Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][merged small]

Discoveries in the Ruins of Nineveh. (See preceding numbers of the Amer. Penny

Magazine, pages 21, 329 and 379.) A sketch of some of these discoveries, has been communicated to Silliman's Ameri. can Journal of Science and Arts, by Rev. Dr. Smith, Missionary, and appears in the last quarterly issue of that valuable work.

Nineveh was one of the most ancient cities of which we have any record. It is mentioned in Genesis x. xi. and was pro. bably founded within two centuries after the flood. This exceedingly great city was the capital of the Assyrian Empire, and was destroyed in the beginning of the seventh century before Christ, but was subsequently rebuilt by the Persians, though it never attained its former splendor. În the seventh century of the Christian era it was finally destroyed by the Saracens, and its geographical positions had already be. come involved in so much doubt as to make it an object of scientic inquiry, the result of which has been to fix its locality on the East bank of the river Tigris, opposite Mosul. Here numerous walls of sun. dried brick still remain, varying from fifi teen to fifty feet in height, and enclosing a space of about four miles long, and a mile and a half broad, the whole of which is strown with fragments of pottery and other marks indicating the site of a large city. Two immense mounds occupy places in this area ; one of them is about a mile and a half in circumference and fifty feet high, the other, though smaller, is sufficiently large to contain upon its top and side, as it now does, a village of two or three hun. dred houses. It was this inferior mound that was opened in part, by M. Botta, in 1843–4, and in relation to his discoveries, we take the following extracts from the article above mentioned, in the American Journal :

This mound is about four hund red and fifty feet wide, six hundred feet lung, and varies from twenty to forty feet in height. Its area is nearly oval but its surface is somewhat uneven, and its outlines are cor. respondingly irregular. It is situated in one side of what appears to have been a fortified town, (or suburb ?) there being still in existence the remains of a mud

wall, enclosing a space a mile square. ? This ruined wall is in few places, and those apparently towers, more than ten} feet high, but as there is evidence that it was originally faced with hewn stone no} doubt can exist that it was built for purposes of defence, and once enclosed a thriving busy population. But to return to the mound referred to, and which forms, by one of its faces, a part of the northeastern boundary of this enclosure. It has been occupied as far back as modern inquiry can extend, by an Arab village of about a hundred houses, called by the na. tives Khorsabad. In digging vaults or cisterns for the safe deposite of straw and grain, these people had repeatedly found remains of ancient sculpture, but their value not being known, no account of the discovery was made public. The whole upper part of the mound has been found to be threaded with walls running at right? angles to each other, and enclosing rooms, varying from thirty to a hundred feet in length.--The whole seems to have been but a part of one building, and perhaps but a small part, for the walls are broken off in several places by the edge of the mound in a manner which ir:dicates that its area was once much more extensive than it now is.

The point where the excavations were commenced was near the margin of the mound, about twenty feet above its base, and where the top of what seemed to be a stone wall presented itself. On digging along the side of this, it was found to be composed of a single row of large hewn stones, the top of which had been broken off by violence or otherwise destroyed.On one side these stones were plain or unfinished, on the other the lower part of the legs of captives, with chains around their ancles, were represented in bas-relief, the latter being the surface designed to be seen, while the former was contiguous to an unburnt brick wall, of which these stones formed the facing. To furnish a good op. portunity to examine and copy these figures, a ditch about four feet wide was dug along in front of the stones, sticks being so placed as to keep them from falling forward. Following the stone work in this manner a little distance, the workmen came to a door. way. Turning around the corner thus presented, they directed the digging inward towards the room, and the walls were found to have been twelve or fifteen feet thick.

The doorway thus entered was about

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

eight feet broad, and its floor was formed by a single stone, which was covered with writing in the cunei form character. On the stones forming the sides of this door. way were immense figures, having an eagle's head and wings, with arms and legs like those of a man. The doors were gone, but circular holes, about ten inches in diameter and as many in depth, were found cut in the floor on each side of the door. way.—These holes were so situated in the

angles of recesses in the sides of the door. { way, as to leave no doubt that they were

the receptacles of the pivots on which the doors turned. Those who are familiar with the manner in which the lock-gates of

American canals are usually hung, and 3 the recess into which they fit while boats

pass in and out of the locks, will derive s from them a very correct idea of the style

of the doorway just described. This door.

way being cleared out, the digging was > directed along in front of the stone, facing the inner side of the unhurt brick wall.

