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THE CITY STATES OF BABYLONIA AND THEIR UNIFICATION UNDER BABYLON TO 2000 B. C.
THE DAWN OF HISTORY
45. THE earliest indications of human settlement in the Tigro-Euphrates valley come from the lower alluvial plain (sect. 3) known as Babylonia. It is not difficult to see how the physical features of this region were adapted to make it a primitive seat of civilization. A burning sun, falling upon fertile soil enriched and watered by mighty, inundating streams, — these are conditions in which man finds ready to his hand everything needed to sustain and stimulate his elemental wants. Superabounding fruitfulness of nature, plant, animal, and man, contributes to his comfort, and progress, Coming with flocks and herds from the surrounding deserts, he finds ample pasturage and inexhaustible water everywhere, an oasis inviting him to a permanent abiding-place. He cannot but abandon his nomadic life for settlement. The land, however, does not encourage inglorious ease. Wild nature must be subdued and waste tracts occupied as populations increase. The inundations are found to occur at regular intervals and to be of definite duration. They may be regulated and their fruitful waters directed upon barren soils, making them fertile. All suggests order and requires organization on the part of those settled along the river banks. From the same generous source are supplied mud and bitumen for the erection of permanent dwellings. The energies of the inhabitants of such a country would naturally be absorbed in developing its abundant resources. They would be a peaceful folk, given to agriculture. Trade, also, is facilitated by the rivers, natural highways through the land, and with trade comes industry, both stimulated by the generous gifts of nature, among which the palm-tree is easily supreme. Thus, at a time when regions less suggestive and responsive to human activity lay unoccupied and barren, this favored spot was inevitably the scene of organized progressive human activity already engaged upon the practical problems of social and political life. It furnishes for the history of mankind the most ancient authentic records at present known.
46. The position of the Babylonian plain is likewise prophetic of its history. It is an accessible land (sect. 11). Races and civilizations were to meet and mingle there. It was to behold innumerable political changes due to invasion and conquest. In turn, the union of peoples was to produce a strong and abiding social amalgam, capable of absorbing aliens and preserving their best. This civilization, because it lay thus open to all, was to contribute widely to the world's progress. It made commercial highways out of its rivers. The passes of the eastern and northern mountains were doorways, not merely for invading tribes, but also for peaceful armies of merchants marching to and from the ends of the world, and finding their common centre in its cities.
47. At the period when history begins, all these processes of development were already well advanced. Not only are the beginnings of civilization in Babylonia quite hidden from our eyes, but the various stages in the course of that first civilization, extending over thousands of years, are equally unknown, except as they may be precariously inferred from that which the beginnings of historical knowledge reveal. The earliest inscriptions which have been unearthed disclose social and political life already in full operation. Not only has mankind passed beyond the period of savage and even pastoral existence, but agriculture is the chief occupation; the irrigating canals have begun to distribute the river water to the interior of the land; the population is gathered into settled communities; cities are built; states are established, ruled over by kings; the arts of life are developed; language has already been reduced to written form, and is employed for literary purposes; religion is an essential element of life, and has its priests and temples.
48. The seat of the most advanced and presumably the most ancient historical life appears to have been the southernmost part of the Euphrates valley. As the river reached the gulf, which then stretched more than a hundred miles northwest of its present shore line, it spread out over the surrounding country in a shallow sea. Upon the higher ground to the east and west of the lowlands made marvellously fertile by this natural irrigation, the earliest cities were planted. Farthest to the south, presumably close to the gulf and west of the river mouth, was the ancient Eridu (now Abu Shahrein or Nowawis), the seat of a temple for the worship of Ea, the god of the waters, Here, no doubt, was told the story of Oannes, the being that came up daily from the sea to converse with men, to teach them letters, arts, and sciences, everything which could tend to soften manners and humanize mankind, and at night returned to the deep, — a myth of the sun, perhaps, associated with the recollection of the beginnings of culture in this coast city which, without tradition of political importance, was hallowed as a primitive centre of civilization and religion. Some ten miles to the west lay Ur, "the city" (at present called Mugheir), now a few miles west of the river in the desert, but once, like Eridu, a commercial city on the gulf. Here was the temple of Sin, the moon god, the ruins of which rise seventy feet above the plain. Across the river, thirty miles to the northeast, stood Larsam (now Senkereh), the biblical Ellasar, where the sun god Shamash had his temple. Twelve miles away to the northwest was Uruk, the biblical Erech (now Warka), the seat of the worship of the goddess Ishtar. Mar (now perhaps Tel Ede), a little known site, lay about the same distance north. Thirty-five miles east of Mar, on the ancient canal now known as Shatt-el-Hai, connecting the Tigris with the Euphrates, was Shirpurla, or Lagash (now Tello), looking out across the eastern plain, the frontier city of the early period, although fifty miles from the Tigris. These six cities, lying at the four corners of an irregular square, form the southernmost body of primitive communities already flourishing at the dawn of history.
49. Situated almost exactly in the centre of the ancient plain between the rivers, about fifty miles north of Uruk, was the already famous city of Nippur (now Niffer). Here the patron deity was En-lil, "chief spirit," called also Bel, the "lord," god of the terrestrial world. A long period of prehistoric political prominence must be assumed to explain the religious prestige of this city and of its god. Religion is its sole distinction at the time when records begin. But how great must have been that prominence to have secured for the city a claim to stand with Eridu as one of the two earliest centres of religion ! En-lil was a father of gods, and his fame made Nippur the shrine where many kings were proud to offer their gifts.
50. North Babylonia had also its group of primitive cities, chief among which was Kutha (now Tel Ibrahim), the biblical Cuthah, more than fifty miles northwest of Nippur in the centre of the upper plain. Its god, Nergal, was lord of the world of the dead. Still further north, not far from the eastern bank of the Euphrates, was Sippar (now Abu Habba), where the sun god, Shamash, had his temple, and in its vicinity, probably, was Agade, once the famous capital of the land of Akkad. More uncertain are the sites of those northern cities which played an important part in the political activity of the earlier days, but soon disappeared, Kulunu (the biblical Calneh), Gishban(?), and Kish. It is a question whether Babylon and its sister city Borsippa should be included in this enumeration, If they were in existence, they were insignificant communities at this time, and their gods, Marduk and Nabu, do not stand high in the ranks of the earliest deities. The greatness of the two cities was to come, and to compensate by its splendor fer the lateness of their beginnings.
51. Who were the people by whose energy this region was transformed into so fair and flourishing a land, at a time when elsewhere, with hardly an exception, the upward course of humanity did not yet reveal any trace of orderly and civilized conditions? What are their antecedents, and whence did they come to occupy the alluvial plain? These questions cannot be satisfactorily answered, because our knowledge of the facts involved is insufficient and the conclusions drawn from them are contradictory. Reference has already been made (sect. 26) to the linguistic phenomena of the early Babylonian inscriptions, and the opposite inferences drawn from them. The historical facts bearing on the question render a clearer answer, if also a more limited one. Whatever may be the conjectures based upon them as to prehistoric conditions and movements, these facts at the beginning of history testify that the civilization was that of a Semitic people. Inscriptions of an undoubtedly Semitic character are there, and the social, political, and religious phenomena presented by them have nothing that clearly demonstrates a non-Semitic character. Nor do any inscriptions, myths, or traditions testify, indubitably, either to a pre-Semitic population, or to the superimposing upon it of the Semitic stock. To the historian, therefore, the problem resolves itself into this: how and when did the Semitic people begin to occupy this Babylonian plain? As the consensus of judgment to-day seems to favor Central Arabia as the primitive home of the Semites, their advent into Babylonia must have been made from the west, by moving either upward, from the western side of the Persian gulf, or downward, along the Euphrates, — a drift from the desert as steady and continuous as the sand that creeps over the Babylonian border from the same source. When this movement began can only be conjectured from the length of time presumably required to develop the civilization which existed as early as 5000 B. C., back to which date the earliest materials must certainly be carried. The processes already indicated as having preceded this time (sects. 45, 47), suggest to what distant ages the incoming of the first settlers must be assigned.
52. The Babylonian primitive civilization did not stand alone or isolated in this dawn of history. It lay in the midst of a larger world, with some regions of which it had already entered into relations, To the northwest, along the Euphrates, nomadic tribes still wandered, although there are indications that, on the upper river, in the vicinity of the old city of Haran, a Semitic culture was already appearing. The Bedouin of the western desert hung on the frontier as a constant menace, or wandered into the cultivated land to swell the Semitic population. To the north, along the eastern banks of the upper Tigris, and on the flanks of the mountains were centres of primitive organization, as among the Guti and the Lulubi, whose kings, some centuries later, left Semitic inscriptions. But particularly active and aggressive were the people of the highlands east of Babylonia known by the collective name of Elam. The country sloped gently down to the Tigris, and was watered by streams descending from the hills. The people were hardy and warlike. They had already developed or acquired from their neighbors across the river the elements of organization and civilization. Through their borders ran the trade-routes from the east. Among the earliest memorials of history are evidences of their active interference in Babylonian affairs, in which they were to play so important a part in the future. Commerce was to bring more distant places into the circle of Babylonian life. On the borders, to the south, were the ports of southern Arabia; far to the west, the peoples of the Mediterranean coast-lands were preparing to receive the visits of traders from the Euphrates; while at the end of the then known world was the rich and progressive nation in the valley of the Nile, already, perhaps, indebted to the dwellers in Babylonia for impulses toward civilization, which they were themselves to carry to so high a point in the ages to come.
53. THE cities whose existence at the dawn of history has already been noted, were, from the first, full of vigorous activity. The impulses which led to the organization of social life sought further development, Cities enlarged, came intO touch with their neighbors, and sought to dominate them. The varying success of these movements, the rise, splendor, and decay of the several communities, their struggles with one another, and the ever-renewed activity which carried them beyond the confines of Babylonia itself, make up the first chapter in the story. It is impossible to give a connected and detailed account of the period, owing to the scantiness of the materials and the difficulty of arranging them chronologically. The excavations of the last quarter of a century have only begun to suggest the wealth of inscriptions and archæological matter which will be at the disposal ef the future student. Much new light has been gained which makes it possible to take general views, to trace tendencies, and to prepare tentative outlines which discoveries and investigations still to come will fill up and modify.
