Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

soille

the Biblical side with which he has dealt chiefly, and there are one or two points in his able paper on which I should like to speak. With regard to the pre-erninence of the Hittites in Southern Palestine at the time of Abraham, I see nothing in that contrary to the historical evidence, as far as we are able to follow it ; and I think I may be able to add something to prove that the migration of Abrain and the entry of that patriarch and his family into Palestine must have been between the years 2250 and 2100 : for if we look at the history of Egypt at that period, we find that he went into Egypt at the time the Shepherd Kings were ruling in that country. M. Mariette, who did so much in connexion with the work at Zoan, pointed out the peculiar character of many of the art-remains found there,- a character particularly noticeable in the statues of great personages, and also in the figures of lions and sphynxes. The work was totally different from the Egyptian work, and this difference was specially noticeable in the treatment of the hair. In the year 1880, I visited the ruins of the city of Carchemish on the banks of the Euphrates, and I there saw sculptures uncovered, which I am sorry to say werenot brought to this country, nor do I think they will be for some time to come, under existing circumstances ; but they were very peculiar 'in their artistic workmanship, and one of the most remarkable of their peculiarities was to be noticed in the figure of a lion, on the back of which were two personages, evidently divinities, represented as standing. The treatment of the niane of that lion was exactly the same as that of the hair in the Hyksos sphynxes found at Zoan. I think there are not wanting many facts to show the presence of the Hittites in considerable force in Egypt, at the time of the Hyksos invasion. There is one fact which seems to me very much to strengthen this assumption, it is that the wars of vengeance which Thothmes in the XVIIIth dynasty, and Rameses in the XIXth carried on, were entirely directed against those people. There is, I think, another point which meets the principal objection made with regard to the names of the persons mentioned in that important chapter in the Book of Genesis being Semitic. It is evident, from an examination of the Hittite sculptures, and of the sculptures of Egypt illustrating the wars against the Hittites, as well as the Assyrian sculptures representing the wars against the same people, that the Hittites were not a homogeneous race. They were rather a mass of tribes confederated together for one common object-opposition to the invaders, either from the east or from the south, who swept the fertile plains of Northern Syrii. Knowing the enterprising character the Semites have ever exhibited, we cannot doubt that some members of that family must have settled among them; and if they did settle, we may be almost sure they would have brought into practice that chief characteristic of their race, the custom of trading with other people. We know that among the earliest traders in Chaldea, as far as the monuments already discovered show, were Semites, and with one exception, the earliest Semitic vernacular is derived from Chaldean documents, dating from the time to which we must assign the migration of Abram. This being so, it ought not to

[ocr errors]

be unreasonable to suppose that the settlement of Hebron was not intended so much to form a powerful garrison as probably a colonisation on the part of a body of men who had acquired some little property, and who regarded Hebron as an important centre to occupy, with a view to making it a station to which the trade of the south and from the regions around could be directed. There is another matter on which I should also like to speak, because I have travelled through most of that country myself, from the south of Antioch, to the highest ranges of mountains about Marash, and along the banks of the Euphrates as far as Dier, and I can fully endorse what Dr. Wright has stated with regard to the rich field which there awaits the explorer. The district literally bristles with mounds, which only require the spade to restore monuments of the greatest iinportance. There is something very remarkable about the character of these mounds. The slightest inspection of them from an elevated position shows that they are not of natural formation. It is clear that they are not only the work of man, but that they were evidently marked out by him for various purposes, --some as sites for forts, some for small cities, and some for large cities, while they are so arranged that no one mound is out of sight of another; so that it is perfectly possible, - indeed, I tried it myself on my return journey from the Euphrates,-to keep up, by means of these mounds, a chain of communication from Aleppo to the Euphrates, and from Aleppo to the Orontes, valley whereby, in the event of an attack being made or an invasion threatened along the Orontes valley, it would be possible to signal the news of the enemy's advance by means of beacon fires, or in some such way, with great rapidity over a district some two hundred miles in extent. I mentioned this to a gentleman who was travelling in that country at the same time,- I allude to Colonel, then Captain, Chermside, --and he said he had noticed the same thing on the plain of Adana. As soon,” he said, as you get into the plain of Adana you find the same range of mounds, and this also is the case on other plains more in the heart of Asia Minor." Sir Charles Wilson noticed the fact, that wherever inscriptions in the peculiar Hittite character were found, there were, in the same neighbourhood, silver mines; the whole of the Taurus and the Ante-Taurus were full of old and disused silver mines, and it was a singular fact that whenever an inscription was found on the rocks it was in the neighbourhood of a silver nine. If we turn to the tribute lists of Egypt and Assyria we find that tho chief objects of the tributes offered by those people were of silver, and as a still more striking example of this, we see that the treaty with the king was engraved on a silver plate. Another fact which will lead me to a more important matter is this, namely, that in the posts known as the Cilician Gates, inscriptions were found showing that bodies of traders belonging to these people were in the habit of passing through. If you will look at the map of Asia Minor, and take Carchemish as the starting-point, you will see a series of stations where explorers have found remains, either of monuments or inscriptions on the rocks, in the

