|« Babism||Babylonia||Babylonian Exile »|
I. The Names. Importance of Babylonia.
Reasons for Interest (§ 1).
II. The Land.
Alluvial (§ 1).
Influence on Life and Activities(§ 2).
The Climate, Fauna, and Flora (§ 3).
III. Exploration and Excavation.
Rich and Mignan (§ 1).
Loftus (§ 2).
Fresnel and Oppert (§ 3).
De Sarsec (§ 4).
Rassam (§ 5).
The University of Pennsylvania Expedition (§ 6).
IV. The Cities.
Origin and Development (§ 1).
Eridu (§ 2).
Ur (§ 3).
Larsa (§ 4).
Erech (§ 5).
Shirpuria and Lagash (§ 6).
Isin or Nisin (§ 7).
Girsu (§ 8).
Nippur (§ 9).
Kish and Cutha (§ 10).
Akkad and Sippar (§ 11).
Babylon (§ 12).
Borsippa (§ 13).
Bit-Yakin (§ 14).
V. The People, Language, and Culture.
The Earliest Inhabitants Mongolian (§ 1)
Semitic Immigrations (§ 2).
The Language. Two Forms (§ 3).
The Sumerian-Akkadian Language (§ 4).
The Assyrio-Babylonian Language (§ 5).
The Literature (§ 6).
The Civilisation (§ 7).
Slavery and the Status of Women (§ 8).
Occupations (§ 9).
Science (§ 10).
The Data (§ 1).
Value of Nabonidus’s Dates (§ 2).
2. The Pre-Sargonic Age, 4500-3800 B.C.
En-shag-kushanna (§ 1).
Urukagina (§ 2).
Mesilim (§ 3).
Ur-Nina, Akurgal, Eannatum, Entemena (§ 4).
Alusharshid (§ 5).
Lugal-zaggisi, Lugal-kigubnidudu, Lugal-kisalsi (§ 6).
3. Sargon to Hammurabi, 3800-2250 B.C.
Sargon (§ 1).
Naram-Sin (§ 2).
Ur-Bau and Gudes (§ 3).
Ur-gur and Dungi (§ 4).
Nur-Ramman and Siniddina (§ 5).
4. The Supremacy of Babylon, 2250-1783 B.C.
The Elamites. Kudur-Mabug and Eri-aku (§ 1),
The First Babylonian Dynasty. Hammurabi (§ 2).
The Second Babylonian Dynasty (§ 3).
5. The Kasshite Period, 1783-1207 B.C.
Agumkakrime (§ 1).
Later Kasshite Kings (§ 2).
6. The Isin and Assyrian Periods, 1207-625 B.C,
Nebuchadrezzar I and his Successors (§ 1).
7. The Kaldu or Chaldean Period, 625-538 B.C.
Nabopolazzar (§ 1).
Nebuchadrezzar II (§ 2).
Nabonidus and Belshazzar. The Fall of Babylon (§ 3).
VII. The Religion.
1. Historical Development.
Political Factors (§ 1).
The Philosophical-Priestly Factor(§ 2).
Decrease in the Number of Deities (§ 3).
The Earliest Religion Animistic (§ 4).
Spirits and Demons (§ 5 ).
Magic (§ 6).
2. The Gods.
Anu (§ 1).
Bel (§ 2).
Ea (§ 3).
Solar Deities. Shamach (§ 4).
Lunar Deities. Sin (§ 5).
Adad or Ramman (§ 6).
Ishtar (§ 7).
Nergal (§ 8).
Ninib, Girru, and Tammus (§ 9).
Marduk (§ 10).
Nebo (§ 11).
3. The Priests and the Epics.
Influence of the Priests (§ 1).
The Gilgamesh Epic (§ 2).
The Adapa Epic (§ 3).
Marduk and Chaos (§ 4).
Ishtar’s Descent into Hades (§ 5).
Babylonia designates the country extending from the head of the Persian Gulf to about 34â° north latitude (approximately the latitude of Beirut; c. 75 m. n. of Bagdad) and lying between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates or immediately adjacent to them.
I. The Names. Importance of Babylonia
Babylonia was the Greek name for the country, derived from the name of the capital city Babylon, this last also a Grecized form from the Semitic Bab-ilu, Heb. Babel, ” Gate of God.” By the earliest inhabitants known the whole land was called Edin, ” the Plain.” In Gen. x, 10 the name given it is Shinar, the derivation of which is in dispute. The most probable origin is from Sungir, a variant reading of Girsu. The g in Sungir represents the Semitic ghayin which could be represented in Hebrew only by ayin; the word would then be transliterated Sn‘r and could be pronounced Shinar. The land was known to the Hebrews also as Ereẓ Kasdim, “Land of the Kasdim,” the second word a variation for Kaldu, Hebraized Kaldim. From this last came the Greek form Chaldea. The Kaldu were the race which controlled the country about 610-538 B.C. A name used by the early inhabitants now called Sumerians or Akkadians was Kengi-Uri, Semitized by Sargon and others into Sumer-u-Akkad, “Sumer and Akkad.” Another name, derived from a Kasshite source and appearing in the Amarna Tablets, is Karduniyash.
1. Reasons for Interest.
The reasons for the great interest in Babylonia are twofold, cultural and Biblical. In that country have been revealed the certain traces of the earliest advanced civilization yet discovered as well as that 397which had the longest continuous existence. The highest estimates place the beginnings of this civilization between 8000 and 10000 B.C.; at a moderate reckoning it seems that evidences of culture are in sight dating from 5000 B.C. The Biblical interest centers about two facts: first, that in Genesis the origin of Abraham is traced to Ur, one of the oldest cities in Babylonia; and, second, the fact that Babylonia was the land of Israel’s exile and became to Israel a second home, where many Israelites settled permanently. But there is a third reason for interest. One of the lessons a comparative study of history teaches is that Babylonia represents a principle very different from that which underlies Assyrian history. Assyria stood for Semitic materialism, for fighting ability, and conquest by force of arms. Babylonia, on the other hand, represented culture, civilization, literature, and the all-controlling power of religion. Its force in this respect is notable especially for the way in which its civilization subdued even its conquerors. Its Elamitic, Kasshite, and even Assyrian masters came under the sway of its religious moods and its literary methods. Kasshite and Chaldean kings forgot to write of their wars and transmitted almost solely the accounts of the erection and adornment of temples and the making of canals.
II. The Land.
Geologically, Babylonia is almost wholly alluvial. The thirty-fourth parallel of latitude cuts across the line of demarcation between the limestone and the alluvium, leaving in the northeast a slight stretch of the latter to the north of the parallel, and on the southwest a little region of limestone east of the Euphrates to the south. The alluvium on the west is nearly conterminous with the Euphrates, except in the extreme south; to the east the soil made by the rivers stretches to the foothills of the Persian mountains. Its narrowest part is where the rivers make their nearest approach to each other; from that point northward the alluvium is only between the rivers, while below it immediately widens beyond the Tigris eastward and thence to the Persian Gulf maintains its width. The account just given involves the statement that in prehistoric times the Persian Gulf stretched north to a point just beyond the thirty-fourth parallel, and that before the deposit of the rivers, its waters have receded a distance of 425 miles. The rate of this deposit is known for a part of this period. The town known as Spasinus Charax in the time of Alexander the Great was then one mile from the Gulf. In 1835 Mohammera, recognized as the site of the town just mentioned, was forty-seven miles away. Thus forty-six miles of land had been made in 2,160 years, or at the rate of over 110 feet a year. It is interesting that this ascertained rate, supposing it to have been uniform during the historic period, corroborates the chronology gained from other sources.
2. Influence on Life and Activities.
To the character of the land as alluvium, to its subtropical position, and to the elaborate system of irrigation and careful agriculture, and the abundant moisture, was due its wonderful fertility, second only, if it were second, to that of the Nile valley. To these characteristics were due many important consequences, notable among them the structure and material of the buildings and the kind of governmental and popular activities. It was inevitable that an alluvial land, inundated by two rivers, the periods of overflow of which were not quite synchronous but in part successive (see Assyria), should abound in marshes; and that to relieve this condition, distribute the waters, and drain the land, canals, and many of them, should be constructed. And the extent of country thus to be redeemed being large, the making of canals became a governmental function. Again, an alluvial district provides neither stone nor wood for building. The clay of the land must therefore be utilized as building material; and it is almost inevitable that most of the bricks be sun-dried, since fuel for burning them is scarce and expensive. Once more, it is evident that since the inundations were annual, some method of putting human habitations beyond the reach of the waters would be required, and it is found that the cities were built upon platforms of bricks. Thus Babylonia became a land of mounds and of canals, the construction of the latter being one of the chief activities of the rulers. The “rivers of Babylon” were a feature of the landscape, and the mounds are abundantly in evidence.
Of the fertility varying accounts have been transmitted. Herodotus (i, 193) gives the increase of cereals as 200 to 300 fold; Theophrastus (Hist. plantarum, viii, 7) as fifty to 100; Strabo (xvi) as by report 300 fold; and Pliny as 150 fold. Herodotus was notoriously credulous, Strabo and Pliny got their reports at second hand. The statement of Theophrastus is not beyond belief.
3. The Climate, Fauna, and Flora.
Knowledge of early climatic conditions is in part a matter of observation in modern times under conditions which differ greatly from earlier conditions, and in part of inference from known effects. The temperature reported by the excavators runs in June and July as high as 120â° F. in the shade. And this heat is made more oppressive by the hot winds brought by the sandstorms of the desert. That the conditions were not so severe during the palmy days of Babylonia is almost certain, since the abundant canals of flowing water must have reduced the temperature and so have modified the atmospheric depressions caused by rarefaction. The fauna and flora differed little from those of Assyria (q.v.). Of grains, wheat, barley, millet, sesamum, oats, and perhaps rice, were grown; wheat and barley were probably indigenous. The gourd family was abundant, leguminous plants were in great variety, and the leeks numerous. Of trees the apple, fig, apricot, pistachio, almond, walnut, cypress, tamarisk, plane, acacia, and above all the palm, were cultivated. The waters abounded in fish, the carp being especially plentiful. The water fowl were naturally the most numerous, the swan, goose, duck, pelican, 398crane, stork, heron, and gull being known. Of land birds the ostrich, bustard, partridge, quail, pigeon, turtle-dove, and ortalon are still found. Birds of prey are the hawk and the eagle.
III. Exploration and Excavation.
Antiquarian interest in Babylonia had always been greater than in Assyria, perhaps because the region had oftener been visited and described. Bricks with inscriptions had been seen and sent to England by the East India Company’s agents at Bassorah; these, however, were not the result of excavation but of purchase or of superficial search of the mounds. They served, none the less, to awaken and maintain interest in the country. For the background of Babylonian excavation see Assyria, III.
1. Rich and Mignan.
The first excavator in Babylon was Claudius James Rich, who in Dec., 1811, visited Babil, had some Arabs dig at the top of the mound, found layers of inscribed bricks, and purchased others from the natives, which when sent home proved to carry writing of the same general character as that of the Persepolitan inscriptions. In 1826-28 Capt. Robert Mignan was attached to the East India Company’s station at Bassorah, in command of the military escort. He was interested in exploratory work and particularly in the region between Bagdad and Bassorah. In his travels in the district he made some small researches, as for instance at Kassr, where he put thirty men at work, found a platform of inscribed bricks, a number of seal cylinders, and a barrel cylinder, the first ever found by a European, and some remains of the Greek age.
