Page:Discovery and Decipherment of the Trilingual Cuneiform Inscriptions.djvu/439

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.
410
CUNEIFORM INSCRIPTIONS

Palace of Assurbanipal at Koiiyunjik.' Here large imml)ers of tablets were found, which subsequent investigation showed to consist of lexicons and phrase- ])Ooks to enable the student to acquire the primitive lani^'uaijfe of Babylonia, from which it afterwards became apparent the laruer portion of the Ass\Tian literatm'e had been derived. Eawlinson was the first to detect the existence of this lani>'uaL!'e in a tablet sent to Inm from T^arsa bv Mr. Loftus.- He announced the dis-

« 

covery in a valual)le paper, contributed to the 'Journal of the Roval Asiatic Society' m 1855, on the Early History of Babylonia. At that time, however, he had made but little pro^-ress in this new study, for he says : ' I have no hesitation in pronouncinji' the language to be Semitic/*^ In the following' year he found out his mistake, and, liavino- carefully studied tlie vocabularies from Kouyunjik, he sj)eaks of it more guardedly as Mhe Chaldean or Hamitic languaufe of Babylonia.'^ 8ix years later, we still hear of the ' Hamitian lanii^uaj^^e. of which not much is yet understood.^ For a time it was known also as the Proto-Chaldean ; ^' Hincks seems to liavf^ ])een the fii'st to call it by its later name of Akkadian,^ l)ut Rawlinson was the earliest to make anv considera1)le nroii'ress in its study. In 1866, lie endeavoured to translate the taljlets bearing on astronomy and other scientific sul)jects ; but he found ' the primitive Babvlonian lanjiuau'e' was so extensively employed in these documents that it was ' advisable to undertake a thorouii'h examination of this ancient and

^ See liassam's account in Tram^, S. />. A. vol. vii. Of. Ilommel, Geschichtt'^ p. 8(i.

- Bert in acknowledges in lHS7tliat Rawlinson was the first to disco-ver the existence of the Akkadian language (./. li. A. S. 1887, N.S. xix. 044).

' J. I!. A. S. Is55, XV. ±2\,7iote. * lb, Report, 1856, xvi. p. vii.

Talbot in J. R. A. S. 180l>, xix. 19G.

' Talbot, ib. 1867, X.S. iii. 7. C/. ib. 1873, vi. p. x\ix.

" O/i Akkadian, IS.Io.