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RAWLINSON, GEORGE, an English Orientalist and historian; brother of Sir Henry Rawlinson; born at Chadlington, Oxfordshire, November 23, 1812. He took his degree at Oxford in 1838; became a Fellow and tutor of Exeter College; was Bampton lecturer 1859–61, and Cainden Professor of Ancient History from 1861 to 1874, when he was made Canon of Canterbury Cathedral. His principal works are “Historical Evidence of the Truth of the Christian Records” (1860); The Contrasts of Christianity with Heathenism and Judaism” (1861); “Manual of Ancient History” (1869). His great work is “Seven Great Monarchies of the Eastern World." These are I. Chaldæa; II. Assyria ; III. Media ; IV. Babylonia; V. Persia; VI. Parthia; VII. The Sassanian or New Persian Empire. The History of the first five Monarchies was published from 1862 to 1867 ; of the sixth, in 1873, and of the last, in 1875. His “History of Phænicia" appeared in 1890. “The Story of Ancient Egypt," written by Canon Rawlinson in collaboration with Arthur Gilman for the “Story of the Nations Series,” was published in 1887.
THE LAND OF THE CHALDEES.
(From "Chaldæa.") The broad belt of desert which traverses the eastern hemisphere from west to east, reaching from the Atlantic on the one hand nearly to the Yellow Sea on the other, is interrupted about its centre by a strip of rich vegetation, which at once breaks the continuity of the arid region and serves also to mark the point where the desert changes its character from that of a plain at a low level to that of an elevated plateau or table-land. West of the favored district, the Arabian and African wastes are seas of sand, seldom raised much above, often sinking below, the level of the ocean; while east of the same, in Persia, Kerman, Seistan, Chinese Tartary, and Mongolia, the desert consists of a series of plateaus having from 3,000 to nearly 10,000 feet of elevation.
The green and fertile region which is thus interposed between the “highland” and the “ lowland” deserts participates curiously enough in both characters. Where the belt of sand is intersected by the valley of the Nile, no marked change of elevation occurs; and the continuous low desert is merely interrupted by a few miles of green and cultivated surface, the whole of which is just as smooth and as flat as the waste on either side of it. But it is otherwise at the more eastern interruption. There the verdant and productive country divides itself into two tracts running parallel to each other, of which the western presents features not unlike those that characterize the Nile valley, but on a far larger scale; while the eastern is a lofty mountain region, consisting, for the most part, of five or six parallel ranges, then mounting, in many places, far above the region of perpetual snow.
It is with the western, or plain tract, that we are here concerned. Between the outer limits of the Syro-Egyptian desert, and at the foot of the great mountain-range of Kurdistan and Luristan, intervenes a territory long famous in the world's history, and the site of three of the seven empires of whose history, geography, and antiquities it is proposed to treat. -Known to the Jews as Aram Naharaim, or “Syria of the Two Rivers” to the Greeks and Romans as Mesopotamia, or “ The Between-River Country,” to the Arabs as Al-Jezireh, or “The Island,” this district has always taken its name from the streams which constitute its most striking feature, and to which, in fact, it owes its existence. If it were not for the two great rivers the Tigris and the Euphrates — with their tributaries, the northern part of the Mesopotamian lowland would in no respect differ from the Syro-Arabian desert on which it adjoins, and which in latitude, elevation, and general geological character it exactly resembles. Toward the south the importance of the rivers is still greater; for of Lower Mesopotamia it may be said with more truth than of Egypt, that it is an “ acquired land,” the actual “gift” of the two streams which wash it on either side; being, as it is, entirely a recent formation — a deposit which the streams have made in the shallow waters of a gulf into which they have owed for many ages. ...
The extent of ancient Chaldæa is a question of some difficulty ; for from the edge of the alluvium to the present coast of the Persian Gulf is a distance of above four hundred and thirty miles, while from the western shore of the Bahi-i-Nedjil to the
Tigris is a direct distance of one hundred and eighty-five miles. The present area of the alluvium west of the Tigris may be estimated at about 30,000 square miles. But the extent of ancient Chaldæa can scarcely have been so great. It is certain that the alluvium at the head of the Persian Gulf now grows with extraordinary rapidity. Accurate observations have shown that the present rate of increase amounts to as much as a mile each seventy years; while it is the opinion of those best qualified to judge that the average progress during the historic period has been as much as a mile in every thirty years. There is ample reason for believing that at the time when the first Chaldæan monarchy was established, the Persian Gulf reached inland one hundred and twenty or one hundred and thirty miles farther than at present.
We must deduct therefore from the estimate of extent grounded upon the existing state of things a tract of land one hundred and thirty miles long and some sixty or seventy broad, which has been gained from the sea in the course of about Corty centuries. This reduction will reduce Chaldæa to a kingdom of somewhat narrow limits; for it will contain no more than about 23,000 square miles. This, it is true, exceeds the area of all ancient Greece, including Thessaly, Acarnania, and the Islands; it nearly equals that of the Low Countries, to which Chaldæa presents some analogy. It is almost exactly that of the modern kingdom of Denmark; but is less than Scotland or Ireland, or Portugal or Bavaria. It is more than doubled by England, more than quadrupled by Prussia, and more than octupled by Spain, France, and European Turkey. Certainly, therefore, it was not in consequence of its size that Chaldæa became 80 important a country in the early ages; but rather in consequence of certain advantages of the soil, climate, and position.