Attached as geologist to the Turko-Persian Frontier Commission (1850-54) was William Kennett Loftus. In the course of a ride from Bagdad to Mohammera he had picked up or bought a number of small antiquities, and proposed to excavate for more at Warka. Permission from his commanding officer was obtained, and in 1850 Loftus set to work. A number of ” slippered” coffins were secured whole, and by the ingenious device of pasting thick layers of paper inside and out three were kept intact and sent to the British Museum. In 1854 Loftus excavated a number of buildings, recovered many inscribed bricks but no works of art, in which he was most interested. The finds of Botta at Nineveh (see Assyria, III, 3) seemed so great in comparison with his own that he became discouraged even with his success in finding mortuary remains, tablets and vases, and a considerable number of contract tablets of different periods. He removed his operations to Senkereh, discovered there the temple of Shamash, found bricks that brought Hammurabi into light and recovered the records of King Ur-gur (2700 B.C.) and other objects relating to the period between him and Nabonidus (539 B.C.). Work at other mounds, as at Tell-Sifr, was productive of inscriptions dated under the first dynasty of Babylon, and of utensils of copper belonging to the third pre-Christian millennium. During this same period Layard and Rassam made an essay at Tell-Mohammed near Bagdad, but found little of interest and importance. Excavations at Babil, Kassr, and elsewhere were also resultless. At Niffar little besides the slipper coffins rewarded the workers, and Layard was led to abandon as unpromising the site from which half a century later the great finds of the expedition of the University of Pennsylvania were recovered.
3. Fresnel and Oppert.
The French expedition under Fulgence Fresnel and Jules Oppert began work at Kassr, Tell-Amran, and elsewhere near Babylon in 1852. There were considerable results from the gleanings of the next three years, the most valuable being the marble vase of Naram-Sin. Unfortunately the whole was lost in the Tigris with the finds which had come from Assyria. Under the direction of Rawlinson, the British vice-consul at Bassorah undertook work at Mugheir. It was speedily determined that the temple there, which had never wholly collapsed, belonged to the moon-god Sin, which comprised the results of building operations from the time of Ur-gur (2700 B.C.) to that of Nabonidus, and the inscriptions of the latter recording his work of restoration were found. Sufficient was unearthed to carry the history of the place as far back as 4000 B.C., but the site still awaits systematic excavation. Abu-Shahrein was examined and found to be unique in the quantity of stone used on the great structures, and evidences were also discovered which implied pre-Sargonic date. It is a promising site for future work. At Birs Nimrud examination of the ruins was undertaken, and the experience of Rawlinson enabled him to point out the exact place where cylinders would be found (which proved to be those of Nebuchadrezzar), in the corners of the temple of Nebo.
4. De Sarzec.
For about twenty years systematic operations were suspended while scholars at home were examining the material accumulated. Meanwhile Ernest de Sarzec had been appointed vice-consul for the French at Bassorah. He secured the good-will of Nasir Pasha, then the real ruler of the district, and began a series of campaigns at Telloh which covered the period between 1877 and 1900, the year before his death. The net results of the work there were the discovery of Gudea’s bricks and of the temple which he built; nine diorite statues in the highest form of Babylonian art yet discovered, headless indeed, but inscribed; two cylinders with the longest inscriptions in Sumerian yet discovered; and, in 1894, a treasure of 30,000 tablets, thousands of which were stolen by the Arabs because De Sarzec was unable to care for them. The temple of Nin-Girsu or Ninib, god of Lagash, was uncovered, also the celebrated stele of vultures which represents the birds carrying away from Gishku parts of the bodies of the slain enemies of King Eannatum, art objects of the highest finish in the shape of round trays of onyx, the silver vase of Entenema, beautifully chased, and votive statues. The tablets recovered were mainly commercial and administrative, the series running from c. 4000 B.C. to about 2550 B.C. The additional fact was developed that by 4000 B.C. the writing had already passed beyond the stage of picture-writing.399
Between 1878 and 1882 Raasam conducted excavations for the English at Borsippa and in the region of Babylon, and among the tablets unearthed were those of the Egidi firm of bankers. Over 60,000 were discovered, but unfortunately most of them were ruined by moisture. In general they were of a business character, though a number were literary, mythological, and religious, and one was the cylinder of Cyrus describing his conquest of the city of Babylon. Sippar was identified with Abu-Habba, where the celebrated tablet of the sun-god was recovered; in this place alone Rasaam uncovered 130 chambers. The result of German excavations at Surghul and El-Habba in 1887 was a large collection of mortuary remains and more exact knowledge of methods of disposing of the dead.
6. The University of Pennsylvania Expedition.
The next noteworthy attempt at excavation was made by an American expedition sent out by the University of Pennsylvania (see below, IV, 9). In 1884 an association of scholars in America was formed to forward research in Babylonia, and the same year the Wolfe expedition under Dr. Ward, Mr. Haynes, and Dr. Sterrett sailed to make a preliminary survey and recommend a site for systematic excavation. Niffar was chosen, and there, beginning in 1888, the most systematic work has been done and consequently permanently valuable results have been there obtained. Aside from the recovery of over 50,000 tablets and art objects of various sorts, perhaps the most significant consequence is the approximate determination of the period of occupation of the site, which was accomplished by means of the depth of the debris. The Parthian fortress was seventeen to nineteen feet above the pavement of Naram-Sin, and the interval between the early ruler and the Parthians was about 3,500 years. From the pavement to the virgin soil was about thirty feet, for twenty five of which continuous evidences of human activity were found in the shape of constructive works, urns, and seal impressions. A low estimate would place the city’s beginnings then as early as 6000 B.C.
A German expedition has been working since 1899 on the mounds which cover the old city of Babylon and has identified Kassr with Nebuchadrezzar’s palace, and Tell-Amran with E-sagila.
IV. The Cities.
1. Origin and Development.
Two facts differentiate Babylonian from Assyrian cities. (1) The former received character rather from their temples than from their palaces, from their religion than their temporalities. (2) They were not arbitrary creations like most of the Assyrian cities. Investigations at Nippur and careful examination of the evidence (as by C. S. Fisher, Babylonian Expedition of the University of Pennsylvania, part 1, Philadelphia, 1905) proves that the location of the centers of life, culture, and worship were the results of the usual play of natural circumstances. With the plain subject to periodical inundations, the highest spots were occupied by the earliest inhabitants, reed huts were built, and a shrine was erected. The character of the materials used invited frequent conflagrations with loss of life, which explains the beds of ashes next to virgin soil and the human remains found wherever excavation is carried far enough. With increase of population came systematic effort to escape the inundations by elevating the original mound, further elevation through the decay of the structures, which was hastened by the character of the materials used as the people advanced to the use of sun-dried and burned bricks, and finally the governmental erection of platforms on which the larger cities were built.
It is necessary for even an elementary appreciation of the history of Babylonia, to recognize the early existence of two groups of cities, one in the south in the district represented by the general name of Sumer, and one in the north covered by the term Akkad. Midway between was the city of Nippur. At the opening of history strife between the north and the south is in evidence. Whether this was due to the incoming of Semites at that early age is not yet certain, though the possibilities are that way. A difference in the language is evident in that early time, and they of the south claimed the purer speech. The cities of the south were Eridu, Ur, Erech, Girsu, Larsa, Shirpurla, and Lagash, and, much later, in the extreme south, Bit-Yakin. North of Nippur were Kish, Cutha, Agade, Sippar, and in later days Babylon and Borsippa. Of these, Eridu, Ur, Erech, Larsa, Nippur, and Sippar retained their eminence almost throughout history because of the celebrity of the shrines and of their deities. Shirpurla, Girsu, Isin, Kish, and Agade dropped out of sight in the later period; Babylon achieved its predominance in the middle period and maintained it to the end.
Eridu, Sumerian Eri-dugga, ” Holy City,” the modern Abu-Shahrain, ” Father of two Mouths,” was the southernmost city of early Babylonia, situated then on the Persian Gulf, now 130 miles inland. This fact, on the basis of the data given for the rate of deposition of silt by the rivers in the historical period, indicates an antiquity of close to 6000 B.C. That the ruins contain the remains of the famous temple E-sagil is certain, since the city was the home of the god Ea, who was said to come each day out of the sea to teach its inhabitants the useful arts. This deity remained in the pantheon till the last. Among the reasons for the interest in this site is the fact that it was never, so far as known, a political center. It was the home of the Adapa legend, the fisherman myth found in the Amarna tablets (cf. Boscawen, First of Empires, London, 1903, pp. 69-77). See below VII, 2, § 3, 3, § 3.
Ur, Sumerian Uru or Urima, the modern Mugheir (30 m.n.e. of Eridu), is on the right bank of the Euphrates. The ruins form a rude oval 1,000 yards by 800. Its position made it probably the greatest mart of those early times. It was located (1) on the river, easy therefore of access from the Gulf and from the entire north; (2) at the entrance of a wadi which leads straight into the heart of Arabia and marks the caravan route; (3) at the 400starting-point of the road across the desert to Egypt and Africa, a route early provided with wells; (4) just a little below where the Shatt-al-Kahr, the continuation of the Shatt-al-Nil, entered the Euphrates, thus giving access to central Babylonia; (5) a little above the Shatt-al-Hai, which gave it a waterway to the Tigris. Besides these great advantages as a commercial site, Ur was the locus of a pilgrim shrine. It was also at times the center of political movements, and gave several dynasties to the land. As the home of Sin, with his celebrated temple E-gishshirgal, “House of Great Light,” and as the home of the goddess Nin-gal, its religious significance was hardly less than its commercial importance.
Larsa, the Ellasar of Gen. xiv, the modern Senkereh, was situated 15 miles e. of Erech, probably on the Shatt-al-Nil. It was a home of the sun-god whose temple took its Semitic name, Bit-Shamash, Sumerian E-babar, “House of Light,” from the god himself. This temple, built or restored by Ur-gur and Dungi, was restored by other kings at frequent intervals. Not much is known of the city except that it was the head of a small state and was the last city to submit to Hammurabi when he unified the country, c. 2250 B.C.
Erech, Sumerian Unu or Unug, “Seat,” Semitic Uruk or Arku, the modern Warka and the Greek Orchoe, probably the home of the Archevites of Ezra iv, 9, was situated between the Shatt-al-Nil and the Euphrates, 30 miles n. of Ur. The ruins are about six miles in circumference, indicating a large population. Erech was Sumerian in origin, one of the most sacred of Babylonian cities from early times, and continued to stand high in the esteem of the people. The two goddesses, Ishtar and Nana or Nina or Anunit, had their seat there in the two temples E-ulmash, “House of the Oracle,” and E-Ana, “House of Heaven.” Besides the two temples Erech had the seven-staged ziggurat E-zipar-imina. It was a walled city, intersected by canals, and has yielded to the spade of the excavator evidences of the activities of early kings of the Ur dynasty, Dungi and Ur-Bau. It was a seat of learning also, the source of part of the library of Asshurbanipal, the locus of the Gilgamesh epic and of a creation story, the place of abode of the wailing priestesses of Ishtar who celebrated the Ishtar-Tammuz episode. It was therefore rich in those possessions which were dearest to the Babylonians. Later it fell into decay and was used as a necropolis.
6. Shirpurla and Lagash.
Shirpurla, the modern Telloh, was situated east of Erech. In the opinion of modern scholars it was originally two cities, Shirpurla and Lagash. It was the home of two celebrated kings, Ur-Bau and Gudea. The fish-goddess Nina had a home there, and the temple of Nin-sungir was also located in the place. It may have been the Babylonian Nineveh. Its inscriptions are wholly in Sumerian, and the ceremonies at the founding of temples are best known from discoveries made at this city.
7. Isin or Nisin.
Isin or Nisin is one of the lost cities, its site not yet having been recovered or at least identified. It was in all probability a little north of the middle of the line joining Erech and Shirpurla. It contained the ziggurat-temple E-kharsagkalama, “Mountain of the World,” belonging to Ishtar-Nina.
Girsu is another of the lost cities; possibly the modern Tell-Id covers it. At any rate its location is sought a few miles northeast of Erech. It was very early a seat of government but was soon dwarfed by its more prosperous neighbors, abandoned, and then lost to sight.
