Page:An Essay on the Age and Antiquity of the Book of Nabathaean Agriculture.djvu/29

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BABYLONIAN LITERATURE.

epoch; and finally, the perpetual boastings of Kúthámí, his national vanity, his jealousy of foreign nations, traits which recall to mind forcibly the tendency of the spirit of the East at the opening of our era, convince Prof. Meyer that the author had consulted Greek authors, but that he designedly ignored their names, in order to secure for the Babylonians the credit of priority in all scientific and industrial inventions. Prof. Meyer declares that, if he were obliged to fix a date for “The Book of Nabathæan Agriculture,” he should fix it in the first century of our era, consequently seven or eight centuries after the period in which M. Quatremère has placed it.

It seems natural, in such a state of things, to split up the question, and apply to it a method, generally successful, when the great works of antiquity are subjected to it. It might be possible that, in regarding “The Book of Nabathæan Agriculture” as a composition of the materials of different ages—modern in its latest form, but ancient as re-