Page:Discovery and Decipherment of the Trilingual Cuneiform Inscriptions.djvu/44

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15
MODERN DISCOVERY

they appear all to come under the comprehensive description of 'chapels,' which he says were built of huge blocks of stone. But he noticed the two tombs on the hill, one being 'the sepulchre of the king, which is not very different from the other.' He confuses the great entrance stairs leading to the Porch with the sculptured stairs leading to the Court of the Columns; and represents it as approached directly through the Porch. It was a long time before this error was cleared up. Gouvea called attention to the inscriptions. 'The writing,' he says, 'may be clearly seen in many places, and it may explain by whom the building was erected and the purpose it was intended to serve; but there is no one who can understand it, because the characters are neither Persian, Arabic, Armenian, nor Hebrew, the languages now in use in the district; so that everything contributes to obliterate the knowledge of that which the ambitious prince desired to render eternal.'

When Gouvea arrived at the Court, which was then at Machad, the capital of Khorassan (or Bactria), he was met by Robert Sherley, an Englishman, who was then not more than twenty years of age. Sherley, we hear, was naturally of good disposition, though infected by the pestiferous errors he had imbibed in England.[1] He was no match in argument for the Professor of Theology, and after some discussion 'he was converted and submitted to the Roman Church with seven or eight of his suite.' Gouvea, as was natural, attributed great importance to these conversions, and although he publicly declared that the primary object of his mission was to kindle a war with the Turk, he lost no opportunity of assuring the king that his heart was set much more on 'teaching the knowledge of the true God.' He presented his Majesty with a 'Life of Our Lord,'

  1. Gouvea, Relation des Grandes Guerres, p. 107.