Nippur, the modern Niffar (35 m. s.e. of Babylon), revered in ancient times as the home of En-lil, the earliest Bel of Babylonia, and the locus of his great temple E-kur, “Mountain House,” was on the Shatt-al-Nil which ran through the city. It is the site of the epoch-making excavations of the University of Pennsylvania through which more of light on early conditions has come than from any other single source. It contained the chief sanctuary of the land in the early and middle period, and its possession was always coveted by the rulers because of the prestige which accrued, but its prestige was purely religious. Kings of the north and of the south and of united Babylonia vied in doing honor to its god, placing there votive offerings to Bel. Even after Babylon had attained its predominance and Marduk had seized the position and attached the name of Bel, the Sumerian En-lil still received his meed of worship. The topography of Nippur has been investigated by the help of a native map dated about 3000 B.C. found on the site (cf. C. S. Fisher, Babylonian Expedition of the University of Pennsylvania, part 1, Philadelphia, 1905). Ur, Erech, and Nippur remained for millenniums the triad of most holy cities of the land.
10. Kish and Cutha.
North of Babylon and Borsippa are Kish and Cutha, a few miles apart and related to each other as were Borsippa and Babylon. Cutha is represented by the modern Tell-Ibrahim (15 m. s.e. from Sippar and the same distance n.e. from Babylon). It was the seat of the god Nergal and the site of his temple E-shidlam, “House of Shadow.” Its neighbor Kish, possibly the modern Al-Ohaimer, appears in the records belonging to the very dawn of history. Not improbably, it was one of the early seats of the Semitic settlers. Its king Lugalzaggisi in the fifth pre-Christian millennium claimed dominion from the “Lower Sea” (Persian Gulf) to the “Upper Sea” (Mediterranean or Lake Van?), and it was again prominent in the time of Hammurabi, who had a palace there, and built the ziggurat called E-mitiursag, “House of Warrior’s Adornment.”
11. Akkad and Sippar.
Akkad and Sippar must also be treated together, for it is believed that they were not two but one. Akkad, Sumerian Agade, was the city of Sargon I and the capital in his time of the region of Akkad (the Sumerian Uri), and is mentioned Gen. x, 1. Sippar was almost certainly a dual city, located 401at the modern Abu-Habba. The Hebrew dual form Sepharvaim has by some been referred to this city. The displacement of Ishtar of Akkad by Anunit goes well with the hypothesis of the oneness of Akkad and Sippar, and equally concordant is the long continuance in importance of Sippar and the utter loss of Akkad as a city. Akkad had no great claims to importance outside of its eminence politically under Sargon; and its political eminence was utterly lost when Babylon assumed the leadership in Babylonia. On the other hand, Sippar always had claims to importance on account of its deity Shamash, and this importance would easily permit it to assimilate and absorb its less important neighbor. Thus Sippar lived on, its temple of Shamash, E-barra, "House of Brilliance,” and its temple of Anunit, E-ulbar, securing its fame.
Babylon bore also the name Tin-tir, “Seat of Life.” In Gen. x, 10 it is named as one of the four cities of Shinar. The description which has been current in Christendom goes back to the narrative of Herodotus (i, 178–179; transl. in Rogers, History of Babylonia and Assyria, i, 389–391, where is given also the India House inscription of Nebuchadrezzar describing the defenses he added to the city). According to Herodotus, Babylon was a great square fifty-four miles in circuit, enclosed by a moat of running water and by a rampart 300 feet in height and seventy-five broad. Ctesias gives only forty-one miles for the circuit. The mounds called by modern Arabs Jumjuna, Amran, Kassr, and Babil are recognized as covering parts of the old city. The origin of Babylon as a city is unknown, as it does not appear in history till just before the time of Hammurabi, 2250 B.C., and it then figures as his capital. The prowess of that king elevated it to the supreme political position, which it maintained till Persian times. From Hammurabi’s days “king of Babylon” was one of the proudest titles of the monarchs of Western Asia. Though destroyed by Sennacherib Babylon was restored by Esarhaddon in a style of still greater magnificence, but it was Nebuchadrezzar who elevated it to its pinnacle of greatness. It was he who completed its two great walls, the outer Nimitti-Bel, "Dwelling of Bel,” and its inner, Imgur-Bel, "Bel is Gracious,” and dug the moat of which Herodotus tells. He finished the two great streets, which he elevated and paved. The walls enclosed spaces not occupied by dwellings, asserted to be large enough to raise crops ample to support the inhabitants during a siege, making Babylon, with its great external defenses, impregnable against a foe on the outside. Its great temple for Marduk, E-sagila, "House of the Lofty Head,” and its ziggurat E-temenanaki, seven stages in height, are described by the proud builder and beautifier of them. The temple was a compound of sanctuaries, the principal one, of course, Bel’s, containing the splendid statue by taking the hands of which year by year the kings of Babylon confirmed their right to the title. Nebuchadrezzar’s palace was also there, built new from the foundations. Hardly less famous than walls and temples and palace were the great gateways, closed by massive bronze-covered doors guarded by huge colossi. And another temple or ziggurat, E-kur, "Mountain House” was also located in the city. This king might well have exclaimed: “Is not this great Babylon which I have built for the royal dwelling-place, by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?” (Dan. iv, 30; cf. D. W. McGee, Zur Topographie Babylons auf Grund der Urkunden Nabopolassars und Nebukadnezars, in Beiträge zur Assyriologie, iii, 524–560.)
Borsippa, the modern Bira Nimrud, is of importance only as the suburb of Babylon and the home of Nebo, the prophet-god of the country. There are some signs that its origin antedated that of Babylon, as for instance the fact that on his yearly visit to Marduk Nebo was accompanied by Marduk part way on the return journey, and this is interpreted as an indication of a former precedence which was abolished when Marduk became supreme. This is corroborated by the relationship assigned to Nebo as the son of Marduk, a fiction of late date. The famous temple of the place was named E-zida, "Established House,” sacred to Nebo. The temple of the Seven Spheres of Heaven and Earth was also located there.
Bit-Yakin was a city in the extreme south, the capital of the Kaldu before they became masters of Babylonia. It had been the home of Merodach-Baladan, and belonged to the kingdom of the Sea Lands.
V. The People, Language, and Culture.
1. The Earliest Inhabitants Mongolian.
Careful discrimination with respect to periods must be made in describing the population. The fertility and the wealth and culture existent in the country made it the natural focus of efforts at subjugation. Different races came in and settled in the land, but the old population was able to assimilate the new elements which made the region their home. The Babylonians of later periods were consequently a people of very mixed origin. The earliest inhabitants were a non-Semitic race, almost certainly Mongolian, using an agglutinative language which differed in its vocabulary, its root forms, and its grammar from the Semitic type (see below, §§ 3–5). This earliest population, dating back to the beginning of the fifth pre-Christian millennium, is shown by statues from Telloh now in the Louvre to have been short of stature and thick set, brachycephalic, with high cheek bones, flat face, broad nose, and almond-shaped eyes, and to have been either beardless or to have had the head and face shaven. Other statues of the same period seem to represent a mixed race with the characteristics just noted somewhat toned down. With these is to be contrasted the type shown in later reliefs and statues, a dolycephalic race, typically slender, with aquiline features, and hair and beard that were long and wavy.
2. Semitic Immigrations.
Upon the earlier Sumerians, as the Mongolic people is named, before 4000 B.C., came in the 402Semites as conquerors of part of the land, which after some hundreds of years was wholly under their control. Thus a second element was added to the population. Somewhere about 2500 B.C. a second Semitic immigration reenforced the first and marked the completeness of Semitic domination. Elamites and Kasshites, both probably predominantly Mongolian, and then Semites again followed each other at intervals. Still another Semitic addition to the population is to be added in the conquest by the Kaldu; while the Assyrian and Chaldean periods added other elements in the colonists forcibly introduced from subjected countries. In the Chaldean period, therefore, the population had become exceedingly heterogeneous in respect to origin.
3. The Language. Two Forms.
Modern knowledge of the tongues of Babylonia has come entirely from a study of native sources, viz.: The inscriptions on bricks out of which structures were built or streets or squares paved, on door-sockets, on votive offerings of various materials, on record-tablets of clay or stone, on statues, on cylinders of varying form, on cones, vases, and bowls (see Inscriptions). The writing in which these records were made is called cuneiform or wedge-shaped, from the form of the simple elements of which most of the characters are composed. It exists in two varieties, concerning which two theories have been stated and defended. One is that the earlier form is not a language in the sense of a distinct speech, but is a cryptic or artificial method of writing, corresponding loosely with the hieratic of Egypt. Along with this may go the hypothesis that there was no pre-Semitic race in Babylonia, and that the whole civilization was Semitic in origin and development. The second theory is that this method of writing was a distinct tongue, belonging to a non-Semitic family, akin to the Mongol-Tataric group. For a number of years modern students of Babylonian inscriptions were in two camps nearly equally divided in numbers and authority. But within the last twenty-five years the advocates of the second theory have become the more numerous, until at the present day Halévy in France, McCurdy in Canada, and Price and Jastrow in the United States are the only scholars of high rank who support the first theory. A reason for the long debate is that the cuneiform is exceedingly complex and its acquisition difficult. The signs are conventional, not natural. Different forms exist for the same sound, and the same character may have different values, syllabic or ideographic, and may therefore be pronounced in a number of ways and may also carry more than one meaning.
4. The Sumerian-Akkadian Language.
The facts which have abundantly established the reality of a Sumerian-Akkadian language may be summed under two heads (1) The character of the writing. As already noted above, the Sumerian differs in vocabulary, root-forms, and grammar from the Semitic type. It has not the triliteral, triconsonantal roots of the latter, lacks the accidence of gender, is not inflectional, is fond of compounded words, has a unique numeral system, uses postpositions instead of prepositions, while dependent clauses precede major clauses and causal particles follow their clauses. (2) Facts in history. The existence of two languages is presupposed by the ethnology of the land, a Mongolian people gradually conquered by a Semitic. Hammurabi entrusted his records to both methods of writing, this proceeding being exactly what would be expected of a king ruling a dual realm whose subjects were of different races and tongues. The texts are often bilingual in alternate lines, and Sumerian-Semitic dictionaries or syllabaries are found. Moreover, religious formulas, ritualistic and magical, are in the Sumerian language and persist so down to the latest times. This is in accord with the universal law of religions, according to which ritual and other formulae are retained in use long after the language has ceased to be understood. Further, the employment of the Sumerian language was provincial; its home was in the south and there it lingered longest. This tallies with what is but the other face of the same fact, viz., that the south was the region latest subdued by the conquering Semites. Moreover, the antagonism between the north and the south which study of the history discloses is in part explained by difference in race, which in this case accompanies difference in speech. Add to the foregoing that a tablet in the Semitic tongue mentions by name the Akkadian, stating that in a “great tablet house” (library) the “tongue of Akkad is in the third [room].” Akkadian and Sumerian were dialectical varieties of the same speech.
5. The Assyrio-Babylonian Language.
The other language, the Assyrio-Babylonian, was of the common Semitic type, inflectional, its roots were triliteral and triconsonantal, and it belonged to the north Semitic branch which included the Aramaic, Phenician, and Hebraic families. It presents few difficulties to the average scholar in Semitic, apart from those offered in the reading of the character itself. The twofold method of writing goes back to about 4000 B.C. But after the final conquest by the Semites, c. 2250 B.C., the use of the Sumerian tongue was almost entirely confined to matters religious or magical. To the world-speech it has given one word at least of value, “Sabbath.”