66

curious Hittite characters, which show very clearly that there was a direct roadway from Carchemish to the neighbourhood of Smyrna. Mr. Malceod has asked whether there was any connexion between the site of Troy and the Hittites. That is a question which it would at present be premature definitely to answer ; but I may say that if the scratchings on the whole are inscriptions, as there seems to be strong evidence they are, they are written in a syllabary or alphabet, four or five characters of which are identical with those found on the Hittite monuments. But what more strongly emphasises the connexion of these people with Asia Minor is the fact that the legends current in Asia Minor, and preserved by the Greek writers, were clearly, in the majority of cases, of Babylonian origin. Take the story of the Atys and the Corybantes, or of the warlike maidens who accompanied Omphale. in her invasion, as recorded in those legends. They were the warlike characters who are clearly represented in the sculptures at Eyuk,--bodies of armed dancers,-not, as some writers have asserted, soldiers, but undoubtedly armed females, who are probably taking part in that celebrated dance which the Corybantes were in the habit of performing. These find their counterpart in the warlike maidens who attended the Babylonian Istar, “Queen of Battles," and who fought against Gisdhubar as the Amazons did against Heracles. These things also serve to show that the Hittites had dwelt over a good part of Asia Minor, and been in contact with Babylon. Having studied this subject rather closely of late, I should like to say a word or two in reference to the important question, What was the home of these people ? I must certainly say that I think we may and do see a ray of light in the suggestion of Professor de Lacouperie. We have hitherto been inclined to imagine that there was a drifting of the early tribes froin east to west. This is shown in the case of one people in particular : I refer to the people whose annals you find in the Vannic inscriptions. I may say that there is a very important fragment which helps to fill up a break in the sequence of history, to be found in these Vannic inscriptions. For a time after the fall of the Early Assyrian empire, about a thousand years before the Christian era, and until the rise of the Second Empire, there is a blank in the history of Western Asia. Now, the Vannic inscriptions certainly help to fill up that gap. They are written in a language which bears no relationship to the modern Armenian, and in them we find the Vannic kings fighting and entering into alliances with the kings of the Hittites. We shall find, I think, that there was a body of what we may call Kushites, who passed northwards up the Euphrates valley, and the vestiges of these people are probably to be found in the early tribes inhabiting that district, and in the tribes who inhabited the regions round about Marash and Zeytoun, which I do not think are without some indications of the Hittite people. At Carchemish I was struck by the resemblance presented by some of the muleteers to the figures represented on the sculptures. They had the same peculiar shortness of figure, with the same evidence of muscular development; they wore the petticoat turned up about the knee, and caps exactly as we see them represented on the sculptures at Carchemish. I should tell

