Page:Discovery and Decipherment of the Trilingual Cuneiform Inscriptions.djvu/194
THE PERSIAN COLUMN
p. 25. ^ Hager, pp. 00-1. • lb, pp. 53, 56.
than for the latter/ ^ Such at least was the direction of the Egyptian, Ethiopian and Chinese. On account of the absence of stone in Babylon, it was necessary to substitute bricks, and we learn from Clement of Alex- andria that Democritus took his treatise on Morals from an inscription written on a brick column.- The colum- nar origin of writing is perhaps the reason that the in- scrijition on the Babylonian bricks is, as Hager asserts, 'perpendicular rather than horizontal,' an opinion he thinks he can prove by the gems he has studied. Various conjectures as to the subject of the legend on the bricks had been put forward. Miinter and Grotefend thought it was a talisman ; *^ others that it recorded some historical event or an astronomic^al observation ; but Hager sug- gested that the subject was probably the same as that on the Eoman bricks : that is to say, that it recorded the name and the place of the maker — a suggestion that turned out to be verv nearly correct. He had no doubt that the writing was the same as that discussed by Democritus in his lost treatise, and which is referred to by many of the classical writers.'* He considers that it is ideographic, ' for we find single groups composed of abundance of nails, like the various strokes in the Chinese characters, all different from each other and different from the Persepolitan. Nor does he consider that they were developed from hieroglyphics, but deliberately ' formed and combined by an ar])itrary institution, and designed to express, not letters nor svUables, but either whole sentences or whole words.' ^ Finally he suggests that the Persepolitan mode of writing was directly derived from tlie Baby- lonian by simply laying the peri)endicular inscription ^ Hager, p. 50. - Millin, foe. ciY. p. 46. ^ Dorow, Die Assyrische Keilinschriften erliiutert (Wiesbaden, 1820),