Ancient Mysteries Mythology Chaldea : From The Earliest Times To The Rise Of Assyria

Chaldea : From The Earliest Times To The Rise Of Assyria

Chaldea : From The Earliest Times To The Rise Of Assyria
Catalog # SKU1734
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name Zenaide A. Ragozin



From The Earliest Times
To The Rise Of Assyria

Zenaide A. Ragozin

From Ancient Times, Biblical Times and in Modern Times.. Chaldea.. the Land of the Chaldees has been the source of esoteric mysteries, home of the Magi, the beginning of Judaism and many other religions. It is a habitual hotbed of wars and conquests. What is it about this mysterious desert land that attracts the attention of world powers and religions?


1. The Bible says (Genesis xi. 2): "And it came to pass, as they journeyed in the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there."

Shinar-or, more correctly, Shineâr-is what may be called Babylonia proper, that part of Mesopotamia where Babylon was, and south of it, almost to the Gulf. "They" are descendants of Noah, long after the Flood. They found the plain and dwelt there, but they did not find the whole land desert; it had been occupied long before them. How long? For such remote ages an exact valuation of time in years is not to be thought of.

2. What people were those whom the descendants of Noah found in the land to which they came from the East? It seems a simple question, yet no answer could have been given to it even as lately as fifteen or sixteen years ago, and when the answer was first suggested by unexpected discoveries made in the Royal Library at Nineveh, it startled the discoverers extremely. The only indication on the subject then known was this, from a Chaldean writer of a late period: "There was originally at Babylon" (i.e., in the land of Babylon, not the city alone) "a multitude of men of foreign race who had settled in Chaldea." This is told by Berosus, a learned priest of Babylon, who lived immediately after Alexander the Great had conquered the country, and when the Greeks ruled it (somewhat after 300 B.C.). He wrote a history of it from the most ancient times, in which he gave an account of the oldest traditions concerning its beginnings. As he wrote his book in Greek, it is probable that his object was to acquaint the new masters with the history and religion of the land and people whom they had come to rule. Unfortunately the work was lost-as so many valuable works have been, as long as there was no printing, and books existed only in a few manuscript copies-and we know of it only some short fragments, quoted by later writers, in whose time Berosus' history was still accessible. The above lines are contained in one such fragment, and naturally led to the question: who were these men of foreign race who came from somewhere else and settled in Chaldea in immemorial times?

3. One thing appears clear: they belonged to none of the races classed in the Bible as descended from Noah, but probably to one far older, which had not been included in the Flood.


1. In or about the year before Christ 606, Nineveh, the great city, was destroyed. For many hundred years had she stood in arrogant splendor, her palaces towering above the Tigris and mirrored in its swift waters; army after army had gone forth from her gates and returned laden with the spoils of conquered countries; her monarchs had ridden to the high place of sacrifice in chariots drawn by captive kings. But her time came at last.

The nations assembled and encompassed her around. Popular tradition tells how over two years lasted the siege; how the very river rose and battered her walls; till one day a vast flame rose up to heaven; how the last of a mighty line of kings, too proud to surrender, thus saved himself, his treasures and his capital from the shame of bondage. Never was city to rise again where Nineveh had been. 2. Two hundred years went by. Great changes had passed over the land.

The Persian kings now held the rule of Asia. But their greatness also was leaning towards its decline and family discords undermined their power. A young prince had rebelled against his elder brother and resolved to tear the crown from him by main force. To accomplish this, he had raised an army and called in the help of Grecian hirelings. They came, 13,000 in number, led by brave and renowned generals, and did their duty by him; but their valor could not save him from defeat and death. Their own leader fell into an ambush, and they commenced their retreat under the most disastrous circumstances and with little hope of escape.

3. Yet they accomplished it. Surrounded by open enemies and false friends, tracked and pursued, through sandy wastes and pathless mountains, now parched with heat, now numbed with cold, they at last reached the sunny and friendly Hellespont. It was a long and weary march from Babylon on the Euphrates, near which city the great battle had been fought.

