Assyria
Part Eleven
Author: Godspeed, George

 

Struggle For Imperial Unity Sennacherib. 705-681 B.C.

219. The reign of Sennacherib, though longer by six years than that of
his father, is marked by fewer military expeditions, but the campaigns
recorded are, with one or two exceptions, of a much more serious character
than those which brought Sargon booty and fame. It is true that for his
last eight years (689-681 B.C.) he has left no memorials of his activities.
Yet that very fact indicates how Assyrian rule was changing from aggression
and conquest to the administration of an organized and compact state as the
outcome of a long series of experiments in government, brought to a climax
in the reign of Sargon. A demonstration of Assyrian strength by a raid into
the southeastern mountains in 702 B.C., when the Kassites and Illipi were
again punished, an expedition to the northwest among the tribes of Mount
Nipur and into Tabal, which, perhaps, reached as far as Cilicia, in 697
B.C., and a campaign among the Arabian tribes in his later years, - these
constitute the sum total of the minor wars waged by Sennacherib. Along the
eastern and northern borders and in Syria provincial governors kept strict
ward over the motley populations under their sway, and carefully watched all
signs of movement in the outlying peoples beyond, among whom, for a season,
a strange and perhaps portentous quiet seemed to prevail.

220. Only on the two extremities of the long semi-circle of lands
making up the empire did serious difficulty appear. Babylonia and
Palestine, the former especially, were the two problems given to Sennacherib
to solve. The complexities which they involved, the new factors appearing
there, the daring attempts at solution, and the tragic elements concerned in
them make Sennacherib's reign one of the most interesting and baffling
studies in all Assyrian history.

221. The Babylonian difficulties were not new. How they troubled his
predecessors has already been described (sects. 189, 198, 206). Babylonia
was no longer a unity under the rule of kings of Babylon, but a number of
separate principalities, each eager for possession of the capital city and
thus the nominal headship of the land. Aramean communities lay on the north
and east, Arabians on the west, and Kaldean states on the south, while over
the borders were the rivals Assyria and Elam, the latter just beginning to
assert itself, both determined to enter and possess the land. Babylon
itself, the genial fountain-head of religion, culture, and mercantile
activity, alike flattered and preyed upon by these various states,
containing a great population made up of heterogeneous elements with
inclinations divided between all the parties that invited their favor, had
no unity except in the self-interest concerned with the maintenance of its
religious authority and its commercial supremacy. Tiglathpileser III. had
entered the city as a deliverer from the anarchy threatened by the
incursions of Arameans and Kaldeans, and, as king by the grace of Bel, had
been welcomed. Between his rule and the assumption of the throne by Sargon
had come the decade of Mardukbaliddin's reign, which had doubtless
accustomed the Babylonians to Kaldean authority and had strengthened Kaldean
influence there. After the first year, Sargon relinquished the title of
king for that of regent (sect. 216) and, on his retirement to his new
residence, Dur Sharrukin, must have ruled Babylonia by a royal governor. It
is suggested by a passage of Berosus that he placed a younger son over it
who retained his position on the accession of Sennacherib. If the king
thought this flattering to the Babylonians, he was disappointed. They would
have none but the great king himself, and he must rule as king of Babylon,
not of Assyria. Sennacherib had reigned hardly a year, when his brother was
murdered, and a Babylonian, Mardukzakir-shum, made king. The latter was,
after a month, put out of the way by the Kaldeans, and Mardukbaliddin again
seized the throne (704 B.C.). He renewed his alliance with the Aramean
communities and with Elam, and prepared to meet the Assyrians. Sennacherib
came in 703 B.C., defeated the Kaldean at Kish, and drove him out, after his
nine months' reign. He entered Babylon, seized the palace and treasures of
Mardukbaliddin, cleared the capital and other Babylonian cities of the
Kaldeans and their sympathizers, marched into Kaldu and laid it waste, and
returned by the way of the Aramean states, from which he carried away two
hundred and eight thousand people and a vast spoil in cattle. For Babylon
Sennacherib provided a new arrangement which he might expect to be
altogether agreeable. He took a young Babylonian noble, Belibni, who had
been reared at his court, and made him king of Babylon. Naturally, Belibni
would be maintained under Assyrian protection, but, as a native king, he
would represent to the jealous Babylonians the preservation and maintenance
of their ancestral rights. The arrangement seemed to promise well.

