Babylonia and surrounding region
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All the vessels of gold and of silver were five thousand and four hundred. All these did Sheshbazzar bring up, when they of the captivity were brought up from Babylon to Jerusalem.
Ezra 2:1 Now these are the children of the province, who went up out of the captivity of those who had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away to Babylon, and who returned to Jerusalem and Judah, everyone to his city;
Ezra 5:12 But after that our fathers had provoked the God of heaven to wrath, he gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this house, and carried the people away into Babylon.
Ezra 6:1 Then Darius the king made a decree, and search was made in the house of the archives, where the treasures were laid up in Babylon.
Ezra 7:6 this Ezra went up from Babylon: and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which Yahweh, the God of Israel, had given; and the king granted him all his request, according to the hand of Yahweh his God on him.
Ezra 7:9 For on the first day of the first month began he to go up from Babylon; and on the first day of the fifth month came he to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God on him.
Ezra 7:16 and all the silver and gold that you shall find in all the province of Babylon, with the freewill offering of the people, and of the priests, offering willingly for the house of their God which is in Jerusalem;
Ezra 8:1 Now these are the heads of their fathers' houses, and this is the genealogy of those who went up with me from Babylon, in the reign of Artaxerxes the king:
6. Home of the Semites
14. Personal Names
15. History of Kingdoms
30. First Dynasty of Babylon
31. Sealand Dynasty
32. Cassite Dynasty
33. Cassite Rule
34. Isin Dynasty
35. Nebuchadrezzar I
36. Sealand Dynasty
37. Bit-Bazi Dynasty
38. Other Rulers
39. Babylonian Dynasty
40. Neo-Babylonian Rulers
41. Persian Rulers of Babylon
Babylonia is a plain which is made up of the alluvial deposits of the mountainous regions in the North, where the Tigris and Euphrates have their source. The land is bounded on the North by Assyria and Mesopotamia; on the East by Elam, separated by the mountains of Elam; on the South by the sea marshes, and the country Kaldu (Chaldaea); and on the West by the Syrian desert. Some of the cities of the lower country were seaport towns in the early period, but now are far inland. This land-making process continues even at the present time at the rate of about 70 ft. a year.
This plain, in the days when Babylonia flourished, sustained a dense population. It was covered with a network of canals, skillfully planned and regulated, which brought prosperity to the land, because of the wonderful fertility of the soil. The neglect of these canals and doubtless, also, the change of climate, have resulted in altered conditions in the country. It has become a cheerless waste. During some months of the year, when the inundations take place, large portions of the land are partially covered with swamps and marshes. At other times it looks like a desolate plain.
Throughout the land there are seen, at the present time, ruin-hills or mounds of accumulation of debris, which mark the site of ancient cities. Some of these cities were destroyed in a very early era, and were never rebuilt. Others were occupied for millenniums, and their history extends far into the Christian era. The antiquities generally found in the upper stratum of the mounds which were occupied up to so late a period, show that they were generally inhabited by the Jews, who lived there after the Babylonians had disappeared.
The excavations conducted at various sites have resulted in the discovery, besides antiquities of almost every character, of hundreds of thousands of inscriptions on clay and stone, but principally on the former material. At Tello more than 60,000 tablets were found, belonging largely to the administrative archives of the temple of the third millennium B.C. At Nippur about 50,000 inscriptions were found, many of these also belonging to temple archives. But about 20,000 tablets and fragments found in that city came from the library of the school of the priests, which had been written in the third millennium B.C. At Sippar, fully 30,000 tablets were found, many being of the same general character, also representing a library. At Delehem and Djokha, temple archives of the same period as those found at Tello have come to light in great numbers, through the illicit diggings of Arabs. Babylon, Borsippa, Kish, Erech and many other cities have yielded to the explorer and the Arab diggers inscribed documents of every period of Babylonian history, and embracing almost every kind of literature, so that the museums and libraries of America and Europe have stored up unread inscriptions numbering hundreds of thousands. Many also are in the possession of private individuals. After the work of excavating Babylonia has been completed and the inscriptions deciphered, many of the pro-Christian centuries in Babylonian history will be better known than some of those of our Christian era. The ancient history of the Babylonians will be reconstructed by the help of these original sources. Lengthy family genealogies will be known, as indeed in some instances is now the case, as well as the Babylonian contemporaries of Ezekiel, Abraham and all the other Biblical characters.