They might not have succeeded had they not chosen a great and brave commander, Xenophon, a noble Athenian, whose fame as scholar and writer equals his renown as soldier and general. Few books are more interesting than the lively relation he has left of his and his companions' toils and sufferings in this expedition, known in history as "The Retreat of the Ten Thousand"-for to that number had the original 13,000 been reduced by battles, privations and disease. So cultivated a man could not fail, even in the midst of danger and weighed down by care, to observe whatever was noteworthy in the strange lands which he traversed. So he tells us how one day his little army, after a forced march in the early morning hours and an engagement with some light troops of pursuers, having repelled the attack and thereby secured a short interval of safety, travelled on till they came to the banks of the Tigris.

On that spot, he goes on, there was a vast desert city. Its wall was twenty-five feet wide, one hundred feet high and nearly seven miles in circuit. It was built of brick with a basement, twenty feet high, of stone. Close by the city there stood a stone pyramid, one hundred feet in width, and two hundred in height. Xenophon adds that this city's name was Larissa and that it had anciently been inhabited by Medes; that the king of Persia, when he took the sovereignty away from the Medes, besieged it, but could not in any way get possession of it, until, a cloud having obscured the sun, the inhabitants forsook the city and thus it was taken.

4. Some eighteen miles further on (a day's march) the Greeks came to another great deserted city, which Xenophon calls Mespila. It had a similar but still higher wall. This city, he tells us, had also been inhabited by Medes, and taken by the king of Persia. Now these curious ruins were all that was left of Kalah and Nineveh, the two Assyrian capitals. In the short space of two hundred years, men had surely not yet lost the memory of Nineveh's existence and rule, yet they trod the very site where it had stood and knew it not, and called its ruins by a meaningless Greek name, handing down concerning it a tradition absurdly made up of true and fictitious details, jumbled into inextricable confusion.

For Nineveh had been the capital of the Assyrian Empire, while the Medes were one of the nations who attacked and destroyed it. And though an eclipse of the sun-(the obscuring cloud could mean nothing else)-did occur, created great confusion and produced important results, it was at a later period and on an entirely different occasion. As to "the king of Persia," no such personage had anything whatever to do with the catastrophe of Nineveh, since the Persians had not yet been heard of at that time as a powerful people, and their country was only a small and insignificant principality, tributary to Media. So effectually had the haughty city been swept from the face of the earth!




§ 1. Complete destruction of Nineveh.
§ 2-4. Xenophon and the "Retreat of the Ten Thousand." The Greeks pass the ruins of Calah and Nineveh, and know them not.
§ 5. Alexander's passage through Mesopotamia.
§ 6. The Arab invasion and rule.
§ 7. Turkish rule and mismanagement.
§ 8. Peculiar natural conditions of Mesopotamia.
§ 9. Actual desolate state of the country.
§ 10. The plains studded with Mounds. Their curious aspect.
§ 11. Fragments of works of art amidst the rubbish.
§ 12. Indifference and superstition of the Turks and Arabs.
§ 13. Exclusive absorption of European scholars in Classical Antiquity.
§ 14. Forbidding aspect of the Mounds, compared with other ruins.
§ 15. Rich, the first explorer.
§ 16. Botta's work and want of success.
§ 17. Botta's great discovery.
§ 18. Great sensation created by it.
§ 19. Layard's first expedition.

§ 1. Layard's arrival at Nimrud. His excitement and dreams.
§ 2. Beginning of difficulties. The Ogre-like Pasha of Mossul.
§ 3. Opposition from the Pasha. His malice and cunning.
§ 4. Discovery of the gigantic head. Fright of the Arabs, who declare it to be Nimrod.
§ 5. Strange ideas of the Arabs about the sculptures.
§ 6. Layard's life in the desert.
§ 7. Terrible heat of summer.
§ 8. Sand-storms and hot hurricanes.
§ 9. Layard's wretched dwelling.
§ 10. Unsuccessful attempts at improvement.
§ 11. In what the task of the explorer consists.
§ 12. Different modes of carrying on the work of excavation.


§ 1. Object of making books.
§ 2. Books not always of paper.
§ 3. Universal craving for an immortal name.
§ 4. Insufficiency of records on various writing materials. Universal longing for knowledge of the remotest past.
§ 5. Monumental records.
§ 6. Ruins of palaces and temples, tombs and caves-the Book of the Past.
§ 7-8. Discovery by Layard of the Royal Library at Nineveh.
§ 9. George Smith's work at the British Museum.
§ 10. His expeditions to Nineveh, his success and death.
§ 11. Value of the Library.
§§ 12-13. Contents of the Library.
§ 14. The Tablets.
§ 15. The cylinders and foundation-tablets.