54. Some general titles borne by rulers of the period afford a striking evidence of the character of this early development. Three of these are worthy of special mention, namely, "King of Shumer and Akkad," "King of the Totality (world)," "King of the Four (world-) Regions." It is evident that two of these titles, and possibly all, refer to districts and not to cities, although great uncertainty exists as to their exact geographical position. The second and third would suggest universal empire, though they might be localized upon particular regions. The " Kingdom of the Totality" is thought by Winkler and other scholars to have its centre in northern Mesopotamia about the city of Haran. " Shumer and Akkad " are regarded as including the northern and southern parts of Babylonia. The "Four Regions," synonymous with the four points of the compass, would include the known world from the eastern mountains and the Persian gulf to the Mediterranean. Whatever may be learned in the future respecting the exact content of these titles, they illustrate the impulses and tendencies which were already potent in these primitive communities.
55. This period of expansion and unification occupies more than two millenniums (about 4500-2250 B. C.). Three stages may be distinguished in what may truly be called this wilderness of years. (1) The first is marked by the struggles of cities within Babylonia for local supremacy. The chief rivalry lay between those of the north and those of the south. (2) With the career of Sargon I. (3800 B. c.), a new era opened, characterized by the extension of authority beyond the borders of Babylonia as far as the Mediterranean and the northern mountains, while yet local supremacy shifted from city to city. (3) The third epoch, which is, at the same time, the termination of the period and the opening of a new age, saw the final consolidation of Babylonian authority at home and abroad in the city-king of Babylon, which henceforth gave its name to land and government and civilization. In each of these ages, some names of rulers stand out as fixed points in the vast void, gaps of unknown extent appear, and historic relations between individual actors upon the wide stage are painfully uncertain. Some account in the barest outline may be given of these kings, in some cases hardly more than shadows, whom the progress of investigation will in time clothe with flesh and blood, and assign the place and significance due to their achievements.
56. The struggle has already begun when the first known king, Enshagsagana (about 4500 B. C.) of Kengi, probably southwestern Babylonia, speaks of offering to the god of Nippur the spoil of Kish, "wicked of heart." Somewhat later the representative of the south in the wars with the northern cities, Kish and Gishban, was Shirpurla (sect. 48). Mesilim of Kish (about 4400 B. C.) made Shirpurla a vassal kingdom. It recovered under the dynasty of Ur Nina (about 4200 B.C.), who called himself king, while his successors were satisfied with the title of patesi, or viceroy. Two of these successors of Ur Nina, Eannatum (Edingiranagin) and Entemena, have left inscriptions of some length, describing their victories over cities of the north and south. Gishban, rivalling Kish in its hostility to the south, found a vigorous antagonist in Eannatum, whose famous "Vulture Stele" contains the terms imposed by him upon the patesi of that city. Not long after, a king of Gishban, Lugalzaggisi (about 4000 B. C.), proclaimed himself " king of Uruk, king of the Totality," brought also Ur and Larsam under his sway, and offered his spoil at the sacred shrine of Nippur. He was practically lord of Babylonia. His inscription, moreover, goes on to declare that "from the lower sea of the Tigris and Euphrates to the upper sea (his god) made straight his path; from the rising of the sun to the setting of the same he gave him tribute." His authority extended from the Persian gulf to the Mediterranean. A later king of Kish, Alusharshid (about 3850 B. C.), wrote upon marble vases which he offered at Nippur, his boast of having subjugated Elam and Bara'se, the elevated plains to the east and northeast of Babylonia.
57. It is tempting to generalize upon these six centuries and more of history. The most obvious fact has already been mentioned, namely, that the movement toward expansion, incorporation, and unification is in full course. But more definite conclusions may be reached. There are those who see, in the arraying of north against south, the inevitable reaction of a ruder civilization against an older and higher one. The earlier culture of the south, and its more fully developed organization had pressed upon the northern communities and attempted to absorb them in the process of giving them civilization. But gradual decay sapped the strength of the southern states, and the hardier peoples of the north, having learned the arts of their conquerors, thirsted for their riches, and at last succeeded in overthrowing them, A more definite view is that which beholds in the aggressions of north upon south the steady advance of the Semitic people upon the Sumerians (sect. 26), and the process of fastening the yoke of Semitic political supremacy upon Babylonia, with the accompanying absorption of Sumerian culture by the conquerors. Another conclusion (that of Radau, Early Babylonian History) finds the Semites coming in from the south at the very beginning of the period and pushing northward beyond the confines of Babylonia. Then the Semites of the south, having become corrupted by the higher civilization of the Sumerians, were objects of attack on the part of the more virile Semites of the north who, turning back upon their former track, came down and occupied the seats of their brethren and renewed the purer Semitic element. There may be some truth in all these generalizations, but the positions are so opposed, and their foundations are as yet so precarious, that assent to their definite details must, for the present, be withheld from all of them.
58. Shargani-shar-ali, or, as he is more commonly called, Sargon I., king of the city of Agade (sect. 50), introduces the second stage in early Babylonian history. His son, Naram Sin, is said by Nabuna'id, the last king of the New Babylonian Empire, to have reigned three thousand two hundred years before his own time, that is, about 3750 B. C. Sargon lived, therefore, about 3800 B. C., the first date fixed, with reasonable certainty, in Babylonian history, and a point of departure for earlier and later chronology (sect, 40), The inscriptions coming directly from Sargon himself and his son are few and historically unimportant. Some, found at Nippur, indicate that both were patrons of the temple and worshippers of its god. A tablet of omens, written many centuries after their time, ascribes to them a wide range of activity and splendid achievement. While such a document may contain a legendary element, the truth of its testimony in general is substantiated by similar statements recorded in contract tablets of the Sargonic age. The very existence of such legends testifies to the impression made by these kings on succeeding generations. An interesting example of this type of document is the autobiographical fragment which follows:
Sargon, the powerful king, King of Agade, am I.
My mother was of low degree, my father I did not know.
The brother of my father dwelt in the mountain.
My city was Azupirani, situate on the bank of the Euphrates.
(My) humble mother conceived me; in secret she brought me forth.
She placed me in a basket-boat of rushes; with pitch she closed my door.
She gave me over to the river, which did not (rise) over me.
The river bore me along; to Akki, the irrigator, it carried me.
Akki, the irrigator, in the . . . brought me to land.
Akki, the irrigator, reared me as his own son.
Akki, the irrigator, appointed me his gardener.
While I was gardener, Ishtar looked on me with love [and]
... four years I ruled the kingdom.
(Assyrian and Babylonian Literature, p. 1.)
59. Sargon was a great conqueror. Within Babylonia, he was lord of Nippur, Shirpurla, Kish, Babylon, and Uruk. Beyond its borders, he and his son carried their arms westward to the Mediterranean, northward into Armenia, eastward into Elam and among the northeastern peoples, and southward into Arabia and the islands of the Persian gulf. To illustrate the character of these wars, reference may be made to the omen tablet, which, under the seventh omen, records a three years' campaign on the Mediterranean coast, during which Sargon organized his conquests, erected his images, and carried back the spoil to his own land. Possessed of so wide authority, Naram Sin assumed the proud title, for the first time employed by a Babylonian ruler, "King of the Four (world-) Regions."
60. The achievements of these kings were both a culmination of the activities of the earlier city-kings, and a model for those who followed. The former had from time to time gathered parts of the larger world under their own sway, as Lugalzaggisi the west, and Alusharshid the east. But the incorporation of the whole into a single empire was the work of the Sargonids, and no dynasty followed which did not strive after this ideal. The immediate descendants of Naram Sin, however, have left no monuments to indicate that they maintained their fathers' glory, and the dynasty of Agade disappeared in a darkness which stretches over nearly half a millennium. The scene shifts once more to Shirpurla. Here the patesi Ur Bau (about 3500 B. C.) ruled peacefully, and was followed by other princes, whose chief distinction in their own eyes was the building of temples and the service of the gods. Foremost among these in the number of inscriptions and works of art which commemorate his career, was Gudea (about 3100 B. C.). The only warlike deed recorded by him was his conquest of Anshan in Elam, but the wide range of countries laid under contribution for materials to build his temples and palaces has led to the conviction that he must have been an independent and vigorous ruler, The absence of any royal titles in his inscriptions, however, coupled with the slight reference to military expeditions, suggests, rather, that his building operations were made possible because his state formed part of the domains of a broad empire, like that which Sargon founded and his successors ruled.
61. Peace, however, in an oriental state is the sign of weakness, and the extensive works of Gudea may have exhausted the resources of Shirpurla so that, after a few generations, its patesis acknowledged the sway of the kings of Ur, who came forward to make a new contribution to the unification of Babylonia. Ur Gur of Ur and his son Dungi (about 3000 B. C.) were, like their predecessors of Shirpurla, chiefly proud of their temples, if the testimony of the great mass of the inscriptions from them may be accepted. But they are distinguished from Gudea in that they built their temples in all parts of the land of Babylonia, from Kutha in the north to Shirpurla, Nippur, Uruk, and Ur in the south. The title which they assumed, that of "King of Shumer and Akkad," now first employed by Babylonian kings, indicates that the end which they had attained was the union of all Babylonia, north and south, under one sceptre. The building of the various temples in the cities was the evidence both of their interest in the welfare of the whole land and of their authority over it. They realized the ideal which ruled all succeeding dynasties, namely, a united Babylonia, although it is probable that their authority over the different districts was often very slight. Patesis still maintained themselves in Shirpurla and, doubtless, elsewhere, although they acknowledged the supremacy of the king of Ur. It is not without reason, therefore, that two dynasties ruling in other cities are assigned to the period immediately following that of the dynasty of Ur. These are a dynasty of Uruk, consisting of kings Singashid and Singamil the former of whom calls himself also king of Amnanu, and a dynasty of Isin, a city of southern Babylonia, whose site is as yet unknown. The latter group of kings claimed authority also over Nippur, Ur, Eridu, and Uruk, and called themselves "Kings of Shumer and Akkad." As such, they would be successors of the kings of Ur, in control of united Babylonia.
62. Ur came forward again after some generations and dominated the land under a dynasty whose founder was Gungunu; its members were Ine Sin, Bur Sin II., Gimil Sin, some others less known, and, probably, a second Dungi (about 2800-2500 B. C.). The various forms of titles attached to some of the kings of Ur have led some scholars to group them in several dynasties, but the evidence is not at present sufficient. The kings above mentioned, considered together, are no longer called kings of Shumer and Akkad, but bear the prouder title of "King of the Four Regions." Our knowledge of their activities fully justifies them in assuming it. Numerous contract tablets, dated from events in their reigns, testify to campaigns in Syria, Arabia, and Elam. The most vigorous of these rulers was Dungi II,, who reigned more than fifty years. He built temples in various cities, made at least nine expeditions into the west, and seems to have placed members of his own family as governors in the conquered cities, if one may trust the interpretation of inscriptions to the effect that his daughters were appointed rulers in Syria and Anshan. He was worshipped as a god after his death, and his successors named the eighth month of the year in his honor. This dynasty may, not unreasonably, be regarded as one of the most notable thus far ruling in Babylonia, uniting, as it did, authority over the homeland with vigorous movement into the surrounding regions, and control over the east and the west.