222. Meanwhile, in the opposite quarter of the empire, Mardukbaliddin,
during his nine months' possession of Babylon, had succeeded in stirring up
disaffection which began to threaten serious trouble for Sennacherib. On
the Phoenician coastland the kings of the rich and energetic city of Tyre
had been gradually extending their authority over the neighboring
communities, until King Luli, who was reigning at this time in Tyre, could
claim supremacy from Akko to Sidon and beyond, and was ready to bring no
little strength to an organized movement for throwing off the Assyrian yoke.
In Palestine the young Hezekiah had succeeded his father, Ahaz, upon the
throne of Judah, the leading vassal kingdom in that region. Its
faithfulness to Assyria had been sorely tried during the reign of Sargon,
but had apparently stood every strain, and its reward was freedom from
Assyrian interference and a high degree of material prosperity. Hezekiah,
however, was ambitious and restless under the Assyrian yoke. He was already
entertaining proposals to rebel, when he suddenly fell ill (2 Kings xx. 1).
The desperate situation of his house and people, should he die at this time,
stirred him to a struggle for life, which, under the ministrations of
Isaiah, prophet of Jehovah, was successful. Interpreting this event as a
sign of Jehovah's approval, the king proceeded more boldly with his
rebellious plans. A visit of emissaries from Mardukbaliddin (2 Kings xx. 12
f.), who, though driven from Babylon, was still active in organizing
opposition to Assyria (702 B.C.), secured Hezekiah's adherence to a league
which included the Tyrian and Palestinian states, Ammon, Moab, and Edom, the
Bedouin on the east and south, as well as the Egyptians. All disguise was
thrown off. Padi, the king of the Philistine city of Ekron, who would not
join the rebels, was deposed and delivered to Hezekiah. Open defiance was
thus offered to Sennacherib.

223. The Assyrian was, however, apparently well apprised of the designs
of the leaguers, and determined to forestall them. Early in 701 B.C. he
appeared on the Mediterranean coast and received the submission of the
Phoenician cities with the exception of Tyre. Ammon, Moab, and Edom
hastened, also, to pay homage at that time. Luli of Tyre, called king of
Sidon in the Assyrian account, retired to Cyprus, and his newly acquired
Phoenician kingdom fell to pieces. The omission of Tyre from the submissive
cities makes it evident that Sennacherib was unable to capture it at this
time. But he determined to set up a rival which would effectually prevent
it from giving him trouble and from re-establishing its influence among the
Phoenician cities. For this purpose he chose Sidon, appointed, as king over
it, Itobaal (Assyr. Tubalu), and gave him suzerainty over the cities which
had acknowledged the authority of Tyre. It is probable that an attack was
made upon Tyre by a naval force collected from these cities, under Sidon's
leadership; but the assailants were repulsed, and Tyre remained independent
(Menander in Jos. Ant., IX. 14, 2).

224. Sennacherib, without waiting for the issue of the attack on Tyre,
hurried forward, down the coast road, to strike at Askalon, the southernmost
of the Philistine cities that was in rebellion. Having reduced it and
captured its king, Cidqa, he turned toward the northeast, and, on his
advance to Ekron, was confronted at Altaqu with an army led by the chiefs of
Mucri and Ethiopian-Egyptian generals. The force, hastily gathered and
poorly commanded, was dispersed without difficulty. Altaqu and Timnath were
despoiled, and Ekron surrendered. All opposition on the coast was thus
crushed. Hezekiah was isolated, and the Assyrian attack could concentrate
on Judah. The king therefore marched up the valleys leading to the plateau.
His own words describe the punishment he inflicted upon the unhappy land:

But as for Hezekiah of Judah, who had not submitted to my yoke, forty-
six of his strong walled cities and the smaller cities round about them,
without number, by the battering of rams, and the attack of war-engines (?),
by making breaches by cutting through, and the use of axes, I besieged and
captured. Two hundred thousand one hundred and fifty people, small and
great, male and female, horses, mules, asses, camels, cattle, and sheep,
without number, I brought forth from their midst and reckoned as spoil.
(Hezekiah) himself I shut up like a caged bird in Jerusalem, his royal city.
I threw up fortifications against him, and whoever came out of the gates of
his city I punished. His cities, which I had plundered, I cut off from his
land and gave to Mitinti, King of Ashdod, to Padi, King of Ekron, and to
Cil-Bel, King of Gaza, and (thus) made his territory smaller. To the former
taxes, paid yearly, tribute, a present for my lordship, I added and imposed
on him. Hezekiah himself was overwhelmed by the fear of the brilliancy of
my lordship, and the Arabians and faithful soldiers whom he had brought in
to strengthen Jerusalem, his royal city, deserted him. Thirty talents of
gold, eight hundred talents of silver, precious stones, guhli daggassi,
large lapis lazuli, couches of ivory, thrones of elephant skin and ivory,
ivory, ushu and urkarinu woods, of every kind, a heavy treasure, and his
daughters, his palace women, male and female singers, to Nineveh, my
lordship's city, I caused to be brought after me, and he sent his ambassador
to give tribute and to pay homage (Taylor Cyl., III. 11-41).

225. The course of the campaign, as here presented, is also described
in 2 Kings xviii. and xix. (see Isa. xxxvi. and xxxvii.), and a
harmonization of the narratives, though difficult, is not impossible.
Sennacherib did not, at first, attack Jerusalem, but only blockaded it, and
leaving fear and famine to accomplish its surrender, moved southward,
devastating the land on every side, until he came to Lachish and Libnah.
The capture of these towns made an end of rebellion in the southeastern
plain, and completed his Palestinian campaign, which had swung around in a
great circle from Askalon in the southwest to these southeastern cities.
Meanwhile Hezekiah had decided to submit; he set free Padi, king of Ekron,
and sent to Sennacherib, at Lachish, for terms of surrender, which were
promptly forthcoming and as promptly met. His failure to present himself in
person, however, angered the Assyrian. Recognizing also the danger of
leaving behind him Jerusalem, the only city which had not opened its gates
in submission, Sennacherib demanded the surrender of the capital. Meanwhile
he himself, it appears, advanced farther to the south. But the year was now
far spent. News came from the east that Mardukbaliddin had appeared again
in Babylonia. Sennacherib had already decided to return, when it seems that
pestilence fell upon his army. He was, accordingly, forced to withdraw the
detachment from Jerusalem and beat a hasty retreat. Having laid greater
tribute upon the subdued states, he returned to Nineveh with the heavy spoil
of the west. If the close of his campaign had been inglorious, he had
succeeded in his purpose. Never again during his reign did the kings of the
west raise the hand of revolt against him. The punishment had been
effectual. Sennacherib entered the west only once again, and then only to
make a foray against Arabian tribes whose constant restlessness needed
frequent restraint and sometimes severe chastisement.

226. Sennacherib's well-meant effort to conciliate the Babylonians had
ended in failure. During the king's absence in the west, Belibni, either
from weakness or seduced by the opposition, had not maintained his fidelity
to Assyria. Babylonia was in commotion, and in 700 B.C. the Assyrian king
was again called there by an alliance of the Kaldeans and Elamites. Along
with Mardukbaliddin appeared another Kaldean chieftain, Shuzub. The
combination was dispersed by Sennacherib, who advanced far into the marsh
lands of the south. Shuzub disappeared in the swamps. Mardukbaliddin, with
his people, emigrated in a body down the eastern coast of the gulf into a
district of Elam. He must have died soon after, for he played no part in
the succeeding events. Bit Jakin, his principality, was utterly devastated.
A new experiment was tried at Babylon. Sennacherib made his eldest son,
Ashur-nadin-shum, king of the city, and carried Belibni and his counsellors,
in disgrace, back to Assyria. The failure of the coalition against Assyria
caused, also, the downfall of the Elamite king, who was dethroned by his
brother Khallushu. The way seemed, thus, to be cleared for the new regime
in Babylonia and, in fact, Ashurnadinshum occupied the throne for six years
(700-694 B.C.). But the end of his career was tragical, and opened another
period of trouble for the unhappy land.

