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  • Carthage, Hannibal
    he was carrying with him with all his money and threw them carelessly down in the courtyard of his house The Gortynians guarded the temple with great care not so much against others as against Hannibal to prevent him from taking anything without their knowledge and carrying it off with him Chapter 10 Thus he saved his goods and having tricked all the Cretans the Carthaginian joined Prusias in Pontus At his court he was of the same mind towards Italy and gave his entire attention to arming the king and training his forces to meet the Romans And seeing that Prusias personal resources did not give him great strength he won him the friendship of the other kings of that region and allied him with warlike nations Prusias had quarreled with Eumenes king of Pergamum a strong friend of the Romans and they were fighting with each other by land and sea But Eumenes was everywhere the stronger because of his alliance with the Romans and for that reason Hannibal was the more eager for his overthrow thinking that if he got rid of him all his difficulties would be ended To cause his death he formed the following plan Within a few days they were intending to fight a decisive naval battle Hannibal was outnumbered in ships therefore it was necessary to resort to a ruse since he was unequal to his opponent in arms He gave orders to collect the greatest possible number of venomous snakes and put them alive in earthenware jars When he had got together a great number of these on the very day when the sea fight was going to take place he called the marines together and bade them concentrate their attack on the ship of Eumenes and be satisfied with merely defending themselves against the rest this they could easily do thanks to the great number of snakes Furthermore he promised to let them know in what ship Eumenes was sailing and to give them a generous reward if they succeeded in either capturing or killing the king Chapter 11 After he had encouraged the soldiers in this way the fleets on both sides were brought out for battle When they were drawn up in line before the signal for action was given in order that Hannibal might make it clear to his men where Eumenes was he sent a messenger in a skiff with a herald s staff When the emissary came to the ships of the enemy he exhibited a letter and said that he was looking for the king He was at once taken to Eumenes since no one doubted that it was some communication about peace The letter carrier having pointed out the commander s ship to his men returned to the place from which he came But Eumenes on opening the missive found nothing in it except what was designed to mock at him Although he wondered at the reason for such conduct and could not find one he nevertheless did not hesitate to join battle at once When the clash came the Bithynians did as Hannibal had ordered and fell upon the ship of Eumenes in a body Since the king could not resist their force he sought safety in flight which he secured only by retreating within the entrenchments which had been thrown up on the neighboring shore When the other Pergamene ships began to press their opponents too hard on a sudden the earthenware jars of which I have spoken began to be hurled at them At first these projectiles excited the laughter of the combatants and they could not understand what it meant But as soon as they saw their ships filled with snakes terrified by the strange weapons and not knowing how to avoid them they turned their ships about and retreated to their naval camp Thus Hannibal overcame the arms of Pergamum by strategy and that was not the only instance of the kind but on many other occasions in land battles he defeated his antagonists by a similar bit of cleverness Chapter 12 While this was taking place in Asia it chanced that in Rome envoys of Prusias were dining with Titus Quinctius Flamininus the ex consul and that mention being made of Hannibal one of the envoys said that he was in the kingdom of Prusias On the following day Flamininus informed the senate The Fathers believing that while Hannibal lived they would never be free from plots sent envoys to Bithynia among them Flamininus to request the king not to keep their bitterest foe at his court but to surrender him to the Romans Prusias did not dare to refuse he did however stipulate that they would not ask him to do anything which was in violation of the laws of hospitality They themselves if they could might take him they would easily find his place of abode As a matter of fact Hannibal kept himself in one place in a stronghold which the king had given him and he had so arranged it that he had exits in every part of the building evidently being in fear of experiencing what actually happened When the envoys of the Romans had come to the place and surrounded his house with a great body of troops a slave looking out from one of the doors reported that an unusual number of armed men were in sight Hannibal ordered him to go about to all the doors of the building and hasten to inform him whether he was beset in the same way on