Page:Discovery and Decipherment of the Trilingual Cuneiform Inscriptions.djvu/370

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.
341
THE BABYLONIAN COLUMN

contributed a valuable essay on the newly found ' Ecri- ture Assyrienne ' (1848).^

Meanwhile Mr. Layard was rapidly accumulating treasures upon even a greater scale for the British Museum. He beiran to excavate at Nimrud — the ancient Caleh — in November 1845, and speedily brought to light the remains of three buildings, known as the North-West, Central and South- West Palaces. In the following year he extended his labours to Kouyunjik,a mound on the site of Nineveh, where he unearthed a palace of unusual size, which he found had been erected bv the son of the Khor- sabad king. He was rewarded by the discovery of the vast treasures now preserved in the British Museum — colossal bulls and lions, winged human figures, and many other symbolical objects ; long rows of bas-reliefs depicting battles, sieges and hunting scenes, and large numbers of inscriptions. One of the most important of these was found in tlie autumn of 1846 on a black obelisk in the central palace of Nimrud. It consists of two hundred and ten lines, and enjoys the distinction of being the first purely Assyrian inscription that was ever deci})hered.- Of scarcely less importance was the dis- covery of an inscription upon the pavement where the names and titles of five kincfs were clearlv recorded. Their names could not indeed be read as vet, but suf- ficient was already known from a comparison with the Persian inscriptions to indicate the genealogical relation- 8liip of the unknown sovereign. The Assyrian signs for

  • king,' 'son of and a few others had been made out,

which left no doubt as to the meaning of the document. It began with the father of the founder of the North- West

^ In July 1H49, SS plates were out, but not the (lescri])tive text. The work was finally in five Aolumes folio, and contained :?:?0 inscriptions. The inscriptions were sold separately for (30 francs.

^ See the drawin«r of it in M»*nant, Ei'ritnrea^ p. 108. It is published by Layard, PI. 53-6, and translated by llawlinson, 1850, and by Ilincks, 18'>4.