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

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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 by 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 the 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.