every side The slave having quickly reported the facts and told him that all the exits were guarded Hannibal knew that it was no accident that it was he whom they were after and he must no longer think of preserving his life But not wishing to lose it at another s will and remembering his past deeds of valor he took the poison which he always carried about his person Chapter 13 Thus that bravest of men after having performed many and varied labors entered into rest in his seventieth year Under what consuls he died is disputed For Atticus has recorded in his Annals that he died in the consulate of Marcus Claudius Marcellus and Quintus Fabius Labeo Polybius under Lucius Aemilius Paulus and Gnaeus Baebius Tamphilus and Sulpicius Blitho in the time of Publius Cornelius Cethegus and Marcus Baebius Tamphilus And that great man although busied with such great wars devoted some time to letters for there are several books of his written in Greek among them one addressed to the Rhodians on the deeds of Gnaeus Manlius Volso in Asia Hannibal s deeds of arms have been recorded by many writers among them two men who were with him in camp and lived with him so long as fortune allowed Silenus and Sosylus of Lacedaemon And it was this Sosylus whom Hannibal employed as his teacher of Greek Ancient History Sourcebook Polybius c 200 after 118 BCE The Battle of Cannae 216 BCE History Book III 107 118 107 Thus through all that winter and spring the two armies remained encamped facing each other But when the season for the new harvest was come Hannibal began to move from the camp at Geronium and making up his mind that it would be to his advantage to force the enemy by any possible means to give him battle he occupied the citadel of a town called Cannae into which the corn and other supplies from the district round Canusium were collected by the Romans and conveyed thence to the camp as occasion required The town itself indeed had been reduced to ruins the year before but the capture of its citadel and the material of war contained in it caused great commotion in the Roman army for it was not only the loss of the place and the stores in it that distressed them but the fact also that it commanded the surrounding district They therefore sent frequent messages to Rome asking for instructions for if they approached the enemy they would not be able to avoid an engagement in view of the fact that the country was being plundered and the allies all in a state of excitement The Senate passed a resolution that they should give the enemy battle they however bade Gnaeus Servilius wait and despatched the Consuls to the seat of war It was to Aemilius L Aemilius Paullus Consul for 216 B C that all eyes turned and on him the most confident hopes were fixed for his life had been a noble one and he was thought to have managed the recent Illyrian war with advantage to the state The Senate determined to bring eight legions into the field which had never been done at Rome before each legion consisting of five thousand men besides allies For the Romans as I have state before habitually enroll four legions per year each consisting of about four thousand foot and two hundred horse and when any unusual necessity arises they raise the number of foot to five thousand and of the horse to three hundred Of allies the number in each legion is the same as that of the citizens but of the horse three times as great Of the four legions thus composed they assign two to each of the Consuls for whatever service is going on Most of their wars are decided by one Consul and two legions with their quota of allies thus two citizen legions and two allied legions combined and they rarely employ all four at one time and on one service But on this occasion so great was the alarm and terror of what would happen they resolved to bring not only four but eight legions into the field thus eight citizen legions and eight allied legions combined about 90 000 men 108 With earnest words of exhortations therefore to Aemilius putting before him the gravity in every point of view of the result of the battle they despatched him with instructions to seek a favorable opportunity to fight a decisive battle with a courage worthy of Rome Having arrived at the camp and united their forces they made known the will of the Senate to the soldiers and Aemilius exhorted them to do their duty in terms which evidently came from his heart He addressed himself especially to explain and excuse the reverses which they had lately experienced for it was on this point particularly that the soldiers were depressed and stood in need of encouragement AThe causes he argued Aof their defeats in former battles were many and could not be reduced to one or two But those causes were at an end and no excuse existed now if they only showed themselves to be men of courage for not conquering their enemies Up to that time both Consuls had never been engaged together or employed thoroughly trained soldiers the combatants on the contrary had been raw levies entirely inexperienced in danger and what was most important of all they had been entirely ignorant of their opponents