Legends of Babylonia and Egypt

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Legends of Babylonia and Egypt

By Leonard W. King

Lecture I


At the present moment most of us have little time or thought to spare
for subjects not connected directly or indirectly with the war. We
have put aside our own interests and studies; and after the war we
shall all have a certain amount of leeway to make up in acquainting
ourselves with what has been going on in countries not yet involved in
the great struggle. Meanwhile the most we can do is to glance for a
moment at any discovery of exceptional interest that may come to

The main object of these lectures will be to examine certain Hebrew
traditions in the light of new evidence which has been published in
America since the outbreak of the war. The evidence is furnished by
some literary texts, inscribed on tablets from Nippur, one of the
oldest and most sacred cities of Babylonia. They are written in
Sumerian, the language spoken by the non-Semitic people whom the
Semitic Babylonians conquered and displaced; and they include a very
primitive version of the Deluge story and Creation myth, and some
texts which throw new light on the age of Babylonian civilization and
on the area within which it had its rise. In them we have recovered
some of the material from which Berossus derived his dynasty of
Antediluvian kings, and we are thus enabled to test the accuracy of
the Greek tradition by that of the Sumerians themselves. So far then
as Babylonia is concerned, these documents will necessitate a
re-examination of more than one problem.

The myths and legends of ancient Egypt are also to some extent
involved. The trend of much recent anthropological research has been
in the direction of seeking a single place of origin for similar
beliefs and practices, at least among races which were bound to one
another by political or commercial ties. And we shall have occasion to
test, by means of our new data, a recent theory of Egyptian influence.
The Nile Valley was, of course, one the great centres from which
civilization radiated throughout the ancient East; and, even when
direct contact is unproved, Egyptian literature may furnish
instructive parallels and contrasts in any study of Western Asiatic
mythology. Moreover, by a strange coincidence, there has also been
published in Egypt since the beginning of the war a record referring
to the reigns of predynastic rulers in the Nile Valley. This, like
some of the Nippur texts, takes us back to that dim period before the
dawn of actual history, and, though the information it affords is not
detailed like theirs, it provides fresh confirmation of the general
accuracy of Manetho's sources, and suggests some interesting points
for comparison.

But the people with whose traditions we are ultimately concerned are
the Hebrews. In the first series of Schweich Lectures, delivered in
the year 1908, the late Canon Driver showed how the literature of
Assyria and Babylon had thrown light upon Hebrew traditions concerning
the origin and early history of the world. The majority of the
cuneiform documents, on which he based his comparison, date from a
period no earlier than the seventh century B.C., and yet it was clear
that the texts themselves, in some form or other, must have descended
from a remote antiquity. He concluded his brief reference to the
Creation and Deluge Tablets with these words: "The Babylonian
narratives are both polytheistic, while the corresponding biblical
narratives (Gen. i and vi-xi) are made the vehicle of a pure and
exalted monotheism; but in spite of this fundamental difference, and
also variations in detail, the resemblances are such as to leave no
doubt that the Hebrew cosmogony and the Hebrew story of the Deluge are
both derived ultimately from the same original as the Babylonian
narratives, only transformed by the magic touch of Israel's religion,
and infused by it with a new spirit."[1] Among the recently published
documents from Nippur we have at last recovered one at least of those
primitive originals from which the Babylonian accounts were derived,
while others prove the existence of variant stories of the world's
origin and early history which have not survived in the later
cuneiform texts. In some of these early Sumerian records we may trace
a faint but remarkable parallel with the Hebrew traditions of man's
history between his Creation and the Flood. It will be our task, then,
to examine the relations which the Hebrew narratives bear both to the
early Sumerian and to the later Babylonian Versions, and to ascertain
how far the new discoveries support or modify current views with
regard to the contents of those early chapters of Genesis.

[1] Driver, /Modern Research as illustrating the Bible/ (The Schweich
    Lectures, 1908), p. 23.

I need not remind you that Genesis is the book of Hebrew origins, and
that its contents mark it off to some extent from the other books of
the Hebrew Bible. The object of the Pentateuch and the Book of Joshua
is to describe in their origin the fundamental institutions of the
national faith and to trace from the earliest times the course of
events which led to the Hebrew settlement in Palestine. Of this
national history the Book of Genesis forms the introductory section.
Four centuries of complete silence lie between its close and the
beginning of Exodus, where we enter on the history of a nation as
contrasted with that of a family.[1] While Exodus and the succeeding
books contain national traditions, Genesis is largely made up of
individual biography. Chapters xii-l are concerned with the immediate
ancestors of the Hebrew race, beginning with Abram's migration into
Canaan and closing with Joseph's death in Egypt. But the aim of the
book is not confined to recounting the ancestry of Israel. It seeks
also to show her relation to other peoples in the world, and probing
still deeper into the past it describes how the earth itself was
prepared for man's habitation. Thus the patriarchal biographies are
preceded, in chapters i-xi, by an account of the original of the
world, the beginnings of civilization, and the distribution of the
various races of mankind. It is, of course, with certain parts of this
first group of chapters that such striking parallels have long been
recognized in the cuneiform texts.

[1] Cf., e.g., Skinner, /A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on
    Genesis/ (1912), p. ii f.; Driver, /The Book of Genesis/, 10th ed.
    (1916), pp. 1 ff.; Ryle, /The Book of Genesis/ (1914), pp. x ff.

In approaching this particular body of Hebrew traditions, the
necessity for some caution will be apparent. It is not as though we
were dealing with the reported beliefs of a Malayan or Central
Australian tribe. In such a case there would be no difficulty in
applying a purely objective criticism, without regard to ulterior
consequences. But here our own feelings are involved, having their
roots deep in early associations. The ground too is well trodden; and,
had there been no new material to discuss, I think I should have
preferred a less contentious theme. The new material is my
justification for the choice of subject, and also the fact that,
whatever views we may hold, it will be necessary for us to assimilate
it to them. I shall have no hesitation in giving you my own reading of
the evidence; but at the same time it will be possible to indicate
solutions which will probably appeal to those who view the subject
from more conservative standpoints. That side of the discussion may
well be postponed until after the examination of the new evidence in
detail. And first of all it will be advisable to clear up some general
aspects of the problem, and to define the limits within which our
criticism may be applied.

It must be admitted that both Egypt and Babylon bear a bad name in
Hebrew tradition. Both are synonymous with captivity, the symbols of
suffering endured at the beginning and at the close of the national
life. And during the struggle against Assyrian aggression, the
disappointment at the failure of expected help is reflected in
prophecies of the period. These great crises in Hebrew history have
tended to obscure in the national memory the part which both Babylon
and Egypt may have played in moulding the civilization of the smaller
nations with whom they came in contact. To such influence the races of
Syria were, by geographical position, peculiarly subject. The country
has often been compared to a bridge between the two great continents
of Asia and Africa, flanked by the sea on one side and the desert on
the other, a narrow causeway of highland and coastal plain connecting
the valleys of the Nile and the Euphrates.[1] For, except on the
frontier of Egypt, desert and sea do not meet. Farther north the
Arabian plateau is separated from the Mediterranean by a double
mountain chain, which runs south from the Taurus at varying
elevations, and encloses in its lower course the remarkable depression
of the Jordan Valley, the Dead Sea, and the `Arabah. The Judaean hills
and the mountains of Moab are merely the southward prolongation of the
Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon, and their neighbourhood to the sea endows
this narrow tract of habitable country with its moisture and
fertility. It thus formed the natural channel of intercourse between
the two earliest centres of civilization, and was later the battle-
ground of their opposing empires.

[1] See G. A. Smith, /Historical Geography of the Holy Land/, pp. 5
    ff., 45 ff., and Myres, /Dawn of History/, pp. 137 ff.; and cf.
    Hogarth, /The Nearer East/, pp. 65 ff., and Reclus, /Nouvelle
    Géographie universelle/, t. IX, pp. 685 ff.

The great trunk-roads of through communication run north and south,
across the eastern plateaus of the Hauran and Moab, and along the
coastal plains. The old highway from Egypt, which left the Delta at
Pelusium, at first follows the coast, then trends eastward across the
plain of Esdraelon, which breaks the coastal range, and passing under
Hermon runs northward through Damascus and reaches the Euphrates at
its most westerly point. Other through tracks in Palestine ran then as
they do to-day, by Beesheba and Hebron, or along the `Arabah and west
of the Dead Sea, or through Edom and east of Jordan by the present
Hajj route to Damascus. But the great highway from Egypt, the most
westerly of the trunk-roads through Palestine, was that mainly
followed, with some variant sections, by both caravans and armies, and
was known by the Hebrews in its southern course as the "Way of the
Philistines" and farther north as the "Way of the East".

The plain of Esraelon, where the road first trends eastward, has been
the battle-ground for most invaders of Palestine from the north, and
though Egyptian armies often fought in the southern coastal plain,
they too have battled there when they held the southern country.
Megiddo, which commands the main pass into the plain through the low
Samaritan hills to the southeast of Carmel, was the site of Thothmes
III's famous battle against a Syrian confederation, and it inspired
the writer of the Apocalypse with his vision of an Armageddon of the
future. But invading armies always followed the beaten track of
caravans, and movements represented by the great campaigns were
reflected in the daily passage of international commerce.

With so much through traffic continually passing within her borders,
it may be matter for surprise that far more striking evidence of its
cultural effect should not have been revealed by archaeological
research in Palestine. Here again the explanation is mainly of a
geographical character. For though the plains and plateaus could be
crossed by the trunk-roads, the rest of the country is so broken up by
mountain and valley that it presented few facilities either to foreign
penetration or to external control. The physical barriers to local
intercourse, reinforced by striking differences in soil, altitude, and
climate, while they precluded Syria herself from attaining national
unity, always tended to protect her separate provinces, or "kingdoms,"
from the full effects of foreign aggression. One city-state could be
traversed, devastated, or annexed, without in the least degree
affecting neighbouring areas. It is true that the population of Syria
has always been predominantly Semitic, for she was on the fringe of
the great breeding-ground of the Semitic race and her landward
boundary was open to the Arabian nomad. Indeed, in the whole course of
her history the only race that bade fair at one time to oust the
Semite in Syria was the Greek. But the Greeks remained within the
cities which they founded or rebuilt, and, as Robertson Smith pointed
out, the death-rate in Eastern cities habitually exceeds the birth-
rate; the urban population must be reinforced from the country if it
is to be maintained, so that the type of population is ultimately
determined by the blood of the peasantry.[1] Hence after the Arab
conquest the Greek elements in Syria and Palestine tended rapidly to
disappear. The Moslem invasion was only the last of a series of
similar great inroads, which have followed one another since the dawn
of history, and during all that time absorption was continually taking
place from desert tribes that ranged the Syrian border. As we have
seen, the country of his adoption was such as to encourage the Semitic
nomad's particularism, which was inherent in his tribal organization.
Thus the predominance of a single racial element in the population of
Palestine and Syria did little to break down or overstep the natural
barriers and lines of cleavage.

[1] See Robertson Smith, /Religion of the Semites/, p. 12 f.; and cf.
    Smith, /Hist. Geogr./, p. 10 f.

