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the earliest monuments of the country, but we possess no records of their reigns. It is sufficient to remember the dynasties, or royal families, which, according to Bero'sus, * ruled in Chaldæa from about two thousand years before Christ to the beginning of connected chronology.
1. A Chaldæan Dynasty, from about 2000 to 1543 B. C. The only known kings are Nimrod and Chedorlao'mer.
2. An Arabian Dynasty, from about 1543 to 1298 B. C.
3. A Dynasty of forty-five kings, probably Assyrian, from 1298 to 772 B. C.
4. The Reign of Pul, from 772 to 747 B. C.
During the first and last of these periods, the country was flourishing and free; during the second, it seems to have been subject to its neighbors in the south-west; and, during the third, it was absorbed into the great Assyrian Empire, as a tributary kingdom, if not merely as a province.
28. At a very early period a kingdom was established upon the Tigris, which expanded later into a vast empire. Of its earliest records only the names of three or four kings remain to us; but the quadrangular mounds which cover the sites of cities and palaces, and the rude sculptures found by excavation upon their walls, show the industry of a large and luxurious population. The history of Assyria may be divided into three periods:
I. From unknown commencement of the monarchy to the Conquest of Babylon, about 1250 B. C.
II. From Conquest of Babylon to Accession of Tiglath-pileser II, 745 B. C.
B. C. 1270.
III. From Accession of Tiglath-pileser to Fall of Nineveh, 625 B. C. One king of the FIRST PERIOD, Shalmaneser I, is known to have made war among the Armenian Mountains, and to have established cities in the conquered territory.
29. SECOND PERIOD, B. C. 1250-745. About the middle of the thir teenth century B. C., Tiglathi-nin conquered Babylon. A hundred and twenty years later, a still greater monarch, Tiglath-pileser I, extended his conquests eastward into the Persian mountains, and westward to the borders of Syria. After the warlike reign of his son,
B. C. 1130.
* Berosus, a learned Babylonian, wrote a history of his own and neighboring countries in three books, which are unfortunately lost. He drew his information from records kept in the temple of Belus, from popular traditions, and in part, probably, from the Jewish Scriptures. Fragments have been preserved to us by later writers. He lived from the reign of Alexander, 356–323 B. C., to that of Antiochus II, 261–246 B. C.
B. C. 1100-909.
Assyria was probably weakened and depressed for two hundred years, since no records have been found. From the year 909 B. C., the chronology becomes exact, and the materials for history abundant. As'shur-nazir-pal I carried on wars in Persia, Babylonia, Armenia, and Syria, and captured the principal Phœnician towns. He built a great palace at Ca'lah, which he made his capital. His son, Shalmane'ser II, continued his father's conquests, and made war in Lower Syria against Benhaʼdad, Haza’el, and A ́hab.
B. C. 886-858.
B. C. 858-823.
30. B. C. 810-781. I'va-lush (Hu-likh-khus IV) extended his empire both eastward and westward in twenty-six campaigns. He married Sam'muraʼmit (Semi'ramis), heiress of Babylonia, and exercised, either in her right or by conquest, royal authority over that country. No name is more celebrated in Oriental history than that of Semiramis; but it is probable that most of the wonderful works ascribed to her are purely fabulous. The importance of the real Sammuramit, who is the only princess mentioned in Assyrian annals, perhaps gave rise to fanciful legends concerning a queen who, ruling in her own right, conquered Egypt and part of Ethiopia, and invaded India with an army of more than a million of men. This mythical heroine ended her career by flying away in the form of a dove. It became customary to ascribe all buildings and other public works whose origin was unknown, to Semiramis; the date of her reign was fixed at about 2200 B. C.; and she was said to have been the wife of Ninus, an equally mythical person, the reputed founder of Nineveh.
B. C. 753-745.
31. Asshur-danin-il II was less warlike than his ancestors. The time of his reign is ascertained by an eclipse of the sun, which the inscriptions place in his ninth year, and which astronomers know to have occurred June 15, 763 B. C. After Asshur-likh-khus, the following king, the dynasty was ended with a revolution. Nabonas'sar, of Babylon, not only made himself independent, but gained a brief supremacy over Assyria. The Assyrians, during the Second Period, made great advances in literature and arts. The annals of each reign were either cut in stone or impressed upon a duplicate series of bricks, to guard against destruction either by fire or water. If fire destroyed the burnt bricks, it would only harden the dried; and if the latter were dissolved by water, the former would remain uninjured. Engraved columns were erected in all the countries under Assyrian rule.
32. Third PERIOD, B. C. 745-625. Tiglath-pileser II was the founder of the New or Lower Assyrian Empire, which he established by active and successful warfare. He conquered Damascus, Samaria, Tyre, the Philistines, and the Arabians of the Sinaitic peninsula; carried away captives from the eastern and northern tribes of Israel, and took tribute from the king of Judah. (2 Kings xv: 29; xvi: 7-9.)
B. C. 745–727.
B. C. 771-753.
Shalmaneser IV conquered Phoenicia, but was defeated in a naval assault upon Tyre. His successor, Sargon, took Samaria, which had revolted, and carried its people captive to his newly conquered provinces of Media and Gauzanitis. He filled their places with Babylonians, whose king, Merodach-baladan, he had captured, B. C. 709. An interesting inscription of Sargon relates his reception of tribute from seven kings of Cyprus, "who have fixed their abode in the middle of the sea of the setting sun." The city and palace of Khor'sabad' were entirely the work of Sargon. The palace was covered with sculptures within and without; it was ornamented with enameled bricks, arranged in elegant and tasteful patterns, and was approached by noble flights of steps through splendid porticos. In this "palace of incomparable splendor, which he had built for the abode of his royalty," are found Sargon's own descriptions of the glories of his reign. "I imposed tribute on Pharaoh, of Egypt; on Tsamsi, Queen of Arabia; on Ithamar, the Sabæan, in gold, spices, horses, and camels." Among the spoils of the Babylonian king, he enumerates his golden tiara, scepter, throne and parasol, and silver chariot. In the old age of Sargon, Merodach-baladan recovered his throne, and the Assyrian king was murdered in a conspiracy.
B. C. 705–680.
33. His son, Sennach'erib, reëstablished Assyrian power at the eastern and western extremities of his empire. He defeated Merodach-baladan, and placed first an Assyrian viceroy, and afterward his own son, Assarana'dius, upon the Babylonian throne. He quelled a revolt of the Phœnician cities, and extorted tribute from most of the kings in Syria. He gained a great battle at El'tekeh, in Palestine, against the kings of Egypt and Ethiopia, and captured all the "fenced cities of Judah." (2 Kings xviii: 13.) In a second expedition against Palestine and Egypt, 185,000 of his soldiers were destroyed in a single night, near Pelusium, as a judgment for his impious boasting. (2 Kings xix: 35, 36.) On his return to Nineveh, two of his sons conspired against him and slew him, and E'sarhad'don, another son, obtained the crown. His reign (B. C. 680-667) was signalized by many conquests. He defeated Tirʼhakeh, king of Egypt, and broke up his kingdom into petty states. He completed the colonization of Samaria with people from Babylonia, Susiana, and Persia. His royal residence was alternately at Nineveh and Babylon.
B. C. 667-647.
34. Under As'shur-ba'ni-pal, son of Esarhaddon, Assyria attained her greatest power and glory. He reconquered Egypt, which had rallied under Tirhakeh, overran Asia Minor, and imposed a tribute upon Gyges, king of Lydia. He subdued most of Armenia, reduced Susiana to a mere province of Babylonia, and exacted obedience from many Arabian tribes. He built the grandest of all the Assyrian