Page:EB1911 - Volume 03.djvu/127

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110
BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA

Sennacherib's figure in the Bavian inscription; this he reduced by a hundred years,[1] instead of increasing it by sixty as Rost had suggested. Lehmann-Haupt's influence is visible in Marquart's system, published in the following year;[2] it may be noted that his slightly reduced figure for the beginning of Dynasty I. was arrived at by incorporating the new information supplied by the first date-list to be published. When revising his scheme of chronology in 1900, Rost abandoned his suggested emendation of Sennacherib's figure, but by decreasing his reduction of the length of Dynasty III., he only altered his date for the beginning of Dynasty I. by one year.[3] In his revised scheme of chronology, published in 1903,[4] Lehmann-Haupt retained his emendation of Sennacherib's figure, and was in his turn influenced by Marquart's method of reconciling the dynasties of Berossus with the Kings' List. He continued to accept the figure of the Kings' List for Dynasty III., but he reduced the length of Dynasty II. by fifty years, arguing that the figures assigned to some of the reigns were improbably high. His slight reduction in the length of Dynasty I. was obtained from the recently published date-lists, though his proposed reduction of Ammizaduga's reign to ten years has since been disproved.

A third group of systems comprises those proposed by Hommel and Niebuhr, for their reductions in the date assigned to Dynasty I. were effected chiefly by their treatment of Dynasty II. In his first system, published in 1886,[5] Hommel, mainly with the object of reducing Khammurabi's date, reversed the order of the first two dynasties of the Kings' List, placing Dynasty II. before Dynasty I. In his second and third systems (1895 and 1898),[6] and in his second alternative scheme of 1901 (see below), he abandoned this proposal and adopted a suggestion of Halévy that Dynasty III. followed immediately after Dynasty I.; Dynasty II., he suggested, had either synchronized with Dynasty I., or was mainly apocryphal (eine spätere Geschichtskonstruction). Niebuhr's system was a modification of Hommel's second theory, for, instead of entirely ignoring Dynasty II., he reduced its independent existence to 143 years, making it overlap Dynasty I. by 225 years.[7] The extremely low dates proposed by Hommel in 1898 were due to his adoption of Peiser's emendation for the length of Dynasty III., in addition to his own elimination of Dynasty II. In 1901 Hommel abandoned Peiser's emendation and suggested two alternative schemes.[8] According to one of these he attempted to reconcile Berossus with the Kings' List by assigning to Dynasty II. an independent existence of some 171 years, while as a possible alternative he put forward what was practically his theory of 1895.

Such are the principles underlying the various chronological schemes which had, until recently, been propounded. The balance of opinion was in favour of those of the first group of writers, who avoided emendations of the figures and were content to follow the Kings' List and to ignore its apparent discrepancies with other chronological data; but it is now admitted that the general principle underlying the third group of theories was actually nearer the truth. The publication of fresh chronological material in 1906 and 1907 placed a new complexion on the problems at issue, and enabled us to correct several preconceptions, and to reconcile or explain the apparently conflicting data.

From a Babylonian chronicle in the British Museum[9] we now know that Dynasty II. of the Kings' List never occupied the throne of Babylon, but ruled only in the extreme south of Babylonia on the shores of the Persian Gulf; that its kings were contemporaneous with the later kings of Dynasty I. and with the earlier kings of Dynasty III. of the Kings' List; that in the reign of Samsu-ditana, the last king of Dynasty I., Hittites from Cappadocia raided and captured Babylon, which in her weakened state soon fell a prey to the Kassites (Dynasty III.); and that later on southern Babylonia, till then held by Dynasty II. of the Kings' List, was in its turn captured by the Kassites, who from that time onward occupied the whole of the Babylonian plain. The same chronicle informs us that Ilu-shūma, an early Assyrian patesi, was the contemporary of Su-abu, the founder of Dynasty I. of the Kings' List, thus enabling us to trace the history of Assyria back beyond the rise of Babylon.