63. A period of some confusion followed the passing of this sovereignty of Ur (about 2400-2200 B. C.). A dynasty of the city of Babylon, the first recorded by the priests in the dynastic tablets, was founded by Sumu-abu (about 2400 B. C.) and contested the worldwide supremacy of Ur. Larsam was the seat of another kingdom, the first king of which was Nur Adad, who was succeeded by his son Siniddinam. The latter called himself "king of Simmer and Akkad," as though he would again bring about that unity which had disappeared with the downfall of Ur. But other movements were preparing which, apparently threatening the overthrow of Babylonian civilization and governments as a whole, were to bring about an ultimate and permanent establishment of Babylonian unity. The Elamites upon the eastern highlands, between whom and the communities of eastern Babylonia war had been frequent, and who had been more than once partially conquered, reacted under the pressure and entered the land, bent upon conquest. The southern cities suffered the most severely from this inroad, as they lay nearest the line of advance of the invading peoples. At first the Elamites raided the cities and carried off their booty to their own land, but later were able to establish themselves in Babylonian territory. How early these incursions began is quite uncertain. In the fragments of Berosus, a "Median" dynasty of eight kings is mentioned the approximate date of which is from 2450 B. C. to 2250 B. C. This statement may vaguely suggest the presence of Elamites in Babylonia during two centuries, and the culmination of their inroads in the possession of supreme authority over at least part of the land. That new dynasties appeared in Babylon and Larsam, succeeding to that of Ur about 2400 B. C., may have some connection with these inroads, and inscriptional evidence makes it certain that Elamite supremacy was felt in Babylonia by 2300 B. C. Native dynasties disappeared before the onslaught. One of these invading bodies was led by King Kudurnankhundi, whose exploits are referred to by the Assyrian king of the seventh century, Ashurbanipal. The Elamite had carried away a statue of the goddess Nana from Uruk 1635 years before, that is, about 2290 B. C. Ashurbanipal restored it to its temple. The region in which Uruk and Larsam were situated seems to have borne the brunt of the assault. The former city was devastated and its temples sacked. The latter became a centre of Elamite power. A prince whole Semitic name is read Rim Sin, the son of a certain Kudurmabuk, ruler of Iamutbal, a district of west Elam, set up his kingdom at Larsam, apparently on the overthrow of Siniddinam, and for at least a quarter of a century (about 2275 B. C.) made himself a power in southern Babylonia. He claimed authority over Ur, Eridu, Nippur, Shirpurla, and Uruk, conquered Isin, and called himself " king of Shumer and Akkad." Evidently the Elamite element was well on the way toward absorption intro Babylonian life.
64. What the Elamites really brought to pass in Babylonia was a general levelling of the various southern city-states which had contested the supremacy with one another. Their rulers overthrown, their people enslaved, their possessions carried away, rude foreigners dominating them, they were no longer in a position to maintain the ancient rivalry with one another, or to contest the supremacy with the cities of the north. When the foreigners had weakened themselves by amalgamation with the conquered and by accepting their religion and culture, the way was opened for a purely Babylonian power, hitherto but slightly affected by these invasions, to drive out the enemy, and bring the whole land under one authority which might hope for permanence. This power was the city-state of Babylon.
65. It is tempting to seek further light on this Elamite period from two other sources. The first of these is the native religious literature. In the so-called omen tablets and the hymns, are not infrequent references to troubles from the Elamites. A hymn, associated with Uruk (RP, 2 ser. I. pp. 84 ff.), lamenting a misfortune which has fallen upon the city, is, by some scholars, connected with the expedition of Kudurnankhundi (sect. 63). In one of the episodes of the Gilgamesh epic (sect. 28), the deliverance of Uruk from a foreign enemy, Khumbaba, forms the background of the scene, It may embody a tradition of this period, and preserve the name of another Elamite invader, But the allusions are all too indefinite to serve any historical purpose other than as illustrations of the reality and severity of invasions from Elam. The Hebrew religious literature has also furnished material which is thought to bear on this epoch. In Genesis xiv. it is said, "It came to pass in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of Goiim; that they made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela. . . . Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled. And in the fourteenth year came Chedorlaomer, and the kings that were with him." In the situation here depicted, and the names of the kings and localities mentioned, have been found grounds for assigning the episode to the Elamite period of Babylonian history. Arioch of Ellasar would be Rim Sin (in another reading of his name, Eri-Aku) of Larsam; Amraphel of Shinar is identified with Khammurabi of Babylon; Tidal of Goiim, with Thargal of Gutium; while Chedorlaomer is a good Elamite name in the form Kudurlagamar. On this hypothesis, the latter would be the overlord of the Babylonian kings and the heir to the Babylonian authority over Syria and Palestine which had been maintained by Sargon and others of the earlier time. All this is not improbable, and adds interest to our study of this dark period, but it is not sufficiently substantiated, either by the connection in which it stands, or by the evidence of contemporaneous Babylonian material, to warrant the acceptance of it as actual historical fact. It is true that names similar to these have also been found in Babylonian tablets of various periods, but the reading of the texts is not so certain, or their relation to this epoch so clear, as to offer any substantial support to the narrative.
66. WHILE the materials for sketching the historical development of the early Babylonian communities are often quite inadequate, fragmentary, and difficult to organize, those which illustrate the life of the people are not only more numerous, but they also afford a more complete picture. To present a history of the civilization in its progress is, indeed, equally impossible, but, as a compensation, it may be remembered that oriental life in antiquity passed through few changes, Kings and empires might flourish and disappear, but manners, customs, and occupations continued from century to century much as they had been in the beginning. Therefore it is possible to gather up in a single view the various aspects of the civilization of this people which, in its political career of more than two thousand years, was subject to the vicissitudes which the preceding chapters have described.
67. The earliest occupations of the inhabitants were agricultural. Great flocks of sheep and herds of cattle and goats, enumerated. in the lists of temple property, indicate that pastoral activities were not neglected. Herdsmen and shepherds formed a numerous class, recruited from the Bedouin constantly floating in from the desert. The chief grazing‑ grounds were to the west of the Euphrates. Here were gathered together herds belonging to different owners under the care of independent herdsmen who were paid to watch and protect their charges. But the raising of grain and fruits was by far more common, as might be expected from the nature of the country. The yield from the fertile soil was often two hundred-fold, sometimes more. All Babylonian life was affected by this predominating activity, The need of irrigation of the fields fostered an immense development of the canal system- At first, the lands nearest the rivers were watered by the primitive devices even now employed on their banks. It was a genial thought of King Urukagina to construct a canal, and wisely did he name it after the goddess Nina (Records of the Past, 2 ser. I. p. 72), for the work was worthy of divine approval. Soon the canal became the characteristic feature of the Babylonian landscape and the chief condition of agricultural prosperity. Land was named according to that which it produced, and some scholars hold that it was measured according to the amount of seed which could be sown upon it. At least three of the months had names connected with agriculture. The fruits of the fields were the chief gifts to the temples, and the king exacted his taxes in grain which was stored in royal granaries. It seems that the agricultural year began in September (the month tashritu, "beginning"). Then the farmer, usually a tenant of a rich noble, made his contract. The rent was ordinarily one-third of the farm's production, although sometimes tenant and landlord divided equally, Great care was taken that the tenant should keep everything in good order. Oxen were used for farm-work, and numerous agricultural implements were employed. Sowing and reaping, ploughing and threshing, irrigating and cultivating, — these constituted the chief events in the lives of the great mass of the Babylonian people, and made their land one of the richest and most prosperous regions in all the world.
68. The pursuits of industry appear from the beginning to have engaged the activities Of the Babylonians. Differentiation of labor has already taken place, and the names of the workers illustrate the variety of the occupations. The inscriptions mention the carpenter, the smith, the metal-worker, the weaver, the leather-worker, the dyer, the potter, the brick-maker, the vintner, and the surveyor. The abundance of wool led very early to the manufacture of woollen cloths and rugs, in which the Babylonians surpassed all others. The city of Mar (sect. 48) was famous for a kind of cloth, called after it Mairatu. Gold, silver, copper, and bronze were worked up into articles of ornament and utility. The making of bricks was a most important industry in a country where stone was practically unobtainable. The month simanu (May–June) was the "month of bricks," during which the conditions for their manufacture were most favorable; inundations had brought down the sifted alluvium which lay conveniently at hand; the sun shone mildly enough to bake the clay slowly and evenly; the reeds, used as a platform on which to lay the bricks for drying, or chopped finely and mixed with the clay, were fresh and abundant. Innumerable quantities were used yearly. Sun-dried bricks were poor building material, and houses needed constant repairing or rebuilding after the heavy rains of the winter. The bricks baked in the kiln, of much more durable character, were used for the outer lining of temples and palaces.
69. The position of Babylonia gave it commercial importance, the evidences of which go back to the earliest times. Its central and accessible position, its wealth in natural products of an indispensable kind, its early industrial activity, all contributed to this end. Its lack of some materials of an equally indispensable character was an additional motive for exchange. Over the Persian gulf teak-wood found at Eridu was brought from India. Cotton also made its way from the same source to the southern cities. Over Arabia, by way of Ur, which stood at the foot of a natural opening from the desert, and owed its early fame and power, it may be, in no small degree, to its consequent commercial importance, were led the caravans laden with stone, spices, copper, and gold from Sinai, Yemen, and Egypt. Door-sockets of Sinaitic stone found at Nippur attest this traffic. To the north led the natural highways afforded by the rivers, and from thence, at the dawn of history, the city-kings brought cedar-wood from the Syrian mountains for the adornment of palaces and temples. From the East, down the pass of Holwan, came the marble and precious metal of the mountains. Much of this raw material was worked over by Babylonian artisans, and shipped back to the less favored lands, along with the grain, dates, and fish, the rugs and cloths, of native production. All this traffic was in the hands of Babylonian traders who fearlessly ventured into the borders of distant countries, and must have carried with them thither the knowledge of the civilization and wealth of their own home, for only thus can the wide-spread influence of Babylonian culture in the earliest periods be explained.