6. The Literature.
In one or the other, sometimes in both, of these languages the literature of Babylonia was written. In the earliest period, and in the south down to the middle period, records were entirely in the Sumerian. The substance of the literature is very varied. It may be comprised under six heads: historical, diplomatic, scientific, religious, commercial, and legal. (1) The historical material includes the record of the operations of government. Noticeable is the fact that the records of the kings of the land deal largely with temple-building or the excavation of canals or beautification of cities—a striking contrast to the record of martial exploits which so nearly fill Assyrian annals. (2) Diplomatic intercourse is suggested by the Amarna correspondence 403(see Amarna Tablets). (3) The scientific writings include books on history, geography, astrology, astronomy, medicine, mathematics, and linguistics. (4) Religious texts include the epics, myths, folk-tales, and the ritual of prayer, psalmody, incantation, and magic. (5) The commercial texts, forming by far the greatest bulk of the inscriptions recovered, are usually inventoried under the name “contract tablets,” a term which is far too narrow to describe accurately the great variety of these documents. They are oftener records of transactions completed than statements of agreements to be carried out. They cover every phase of social, even of family, life, and deal with marrying and purchase, renting of land and hiring of persons, with crops and merchandise and handicrafts. (6) For the legal literature see Hammurabi and his Code.
The writing of this literature was often microscopic and had to be read with the help of a magnifying-glass. It is interesting to note in this connection that a lens (of crystal) evidently used for such a purpose is now in the British Museum. Long works appeared on a series of tablets, and the order in the series was indicated by marginal notes such as are made on modern sheets intended as copy for the printer or as employed in commercial correspondence. Copying of old tablets was often most faithfully done, and some late documents exist which record that in the exemplar followed by the scribe there was a hiatus in the text. The poetry, like that of the Hebrews, was characterized by parallelism, and the strophical structure is often evident.
7. The Civilization.
Nippur is the only place where systematic excavations have been carried down to the stratum manifesting the beginning of the city in the collection of inflammable reed huts so often burned down with evident loss of life. Written records began much later. According to the chronology assumed by this article, the earliest documents date back to about 4500 B.C. At that time there were cities which possessed an advanced civilization, where the social fabric was already complex, and where the strife for empire was already violent. Public works were carried on by the government, and division of labor had been accomplished. The condition was such that a long antecedent development is necessarily assumed. Thus it is known that Nippur had four navigable canals, possibly one of them the regular channel of the Euphrates of the time. It was not so very long before the two great canals, the Shatt-al-Nil (probably the Chebar of Ezekiel) and the Shatt-al-Hai were in existence. The former branched off from the Euphrates above where Babylon stood later, struck out toward the interior of the country and, after running south over 100 miles, joined the same river nearly opposite Ur. The Shatt-al-Hai started from the Euphrates a little below Ur and crossed the country in a northeasterly direction till it joined the Tigris. In the extreme north, just below Sippar, another canal united the two rivers. Besides these great channels others are known to have existed and in many cases their courses may still be traced. By 3000 B.C. these works had made Babylonia the land of many waters. As a further evidence of the advance of civilization it is shown that as early as 4000 B.C., tin and antimony were used to harden copper and to make it more fusible. Another indication of culture are the many testimonies to an early commerce which embraced probably all Arabia, the Sinaitic peninsula, Egypt, and the Mediterranean coast region; and a remarkable fact is startling to learn, namely, that the Nippur arch is placed by Hilprecht prior to 4000 B.C. (Nippur, p. 399) The corbeled arch shown in the same work (p. 420) is not a true arch, but is similar to the Mycenæan gateways formed of stones beveled so as to meet at the top. This period, therefore, was one of regulated commerce, advanced public works, and large international intercourse. Cadastral surveys were made by the government in the fifth pre-Christian millennium as a basis for taxation and for the regulating of sales of land. Civilized methods of government were therefore employed.
8. Slavery and the Status of Women.
The legal provisions are also of value in revealing the type of civilization. Slavery is in evidence during all periods. Slaves were of two classes, private and public; in the latter case they might belong to the government or to the temples. Public slaves were doubtless employed on the great public works; temple slaves were used in the usual menial offices about the temples, and also in tilling the temple lands. Even in Sumerian times the law protected the slave from ill-treatment. The servitor was often apprenticed to a handicraft that his labor might be more profitable to his owner. But he might engage in trade on his own account and, if fortunate, even purchase his freedom. Records are known where a slave lent his master money and at the usual interest. The whole impression given by usages respecting slavery is therefore that of a mild and comfortable culture. This impression is heightened by the tendency of law and custom respecting marriage. While the usage was theoretically polygamous, the many protections thrown around the wife and her dower, the hindrances to divorce and the penalties for it, and the mutual agreements contrary to polygamy indicate that the practise was predominatingly monogamous. Not opposed to this general appearance is the showing made by the status of woman. She could hold property, could trade, and might maintain and defend actions at law. Partnership of man and wife in conduct of business is often in evidence. The freedom of woman is one of the noteworthy features of Babylonian life.
In full accord with the indications already given is the diversity of the activities of the early population. Besides the agriculturist and shepherd, there were weavers and fullers and dyers—Babylonian garments in a later period were in high repute—brickmakers and potters, smiths of various sorts and carpenters and stonecutters, goldsmiths and jewelers and carvers in wood and ivory. The learned professions included, besides the priests who gave tone to society, scribes who acted as 404teachers and librarians and publishers and notaries, physicians and astronomers and musicians. Gold, silver, copper, and ivory, and later bronze, glass, and lapis lazuli, were worked and employed in the useful and ornamental arts.
It is not improbable that the high scientific attainments of the first pre-Christian millennium have been mistakenly read back into much earlier times. Doubtful is the claim that eclipses were correctly predicted before the Assyrian age; though by that time the periodicity of these events was well known and records of eclipses and obscurations were kept at Borsippa and Sippar. Science was inaccurate, the fallacy of post hoc propter hoc being characteristic of this as of all early civilizations, most evident in the doctrine of omens.
The civilization thus described is Sumerian-Akkadian, not Semitic, as the preponderating weight of scholarship now affirms. The Semites came in upon this civilization and adopted and adapted it so that its ideals became theirs,—even the theology was taken over and remolded in the Semitic consciousness.
1. The Data.
Babylonian chronology rests upon the same general facts as that of Assyria (q.v.). The absolute datum is the eclipse of the year 763 B.C. The other dates depend upon synchronisms, either stated or computed by means of comparison of native documents such as the King-list or the Babylonian Chronicle, or upon individual statements respecting date, genealogy, and the like. Besides these data, the form of the characters in the documents often gives a clue to the relative age of certain documents and therefore of the maker. The King-list gives the names of kings c. 2400–625 B.C. A second King-list gives the first and second dynasties of Babylon. The Babylonian Chronicle refers to members of the first, fifth, sixth, and seventh dynasties, and another Chronicle gives parts of three dynasties, furnishing a check upon the first. The most important isolated data are the following. A king named E-(dingir)nagin calls himself a son of Akurgal; Entena is named son of En-anna-tum and descendant of Ur-Nina, while En-anna-tum II is son of Entena; and the daughter of Ur-Bau is called the wife of Nammaghani. These items give the succession in a dynasty. Burnaburiash is shown by the Amarna Tablets (q.v.) to have been a contemporary of Thothmes III and IV of Egypt, and he is stated by Nabonidus to have reigned 700 years after Hammurabi. This datum places Hammurabi about 2100 B.C., which comes within a century of the date obtained from other sources. A king named Shagarakti-buriash is placed by Nabonidus c. 800 years before his own time, a date which agrees well with the character of the name and with other indications. A boundary-stone of the fourth regnal year of Bel-nadinapli (1118 B.C.) asserts that from Gulkishar, king of the Sea Lands, to Nebuchadrezzar I, was 696 years, which item locates Gulkishar c. 1818 B.C. Sennacherib asserts that 418 years before 689 B.C., Marduk-nadin-ahi of Babylon carried off two images from Assyria; this datum fixes the year of the victory as 1107 B.C., while the beginning of Marduk-nadin-ahi’s reign is settled as 1117 by a stone telling of a victory over Assyria in his tenth regnal year. Asshurbanipal relates that in a certain year (known to be 640 B.C.) he brought back from Elam an image carried thither 1,635 years earlier by Kudur-nanhundi, an Elamite, thus placing the Elamite invasion c. 2275 B.C. This fits in exceedingly well with the datum about the date of Hammurabi referred to above. Nabonidus states in the inscription in which he dates Shagarakti-buriash (ut sup.) that he found the cornerstone of the temple of Shamash at Nippur laid by Naram-Sin 3,200 years earlier, thus placing Naram-Sin about 3750 B.C., and giving the date by which to locate early events.
2. Value of Nabonidus’s Dates.
There have been in recent years attempts to reduce the age of Sargon and Naram-Sin by from 318 to about 1,000 years. For the shorter reduction alone is there positive indication, the fact being that a dynasty which reigned 318 years is sometimes repeated, and it is supposed that Nabonidus included in his reckoning this doubled period. The round numbers which appear in Nabonidus’s statements are also the objects of suspicion. But there are certain facts which lead to the conclusion that Nabonidus was not far out of the way. In the first place, he was very much the antiquarian, very little the king. His very care in going to the foundations of buildings he was engaged in restoring and his evident pride in recording his archeological discoveries is a prima facie testimony to his good faith. Moreover, the statements he makes are, in general, consistent with each other and with the results from other sources. Throwing light upon antiquarian methods in the time of this king is a squeeze of a tablet of Sargon I, i.e., an impress with raised letters reading backward. It is an example of scientific work done about 550 B.C. Moreover, as suggesting sources for the calculations of this king in records preserved till his time, there was found at Nippur a collection of tablets of different periods from the assumed date of Sargon to 615 B.C., this collection sealed up in a jar. It is not beyond the bounds of probability, therefore, that Nabonidus had access to documents similar to these upon which he based his calculations. Inasmuch as there is no positive evidence against the date for Sargon furnished by Nabonidus, and objections to it come principally from a distrust of statements involving high antiquity, and taking into account the indications derived (a) from depth of debris, (b) from the changes in the character of the writing, and (c) from allusions to Eridu as once situated on the Gulf, the probability is suggested that no great change is likely to be required in the general system of dates now adopted tentatively for early Babylonia.
2. The Pre-Sargonic Age, 4500–3800 B.C.
History opens with the mention of En-shag-kushanna, who names himself king of Kengi, the name for South Babylonia or Sumer. He also calls himself 405patesi77The term “patesi” is used in different ways: a man may be a patesi of a god, of a city, of a king, of men, and of a festival. These different ways of using the word seem to be equivalent, respectively, to the words priest, subordinate ruler, viceroy, shepherd, and director. It indicates subordinate rank, therefore, and seems to be used politically in contradistinction to the term king; though the king of the land may be at the same time the patesi of a god. of En-lil of Nippur. He is doubtless a Sumerian, as is shown both by his name and his region; but that the Semite is already in the land and even among the king’s subjects is clear. With this first of the known kings of the land comes also knowledge of the strife between North and South. Other cities are in existence, and the relations are not friendly. Girsu and Kish are named, and hostilities had been carried on by En-shag-kushanna with the latter, for he names it “the wicked of heart"; and he must have conquered it, for he presented spoil from it at Nippur.
Not far from the time of this king another is heard of from Shirpurla whose name is Uru-kagina, and his title of king indicates that his city was then the head of the district. He is known by several inscriptions, which reveal him building temples and digging canals. The preeminence of the south is still indicated, for soon after the ruler of Kish is the patesi U-dug, perhaps contemporary with En-ge-gal, who is called king of Girsu.
Yet how quickly the fortune of war changes is shown by the fact that the next ruler of Kish is Mesilim, named as lord paramount, who intervenes to fix the boundaries between two cities, Gishban and Shirpurla, while the ruler of the latter receives the title patesi. That the lordship of Mesilim was more than nominal appears from the mention of Ush who is patesi of Gishban, while the ruler of Girsu has the same title; and that the hegemony was not temporary is proved by the fact that the succeeding ruler of Kish, named Lugal-da-ag (?), bore the title king. But with the names which appear next the leadership reverts to the south with the dynasty of Shirpurla in control.