that they had been brought into the field and engaged in a pitched battle with an enemy that they had never once set eyes upon Those who had been defeated on the Trebia were drawn up on the field at daybreak on the very next morning after their arrival from Sicily while those who had fought in Etruria at the defeat at Lake Trasimene not only had never seen the enemy before but did not do so even during the very battle itself owing to the unfortunate state of the atmosphere 109 But now the conditions were quite different For in the first place both Consuls were with the army and were not only prepared to share the danger themselves but had also induced the Consuls of the previous year to remain and take part in the struggle While the men had not only seen the arms order and numbers of the enemy but had been engaged in almost daily fights with them for the last two years The conditions therefore under which the two former battles were fought being quite different it was but natural that the result of the coming struggle should be different too For it would be strange or rather impossible that those who in various skirmishes where the numbers of either side were equal had for the most part come off victorious should when drawn up altogether and nearly double of the enemy in number be defeated Wherefore men of the army he continued seeing that we have every advantage on our side for securing a victory there is only one thing necessary your determination your zeal And I do not think I need say more to you on that point To men serving others for pay or to those who fight as allies on behalf of others who have no greater danger to expect than meets them on the field and for whom the issues at stake are of little importance such men may need words of exhortation But men who like you are fighting not for others but themselves for country wives and children and for whom the issue is of far more momentous consequence than the mere danger of the hour need only to be reminded require no exhortation For who is there among you who would not wish if possible to be victorious and next if that may not be to die with arms in his hands rather than to live and see the outrage and death of those dear objects which I have named Wherefore men of the army apart from any words of mine place before your eyes the momentous difference to you between victory and defeat and all their consequences Enter upon this battle with the full conviction that in it your country is not risking a certain number of legions but her bare existence For she has nothing to add to such an army as this to give her victory if the day now goes against us All she has of confidence and strength rests on you all her hopes of safety are in your hands Do not frustrate those hopes but pay back to your country the gratitude you owe her and make it clear to all the world that the former reverses occurred not because the Romans are worse men than the Carthaginians but from the lack of experience on the part of those who were then fighting and through a combination of adverse circumstances With such words Aemilius dismissed the troops 110 Next morning the two Consuls broke up their camp and advanced to where they heard that the enemy were entrenched On the second day they arrived within sight of them and pitched their camp at about fifty stadia distance But when Aemilius observed that the ground was flat and bare for some distance round he said that they must not engage there with an enemy superior to them in cavalry but that they must rather try to draw him off and lead him to ground on which the battle would be more in the hands of the infantry But Caius Terentius C Terentius Varro Consul for 216 B C being from inexperience of a contrary opinion there was a dispute and misunderstanding between the two leaders which of all things is the most dangerous It is the custom when the two Consuls are present that they should take the chief command on alternate days and the next day happening to be the turn of Terentius he ordered an advance with a view of approaching the enemy in spite of the protests and active opposition of his colleague Hannibal set his light armed troops and cavalry in motion to meet him and charging the Romans while they were still marching took them by surprise and caused a great confusion in their ranks The Romans repulsed the first charge by putting some of their heavy armed in front and then sending forward their light armed and cavalry began to get the best of the fight all along the line the Carthaginians having no reserves of any importance while certain companies of the legionaries were mixed with the Roman light armed and helped to sustain the battle Nightfall for the present put an end to a struggle which had not at all answered to the hopes of the Carthaginians But next day Aemilius not thinking it right to engage and yet being unable any longer to lead off his army encamped with two thirds of it on the banks of the Apennines that chain of mountains which forms the watershed of all Italian rivers which flow either west to the Tuscan sea or east to the Hadriatic This chain is I say pierced