These facts suffice to show why the influence of both Egypt and
Babylon upon the various peoples and kingdoms of Palestine was only
intensified at certain periods, when ambition for extended empire
dictated the reduction of her provinces in detail. But in the long
intervals, during which there was no attempt to enforce political
control, regular relations were maintained along the lines of trade
and barter. And in any estimate of the possible effect of foreign
influence upon Hebrew thought, it is important to realize that some of
the channels through which in later periods it may have acted had been
flowing since the dawn of history, and even perhaps in prehistoric
times. It is probable that Syria formed one of the links by which we
may explain the Babylonian elements that are attested in prehistoric
Egyptian culture.[1] But another possible line of advance may have
been by way of Arabia and across the Red Sea into Upper Egypt.

[1] Cf. /Sumer and Akkad/, pp. 322 ff.; and for a full discussion of
    the points of resemblance between the early Babylonian and
    Egyptian civilizations, see Sayce, /The Archaeology of the
    Cuneiform Inscriptions/, chap. iv, pp. 101 ff.

The latter line of contact is suggested by an interesting piece of
evidence that has recently been obtained. A prehistoric flint knife,
with a handle carved from the tooth of a hippopotamus, has been
purchased lately by the Louvre,[1] and is said to have been found at
Gebel el-`Arak near Naga` Hamadi, which lies on the Nile not far below
Koptos, where an ancient caravan-track leads by Wadi Hammamat to the
Red Sea. On one side of the handle is a battle-scene including some
remarkable representations of ancient boats. All the warriors are nude
with the exception of a loin girdle, but, while one set of combatants
have shaven heads or short hair, the others have abundant locks
falling in a thick mass upon the shoulder. On the other face of the
handle is carved a hunting scene, two hunters with dogs and desert
animals being arranged around a central boss. But in the upper field
is a very remarkable group, consisting of a personage struggling with
two lions arranged symmetrically. The rest of the composition is not
very unlike other examples of prehistoric Egyptian carving in low
relief, but here attitude, figure, and clothing are quite un-Egyptian.
The hero wears a sort of turban on his abundant hair, and a full and
rounded beard descends upon his breast. A long garment clothes him
from the waist and falls below the knees, his muscular calves ending
in the claws of a bird of prey. There is nothing like this in
prehistoric Egyptian art.

[1] See Bénédite, "Le couteau de Gebel al-`Arak", in /Foundation
    Eugcne Piot, Mon. et. Mém./, XXII. i. (1916).

Perhaps Monsieur Bénédite is pressing his theme too far when he
compares the close-cropped warriors on the handle with the shaven
Sumerians and Elamites upon steles from Telloh and Susa, for their
loin-girdles are African and quite foreign to the Euphrates Valley.
And his suggestion that two of the boats, flat-bottomed and with high
curved ends, seem only to have navigated the Tigris and Euphrates,[1]
will hardly command acceptance. But there is no doubt that the heroic
personage upon the other face is represented in the familiar attitude
of the Babylonian hero Gilgamesh struggling with lions, which formed
so favourite a subject upon early Sumerian and Babylonian seals. His
garment is Sumerian or Semitic rather than Egyptian, and the mixture
of human and bird elements in the figure, though not precisely
paralleled at this early period, is not out of harmony with
Mesopotamian or Susan tradition. His beard, too, is quite different
from that of the Libyan desert tribes which the early Egyptian kings
adopted. Though the treatment of the lions is suggestive of proto-
Elamite rather than of early Babylonian models, the design itself is
unmistakably of Mesopotamian origin. This discovery intensifies the
significance of other early parallels that have been noted between the
civilizations of the Euphrates and the Nile, but its evidence, so far
as it goes, does not point to Syria as the medium of prehistoric
intercourse. Yet then, as later, there can have been no physical
barrier to the use of the river-route from Mesopotamia into Syria and
of the tracks thence southward along the land-bridge to the Nile's

[1] Op. cit., p. 32.

In the early historic periods we have definite evidence that the
eastern coast of the Levant exercised a strong fascination upon the
rulers of both Egypt and Babylonia. It may be admitted that Syria had
little to give in comparison to what she could borrow, but her local
trade in wine and oil must have benefited by an increase in the
through traffic which followed the working of copper in Cyprus and
Sinai and of silver in the Taurus. Moreover, in the cedar forests of
Lebanon and the north she possessed a product which was highly valued
both in Egypt and the treeless plains of Babylonia. The cedars
procured by Sneferu from Lebanon at the close of the IIIrd Dynasty
were doubtless floated as rafts down the coast, and we may see in them
evidence of a regular traffic in timber. It has long been known that
the early Babylonian king Sharru-kin, or Sargon of Akkad, had pressed
up the Euphrates to the Mediterranean, and we now have information
that he too was fired by a desire for precious wood and metal. One of
the recently published Nippur inscriptions contains copies of a number
of his texts, collected by an ancient scribe from his statues at
Nippur, and from these we gather additional details of his campaigns.
We learn that after his complete subjugation of Southern Babylonia he
turned his attention to the west, and that Enlil gave him the lands
"from the Upper Sea to the Lower Sea", i.e. from the Mediterranean to
the Persian Gulf. Fortunately this rather vague phrase, which survived
in later tradition, is restated in greater detail in one of the
contemporary versions, which records that Enlil "gave him the upper
land, Mari, Iarmuti, and Ibla, as far as the Cedar Forest and the
Silver Mountains".[1]

[1] See Poebel, /Historical Texts/ (Univ. of Penns. Mus. Publ., Bab.
    Sect., Vol. IV, No. 1, 1914), pp. 177 f., 222 ff.

Mari was a city on the middle Euphrates, but the name may here signify
the district of Mari which lay in the upper course of Sargon's march.
Now we know that the later Sumerian monarch Gudea obtained his cedar
beams from the Amanus range, which he names /Amanum/ and describes as
the "cedar mountains".[1] Doubtless he felled his trees on the eastern
slopes of the mountain. But we may infer from his texts that Sargon
actually reached the coast, and his "Cedar Forest" may have lain
farther to the south, perhaps as far south as the Lebanon. The "Silver
Mountains" can only be identified with the Taurus, where silver mines
were worked in antiquity. The reference to Iarmuti is interesting, for
it is clearly the same place as Iarimuta or Iarimmuta, of which we
find mention in the Tell el-Amarna letters. From the references to
this district in the letters of Rib-Adda, governor of Byblos, we may
infer that it was a level district on the coast, capable of producing
a considerable quantity of grain for export, and that it was under
Egyptian control at the time of Amenophis IV. Hitherto its position
has been conjecturally placed in the Nile Delta, but from Sargon's
reference we must probably seek it on the North Syrian or possibly the
Cilician coast. Perhaps, as Dr. Poebel suggests, it was the plain of
Antioch, along the lower course and at the mouth of the Orontes. But
his further suggestion that the term is used by Sargon for the whole
stretch of country between the sea and the Euphrates is hardly
probable. For the geographical references need not be treated as
exhaustive, but as confined to the more important districts through
which the expedition passed. The district of Ibla which is also
mentioned by Naram-Sin and Gudea, lay probably to the north of
Iarmuti, perhaps on the southern slopes of Taurus. It, too, we may
regard as a district of restricted extent rather than as a general
geographical term for the extreme north of Syria.

[1] Thureau-Dangin, /Les inscriptions de Sumer de d'Akkad/, p. 108 f.,
    Statue B, col. v. 1. 28; Germ. ed., p. 68 f.

It is significant that Sargon does not allude to any battle when
describing this expedition, nor does he claim to have devastated the
western countries.[1] Indeed, most of these early expeditions to the
west appear to have been inspired by motives of commercial enterprise
rather than of conquest. But increase of wealth was naturally followed
by political expansion, and Egypt's dream of an Asiatic empire was
realized by Pharaohs of the XVIIIth Dynasty. The fact that Babylonian
should then have been adopted as the medium of official intercourse in
Syria points to the closeness of the commercial ties which had already
united the Euphrates Valley with the west. Egyptian control had passed
from Canaan at the time of the Hebrew settlement, which was indeed a
comparatively late episode in the early history of Syria. Whether or
not we identify the Khabiri with the Hebrews, the character of the
latter's incursion is strikingly illustrated by some of the Tell
el-Amarna letters. We see a nomad folk pressing in upon settled
peoples and gaining a foothold here and there.[2]

[1] In some versions of his new records Sargon states that "5,400 men
    daily eat bread before him" (see Poebel, op. cit., p. 178); though
    the figure may be intended to convey an idea of the size of
    Sargon's court, we may perhaps see in it a not inaccurate estimate
    of the total strength of his armed forces.

[2] See especially Professor Burney's forthcoming commentary on Judges
    (passim), and his forthcoming Schweich Lectures (now delivered, in

The great change from desert life consists in the adoption of
agriculture, and when once that was made by the Hebrews any further
advance in economic development was dictated by their new
surroundings. The same process had been going on, as we have seen, in
Syria since the dawn of history, the Semitic nomad passing gradually
through the stages of agricultural and village life into that of the
city. The country favoured the retention of tribal exclusiveness, but
ultimate survival could only be purchased at the cost of some
amalgamation with their new neighbours. Below the surface of Hebrew
history these two tendencies may be traced in varying action and
reaction. Some sections of the race engaged readily in the social and
commercial life of Canaanite civilization with its rich inheritance
from the past. Others, especially in the highlands of Judah and the
south, at first succeeded in keeping themselves remote from foreign
influence. During the later periods of the national life the country
was again subjected, and in an intensified degree, to those forces of
political aggression from Mesopotamia and Egypt which we have already
noted as operating in Canaan. But throughout the settled Hebrew
community as a whole the spark of desert fire was not extinguished,
and by kindling the zeal of the Prophets it eventually affected nearly
all the white races of mankind.

In his Presidential Address before the British Association at
Newcastle,[1] Sir Arthur Evans emphasized the part which recent
archaeology has played in proving the continuity of human culture from
the most remote periods. He showed how gaps in our knowledge had been
bridged, and he traced the part which each great race had taken in
increasing its inheritance. We have, in fact, ample grounds for
assuming an interchange, not only of commercial products, but, in a
minor degree, of ideas within areas geographically connected; and it
is surely not derogatory to any Hebrew writer to suggest that he may
have adopted, and used for his own purposes, conceptions current among
his contemporaries. In other words, the vehicle of religious ideas may
well be of composite origin; and, in the course of our study of early
Hebrew tradition, I suggest that we hold ourselves justified in
applying the comparative method to some at any rate of the ingredients
which went to form the finished product. The process is purely
literary, but it finds an analogy in the study of Semitic art,
especially in the later periods. And I think it will make my meaning
clearer if we consider for a moment a few examples of sculpture
produced by races of Semitic origin. I do not suggest that we should
regard the one process as in any way proving the existence of the
other. We should rather treat the comparison as illustrating in
another medium the effect of forces which, it is clear, were operative
at various periods upon races of the same stock from which the Hebrews
themselves were descended. In such material products the eye at once
detects the Semite's readiness to avail himself of foreign models. In
some cases direct borrowing is obvious; in others, to adapt a metaphor
from music, it is possible to trace extraneous /motifs/ in the

[1] "New Archaeological Lights on the Origins of Civilization in
    Europe," British Association, Newcastle-on-Tyne, 1916.

[2] The necessary omission of plates, representing the slides shown in
    the lectures, has involved a recasting of most passages in which
    points of archaeological detail were discussed; see Preface. But
    the following paragraphs have been retained as the majority of the
    monuments referred to are well known.