227. Sennacherib employed these years of quiet in preparations for a
military expedition which was as unique in its method as it was audacious in
its conception. The Kaldi, whom Mardukbaliddin had carried off with him in
ships to the eastern shore of the Persian gulf and brought under the
immediate shelter of Elam, were settled on the lower courses of the river
Karun, the waterway from the south into the heart of Elam. If an army could
be landed here, it might be able not only to destroy these enemies, but even
make its way to the Elamite capital Susa, and strike a deadly blow at the
power of Elam. Two conditions were essential for the success of this
enterprise, a fleet at the head of the gulf for the transport of troops, and
secrecy as to the goal and the preparations for the expedition. Accordingly
Phoenician ship-builders and sailors from the vassal state of Sidon,
recently favored by the king (sect. 223), were secured, and a shipyard was
set up at Til Barsip on the upper Euphrates; ships were also gathered in
Assyria. At an appointed time both fleets were sent down the rivers; the
Assyrian ships, for the sake of secrecy, had been transferred at Upi to the
Arakhtu canal, and were thus brought into the Euphrates above Babylon; all
were concentrated at the appointed place, where the troops were encamped,
awaiting their arrival. An unexpected flood tide delayed them for some
days, but, the embarkation once made, the distance was quickly traversed,
the troops landed and the surprised Kaldeans overwhelmed (695-694 B.C.).
The captives were loaded into the ships and transported to Assyria, the main
body of the troops apparently being left behind to push forward into Elam.
But in some way, probably by the treachery of the Babylonians, news of the
expedition had come to Elam, and Khallushu determined upon a stroke as bold
as that of Sennacherib himself. Hardly had the fleet sailed, when, with his
Elamites, he rushed down upon northern Babylonia. Sippar was taken by
storm, and Babylon, cut off from Assyrian help both north and south, and
probably unprepared for so sudden an onslaught, surrendered (694 B.C.).
Ashurnadinshum was captured and carried away to Elam, where he was probably
put to death. A Babylonian noble, Shuzub, was placed on the throne under
the name of Nergal-ushezib, and supported by Elamite troops. He immediately
marched southward to overcome the Assyrian garrisons and cut off the army
operating in southern Elam. But news of the disaster had reached the king,
and he had hastily returned. He made Uruk his headquarters, and awaited the
coming of the enemy, who were occupied about Nippur. The battle between the
two armies took place in September (693 B.C.), and Nergalushezib was
defeated, captured, and carried off to Assyria.

228. Whatever arrangements Sennacherib had made for the government in
Babylon, on the fall of the usurper, were speedily brought to naught by the
Babylonians themselves, who made the Kaldean prince Shuzub (sect. 226) their
king, under the name of Mushezib Marduk (693 B.C.). Meanwhile another
revolution had broken out in Elam by which Khallushu was set aside and
Kudur-nakhundi became king. The Assyrian king was, as it seems, already
marching down the eastern bank of the Tigris again to settle affairs in
Babylonia, when the news from Elam induced him to turn his arms against that
enemy. He swept through the lower valleys with fire and sword, and, though
the winter was approaching, determined to advance into the mountains whither
the Elamite king had withdrawn. But hardly had he entered the highlands
when the inclemency of the weather forced him to retire (692 B.C.). He had,
however, broken the prestige of Kudurnakhundi, who lost his throne to his
brother, Umman-menanu, after hardly a year's reign. Mushezib Marduk knew
that his turn would soon come for punishment, and made a vigorous effort to
defend himself. He called for aid upon the new Elamite king, who for his
own security must also show a bold front to Assyria. The Babylonians
likewise felt that vengeance would fall upon them for their treachery, and
committed an act which revealed their desperate fear and hatred of
Sennacherib. They opened the treasuries of the temples, and offered the
wealth of Marduk for the purchase of Elamite support. All through the
winter of 692 B.C. the preparations went on to meet the Assyrian advance.
A great army of Elamites, Arameans, Babylonians, and Kaldeans was gathered.
Sennacherib compared its advance to "the coming of locust-swarms in the
spring." "The face of the heavens was covered with the dust of their feet
like a heavy cloud big with mischief." The battle was joined at Khalule, on
the eastern bank of the Tigris, in 691 B.C., and, after a long and fierce
struggle, the issue was drawn. Sennacherib claimed a victory, but, though
the coalition was broken, his own forces were so shattered that he advanced
no farther, and left to Mushezib Marduk the possession of the Babylonian
throne for that year.