70. Babylonian society was well differentiated. At the basis of it lay the slave population, the necessary condition of all economic activity in antiquity. Slaves were employed upon the farms, by the manufacturers and in the temples. The sources of the supply were various. War furnished many; others had fallen from the position of free laborers; still others were purchased from abroad, or were children of native bondsmen. Rich private owners or temple corporations made a business of hiring them out as laborers. They were humanely treated; the law protected them from injury; they could earn money, hold property, and thus purchase their freedom. Laws exist which suggest that young children could not be separated from their slave-parents in case of the sale of the latter. Next in the scale stood the free laborer who hired himself out for work like that of the slave, and was his natural competitor. How he could continue to secure higher wages — as seems to be the case — is a problem which Peiser thinks explicable from the fact that his employer was not liable for damages in case of an injury, nor forced to care for him if he were sick. In both of these situations the law secured the reimbursement and protection of the slave (Mitteilungen der Vorderasiatischen Gesellschaft, 1896, 3), who could therefore safely work for less money. There are some references to wages in the contracts of the time which indicate that the free laborer received from four to six shekels ($3.00 to $4.50) a year, and food. He made a written contract with his employer in which were specified the rate and the length of time of employment. It is evident, however, that such laborers must have been few in comparison with slaves, and have steadily declined toward the lower position. The tenant-farmer must have been an important constituent of the social body, although he does not play a very prominent part. He rented the farm, hired the laborers, and superintended the agricultural operations. Great proprietors seem to have preferred the method of cultivating their estates by tenant-farmers, as many contracts of this kind attest. of the rent paid in kind mention has been made. The free peasant proprietor had by this time well-nigh disappeared before the rich and aristocratic landowner, and the tenant-farmer had taken his place. In the cities tradesmen and artisans were found in great numbers, and held in high esteem. Whether at this time they had been formed into guilds according to their several trades, as was the case later, is uncertain. Merchants had their business organized; firms carried on their mercantile operations from generation to generation, records of which have been preserved; and this class of citizens must have been increasingly influential. At the summit of the social system was the aristocracy, headed by the king. The nobles lived on their estates and at the court of the king, alternately- The scanty evidence suggests that they held their estates from the king by a kind of feudal tenure. They owed military service and tribute. They had numerous dependants and slaves who labored for them and in turn enjoyed their protection.
71. The right of holding private property in land was already in force in Babylonia. It may be that pasture-land was still held in common, and the custom of deeding property to a son or adopted slave, on condition of the parent receiving his support during his lifetime from the property, is a relic of the transition from family to individual ownership. The king, theoretic owner by divine right of all the land, had long ago distributed it among his vassals, either in fee or perpetual possession. Careful surveys were made, and inscribed stones, set up on the limits of a property, indicated the possessor and invoked the curse of the gods on any who should interfere with property rights. Ground could be leased or handed down by will. In a community where trade was so important, wealth other than in land was common. Grain and manufactured goods, stored in warehouses in the cities, and precious metals formed no small part of the resources of the citizens. There still survived, in some transactions, payment in kind, grain or cattle; but in general the use of metals for exchange was in vogue. Naturally they became standards of value. They were weighed out and fashioned in bars. The shekel, weighing somewhat more than half an ounce avoirdupois, the mina of sixty shekels, and the talent of sixty minas were the standard weights, though there were other systems in use. Money was loaned, at first on condition of the borrower performing a certain amount of labor for it, later on an agreement to pay interest, usually at a very high rate.
72. On the whole, Babylonian life from the material point of view must have been active and agreeable. Cities were protected by high and thick walls to guard against enemies. Some sort of local organization existed for town government. Houses were simple and low, built with thick mud walls and flat roofs of reeds and mud. The streets were narrow and dirty, the receptacles of all the sweepings of the houses. When the street filled up to the level of the house doors, these were closed, the house built up another story, the floor raised to correspond, and a new door provided. Many houses were manufactories and shops at the same time, the merchant having his slaves or laborers do their work on the premises. on higher points stood the palaces of nobles and king, or the stately temples of the patron gods. In the country, the houses of the proprietors were surrounded by palm-trees and gardens. The furniture was very simple, — chair and stool to sit on by day, and a mat on which to sleep at night, flint and metal knives and a few terra-cotta bowls and jars for cooking and eating purposes, the oven for baking, and the fire-stick for kindling the fire. For food, the Babylonian had his inevitable grain and dried fish; the grain he ground and ate in round cakes seasoned with dates or other fruit; his drink was wine and beer. To wear much clothing in such a land was a superfluity. Rulers are depicted with quilted skirts reaching to the ankles, with no upper garment or headgear. others wear thick flat quilted caps. Naram Sin of Agade appears in a pointed hat with tunic thrown over his left shoulder and breast. Less important personages have hardly more than the loincloth. As for hair and beard, men of the earliest period seem to have been smoothly shaven, unless one is to suppose that the artist felt himself unequal to representing hair. Later, by the time of Sargon, the beard and hair are worn long, and the custom continued to be followed.
73. An important element of early Babylonian society was the family. It had its laws and its religion. While private property was recognized, yet often the consent of the family was required for the sale of land belonging to one of its circle. The father was already the recognized head, Some traces of a primitive right of the mother exist, but they are survivals of what is quite antiquated. Ancient laws, preserved in late copies, illustrate family relations which long prevailed:
If a son say to his father, "Thou art not my father," he can cut off (his locks), make him a slave, and sell him for money. If a son say to his mother, "Thou art not my mother," she can cut off his locks, turn him out of town, or (at least) drive him away from home (i. e., she can have him deprived of citizenship and of inheritance, but his liberty he loses not). If a father say to his son, "Thou art not my son," the latter has to leave house and field (i. e., he loses everything). If a mother say to her son, "Thou art not my son," he shall leave house and furniture (ABL, p. 445).
Giving in marriage was an affair of the father, and was entirely on a mercantile basis. The prospective bridegroom paid a stipulated sum for his bride, varying according to his wealth, sometimes a shekel, sometimes a mina. Some religious ceremonies accompanied the marriage celebration, The wife usually brought a dowry to her husband. Polygamy and concubinage were not uncommon. The wife was completely under her husband's control. In certain circumstances she could be sold as a slave, or put to death. Divorce was very easy, since the husband had merely to bid the wife depart, giving her a writ of divorcement. The only restraint, and that probably a strong one, in the case Of a Babylonian, was that he was generally required to restore to the wife the value of her dowry. Sometimes by contract the wife had the control of her property, and was thereby in a much better position. To have children was the supreme end of marriage, and sterility was a serious misfortune. In that case adoption was a not uncommon recourse, accomplished by carefully drawn up legal forms. Children thus adopted had full rights. Adoption also was evidently an easy way of obtaining additional hands for service at home and in the fields, being really another form of hiring servants; hence often an adult was thus taken into a family.
74. The position occupied by the family in the social sphere was taken by the state in the domain of political life. It is held that the state was formed out of the union of families, indeed was a greater family with the king as father at its head (Reiser, IMAG, 1896, 3). In its first recognizable form, however, the state was a city gathered about a temple, the centre of worship. As has already been noted (sect. 48), each of the city-states of Babylonia had its god with whom its interests were identified. Religion, therefore, was fundamental in Babylonian politics, the bond of civic unity, the ground of political rights, authority, and progress. With it, no doubt, was also closely associated the economic element. The dependence of prosperity, and even of life itself, upon the proper regulation of the water supply encouraged settlement in the most favorable localities, and required organization of the activities centred there. Only by co-operation under a central authority could the canals be kept open, due regard be paid to the claims of all upon the common supply, and dangers from flood or famine be grappled with energetically and in time to safeguard the common interests, Self-protection from enemies contributed to the same end. The nomads from the desert and the mountain tribes of the east were equally eager to enjoy the fruits of the fertile Babylonian fields; their inhabitants must needs combine to ward off inroads from all sides. All these elements entered into and modified the character and course of Babylonian politics, and they gave a particular firmness and prominence to the idea of the state into which, from the earliest period, all family, clan, and tribal interests had been completely merged.
75. These Babylonian city-states have kings at their head. The earliest name given to the ruler is patesi, a term which is most satisfactorily explained as having a religious significance, and as testifying to the fundamental position and prerogative of the ruler as a priest of the city god. It suggests that, in the primitive Babylonian community, the place of supreme importance and influence was occupied by the priest as the representative of deity, as the mediator between the clans and the gods on whom they depended. The attitude and activity of the early kings confirm this suggestion. They are, first of all, pious worshippers of the gods. They build temples and adorn them with the wealth of their kingdoms. They bestow upon the gods the richest gifts. The favor of deity is their supremest desire. Piety is their highest virtue. The duties of religion are an indispensable and interminable element of their life. Before the gods they come, as dependants and slaves, to make their offerings. They are girded about with burdensome ritual restrictions, the violation of which would entail disaster upon themselves and their people, and to which, therefore, they conform with constant alacrity and even with zeal. On the other hand, they claim before their subjects regard and reverence due to these intimate divine relations. Their inscriptions declare that they are nourished on the milk of the gods, or are their offspring, sons begotten of them; that power and sovereignty are by right of divine descent or appointment. It is not wonderful that, while these rulers placed their statues in the temples to be constantly before the eye of deity, their subjects should offer them divine homage. Indeed, from the time of Sargon of Agade, kings claim to be gods and do not hesitate to prefix the sign of divinity to their names (Radau, Early Babylonian History, pp. 307 ff.). All these prerogatives, however, do not free them from responsibility to their subjects, but rather intensify the expectations centred in them. They must obtain divine blessing for the state; they must themselves battle in defence of their people. Thus the Babylonian king is a warrior, going out to protect his dominions against wild beasts or hostile men. To kill the lion or the wild ox is an indispensable part of his duties, and he goes forth in the strength of the gods for these heroic struggles. He is as proud of the trophies of the chase as of those of the battlefield, and both alike he dedicates to the divine powers by whose aid he has conquered. He represents, also, the more peaceful interests of the state as the patron of industry; he appears like king Ur Nina, with the basket of the mason on his head, or rehearses his services in opening new canals, building granaries, and importing foreign trees to beautify and enrich the land, thus establishing his claim to be the father and shepherd of his people.
76. The constitution of a state ruled by a king with such prerogatives and position is naturally summed up in the ruler. The citizen, while he expects protection and justice, is a subject; the officials are the king's dependants; his will is law; and the strength of the state depends upon the personality of its head. Yet it is also true that, where industry and commerce were so early and so highly developed as in Babylonia, the arbitrariness of the ruler was modified by the necessity of a well-ordered and strictly administered body of constitutional principles. Trade was dependent on the admission and protection of foreigners while in the country, and they seem to have had no difficulty in securing citizenship, and even in obtaining official positions. The revenues were secured by various systems of taxation. Surveys of state property were made, on the basis of which land taxes were levied. The temples took their tithe. Customs duties were paid at the city gate. In time of war, the king rode in his chariot at the head of his troops, as illustrated in the stele of the Vultures, where Edingiranagin (sects. 56, 85) holds in his hand the curved weapon for throwing, and his warriors are armed with spears. At the close of the battle he beats out the brains of captives with his club in honor of the gods. The city of the same king seems to have possessed a coat of arms, "the lion-headed eagle with outspread wings," its claws in the backs of two lions, significant of the corporate consciousness of the state even at this early day.
