Page:An Essay on the Age and Antiquity of the Book of Nabathaean Agriculture.djvu/28

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12
BABYLONIAN LITERATURE.

Such a deduction was certain to excite astonishment. It was contradicted first by the learned historian of botany, Prof. E. H. F. Meyer, of the University of Königsberg.[1] Prof. Meyer refused to acknowledge the remote antiquity of a composition so scientifically arranged, so diffuse, and bearing the marks of science rather in its decay than in its early rise. Various peculiarities appeared to him to add great weight to this theory. For instance, one of the works quoted in “The Agriculture” was written in rhyme; now rhyme is never found among the Shemitic nations, till from the end of the fifth to the sixth century of our era; many names of plants in the translation of Ibn Wahshíya are taken from the Greek; the whole theory of the book bears a strong resemblance to that of the Greek and Latin agriculturists; the astronomy which it promulgates contains notions which were not popular till the Roman

  1. “Geschichte der Botanik,” t. III. (Königsberg, 1856), p. 43 and following.