by the Aufidus which rises on the side of Italy nearest the Tuscan Sea and is discharged into the Hadriatic For the other third of his army he caused a camp to be made across the river to the east of the ford about ten stades from his own lines and a little more from those of the enemy that these men being on the other side of the river might protect his own foraging parties and threaten those of the enemy 111 Then Hannibal seeing that his circumstances called for a battle with the enemy being anxious lest his troops should be depressed by their previous reverse and believing that it was an occasion which required some encouraging words summoned a general meeting of his soldiers When they were assembled he bid them all look round upon the country and asked them What better fortune they could have asked from the gods if they had had the choice than to fight in such ground as they saw there with the vast superiority of cavalry on

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  • The Chaldeans, Nebuchadnezzar
    his strong grip on the empire On expeditions in Syria and Palestine from June to December of 604 Nebuchadrezzar received the submission of local states including Judah and captured the city of Ashkelon With Greek mercenaries in his armies further campaigns to extend Babylonian control in Palestine followed in the three succeeding years On the last occasion 601 600 Nebuchadrezzar clashed with an Egyptian army with heavy losses this reverse was followed by the defection of certain vassal states Judah among them This brought an intermission in the series of annual campaigns in 600 599 while Nebuchadrezzar remained in Babylonia repairing his losses of chariots Measures to regain control were resumed at the end of 599 598 December to March Nebuchadrezzar s strategic planning appeared in his attack on the Arab tribes of northwestern Arabia in preparation for the occupation of Judah He attacked Judah a year later and captured Jerusalem on March 16 597 deporting King Jehoiachin to Babylon After a further brief Syrian campaign in 596 595 Nebuchadrezzar had to act in eastern Babylonia to repel a threatened invasion probably from Elam modern southwestern Iran Tensions in Babylonia were revealed by a rebellion late in 595 594 involving elements of the army but he was able to put this down decisively enough to undertake two further campaigns in Syria during 594 Nebuchadrezzar s further military activities are known not from extant chronicles but from other sources particularly the Bible which records another attack on Jerusalem and a siege of Tyre lasting 13 years according to the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus and hints at an invasion of Egypt The siege of Jerusalem ended in its capture in 587 586 and in the deportation of prominent citizens with a further deportation in 582 In this respect he followed the methods of his Assyrian predecessors Much influenced by the Assyrian imperial tradition Nebuchadrezzar consciously pursued a policy of expansion claiming the grant of universal kingship by Marduk and praying to have no opponent from horizon to sky From cuneiform fragments he is known to have attempted the invasion of Egypt the culmination of his expansionist policy in 568 567 In addition to being a brilliant tactician and strategist Nebuchadrezzar was also prominent in international diplomacy as shown in his sending an ambassador probably Nabonidus a successor to mediate between the Medes and Lydians in Asia Minor He died about 561 and was succeeded by his son Awil Marduk Evil Merodach of 2 Kings Nebuchadrezzar s main activity other than as military commander was the rebuilding of Babylon He completed and extended fortifications begun by his father built a great moat and a new outer defense wall paved the ceremonial Processional Way with limestone rebuilt and embellished the principal temples and cut canals This he did not only for his own glorification but also in honor of the gods He claimed to be the one who set in the mouth of the people reverence for the great gods and disparaged predecessors who

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  • The Chaldeans, Nebuchadrezzar And His Successors
    by the usual disaster Edom and Moab had already made their peace with their overlord Ammon and Tyre do not seem to have played any active part in the struggle Judah stood alone and perished 281 Nebuchadrezzar seems to have proceeded against Tyre and besieged it The siege is said to have lasted thirteen years 585 573 B C after which the city came to terms although it was not entered by the Kaldean king The death of its king Itobaal II coincided with its submission Egypt was attacked by Nebuchadrezzar in 568 B C at a the time when Hophra had been followed by Amasis as a result of internal strife Of the success or extent of the campaign there is no definite knowledge It was little more than a punitive expedition from which Egypt speedily recovered 282 If the knowledge of Nebuchadrezzar s wars and the administration of his empire must be derived largely from others than himself the case is different with respect to his activity