77. But what shows most clearly the idea of political organization as established in Babylonia is the legal system. Fragments of law codes are still in existence governing the relations of the family (sect. 73), and, from the abundance of legal documents containing decisions, agreements, penalties, etc., might be drawn up a body of law which bore on such various topics as adoption, exchange, marriage, divorce, stealing, adultery, and other crimes, renting and sale of property, inheritance, loans, partnership, slavery, and interest. No business arrangement seems to have been complete without a written contract, signed by the parties concerned in the presence of witnesses, who also affixed their signatures to the document. Should a difficulty or question in dispute arise, the contestants had several methods of procedure. They could choose an arbitrator by whose decision they agreed to abide; or, sometimes, the complainant appealed to the king, who with his elders heard the complaint and rendered judgment. Sometimes a court of judges was established, before which cases were brought. Whatever was the process, the decision, when rendered, was written down in all the fulness and formality of legal phraseology, duly signed and sealed with the finger-nail or the private Or official seal of all the parties. That the king himself was not above the law, at least in the ideal conception of political philosophers of the time, be concluded from an ancient bit of political
Join preserved in a copy in the library of Ashurbanipal of Assyria which begins: "If the king gives not judgment according to the law, the people perish ... if he gives not judgment according to the law of the land, (the god) Ea . . . gives his place to another, — if he gives not judgment according to the statutes, his country suffers invasion." Very suggestive is another line of the same document. "If he gives not judgment according to (the desire of) his nobles, his days are long" (IV. Rawlinson, 55). Thus gods and the king alike are regarded as pledged to the maintenance of justice. The parties to a contract swear by the god, the king, and the city that they will keep their agreements. The abundance of this legal material has led some scholars to the conclusion voiced by Professor Maspero, who declares that these records " reveal to us a people greedy of gain, exacting, litigious, and almost exclusively absorbed by material concerns " (Dawn of Civilization, p. 760). While there may be truth in this verdict, no one can deny that the spectacle of a people, in these early times, carrying on their affairs through agreements sanctioned by the state, and settling their quarrels by process of legal procedure is one which arouses surprise, if not admiration, and indicates a conception of civic order full of the promise of progress.
78. A PEOPLE as far advanced in social and political organization as were the ancient Babylonians could not have failed to make similar progress in the higher elements of civilization. They were, indeed, pre-eminently a practical folk, and were guided in all their activities by the material ends to be gained. Their literary remains will serve as an illustration in point. Writing, in use among them from the earliest times, was primarily employed for business purposes, in contracts and other legal documents. Likewise the very practical conjuration formulæ were the most numerous of the religious texts. The art of writing was confined in great measure to priestly circles, to scribes taught in the priestly schools and associated with the temples. Documents of all kinds were written to order by these scribes, and the signature affixed by pressing the thumb-nail or a seal into the clay. The difficulty of acquiring the complicated cuneiform script cut off the majority of the people from ever using it. For teaching it, a number of text-books were employed which were copied by the students. Some of the most valuable inscriptional material, like the kings' lists, have come down to us in these students' copies. In Sippar, an inscription on a small round tablet has been found, the contents of which suggest that it may have been an ancient diploma or medal of that famous priestly school. It reads, "Whosoever has distinguished himself at the place of tablet-writing shall shine as the light" (Hilprecht, Recent Research, etc., p. 86). The scribes were, indeed, not only an honorable, but even an indispensable element of Babylonian society; upon them depended social and political progress. The large number of letters now in our museums from officials and private persons, both men and women, shows that communication by means of writing was widespread, but all letters were probably put into writing by scribes, and it is to be presumed that scribes were employed to read them to their recipients. One cannot safely argue from these letters or from the business documents that ability to read and write belonged to the people at large.
79. Old Babylonia was, from the earliest historical period, not merely in possession of a highly conventionalized form of writing, but already had also begun to produce a literature which embraced no narrow range of subjects. The chief element in it was religious, consisting of hymns, psalms, myths, ritual prescripts, and votive inscriptions. Even where religion is not directly the subject, the documents show its influence. Thus the astronomical and astrological texts are from priestly circles, and the epic and descriptive poetry deals with the gods and heroes of mythology. Reference has already been made to the legal codes and to fragments of political wisdom, while our knowledge of the history of the age comes from the various royal inscriptions written on palace walls, cylinders, steles, and statues. The origin of this literary activity lies back of the beginning of history. Before the age of Sargon, once thought primitive, extends a long period from which important royal texts have been preserved. Sargon, indeed, is thought to have focussed the literary activity of his time in a series of religious works prepared for his royal library in Agade, and no doubt every ruler who obtained wider dominion than that over a single city-state took occasion to foster science and literature. Even Gudea of Shirpurla, whose political position is uncertain, had long narratives of his pious acts carved on his statues for the enlightenment and praise of posterity. Chief among these patrons of learning was the founder of Babylonian unity, Khammurabi, under whom the previous achievements of scholars, theologians, and poets were gathered together and edited into literary works of prime importance. In his time or shortly after, the cosmogonic narratives, the rituals, the epics, the laws, and the astronomical works were put into the form in which they are now preserved.
80. The characteristics of all Babylonio-Assyrian literature, as already enumerated (sect. 34), were stamped upon it in this early period. The material in stone and clay, upon which alone from the first men wrote, compelled simplicity of utterance. Religion, the first subject for literary effort, determined the style and dominated the content of subsequent literature. Religion is responsible for the stereotyped phraseology and the repetitiousness approaching monotony, the expressions having become fixed at an early period and employed in sacred ceremonials at a time when literature was looked upon as a gift of the gods and set apart for their service. Thus what at the beginning was a desirable repetition of holy words became at last the accepted form for all literary utterance. Poetry evidently was the earliest and most favored medium of literature, for it reached a comparatively high stage of development. The lyric appears in hymns, prayers, and psalms for use in the liturgical worship. Narrative poetry is represented in a variety of fragments which describe the adventures of early heroes who have dealings with gods and monsters of the primeval world. Even the culminating achievement of an epic has been reached in the story of Gilgamesh, preserved in twelve books, a Babylonian Odyssey. This poetry is not naïve in character; already epithets have become conventional; rhythm pervades it, rising into parallelism, the balancing of expressions in corresponding lines, phrases, or sentences, which express now antithetic ideas, now the same idea in different forms. Even metre and strophical arrangement are regarded by some scholars as discoverable in the hymns and epic fragments. How far back in the unknown past must be placed the beginnings of this literary activity which has attained such development in this early age of Babylonia!
81. The authors of these writings are unknown. A few names have come down in connection with certain poems, but it is not unlikely that they are names of scribes who copied, or of priests who recited the epics or the hymns. The fact is significant, for it indicates that the literature is the work of a class, not of individuals; that it grew into form under the shaping of many hands; that what has survived is, in its well-organized whole, the flower of uncounted generations of priestly activity. The books were made up of pages, numbered according to the number of tablets required; each tablet was marked for identification with the opening words of the book; the tablets were deposited in the temples in chambers prepared with shelves for the purpose. Editors and commentators were already busy, arranging and revising the literature of the past. Scholars have concluded that the narrative of the deluge in the Gilgamesh epic is composed of two earlier versions joined together by such a reviser. Whether these temple libraries were open to the public is questionable, and indeed one is not to conclude from this splendid outburst of early literature that the Babylonians were therefore a literary people, even as one cannot argue from the abundance of written business documents that there was a general ability to read and write. That the production of literary works and interest in them were confined primarily to the priests, and secondarily to the upper classes, is, in our present scarcity of information, the safest conclusion.
82. What has already been said will prepare the reader for a judgment upon the general character of this literature. The material on which it must needs be written, the early age in which it appears, and the priestly influence which dominates it are to be taken into account in such an estimate. It is not just to bring into comparison the literary work of later peoples, such as the Hebrews or the Greeks; the Egyptian literature of the same period may more properly be regarded as a competitor. Thus tested, the Babylonian undoubtedly comes off superior. Its imagery, while sometimes fantastic, is often bold and strong, sometimes weird, even fresh and delicate. Its form, particularly in the poetry, is highly developed, rhythmical, and flowing. Its thought is not seldom profound with the mysteries of life and death and vigorous in grappling with these problems. Especially remarkable is the fine talent for narration, as Tiele has observed in his estimate of the literature (BAG, pp. 572 f). Over against Maspero's strange dictum that "the bulk of Chaldean literature seems nothing more than a heap of pretentious trash" (Dawn of Civ., p. 771), may be placed Sayce's general remark that "even if we judge it from a merely literary point of view, we shall find much to admire" (Babylonian Literature, p. 70), and the more detailed conclusion of Baumgartner, particularly as to the Gilgamesh Epic, that, "regarded purely as poetry, it has a kind of primitive force, haunting voices that respond to the great problems of human life, suffering, death, and the future, dramatic vividness of representation and utterance, a painting of character and a depicting of nature which produce strong effects with few strokes" (Geschichte der Weltlitteratur, I. p. 84). The influence which this literature exerted upon other peoples is a proof of its power. Its mythological conceptions reappear in Hebrew imagery; its epic figures in Greek religious lore. The dependence of the Hebrew narratives of the creation and deluge upon the similar Babylonian stories may be uncertain, but the form of the hymns, their lyrical and rhythmical structure, has, in all probability, formed the model for Hebrew psalmody, while many of the expressions of religious feeling and aspiration, first wrought out in the temples of Babylonia, have entered into the sacred language of universal religion.
83. The ancient Babylonians had made some important advances in the direction of scientific knowledge and its application to life. Both the knowledge and its application, however, were inspired and dominated by religion, a fact which has its good and evil aspects. No doubt, religion acted as a powerful stimulus to the entering of the various fields of knowledge on the part of those best fitted to make discoveries, the priests; to this fact is due the remarkably early acquisitions of the Babylonians in these spheres. On the other hand, knowledge sought not for its own sake, but in the interests of religion, was conceived of under religious forms, employed primarily for religious purposes, and subordinated to religious points of view. The notion of the universe, for example, was primarily that of a region where men and gods dwelt; its compartments were arranged to provide the proper accommodations for them. The earth was figured as an inverted basket, or bowl (the mountain of the world), its edges resting on the great watery deep. on its outer surface dwelt mankind. Within its crust was the dark abode of the dead. Above, and encompassing it, resting on the waters, was another hemisphere, the heaven, on the under side of which moved the sun, moon, and stars; on the outer side was supported another vast deep, behind which in eternal light dwelt the gods. On the east and west of heaven were gates through which the sun passed at morning and night in his movement under the heavenly dome, In a chamber just outside the eastern gate, the gods met to determine the destinies of the universe. The movements of the world, the relations of nature to man, were likewise regarded as the activities of the divine powers in making revelations to humanity or in bringing their wills to bear on mankind. Since to know their will and way was indispensable for happiness, the priest studied the stars and the plants, the winds and the rocks, and interpreted what he learned in terms of practical religion. Medicine consisted largely in the repetition of formulæ to drive out the demons of disease, a ritual of exorcism where the manipulations and the doses had little if any hygienic basis. Yet an ancient book of medical praxis and a list of medicinal herbs show that some real progress was made in the knowledge of the body and of actual curative agencies.