In this way, also, the excavations were conducted throughout the whole of the 3 work, which comprised a line of stone

facing, ten feet high when the stones were S uninjured, and following its ramifications ? more than a mile in length ; the whole of

which was covered either with inscriptions { or with bas-reliefs. From thirty to sixty

laborers were constantly employed for ? more than six months in the manual labor s of excavation alone; and this will show, ? perhaps better than any statement of mea.

sures or other statistics, the actual extent of, and the expense attending these re. searches. The number of rooms whose outlines were in a tolerably good state of preservation was fifteen, but there were traces of others, as we shall hereafter men. tion.—As the mound increased in height toward the centre, the upper part of the stones became more and more perfect, until they were found of their original size, and farther, the tops of these were in some places nearly or quite ten feet below the surface of the mound, making the whole depth of the excavations in such places about twenty feet. . In a few instances, however, these stone slabs were sixteen feet high, being made thus large to accom. modate the gigantic figures upon their surface.

The largest of the bass-reliefs are of human form, about sixteen feet high. Between the left sides and suspended arms of

these, lions are held dangling in the air, s while serpents are grasped by the right

hand, which hangs extended a little forwards. These figures are but few in number. The monsters by the doorway, already described, are the next in size, and others like them are found in several other similar situations.

The surface of the whole remaining line of wall, is to a great extent covered with human figures nine feet high. These represent kings, priests, manaeled captives, soldiers armed with bows and quivers of arrows, and servants, some of whom are bearing presents to a king, while others have upon their shoulders a throne or chair of state. Where the figures are not of this large size, they are found in two rows, one above the other, and between the rows are inscriptions, generally about twenty inches broad, each inch representing a line of the writing. The figures above and below them, are groaped together, as if to represent historical events. Some ten or more cities or castles are found represented in different rooms, and remote from each other, all undergoing the process of being besieged, and the enemy without, in every case triumphant. Upon the walls of these castles are men in a great variety of attitudes.

The besiegers are not only triumplant, but are represented as larger than the besieged in stature and more noble in mien. They also appear in many different forms.

In fine, it seems to have been the artist's design to represent in, upon, and around the castles, every attitude that warriors might be supposed to take in such circumstances. Upon the front of each of these structures a short inscription is found. These are different ones from the other, and probably the name by which it was known. As the castles themselves are only three or four feet high, the figures are small. Of figures about the same size with the castles there is also a great variety. Here a two-wheeled chariot of war is seen containing three persons, one in royal apparel drawing a bow, another by his side protecting him with a shield, and the third one guiding the horses, which are four abreast. There a king is seen riding in a similar chariot in time of peace, with an umbrella held over his head by one, and the horses conducted as before by a second attendant, all being in an erect posture. In one place a feast is represen: 3 ted, the guests sitting on opposite sides of tables, and on chairs, in true occidental style, while servants are bringing fluids in goblets, which other servants are employed

[merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

in filling from immense vases ; the vases, goblets, chairs and tables all being highly ornamented with carved work. In another

place a navy is represented as landing s near a city. A number of boats well

manned and loaded with timber, are approaching the shore, while others are unla.

ding timber from other boats, and others ş still are engaged in building a bridge, or

perhaps a sort of carriage way for the mounting of battering rams. In the water are seen crabs, fish, turtles, mermaids, and a singular monster shaped like an ox, with a human head and eagle's wings.One room, thirty feet square. has its walls comp!etely covered with a hunting scene.

Trees, having the shape of poplars, are the most prominent objects. The branches of these abound with birds, and the space which separates them one from another, with wild animals. In this forest or park, the king and his attendants are sporting; a bird is transfixed with an arrow while on the wing, and a servant is carrying a fox or hare, the evidence of previous success.

Some figures, but a few inches in length, are so perfect as to have the toe and finger nails plainly distinguishable. Strong passions are sometimes delineated on the face, the dying appear in agony, and the dead seem stiff and quite unlike the living, who look as if in actual motion. In general the perspective is indifferent, that of groups bad, and that of the water scene is decidedly out of all reason.

The costume of all the figures is much like that now worn in the East, the kings having a flowing tunic richly figured, and subjects a simple plain frock, hanging in plaits. The Persian cap, almost exactly as it is seen at the present day, is worn by some; rings are quite commonly suspended from the ears, and round bars, apparently of iron, and made into helixes having two or three revolutions, are worn around the arm above the elbow, while the hair and beards of all are curled and frizzled in as nice a manner as it can be done in any of the courts of modern Europe.