The Greek name of Babylonia which is in use at the present time is derived from the name of the city of Babylon, the capital and chief city of the land from the time of the First Dynasty of Babylon, about 2000 B.C. (see BABYLON). The name of the land in the very earliest period which is represented by antiquities, and even inscribed objects, is not known. But in a comparatively early age the northern part is called Uri, and the southern part, Engi or En-gira. The second part of the latter name is perhaps the same as in Su-gir, which is thought to be the origin of the Old Testament Shinar. Su-gir and Su-mer are names of the same country. And inasmuch as Mer and Gir were names of the same west Semitic deity, who played an important role in the early history of Babylonia, it is not improbable that the element Su is also to be identified with the ancient name of Mesopotamia. Su is also in Su-bartu, the name of the country to the North. This name is also written Su-Gir.
Subsequent to 2000 B.C. the ideograms read in Sumerian, Uri and Engi, were pronounced in SemBab, Accad and Sumer. The former received its name from the capital of the kingdom Accad, one of the cities mentioned in Genesis 10:10. The title, "king of Accad and Sumer" was used by rulers as late as the 1st millennium B.C. The name by which the land is known in the second millennium B.C. is Kar-Duniash, the exact derivation of which is in doubt. Kar means "garden, land" in Semitic and Sumerian; and Duniash being preceded by the determinative for deity, has been regarded as a name of a Cassite god. A more recently advanced explanation is that Duniash is equivalent to Bel-malati, which means "lord of lands." The meaning of the name, as stated, must be regarded as undetermined.
In the time of the late Assyrian empire a nation in the extreme southern part of the land, called by the Greeks Chaldea, which is derived from the name Kaldu, came into existence. In the Assyrian historical inscriptions the land is usually called Bit-Yakin. This people seems to have issued from Aramaic Under Biblical. Merodach-baladan they ruled Babylonia for a time. The Neo-Bab Dynasty, founded by Nabopolassar, is supposed to be Chaldean in origin, in consequence of which the whole land in the Greek period was called Chaldea.
Two distinct races are found occupying the land when we obtain the first glimpses of its history. The northern part is occupied by the Semites, who are closely allied to the Amorites, Arameans and Arabs; and the southern part by a non-Sem people called Sumerians. Their cultures had been originally distinct, but when they first become known to us there has taken place such an amalgamation that it is only by the knowledge of other Semitic cultures that it is possible to make even a partial differentiation of what was Sem-Bab and what was Sumerian. The Semites, it would almost seem, entered the land after the Sumerians had established themselves, but this can only be re garded as a conjecture.
Although the earliest Sumerian settlement belongs to a remote period, few traces of the pre-historic Sumerian have been found. The archaeological remains indicate that this non-Sem race is not indigenous to the land, and that when they came into the country they had already attained to a fair degree of culture. But there is no evidence, as yet, in what part of the ancient world the elements of their culture were evolved, although various attempts have been made by scholars to locate their original home.
6. Home of the Semites:
The home of the Semites has been placed in different parts of the ancient world. A number of scholars look to Arabia and others to Africa for their original habitation, although their theories generally are not based upon much archaeological evidence. Unquestionably, the previous, if not the original home of the Semitic Babylonians, is to be found in the land of the Amorites, that is in Syria. In the earliest known period of Babylonian history, which apparently belongs to the age not very far removed from the time when the Semites entered Babylonia, Amurru was an important factor in the affairs of the nations, and it was a land which the world conquerors of Babylonia, both Sumerian and Semitic, endeavored to subjugate. This points to the fact that the culture of Amurru was then already old. Egyptian inscriptions fully substantiate this. We look to the land of the Arnorites as the home of the Semitic Babylonians, because of the important part played by the chief god of that land Amurru or Uru, in the Babylonian religion and nomenclature. In fact nearly all of the original names of the Semitic Babylonian sun-deities are derived from the names and epithets of the great Sun-god of the Amorites and Arameans (see Amurru, 108). These and many other considerations point to Amurru, or the land of the Amorites, as the previous home of the Semites who migrated into Babylonia and who eventually became masters of the land.