in Babylonia To this long inscriptions are devoted and small tablets stamps and bricks from many famous sites add their testimony He describes particularly his building operations in the city of Babylon the fortifications the palaces and the temples reared by him Utility and adornment were his guiding principles but not without the deeper motives of piety and patriotism In Babylonia at large he labored at the restoration of the canal system so important for agriculture commerce and defence One canal which was restored by him led from the Euphrates south of Hit directly to the gulf through the centre of Babylonia another on the west of the Euphrates opened up to irrigation and agriculture the edge of the Arabian desert The river as it passed along before Babylon was lined with bricks laid in bitumen which at low water are visible to day The city canals were similarly treated Those connecting the two rivers and extending through the land between them were reopened A system of basins dykes and dams guarded and guided the waters of the rivers works so various and colossal as to excite the admiration of the Greeks who saw or heard of them A system of defences was planned by the erection of a great wall in north Babylonia stretching from the Euphrates to the Tigris it was flanked east and west by a series of ramparts of earth and moats filled with water and extended southward as far as Nippur It was called the Median wall Restorations of temples were made in Borsippa Sippar Ur Uruk Larsam Dilbat and Baz More than forty temples and shrines are mentioned in the inscriptions as receiving attention Bricks bearing the king s name are said to have come from every site in Babylonia from Bagdad to the mouth of the rivers He may well stand as the greatest builder of all the kings of the Mesopotamian valley 283 An estimate of the policy and achievements of Nebuchadrezzar while limited by the unequal amount of information on the various phases of his activity and subject to revision in the light of new material can be undertaken with a reasonable expectation of general accuracy Tiele has called him one of the greatest rulers of antiquity BAG p 454 and when his operations in Babylonia are considered that statement has weight and significance A century and a half of war in which Babylonia had been the field of battle had reduced its cities to ruins and its fields to waste lands Its temples had been spoiled or neglected and its gods in humiliation or wrath had abandoned their dwelling places Warring factions had divided up the country between them or vied with one another in handing it over to foreign foes The first duty of the king who loved his people and considered the well being and prosperity of his government was to restore and unite Recovery and consolidation these were the watch words of public policy for the time and these Nebuchadrezzar set himself to realize It is no chance then that his inscriptions deal so uniformly with Babylonian affairs with matters of building and canalization and religion It has been pointed out also that his far seeing policy contemplated the danger from the Medes his present allies and that his elaborate scheme of defences was intended to make Babylon impregnable in the conflict which he saw impending All this was sagacious and states manlike 284 In the fulfillment of this policy the king conceived it indispensable to lay the emphasis on the pre eminence of his capital the city of Babylon Here were his most extensive and costly buildings erected For its protection the vast system of fortifications was designed To beautify and adorn its streets and temples was his supremest desire as the exaltation of its gods was the deepest thought of his heart He or his successors even went so far as to destroy the famous temple of the elder Bel in the immemorially sacred city of Nippur the sanctuary of the whole land an act which has its explanation only in this purpose to glorify Marduk of Babylon Peters Nippur II p 262 But one title is borne by him in all his inscriptions and that is King of Babylon and in them he declares With the exception of Babylon and Borsippa I did not adorn a single city and Because my heart did not love the abode of my royalty in another city in no other human habitation did I build a residence for my lordship Property the insignia of royalty I did not establish anywhere else ABL pp 140 141 Reasonable question may be raised as to the wisdom of this procedure The Assyrian kings while they glorified Nineveh or Kalkhi always proclaimed themselves rulers of the state or the empire and the title assumed was recognized to entail responsibility But Nebuchadrezzar chose to follow the less laudable feature of the example of his

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  • The Chaldeans, Babylonia Under The Kaldeans