229. During the next two years Sennacherib grappled with the Babylonian
problem and brought it to a definite solution. On his advance in 690 B.C.
he met with no serious opposition. Ummanmenanu of Elam could offer no aid
to Mushezib Marduk, who was speedily seized and sent to Nineveh. Babylon
now lay at the mercy of the Assyrian, whose long-tried patience was
exhausted. He determined on no less a vengeance than the total destruction
of the ancient city. The work was systematically and thoroughly done. The
temples and palaces were levelled. Fortifications and walls were uprooted.
The inhabitants were slaughtered; even those who sought refuge in the
temples perished. Images of Babylonian gods were not spared. Two images of
Assyrian deities, which Marduknadinakhi had carried away from Ekallati
(sect. 145), were carefully removed and restored to their city. The canal
of Arakhtu was turned from its bed so as to flow over the ruins. The
immense spoil was made over to the soldiers. The district was then placed
under a provincial government, as had already been the case with the lands
of the Kaldeans and Arameans round about it. Sennacherib thus ruled Babylon
till his death. The Babylonian kings' list names him as "king" both for the
years 705-703 B.C. and also during this last period, 689-681 B.C., although
the source from which Ptolemy drew his information denominated both these
periods "kingless." The Assyrian had made a solitude and called it peace.

230. The last years of Sennacherib were evidently embittered by family
difficulties, of which some traces appear in the inscriptions. When the
unfortunate Ashurnadinshum was carried away to Elam, another son of the
king, Ardi-belit, was recognized as crown prince. Two other sons are
mentioned, Ashur-munik, for whom a palace was built, and Esarhaddon. This
latter prince, for reasons not now discoverable, began gradually to supplant
his brothers in the king's favor. It seems probable, though absolute proof
is not yet available, that he was appointed governor of the province of
Babylon (680 B.C.), and a curious document has been preserved in which his
father confers upon him certain gifts, and changes his name from Esarhaddon
(Ashur-akh-iddin, that is, "Ashur has given a brother") to Ashur-itil-ukin-
apla, that is, "Ashur the hero has established the son." The bestowal of the
name suggests the choice of him as heir and successor to the throne in
preference to his elder brother. His mother, Naqia, who plays an important
role in her son's reign, may have had her part in the affair. At any rate,
the embittered and disgraced brother sought betimes the not unusual revenge.
Associating, it may be, another brother with him, as 2 Kings xix. 36 f.
states, he slew his father while worshipping in a temple of "Nisroch"
(Nusku?). Thus, once more, a brilliant reign ended in shameful
assassination, and revolution was let loose upon the empire.

231. The name of Sennacherib is intimately associated with the city of
Nineveh, which owes its fame, as the chief capital of the Assyrian empire,
to his choice of it as a favorite dwelling-place. He planned its
fortifications, gave it a system of water-works, restored its temples, and
built its most magnificent palaces. The city, as it came from his hands,
was an irregular parallelogram that lay from northwest to southeast along
the eastern bank of the Tigris, its western side about two and one-half
miles long, its northern over a mile, its eastern more than three miles, and
its southern half a mile in length, making in all a circuit of about seven
miles. Through the middle of the city flowed, from east to west, the river
Khusur, an affluent of the Tigris. Sennacherib built massive walls and
gates about the city, and on the eastern side toward the mountains added
protecting ramparts. A quadruple defence was made on this side. A deep
moat, supplied with water from the Khusur, was also led along the eastern
face. Diodorus estimates the height of the walls at one hundred feet.
Their general width was about fifty feet, and excavations have indicated
that in the vicinity of the gates they were more than one hundred feet wide.
The arrangements for furnishing the city with water are described by the
king in an inscription, carved upon the cliff of Bavian, a few miles to the
northeast of Nineveh among the mountains. Eighteen mountain streams were
made to pour their waters into the Khusur, thus securing a constant flow of
fresh water. A series of works regulated at the same time the storing and
the distribution of the water, and made it possible for the city to maintain
an abundant supply in time of siege. Two lofty platforms along the Tigris
front of the city had served as the foundations of the palaces already
erected, but both palaces and platforms had fallen into decay. The northern
platform, now known as the mound of Kouyunjik, lay in the upper angle formed
by the junction of the Khusur and the Tigris. Sennacherib restored and
enlarged this platform, changed the bed of the Khusur so that it half
encircled the mound, and built in the southwest portion of it his palace.
It has been only partially excavated, yet already seventy-one rooms have
been opened; in the judgment of competent investigators, the palace is the
greatest built by any Assyrian monarch. On the southern platform, now
called Nebiyunus, the king built an arsenal for the storing of military
supplies. His ideal for these buildings is stated by himself to be that
they should excel those of his predecessors in "adaptation, size, and
artistic effect." His success in the latter respect is no less remarkable
than in the two former. No series of bas-reliefs hitherto executed in
Assyria, or even in the ancient world, reaches the height of artistic
excellence attained by those of Sennacherib. In variety of subject-matter,
strength and accuracy of portraiture, simplicity and breadth of composition,
they are among the most remarkable productions of antiquity. The tendency
to the development of the background and setting of the principal subject,
already observed in previous work (sects. 175, 215), has reached its climax.
The delineation of building operations and the sense for landscape are two
new features which illustrate the larger outlook characteristic of the
higher civilization and broader culture of the time. Similar
characteristics appear in the literary remains of the king. Official as
they are, they reveal, as compared with similar documents of earlier kings,
a feeling for literary effect, an element of subjectivity, a color and
breadth of composition, which are unusual. The description of the battle of
Khalule, in the Taylor inscription (ABL, pp. 77-79), in spirit and vigor
leaves little to be desired, while the free characterization of personages
and measures, indulged in throughout the inscription, introduces a
distinctly fresh note into these usually arid and stereotyped annalistic
documents. The culture of the time may, perhaps, also be illustrated by the
subtle and effective speech of the Assyrian royal officer to the people of
Jerusalem, preserved in 2 Kings xviii. 19-35, - an argument in content and
form worthy of a modern diplomatist.

