THE SEVEN GREAT MONARCHIES ***
Produced by David Widger
THE SEVEN GREAT MONARCHIES
ANCIENT EASTERN WORLD;
THE HISTORY, GEOGRAPHY, AND ANTIQUITIES OF CHALDAEA, ASSYRIA
BABYLON, MEDIA, PERSIA, PARTHIA, AND SASSANIAN,
OR NEW PERSIAN EMPIRE.
GEORGE RAWLINSON, M.A.,
CAMDEN PROFESSOR OF ANCIENT HISTORY IN THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD
IN THREE VOLUMES.
With Maps and Illustrations
CONTENTS OF VOL. I.
THE FIRST MONARCHY.
CHAPTER I. GENERAL VIEW OF THE COUNTRY
CHAPTER II. CLIMATE AND PRODUCTIONS
CHAPTER III. THE PEOPLE
CHAPTER IV. LANGUAGE AND WRITING
CHAPTER V. ARTS AND SCIENCES
CHAPTER VI. MANNERS AND CUSTOMS
CHAPTER VII. RELIGION
CHAPTER VIII. HISTORY AND CHRONOLOGY
PREFACE TO FIVE GREAT MONARCHIES.
The history of Antiquity requires from time to time to be rewritten. Historical knowledge continually extends, in part from the advance of critical science, which teaches us little by little the true value of ancient authors, but also, and more especially, from the new discoveries which the enterprise of travellers and the patient toil of students are continually bringing to light, whereby the stock of our information as to the condition of the ancient world receives constant augmentation. The extremest scepticism cannot deny that recent researches in Mesopotamia and the adjacent countries have recovered a series of "monuments" belonging to very early times, capable of throwing considerable light on the Antiquities of the nations which produced them. The author of these volumes believes that, together with these remains, the languages of the ancient nations have been to a large extent recovered, and that a vast mass of written historical matter of a very high value is thereby added to the materials at the Historian's disposal. This is, clearly, not the place where so difficult and complicated a subject can be properly argued. The author is himself content with the judgment of "experts," and believes it would be as difficult to impose a fabricated language on Professor Lassen of Bonn and Professor Max Miller of Oxford, as to palm off a fictitious for a real animal form on Professor Owen of London. The best linguists in Europe have accepted the decipherment of the cuneiform inscriptions as a thing actually accomplished. Until some good linguist, having carefully examined into the matter, declares himself of contrary opinion, the author cannot think that any serious doubt rests on the subject.
[Some writers allow that the Persian cuneiform inscriptions have been successfully deciphered and interpreted, but appear to doubt the interpretation of the Assyrian records. (See Edinburgh Review for July, 1862, Art Ill., p. 108.) Are they aware that the Persian inscriptions are accompanied in almost every instance by an Assyrian transcript, and that Assyrian interpretation thus follows upon Persian, without involving any additional "guess-work"]
The present volumes aim at accomplishing for the Five Nations of which they treat what Movers and Kenrick have accomplished for Phoenicia, or (still more exactly) what Wilkinson has accomplished for Ancient Egypt. Assuming the interpretation of the historical inscriptions as, in general, sufficiently ascertained, and the various ancient remains as assigned on sufficient grounds to certain peoples and epochs, they seek to unite with our previous knowledge of the five nations, whether derived from Biblical or classical sources, the new information obtained from modern discovery. They address themselves in a great measure to the eye; and it is hoped that even those who doubt the certainty of the linguistic discoveries in which the author believes, will admit the advantage of illustrating the life of the ancient peoples by representations of their productions. Unfortunately, the materials of this kind which recent explorations have brought to light are very unequally spread among the several nations of which it is proposed to treat, and even where they are most copious, fall short of the abundance of Egypt. Still in every case there is some illustration possible; and in one--Assyria--both the "Arts" and the "Manners" of the people admit of being illustrated very largely from the remains still extant.--[See Chapters VI. and VII. of the Second Monarchy]
The Author is bound to express his obligations to the following writers, from whose published works he has drawn freely: MM. Botta and Flandin, Mr. Layard, Mr. James Fergusson, Mr. Loftus, Mr. Cullimore, and Mr. Birch. He is glad to take this occasion of acknowledging himself also greatly beholden to the constant help of his brother, Sir Henry Rawlinson, and to the liberality of Mr. Faux, of the British Museum. The latter gentleman kindly placed at his disposal, for the purposes of the present work, the entire series of unpublished drawings made by the artists who accompanied Mr. Loftus in the last Mesopotamian Expedition, besides securing him undisturbed access to the Museum sculptures, thus enabling him to enrich the present volume with a large number of most interesting illustrations never previously given to the public. In the subjoined list these illustrations are carefully distinguished from such as, in one shape or another, have appeared previously.