    soldiery was not high The impression made upon subject peoples is illustrated by the testimony of the Hebrew prophets Habakkuk declares Their horses also are swifter than leopards and are more fierce than the evening wolves and their horsemen spread themselves yea their horsemen come from far they fly as an eagle that hasteth to devour They come all of them for violence their faces are set eagerly as the east wind and they gather captives as the sand Hab i 8 9 297 The glory of Babylonia however was in the arts of peace and this age was not behind in the cultivation of science aesthetics and literature But there is no evidence that in this direction more than in others was there any endeavor to outdo the past The literary art showed perhaps greater elaboration of details but there was no new thought Its quality and influence are best estimated by the example of the one people of genius that breathed its atmosphere Hebrew literature of the exile and after is in form separated by a great gulf from that of the earlier period The peculiarities of the style of Ezekiel and of Zechariah the artificiality of form and the grotesqueness of conception are Babylonian But the mechanical correctness of these writers becomes harmony and unity of presentation in such a literary artist as the author of the second part of Isaiah His discourse serene affluent and glowing is an image of a Babylonian landscape As it unrolls itself we think of fields and gardens and stately palms and bending willows and gently flowing streams stretching away over an ample plain and all standing out clear in the light of a cloudless sky McCurdy HPM III p 420 For a fuller knowledge of the contribution of the Kaldean period to the artistic development it will be necessary to await further excavation on the site of Babylon but already it is known that the special type of artistic adornment in the Kaldean palaces was the wall decorated in colors Bricks enamelled in colors are among the commonest articles picked up on the mounds of Babylon It is the walls of Nebuchadrezzar s palace to which Diodorus refers in speaking of every kind of animal imitated according to all the rules of art both as to form and color the whole represented the chase of various animals the latter being more than four cubits high in the middle Semiramis on horseback letting fly an arrow against a panther and on one side her husband Ninus at close quarter with a lion Diod II 8 6 This description is confirmed by the recent discovery of the throne room of the palace with beautifully colored decorations of this character which took the place of the bas reliefs of Ninevite kings 298 In the sphere of religion the Kaldean period was most active and yet most characteristically conservative It was the brief Indian summer of the faith cherished through so many centuries in the temples by successive generations of zealous priests and devout worshippers Ancient cults were revived ruined shrines restored old endowment renewed Yet the ideas of the gods and of their place and prerogatives in the pantheon had changed but slightly Mention has already been made of the preference of the kings for Marduk and Nabu sect 284 and of the approach to monotheism and sprirituality which appears in the prayers of Nebuchadrezzar Nabuna id it is thought sought to raise Shamash the sun god to the level of Marduk and Nabu but the attempt only cost him the enmity of the priests of the capital Everywhere priestly control made the cult the dominant element in the religion its materialistic features its demonology its incantation ceremonials and its astrology continued to be the popular elements The condition or morals was fluctuating affected it is true by noble expressions of faith and devotion such as are found in the hymns and prayers but elevated and maintained at a worthy standard far more by the secular activities of business True it was a commercial and mercantile morality but a striking testimony is borne to it by a later writer who mentions among the other virtues of the Babylonians their imperturbability and their straightforwardness Nic of Damascus Fr 131 characteristics of which the Stoics were proud The influence of the religion upon outside peoples was however never as potent as in this period The international life of east and west now so close and reciprocal afforded the most favorable opportunity for the extension of the profound cosmological and theological ideas which in strange and often grotesque forms had been wrought out on Babylonian soil The fertile and inquiring Greek mind was now brought within close range and the reports of eastern travellers stimulated the curiosity and the thoughts of the philosophers The Jews too drank in the teachings The finishing touches to the structure of Judaism given on Babylonian soil reveal the Babylonian trade mark Ezekiel in many respect the most characteristic Jewish figure of the exile is steeped in Babylonian theology and mysticism and the profound influence of Ezekiel is recognized by modern scholarship in the religious spirit that characterizes the Jews upon the reorganization of their commonwealth Jastrow RBA pp 696 f 299 This splendid renaissance of the past which is the achievement of the Kaldi for Babylonia has its shining example and supreme symbol in the city of Babylon The devotion of the great Nebuchadrezzar to his capital has already been indicated sect 284 To present however imperfectly a general picture of the city as it came from the hands of its Kaldean rulers is a service due to their memory At the same time this supreme interest is the best illustration of the limitations as well as the height of their ideals It is possible at present with some certainty to connect at least two of the three great mounds on the site of the ancient city now called Babel