The original settlements in Babylonia, as stated above, belong to a prehistoric time, but throughout the history of the land fresh Semitic migrations have been recognized. In the Isin and First Dynasty of Babylonia, Amorites or Canaanites seem to flood the country. In the second millennium a foreign people known as Cassites ruled Babylonia for nearly six centuries. The nomenclature of the period shows that many Hittites and Mittanaeans as well as Cassites lived in Babylonia. In the first millennium the thousands of names that appear in the contract literature indicate a veritable Babel of races: Egyptians, Elamites, Persians, Medes, Tabalites, Hittites, Cassites, Ammorites, Edomites, notably Hebrews, are among the peoples that occupied the land. The deportation of the Israelites by the Assyrian kings and of the Jews by the Babylonian kings, find confirmation besides the historical inscriptions in the names of Hebrews living in Babylonia in the corresponding periods.
The languages of Babylonia are Semitic and Sumerian. The latter is an agglutinative tongue like the Turkish, and belongs to that great unclassifiable group of languages, called for the sake of convenience, Turanian. It has not been shown, as yet, to be allied to any other known language. The Semitic language known as the Babylonian, with which the Assyrian is practically identical, is of the common Semitic stock. After the Semites entered the land, their language was greatly influenced by the Sumerian tongue. The Semites being originally dependent upon the Sumerian scribes, with whom the script had originated, considered in connection with the fact that the highly developed culture of the Sumerians greatly influenced that of the Semites, brought about the peculiar amalgamation known as Babylonian. The language is, however, distinctively Semitic, but it has a very large percentage of Sumerian loan-words. Not knowing the cognate tongues of the Sumerian, and having a poor understanding of the pronunciation of that language, it is impossible to ascertain, on the other hand, how much the Sumerian language was influenced by the Semites.
In the late period another Semitic tongue was used extensively in the land. It was not because of the position occupied by the Arameans in the political history of western Asia, that their language became the lingua franca of the first millennium B.C. It must have been on account of the widespread migrations of the people. In the time of Sennacherib it seems to have been used as the diplomatic language in Assyria as well as among the Hebrews, as the episode in 2 Kings 18:26 would show. Then we recall the story of Belshazzar, and the edicts of the late period referred to in the Old Testament, which were in Aramaic (Ezra 4:7, etc.). In Assyria and Babylonia, many contract tablets have been found with Aramaic reference notes written upon them, showing that this was the language of those who held the documents. The Hebrews after the exile used Aramaic. This would seem to point to Babylonia as the place where they learned the language. The Babylonian language and the cuneiform script continued to be used until the 3rd or 2nd century B.C., and perhaps even later, but it seems that the Aramaic had generally supplanted it, except as the literary and legal language. In short the tongue of the common people or the spoken language in all probability in the late period was Aramaic.
The cuneiform writing upon clay was used both by the Sumerians and the Semites. Whether this script had its origin in the land, or in the earlier home of the Sumerians, remains a question. It is now known that the Elamites had their own system of writing as early as that of the earliest found in Babylonia; and perhaps it will be found that other ancient peoples, who are at the present unknown to us, also used the cuneiform script. A writing similar to the Babylonian was in use at an early time in Cappadocia. The Hittites and other peoples of that region also employed it. The origin of the use of clay as a writing material, therefore, is shrouded in mystery, but as stated above, the system used by the Semites in Babylonian ylonia was developed from the Sumerian.
The script is not alphabetic, but ideographic and phonetic, in that respect similar to the Chinese. There are over 500 characters, each one of which has from one to many values. The combination of two or more characters also has many values. The compilation of the values of the different signs used in various periods by both the Sumerians and Assyrians numbers at the present about 25,000, and the number will probably reach 30,000.
The architecture of Babylonia is influenced by the fact that the building material, in this alluvial plain, had to be of brick, which was largely sun-dried, although in certain prosperous eras there is much evidence of kiln-dried bricks having been used. The baked brick used in the earliest period was the smallest ever employed, being about the size of the ordinary brick used at the present time. The size of the bricks in the era prior to the third millennium varied from this to about 6 x 10 x 3 inches at Nippur, Sargon and his son Naram-Sin used a brick, the largest found, about 20 inches square, and about 4 inches in thickness. Following the operations of these kings at Nippur is the work of Ur-Engur, who used a brick about 14 inches square and nearly 4 inches in thickness. This size had been used at Tello prior to Sargon's time, and was thereafter generally employed. It re mained the standard size of brick throughout the succeeding centuries of Babylonian history. Adobes, of which the greater portion of the buildings were constructed, were usually double the thickness of kiln-dried bricks. The pillar made of bricks, as well as the pilaster constructed of the same material, seems to have come into use at a very early age, as is shown by the excavations at Tello.