§ 1. Nomads.
§ 2. First migrations.
§ 3. Pastoral life-the second stage.
§ 4. Agricultural life; beginnings of the State.
§ 5. City-building; royalty.
§ 6. Successive migrations and their causes.
§ 7. Formation of nations.
§ 1. Shinar.
§ 2. Berosus.
§ 3. Who were the settlers in Shinar?
§ 4. The Flood probably not universal.
§ 5-6. The blessed race and the accursed, according to Genesis.
§ 7. Genealogical form of Chap. X. of Genesis.
§ 8. Eponyms.
§ 9. Omission of some white races from Chap. X.
§ 10. Omission of the Black Race.
§ 11. Omission of the Yellow Race. Characteristics of the Turanians.
§ 12. The Chinese.
§ 13. Who were the Turanians? What became of the Cainites?
§ 14. Possible identity of both.
§ 15. The settlers in Shinar-Turanians.

§ 1. Shumir and Accad.
§ 2. Language and name.
§ 3. Turanian migrations and traditions.
§ 4. Collection of sacred texts.
§ 5. "Religiosity"-a distinctively human characteristic. Its first promptings and manifestations.
§ 6. The Magic Collection and the work of Fr. Lenormant.
§ 7. The Shumiro-Accads' theory of the world, and their elementary spirits.
§ 8. The incantation of the Seven Maskim.
§ 9. The evil spirits.
§ 10. The Arali.
§ 11. The sorcerers.
§ 12. Conjuring and conjurers.
§ 13. The beneficent Spirits, Êa.
§ 14. Meridug.
§ 15. A charm against an evil spell.
§ 16. Diseases considered as evil demons.
§ 17. Talismans. The Kerubim.
§ 18. More talismans.
§ 19. The demon of the South-West Wind.
§ 20. The first gods.
§ 21. Ud, the Sun.
§ 22. Nin dar, the nightly Sun.
§ 23. Gibil, Fire.
§ 24. Dawn of moral consciousness.
§ 25. Man's Conscience divinized.
§§ 26-28. Penitential Psalms.
§ 29. General character of Turanian religions.
Professor L. Dyer's poetical version of the Incantation against the Seven Maskim.

§ 1. Oannes.
§ 2. Were the second settlers Cushites or Semites?
§ 3. Cushite hypothesis. Earliest migrations.
§ 4. The Ethiopians and the Egyptians.
§ 5. The Canaanites.
§ 6. Possible Cushite station on the islets of the Persian Gulf.
§ 7. Colonization of Chaldea possibly by Cushites.
§ 8. Vagueness of very ancient chronology.
§ 9. Early dates.
§ 10. Exorbitant figures of Berosus.
§ 11. Early Chaldea-a nursery of nations.
§ 12. Nomadic Semitic tribes.
§ 13. The tribe of Arphaxad.
§ 14. Ur of the Chaldees.
§ 15. Scholars divided between the Cushite and Semitic theories.
§ 16. History commences with Semitic culture.
§ 17. Priestly rule. The patesis.
§§ 18-19. Sharrukin I. (Sargon I) of Agadê.
§§ 20-21. The second Sargon's literary labors.
§§ 22-23. Chaldean folk-lore, maxims and songs.
§ 24. Discovery of the elder Sargon's date-3800 b.c.
§ 25. Gudêa of Sir-gulla and Ur-êa of Ur.
§ 26. Predominance of Shumir. Ur-êa and his son Dungi first kings of "Shumir and Accad."
§ 27. Their inscriptions and buildings. The Elamite invasion.
§ 28. Elam.
§ 29-31. Khudur-Lagamar and Abraham.
§ 32. Hardness of the Elamite rule.
§ 33. Rise of Babylon.
§ 34. Hammurabi.
§ 35. Invasion of the Kasshi.