Portions of some of the figures are painted red, blue, green, black; the same is true

of the trappings of some of the horses, and 3 generally when fire is represented, it is ren.

dered more distinct by coloring the flames ; but with these few exceptions, hardly worth mentioning except on account of their rarity, all the bas-reliefs now described are of the natural color of the stone from which

they project. ? Heretofore our remarks have referred to

bas-reliefs only. We have now to speak of a few complete sculptures, which are more s astonishing than anything yet mentioned. These are immense monsters, having the form of an ox, with the face, hair and beard of a man, and the wings of a bird. Of S these there are upwards of twenty, each cut from a single block of massive sulphate of lime. They stand generally in single pairs, at the sides of the main entrances of the building, but at one entrance there are two pairs, and at another three. They differ somewhat from each other in size, but their average will not vary much from four fcet broad, fourteen feet long and fifteen high. If the reader will apply these dimensions to the walls of some building, he will be much better able to conceive of the magnitude of these gigantic images, than if his imagination is governed by the mere mention of numbers and measures. The shape of these monsters is not uniform, but some of them exactly resemble the figure mentioned above in the scene of boats landing before a besieged city. In these the wings of each side extend above the back of the animal until they nearly or quite come together, but in others they are so carved as not to interfere essentially with the natural shape of the ox. Their breasts and sides are generally covered with small figured work, probably re. presenting a coat of mail, and their horns, instead of protruding, are turned around upon the sides of the head so as to form a sort of wreath.

As these sculptures stand in every case with a part of one side contiguous to a wall, the artist made five legs, four visible at the side and two in front. In a recess between the fore and hind legs, are inscriptions of the kind referred to.

The character is known as the cunciform or arrow headed, and differs but a little from that found on the bricks of Bagdad.—They are lines about an inch broad and are indented in the stone about a quarter of an inch. Their length, if written in a continuous straight line, would be measured by miles. They read from left to right, like English, and unlike all languages now spoken in the vicinity of these ruins. This fact is determined by the comparison of two passages whose commencements are the same and whose lines are of different length. The number of different characters amounts to some hundreds, and hence it seems unlikely that ihey represent alphabetic sounds-perhaps the proper names only are thus represented, while the more common words have each their oppropriate sign. In the inscrip

[ocr errors]

tions upon the castles or cities, the left hand who have received an early polished educacharacters of each are generally, if not in stion, he was gentlemanly, and very agreeevery case the same. The extent of the

able; in his disposition he was sincere, ten. records found in these ruins and their rela. tions to the bas-reliefs is such, that there

der-hearted, generous, noble. It is not can be no doubt that they will one day be known, that the passion of fear ever found a , deciphered, and that thus the bistory of an place in his breast. His word was regarded > cient times will have been transmitted down

as an ample security for any thing for which to us without the possibility of any forgery.

it was pledged ; and his uprightness comThat their solution will confirm and throw 3 light upon Holy Writ we must also hope ;

manded absolute confidence. His intellect and especially as there was in Scripture was vigorous; and his wit pungent, yet times much intercourse between Assyria and pleasant and sportive. The principal part the Holy Land. In order to ensure the

of his improvements was, however, derived greatest accuracy in the preservation of these

from his own observation, and his corres. records, Mons. Botta has not only copied them with extreme care, but he has had im pondence with the affairs of men. During pressions of them taken on paper, by means the gayest and most thoughtless period of of which the originals can at any time be his life, he still regarded Religion with proreproduced by a casting of wax or plaster of

found reverence, and read the scriptures Paris.

with the deepest veneration. On the public BIOGRAPHICAL.

worship of God he was a regular and very

respectful attendant. In the decline of life GENERAL ISRAEL PUTNAM.

he publicly professed the religion of the From President Dwight's Travels.

Gospel, and in the opinion of the respect In Brooklyn, (Con.) lived the Hon. Is able clergyman of Brooklyn, the Rev. Dr. rael Putnam, for some years before his { Whitney, from whom I received the infordeath, the oldest Major General in the army mation, died hopefully a Christian. of the United States. As General Hum

It is not so extensively known as it ought phreys has given the public a particular

to be, that General Putnam commanded the and interesting account of the life of this

American forces at the battle of Breed's gentleman, I shall pass over it with a few

hill, and that, to his courage and conduct summary observations.

the United States are particularly indebted General Putnam was born at Salem, Mas

for the advantages of that day ; one of the sachusetts, January 27th, 1718. With only

most brilliant in the annals of the country. the advantages of a domestic education, in a plain farmer's family, and the usual instruc