Some of the most famous monuments of Semitic art date from the Persian
and Hellenistic periods, and if we glance at them in this connexion it
is in order to illustrate during its most obvious phase a tendency of
which the earlier effects are less pronounced. In the sarcophagus of
the Sidonian king Eshmu-`azar II, which is preserved in the Louvre,[1]
we have indeed a monument to which no Semitic sculptor can lay claim.
Workmanship and material are Egyptian, and there is no doubt that it
was sculptured in Egypt and transported to Sidon by sea. But the
king's own engravers added the long Phoenician inscription, in which
he adjures princes and men not to open his resting-place since there
are no jewels therein, concluding with some potent curses against any
violation of his tomb. One of the latter implores the holy gods to
deliver such violators up "to a mighty prince who shall rule over
them", and was probably suggested by Alexander's recent occupation of
Sidon in 332 B.C. after his reduction and drastic punishment of Tyre.
King Eshmun-`zar was not unique in his choice of burial in an Egyptian
coffin, for he merely followed the example of his royal father,
Tabnith, "priest of `Ashtart and king of the Sidonians", whose
sarcophagus, preserved at Constantinople, still bears in addition to
his own epitaph that of its former occupant, a certain Egyptian
general Penptah. But more instructive than these borrowed memorials is
a genuine example of Phoenician work, the stele set up by Yehaw-milk,
king of Byblos, and dating from the fourth or fifth century B.C.[2] In
the sculptured panel at the head of the stele the king is represented
in the Persian dress of the period standing in the presence of
`Ashtart or Astarte, his "Lady, Mistress of Byblos". There is no doubt
that the stele is of native workmanship, but the influence of Egypt
may be seen in the technique of the carving, in the winged disk above
the figures, and still more in the representation of the goddess in
her character as the Egyptian Hathor, with disk and horns, vulture
head-dress and papyrus-sceptre. The inscription records the dedication
of an altar and shrine to the goddess, and these too we may conjecture
were fashioned on Egyptian lines.

[1] /Corp. Inscr. Semit./, I. i, tab. II.

[2] /C.I.S./, I. i, tab. I.

The representation of Semitic deities under Egyptian forms and with
Egyptian attributes was encouraged by the introduction of their cults
into Egypt itself. In addition to Astarte of Byblos, Ba`al, Anath, and
Reshef were all borrowed from Syria in comparatively early times and
given Egyptian characters. The conical Syrian helmet of Reshef, a god
of war and thunder, gradually gave place to the white Egyptian crown,
so that as Reshpu he was represented as a royal warrior; and Qadesh,
another form of Astarte, becoming popular with Egyptian women as a
patroness of love and fecundity, was also sometimes modelled on

[1] See W. Max Müller, /Egyptological Researches/, I, p. 32 f., pl.
    41, and S. A. Cook, /Religion of Ancient Palestine/, pp. 83 ff.

Semitic colonists on the Egyptian border were ever ready to adopt
Egyptian symbolism in delineating the native gods to whom they owed
allegiance, and a particularly striking example of this may be seen on
a stele of the Persian period preserved in the Cairo Museum.[1] It was
found at Tell Defenneh, on the right bank of the Pelusiac branch of
the Nile, close to the old Egyptian highway into Syria, a site which
may be identified with that of the biblical Tahpanhes and the Daphnae
of the Greeks. Here it was that the Jewish fugitives, fleeing with
Jeremiah after the fall of Jerusalem, founded a Jewish colony beside a
flourishing Phoenician and Aramaean settlement. One of the local gods
of Tahpanhes is represented on the Cairo monument, an Egyptian stele
in the form of a naos with the winged solar disk upon its frieze. He
stands on the back of a lion and is clothed in Asiatic costume with
the high Syrian tiara crowning his abundant hair. The Syrian
workmanship is obvious, and the Syrian character of the cult may be
recognized in such details as the small brazen fire-altar before the
god, and the sacred pillar which is being anointed by the officiating
priest. But the god holds in his left hand a purely Egyptian sceptre
and in his right an emblem as purely Babylonian, the weapon of Marduk
and Gilgamesh which was also wielded by early Sumerian kings.

[1] Müller, op. cit., p. 30 f., pl. 40. Numismatic evidence exhibits a
    similar readiness on the part of local Syrian cults to adopt the
    veneer of Hellenistic civilization while retaining in great
    measure their own individuality; see Hill, "Some Palestinian Cults
    in the Graeco-Roman Age", in /Proceedings of the British Academy/,
    Vol. V (1912).

The Elephantine papyri have shown that the early Jews of the Diaspora,
though untrammeled by the orthodoxy of Jerusalem, maintained the
purity of their local cult in the face of considerable difficulties.
Hence the gravestones of their Aramaean contemporaries, which have
been found in Egypt, can only be cited to illustrate the temptations
to which they were exposed.[1] Such was the memorial erected by Abseli
to the memory of his parents, Abba and Ahatbu, in the fourth year of
Xerxes, 481 B.C.[2] They had evidently adopted the religion of Osiris,
and were buried at Saqqarah in accordance with the Egyptian rites. The
upper scene engraved upon the stele represents Abba and his wife in
the presence of Osiris, who is attended by Isis and Nephthys; and in
the lower panel is the funeral scene, in which all the mourners with
one exception are Asiatics. Certain details of the rites that are
represented, and mistakes in the hieroglyphic version of the text,
prove that the work is Aramaean throughout.[3]

[1] It may be admitted that the Greek platonized cult of Isis and
    Osiris had its origin in the fusion of Greeks and Egyptians which
    took place in Ptolemaic times (cf. Scott-Moncrieff, /Paganism and
    Christianity in Egypt/, p. 33 f.). But we may assume that already
    in the Persian period the Osiris cult had begun to acquire a tinge
    of mysticism, which, though it did not affect the mechanical
    reproduction of the native texts, appealed to the Oriental mind as
    well as to certain elements in Greek religion. Persian influence
    probably prepared the way for the Platonic exegesis of the Osiris
    and Isis legends which we find in Plutarch; and the latter may
    have been in great measure a development, and not, as is often
    assumed, a complete misunderstanding of the later Egyptian cult.

[2] /C.I.S./, II. i, tab. XI, No. 122.

[3] A very similar monument is the Carpentras Stele (/C.I.S./, II., i,
    tab. XIII, No. 141), commemorating Taba, daughter of Tahapi, an
    Aramaean lady who was also a convert to Osiris. It is rather later
    than that of Abba and his wife, since the Aramaic characters are
    transitional from the archaic to the square alphabet; see Driver,
    /Notes on the Hebrew Text of the Books of Samuel/, pp. xviii ff.,
    and Cooke, /North Semitic Inscriptions/, p. 205 f. The Vatican
    Stele (op. cit. tab. XIV. No. 142), which dates from the fourth
    century, represents inferior work.

If our examples of Semitic art were confined to the Persian and later
periods, they could only be employed to throw light on their own
epoch, when through communication had been organized, and there was
consequently a certain pooling of commercial and artistic products
throughout the empire.[1] It is true that under the Great King the
various petty states and provinces were encouraged to manage their own
affairs so long as they paid the required tribute, but their horizon
naturally expanded with increase of commerce and the necessity for
service in the king's armies. At this time Aramaic was the speech of
Syria, and the population, especially in the cities, was still largely
Aramaean. As early as the thirteenth century sections of this
interesting Semitic race had begun to press into Northern Syria from
the middle Euphrates, and they absorbed not only the old Canaanite
population but also the Hittite immigrants from Cappadocia. The latter
indeed may for a time have furnished rulers to the vigorous North
Syrian principalities which resulted from this racial combination, but
the Aramaean element, thanks to continual reinforcement, was
numerically dominant, and their art may legitimately be regarded as in
great measure a Semitic product. Fortunately we have recovered
examples of sculpture which prove that tendencies already noted in the
Persian period were at work, though in a minor degree, under the later
Assyrian empire. The discoveries made at Zenjirli, for example,
illustrate the gradually increasing effect of Assyrian influence upon
the artistic output of a small North Syrian state.

[1] Cf. Bevan, /House of Seleucus/, Vol. I, pp. 5, 260 f. The artistic
    influence of Mesopotamia was even more widely spread than that of
    Egypt during the Persian period. This is suggested, for example,
    by the famous lion-weight discovered at Abydos in Mysia, the town
    on the Hellespont famed for the loves of Hero and Leander. The
    letters of its Aramaic inscription (/C.I.S./, II. i, tab. VII, No.
    108) prove by their form that it dates from the Persian period,
    and its provenance is sufficiently attested. Its weight moreover
    suggests that it was not merely a Babylonian or Persian
    importation, but cast for local use, yet in design and technique
    it is scarcely distinguishable from the best Assyrian work of the
    seventh century.

This village in north-western Syria, on the road between Antioch and
Mar`ash, marks the site of a town which lay near the southern border
or just within the Syrian district of Sam'al. The latter is first
mentioned in the Assyrian inscriptions by Shalmaneser III, the son and
successor of the great conqueror, Ashur-nasir-pal; and in the first
half of the eighth century, though within the radius of Assyrian
influence, it was still an independent kingdom. It is to this period
that we must assign the earliest of the inscribed monuments discovered
at Zenjirli and its neighbourhood. At Gerjin, not far to the north-
west, was found the colossal statue of Hadad, chief god of the
Aramaeans, which was fashioned and set up in his honour by Panammu I,
son of Qaral and king of Ya'di.[1] In the long Aramaic inscription
engraved upon the statue Panammu records the prosperity of his reign,
which he ascribes to the support he has received from Hadad and his
other gods, El, Reshef, Rekub-el, and Shamash. He had evidently been
left in peace by Assyria, and the monument he erected to his god is of
Aramaean workmanship and design. But the influence of Assyria may be
traced in Hadad's beard and in his horned head-dress, modelled on that
worn by Babylonian and Assyrian gods as the symbol of divine power.

[1] See F. von Luschan, /Sendschirli/, I. (1893), pp. 49 ff., pl. vi;
    and cf. Cooke, /North Sem. Inscr./, pp. 159 ff. The characters of
    the inscription on the statue are of the same archaic type as
    those of the Moabite Stone, though unlike them they are engraved
    in relief; so too are the inscriptions of Panammu's later
    successor Bar-rekub (see below). Gerjin was certainly in Ya'di,
    and Winckler's suggestion that Zenjirli itself also lay in that
    district but near the border of Sam'al may be provisionally
    accepted; the occurrence of the names in the inscriptions can be
    explained in more than one way (see Cooke, op. cit., p. 183).

The political changes introduced into Ya'di and Sam'al by Tiglath-
pileser IV are reflected in the inscriptions and monuments of
Bar-rekub, a later king of the district. Internal strife had brought
disaster upon Ya'di and the throne had been secured by Panammu II, son
of Bar-sur, whose claims received Assyrian support. In the words of
his son Bar-rekub, "he laid hold of the skirt of his lord, the king of
Assyria", who was gracious to him; and it was probably at this time,
and as a reward for his loyalty, that Ya'di was united with the
neighbouring district of Sam'al. But Panammu's devotion to his foreign
master led to his death, for he died at the siege of Damascus, in 733
or 732 B.C., "in the camp, while following his lord, Tiglath-pileser,
king of Assyria". His kinsfolk and the whole camp bewailed him, and
his body was sent back to Ya'di, where it was interred by his son, who
set up an inscribed statue to his memory. Bar-rekub followed in his
father's footsteps, as he leads us to infer in his palace-inscription
found at Zenjirli: "I ran at the wheel of my lord, the king of
Assyria, in the midst of mighty kings, possessors of silver and
possessors of gold." It is not strange therefore that his art should
reflect Assyrian influence far more strikingly than that of Panammu I.
The figure of himself which he caused to be carved in relief on the
left side of the palace-inscription is in the Assyrian style,[1] and
so too is another of his reliefs from Zenjirli. On the latter
Bar-rekub is represented seated upon his throne with eunuch and scribe
in attendance, while in the field is the emblem of full moon and
crescent, here ascribed to "Ba`al of Harran", the famous centre of
moon-worship in Northern Mesopotamia.[2]

[1] /Sendschirli/, IV (1911), pl. lxvii. Attitude and treatment of
    robes are both Assyrian, and so is the arrangement of divine
    symbols in the upper field, though some of the latter are given
    under unfamiliar forms. The king's close-fitting peaked cap was
    evidently the royal headdress of Sam'al; see the royal figure on a
    smaller stele of inferior design, op. cit., pl. lxvi.