you that those men were natives of villages a few miles from the Marash in the heart of the western Armenian mountains. The reason for the resemblance of those men to the portraits of the ancient type found in the sculptures is, I think, to be found in the fact that all those great invasions which have swept over Northern Syria and the northern Euphrates vallèy, had the effect of driving the aboriginal population into the mountains. There, in their rocky fastnesses, they have lived by themselves, and in many cases have succeeded in holding their possessions so strongly that they have kept back the Greeks and other invaders, and have thus preserved their own peculiar type even to the present day. There is one other subject I cannot help referring to, and upon which I desire to urge some effort should be made at the present time. I think that something ought to be done to finish the explorations at Carchemish. It is very sad to know that there are still lying there in the trenches—I believe they are now covered up-two sculptures, which are certainly of great size ; but if they are so large that they cannot be brought hither, there is no reason why casts should not be taken of them and forwarded to us. They are sculptures of the very greatest interest, because they give us a new chapter in Asiatic art. They show an influence derived from Egypt and from Assyria, and, at the same time, they show a native inventive power on the part of those people. I certainly think that the work begun out there ought to be finished, and if I might mention two other sites where explorations might be usefully and advantageously undertaken, I would say that one is that of the city of Arpad, and I think it would be found to be one of great importance. It stood a siege of three years on the part of the Assyrian kings, and the ruins are marked by a mound about ten miles from Aleppo. I visited that city, and I can say that the mound is nearly as large as that of Carchenish, and that on some excavations being made there, black stones were found with carved borders and ornaments similar to those found at Carchemish. There is another site in the neighbourhood of Carchemish, which I think miyht also be worked : it is situated at Tash-atan, and I believe it to be the site of the city of Pitru or Pethor, the city from which Balaam came. It is a mound occupying a position which any one with the slightest knowledge of strategy would say marks it as having been an important stronghold. It is at the mouth of a narrow valley or gorge, communicating between a plain washed by the Euphrates on the one side, and a narrow stream on the other running into the valley of Sagur. The exploration of these mounds would, I think, be wo.k that must well repay the trouble, and I sincerely hope that something will be done by which so desirable an undertaking may be promoted. In conclusion, I have only to say that while we are all very much obliged to Dr. Wright for the interesting paper he has furnished with regard to these ancient people, those of us who go into these matters as part of our special study are still more indebted to him for the valuable information he has brought together on a subject of so much importance in his valuable work, The Empire of the Hittites.

VOL, XXI.

[ocr errors]

G

[merged small][ocr errors]

Rev. Dr. WRIGHT.--I have nothing to do in the shape of reply except to discharge the very pleasant duty of thanking the Meeting for the patient attention it has accorded to my paper, and also to those who have been so kind as to speak upon it. I must say that I did not altogether anticipate such a reception as I have had to-night. Indeed, I came prepared, if I may say so, to defend my position at all points, and I am very much surprised at the way in which my paper has been received. I remember that when I came to London, only about ten years ago, I was looked upon as kind of craze; and at last I ceased to talk to my scientific friends about the Hittites, as I did not like to be regarded as a bore. But at length, while living at Rosstrevor, I found that a friend of mine in London was calling these people to whom my paper refers “the Hittites," and I began to think, “The Hittites are looking up.” When I came to London I found my friends Mr. Boscawen, Mr. Pinches, Professor Sayce, Dr. Isaac Taylor, and a large number of others whose opinions on this subject are worth having, had all come round, and had done so through the medium of their own independent studies, for I think very few of them ever saw my article on the subject. I do not believe Professor Sayce did, nor Dr. Isaac Taylor, nor Mr. Boscawen.

Mr. W. ST. CHAD BOSCAWEN. I have not seen it to this day.

Rev. Dr. WRIGHT.-They all seem to have arrived at the same result by separate and independent study. It is, therefore, a very pleasant thing to meet here to-night men who thoroughly understand the subject, who now concur in the views I have ventured to put forward, and who express their opinions in a manner that makes me feel thoroughly repaid for the past. It was not always so, especially in the case of scholars who stumbled on discoveries, and who had to wait a very long time before their theories were accepted. It is gratifying to see how much faster we are living in the present day. As I have already said, I have really nothing to reply to. I must say I like this Society proceeding on the most scientific lines ; for there need not be the slightest fear of the “Old Book” holding its

I do not mean taking the Bible merely as an old ecclesiastical book ; but, regarding it solely from the scientific side, the book comes out well. We may not as yet be able to prove all our points; but the spade is at work, and where we do not know, let us have patience, and before very long the spade will bury a great amount of this Biblical scepticism entirely out of sight.

The Meeting was then adjourned.

own.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »