Religion of the Ancient Egyptians, A. Wiedemann, pp. 289-90.
[364] Ibid., p. 236. Atlas was also believed to be in the west.
[365] Primitive Constellations, vol. ii, p. 184.
[366] Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia, xxx, II.
[367] Isaiah, xiii, 21. For "Satyrs" the Revised Version gives the alternative translation, "or he-goats".
[368] Aspects of Religious Belief and Practice in Babylonia and Assyria, p. 120, plate 18 and note.
[369] Satapatha Brahmana, translated by Professor Eggeling, part iv, 1897, p. 371. (Sacred Books of the East.)
[370] Egyptian Myth and Legend, pp. 165 et seq.
[371] Classic Myth and Legend, p. 105. The birds were called "Stymphalides".
[372] The so-called "shuttle" of Neith may be a thunderbolt. Scotland's archaic thunder deity is a goddess. The bow and arrows suggest a lightning goddess who was a deity of war because she was a deity of fertility.
[373] Vedic Index, Macdonell & Keith, vol. ii, pp. 125-6, and vol. i, 168-9.
[374] Ezekiel, xxxi, 3-8.
[375] Ezekiel, xxvii, 23, 24.
[376] Isaiah, xxxvii, 11.
[377] Ibid., x, 5, 6.
[378] A winged human figure, carrying in one hand a basket and in another a fir cone.
[379] Layard's Nineveh (1856), p. 44.
[380] Ibid., p. 309.
[381] The fir cone was offered to Attis and Mithra. Its association with Ashur suggests that the great Assyrian deity resembled the gods of corn and trees and fertility.
[382] Nineveh, p. 47.
[383] Isaiah, xxxvii, 37-8.
[384] The Old Testament in the Light of the Historical Records and Legends of Assyria and Babylonia, pp. 129-30.
[385] An eclipse of the sun in Assyria on June 15, 763 B.C., was followed by an outbreak of civil war.
[386] Ezekiel, i, 4-14.
[387] Ezekiel, xxiii, 1-15.
[388] As the soul of the Egyptian god was in the sun disk or sun egg.
[389] Ezekiel,, i, 15-28.
[390] Ezekiel, x, 11-5.
[391] Also called "Amrita".
[392] The Mahabharata (Adi Parva), Sections xxxiii-iv.
[393] Another way of spelling the Turkish name which signifies "village of the pass". The deep "gh" guttural is not usually attempted by English speakers. A common rendering is "Bog-haz' Kay-ee", a slight "oo" sound being given to the "a" in "Kay"; the "z" sound is hard and hissing.
[394] The Land of the Hittites, J. Garstang, pp. 178 et seq.
[395] Ibid., p. 173.
[396] Adonis, Attis, Osiris, chaps. v and vi.
[397] Daniel, iii, 1-26.
[398] The story that Abraham hung an axe round the neck of Baal after destroying the other idols is of Jewish origin.
[399] The Koran, George Sale, pp. 245-6.
[400] Isaiah, xxx, 31-3. See also for Tophet customs 2 Kings, xxiii, 10; Jeremiah, vii, 31, 32 and xix, 5-12.
[401] 1 Kings, xvi, 18.
[402] 1 Samuel, xxxi, 12, 13 and 1 Chronicles, x, 11, 12.
[403] The Old Testament in the Light of the Historical Records and Legends of Assyria and Babylonia, pp. 201-2.
[404] Babylonian and Assyrian Religion, pp. 57-8.
[405] Aspects of Religious Belief and Practice in Babylonia and Assyria, p. 121.
[406] Babylonian and Assyrian Religion, p. 86.

Chapter XV. Conflicts for Trade and Supremacy


Modern Babylonia--History repeating itself--Babylonian Trade Route in Mesopotamia--Egyptian Supremacy in Syria--Mitanni and Babylonia--Bandits who plundered Caravans--Arabian Desert Trade Route opened--Assyrian and Elamite Struggles with Babylonia--Rapid Extension of Assyrian Empire--Hittites control Western Trade Routes--Egypt's Nineteenth Dynasty Conquests--Campaigns of Rameses II--Egyptians and Hittites become Allies--Babylonian Fears of Assyria--Shalmaneser's Triumphs--Assyria Supreme in Mesopotamia--Conquest of Babylonia--Fall of a Great King--Civil War in Assyria--Its Empire goes to pieces--Babylonian Wars with Elam--Revival of Babylonian Power--Invasions of Assyrians and Elamites--End of the Kassite Dynasty--Babylonia contrasted with Assyria.

It is possible that during the present century Babylonia may once again become one of the great wheat-producing countries of the world. A scheme of land reclamation has already been inaugurated by the construction of a great dam to control the distribution of the waters of the Euphrates, and, if it is energetically promoted on a generous scale in the years to come, the ancient canals, which are used at present as caravan roads, may yet be utilized to make the whole country as fertile and prosperous as it was in ancient days. When that happy consummation is reached, new cities may grow up and flourish beside the ruins of the old centres of Babylonian culture.

With the revival of agriculture will come the revival of commerce. Ancient trade routes will then be reopened, and the slow-travelling caravans supplanted by speedy trains. A beginning has already been made in this direction. The first modern commercial highway which is crossing the threshold of Babylonia's new Age is the German railway through Asia Minor, North Syria, and Mesopotamia to Baghdad.[407] It brings the land of Hammurabi into close touch with Europe, and will solve problems which engaged the attention of many rival monarchs for long centuries before the world knew aught of "the glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome".

These sudden and dramatic changes are causing history to repeat itself. Once again the great World Powers are evincing much concern regarding their respective "spheres of influence" in Western Asia, and pressing together around the ancient land of Babylon. On the east, where the aggressive Elamites and Kassites were followed by the triumphant Persians and Medes, Russia and Britain have asserted themselves as protectors of Persian territory, and the influence of Britain is supreme in the Persian Gulf. Turkey controls the land of the Hittites, while Russia looms like a giant across the Armenian highlands; Turkey is also the governing power in Syria and Mesopotamia, which are being crossed by Germany's Baghdad railway. France is constructing railways in Syria, and will control the ancient "way of the Philistines". Britain occupies Cyprus on the Mediterranean coast, and presides over the destinies of the ancient land of Egypt, which, during the brilliant Eighteenth Dynasty, extended its sphere of influence to the borders of Asia Minor. Once again, after the lapse of many centuries, international politics is being strongly influenced by the problems connected with the development of trade in Babylonia and its vicinity.