[2] Op. cit. pp. 257, 346 ff., and pl. lx. The general style of the
    sculpture and much of the detail are obviously Assyrian. Assyrian
    influence is particularly noticeable in Bar-rekub's throne; the
    details of its decoration are precisely similar to those of an
    Assyrian bronze throne in the British Museum. The full moon and
    crescent are not of the familiar form, but are mounted on a
    standard with tassels.

The detailed history and artistic development of Sam'al and Ya'di
convey a very vivid impression of the social and material effects upon
the native population of Syria, which followed the westward advance of
Assyria in the eighth century. We realize not only the readiness of
one party in the state to defeat its rival with the help of Assyrian
support, but also the manner in which the life and activities of the
nation as a whole were unavoidably affected by their action. Other
Hittite-Aramaean and Phoenician monuments, as yet undocumented with
literary records, exhibit a strange but not unpleasing mixture of
foreign /motifs/, such as we see on the stele from Amrith[1] in the
inland district of Arvad. But perhaps the most remarkable example of
Syrian art we possess is the king's gate recently discovered at
Carchemish.[2] The presence of the hieroglyphic inscriptions points to
the survival of Hittite tradition, but the figures represented in the
reliefs are of Aramaean, not Hittite, type. Here the king is seen
leading his eldest son by the hand in some stately ceremonial, and
ranged in registers behind them are the younger members of the royal
family, whose ages are indicated by their occupations.[3] The
employment of basalt in place of limestone does not disguise the
sculptor's debt to Assyria. But the design is entirely his own, and
the combined dignity and homeliness of the composition are
refreshingly superior to the arrogant spirit and hard execution which
mar so much Assyrian work. This example is particularly instructive,
as it shows how a borrowed art may be developed in skilled hands and
made to serve a purpose in complete harmony with its new environment.

[1] /Collection de Clercq/, t. II, pl. xxxvi. The stele is sculptured
    in relief with the figure of a North Syrian god. Here the winged
    disk is Egyptian, as well as the god's helmet with uraeus, and his
    loin-cloth; his attitude and his supporting lion are Hittite; and
    the lozenge-mountains, on which the lion stands, and the technique
    of the carving are Assyrian. But in spite of its composite
    character the design is quite successful and not in the least

[2] Hogarth, /Carchemish/, Pt. I (1914), pl. B. 7 f.

[3] Two of the older boys play at knuckle-bones, others whip spinning-
    tops, and a little naked girl runs behind supporting herself with
    a stick, on the head of which is carved a bird. The procession is
    brought up by the queen-mother, who carries the youngest baby and
    leads a pet lamb.

Such monuments surely illustrate the adaptability of the Semitic
craftsman among men of Phoenician and Aramaean strain. Excavation in
Palestine has failed to furnish examples of Hebrew work. But Hebrew
tradition itself justifies us in regarding this /trait/ as of more
general application, or at any rate as not repugnant to Hebrew
thought, when it relates that Solomon employed Tyrian craftsmen for
work upon the Temple and its furniture; for Phoenician art was
essentially Egyptian in its origin and general character. Even Eshmun-
`zar's desire for burial in an Egyptian sarcophagus may be paralleled
in Hebrew tradition of a much earlier period, when, in the last verse
of Genesis,[1] it is recorded that Joseph died, "and they embalmed
him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt". Since it formed the subject
of prophetic denunciation, I refrain for the moment from citing the
notorious adoption of Assyrian customs at certain periods of the later
Judaean monarchy. The two records I have referred to will suffice, for
we have in them cherished traditions, of which the Hebrews themselves
were proud, concerning the most famous example of Hebrew religious
architecture and the burial of one of the patriarchs of the race. A
similar readiness to make use of the best available resources, even of
foreign origin, may on analogy be regarded as at least possible in the
composition of Hebrew literature.

[1] Gen. l. 26, assigned by critics to E.

We shall see that the problems we have to face concern the possible
influence of Babylon, rather than of Egypt, upon Hebrew tradition. And
one last example, drawn from the later period, will serve to
demonstrate how Babylonian influence penetrated the ancient world and
has even left some trace upon modern civilization. It is  a fact,
though one perhaps not generally realized, that the twelve divisions
on the dials of our clocks and watches have a Babylonian, and
ultimately a Sumerian, ancestry. For why is it we divide the day into
twenty-four hours? We have a decimal system of reckoning, we count by
tens; why then should we divide the day and night into twelve hours
each, instead of into ten or some multiple of ten? The reason is that
the Babylonians divided the day into twelve double-hours; and the
Greeks took over their ancient system of time-division along with
their knowledge of astronomy and passed it on to us. So if we
ourselves, after more than two thousand years, are making use of an
old custom from Babylon, it would not be surprising if the Hebrews, a
contemporary race, should have fallen under her influence even before
they were carried away as captives and settled forcibly upon her

We may pass on, then, to the site from which our new material has been
obtained--the ancient city of Nippur, in central Babylonia. Though the
place has been deserted for at least nine hundred years, its ancient
name still lingers on in local tradition, and to this day /Niffer/ or
/Nuffar/ is the name the Arabs give the mounds which cover its
extensive ruins. No modern town or village has been built upon them or
in their immediate neighbourhood. The nearest considerable town is
Diwaniyah, on the left bank of the Hillah branch of the Euphrates,
twenty miles to the south-west; but some four miles to the south of
the ruins is the village of Suq el-`Afej, on the eastern edge of the
`Afej marshes, which begin to the south of Nippur and stretch away
westward. Protected by its swamps, the region contains a few primitive
settlements of the wild `Afej tribesmen, each a group of reed-huts
clustering around the mud fort of its ruling sheikh. Their chief
enemies are the Shammar, who dispute with them possession of the
pastures. In summer the marshes near the mounds are merely pools of
water connected by channels through the reed-beds, but in spring the
flood-water converts them into a vast lagoon, and all that meets the
eye are a few small hamlets built on rising knolls above the water-
level. Thus Nippur may be almost isolated during the floods, but the
mounds are protected from the waters' encroachment by an outer ring of
former habitation which has slightly raised the level of the
encircling area. The ruins of the city stand from thirty to seventy
feet above the plain, and in the north-eastern corner there rose,
before the excavations, a conical mound, known by the Arabs as /Bint
el-Emir/ or "The Princess". This prominent landmark represents the
temple-tower of Enlil's famous sanctuary, and even after excavation it
is still the first object that the approaching traveller sees on the
horizon. When he has climbed its summit he enjoys an uninterrupted
view over desert and swamp.

The cause of Nippur's present desolation is to be traced to the change
in the bed of the Euphrates, which now lies far to the west. But in
antiquity the stream flowed through the centre of the city, along the
dry bed of the Shatt en-Nil, which divides the mounds into an eastern
and a western group. The latter covers the remains of the city proper
and was occupied in part by the great business-houses and bazaars.
Here more than thirty thousand contracts and accounts, dating from the
fourth millennium to the fifth century B.C., were found in houses
along the former river-bank. In the eastern half of the city was
Enlil's great temple Ekur, with its temple-tower Imkharsag rising in
successive stages beside it. The huge temple-enclosure contained not
only the sacrificial shrines, but also the priests' apartments, store-
chambers, and temple-magazines. Outside its enclosing wall, to the
south-west, a large triangular mound, christened "Tablet Hill" by the
excavators, yielded a further supply of records. In addition to
business-documents of the First Dynasty of Babylon and of the later
Assyrian, Neo-Babylonian, and Persian periods, between two and three
thousand literary texts and fragments were discovered here, many of
them dating from the Sumerian period. And it is possible that some of
the early literary texts that have been published were obtained in
other parts of the city.

No less than twenty-one different strata, representing separate
periods of occupation, have been noted by the American excavators at
various levels within the Nippur mounds,[1] the earliest descending to
virgin soil some twenty feet below the present level of the
surrounding plain. The remote date of Nippur's foundation as a city
and cult-centre is attested by the fact that the pavement laid by
Naram-Sin in the south-eastern temple-court lies thirty feet above
virgin soil, while only thirty-six feet of superimposed /débris/
represent the succeeding millennia of occupation down to Sassanian and
early Arab times. In the period of the Hebrew captivity the city still
ranked as a great commercial market and as one of the most sacred
repositories of Babylonian religious tradition. We know that not far
off was Tel-abib, the seat of one of the colonies of Jewish exiles,
for that lay "by the river of Chebar",[2] which we may identify with
the Kabaru Canal in Nippur's immediate neighbourhood. It was "among
the captives by the river Chebar" that Ezekiel lived and prophesied,
and it was on Chebar's banks that he saw his first vision of the
Cherubim.[3] He and other of the Jewish exiles may perhaps have
mingled with the motley crowd that once thronged the streets of
Nippur, and they may often have gazed on the huge temple-tower which
rose above the city's flat roofs. We know that the later population of
Nippur itself included a considerable Jewish element, for the upper
strata of the mounds have yielded numerous clay bowls with Hebrew,
Mandaean, and Syriac magical inscriptions;[4] and not the least
interesting of the objects recovered was the wooden box of a Jewish
scribe, containing his pen and ink-vessel and a little scrap of
crumbling parchment inscribed with a few Hebrew characters.[5]

[1] See Hilprecht, /Explorations in Bible Lands/, pp. 289 ff., 540
    ff.; and Fisher, /Excavations at Nippur/, Pt. I (1905), Pt. II

[2] Ezek. iii. 15.

[3] Ezek. i. 1, 3; iii. 23; and cf. x. 15, 20, 22, and xliii. 3.

[4] See J. A. Montgomery, /Aramaic Incantation Texts from Nippur/,

[5] Hilprecht, /Explorations/, p. 555 f.

Of the many thousands of inscribed clay tablets which were found in
the course of the expeditions, some were kept at Constantinople, while
others were presented by the Sultan Abdul Hamid to the excavators, who
had them conveyed to America. Since that time a large number have been
published. The work was necessarily slow, for many of the texts were
found to be in an extremely bad state of preservation. So it happened
that a great number of the boxes containing tablets remained until
recently still packed up in the store-rooms of the Pennsylvania
Museum. But under the present energetic Director of the Museum, Dr. G.
B. Gordon, the process of arranging and publishing the mass of
literary material has been "speeded up". A staff of skilled workmen
has been employed on the laborious task of cleaning the broken tablets
and fitting the fragments together. At the same time the help of
several Assyriologists was welcomed in the further task of running
over and sorting the collections as they were prepared for study.
Professor Clay, Professor Barton, Dr. Langdon, Dr. Edward Chiera, and
Dr. Arno Poebel have all participated in the work. But the lion's
share has fallen to the last-named scholar, who was given leave of
absence by John Hopkins University in order to take up a temporary
appointment at the Pennsylvania Museum. The result of his labours was
published by the Museum at the end of 1914.[1] The texts thus made
available for study are of very varied interest. A great body of them
are grammatical and represent compilations made by Semitic scribes of
the period of Hammurabi's dynasty for their study of the old Sumerian
tongue. Containing, as most of them do, Semitic renderings of the
Sumerian words and expressions collected, they are as great a help to
us in our study of Sumerian language as they were to their compilers;
in particular they have thrown much new light on the paradigms of the
demonstrative and personal pronouns and on Sumerian verbal forms. But
literary texts are also included in the recent publications.