A large number of Babylonian builders had the brick makers employ brick stamps which gave their names and frequently their titles, besides the name of the temple for which the bricks were intended. These enable the excavator to determine who the builders or restorers were of the buildings uncovered. Naturally, in a building like the temple of Enlil at Nippur, inscribed bricks of many builders covering a period of over 2,000 years were found. These by the help of building inscriptions, which have been found, enable scholars to rewrite considerable of the history of certain Babylonian temples. The walls of the city were also built of clay bricks, principally adobes. The walls usually were of very great thickness.
Clay was also employed extensively in the manufacture of images, weights, drains, playthings, such as animals, baby rattles, etc., and of inscriptions of every kind. Pottery, with the exception of the blue glaze employed in the late period, was usually plain, although some traces of painted pottery have been found. Although every particle of stone found in Babylonia was carried into the country, either by man or by inundations, still in certain periods it was used freely for statues, steles, votive objects, and in all periods for door sockets, weights and seal cylinders. Building operations in stone are scarcely known in Babylonia until perhaps the time of the greatest of all ancient builders, Nebuchadrezzar II, who laid a pavement in the causeway of Babylon, Aa-ibur-sabu, with blocks of stone from a mountain quarry.
The sculpture of the Sumerians, although in most instances the hardest of materials was used, is one of the great achievements of their civilization. Enough examples have been found to trace the development of their art from comparatively rude reliefs of the archaic period to the finished sculpture of Gudea's time, third millennium B.C., when it reached a high degree of excellence. The work of the sculpture of this age shows spirit and originality in many respects unique. In the earliest period the Babylonians attempted the round, giving frequently the main figures in full face. The perfection of detail, in their efforts to render true to life, makes their modeling very superior in the history of article The Sumerian seems to have been able to overcome difficulties of technique which later sculptors systematically avoided.
Practically every Babylonian had his own personal seal. He used it as the signature is used at the present time or rather as the little stamp upon which is engraved the name of the individual at the present time, in the Orient, to make an impression upon the letter which was written for him by a public scribe. Thousands of these ancient seals have been found. They were cut out of all kinds of stone and metal. The style in the early period was usually cylindrical, with a hole passing lengthwise through them. In the late period the signet was commonly used. Many of these gems were exquisitely cut by lapidists of rare ability. Some of the very best work of this art belongs to the third millennium B.C. The boldness in outline, and the action displayed are often remarkable. The most delicate saws, drills and other tools must have been employed by the early lapidist. Some of his early work is scarcely surpassed in the present age.
The gold and silver smiths of the early age have left us some beautiful examples of their art and skill. A notable one is the silver vase of Entemena of Lagash, mounted on a bronze pedestal, which stands on four feet. There is a votive inscription engraved about its neck. The bowl is divided into two compartments. On the upper are engraved seven heifers, and on the lower four eagles with extended wings, in some respects related to the totem or the coat of arms of Lagash. While attention to detail is too pronounced, yet the whole is well rendered and indicates remarkable skill, no less striking than the well-known work of their Egyptian contemporaries. Bronze was also used extensively for works of art and utensils. Some remarkable specimens of this craft have been found at Tello.
In studying the magnificent remains of their art, one is thoroughly impressed with the skill displayed, and with the fact that there must have been a long period of development prior to the age to which these works belong, before such creations could have been possible. Although much of the craftsman's work is crude, there is considerable in the sculpture and engraving that is well worthy of study. And in studying these remains one is also impressed with the fact that they were produced in an alluvial plain.
The literature in a narrow sense is almost entirely confined to the epics, which are of a religious character, and the psalms, hymns, incantations, omens, etc. These are the chief remains of their culture.
SeeBABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA, RELIGION OF.
In a general sense almost every kind of literature is found among the hundreds of thousands of clay tablets unearthed in Babylonia. The inscribed votive objects are of all kinds and descriptions. The stone vase taken in booty was dedicated to the deity of the conqueror. The beautiful piece of lapis lazuli, agate, cornelian, etc., obtained, was inscribed and devoted in the same way. Slabs, tablets and cones of all shapes and sizes, were inscribed with the king's name and titles, giving the different cities over which he ruled and referring especially to the work that he had accomplished for his deity. From the decipherment of these votive objects much valuable data are gathered for the reconstruction of the ancient history of the land.