84. The high development of mathematical science began in the same sacred source. The forms and relations of geometry were employed for purposes of augury. The heavens were mapped out, and the courses of the heavenly bodies traced to determine the bearing of their movements upon human destinies. Astrology was born in Babylonia and became the mother of Astronomy. The world of nature in its various physical manifestations was studied for revelations of the divine will, and the resulting skill of the priests in the science of omens was unsurpassed in the ancient world. Yet, withal, they had worked out a numerical system, compounded of the decimal and the sexagesimal series. The basis was the "soss," 60; the "ner" was 600; the "sar," 3600, The metrology was accurate and elaborate, and formed the starting‑ point of all other systems of antiquity. All measures of length, area, capacity, and weight were derived from a single standard, the hand-breadth. The division of the circle into degrees, minutes, and seconds on the sexagesimal basis (360°, 60', 60") hails from this period and people. The ecliptic was marked off into the twelve regions, and the signs of the zodiac, as we know them, already designated. The year of three hundred sixty-five and one-fourth days was known, though the common year was reckoned according to twelve months of thirty days each, and equated with the solar year by intercalating a month at the proper times. Tables of stars and their movements, of eclipses of moon and sun, were carefully prepared. The year began with the month Nisan (March–April); the day with the rising of the sun; the month was divided into weeks of seven days; the day from sunrise to sunrise into twelve double hours of sixty minutes. The clepsydra and the sun-dial were Babylonian inventions for measuring time.
85. The materials from which are obtained a knowledge of the history of early Babylonia offer, at the same time, testimony as to the artistic development, which may be traced, therefore, through the three historic epochs. In the pre-Sargonic period almost all the available material is that in stone and metal found at Shirpurla. on a bas-relief of King Ur Nina he stands with a basket upon his head, his shoulders and bust bare, a skirt about his waist descending to his feet. Before him his children, represented as of much smaller stature, express their obeisance by the hands clasped across the breast. The heads and feet are in profile, while the bodies are presented full to the spectator, thus producing a contorted effect. The whole, while full of simplicity and vigor, is crude and rough. The long sharp noses, retreating foreheads, and large deep-set eyes give a strange bird-like appearance to the faces. The so-called "vulture stele" of Edingiranagin (sect. 76) is much more complex in its design, It is a large piece of white stone carved on both faces. On the one side four scenes in the war are represented — the battle, the victory, the funeral rites and thank-offering, the execution of the captives. On the other side, the booty is heaped up before the gods, and the coat of arms of Shirpurla is held aloft in the king's hand. The scenes are spiritedly sketched, and artistic unity is sought in the complicated representation. The silver vase of Entemena (sect. 56) is the finest piece of metal work of the time. It rises gracefully from a bronze pedestal, rounds out to one-half its height, and ends in a wide vertical collar. Its sides are adorned with eagles, goats, lions, and other animals. The age of Sargon is introduced by the splendid bas-relief of Naram Sin, found on the upper Tigris. What remains of it is a fragment only, but it represents a royal figure, bearded, with conical cap, a tunic thrown over the breast and left shoulder, leaving bare the right arm, which grasps a weapon. The work is singularly fine and strong (Hilprecht, OBT, I. ii, pl. xxii). The height of the plastic art of the time is reached in the statues of Gudea of Shirpurla (sect, 60). They are of very hard stone, but the artist has neglected no detail. The king is represented in the attitude of submission before the gods, his hands clasped upon his breast. The head is gone from every statue, but heads of other statues have been found which illustrate the method of treatment. A thick cap or turban is worn on the head, and the tunic, as in the Naram Sin bas-relief, leaves the right arm bare and descends to the feet. Special study is given to this drapery; the very folds are somewhat timidly reproduced, In mastery of his material the artist has made much progress since the early days. The impression given is one of severe simplicity, directness, attention to detail, and concentrated power (Maspero, DC, pp. 611 ff.).
86. The works just mentioned are the highest achievements of the sculptor's and goldsmith's art. But, in a variety of smaller objects, similar artistic skill appears. The alabaster vases, dedicated by the earliest kings at Nippur, the terra-cotta vases, ornamented with rope patterns, found in the same place, the copper and bronze statuettes and vessels of various kinds, (the pottery is, in general, strange to say, rude and inartistic,) and numerous other implements and objects are testimonies to the same artistic ability. Particularly are the seal cylinders worthy of mention, Reference has already been made to the use of the seal by the Babylonians. Hard pebbles of carnelian, jasper, chalcedony, and porphyry were rounded into cylinders from two to three fifths of an inch in diameter and from three-quarters of an inch to an inch and a half in length; then upon the surface were incised scenes from mythology or figures of holy beings, such as Gilgamesh in his contest with the lion, or the sun or moon god receiving homage from his servant. Stamped upon the soft clay of a document, the seal imparted, as it were, the sanction of the gods to the agreement as well as certified to the good faith of the signer. The work of the engraver of these seals is remarkable. The best of them, such as that of the scribe of Sargon of Agade (Maspero, DC, p. 601; compare B. M. Guide, pl. xxiii) show extraordinary fineness of workmanship, breadth of treatment, and realistic fidelity to fact. Indeed, of all the art of early Babylonia it may be said that it is eminently realistic; the artist has little sense of the ideal or the general. To present the fact as it is, with simplicity verging on bareness, and with a directness that is almost too abrupt, — this was at the same time the weakness and the strength of the Babylonian sculptor or engraver. This trait is specially evident in his conception of the gods. He was the first to present them as human beings. But his anthropomorphism is rude and crude. The divine beings are not greater or grander than the men who worship them. The conception, indeed, was original and epoch-making. But it was reserved for the Greeks to improve upon it by glorifying and idealizing the human forms under which they represented their Apollo and their Zeus. Another peculiarity which worked to the disadvantage of Babylonian art was the convention which demanded drapery in the representation of the human form. Here too is realism, for the changeable climate doubtless required men to wear thicker clothing, and that more constantly, than, for example, in Egypt. Hence the study of the nude body and the sense of beauty and grace which it develops were absent. The long robes give-a stiffness and sameness to the figures for which the greater skill attained in the representation of drapery hardly compensated.
87. Although the early Babylonians had little stone or wood with which to build, they used clay bricks with architectural originality and effectiveness. The palace or temple was not built upon the level of the ground, but upon a rectangular brick platform. At Shirpurla this was forty feet high; at Nippur forty-five feet above the plain. Upon it stood the palace structure of brick, one story high, with its corners usually facing the cardinal points. The walls were very thick, the chambers small and dark, the passages narrow and often vaulted. Vertical walls and flat roofs were the rule. The rooms, courts, galleries, and passages stretched away interminably, yet with a definite plan, within the rectangle. Huge buttresses of brick sustained the platform, and pilasters supported the walls of the structure built upon it. Access to the building was obtained by a staircase rising from the plain. To protect all from the tremendous rains which would tend to undermine the walls, the solid mass of the platform was threaded by terra-cotta drains which carried the water down to the plain. Ventilating shafts, likewise, were used to let in the air and drain off the moisture. The temple was sometimes, like the palace, a series of one-story buildings, but usually culminated in what was a type of temple construction peculiar to Babylonia, the ziggurat, a series of solid masses of brick, placed one above the other, each successive story smaller than the one beneath it. A staircase or an inclined plane led from the shelf of one story to the next; shrines were placed on the shelves or hollowed out of the brick; the shrine of the chief deity was at the top. At Nippur the earliest ziggurat upon the massive temple platform, built by Ur-Gur, was a rectangular oblong, about one hundred and seventy-five feet by one hundred, and composed of three stages resting one upon the other (Peters, Nippur, II. p. 124). The massiveness and monotony of these structures were relieved by the use of stucco to cover and protect the bricks both without and within. Conical nails of colored terra-cotta were embedded in this stucco, or decorative designs were painted upon it. Enamelled bricks likewise were employed for exterior coatings of walls. For supports of the roofs tree trunks were used, which were covered with metal sheathing. Thus Babylonia became the birthplace of the decorated wall and the slender column (Sayce, Babylonia and Assyria, p. 9). The earliest known keyed arch has been unearthed at Nippur. The doors of the palaces were hung in huge blocks of stone hollowed out in the centre to receive the door-posts, almost the only use of stone found in these buildings. Remembering the material at the disposal of these architects, one cannot but admire the originality and utility of the designs wrought out by them. They made up for lack of stone by the heaping together of great masses of brick. The elevation of the buildings and the thickness of the walls served, at the same time, to make the effect more imposing, to supply a surer defence against enemies, and to afford protection from heat and storms.
88. It has frequently been noted hitherto how the life of the ancient Babylonian was deeply interfused with his religion. The priests are judges, scribes, and authors. Writing is first employed in the service of the gods. Both the themes and the forms of literature are inspired by religion. Art receives its stimulus from the same source, the royal statues standing as votive offerings in the temples and the seal cylinders being engraved with figures of divine beings. Science, whether it be medicine or mathematics, has, as its ground, the activity of the heavenly powers, or, as its end, the enlarging of religious knowledge. Therefore it is fitting to close this review of early Babylonian civilization with a sketch of the religion. Already the fact has been observed that, from the beginning, the city-states possessed temples, each the centre of the worship of a particular god (sect. 48). Thus at Eridu was Ea; at Ur, Sin, the moon god; at Larsam, Shamash, the sun god; at Uruk, the goddess Ishtar; at Shirpurla, Ningirsu; at Nippur, Enlil or Bel; at Kutha, Nergal; at Sippar, Shamash; at Agade, the goddess Anunit; at Babylon, Marduk; and at Borsippa, Nabu. From this list of gods it is evident at first glance that religion was local and that the gods were in some cases powers of nature. Clearly a more than primitive stage of development had been reached, since the same god was worshipped in two different cities. Investigation has made these facts more certain by showing that Ningirsu, Nergal, and Marduk are, probably, forms of the sun god; that Anunit is but another name for Ishtar; that Enlil was a storm god; that at each of these cities a multitude of minor deities was worshipped; and that similar local worship was carried on at less known centres of population. The religious inscriptions of Gudea of Shirpurla (sect. 60) show a well-organized pantheon consisting of a variety of male and female deities with Ningirsu in the lead. Here appears the god Anu, "the heaven," who, though not prominent in local worship, stands theoretically at the head of all the gods. The religion of early Babylonian history, then, was a local nature worship which was passing into a more or less formal organization and unification of deities as a result of political development or theological formulation.