[1] Poebel, /Historical Texts/ and /Historical and Grammatical Texts/
    (Univ. of Penns. Mus. Publ., Bab. Sect., Vol. IV, No. 1, and Vol.
    V), Philadelphia, 1914.

When the Pennsylvania Museum sent out its first expedition, lively
hopes were entertained that the site selected would yield material of
interest from the biblical standpoint. The city of Nippur, as we have
seen, was one of the most sacred and most ancient religious centres in
the country, and Enlil, its city-god, was the head of the Babylonian
pantheon. On such a site it seemed likely that we might find versions
of the Babylonian legends which were current at the dawn of history
before the city of Babylonia and its Semitic inhabitants came upon the
scene. This expectation has proved to be not unfounded, for the
literary texts include the Sumerian Deluge Version and Creation myth
to which I referred at the beginning of the lecture. Other texts of
almost equal interest consist of early though fragmentary lists of
historical and semi-mythical rulers. They prove that Berossus and the
later Babylonians depended on material of quite early origin in
compiling their dynasties of semi-mythical kings. In them we obtain a
glimpse of ages more remote than any on which excavation in Babylonia
has yet thrown light, and for the first time we have recovered genuine
native tradition of early date with regard to the cradle of Babylonian
culture. Before we approach the Sumerian legends themselves, it will
be as well to-day to trace back in this tradition the gradual merging
of history into legend and myth, comparing at the same time the
ancient Egyptian's picture of his own remote past. We will also
ascertain whether any new light is thrown by our inquiry upon Hebrew
traditions concerning the earliest history of the human race and the
origins of civilization.

In the study of both Egyptian and Babylonian chronology there has been
a tendency of late years to reduce the very early dates that were
formerly in fashion. But in Egypt, while the dynasties of Manetho have
been telescoped in places, excavation has thrown light on predynastic
periods, and we can now trace the history of culture in the Nile
Valley back, through an unbroken sequence, to its neolithic stage.
Quite recently, too, as I mentioned just now, a fresh literary record
of these early predynastic periods has been recovered, on a fragment
of the famous Palermo Stele, our most valuable monument for early
Egyptian history and chronology. Egypt presents a striking contrast to
Babylonia in the comparatively small number of written records which
have survived for the reconstruction of her history. We might well
spare much of her religious literature, enshrined in endless temple-
inscriptions and papyri, if we could but exchange it for some of the
royal annals of Egyptian Pharaohs. That historical records of this
character were compiled by the Egyptian scribes, and that they were as
detailed and precise in their information as those we have recovered
from Assyrian sources, is clear from the few extracts from the annals
of Thothmes III's wars which are engraved on the walls of the temple
at Karnak.[1] As in Babylonia and Assyria, such records must have
formed the foundation on which summaries of chronicles of past
Egyptian history were based. In the Palermo Stele it is recognized
that we possess a primitive chronicle of this character.

[1] See Breasted, /Ancient Records/, I, p. 4, II, pp. 163 ff.

Drawn up as early as the Vth Dynasty, its historical summary proves
that from the beginning of the dynastic age onward a yearly record was
kept of the most important achievements of the reigning Pharaoh. In
this fragmentary but invaluable epitome, recording in outline much of
the history of the Old Kingdom,[1] some interesting parallels have
long been noted with Babylonian usage. The early system of time-
reckoning, for example, was the same in both countries, each year
being given an official title from the chief event that occurred in
it. And although in Babylonia we are still without material for
tracing the process by which this cumbrous method gave place to that
of reckoning by regnal years, the Palermo Stele demonstrates the way
in which the latter system was evolved in Egypt. For the events from
which the year was named came gradually to be confined to the fiscal
"numberings" of cattle and land. And when these, which at first had
taken place at comparatively long intervals, had become annual events,
the numbered sequence of their occurrence corresponded precisely to
the years of the king's reign. On the stele, during the dynastic
period, each regnal year is allotted its own space or rectangle,[2]
arranged in horizontal sequence below the name and titles of the
ruling king.

[1] Op. cit., I, pp. 57 ff.

[2] The spaces are not strictly rectangles, as each is divided
    vertically from the next by the Egyptian hieroglyph for "year".

The text, which is engraved on both sides of a great block of black
basalt, takes its name from the fact that the fragment hitherto known
has been preserved since 1877 at the Museum of Palermo. Five other
fragments of the text have now been published, of which one
undoubtedly belongs to the same monument as the Palermo fragment,
while the others may represent parts of one or more duplicate copies
of that famous text. One of the four Cairo fragments[1] was found by a
digger for /sebakh/ at Mitrahineh (Memphis); the other three, which
were purchased from a dealer, are said to have come from Minieh, while
the fifth fragment, at University College, is also said to have come
from Upper Egypt,[2] though it was purchased by Professor Petrie while
at Memphis. These reports suggest that a number of duplicate copies
were engraved and set up in different Egyptian towns, and it is
possible that the whole of the text may eventually be recovered. The
choice of basalt for the records was obviously dictated by a desire
for their preservation, but it has had the contrary effect; for the
blocks of this hard and precious stone have been cut up and reused in
later times. The largest and most interesting of the new fragments has
evidently been employed as a door-sill, with the result that its
surface is much rubbed and parts of its text are unfortunately almost
undecipherable. We shall see that the earliest section of its record
has an important bearing on our knowledge of Egyptian predynastic
history and on the traditions of that remote period which have come
down to us from the history of Manetho.

[1] See Gautier, /Le Musée Égyptien/, III (1915), pp. 29 ff., pl. xxiv
    ff., and Foucart, /Bulletin de l'Institut Franeais d'Archéologie
    Orientale/, XII, ii (1916), pp. 161 ff.; and cf. Gardiner, /Journ.
    of Egypt. Arch./, III, pp. 143 ff., and Petrie, /Ancient Egypt/,
    1916, Pt. III, pp. 114 ff.

[2] Cf. Petrie, op. cit., pp. 115, 120.

From the fragment of the stele preserved at Palermo we already knew
that its record went back beyond the Ist Dynasty into predynastic
times. For part of the top band of the inscription, which is there
preserved, contains nine names borne by kings of Lower Egypt or the
Delta, which, it had been conjectured, must follow the gods of Manetho
and precede the "Worshippers of Horus", the immediate predecessors of
the Egyptian dynasties.[1] But of contemporary rulers of Upper Egypt
we had hitherto no knowledge, since the supposed royal names
discovered at Abydos and assigned to the time of the "Worshippers of
Horus" are probably not royal names at all.[2] With the possible
exception of two very archaic slate palettes, the first historical
memorials recovered from the south do not date from an earlier period
than the beginning of the Ist Dynasty. The largest of the Cairo
fragments now helps us to fill in this gap in our knowledge.

[1] See Breasted, /Anc. Rec./, I, pp. 52, 57.

[2] Cf. Hall, /Ancient History of the Near East/, p. 99 f.

On the top of the new fragment[1] we meet the same band of rectangles
as at Palermo,[2] but here their upper portions are broken away, and
there only remains at the base of each of them the outlined figure of
a royal personage, seated in the same attitude as those on the Palermo
stone. The remarkable fact about these figures is that, with the
apparent exception of the third figure from the right,[3] each wears,
not the Crown of the North, as at Palermo, but the Crown of the South.
We have then to do with kings of Upper Egypt, not the Delta, and it is
no longer possible to suppose that the predynastic rulers of the
Palermo Stele were confined to those of Lower Egypt, as reflecting
northern tradition. Rulers of both halves of the country are
represented, and Monsieur Gautier has shown,[4] from data on the
reverse of the inscription, that the kings of the Delta were arranged
on the original stone before the rulers of the south who are outlined
upon our new fragment. Moreover, we have now recovered definite proof
that this band of the inscription is concerned with predynastic
Egyptian princes; for the cartouche of the king, whose years are
enumerated in the second band immediately below the kings of the
south, reads Athet, a name we may with certainty identify with
Athothes, the second successor of Menes, founder of the Ist Dynasty,
which is already given under the form Ateth in the Abydos List of
Kings.[5] It is thus quite certain that the first band of the
inscription relates to the earlier periods before the two halves of
the country were brought together under a single ruler.

[1] Cairo No. 1; see Gautier, /Mus. Égypt./, III, pl. xxiv f.

[2] In this upper band the spaces are true rectangles, being separated
    by vertical lines, not by the hieroglyph for "year" as in the
    lower bands; and each rectangle is assigned to a separate king,
    and not, as in the other bands, to a year of a king's reign.

[3] The difference in the crown worn by this figure is probably only
    apparent and not intentional; M. Foucart, after a careful
    examination of the fragment, concludes that it is due to
    subsequent damage or to an original defect in the stone; cf.
    /Bulletin/, XII, ii, p. 162.

[4] Op. cit., p. 32 f.

[5] In Manetho's list he corresponds to {Kenkenos}, the second
    successor of Menes according to both Africanus and Eusebius, who
    assign the name Athothis to the second ruler of the dynasty only,
    the Teta of the Abydos List. The form Athothes is preserved by
    Eratosthenes for both of Menes' immediate successors.

Though the tradition of these remote times is here recorded on a
monument of the Vth Dynasty, there is no reason to doubt its general
accuracy, or to suppose that we are dealing with purely mythological
personages. It is perhaps possible, as Monsieur Foucart suggests, that
missing portions of the text may have carried the record back through
purely mythical periods to Ptah and the Creation. In that case we
should have, as we shall see, a striking parallel to early Sumerian
tradition. But in the first extant portions of the Palermo text we are
already in the realm of genuine tradition. The names preserved appear
to be those of individuals, not of mythological creations, and we may
assume that their owners really existed. For though the invention of
writing had not at that time been achieved, its place was probably
taken by oral tradition. We know that with certain tribes of Africa at
the present day, who possess no knowledge of writing, there are
functionaries charged with the duty of preserving tribal traditions,
who transmit orally to their successors a remembrance of past chiefs
and some details of events that occurred centuries before.[1] The
predynastic Egyptians may well have adopted similar means for
preserving a remembrance of their past history.

[1] M. Foucart illustrates this point by citing the case of the
    Bushongos, who have in this way preserved a list of no less than a
    hundred and twenty-one of their past kings; op. cit., p. 182, and
    cf. Tordey and Joyce, "Les Bushongos", in /Annales du Musée du
    Congo Belge/, sér. III, t. II, fasc. i (Brussels, 1911).

