Page:Discovery and Decipherment of the Trilingual Cuneiform Inscriptions.djvu/438

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409
THE BABYLONIAN COLUMN

the discovery 'annihilates all my theories about the modernicity of Assyrian civilisation.' ^ Shortly after, he was able to announce that ' all the Assyrian kings men- tioned in the Bible have now been identified,' - and many others who occur in profane history, so, that almost a perfect list has now been obtained. Two French expeditions were engaged at the same time on the work of exploration. M. Place, from 1851 to 1854, devoted liimself chiefly to Khorsabad, thouirh with scarcely the success his perseverance merited. Rut the chief effort was made l)y the Commission headed by M. Fresnal, 1852-4, which included M. Oppert among its members, and which concerned itself principally with the exploration of the ruins of Babylon. Mean- while Southern l>ab\'lonia was explored by [Mr. Loftus, whom we have already mentioned in connection with Susa ; and by Mr. Taylor, the Yice-Consul at Bussorah.

It is to their lalxmrs durinu* the winters of 1853 and

« 

1854 that we owe the recovery of the history of the Vau'Iv Babylonian Empire that long preceded even the foundation of Assyria. The forgotten cities of Nippur, Erech, Larsa, Ur and Eridu were once more summoned to surrender the n^cords of a civilisation reaching l)ack manv thousand years l)efore the Christian era. In 1854, Bawlinson was able to send home a list of eigh- teen of the primitive kings of the ancient Babylonia and of twenty other personages of less exalted station : and hi' records his surprise at the discovery of ^ monarchs who must have reigned before the establishment of the Assyrian Empire.' "^ Till then it was generally held that Babylon owed its foundation to the late period oi' the great Nebuchadnezzar.^ Early in 1854, a fruitful discovery was made in the Lion Eoom of the North

' /. It. A. »S. Keport, 18.")3, xv. p. xvii. - lb. Keport, I8r)4, vol. xvi.

^ lb. Keport, 18o4, xvi. p. xiv. * //;. xii. 477.