Page:An Essay on the Age and Antiquity of the Book of Nabathaean Agriculture.djvu/73

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57
BABYLONIAN LITERATURE.

national tradition respecting him. Nimrod, as we shall presently see, was a popular personage in Chaldæa in the first centuries of our era. It is difficult to unravel, amidst the confusion of ideas which then prevailed in the East, the origin of legends so denuded of true character, and over which is thrown that general level of mere platitude which gives such a singular air of monotony and conventionalism to all the traditions transmitted to us by Arabian writers.

Certainly, if either of these facts were an isolated one, one might hesitate to draw from it any deduction. But they form altogether a mass of evidence which appears to me most solid. One subtle reply may be true, but ten subtle replies cannot be so. I must therefore consider it as an established fact, that each one of the personages I have enumerated, all of whom are given in “The Agriculture” as ancient Babylonian sages, is the representative of one of those classes of apocryphal writings of Ba-

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