Moreover, the new text furnishes fresh proof of the general accuracy
of Manetho, even when dealing with traditions of this prehistoric age.
On the stele there is no definite indication that these two sets of
predynastic kings were contemporaneous rulers of Lower and Upper Egypt
respectively; and since elsewhere the lists assign a single sovereign
to each epoch, it has been suggested that we should regard them as
successive representatives of the legitimate kingdom.[1] Now Manetho,
after his dynasties of gods and demi-gods, states that thirty Memphite
kings reigned for 1,790 years, and were followed by ten Thinite kings
whose reigns covered a period of 350 years. Neglecting the figures as
obviously erroneous, we may well admit that the Greek historian here
alludes to our two pre-Menite dynasties. But the fact that he should
regard them as ruling consecutively does not preclude the other
alternative. The modern convention of arranging lines of
contemporaneous rulers in parallel columns had not been evolved in
antiquity, and without some such method of distinction contemporaneous
rulers, when enumerated in a list, can only be registered
consecutively. It would be natural to assume that, before the
unification of Egypt by the founder of the Ist Dynasty, the rulers of
North and South were independent princes, possessing no traditions of
a united throne on which any claim to hegemony could be based. On the
assumption that this was so, their arrangement in a consecutive series
would not have deceived their immediate successors. But it would
undoubtedly tend in course of time to obliterate the tradition of
their true order, which even at the period of the Vth Dynasty may have
been completely forgotten. Manetho would thus have introduced no
strange or novel confusion; and this explanation would of course apply
to other sections of his system where the dynasties he enumerates
appear to be too many for their period. But his reproduction of two
lines of predynastic rulers, supported as it now is by the early
evidence of the Palermo text, only serves to increase our confidence
in the general accuracy of his sources, while at the same time it
illustrates very effectively the way in which possible inaccuracies,
deduced from independent data, may have arisen in quite early times.

[1] Foucart, loc. cit.

In contrast to the dynasties of Manetho, those of Berossus are so
imperfectly preserved that they have never formed the basis of
Babylonian chronology.[1] But here too, in the chronological scheme, a
similar process of reduction has taken place. Certain dynasties,
recovered from native sources and at one time regarded as consecutive,
were proved to have been contemporaneous; and archaeological evidence
suggested that some of the great gaps, so freely assumed in the royal
sequence, had no right to be there. As a result, the succession of
known rulers was thrown into truer perspective, and such gaps as
remained were being partially filled by later discoveries. Among the
latter the most important find was that of an early list of kings,
recently published by Pcre Scheil[2] and subsequently purchased by the
British Museum shortly before the war. This had helped us to fill in
the gap between the famous Sargon of Akkad and the later dynasties,
but it did not carry us far beyond Sargon's own time. Our
archaeological evidence also comes suddenly to an end. Thus the
earliest picture we have hitherto obtained of the Sumerians has been
that of a race employing an advanced system of writing and possessed
of a knowledge of metal. We have found, in short, abundant remains of
a bronze-age culture, but no traces of preceding ages of development
such as meet us on early Egyptian sites. It was a natural inference
that the advent of the Sumerians in the Euphrates Valley was sudden,
and that they had brought their highly developed culture with them
from some region of Central or Southern Asia. 

[1] While the evidence of Herodotus is extraordinarily valuable for
    the details he gives of the civilizations of both Egypt and
    Babylonia, and is especially full in the case of the former, it is
    of little practical use for the chronology. In Egypt his report of
    the early history is confused, and he hardly attempts one for
    Babylonia. It is probable that on such subjects he sometimes
    misunderstood his informants, the priests, whose traditions were
    more accurately reproduced by the later native writers Manetho and
    Berossus. For a detailed comparison of classical authorities in
    relation to both countries, see Griffith in Hogarth's /Authority
    and Archaeology/, pp. 161 ff.

[2] See /Comptes rendus/, 1911 (Oct.), pp. 606 ff., and /Rev.
    d'Assyr./, IX (1912), p. 69.

The newly published Nippur documents will cause us to modify that
view. The lists of early kings were themselves drawn up under the
Dynasty of Nisin in the twenty-second century B.C., and they give us
traces of possibly ten and at least eight other "kingdoms" before the
earliest dynasty of the known lists.[1] One of their novel features is
that they include summaries at the end, in which it is stated how
often a city or district enjoyed the privilege of being the seat of
supreme authority in Babylonia. The earliest of their sections lie
within the legendary period, and though in the third dynasty preserved
we begin to note signs of a firmer historical tradition, the great
break that then occurs in the text is at present only bridged by
titles of various "kingdoms" which the summaries give; a few even of
these are missing and the relative order of the rest is not assured.
But in spite of their imperfect state of preservation, these documents
are of great historical value and will furnish a framework for future
chronological schemes. Meanwhile we may attribute to some of the later
dynasties titles in complete agreement with Sumerian tradition. The
dynasty of Ur-Engur, for example, which preceded that of Nisin,
becomes, if we like, the Third Dynasty of Ur. Another important fact
which strikes us after a scrutiny of the early royal names recovered
is that, while two or three are Semitic,[2] the great majority of
those borne by the earliest rulers of Kish, Erech, and Ur are as
obviously Sumerian.

[1] See Poebel, /Historical Texts/, pp. 73 ff. and /Historical and
    Grammatical Texts/, pl. ii-iv, Nos. 2-5. The best preserved of the
    lists is No. 2; Nos. 3 and 4 are comparatively small fragments;
    and of No. 5 the obverse only is here published for the first
    time, the contents of the reverse having been made known some
    years ago by Hilprecht (cf. /Mathematical, Metrological, and
    Chronological Tablets/, p. 46 f., pl. 30, No. 47). The fragments
    belong to separate copies of the Sumerian dynastic record, and it
    happens that the extant portions of their text in some places
    cover the same period and are duplicates of one another.

[2] Cf., e.g., two of the earliest kings of Kish, Galumum and Zugagib.
    The former is probably the Semitic-Babylonian word /kalumum/,
    "young animal, lamb," the latter /zukakibum/, "scorpion"; cf.
    Poebel, /Hist. Texts/, p. 111. The occurrence of these names
    points to Semitic infiltration into Northern Babylonia since the
    dawn of history, a state of things we should naturally expect. It
    is improbable that on this point Sumerian tradition should have
    merely reflected the conditions of a later period.

It is clear that in native tradition, current among the Sumerians
themselves before the close of the third millennium, their race was
regarded as in possession of Babylonia since the dawn of history. This
at any rate proves that their advent was not sudden nor comparatively
recent, and it further suggests that Babylonia itself was the cradle
of their civilization. It will be the province of future
archaeological research to fill out the missing dynasties and to
determine at what points in the list their strictly historical basis
disappears. Some, which are fortunately preserved near the beginning,
bear on their face their legendary character. But for our purpose they
are none the worse for that.

In the first two dynasties, which had their seats at the cities of
Kish and Erech, we see gods mingling with men upon the earth. Tammuz,
the god of vegetation, for whose annual death Ezekiel saw women
weeping beside the Temple at Jerusalem, is here an earthly monarch. He
appears to be described as "a hunter", a phrase which recalls the
death of Adonis in Greek mythology. According to our Sumerian text he
reigned in Erech for a hundred years.

Another attractive Babylonian legend is that of Etana, the prototype
of Icarus and hero of the earliest dream of human flight.[1] Clinging
to the pinions of his friend the Eagle he beheld the world and its
encircling stream recede beneath him; and he flew through the gate of
heaven, only to fall headlong back to earth. He is here duly entered
in the list, where we read that "Etana, the shepherd who ascended to
heaven, who subdued all lands", ruled in the city of Kish for 635

[1] The Egyptian conception of the deceased Pharaoh ascending to
    heaven as a falcon and becoming merged into the sun, which first
    occurs in the Pyramid texts (see Gardiner in Cumont's /Études
    Syriennes/, pp. 109 ff.), belongs to a different range of ideas.
    But it may well have been combined with the Etana tradition to
    produce the funerary eagle employed so commonly in Roman Syria in
    representations of the emperor's apotheosis (cf. Cumont, op. cit.,
    pp. 37 ff., 115).

The god Lugal-banda is another hero of legend. When the hearts of the
other gods failed them, he alone recovered the Tablets of Fate, stolen
by the bird-god Zu from Enlil's palace. He is here recorded to have
reigned in Erech for 1,200 years.

Tradition already told us that Erech was the native city of Gilgamesh,
the hero of the national epic, to whom his ancestor Ut-napishtim
related the story of the Flood. Gilgamesh too is in our list, as king
of Erech for 126 years.

We have here in fact recovered traditions of Post-diluvian kings.
Unfortunately our list goes no farther back than that, but it is
probable that in its original form it presented a general
correspondence to the system preserved from Berossus, which enumerates
ten Antediluvian kings, the last of them Xisuthros, the hero of the
Deluge. Indeed, for the dynastic period, the agreement of these old
Sumerian lists with the chronological system of Berossus is striking.
The latter, according to Syncellus, gives 34,090 or 34,080 years as
the total duration of the historical period, apart from his preceding
mythical ages, while the figure as preserved by Eusebius is 33,091
years.[1] The compiler of one of our new lists,[2] writing some 1,900
years earlier, reckons that the dynastic period in his day had lasted
for 32,243 years. Of course all these figures are mythical, and even
at the time of the Sumerian Dynasty of Nisin variant traditions were
current with regard to the number of historical and semi-mythical
kings of Babylonia and the duration of their rule. For the earlier
writer of another of our lists,[3] separated from the one already
quoted by an interval of only sixty-seven years, gives 28,876[4] years
as the total duration of the dynasties at his time. But in spite of
these discrepancies, the general resemblance presented by the huge
totals in the variant copies of the list to the alternative figures of
Berossus, if we ignore his mythical period, is remarkable. They
indicate a far closer correspondence of the Greek tradition with that
of the early Sumerians themselves than was formerly suspected.

[1] The figure 34,090 is that given by Syncellus (ed. Dindorf, p.
    147); but it is 34,080 in the equivalent which is added in "sars",
    &c. The discrepancy is explained by some as due to an intentional
    omission of the units in the second reckoning; others would regard
    34,080 as the correct figure (cf. /Hist. of Bab./, p. 114 f.). The
    reading of ninety against eighty is supported by the 33,091 of
    Eusebius (/Chron. lib. pri./, ed. Schoene, col. 25).

[2] No. 4.

[3] No. 2.

[4] The figures are broken, but the reading given may be accepted with
    some confidence; see Poebel, /Hist. Inscr./, p. 103.

Further proof of this correspondence may be seen in the fact that the
new Sumerian Version of the Deluge Story, which I propose to discuss
in the second lecture, gives us a connected account of the world's
history down to that point. The Deluge hero is there a Sumerian king
named Ziusudu, ruling in one of the newly created cities of Babylonia
and ministering at the shrine of his city-god. He is continually given
the royal title, and the foundation of the Babylonian "kingdom" is
treated as an essential part of Creation. We may therefore assume that
an Antediluvian period existed in Sumerian tradition as in
Berossus.[1] And I think Dr. Poebel is right in assuming that the
Nippur copies of the Dynastic List begin with the Post-diluvian

[1] Of course it does not necessarily follow that the figure assigned
    to the duration of the Antediluvian or mythical period by the
    Sumerians would show so close a resemblance to that of Berossus as
    we have already noted in their estimates of the dynastic or
    historical period. But there is no need to assume that Berossus'
    huge total of a hundred and twenty "sars" (432,000 years) is
    entirely a product of Neo-Babylonian speculation; the total
    432,000 is explained as representing ten months of a cosmic year,
    each month consisting of twelve "sars", i.e. 12 x 3600 = 43,200
    years. The Sumerians themselves had no difficulty in picturing two
    of their dynastic rulers as each reigning for two "ners" (1,200
    years), and it would not be unlikely that "sars" were distributed
    among still earlier rulers; the numbers were easily written. For
    the unequal distribution of his hundred and twenty "sars" by
    Berossus among his ten Antediluvian kings, see Appendix II.