89. Behind this advanced stage was another and very different phase of Babylonian religion testified to by a body of conjuration formulæ and hymns of similar tenor. In the great mass of this literature the names of the gods just enumerated are hardly mentioned. The world is peopled with spirits, Zi, good and evil beings, whose relations to man determine his condition and destiny. If he suffers from sickness, it is an attack of a demon who must be driven out by a formula, or by an appeal to a stronger spirit of good. These powers are summed up under various names indicative of the beginnings of organization, as, for example, "spirit of heaven" (zi ana), "spirit of earth" (zi kia); "lord of demons" (en lil); "lord of earth" (en ki). As the sense of good, of beneficent, powers got the better of the fear of harm and ruin in the minds of men, the spirit-powers passed into gods. Thus the "spirit of heaven" became Anu; the "lord of earth" or the "spirit of earth" was identified with Ea of Eridu; the "lord of demons" was found again in Bel of Nippur. A first triad of Babylonian gods was thus constituted in Anu, Bel, and Ea. As religion grew in firmness of outline and organization, the hosts of spirits retreated before the great gods, and, while not disappearing, took a subordinate place, in private or individual worship, and continued to exercise an important influence upon the faith and practice of the people. The divine beings, whether rising out of local spirits or spirits of nature or the combination of both, took the field and marked the transition to the new phase of religion in which the beneficent powers were recognized as the superior beings, and received the worship and gifts of the community.
90. The general notion of divine beings entertained by the old Babylonian is illustrated by the term for god, ilu, which conveys the root idea of power, might. It was as "strong" ones that the spirits came into contact with man from the beginning. It was the heavenly powers of sun and moon and stars and storm that of all nature-forces had most impressed him. He indicated his attitude toward them also by the favorite descriptive term "lord" (en, bel). They were above him, supreme powers whom he served and obeyed in humility and dependence. Yet mighty as were the gods, and exalted as they were above humanity, the Babylonian was profoundly conscious of the influences brought to bear by the divine world upon mankind. From the period when he felt himself surrounded by manifold spirits of the natural world, to the time when he sought to do the will of the great heavenly powers, he was ever the centre of the play of the forces of the other world. They were never far from him in purpose and action. The stars moving over the sky spoke to him of their will and emitted divine influences; the wind, the storm, the earthquake, the eclipse, the actions of animals, the flight of birds, — all conveyed the divine messages to him who could interpret them. Hence arose the immense mass of magical texts, the pseudo-science of astrology, and the doctrine of omens. The religious temper produced by such an idea of god was twofold. On the one hand the divine influence was felt as pure power, arbitrary, undefined, and not to be counted on; hence to be averted at all hazards, restrained by magical means, or rendered favorable by an elaborate ritual. Or, the worshipper felt in the divine presence a sense of ill-desert, and, in his desire for harmony with the divine ruler, flung himself in confession and appeal upon the mercy of his god in those remarkable Penitential Psalms in which fear, suffering, and a sense of guilt are so joined together as almost to defy analysis and to forbid a final judgment as to the essence of the ethical quality. Those who first felt the emotions which these psalms reveal were certainly on the road leading to the heights of moral aspiration and renewal. The difficulty was that the element of physical power in the gods was ineradicable and, corresponding to it, the use of magic to constrain the divine beings crept into all religious activity and endeavor, thus thwarting all moral progress. Though men recognized that their world had been won from chaos to cosmos by the gods under whose authority they lived, — for this was the meaning of the victory of Marduk over Tiamat, — they conceived of the victory in terms of the natural physical universe, not as a conquest of sin by the power of holiness and truth.
91. The conduct of worship was no doubt originally the task of the priest. He afterward became king, and carried with him into his royal position many of the prerogatives and the restrictions attending the priestly office. He was the representative of the community before the gods, and therefore girt about with sanctity which often involved strict tabu. But he soon divided his powers with others, priests strictly so called, who performed the various duties connected with the priestly service and whose names and offices have in part come down to us. Rituals have been preserved for various parts of the service; many hymns have survived which were sung or recited. Sacrifices of animals were made, libations poured out, and incense burned. Priests wore special dresses, ablutions were strongly insisted upon, clean and unclean animals were carefully distinguished, special festivals were kept in harmony with the changes of the seasons and the movements of the heavenly bodies. Religious processions, in which the gods were carried about in arks, ships, or chests, were common. A calendar of lucky and unlucky days was made. A Sabbath was observed for the purpose of assuaging the wrath of the gods, that their hearts might rest (Jastrow, in Am. Jour. of Theol., II. p. 315 f.). Every indication points to the existence of a powerful priesthood whose influence was felt in all spheres of social and national life.
92. The outlook of the Babylonians upon the life beyond was sombre. Burial customs indicate that they believed in future existence, since drink and food were placed with the dead in their graves. But, in harmony with the severer conception of God, the Babylonian thought of the future had an uncertain and forbidding aspect. The poem which describes the descent of the goddess Ishtar to the abode of the dead, called Arallu, conceives of this region as dark and dusty, where the shades flit about like birds in spaces shut in by bars, whence there is no egress. There is the realm of Nergal, and of queen Allat who resents the presence of Ishtar, goddess of life and love, and inflicts dire punishments upon her. Yet in this prison-house there is a fountain of life, though sealed with seven seals; and in the Epic of Gilgamesh are heroes who have reached the home of the blessed, — indications that the higher religious aspiration was seeking after a conception of the future more in harmony with the belief in great and beneficent deities dwelling in the light and peace of the upper heaven. It was the darker view, however, that passed from Babylonia to the west and reappeared in the dusky Sheol of the Hebrews, into which all, whether good or bad, descended, there to prolong a sad and shadowy existence.
93. In concluding this presentation of early Babylonian life it is possible to sum up the dominant forces of history and progress under three heads: (1) Religion is the inspiring and regulative element of the community. In its representatives government finds its first officials. In the centre of each city is the temple with its ruling and protecting deity. Political growth is indicated by the wider worship of the local god. The citizens and their lords are servants of the god. He is the fount of justice, and his priests are guardians of culture. Industry and commerce have their sanctions in the oaths of the gods, and the temples themselves are centres of mercantile activity; they are the banks, the granaries, and the seats of exchange. All life is founded on religion and permeated by its influence. (2) The energizing element of these communities is the ruler. Already the power of personality has made itself felt. Political organization has crystallized about the individual. He exercises supreme and unlimited power, as servant of the deity and representative of divine authority. He is the builder, the general, the judge, the high priest. All the affairs of his people are an object of solicitude to him. His name is perpetuated upon the building-stones of the temple and the palace. His figure is preserved in the image which stands before the god in his temple. He is sometimes, in literal truth, the life of his people. (3) From these two forces united, religion and the ruler, springs the third element, the impulse to expansion. Neither god nor king is satisfied with local sovereignty. The ambition of the one is sanctified and stimulated by the divine commendation, encouragement, and effectual aid of the other. The god claims universal sway. The king, his representative, goes forth to conquer under his command. The people follow their human and their divine lords whithersoever they lead. In that period circumstances were also particularly favorable to such forward movements. Communication between the different cities was made easy by the innumerable watercourses threading the plain. The mighty rivers offered themselves as avenues for wider expansion. Such was Old Babylonia in its essential characteristics. Such was the philosophy of its early history, illustrated by the details of the struggles which have already been described (Part I. chap. II.). The end was a united Babylonia, achieved by the great king Khammurabi, in whom all these forces culminated.
94. IT is clear that the city of Babylon did not play a prominent part in early Babylonian history (sect. 50). It was not, like Agade, Shirpurla, Uruk, or Ur, the centre of a flourishing and aggressive state, nor had it any religious pre-eminence such as was enjoyed by Nippur or Eridu. Such an assertion is not based merely on a lack of inscriptional information which future excavation may be trusted to supply. Existing inscriptions of the early time take no account of the city. This would not be the case if its importance had been recognized. The religious hymns do not mention it. Its god Marduk takes a secondary place in the later pantheon, below Bel of Nippur, Ea of Eridu, Sin of Ur, and Shamash of Sippar. In the time of the kings of Agade, Babylon is said to be a part of their dominions and Sargon built a temple there. The fact is significant, and suggests that the city was overshadowed by the greater power and fame of Sargon's capital. Only when the political and commercial pre-eminence of the more northern state passed away, was an opportunity given to Babylon. By that time, however, the southern cities had seized the leadership and had held it for a thousand years. Accordingly, not till the middle of the third millennium B. C. (sect. 63), did the first historical Babylonian king appear and the city push forward into political importance. Its progress, thereafter, was rapid and brilliant.
95. The first five kings of the first dynasty were as follows:
Sumu-abu about 2399-2384.
Sumula-ilu . . . . " 2384-2349.
Zabum . . . . . . " 2349-2335.
Abil Sin . . . . . . " 2335-2317.
Sin-muballit . . . " 2317-2297.
From none of these kings have inscriptions been recovered, but what has been called a "Chronicle" of their doings year by year, and business documents dated in their reigns, together with references to some of them by later kings, give an insight into their affairs. The Babylonian kings' list indicates that, beginning with Zabum, son succeeded father. Immerum appears in the business documents, but without indication of his place in the dynasty. The kings' list does not name him, and he is therefore regarded as a usurper. No light has been shed on the events connected with the accession of the first king to the Babylonian throne. From the names of the kings it has been inferred that the dynasty was of Arabian origin, and that the new outburst of Babylonian might which now ensues is due to the infusion of new blood in consequence of an Arabian invasion which placed its leaders on the throne. The hypothesis is certainly plausible. The events of Sumuabu's reign are largely peaceful, temple building and the offering of crowns to the deities being the chief matters of moment. Toward the close, however, the city of Kaçallu, presumably in the vicinity of Babylon, was laid waste, — a suggestion that Babylon was already beginning to let its power be felt in the north. A later king of this dynasty, Samsu-iluna, states that he rebuilt six great walls or castles which had been built in the reign of Sumulailu, the second king, who also fortified Babylon and Sippar, overthrew Kaçallu again, and destroyed the city of Kish. He, too, was a devout worshipper of the gods. A king of New Babylonia (Nabuna'id) refers to a sun-temple in Sippar which dated back to Zabum, and the "Chronicle" speaks of other temples and shrines. The inference from these relations with cities outside Babylon suggests that by Zabum's time Babylon had extended its sway in north Babylonia and was ready to enter the south. It was, accordingly, with Sinmuballit that complications arose with southern Babylonia, then under the hegemony of Rim Sin of Larsam, an Elamite conqueror. The chronicle states that Isin was taken in the seventeenth year of the Babylonian king. If business documents which are dated by the capture of this city are properly interpreted, it appears to have been the centre of a conflict between the two powers, since it was apparently captured alternately by both. The issue of the war is unknown.