Without going into details, the more important results of this new information may be summarized: the elimination of Dynasty II. from the throne of Babylon points to a date not much earlier than 2000 or 2050 B.C. for the rise of Dynasty I., a date which harmonizes with the chronological notices of Shalmaneser I.; Nabonidus's estimate of the period of Khammurabi, so far from being centuries too low, is now seen to have been exaggerated, as the context of the passage in his inscription suggests; and finally the beginning of the historical period of Berossus is not to be synchronized with Dynasty I. of the Kings' List, but, assuming that his figures had an historical basis and that they have come down to us in their original form, with some earlier dynasty which may possibly have had its capital in one of the other great cities of Babylonia (such as the Dynasty of Isin).

New data have also been discovered bearing upon the period before the rise of Babylon. A fragment of an early dynastic chronicle from Nippur[10] gives a list of the kings of the dynasties of Ur and Isin. From this text we learn that the Dynasty of Ur consisted of five kings and lasted for 117 years, and was succeeded by the Dynasty of Isin, which consisted of sixteen kings and lasted for 225½ years. Now the capture of the city of Isin by Rīm-Sin, which took place in the seventeenth year of Sin-muballit, the father of Khammurabi, formed an epoch for dating tablets in certain parts of Babylonia,[11] and it is probable that we may identify the fall of the Dynasty of Isin with this capture of the city. In that case the later rulers of the Dynasty of Isin would have been contemporaneous with the earlier rulers of Dynasty I. of the Kings' List, and we obtain for the rise of the Dynasty of Ur a date not much earlier than 2300 B.C.

These considerable reductions in the dates of the earlier dynasties of Babylonia necessarily react upon our estimate of the age of Babylonian civilization. The very high dates of 5000 or 6000 B.C., formerly assigned by many writers to the earliest remains of the Sumerians and the Babylonian Semites,[12] depended to a great extent on the statement of Nabonidus that 3200 years separated his own age from that of Narām-Sin, the son of Sargon of Agade; for to Sargon, on this statement alone, a date of 3800 B.C. has usually been assigned. But even by postulating the highest possible dates for the Dynasties of Babylon and Ur, enormous gaps occurred in the scheme of chronology, which were unrepresented by any royal name or record. In his valiant attempt to fill these gaps Radau was obliged to invent kings and even dynasties,[13] the existence of which is now definitely disproved. The statement of Nabonidus has not, however, been universally accepted. Lehmann-Haupt suggested an emendation of the text, reducing the number by a thousand years;[14] while Winckler has regarded the statement of Nabonidus as an uncritical exaggeration.[15] Obviously the scribes of Nabonidus were not anxious to diminish the antiquity of the foundation-inscription of Narām-Sin, which their royal master had unearthed;

  1. See Lehmann-Haupt, Zwei Hauptprobleme (1898).
  2. See Marquart, Philologus, Supplbd. vii. (1899), pp. 637 ff.
  3. See Rost, Orient. Lit.-Zeit., iii. (1900), No. 6.
  4. See Lehmann-Haupt, Beiträge zur alten Geschichte (Klio), Bd. iii. Heft 1 (1903).
  5. See Hommel, Geschichte Babyloniens und Assyriens.
  6. See Ancient Hebrew Tradition, p. 125, and Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible, i. pp. 226 f.
  7. See Niebuhr, Chronologie (1896).
  8. See Hommel, “Sitzungsberichte der königl. böhmischen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften,” Phil.-hist. Classe (1901), v.
  9. Published and discussed by L. W. King, “Chronicles concerning early Babylonian Kings” (Studies in Eastern History, vols. ii. and iii., 1907), and History of Egypt, vol. xiii. (published by the Grolier Society, New York, in the spring of 1906), pp. 244 ff.
  10. Published and discussed by Hilprecht, “Mathematical, Metrological and Chronological Texts” (Bab. Exped., Ser. A, xx. 1, dated 1906, published 1907), pp. 46 ff.
  11. See L. W. King, Letters and Inscriptions of Khammurabi, vol. iii. pp. 228 ff.
  12. Cf., e.g., Hilprecht, Old Babylonian Inscriptions, pt. ii. p. 24.
  13. See Radau, Early Babylonian History (1900).
  14. See Lehmann-Haupt, Zwei Hauptprobleme, pp. 172 ff.
  15. See Winckler in Schrader's Keilinschriften und das Alte-Testament (3rd ed.), i. pp. 17 f., and cf. Mitteil. der vorderas. Gesellschaft (1906), i. p. 12, n.l.