4. Ur-Nina, Akurgal, Eannatum, Entemena.
Of the names of eight persons connected with this dynasty the first two, Gursar and Gunidu, seem only ancestors of the later rulers. The rest follow in the order Ur-Nina, Akurgal, father of Eannatum and Enannatum I, the latter the father of Entemena and grandfather of Enannatum II. The third, fourth, and fifth of these had the title king, the others were patesis. Ur-Nina is known as a constructor of temples and canals, bringing wood for his temples from Arabia, suggesting either conquest or commerce. His time and that of his son Akurgal seem peaceful; but with his grandson the Semites are once more aggressive. It is from Eannatum that the celebrated stele of vultures comes, recording his victory over the Semites, from whom he delivered Ur and Erech. The results were so great and the confidence gained so decided that Eannatum invaded Elam and made Sumerian supremacy seem assured. From his nephew Entemena comes the celebrated silver vase, the most beautiful of the objects of high antiquity. After the reign of Enannatum II there is a gap, and the next ruler of Shirpurla claims only the title patesi.
From his time down to about 3850 B.C. a number of Semitic kings of Kish are known, the last of whom, Alusharshid, claimed to be “king of the world.” This king invaded Elam and presented at the temples of Nippur and Sippar the “spoil of Elam” in the shape of inscribed marble vases. The Semites are thus shown advancing to control. The Semitic wedge meantime had been driven as far as Gutium, while a Semitic kingdom of Lulubi is known in the mountain regions of the lower Zab. These notes are interesting as showing the course and development of the growing power of the people from Arabia. Their entry must have been made into the region between the two rivers about the point where the Tigris and Euphrates make their nearest approach. There the wedge was inserted, the point penetrating beyond the Tigris. Semitic power developed both to north and to south, the latter the locality which resisted longest and where the Sumerian civilization remained unsubdued.
6. Lugal-zagissi, Lugal-kigubnidudu, Lugal-kisalsi.
About 4000 B.C. the patesi Ukush of Erech had a son Lugal-zaggisi (the names are Sumerian) who became king of Kish and Gishban, and seems to have made Erech the capital of a united Babylonia. He lauded En-lil as bestower of the kingship of the world, and claimed rule from the rising of the sun to its setting, from the “lower sea” (Persian Gulf) to the “upper sea” (Mediterranean or Lake Urumiah?). About 3900 B.C. there was a king of Erech named Lugal-kigubnidudu, known to be earlier than Sargon because the latter used his blocks at the gates, but what part he and his son Lugal-kisalsi took is unknown. The names of a number of rulers of other cities of this period appear in inscriptions as diggers of canals or builders of temples, or as marking offerings to the gods, and as bearing title either of king or patesi. The pre-Sargonic period therefore reveals the Semites in Northern Babylonia, striving for control of the whole land, at times achieving it only to be pushed back. Meanwhile they record their victories in the Sumerian tongue. The land had already become a region of canals, commerce had won its empire, and communication with the far west seems already established.
3. Sargon to Hammurabi, 3800–2250 B.C.
Sargon’s name was till about a decade ago the high mark of antiquity. This king is best known by the name just given, though he appears on the inscriptions as Shargani-shar-ali. An eighth century tablet, claimed to be a copy of an early one, tells his life-story to the effect that he was born of poor parents, that his mother put him in an ark of reeds and bitumen and committed him to the river which brought him to one Akkil, an irrigator, who reared him as a gardener, and that Ishtar made him king. Another tablet asserts that he mastered the Elamites and conquered Martu or Syria. His historical character, once seriously questioned, is now beyond doubt, 406and his name is linked with that of his son, Naram-Sin, in journeys of conquest as far as the Mediterranean, while both brought back wood from Lebanon for their temples. Sargon speaks of forming all countries into one, by which is doubtless meant an attempt at organizing the whole realm so that the alternations of government which had been the rule should cease. The capital was Akkad or Agade.
His son was as famous as himself, both as warrior and builder. Nippur owed to him its great wall eighteen feet wide, laid on foundations in trenches that were sunk fifteen feet for security and built of bricks that bore his name. He claimed to be king of Sumer and Akkad and of “the four quarters of the world,” a title often assumed by later rulers. Confirming the claim to control of the region is the fact that Lugal-ushum-gal appears as contemporary of both Sargon and his son, and is patesi (not king) of Shirpurla. He it is who calls Naram-Sin “the mighty god of Agade,” and a seal from far-away Cyprus seems to indicate that even during his life Naram-Sin was deified. During this period Syria was under a governor named Uru-malik (a Canaanitic name), who ruled for the Babylonian overlord. A post was instituted, and literature was encouraged. Sargon had books of omens and of history compiled. In spite of the promise this Akkad dynasty seemed to show, after the reign of Sargon’s grandson, Bingani-shar-ali, it sank out of sight. Its significance was its dominance for the time and its testimony to the ability of the Semites to carry on campaigns in as distant points as Elam and the Mediterranean.
3. Ur-Bau and Gudea.
With the fall of Akkad, Shirpurla once more comes into prominence, but the exact period can not be fixed within 300 years. Between 3500 and 3200 B.C. appears Ur-Bau with the title patesi, followed by a son-in-law Nammaghani, also patesi, and he, after an interval, by Gudea. The first and last-named of these were the rulers for whom were made the beautiful statues of diorite mentioned above. The inscriptions, particularly those of Gudea, tell of his building operations in which he was inspired by the goddess Nina. His statues show the hands clasped in reverential attitude and in one case he is studying the plan of a building which is represented on a tablet placed on his knees. From Magan and Meluhha he brought dolerite and gold and gems, from Amanus cedar logs 105 feet long, and choice building stones from other regions. Here again is the suggestion of great commercial operations or else of widely extended powers.
4. Ur-gur and Dungi.
Who held the leadership in the time of these patesis is not known, but their successors recognized the suzerainty of the kings of Ur. Besides them a number of rulers of Shirpurla are known, but the succession is not completely made out. Gudea’s successor was Ur-Ningirsu, then at intervals Akurgal II, Lukani, and Galalama, the date of the last being about 3100 B.C. The significance of this period is the renascence of Sumerian power. Ur shows the next attempt for supremacy, and the dating here also is still sub judice. The question is whether there were two pairs of kings bearing the names of Ur-gur and Dungi; if so they must be put about 450 years apart. Then Ur-gur I and Dungi I must be placed c. 3200–3150 B.C. and Ur-gur II and Dungi II 2700–2650 B.C. An accumulation of indications suggest four of these kings and not two. The period under Ur-gur I was evidently one of Semitic decline similar to those seen in Assyria, for this king not only left monuments of himself in the shape of temples at Ur, Erech, Larsa, and Nippur, but he was in control of North Babylonia. Dungi calls himself king of the four quarters, implying complete mastery. It is once more characteristic that of the wars which must have been waged to construct this empire, not a word is said; the inscriptions deal with peaceful matters, mainly religious. The length of this dynasty is not known. A new aspirant for honors appears in the city of Isin under a Semitic dynasty, the kings whose names are certain being Ur-Ninib, Libit-Anunit, Bur-Sin, and Ishme-Dagan. It will be noted that the second element in each of these names is the name of a deity. Reversal comes with the son of Ishme-Dagan, Enannatum, who acknowledges himself a vassal of the king of Ur. But his predecessors had control of Ur, Eridu, Erech, and Nippur, the great religious centers, as well as of Cutha, the temples in all these places being restored by either Ur-gur or Dungi.
The “second Ur dynasty” is a matter of grave debate. Radau names Gungunu and Ur-gur II, in which he is alone; generally accepted are Dungi II, Bur-Sin II, Gamil-Gin, and Ine-Sin; but Radau interjects a Dungi III after the second of the name, and Ur-Bau II after him, and Idin-Dagan after Ine-Sin. The decision must wait. The old title of Sargon is still in use, “king of the four quarters,” and the Mediterranean region was visited either in trade or hostility.
5. Nur-Ramman and Siniddina.
The downfall of this dynasty brought Larsa to the fore, the kings of which signified their supremacy by using the customary title of Sargon. Only two kings appear here, Nur-Ramman and his son Siniddina, the latter a contemporary of Hammurabi. Temples in Ur and in Larsa, the wall and a canal for the latter city are among their constructive achievements. The supremacy of this city was cut short by an invasion of the Elamites, the mention by Asshurbanipal of the theft of the idol placing this raid about 2285 B.C.
4. The Supremacy of Babylon, 2250–1783 B.C.
1. The Elamites. Kudur-Mabug and Eri-aku.
Even if the Elamitic raid had not taken place, another cause would have shortened the control by Larsa. A new people, of Arabian origin, had come to reenforce Semitic control. Under them Babylon had been growing in power, and was ready to assert itself. The attack of the Elamites undoubtedly made easier the assault of the Semites. The leader of the former was Kudur-Mabug, “a prince of the Western land” Anshan, which centuries later was to foster Cyrus. He established himself in South 407Babylonia, conciliated the religious by erecting a temple for Sin at Ur, and commended to that deity his son, who succeeded him, whose name is read Eri-aku and Rim-Sin, the two names being exact equivalents (see Elam). Gen. xiv is right in making Arioch the contemporary of Hammurabi (Amraphel?)88The identification of Eri-aku, Kudur-Lagamur, and Hammurabi with the Arioch, Chedorlaomer, and Amraphel of Gen. xiv has been made to do illegitimate service in supporting that chapter. The inscription in which the names were thought to occur belongs to the period of the Arsacidæ and does not contain the name of Chedorlaomer. But the “Tidal” of Gen. xiv is probably the Tud-ḳula of the tablet in question, and “Arioch of Ellasar” of Genesis is probably Eri-aku, son of Kudur-Mabug. The probability is now acknowledged that Gen. xiv is drawn from very late sources, of which this tablet may have been one.. Over this Arioch Hammurabi claims a victory as well as over the king of Western Elam, which is the indication of a united Babylonia and marks the end of the political importance of the Sumerians. From this time on it is not the rivalry of different cities which is responsible for the clash of arms in the region, but the attempt of nations to possess it.
2. The First Babylonian Dynasty. Hammurabi.
The first dynasty of Babylon, to which Hammurabi (c. 2250 B.C.) belonged, numbered eleven kings, five before and five after him. The city had taken no part in large politics. Its rulers had doubtless been cementing their position, but no sign of it has come down. The only thing suggestive is the fortification of the city by Sumu-la-ilu, the second of the dynasty, while Zabu, his successor, had built a temple in Sippar to Anunit. For the reign of Hammurabi and his code see Hammurabi. From his successors little has come down. His son carried on the usual building operations in Nippur and elsewhere; of the remaining four kings the only records are incidental references in commercial tablets, but they imply peace and prosperity in the land.
3. The Second Babylonian Dynasty.
The account of the next or second dynasty of Babylon (2250–1783 B.C.) found in the King-lists is under grave suspicion on account of the length of the reigns assigned to the different kings. One is sixty regnal years, another fifty-six, another fifty-five, and a fourth fifty. From the period as yet not a single document has come to light. The King-lists give only the names. Hommel once held that the dynasty did not exist, but he now accepts as historical the first six kings.
5. The Kasshite Period, 1788–1207 B.C.
The next dynasty was foreign and came from the East. They are known as Kasshites or Kosshites, and their home was the hill country north of Elam and between Babylonia and what became Persia. The movement which brought them into the land seems like an immigration of new peoples, virile and active, subduing a people used to peace, agriculture, and commerce in a quietude won for them by the great Hammurabi. Concerning this whole period little is known. There is only one inscription of any length belonging to these times, and the name of the king there mentioned is not given in the King-lists, which, in the part covering this period, are much mutilated. There is a votive tablet from the first known of the rulers, named Gandish, and some fragmentary inscriptions. The seventh ruler was probably Agum-kakrime, one of whose inscriptions was copied for Asshurbanipal’s library. He called himself “king of Kasshu and Akkad, king of the broad land of Babylon.” Other titles show that he claimed a very large empire, from the frontiers of Persia to the borders of Syria. He restored the images of Marduk and Sarpanit, which had been carried away by a people in the northeast. That the sway of religion had lost none of its power to enchant and enchain is shown by the active building operations which he carried on.