[2] The exclusion of the Antediluvian period from the list may perhaps
    be explained on the assumption that its compiler confined his
    record to "kingdoms", and that the mythical rulers who preceded
    them did not form a "kingdom" within his definition of the term.
    In any case we have a clear indication that an earlier period was
    included before the true "kingdoms", or dynasties, in an Assyrian
    copy of the list, a fragment of which is preserved in the British
    Museum from the Library of Ashur-bani-pal at Nineveh; see /Chron.
    conc. Early Bab. Kings/ (Studies in East. Hist., II f.), Vol. I,
    pp. 182 ff., Vol. II, pp. 48 ff., 143 f. There we find traces of
    an extra column of text preceding that in which the first Kingdom
    of Kish was recorded. It would seem almost certain that this extra
    column was devoted to Antediluvian kings. The only alternative
    explanation would be that it was inscribed with the summaries
    which conclude the Sumerian copies of our list. But later scribes
    do not so transpose their material, and the proper place for
    summaries is at the close, not at the beginning, of a list. In the
    Assyrian copy the Dynastic List is brought up to date, and extends
    down to the later Assyrian period. Formerly its compiler could
    only be credited with incorporating traditions of earlier times.
    But the correspondence of the small fragment preserved of its
    Second Column with part of the First Column of the Nippur texts
    (including the name of "Enmennunna") proves that the Assyrian
    scribe reproduced an actual copy of the Sumerian document.

Though Professor Barton, on the other hand, holds that the Dynastic
List had no concern with the Deluge, his suggestion that the early
names preserved by it may have been the original source of Berossus'
Antediluvian rulers[1] may yet be accepted in a modified form. In
coming to his conclusion he may have been influenced by what seems to
me an undoubted correspondence between one of the rulers in our list
and the sixth Antediluvian king of Berossus. I think few will be
disposed to dispute the equation

  {Daonos poimon} = Etana, a shepherd.

Each list preserves the hero's shepherd origin and the correspondence
of the names is very close, Daonos merely transposing the initial
vowel of Etana.[2] That Berossus should have translated a Post-
diluvian ruler into the Antediluvian dynasty would not be at all
surprising in view of the absence of detailed correspondence between
his later dynasties and those we know actually occupied the Babylonian
throne. Moreover, the inclusion of Babylon in his list of Antediluvian
cities should make us hesitate to regard all the rulers he assigns to
his earliest dynasty as necessarily retaining in his list their
original order in Sumerian tradition. Thus we may with a clear
conscience seek equations between the names of Berossus' Antediluvian
rulers and those preserved in the early part of our Dynastic List,
although we may regard the latter as equally Post-diluvian in Sumerian

[1] See the brief statement he makes in the course of a review of Dr.
    Poebel's volumes in the /American Journal of Semitic Languages and
    Literature/, XXXI, April 1915, p. 225. He does not compare any of
    the names, but he promises a study of those preserved and a
    comparison of the list with Berossus and with Gen. iv and v. It is
    possible that Professor Barton has already fulfilled his promise
    of further discussion, perhaps in his /Archaeology and the Bible/,
    to the publication of which I have seen a reference in another
    connexion (cf. /Journ. Amer. Or. Soc., Vol. XXXVI, p. 291); but I
    have not yet been able to obtain sight of a copy.

[2] The variant form {Daos} is evidently a mere contraction, and any
    claim it may have had to represent more closely the original form
    of the name is to be disregarded in view of our new equation.

This reflection, and the result already obtained, encourage us to
accept the following further equation, which is yielded by a renewed
scrutiny of the lists:

  {'Ammenon} = Enmenunna.

Here Ammenon, the fourth of Berossus' Antediluvian kings, presents a
wonderfully close transcription of the Sumerian name. The /n/ of the
first syllable has been assimilated to the following consonant in
accordance with a recognized law of euphony, and the resultant
doubling of the /m/ is faithfully preserved in the Greek. Precisely
the same initial component, /Enme/, occurs in the name Enmeduranki,
borne by a mythical king of Sippar, who has long been recognized as
the original of Berossus' seventh Antediluvian king, {Euedorakhos}.[1]
There too the original /n/ has been assimilated, but the Greek form
retains no doubling of the /m/ and points to its further weakening.

[1] Var. {Euedoreskhos}; the second half of the original name,
    Enmeduranki, is more closely preserved in /Edoranchus/, the form
    given by the Armenian translator of Eusebius.

I do not propose to detain you with a detailed discussion of Sumerian
royal names and their possible Greek equivalents. I will merely point
out that the two suggested equations, which I venture to think we may
regard as established, throw the study of Berossus' mythological
personages upon a new plane. No equivalent has hitherto been suggested
for {Daonos}; but {'Ammenon} has been confidently explained as the
equivalent of a conjectured Babylonian original, Ummanu, lit.
"Workman". The fact that we should now have recovered the Sumerian
original of the name, which proves to have no connexion in form or
meaning with the previously suggested Semitic equivalent, tends to
cast doubt on other Semitic equations proposed. Perhaps {'Amelon} or
{'Amillaros} may after all not prove to be the equivalent of Amzlu,
"Man", nor {'Amempsinos} that of Amzl-Sin. Both may find their true
equivalents in some of the missing royal names at the head of the
Sumerian Dynastic List. There too we may provisionally seek {'Aloros},
the "first king", whose equation with Aruru, the Babylonian mother-
goddess, never appeared a very happy suggestion.[1] The ingenious
proposal,[2] on the other hand, that his successor, {'Alaparos},
represents a miscopied {'Adaparos}, a Greek rendering of the name of
Adapa, may still hold good in view of Etana's presence in the Sumerian
dynastic record. Ut-napishtim's title, Khasisatra or Atrakhasis, "the
Very Wise", still of course remains the established equivalent of
{Xisouthros}; but for {'Otiartes} (? {'Opartes}), a rival to Ubar-
Tutu, Ut-napishtim's father, may perhaps appear. The new
identifications do not of course dispose of the old ones, except in
the case of Ummanu; but they open up a new line of approach and
provide a fresh field for conjecture.[3] Semitic, and possibly
contracted, originals are still possible for unidentified mythical
kings of Berossus; but such equations will inspire greater confidence,
should we be able to establish Sumerian originals for the Semitic
renderings, from new material already in hand or to be obtained in the

[1] Dr. Poebel (/Hist Inscr./, p. 42, n. 1) makes the interesting
    suggestion that {'Aloros} may represent an abbreviated and corrupt
    form of the name Lal-ur-alimma, which has come down to us as that
    of an early and mythical king of Nippur; see Rawlinson, /W.A.I./,
    IV, 60 (67), V, 47 and 44, and cf. /Sev. Tabl. of Creat./, Vol. I,
    p. 217, No. 32574, Rev., l. 2 f. It may be added that the
    sufferings with which the latter is associated in the tradition
    are perhaps such as might have attached themselves to the first
    human ruler of the world; but the suggested equation, though
    tempting by reason of the remote parallel it would thus furnish to
    Adam's fate, can at present hardly be accepted in view of the
    possibility that a closer equation to {'Aloros} may be

[2] Hommel, /Proc. Soc. Bibl. Arch./, Vol. XV (1893), p. 243.

[3] See further Appendix II.

But it is time I read you extracts from the earlier extant portions of
the Sumerian Dynastic List, in order to illustrate the class of
document with which we are dealing. From them it will be seen that the
record is not a tabular list of names like the well-known King's Lists
of the Neo-Babylonian period. It is cast in the form of an epitomized
chronicle and gives under set formulae the length of each king's
reign, and his father's name in cases of direct succession to father
or brother. Short phrases are also sometimes added, or inserted in the
sentence referring to a king, in order to indicate his humble origin
or the achievement which made his name famous in tradition. The head
of the First Column of the text is wanting, and the first royal name
that is completely preserved is that of Galumum, the ninth or tenth
ruler of the earliest "kingdom", or dynasty, of Kish. The text then
runs on connectedly for several lines:

  Galumum ruled for nine hundred years.
  Zugagib ruled for eight hundred and forty years.
  Arpi, son of a man of the people, ruled for seven hundred and twenty
  Etana, the shepherd who ascended to heaven, who subdued all lands,
    ruled for six hundred and thirty-five years.[1] 
  Pili . . ., son of Etana, ruled for four hundred and ten years.
  Enmenunna ruled for six hundred and eleven years.
  Melamkish, son of Enmenunna, ruled for nine hundred years.
  Barsalnunna, son of Enmenunna, ruled for twelve hundred years.
  Mesza[. . .], son of Barsalnunna, ruled for [. . .] years.
  [. . .], son of Barsalnunna, ruled for [. . .] years.

[1] Possibly 625 years.

A small gap then occurs in the text, but we know that the last two
representatives of this dynasty of twenty-three kings are related to
have ruled for nine hundred years and six hundred and twenty-five
years respectively. In the Second Column of the text the lines are
also fortunately preserved which record the passing of the first
hegemony of Kish to the "Kingdom of Eanna", the latter taking its name
from the famous temple of Anu and Ishtar in the old city of Erech. The
text continues:

  The kingdom of Kish passed to Eanna.
  In Eanna, Meskingasher, son of the Sun-god, ruled as high priest and
    king for three hundred and twenty-five years. Meskingasher entered
    into[1] [. . .] and ascended to [. . .].
  Enmerkar, son of Meskingasher, the king of Erech who built [. . .]
    with the people of Erech,[2] ruled as king for four hundred and
    twenty years.
  Lugalbanda, the shepherd, ruled for twelve hundred years.
  Dumuzi,[3], the hunter(?), whose city was . . ., ruled for a hundred
  Gishbilgames,[4] whose father was A,[5] the high priest of Kullab,
    ruled for one hundred and twenty-six[6] years.
  [. . .]lugal, son of Gishbilgames, ruled for [. . .] years.

[1] The verb may also imply descent into.

[2] The phrase appears to have been imperfectly copied by the scribe.
    As it stands the subordinate sentence reads "the king of Erech who
    built with the people of Erech". Either the object governed by the
    verb has been omitted, in which case we might restore some such
    phrase as "the city"; or, perhaps, by a slight transposition, we
    should read "the king who built Erech with the people of Erech".
    In any case the first building of the city of Erech, as
    distinguished from its ancient cult-centre Eanna, appears to be
    recorded here in the tradition. This is the first reference to
    Erech in the text; and Enmerkar's father was high priest as well
    as king.

[3] i.e. Tammuz.

[4] i.e. Gilgamesh.

[5] The name of the father of Gilgamesh is rather strangely expressed
    by the single sign for the vowel /a/ and must apparently be read
    as A. As there is a small break in the text at the end of this
    line, Dr. Poebel not unnaturally assumed that A was merely the
    first syllable of the name, of which the end was wanting. But it
    has now been shown that the complete name was A; see Förtsch,
    /Orient. Lit.-Zeit./, Vol. XVIII, No. 12 (Dec., 1915), col. 367
    ff. The reading is deduced from the following entry in an Assyrian
    explanatory list of gods (/Cun. Texts in the Brit. Mus./, Pt.
    XXIV, pl. 25, ll. 29-31): "The god A, who is also equated to the
    god Dubbisaguri (i.e. 'Scribe of Ur'), is the priest of Kullab;
    his wife is the goddess Ninguesirka (i.e. 'Lady of the edge of the
    street')." A, the priest of Kullab and the husband of a goddess,
    is clearly to be identified with A, the priest of Kullab and
    father of Gilgamesh, for we know from the Gilgamesh Epic that the
    hero's mother was the goddess Ninsun. Whether Ninguesirka was a
    title of Ninsun, or represents a variant tradition with regard to
    the parentage of Gilgamesh on the mother's side, we have in any
    case confirmation of his descent from priest and goddess. It was
    natural that A should be subsequently deified. This was not the
    case at the time our text was inscribed, as the name is written
    without the divine determinative.

