Page:Discovery and Decipherment of the Trilingual Cuneiform Inscriptions.djvu/43

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14
CUNEIFORM INSCRIPTIONS

old king who was buried here.'[1] He found, however, that the tomb was on the side of the mountain, and was generallv attributed to Cvrus. He thought it was more probably to be assigned to Assuerus or Artaxerxes, and the tomb close by to his wife, Queen Vasti. The ruins of the Forty Cohmms were locally known as 'the Old Town,' and it was thought that it had been the original site of Shiraz. Old writers confirmed this view, because thay said the river Bondamiro[2] (which passes near the ruins) 'washed the walls of Shiraz.' Gouvea, following the geographical writers of the time, had no doubt that Shiraz was the ancient Persepolis. It never occurred to him to connect it with 'the old town' of Chehninar, to which tradition pointed as the original site of Shiraz. He called attention to the magnificent staircase that leads from the plain to the platform on which the ruins stand. Two staircases, he says, rise from the foot of the mountain, vis-à-vis one to the other, consisting of numerous steps well adjusted, and cut out of immense blocks of stone. The two stairs converge to one common landing place; and, writing evidently from memory, he adds that the sides are adorned with fiaures in relief, so well made that 'he doubts if it were possible to execute them better.' The Porch is, he says, adorned with 'figures of savage animals cut out of a single block, and so lifelike that they appear as though they desired to excite fear.' He describes the columns as surmounted by beautiful statues. On the Portico and in various places among the ruins he saw the portrait of the king. He does not mention any of the ruins on the platform;

  1. Relation des Grandes Guerres par le P. Fr. Antboine de Gouvea (Rouen, 1646), p. 78. The original was written at Goa, in 1609, and published at Lisbon, 1611: Relaçam em que se trata das Guerras, etc. (Lisboa).
  2. So Spelt in the Portuguese edition, p. 30; 'Bandimico' in the French edition, p. 79).