THE RELIGION OF THE MEDES AND PERSIANS.
(From "Media.”) The Iranic, Median, or Persian system of religion is a revolt from the earlier sensuous and superficial nature-worship of the country. It begins with a distinct recognition of spiritual intelligence — real Persons — with whom alone, and not with Powers, religion is concerned. It divides these intelligences into good and bad, pure and impure, benignant and malevolent. To the former it applies the term Asuras, "liv. ing” or “spiritual beings,” in a good sense; to the latter the term Devas, in a bad one. It regards the “ Powers ” hitherto worshipped chiefly as Devas, but it excepts from this unfavorable view a certain number, and, recognizing them as Asuras, places them above the Izeds, or “angels.” Thus far it has made two advances, each of great importance — the substitution of real Persons for Powers as objects of the religious faculty, and the separation of the Persons into good and bad, pure and impure, righteous and wicked.
But it does not stop here. It proceeds to assert, in a certain sense, monotheism against polytheism. It boldly declares that at the head of the good intelligences is a single great Intelligence, Ahurô-Mazdão, or Ormazd, the highest object of adoration, the true Creator, Preserver, and Governor of the universe. It sets before the soul a single Being as the source of all good and the proper object of the highest worship.
It has been said that this conception of Ormazd as the Supreme Being is “perfectly identical with the notion of Elohim, or Jehovah, which we find in the Old Testament.” This is, no doubt, an over-statement. Ormazd is less spiritual and less awful than Jehovah. He is so predominantly the author of good things, the source of blessing and prosperity, that he could scarcely inspire his votaries with any feeling of fear. Still, this doctrine of the early Aryans is very remarkable; and its approximation to the truth sufficiently explains at once the favorable light in which its professors are viewed by the Jewish prophets, and the favorable opinion which they form of the Jewish system. Evidently the Jews and the Aryans, when they became known to one another, recognized mutually the fact that they were worshippers of the same great Being. Hence the favor of the Persians toward the Jews, and the fidelity of the Jews toward the Persians. The Lord God of the Jews being recognized as identical with Ormazd, a sympathetic feeling united the peoples. The Jews, so impatient generally of a foreign yoke, never revolted from the Persians; and the Persians, so intolerant, for the most part, of religions other than their own, respected and protected Judaism. ...
Under the supreme God, Ormazd, the ancient Iranic system placed a number of angels. Some of these, as l'ohu-mano, “ The Good Mind,” Mazda, “The Wise,” and Asha, “The True,” are scarcely distinguishable from attributes of the
divinity. Armaiti, however, the Genius of the Earth, and Sraosha, an angel, are very clearly personified. Sraosha is Ormazd's messenger; he delivers revelations, shows men the paths of happiness, and brings them the blessings which Ormazd has assigned to their share.
Another of his functions is to protect the true faith. He is called in a very special sense “ the friend of Ormazd," and is employed by him not only to distribute his gifts, but also to conduct to him the souls of the faithful, when this life is over, and they enter on the celestial scene.
Armaiti is at once the Genius of the Earth and the Coddess of Piety. The early Ormazd-worshippers were agriculturists, and viewed the cultivation of the soil as a religious duty enjoined upon them by God. Hence they connected the notion of piety with earth-culture, and it was but a step from this to make a single goddess preside over the two. ... Armaiti, further, “tells men the everlasting laws, which no one may abolish ” — laws which she has learnt from converse with Ormazd himself. She is thus naturally the second object of worship to the old Zoroastrian; and converts to the religion were required to profess their faith in her in direct succession to Ormazd. From Armaiti must be carefully distinguished the Gêus Urva, or “Soul of the Earth ” — a being who nearly resembles the anima munili of the Greek and Roman philosophers. This spirit dwells in the Earth itself, animating it as a man's soul animates his body. ....
The Zoroastrians were devout believers in the immortality of the soul and a conscious future existence. They taught that immediately after death the souls of men, both good and bad, proceeded together along an appointed path to “the bridge of the gatherer” (chinvat peretu). This was a narrow road conducting to heaven or paradise, over which the souls of the pious alone could pass, while the wicked fell from it into the gulf below, where they found themselves in the place of punishment. The good soul was assisted across the bridge by the angel Sraosha —“the happy, well-formed, swift, tall Sraosha” — who met the weary wayfarer, and sustained his steps as he effected the difficult passage. The prayers of his friends in this world were of much avail to the deceased, and helped him on his journey. As he entered, the archangel Vohu-mano rose from his throne, and greeted him with the words, “ How happy art thou who hast come here to us, from the mortality to