2. Later Kasshite Kings.
By about 1500 B.C. light breaks again, and Karaindash appears as a ruler who is devoted to the deities of the land and arranges his titles in Babylonian fashion. The Synchronistic History throws light on the period and reveals friendly relations with the young Assyrian empire. The two nations appear as equals, making treaties and settling boundaries. Only a little later a king is known as Kallima-Sin (or, as it is proposed to read his name, Kadashman-Bel), and he is found corresponding with Amenophis IV (see Amarna Tablets). It is interesting to find in that correspondence discussion of a commercial treaty and of the customs duties to be exacted. It is also worth noting that a very close chronology is attainable here through the triple synchronisms from Babylonia, Assyria, and Egypt. Kurigalzu I (c. 1410 B.C.) followed Burnaburiash I, son of Kallima-Sin, using the titles “king of Sumer and Akkad, king of the four quarters.” Burnaburiash II, correspondent of the Pharaoh Amenophis IV in the Amarna series, was next, but only the general peace of the world appears in his times. About 1370 Karahardash succeeded, and his queen was the daughter of Asshur-uballit of Assyria. His son succeeded him, carried on a war with the Sutu, a nomadic people in the northwest, and on his return was killed by rebellious Kasshites. The principal events which followed are given in the article on Assyria. Kurigalzu II was placed on the throne, invaded Elam and captured Susa, as a votive tablet declares, and followed up the victory by defeating Bel-nirari of Assyria. A new conflict with the northern power was thus begun, in which the Assyrians were superior and for a time held Babylonia, 1285–69 B.C. Under Ramman-shum-user the latter began to recover its own, and by 1211 B.C. was reestablished in all its former territory. Four years later the Kasshite dynasty came to an end.
6. The Isin and Assyrian Periods, 1207–625 B.C.
1. Nebuchadrezzar I and His Successors.
The nominal rulers of the land in the next period were the members of a dynasty of eleven kings known from the King-list as the dynasty of Isin. Whether this city was the one active in politics 1,700 years earlier, or whether it was a part of the city of Babylon, is yet under debate. The names of the first five kings are lost, the sixth was Nebuchadrezzar I, c. 1135 B.C. The period was marked by Assyrian attacks. Even Nebuchadrezzar 408was twice defeated, though he was a warrior of great ability who carried his arms to Syria on the west and to Elam on the east. He was followed by Bel-nadin-apal and he by Marduk-nadin-ahi. The latter made a successful attack upon Syria which was punished later by the capture of Babylon and subjection of the whole country by Tiglath-Pileser I, c. 1100 B.C. The King-list gives a succession of five dynasties, one that of the “Sea Lands,” the place from which the Chaldeans were later to issue, a second of “Bazi,” another of Elam, a fourth of Babylon, and still another of the Far South, of which the noted Merodach-baladan was a member. But all of these held the throne either by sufferance or appointment of Assyria or assumed it during the temporary quiescence of that power.
7. The Kaldu or Chaldean Period, 625–538 B.C.
The many attempts made by Merodach-baladan to gain control of Babylon (see Assyria) were important, not in themselves so much, as for the foreshadowing of the rising supremacy of the Chaldeans. The kingdom of the Sea Lands had formed around the headwaters of the Persian Gulf, and its dominant people, fresh from Arabia, were feeling their way to world empire. The decay of the Assyrian power was their opportunity. Nabopolassar made himself king of Babylon. While he was absent attacking the outskirts of his kingdom in Mesopotamia, the Assyrian Sin-shar-ishkun invaded Babylonia, probably 610–609 B.C., and Nabopolassar was cut off from his base. The Umman-Manda, an aggregation of tribes gathered about a Median nucleus, brought about the fall of Assyria, and Nabopolassar was left free to establish himself. Already great numbers of his tribesmen had entered Babylonia, and the possession of the capital gave him the needed prestige to rally them around him. The native Babylonians were ready to receive him because of their hatred to the Assyrian oppressor, so he succeeded as the head of Semitic Asia. Another fact had doubtless much to do with the ease with which he assumed power. The religious interest of Babylonia seems to have absorbed his attention, and he acted like a son of the soil whose heart was fully in accord with Babylonian ideals. This is illustrated by the fact that though the events of his reign must have been stirring and important, the three inscriptions he left are concerned with building of temples and digging of canals. Among the great events was the defeat of the Egyptian Necho by his son and general, Nebuchadrezzar. Necho had already seized the western appanages of Assyria, against which doubtless Nabopalassar was intending to operate in his Mesopotamian campaign, and had led forth a great army in hope of gaining a still larger share of the defunct Assyrian empire. The two armies, Egyptian and Chaldean, met at Carchemish, the Egyptians were defeated and pursued to the very border of Egypt by the victorious Nebuchadrezzar. The latter there received tidings of the death of his father, and the very newness of the kingdom required his instant presence at home.
2. Nebuchadrezzar II.
Nebuchadrezzar II (604–562 B.C.) has left many inscriptions, which, like his father’s, tell little of battles and campaigns and much of his constructive labors on the city of Babylon, his pride. The story of his campaigns comes largely from other sources, partly Biblical. The refusal of Jehoiakim to pay tribute caused Nebuchadrezzar to let loose on him the neighboring hostile tribes, and paved the way for the campaign in 597 B.C. in which Jerusalem was taken and its inhabitants in part deported. Renewed rebellion stirred up by the new Pharaoh, Hophra, led to a reoccupation of Palestine; Hophra was defeated, Jerusalem taken, and its defenses destroyed in 586 B.C. Tyre was assailed and a siege of thirteen years resulted, after which terms were made. Civil war in Egypt gave Nebuchadrezzar his opportunity, the country was invaded and plundered as a punishment for its intrigues in Palestine and Syria. There can be little doubt that the alliance of the Chaldean with the house of Media in his marriage of Amuhia, daughter of Cyaxares, did much to cement his power. It hardly seems an accident that the force of Media should have been spent in the north, westward into Asia Minor, while Nebuchadrezzar’s operations covered the regions southward. Something of Nebuchadrezzar’s building operations has been told in the description of Babylon (see above, IV, § 12), but how extensive these were can be appreciated only in the light of Rawlinson’s statement that he examined the ruins of not less than one hundred places in the vicinity of Babylon and in very few were there not found traces of Nebuchadrezzar’s activity. In a land whose kings were all builders not one of the rulers had approached him in the extent, variety, completeness, and magnificence of his buildings.
3. Nabonidus and Belshazzar. The Fall of Babylon.
Of Nebuchadrezzar’s son, Amil-Marduk (562–560 B.C.), Only II Kings xxv, 27 (where he is called Evil-merodach) and Berosus give any information. The one records an act of mercy, the other asserts that he reigned lawlessly. He was assassinated and the chief conspirator, Neriglissar (560–556 B.C.) seized the throne. Temples and canals absorbed his interest, and he was succeeded by Labashi-Marduk who reigned nine months and was assassinated. Nabonidus (555–538 B.C.) was the last Semitic king of Babylon. He was a pietist, an antiquarian, and a temple-builder, with but little aptitude for the cares of State and little interest in them. How he contributed to present knowledge has been told in the section on chronology in this article and that on Assyria. He resided most of the time at Tema, a place not otherwise known. His son Belshazzar may have been associated as regent with him, though there is no authority in the inscriptions for calling him king. Between the time of Nebuchadrezzar and Nabonidus relations with the Medes had been broken off. Cyrus, the king of Anshan, had enlarged his realm, and finally, having defeated Astyages, had assumed the title, king of Persia. He had overthrown Crœsus, and all Asia Minor at once fell into his hands. His 409next move would obviously be southward to Babylonia, but Nabonidus made no preparation for the crisis that was coming. When the war finally broke out, he collected the statues of the gods of Babylon, left the command of the army to Belshazzar, and when the latter was defeated fled into Babylon. Gobryas led the victorious army against the capital, where a sturdy and indeed successful defense might have been expected. The walls and gates which might have defied the best that Cyrus could do proved no protection, and though there is no proof that such is the fact, historical probability can offer no explanation of the speedy capture of the city other than that Nabonidus’s worst enemy was within, and that from within the gates swung open to admit the captor. Thus the rule of Asia passed from the Semites to the Aryans to hold until at the end of a millennium Arabia should once more discharge its hordes and in the Mohammedan conquest make a new era. See Cyrus the Great; Persia.
VII. The Religion.
1. Historical Development.
1. Political Factors.
The survey of the political geography and history of Babylonia shows it to have been as early as 4500 B.C. what it continued to be, a land of cities. History shows also that even at that early date there was a tendency toward what later became nationalization, in the effort of one or another city to control the whole land. These two features are reproduced in the religion. Each city had a deity who claimed the worship of the inhabitants; frequently there were two, generally in that case a god and a goddess, originally in all probability not spouse and consort, but independent. And in the pre-Sargonic period there are clear evidences that one of the gods of one of the cities had attained an eminence, not indeed of kingship over the gods, but of position among them. The general disposition of kings who took their titles from cities other than Nippur to devote their spoil to En-lil and to deposit it in his temple, suggests for him a general recognition not accorded to other deities, even to Ea of Eridu. While no specific claim of lordship over the gods was made for En-lil, not only was he practically the chief of the gods, but a theoretical headship is implied in the theological fiction by which later Marduk’s definite claim to preeminence was supported, viz., that En-lil had transferred to the deity of Babylon the leadership among the gods because of the latter’s victory over Tiamat, the demon of chaos, though, of course, the real reason of Marduk’s supremacy was the hegemony of Babylon. The principle of centralization, of nationalization, was clearly at work in the sphere of religion as well as of politics. But this was limited by another principle, that preeminence among the gods did not involve supersession of other gods in their own seats of worship. En-lil was ever localized only in Nippur, Marduk had his seat only in Babylon, just as Asshur never set up his throne and temple in Babylon even during the Assyrian period. The political strife between Sumerian and Semite was also reflected in the religion. There can be no doubt of two facts: first, the Sumerians had a decided favoritism for female deities; second, Semitic female deities were, with the single exception of Ishtar, but the pale reflection of the gods. While then in the earliest periods the goddesses were numerous and prominent, in later times they either faded out of existence, were made the consorts of the gods and so became eclipsed, or were identified with Ishtar.
2. The Philosophical-Priestly Factor.
In the development of the religion, besides the political principle, there became operative also a philosophical-priestly activity. Out of this grew the semidetachment of certain gods from extreme localization and connections were formed for them having cosmic meaning. Noticeable here is the formation of the two principal triads: Anu, heaven-god, Bel or En-lil earth-god, Ea water-god, and Sin of the moon, Shamash of the sun, and Ramman (Adad) of the storm or cloud. While worship of these gods still centered at definite temples, in invocations they were addressed more generally. Their association with larger phenomena made them accessible to a larger clientele, just as Nebo’s association with prophecy made him the object of a larger circle of worshipers than was rightly his in his position as god of Borsippa. And the philosophical principle worked also in the reduction of the number of the deities, particularly of the goddesses. The notion of identification was particularly insistent, so that many of the Sumerian goddesses were in time pronounced the same as Ishtar, and that deity made her way to her unique position as the one great goddess of Babylonia.