From President Dwight's Travels. tion of a common parish school, he raised LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR COLDEN was himself from the management of a farm, to distinguished for great personal worth, and the command of a regiment, in the last Ca eminent attainments in science ; particularly nadian war; and in the Revolutionary war, in Natural Philosophy and Natural History. to the second command in the armies of the His Botanical knowledge was probably unUnited States. To these stations he rose rivalled at that time on this side of the Atsolely by his own efforts, directed steadily to lantic. He seems also, to have been well the benefit of his country, and with the versed in the science of Medicine. Nor cheerful, as well as united, suffrages of his was he less distinguished for his usefulness country.

in active pursuits as a magistrate. He filled Every employment in which he engaged, the chair of Lieutenant Governor of the he filled with reputation. In the private Province for fifteen years; and during much circles of life, as a husband, father, friend, of that period was at the head of the Govand co n panion, he was alike respected and ernment. In this situation he maintained an beloved. In his manners, though somewhats honorable character for wisdom and equity. more direct and blunt, than most persons, He projected the plan, on which afterwards

[ocr errors]

the American Philosophical Society was 3 thing about, as they are given to produce established at Philadelphia ; and seems also vomiting, and naturally are not favorite to have entertained the first ideas of stereo.

drinks. type printing

Antimony is a bluish grey metal, and His ExcelleNCY William LivingSTON, looks something like iron; but, being lar. Governor of New Jersey, was a native, and minated and brittle, is of no use in making throughout most of his life, an inhabitant tools, or the many other things which we of New York. This gentleman was dis. see made of iron. Neither is it so abuntinguished by an unusual combination of su. dant in the earth. It is used for some purperior talents, and great personal worth. poses in the arts, but chiefly in medicine, He was born about the year 1723; was and especially for curing sick horses. educated at Yale College; and received the The most common ore of Antimony is degree of A. B. in 1741. His professional the sulphuret, which in appearance re. busines was Law; in which he rose to em. sembles the granular sulphuret of lead, inence. For a long period few men had and certain oxides of iron. It forms acids more influence on the public affairs of this by uniting with oxygen, and these form country. After he removed to New Jersey, various substances. he was a representative from that state to the old congress. When the citizens of New

LEARN ARITHMETIC.-A newsboy in AlJersey had formed their present constitution,

bany wishing to buy thirty papers very

cheap, agreed to pay one mill for the first, he was chosen their first Governor, 'and

two for the second, four for the third, and was annually re-elected till his death. In so on for the thirty, but when he reckoned the year 1787, he was appointed a member up the cost, be found it to be one million of the General Convention, which formed seventy-three thousand seven hundred and

forty-one dollars eighty-two cents and the Constitution of the United States. He

three mills, and gave up his bargain.died July 25th, 1790, at his seat in Eliza

Selected. bethtown, in the 68th year of his age.

Boy KILLED BY A Dog.--A boy about The talents of Governor Livingston were

seven years old, son of a Mr. Eslinger of very various. His imagination was bril Greenfield, W. T. was going on an errand liant ; his wit sprightly and pungent; his

with his brother, a little older, when they

met a neighboring young lad accompanied understanding powerful; his taste refined ;

by a dog. The boys shook hands with each and his conceptions bold and masterly. His other, at which the dog, seemingly taking views of political subjects were expansive,

offence, sprang toward the younger of the

Eslingers, and tore his head, throat and arms clear, and just. Of freedom, both civil and in a shocking manner. The boys attempted religious, he was a distinguished champion.

beating off the dog, but failing in this, ihey

immediately ran for aid to some friends, who To his other cxcellencies, Governor Liv

on arriving, found the boy had expired. ingston added that of piety.

Revolution in the Georgetown Roman Ca. JUVENILE DEPARTMENT.

tholic Seminary.-A Jesuit named Vanhagen,

has been sent from Rone as president, and METALS.-No. 7, Antimony.

has changed all the professors, much to the The metals I have before described are displeasure of its friends. common; but the remaining ones are more One of the ladies of the Sacred Heart rare. This is one of them; and probably s lately eloped from their convent, near this none of my readers have ever seen it in its metallic state. Some of them, who have

EXPENSE OF Moeisu.--The anti-rent disheard the name, may be surprised to learn turbances in New York have cost over fifty that it is metal : for Antimonial Wine and

thousand dollars, nearly twenty of which will

be assessed upon the counties in which the Tartar-emetic are medicines, which many

3 disturbances occurred, and the residue comes } a person who has been sick, knows some. ? out of the State Treasury.

city

« PreviousContinue »