96. While so scanty an array of facts avails for the history of these early kings, with the sixth king, Khammurabi (about 2297-2254 B. C.) a much clearer and wider prospect is opened. The fact that an unusually large amount of inscriptional material comes from his reign is an indication that a change has taken place in the position and fortunes of his city. The first and most striking confirmation of the change, furnished by this material, is its testimony to the overthrow of the Elamite power (sect. 64). Knowledge of the causes which brought Khammurabi into collision with Rim Sin of Larsam, as well as of the events of the struggle, is not, indeed, furnished in the inscriptions. Sinmuballit and Rim Sin had al ready met before Isin, and the new conflict may have been merely a renewal of the war. From the narrative contained in Genesis xiv. 1, 2, it has been inferred that Khammurabi (Amraphel) had been a vassal of the Elamite king and rebelled against him (sect. 65). However that may be, the Babylonian represented the native element in a reaction against invaders and foreign overlords which resulted in their expulsion. There is probably a reference to the decisive moment of this struggle in the dating of a business document of the time "in the year in which king Khammurabi by the might of Anu and Bel established his possessions [or "good fortune"] and his hand overthrew the lord [or "land," ma-da], of Iamutbal and king Rim Sin." The Elamites seem to have retired to the east, whither the king's lieutenants, Siniddinam and Inuhsamar, pursued them, crossing the river Tigris and annexing a portion of the Elamite lowland (King, Letters and Inscriptions of Hammurabi, I. xxxvi. ff.) which was thereafter made more secure by fortifications. In the south of Babylonia the king reduced to subjection cities which opposed his progress, and destroyed their walls. His dominion extended over the whole of Babylonia and eastward across the Tigris to the mountains of Elam. He could proclaim himself in his inscriptions "the mighty king, king of Babylon, king of the Four (world-) Regions, king of Shumer and Akkad, into whose power the god Bel has given over land and people, in whose hand he has placed the reins of government (to direct them)," thus uniting in his own person the various titles of earlier kings.
97. Though Khammurabi "was pre-eminently a conquering king" (Jastrow, Religion of Babylonia and Assyria, p. 119), he was not behind in his arrangements for the economic welfare of his kingdom. One of his favorite titles is bani matim, "builder of the land," descriptive of his measures for the recovery of the country from the devastations of the years of war and confusion. Of his canals, at least two are described in his inscriptions. One he dug at Sippar, apparently connecting the Tigris and Euphrates. In connection with it he fortified the city and surrounded it with a moat. Another and more important canal was commemorated in the following inscription which illustrates his interest in the agricultural prosperity of Babylonia:
"When Anu and Bel gave (me) the land of Shumer and Akkad to rule and entrusted their sceptre to my hands, I dug out the Khammurabi-canal (named) Nukhush-nishi, which bringeth abundance of water unto the land of Shumer and Akkad. Both the banks thereof I changed to fields for cultivation, and I garnered piles of grain, and I procured unfailing water for the land of Shumer and Akkad."
This canal was probably a great channel, passing from Babylon in a southeasterly direction parallel with the Euphrates, whose waters it received and distributed by smaller canals over the neighboring districts, while also draining the adjoining marshes. The waste lands were replanted by distribution of seed-corn to the husbandmen; depopulated districts were refilled by the return of their inhabitants or the settlement of new communities; the prosperity and permanence of the irrigating works were secured by the building of a castle, which was doubtless at the same time a regulating station for the supply of water, at the mouth of the canal. Among other building operations we hear of a palace in the vicinity of Bagdad, a great wall or fortification along the Tigris, serving as well for protection from the floods as from the Elamite invaders. Other fortifications in various parts of the land are mentioned. Yet more is known about the temple building. As the Babylonian temples were as useful to business as to religion, their restoration was a contribution to material as well as religious well-being. The king built at Larsam a temple for Shamash; at Kish one for Zamama (Ninib) and Ishtar, others at Zarilab and at Khallabi, at Borsippa and Babylon. It is not improbable that in the two latter cities he was the founder of the famous and enduring structures in honor of the gods, called respectively through all periods of Babylonian history Ezida and Esagila.
98. Five kings succeeded Khammurabi before this dynasty gave way to another. Each king seems to have been the son of his predecessor, and the long reigns which all enjoyed illustrate the condition of the times. Of inscriptions directly from them only a few are known. One from Samsuiluna (about 2254-2216), Khammurabi's son, mentions his rebuilding the walls or fortresses of his ancestor (sect. 95) and enlarging his capital city. In its proud and swelling words it reflects the consciousness of greatness and power which Kharnmurabi's achievements had begotten in his successor. "Fear of my dreaded lordship covered the face of heaven and earth. Wherefore the gods inclined their beaming countenances unto me,...to rule in peace forever over the four quarters of the world, to attain the desire of my heart like a god, daily to walk with uplifted head in exultation and joy of heart, have they granted unto me as their gift" (Keilinschriftliche Bibliothek, III. i. 130-132). The "Chronicle" tells of conflicts with the Kassites, and of rebellions in the cities of Isin and Kish which were put down by him, but by far the more numerous events there referred to relate to the digging of canals and the service of religion. From Abeshu, his successor, a few letters, and inscriptional fragments only remain. A late copy of an inscription from Ammiditana (about 2188-2151), besides stating that he was the eldest son of Abeshu, the son of Samsuiluna, proclaims him "King...of Martu," that is, presumably, "the westland," Syria. The last two kings were Ammizaduga, who reigned ten years according to the "Chronicle," but twenty-two years according to the kings' list, and Samsuditana who reigned thirty-two years. During the one hundred and fifty years and more of the rule of these kings, everything speaks in testimony of the permanence and development of the strong political structure whose foundations had been laid by Khammurabi, and of the peace and prosperity of the several communities united into the empire.
99. Of the significance of this imperial organization and development for the social and industrial life of the land there are many illustrations. A centralized administration bound all the districts hitherto separated and antagonistic into a solid unity. Khammurabi "was not content merely to capture a city and exact tribute from its inhabitants, but he straightway organized its government, and appointed his own officers for its control" (King, Let. and Ins. of Ham., III. xx.). Communication was regularly kept up between the court and the provincial cities, which were thus brought administratively into close touch with the capital. An immensely increased commercial activity followed this new centralization, as is shown by the enormous mass of business documents from this age. Increased prosperity was followed by rising values. The price of land under Khammurabi was higher than ever before. The administration of justice was advanced through the careful oversight of the courts by the king himself, and by the creation of a royal court of appeal at Babylon, access to which was open to the humblest citizen. A calendar was established for the state and regulated by the royal officials, whose arrangements for it were approved by the king, and published throughout the country. A royal post-system, the device of an earlier age, was elaborated to make easy all this intercommunication of the various districts. Consequent upon it came greater security of life and property as well as regular and better means of transit, — blessings which were shared by all the inhabitants. It is also true, on the other hand, that this centralization involved the economic and political depression of the other cities before the capital. They gradually lost their independent significance, as the currents of trade set steadily toward Babylon, and became provincial towns, contributory to the wealth and power of the royal city. It was the statesmanship of Khammurabi that, for good or ill, laid the foundations of this mercantile and monetary supremacy of Babylon, before which the other communities passed quite out of sight. Ur, Larsam, Uruk, and Sippar are heard of no more, except as seats of local worship or of provincial administration.
100. The sphere of religion, likewise, was significantly influenced by the new imperial organization. As might be expected, Marduk, the city-god of Babylon, now became the head of the Babylonian pantheon. The change is thought to have been something more than the natural result of the new situation; it seems to have been deliberately and officially undertaken as the potent means of unifying the state. That this god's supremacy was not left to chance or to time is seen by the systematic abasement of that other god who might reasonably contest the headship with the new claimant, namely, Bel of Nippur (sect. 88). The religious pre-eminence of his temple, E-kur, in that ancient city, passed away, and it is even claimed that the shrine was sacked, the images and votive offerings destroyed, and the cult intermitted by the authority of the kings of Babylon (Peters, Nippur, II. pp. 257 f.). The proud title of Bel ("lord") passed to Marduk, and with it the power and prerogative of the older deity. It may not, however, be necessary to assume so violent an assumption of power by Marduk. The political supremacy of Babylon, the larger power and greater wealth of the priesthood of its god, the more splendid cult, and the influence of the superior literary activity of the priestly scholars of the capital may be sufficient to account for the change. However, the unifying might of a common religious centre, symbolized in the worship of the one great god of the court, was not to be despised, and Khammurabi was not the man to overlook its importance. As the provinces looked to Babylon for law and government, so they found in Marduk the supreme embodiment of the empire.
101. A striking corollary of this change in the divine world is found in the transformation of the literature. Reference has already been made to the revival of literary activity coincident with the age of Khammurabi (sect. 79). Under the fostering care of the priesthood of Babylon, the older writings were collected, edited, and arranged in the temple libraries of the capital city. A common literary culture was spread abroad, corresponding to the unity in other spheres of life. But the priests who gathered these older writings subjected them to a series of systematic literary modifications, whereby the rôle of the ancient gods, particularly that of Bel of Nippur, was transferred to Marduk of Babylon. The Creation Epic is a case in point. In the culmination of that poem — the overthrow of Tiamat, the representative of chaos — the task of representing the Babylonian gods in the struggle is assigned to Marduk, and the honors of victory are awarded to him. But it is probable that in the earlier form of the Epic both contest and victory were the part of another deity of the earlier pantheon. A careful analysis of this and other religious documents of the period has been made by Professor Jastrow, who has brilliantly demonstrated that "the legends and traditions of the past," were "reshaped and the cult in part remodelled so as to emphasize the supremacy of Marduk" (Rel. of Bab. and Assyr., chaps. vii., xxi.). In addition to this special activity on behalf of their favorite god, the priests of the time now began to build up those systems of cosmology and theology which successive generations of schoolmen elaborated into the stately structures of speculation that so mightily influenced the philosophy and religion of the ancient world.