3. Decrease in the Number Deities.
This reduction in number of deities is completely proved. In the period from c. 2250 B.C. on, besides the eight great gods already named, only Marduk, Ninib, Nergal, and Nusku have any prominence. Tammuz might perhaps be added, but it is possible to maintain that in his worship Ishtar was the central figure. Yet in earlier times the number of the deities was very much greater. Manictusu, an early king of Kish, mentions about fifty deities. The incantation texts, coming from an earlier stratum of thought and practise, increase the number greatly, one series alone giving 150 god-names. There can be no doubt that the sun-gods of the various cities were originally separate, though the priestly philosophy regarded them as the same; this can be said also of the moon-deities, who became one in Sin.
4. The Earliest Religion Animistic.
Etymology enables the investigator to go still farther back and posit for earliest Babylonia an animistic worship when spirits were numerous, some of whom rose to high position and became great gods. This is demonstrable in the cases of En-lil ("Lord of Spirits"), Ea, and Damkina, the consort of Ea, and is practically certain in several other cases. Secondly, the entire system of magic and incantation is the surest proof that animism preceded polytheism in old Babylonia.
5. Spirits and Demons.
To illustrate the belief in spirits, mention may be made of the Sumerian zi, “the living thing,” having about the same connotation as “spirit” in animistic usage. The lil were ghosts, subterranean 410spirits of the darkness and storm, sexless, attended by vampires. En-lil means “Lord of Ghosts,” and he was the destroyer in the deluge. Utukku meant “demon,” a ghost escaped from the dead; and another name for demon was ekimmu, a being which took delight in obsessing the living. The demons were numberless, had their dwelling in the desert, and were malign in their activities, working harm in all relations of life. So of other spirits it might be said that they swarmed—on the earth, in the air, under the earth, in the waters; there were spirits for every sort of existence and they controlled or might affect for good or ill every deed, even the thoughts and dreams, of men. The actions of even the good spirits might be inimical; the bad spirits must ever be guarded against.
Hence there had grown up in the earliest times known an empirical magic, a routine of enchantment, a ritual of spells, the forms and practise of which are vouched for by hundreds of tablets. Since sickness, disease, and misfortune were often believed to be due to the malignity of evil powers, self-determined or directed by the evilly disposed among men, the means of release lay in charms or enchantments which included the employment of formulas, or which used fire, water, herbs, or metals without magical sayings. Series of incantation rituals have been discovered, named from the demons they aim to foil or from the parts of the body affected by illness, or from the means used in the exorcism. And these remained potent throughout the existence of Babylonia as a realm and then continued their power in the West whither they were transplanted. Other signs of the animism once existent are found in the animal forms of the gods, while the ritual of worship led the worshiper to figure forth his relationship to the god by assuming raiment which typified animal or other forms of life. This is Sumerian; the development under Semitism was anthropomorphic. On the other hand, man was himself deified—this was the case with Naram-Sin, while Gudea and Gimil-Sin erected temples to their own godhead.
The transition to polytheism never involves complete dissolution of the prior animism. Survivals of the older faith ever perpetuate ancient practise. The gods of Babylonia evolved from the spirits; in some cases the process can almost be measured, but the spirits lived on. By 4500 B.C., however, there were already great deities whose majesty was acknowledged beyond their own cities.
2. The Gods.
The deities who were earliest grouped in a triad were Anu, Bel (En-lil), and Ea. Of these Anu (Sumerian Ana), or Bel-shamayim, “Lord of heaven,” as he came to be considered, appears to have been first localized at a place called Der, not otherwise known, and subsequently worshiped at Erech. He was the nearest to an abstraction of all Babylonian deities and the first to be disassociated from local connections and universalized (fourth millennium B.C.). Perhaps because of this disassociation he was the oftener invoked in prayer and incantation. The assignment of a supramundane region of control marks the beginning of priestly philosophy. Lugal-zaggisi claimed to be Anu’s priest, and it was this king who first, so far as is yet known, united in a triad the three gods just mentioned. Anu was often known as ilu, the god par excellence, with whom other deities took refuge. He was called the father of Ishtar, and his consort was Antum (Semitic Anat), perhaps remembered in the birthplace of Jeremiah, Anathoth.
Of Bel or En-lil, god of Nippur, much has already been said. His commanding position, compelling homage from hostile kings, was gained before the making of the first records which have so far been recovered. Bel’s Sumerian ideograph represents the ram (suggesting a totemistic connection), while the meaning of his name, “Lord of Spirits,” or “demons,” has already been noted. In an inscription of En-shagkushanna Bel is named “King of the Lands,” the one explicit statement of his eminence among the gods. In accordance with his name he was lord of the underworld, and as such was especially concerned with incantations. His consort was the Sumerian goddess Nin-harsag, the “Lady of the Mountain” (Semitic Belit), and his temple was E-kur, “Mountain-House". The preeminence he had was lost to Marduk when Babylon became the chief city and its god assumed the principal place in the pantheon.
The third member of the triad and god of Eridu, Ea (Sumerian En-ki, "Lord of the Country"), had the waters as his division of the universe. The earliest traditions connect him with the Persian Gulf, whence he used to emerge daily to instruct his people in the civilizing arts. As associated with the deep, he became god of the river Euphrates, and then of the river which, according to Babylonian cosmography, encircled the earth. As a water-deity he was a god of knowledge, therefore of culture, light, beneficence, and healing. And by these same attributes he was also a god of cunning and beguiled the first man out of immortality. His oracles came by the roar of the surf on the shore. He was depicted also as half man, half fish, and his worshipers are pictured in robes which mimic the skin of a fish, again suggesting totemism, an indication not lessened by the fact that his ideograph stands also for “antelope.” As god of wisdom it was inevitable that Ea should have part in incantations. His attitude toward humanity is generally beneficent, and he is called the creator of men. His consort, Damkina, a Sumerian deity, was originally independent. They are credited with a son Asari, with whom Marduk was identified in order to legitimate his claim to the chief place among the gods. Each of the three deities associated with Eridu can be traced backward to animistic origins.
4. Solar Deities. Shamash.
The second triad consisted of Shamash (sun-god), Sin (moon-god), and Ramman or Adad (thunder or cloud-god). That the sun could not escape worship in such a land as Babylonia is a foregone conclusion, and that the deity of the sun should 411take different names was almost as inevitable. So of sun-gods there were, e.g., Utu in Larsa, Shamash in Sippar, Nergal in Cutha, Za-mal-mal in Kish. Marduk was originally solar. That the sun’s activity should be viewed in different ways is also natural, hence some of the deities mentioned remained distinct. But that gods of different cities having similar aspects should be identified was to be expected in accordance with the laws of religious evolution. So Shamash came to be worshiped in different centers, the sun-deities of those places being identified with him, while others like Ninib and Nergal were differentiated and given special functions as sun-gods of the morning and springtime or of noon and summer. The powers attributed to Shamash in his two principal seats of Sippar and Larsa were such as belonged to the kindly god of light,—powers of healing and revelation, as well as of protection by detection and punishment of crime. He was given as consort Nin-A, a Sumerian deity originally male, who under Semitic misunderstanding was made to change his sex. Another explanation, less probable, is that the change of sex is a sign of subordination of the Sumerian to the Semitic god.
5. Lunar Deities. Sin.
If the worship of sun-deities was notable, not less so was that of moon-gods. Both Semites and Sumerians encouraged the cult, but there are many signs that among the latter it was a favorite. So En-zu, “Lord of Wisdom,” and Nan-nar, “Giver of Light,” were names the Sumerians bestowed on this deity. Nan-nar’s principal seat was at Ur, connected with Abraham in the Biblical narrative. As Sin, a Semitic deity, he was located at Harran, also associated with Abraham, and he gave its name to the mountain and peninsula of Sinai. It is noteworthy that at Harran the god’s image took the form of a conical pillar, and this suggests another phase of animism, that of the phallic cult. With Nannar-Sin also was connected the attribute of imparting wisdom, giving knowledge, particularly of measures.
6. Adad or Ramman.
The third member of this triad was Adad (also read Ramman, the Rimmon of Syria), god of storms. This is the one deity whose localization never seems to have been effected. He seems to have developed out of the storm-spirits. His nature led him to be regarded both as beneficent and malevolent. The rains brought destruction, and also fertilization, to the fields. So he was invoked to bring blessing to friends and misfortune to foes. Perhaps this led to his association with Shamash in the function of punishing evil-doers. His consort was Shala, never an important deity, and her ideograph could represent also a milch-goat.
A deity sometimes displacing Adad as third member of this triad was the great Ishtar. In Arabia and Moab Athtar was male. In one case in Babylonia a male god was identified with her, and androgyny is there in sight. She was patroness of Erech, and had shrines in many towns. She was too strong a personality to be the mere consort of a deity. The attempt was made to wed her; but it involved either that her consort should be subordinate because of her greatness, a thing unthinkable for Semites, or that she should be reduced to passivity, which that same greatness forbade. She is noted for the absorption and comprehension in her being of all the noted goddesses of old Babylonia. Nin-harsag of Erech (the great mother), the war-deity Nana of Erech, Nina of Shirpurla, Anunit (Sumerian Anuna) of Sippar, all yielded up their personalities to Ishtar as she grew in greatness, and her name came to be a synonym for “goddess.” She even disdained the feminine termination ah in her name, and she was the Belit, “Mistress,” as Marduk was Bel, "Lord,” of the land. At her principal temple at Erech impure worship was a part of her ritual.
Nergal, already mentioned as personifying the sun’s destructive action, was worshiped at Cutha in the temple E-shidlam, “House of Shade,” at least from the time of Dungi till c. 700 B.C. He was a god of the dead in conjunction with Allatu, this flowing naturally from his office as destroyer. He, too, absorbed other deities (e.g., Ira, a fire-god) and took others as his servitors (e.g., Namtar, the plague-god). His consort as god of the dead was Eresh-Kigal, as a god of the living Laz. The pantheon of the dead was a late scholastic development.
9. Ninib, Girru, and Tammuz.
Ninib and Girru (Assyrian Nusku) were two deities who had absorbed a number of earlier gods. The former was connected with agriculture and war, the latter with the sun and with fire. Girru was also a victor over demons, and as such was much invoked in incantations. Tammuz (Sumerian Dumu-zi) was originally a sun-god, son of Ea, and bridegroom of Ishtar, a culture god of Eridu, of note chiefly because of his being the cause of Ishtar’s descent into Hades which is the theme of one of the epics. In Syria he was Adonai, “my lord,” and gave the Greeks their Adonis (cf. on the name Ninib, J. D. Prince, in JBL, xxiv, 1905, part 1, p. 54).
Marduk, the youngest of Babylonian deities, supreme in Bablyonia from c. 2250 till the fall of the Semitic power, owed his position first to the political preeminence of Babylon, secondly to priestly ingenuity which connected him with En-lil and then manufactured the fiction that because of Marduk’s victory over Tiamat En-lil resigned to him his supremacy. To clear the way, Marduk was identified with Asari, son of En-lil. He was probably a sun-god, though his name seems to come from Amar-duggu, “good heifer,” a title of Asari. Hammurabi seems to have been the first to declare his supremacy. Nabonidus appears to have attempted to carry this supremacy a step further and to have been thwarted by the priesthood. As it was, Marduk was never to Babylonia what Zeus was to Greece.
Nebo (from the same root as Hebrew nabhi, "prophet “; Sumerian Dim-sar, “Wise Scribe"), god of Borsippa, originally superior to Marduk, was subjected to the latter by being made his son. He was god of utterance, wisdom, revelation, writing, and culture. There appears to have been 412a connection with Ea of Eridu, but exactly what is not yet made out. As the god of wisdom Nebo was readily dissociated from local connections, and was even adopted in Assyria. Indeed he took on universal functions as the god of prophecy. As such he was kindly, and none of the dread which attached to thoughts of other deities appears in mention of him.