232. What, after all, shall be said of the central figure of this
brilliant time and of the work which he did for Assyria? The verdict has,
in general, been unfavorable, ranging from the moderate statement that,
"though great, he was so by no desert of his own," to the thoroughgoing
condemnation of him as "boastful, arrogant, cruel, and revengeful," whose
"vindictive cruelty was only equalled by his almost incredible impiety,"
exhibiting "blind rage" and the "ruthless malignity of the narrow-minded
conqueror." The chief basis for the extreme view must lie, in part, in the
striking subjectivity of his inscriptions as already referred to, and, for
the rest, in the judgment passed on his destruction of Babylon. But the
former ground is a very hazardous basis for estimating the character of an
Assyrian king, since he cannot be regarded as the author of the inscriptions
in which he thus speaks. Nor should the destruction of Babylon be singled
out from his whole career as the sole test of his character and work. A
broader view may be able to make a fairer estimate of his contribution to
Assyrian history, and thereby to see even in the overthrow of Babylon
something more than one of "the wildest scenes of folly in all human
history." As a soldier he was active and brave even to personal rashness in
the day of battle. In his conduct of a campaign he will, in energy and
rapidity of movement, bear comparison with any of his predecessors, and in
the daring and originality of his strategy he surpasses them. His
Palestinian campaign and his naval expedition to southern Elam are
conclusive illustrations. It is true that disasters attended both these
campaigns, but they were such as could hardly have been foreseen and
prepared for. The most that can be said against him as a soldier is that he
may have been hasty in forming plans, and possibly obstinate in carrying
them through, and that unexpected difficulties robbed him of complete
success.

233. From the larger point of view his dealings with Babylon may,
perhaps, be most justly estimated. As the heir of the political programme
of Sargon, he found himself face to face with the problem of Babylonian
prerogative. The unity of the empire, with its system of vassal kingdoms
and of provincial government, could not harmonize with the claims of
Babylonian equality. Sennacherib tried various methods of incorporating
that ancient city into the scheme of imperial unity, but in vain. Finally,
he chose, with characteristic audacity and impetuousness, to cut the knot,
to maintain the unity of the empire upon the ruins of Babylon. The solution
was one which only a man of genius would have conceived and a man of intense
and fiery spirit have carried through. It may be that he also desired the
ruin of Babylon to redound to the higher glory of Nineveh, or that he was
inspired to the act by his anti-hierarchical inclinations and his wrath at
Babylonian obduracy and treachery. These were, however, surely secondary to
his main impulse, his determination that the unity of the empire should be
secured, so far as it involved Babylonia, even by the destruction of the
proud city that would not lower her head and for whose favor the nations
round about were forever at strife. So far as the immediate problem was
concerned, he was, indeed, successful, but he overestimated his power, if he
thought himself able to wipe out a past so ancient and glorious, and to
prevent the gathering of mankind to a spot so manifestly intended by nature
and history as a centre of commerce and culture. The future of the Assyrian
empire, in its relation to the Babylon soon to be rejuvenated, holds the
answer to the question whether his successors, who reversed his policy in
this respect, were wiser than he.

 

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