The same is true of what are known as building inscriptions, in which accounts of the operations of the kings in restoring and enlarging temples, shrines, walls and other city works are given. Canal digging and dredging, and such works by which the people benefited, are frequently mentioned in these inscriptions.
Epistolary literature, for example, the royal letters of Hammurabi, the diplomatic correspondence found in Egypt (see TELL EL-AMARNA) or the royal letters from the Library of Ashurbanipal (see ASHURBANIPAL), as well as the private correspondence of the people, furnishes valuable historical and philological data.
The thousands of tablets found in the school libraries of Sippar and Nippur, as well as of the library of Ashurbanipal, among which are all kinds of inscriptions used in the schools of the priests and scribes, have furnished a great deal of material for the Assyrian dictionary, and have thrown much light upon the grammar of the language. The legal literature is of the greatest importance for an understanding of the social conditions of the people. It is also valuable for comparative purposes in studying the codes of other peoples.
SeeCODE OF HAMMURABI.
The commercial or legal transactions, dated in all periods, from the earliest times until the latest, also throw important light upon the social conditions of the people. Many thousands of these documents have been found, by the help of which the very life that pulsated in the streets of Babylonian cities is restored.
The administrative documents from the temple archives also have their value, in that they furnish important data as regards the maintenance of the temples and other institutions; and incidentally much light on the nationality and religion of the people, whose names appear in great numbers upon them. The records are receipts of taxes or rents from districts close by the temples, and of commercial transactions conducted with this revenue. A large portion of these archives consists of the salary payments of storehouse officials and priests. There seems to have been a host of tradesmen and functionaries in connection with the temple. Besides the priest, elder, seer, seeress, sorcerer, sorceress, singer, etc., there were the farmer, weaver, miller, carpenter, smith, butcher, baker, porter, overseer, scribe, measurer, watchman, etc. These documents give us an insight into Babylonian system of bookkeeping, and show how carefully the administrative affairs of the temple were conducted. In fact the temple was provided for and maintained along lines quite similar to many of our modern institutions.
The discovery of the Library of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh speaks volumes for the culture of Assyria, but that culture was largely borrowed from the Babylonians. Much that this library contained had been secured from Babylonian libraries by the scribes employed by Ashurbanipal. In every important center there doubtless existed schools and libraries in connection with the temples. At Nippur, in 1890, Dr. J. P. Peters found such a library, but unfortunately, although he termed it such, his Assyriologists did not recognize that one of the greatest discoveries of antiquity had been made. It remained for Dr. J. H. Haynes, a decade later, to discover another portion of this library, which he regarded as such, because of the large number of tablets which he uncovered. Pere Scheil, prior to Dr. Haynes' discovery, had the good fortune while at Sippar to discover a part of the school and library of that important center. Since Professor Scheil's excavations, Arabs have unearthed many inscriptions of this library, which have found their way to museums and into the hands of private individuals.
The plan of the Nippur Library, unearthed by Dr. Haynes, has been published by Mr. C. Fisher, the architect of the Nippur expedition (see Clay, Light on the Old Testament from Babel, 183). Professor Scheil, in publishing his results, has also given a plan of the school he discovered, and a full description of its arrangements, as well as the pedagogical methods that had been employed in that institution of learning. This has also been attempted by others, but in a less scientific manner. One of the striking features of these libraries is the use of the large reference cylinders, quadrangular, pentagonal and hexagonal in shape. There was a hole cut lengthwise through them for the purpose of mounting them like revolving stands. These libraries, doubtless, contained all the works the Babylonians possessed on law, science, literature and religion. There are lexical lists, paradigm tablets, lists of names, of places, countries, temples, rivers, officers, stones, gods, etc. Sufficient tablets have been deciphered to determine their general character. Also hundreds of exercise tablets have been found, showing the progress made by pupils in writing, in mathematics, in grammar, and in other branches of learning. Some tablets appear to have been written after dictation. Doubtless, the excavators found the waste heaps of the school, where these tablets had been thrown for the purpose of working them over again as raw material, for new exercises. The school libraries must have been large. Considering for instance that the ideographic and phonetic values of the cuneiform signs in use numbered perhaps 30,000, even the syllabaries which were required to contain these different values must have been many in number, and especially as tablets, unlike books made of paper, have only two sides to them. And when we take into consideration all the different kinds of literature which have been found, we must realize that these libraries were immense, and numbered many thousands of tablets.