3. The Priests and the Epics:
1. Influence of the Priests.
The type of worship has already been indicated in the article on Assyria. Among the kingly functions sacrifice continued. The priests were numerous, and though they appear little in the texts, their influence can always be read between the lines. The ill-starred attempt of Nabonidus to make Marduk more than he had been, to set him in a place like that of Asshur’s in Assyria, was doubtless frustrated by priestly opposition. As the scribes, the teachers, the molders of theology and myth, in a country so devoted to a religion of set forms, the priests had an influence which can hardly be exaggerated. The cosmogony which is most in evidence is manifestly of their make and postdates the rise of Babylon to preeminence, since in it Marduk is conqueror of the rebellious Tiamat, “chaos,” and out of her rent body creates the universe and then humankind.
2. The Gilgamesh Epic.
The three epics contain earlier material and doubtless took form before Semitism laid its hands upon them. The Gilgamesh epic is the earliest which contains the world-wide thought of a means of escape from death. In this case it is a tree, and after obtaining a scion and curing his own mortal illness Gilgamesh lost the scion while on his way home, it being stolen from him by a serpent as he was drinking from a spring. Here occur elements of comparison with the Genesis tree of life in the midst of the garden (not the tree of knowledge of which the first pair ate), and the serpent is also in evidence. A further point for comparison is that Gilgamesh was in opposition to deity in the person of Ishtar, not indeed by eating of the fruit of the tree but by slaying of a sacred bull. The eleventh tablet of the series contained the Babylonian deluge narrative (see Noah).
3. The Adapa Epic.
A second epic connected with Eridu tells the story of the first man, Adapa (which name it has been proposed to read Adamu, cf. Expository Times, June, 1906, p. 416–417), and how he too just missed immortality through the guile of Ea. He was summoned to heaven to answer for breaking the wings of the south wind. Ea warned him not to partake of food while there, and by his obedience he failed of the immortality that the “food of life,” which was offered him, would have bestowed (see Adam, II, § 5).
4. Marduk and Chaos.
The third epic, dealing with Marduk’s contest with the demon, Chaos, has two points of interest: first, it bears upon its face its date, not earlier than Hammurabi, under whom it probably took form; second, it is manifestly a plagiarism from a much earlier story in which Ea was the hero who vanquished Apsu, “the deep,” and then became creator and protector of men.
5. Ishtar’s Descent Into Hades.
A fourth narrative, which hovers between epic and ritual, concerns the bereaval of Ishtar in the loss of her bridegroom Tammuz, to recover whom she descends into Hades. This narrative is late, its description of the environment of the underworld exhibiting the refinements of Semitic elaboration.
Bibliography: The works cited under Assyria (q.v.) generally deal also with Babylonia and should be consulted. General works are F. Lenormant, Études cunéiformes, 5 parts, Paris, 1878–80; J. Menant, Nineveh et Babylon, ib. 1887; H. Hilprecht, Assyriaca, Eine Nachlese auf dem Gebiete der Assyriologie, Halle, 1894; C. Fossey, Manuel d’Assyriologie, vol. i, Paris, 1904 (on explorations, decipherment, and origin and history of the cuneiform); B. Meissner, Assyriologische Studien, 1–3, Berlin, 1903–05. Additional sources are: P. Haupt, Die sumerischen Familiengesetze, Leipsic, 1879; J. Halévy, Documents religieux de l’Assyrie et de la Babylonie, Paris, 1882; vol. iii of E. Schrader’s Keilinschriftliche Bibliothek, Berlin, 1890–92, contains historical inscriptions from Urukagina to Cyrus; H. Hilprecht, Babylonian Expedition of the University of Pennsylvania, Series A, Cuneiform Texts, vol. i, parts 1–2, vol. ix, Philadelphia, 1893–98; L. W. King, Letters and Inscriptions of Hammurabi . . . and other Kings of the First Dynasty of Babylon, 3 vols., London, 1898–1900 (vol. iii contains translations); J. A. Craig, Assyrian and Babylonian Religious Texts, vols. i, ii, Prayers, Oracles, Hymns, Leipsic, 1895–97; idem, Astrological-Astronomical Tablets, ib. 1899; I. M. Price, The Great Cylinder Inscriptions A and B of Gudea transliterated and translated, Leipsic, 1899; F. Martin, Textes religieux Assyriens et Babyloniens, Paris, 1900 (contains transcription, transl., and commentary); V. Scheil, Textes élamites, 3 vols., ib. 1901–04; C. H. W. Johns, An Assyrian Doomsday Book or Liber censualis,Leipsic, 1901; idem, Babylonian and Assyrian Laws, Contracts and Letters, Edinburgh, 1904; R. F. Harper, Assyrian and Babylonian Letters, Chicago, 1902–04; G. A. Barton, Haverford Library Collection of Cuneiform Tablets . . . from . . . Telloh, Philadelphia, 1905; S. Langdon, Building Inscriptions of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, part 1, Nabopolassar and Nebuchadrezzar, Paris, 1905 (transliteration, transl., and introduction).
On exploration consult the works of Rogers (vol. i) and Hilprecht (Explorations) mentioned under Assyria, that of Fossey, ut sup., and J. P. Peters, Nippur; or, Explorations and Adventures on the Euphrates, 2 vols., New York, 1897; A. Billerbeck, Geographische Untersuchungen, Berlin, 1898.
On the people: G. Hüsing, Elamische Studien, Berlin, 1898; H. Ranke, Die Personnamen in den Urkunden der Hammurabidynastie, Munich, 1902; H. Winckler, Die Völker Vorderasiens, Leipsic, 1899. On the cuneiform writing: J. Menant, Le Syllabaire Assyrien, exposé des éléments, 2 vols., Paris, 1869–73; T. Nöldeke, Some Characteristics of the Semitic Race, in Sketches from Eastern History, New York, 1892; F. Delitzsch, Die Entstehung des ältesten Schriftsystems, 2 parts, Leipsic, 1897–98; F. Thureau-Dangin, Recherches sur l’;origine de l’écriture cunéiforme, part 1, Formes archaïques, Paris, 1898; F. E. Peiser, Studien zur orientalischen Altertumskunde. Das semitische Alphabet, Berlin, 1900; A. Amiaud et L. Mechineau, Tableau comparé des écritures Babylonienne et Assyrienne, 2d ed., Paris, 1902. For lexicography consult: Fr. Delitzsch, Assyrisches Wörterbuch, Leipsic, 1888–90; R. E. Brunnow, Classified List of . . . Ideographs, Leiden, 1889; E. Scheil, Syllabaire, Recueil de signes, archaïques . . . , Paris, 1898; J. D. Prince, Materials for a Sumerian Lexicon, Leipsic, 1905. On grammar consult J. Menant, Manuel de la langue Assyrienne, Paris, 1880. On the Sumerian question: E. de Chossat, Répertoire Sumérien, Lyons, 1882; F. Hommel; in Journal Royal Asiatic Society, 1886; idem, Sumerische Lesestücke, Munich, 1894; J. Halévy, Notes Sumériennes, in Revue sémitique, i–x (1893–1902); F. H. Weissbach, Die sumerische Frage, Leipsic, 1898; T. G. Pinches and C. P. Tiele, Akkadian and Sumerian, in Journal Royal Asiatic 413Society, xxxii (1900), 75–96, 343–344, 551–552; E. Babelon, La Langüe sumérienne, in Annales de philosophie Chrétienne, vii, 35–57, 171–189.
On the civilization and its influences consult: F. S. Peiser, Skizze der babylonischen Gesellschaft, Berlin, 1896; A. S. Palmer, Babylonian Influence on the Bible and Popular Beliefs, . Â· . a Comparative Study of Gen. i–ii, London, 1897; A. H. Sayce, Babylonian and Assyrian Life and Customs, New York, 1899; I. M. Price, The Monuments and the O. T., Chicago, 1900; H. Zimmern, The Babylonian and the Hebrew Genesis, London, 1901; H. Winckler, Die babylonische Kultur in ihren Beziehungen zu unsrigen, Leipsic, 1902; H. Zimmern, Keilinschriften und Bibel, Berlin, 1903; F. Küchler, Beiträge zur Kenntnis der . . . Medizin, Leipsic, 1904; C. F. Lehmann, Babylonien’s Kulturmission, ib. 1905; W. St. C. Boscawen, Prehistoric Civilization of Babylonia, in Journal Anthropological Institute, vii, 21–36; and the literature in the “Babel-Bibel" controversy.
For the history books available are: C. Niebuhr, Die Chronologie . . . 2000–700 vor Christus, Leipsic, 1896; H. Winekler, Die babylonische Kassitendynastie, ib. 1894; idem, Die politische Entwickelung Babyloniens und Assyriens, ib. 1900; F. Hommel, Ancient Hebrew Tradition, London, 1897; G. S. Goodspeed, History of Babylonians . . ., New York, 1902; H. Radau, Early Babylonian History, New York, 1900 (of the very highest value, based on first-hand study of texts); W. St. C. Boscawen, First of Empires, New York, 1905 (suggestive, but slovenly in its references); T. Friedrich, Altbabylonische Urkunden aus Sippara, Leipsic, 1906 (fresh, instructive). Special subjects related to the history are treated in: J. N. Strassmaier, Inschriften von Nabonidus, 4 parts, Leipsic, 1887–89; C. F. Lehmann, Shamashshumukin, ib. 1892; B. Meissner, Beiträge zum altbabylonischen Privatrecht, ib. 1893; H. Winckler, Altorientalische Forschungen, vi and viii, 2, ib. 1899 (deal with Nebuchadrezzar); I. M. Price, Some Literary Remains of Rim-Sin (Arioch), c. 2285, Chicago, 1904; Nebuchadrezzar inscriptions are found in PSBA, x, 87–129, 358–368, and in Schrader, KB, iii, part 2, 10–45; Assyrian and Babylonian Literature, Selected Translations, New York, 1901, contains inscriptions of both Nebuchadrezzars, Nabupalidin, Nabopolassar, Nabonidus, the Synchronous History, the Babylonian chronicle, most of the epical fragments, magical and other texts, prayers, hymns, penitential psalms, laws, and proverbs.
On the Religion: A. Jeremias, Die babylonisch-assyrischen Vorstellungen vom Leben nach den Tode, Leipsic, 1887; idem, The Babylonian Conception of Heaven and Hell, in Ancient East, No. 4, London, 1902; H. Zimmern, Babylonische Busspsalmen, Leipsic, 1885; idem, Beiträge zur Kenntnis der babylonischen Religion, 3 parts, ib. 1896–1900; G. A. Barton, Semitic Ishtar Cult, in Hebraica, Apr.–July, 1893, Oct., 1893–Jan. 1894; J. A. Knudtzon, Assyrische Gebete an den Sonnengott, 2 vols., ib. 1893; L. W. King, Babylonian Religion and Mythology, London, 1899; F. Hrozny, Sumerisch-babylonische Mythen von den Gotte Nimrag (Ninib), Berlin, 1903; by far the best treatise on the religion is by Jastrow, in DB, Supplementary Volume, pp. 531–584. On Magic: A. Laurent, La Magie et la divination chez les Chaldéo-Assyriens, Paris, 1894; L. W. King, Babylonian Magic and Sorcery, London, 1896; Reports of the Magicians and Astrologers of . . . Babylon, vol. i, Text, vol. ii, Transl., ib. 1900; C. Fossey, La Magie Assyrienne, Paris, 1902. On the epics: P. Haupt, Babylonische Nimrodepos, 2 parts, Leipsic, 1884–91; M. Jastrow, A Fragment of the Babylonian “Dibarra” Epic, Philadelphia, 1891; A. Jeremias, Izdubar-Nimrod, Leipsic, 1891; P. Jenson, Assyrisch-babylonische Mythen und Epen, in KB, Berlin, 1900–01; idem, Das Gilgamesh-Epos in der Weltliteratur, vol. i, Strasburg 1906; L. W. King, Seven Tablets of Creation . . . , London, 1902; B. Meissner, Ein . . . Fragment des Gilgamosepos, Berlin, 1902.
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