[6] Possibly 186 years.

This group of early kings of Erech is of exceptional interest. Apart
from its inclusion of Gilgamesh and the gods Tammuz and Lugalbanda,
its record of Meskingasher's reign possibly refers to one of the lost
legends of Erech. Like him Melchizedek, who comes to us in a chapter
of Genesis reflecting the troubled times of Babylon's First
Dynasty,[1] was priest as well as king.[2] Tradition appears to have
credited Meskingasher's son and successor, Enmerkar, with the building
of Erech as a city around the first settlement Eanna, which had
already given its name to the "kingdom". If so, Sumerian tradition
confirms the assumption of modern research that the great cities of
Babylonia arose around the still more ancient cult-centres of the
land. We shall have occasion to revert to the traditions here recorded
concerning the parentage of Meskingasher, the founder of this line of
kings, and that of its most famous member, Gilgamesh. Meanwhile we may
note that the closing rulers of the "Kingdom of Eanna" are wanting.
When the text is again preserved, we read of the hegemony passing from
Erech to Ur and thence to Awan:

  The k[ingdom of Erech[3] passed to] Ur.
  In Ur Mesannipada became king and ruled for eighty years.
  Meskiagunna, son of Mesannipada, ruled for thirty years.
  Elu[. . .] ruled for twenty-five years.
  Balu[. . .] ruled for thirty-six years.
  Four kings (thus) ruled for a hundred and seventy-one years.
  The kingdom of Ur passed to Awan.
  In Awan . . .

[1] Cf. /Hist. of Bab./, p. 159 f.

[2] Gen. xiv. 18.

[3] The restoration of Erech here, in place of Eanna, is based on the
    absence of the latter name in the summary; after the building of
    Erech by Enmerkar, the kingdom was probably reckoned as that of

With the "Kingdom of Ur" we appear to be approaching a firmer
historical tradition, for the reigns of its rulers are recorded in
decades, not hundreds of years. But we find in the summary, which
concludes the main copy of our Dynastic List, that the kingdom of
Awan, though it consisted of but three rulers, is credited with a
total duration of three hundred and fifty-six years, implying that we
are not yet out of the legendary stratum. Since Awan is proved by
newly published historical inscriptions from Nippur to have been an
important deity of Elam at the time of the Dynasty of Akkad,[1] we
gather that the "Kingdom of Awan" represented in Sumerian tradition
the first occasion on which the country passed for a time under
Elamite rule. At this point a great gap occurs in the text, and when
the detailed dynastic succession in Babylonia is again assured, we
have passed definitely from the realm of myth and legend into that of

[1] Poebel, /Hist. Inscr./, p. 128.

[2] See further, Appendix II.

What new light, then, do these old Sumerian records throw on Hebrew
traditions concerning the early ages of mankind? I think it will be
admitted that there is something strangely familiar about some of
those Sumerian extracts I read just now. We seem to hear in them the
faint echo of another narrative, like them but not quite the same.

  And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years;
    and he died.
  And Seth lived an hundred and five years, and begat Enosh: and Seth
    lived after he begat Enosh eight hundred and seven years, and
    begat sons and daughters: and all the days of Seth were nine
    hundred and twelve years: and he died.
  . . . and all the days of Enosh were nine hundred and five years:
    and he died.
  . . . and all the days of Kenan were nine hundred and ten years: and
    he died.
  . . . and all the days of Mahalalel were eight hundred ninety and
    five years: and he died.
  . . . and all the days of Jared were nine hundred sixty and two
    years: and he died.
  . . . and all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five
    years: and Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took
  . . . and all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and
    nine years: and he died.
  . . . and all the days of Lamech were seven hundred seventy and
    seven years: and he died.
  And Noah was five hundred years old: and Noah begat Shem, Ham, and

Throughout these extracts from "the book of the generations of
Adam",[1] Galumum's nine hundred years[2] seem to run almost like a
refrain; and Methuselah's great age, the recognized symbol for
longevity, is even exceeded by two of the Sumerian patriarchs. The
names in the two lists are not the same,[3] but in both we are moving
in the same atmosphere and along similar lines of thought. Though each
list adheres to its own set formulae, it estimates the length of human
life in the early ages of the world on much the same gigantic scale as
the other. Our Sumerian records are not quite so formal in their
structure as the Hebrew narrative, but the short notes which here and
there relieve their stiff monotony may be paralleled in the Cainite
genealogy of the preceding chapter in Genesis.[4] There Cain's city-
building, for example, may pair with that of Enmerkar; and though our
new records may afford no precise equivalents to Jabal's patronage of
nomad life, or to the invention of music and metal-working ascribed to
Jubal and Tubal-cain, these too are quite in the spirit of Sumerian
and Babylonian tradition, in their attempt to picture the beginnings
of civilization. Thus Enmeduranki, the prototype of the seventh
Antediluvian patriarch of Berossus, was traditionally revered as the
first exponent of divination.[5] It is in the chronological and
general setting, rather than in the Hebrew names and details, that an
echo seems here to reach us from Sumer through Babylon.

[1] Gen. v. 1 ff. (P).

[2] The same length of reign is credited to Melamkish and to one and
    perhaps two other rulers of that first Sumerian "kingdom".

[3] The possibility of the Babylonian origin of some of the Hebrew
    names in this geneaology and its Cainite parallel has long been
    canvassed; and considerable ingenuity has been expended in
    obtaining equations between Hebrew names and those of the
    Antediluvian kings of Berossus by tracing a common meaning for
    each suggested pair. It is unfortunate that our new identification
    of {'Ammenon} with the Sumerian /Enmenunna/ should dispose of one
    of the best parallels obtained, viz. {'Ammenon} = Bab. /ummanu/,
    "workman" || Cain, Kenan = "smith". Another satisfactory pair
    suggested is {'Amelon} = Bab. /amzlu/, "man" || Enosh = "man"; but
    the resemblance of the former to /amzlu/ may prove to be
    fortuitous, in view of the possibility of descent from a quite
    different Sumerian original. The alternative may perhaps have to
    be faced that the Hebrew parallels to Sumerian and Babylonian
    traditions are here confined to chronological structure and
    general contents, and do not extend to Hebrew renderings of
    Babylonian names. It may be added that such correspondence between
    personal names in different languages is not very significant by
    itself. The name of Zugagib of Kish, for example, is paralleled by
    the title borne by one of the earliest kings of the Ist Dynasty of
    Egypt, Narmer, whose carved slate palettes have been found at
    Kierakonpolis; he too was known as "the Scorpion."

[4] Gen. iv. 17 ff. (J).

[5] It may be noted that an account of the origin of divination is
    included in his description of the descendents of Noah by the
    writer of the Biblical Antiquities of Philo, a product of the same
    school as the Fourth Book of Esdras and the Apocalypse of Baruch;
    see James, /The Biblical Antiquities of Philo/, p. 86.

I may add that a parallel is provided by the new Sumerian records to
the circumstances preceding the birth of the Nephilim at the beginning
of the sixth chapter of Genesis.[1] For in them also great prowess or
distinction is ascribed to the progeny of human and divine unions. We
have already noted that, according to the traditions the records
embody, the Sumerians looked back to a time when gods lived upon the
earth with men, and we have seen such deities as Tammuz and Lugalbanda
figuring as rulers of cities in the dynastic sequence. As in later
periods, their names are there preceded by the determinative for
divinity. But more significant still is the fact that we read of two
Sumerian heroes, also rulers of cities, who were divine on the
father's or mother's side but not on both. Meskingasher is entered in
the list as "son of the Sun-god",[2] and no divine parentage is
recorded on the mother's side. On the other hand, the human father of
Gilgamesh is described as the high priest of Kullab, and we know from
other sources that his mother was the goddess Ninsun.[3] That this is
not a fanciful interpretation is proved by a passage in the Gilgamesh
Epic itself,[4] in which its hero is described as two-thirds god and
one-third man. We again find ourselves back in the same stratum of
tradition with which the Hebrew narratives have made us so familiar.

[1] Gen. vi. 1-4 (J).

[2] The phrase recalls the familiar Egyptian royal designation "son of
    the Sun," and it is possible that we may connect with this same
    idea the Palermo Stele's inclusion of the mother's and omission of
    the father's name in its record of the early dynastic Pharaohs.
    This suggestion does not exclude the possibility of the prevalence
    of matrilineal (and perhaps originally also of matrilocal and
    matripotestal) conditions among the earliest inhabitants of Egypt.
    Indeed the early existence of some form of mother-right may have
    originated, and would certainly have encouraged, the growth of a
    tradition of solar parentage for the head of the state.

[3] Poebel, /Hist. Inscr./, p. 124 f.

[4] Tablet I, Col. ii, l. 1; and cf. Tablet IX, Col. ii. l. 16.

What light then does our new material throw upon traditional origins
of civilization? We have seen that in Egypt a new fragment of the
Palermo Stele has confirmed in a remarkable way the tradition of the
predynastic period which was incorporated in his history by Manetho.
It has long been recognized that in Babylonia the sources of Berossus
must have been refracted by the political atmosphere of that country
during the preceding nineteen hundred years. This inference our new
material supports; but when due allowance has been made for a
resulting disturbance of vision, the Sumerian origin of the remainder
of his evidence is notably confirmed. Two of his ten Antediluvian
kings rejoin their Sumerian prototypes, and we shall see that two of
his three Antediluvian cities find their place among the five of
primitive Sumerian belief. It is clear that in Babylonia, as in Egypt,
the local traditions of the dawn of history, current in the
Hellenistic period, were modelled on very early lines. Both countries
were the seats of ancient civilizations, and it is natural that each
should stage its picture of beginnings upon its own soil and embellish
it with local colouring.

It is a tribute to the historical accuracy of Hebrew tradition to
recognize that it never represented Palestine as the cradle of the
human race. It looked to the East rather than to the South for
evidence of man's earliest history and first progress in the arts of
life. And it is in the East, in the soil of Babylonia, that we may
legitimately seek material in which to verify the sources of that
traditional belief.

The new parallels I have to-day attempted to trace between some of the
Hebrew traditions, preserved in Gen. iv-vi, and those of the early
Sumerians, as presented by their great Dynastic List, are essentially
general in character and do not apply to details of narrative or to
proper names. If they stood alone, we should still have to consider
whether they are such as to suggest cultural influence or independent
origin. But fortunately they do not exhaust the evidence we have
lately recovered from the site of Nippur, and we will postpone
formulating our conclusions with regard to them until the whole field
has been surveyed. From the biblical standpoint by far the most
valuable of our new documents is one that incorporates a Sumerian
version of the Deluge story. We shall see that it presents a variant
and more primitive picture of that great catastrophe than those of the
Babylonian and Hebrew versions. And what is of even greater interest,
it connects the narrative of the Flood with that of Creation, and
supplies a brief but intermediate account of the Antediluvian period.
How then are we to explain this striking literary resemblance to the
structure of the narrative in Genesis, a resemblance that is
completely wanting in the Babylonian versions? But that is a problem
we must reserve for the next lecture.



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