14. Personal Names:
In modern times the meaning of names given children is rarely considered; in fact, in many instances the name has suffered so much through changes that it is difficult to ascertain its original meaning. Then also, at present, in order to avoid confusion the child is given two or more names. It was not so with the ancient Babylonian. Originally the giving of a name was connected with some special circumstance, and though this was not always the case throughout the history of Babylonia, the correct form of the name was always preserved.
The name may have been an expression of their religious faith. It may have told of the joy experienced at the birth of an heir. It may even betray the suffering that was involved at the birth of the child, or the life that the parents had lived. In short, the names afford us an intimate glimpse into the everyday life of the people.
The average Babylonian name is theophorous, and indicates one of the deities worshipped by the family, and often the city. For example, it is suggestive that persons with names compounded with Enlil and Ninib hailed from Nippur. Knowing the deities of the surrounding people we have also important evidence in determining the origin of peoples in Babylonia having foreign names. For example, if a name is composed of the Hittite deity Teshup, or the Amorite deity Amurru, or the Aramean god Dagan, or the Egyptian god Esi (Isis), foreign influence is naturally looked for from the countries represented. Quite frequently the names of foreign deities are compounded with Babylonian elements, often resulting from mixed marriages.
Theophorous names are composed of two, three, four and even five elements. Those having two or three elements predominate. Two-element names have a diety plus a verbal form or a subst.; or vice versa: for example, Nabu-na'id (Nabonidus), "Nebo is exalted," or Shulman-asharedu (Shaimaneser), "Shalman is foremost." Many different combinations are found in three-element names which are composed of the name of the deity, a subst., a verbal form, a pronominal suffix, or some other form of speech, in any of the three positions. Explanations of a few of the familiar Biblical. names follow: Sin-akhe-erba (Sennacherib), "Sin has increased the brothers"; Marduk-apal-iddin (Mero-dach-baladan), "Marduk has given a son"; Ashurakh-iddin (Esarhaddon), "Ashur has given a brother"; Ashur-bani-apal, "Ashur is creating a son"; Nabu-kudurri-usur (Nebuchadrezzar), "O Nebo, protect the boundary"; Amel-Marduk (Evil Merodach), "Man of Marrink"; Bel-shar-usur (Belshazzar), "O Bel, protect the king." Some Babylonian names mentioned in the Bible are really of foreign origin, for example, Amraphel and Sargon. Amraphel originally is west Semitic and is written Hammurabi (pronounced Chammu-rabi, the first letter being the Semitic cheth). Sargon was perhaps originally Aramean, and is composed of the elements shar and the god Gan. When written in cuneiform it was written Shargani, and later Sharrukin, being translated "the true king." Many names in use were not theophorous; for example, such personal names as Ululd, "the month Ulul"; names of animals, as Kalba, "dog," gentilic names, as Akkadai, "the Akkadian," names of crafts, as Pacharu, "potter," etc.
The literature abounds in hypochoristica. One element of a name was used for the sake of shortness, to which usually a hypochoristica suffix was added, like Marduka (Mordecai). That is, the ending a or ai was added to one of the elements of a longer name.
15. History of Kingdoms:
The written history of Babylonia at the present begins from about 4200 B.C. But instead of finding things crude and aboriginal in this, the earliest period, the remains discovered show that the people had attained to a high level of culture. Back of that which is known there must lie a long period of development. This is attested in many ways; for instance, the earliest writing found is so far removed from the original hieroglyphs that it is only possible to ascertain what the original pictures were by knowing the values which the signs possessed. The same conclusion is ascertained by a study of the art and literature. Naturally, as mentioned above, it is not impossible that this development took place in a previous home of the inhabitants.
The history of early Babylonia is at present a conflict of the kings and patesis (priest-kings) of the different city-kingdoms, for supremacy over each other, as well as over the surrounding peoples. The principal states that figure in the early history are: Kish, Lagash, Nippur, Akkad, Umma, Erech, Ur and Opis. At the present time more is known of Lagash, because the excavations conducted at that site were more extensive than at others. This makes much of our knowledge of the history of the land center about that city. And yet it should be stated that the hegemony of Lagash lasted for a long period, and the kingdom will ultimately occupy a prominent position when the final history of the land is written.
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