§ 1. Babylonian calendar.
§ 2. Astronomy conducive to religious feeling.
§ 3. Sabeism.
§ 4. Priestcraft and astrology.
§ 5. Transformation of the old religion.
§ 6. Vague dawning of the monotheistic idea. Divine emanations.
§ 7. The Supreme Triad.
§ 8. The Second Triad.
§ 9. The five Planetary deities.
§ 10-11. Duality of nature. Masculine and feminine principles. The goddesses.
§ 12. The twelve Great Gods and their Temples.
§ 13. The temple of Shamash at Sippar and Mr. Rassam's discovery.
§ 14. Survival of the old Turanian superstitions.
§ 15. Divination, a branch of Chaldean "Science."
§§ 16-17. Collection of one hundred tablets on divination. Specimens.
§ 18. The three classes of "wise men." "Chaldeans," in later times, a by-word for "magician," and "astrologer."
§ 19. Our inheritance from the Chaldeans: the sun-dial, the week, the calendar, the Sabbath.

§ 1. The Cosmogonies of different nations.
§ 2. The antiquity of the Sacred Books of Babylonia.
§ 3. The legend of Oannes, told by Berosus. Discovery, by Geo. Smith, of the Creation Tablets and the Deluge Tablet.
§ 4-5. Chaldean account of the Creation.
§ 6. The Cylinder with the human couple, tree and serpent.
§ 7. Berosus' account of the creation.
§ 8. The Sacred Tree. Sacredness of the Symbol.
§ 9. Signification of the Tree-Symbol. The Cosmic Tree.
§ 10. Connection of the Tree-Symbol and of Ziggurats with the legend of Paradise.
§ 11. The Ziggurat of Borsippa.
§ 12. It is identified with the Tower of Babel.
§ 13-14. Peculiar Orientation of the Ziggurats.
§ 15. Traces of legends about a sacred grove or garden.
§ 16. Mummu-Tiamat, the enemy of the gods. Battle of Bel and Tiamat.
§ 17. The Rebellion of the seven evil spirits, originally messengers of the gods.
§ 18. The great Tower and the Confusion of Tongues.

§ 1. Definition of the word Myth.
§ 2. The Heroes.
§ 3. The Heroic Ages and Heroic Myths. The National Epos.
§ 4. The oldest known Epic.
§ 5. Berosus' account of the Flood.
§ 6. Geo. Smith's discovery of the original Chaldean narrative.
§ 7. The Epic divided into books or Tablets.
§ 8. Izdubar the Hero of the Epic.
§ 9. Erech's humiliation under the Elamite Conquest. Izdubar's dream.
§ 10. Êabâni the Seer. Izdubar's invitation and promises to him.
§ 11. Message sent to Êabâni by Ishtar's handmaidens. His arrival at Erech.
§ 12. Izdubar and Êabâni's victory over the tyrant Khumbaba.
§ 13. Ishtar's love message. Her rejection and wrath. The two friends' victory over the Bull sent by her.
§ 14. Ishtar's vengeance. Izdubar's journey to the Mouth of the Rivers.
§ 15. Izdubar sails the Waters of Death and is healed by his immortal ancestor Hâsisadra.
§ 16. Izdubar's return to Erech and lament over Êabâni. The seer is translated among the gods.
§ 17. The Deluge narrative in the Eleventh Tablet of the Izdubar Epic.
§§ 18-21. Mythic and solar character of the Epic analyzed.
§ 22. Sun-Myth of the Beautiful Youth, his early death and resurrection.
§§ 23-24. Dumuzi-Tammuz, the husband of Ishtar. The festival of Dumuzi in June.
§ 25. Ishtar's Descent to the Land of the Dead.
§ 26. Universality of the Solar and Chthonic Myths.

§ 1. Definition of Mythology and Religion, as distinct from each other.
§ 2-3. Instances of pure religious feeling in the poetry of Shumir and Accad.
§ 4. Religion often stifled by Mythology.
§ 5-6. The conception of the immortality of the soul suggested by the sun's career.
§ 7. This expressed in the Solar and Chthonic Myths.
§ 8. Idolatry.--
§ 9. The Hebrews, originally polytheists and idolators, reclaimed by their leaders to Monotheism.
§ 10. Their intercourse with the tribes of Canaan conducive to relapses.
§ 11. Intermarriage severely forbidden for this reason.
§ 12. Striking similarity between the Book of Genesis and the ancient Chaldean legends.
§ 13. Parallel between the two accounts of the creation.
§ 14. Anthropomorphism, different from polytheism and idolatry, but conducive to both.
§ 15-17. Parallel continued.
§ 18-19. Retrospect.

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