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  • The Ancient City of Jericho
    to the east the Central Mountains to the west and the Dead Sea to the south we find Jericho in the center Aside from these natural fortifications Jericho also benefited from natural irrigation afforded by the Jordan River approximately four miles to the west and from underground tributaries from the Central Mountains which fed her famous oasis This irrigation resulted in teeming plant life and helped to transform Jericho into a flowing sea of green in an otherwise barren desert Jericho s natural resources beauty and natural defenses caused her to become the ideal locale for trade These attributes also made her the source of envy and a coveted possession for invaders of ancient Palestine Given that Jericho is located in roughly central Palestine access to her neighboring city states was a major key to Jericho s importance to invaders and to traders alike Jericho s location was ideal for the establishing of trade routes and for communication exchange Jericho had relatively easy access to southern neighbors such as Jerusalem and Bethlehem and to northern neighbors such as Beth Shan and Nazareth On the other hand the mountains on her eastern and on her western sides which fostered natural defenses

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  • The Genesis narrative in the light of recent scholarship
    as being north of Mari and in Harran in the Temple of Sin The Bible provides no information on the itinerary followed between Ur and Harran Scholars think that the caravan went up the Euphrates then up the Balikh After indicating a stay of indeterminate length in Harran the Bible says only that Terah died there at the age of 205 and that Abraham was 75 when he took up the journey again with his family and his goods This time the migration went from east to west first as far as the Euphrates River which they may have crossed at Carchemish since it can be forded during low water periods Here again the Mari texts supply a reference for they indicate that there were Benjaminites on the right bank of the river in the lands of Yamhad Aleppo Qatanum Qatna and Amurru Since the ancient trails seem to have been marked with sanctuaries it is noteworthy that Nayrab near Aleppo was like Harran and Ur a center of the Sin cult and that south of Aleppo on the road to Hamah there is still a village that bears the name of Benjamin The route is in the direction of the land of Canaan the goal of the journey If a stop in Damascus is assumed the caravan must next have crossed the land of Bashan the Hawran of today first crossing the Jabboq then the Jordan River at the ford of Damiya and arriving in the heart of the Samaritan country to reach at last the plain of Shechem today Balatah at the foot of the Gerizim and Ebal mountains Shechem was at the time a political and religious centre the importance of which has been perceived more clearly as a result of recent archaeological excavations From the mid 13th to the mid 11th century BC Shechem was the site of the cult of the Canaanite god Ba al Berit Lord of the Covenant The architecture uncovered on the site by archaeologists would date to the 18th century BC in which the presence of the patriarchs in Shechem is placed The next stopping place was in Bethel identified with present day Baytin north of Jerusalem Bethel was also a holy city whose cult was centered on El the Canaanite god par excellence Its name does not lend itself to confusion for it proclaims that the city is the bet house or temple of El God The Canaanite sanctuary was taken over without hesitation by Abraham who built an altar there and consecrated it to Yahweh at least if the Yahwistic tradition in Genesis is to be believed Abraham had not yet come to the end of his journey Between Shechem and Bethel he had gone about 31 miles It was about as far again from Bethel to Hebron or more precisely to the oaks of Mamre which are at Hebron according to the Genesis account The location of Mamre has been the subject of some indecision At the present

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  • Mesopotamia, Calendar
    that following the year named after such and such event The use of the date formulas was supplanted in Babylonia by the counting of regnal years in the 17th century BC The use of lunar reckoning began to prevail in the 21st century BC The lunar year probably owed its success to economic progress A barley loan could be measured out to the lender at the next year s threshing floor The wider use of silver as the standard of value demanded more flexible payment terms A man hiring a servant in the lunar month of Kislimu for a year knew that the engagement would end at the return of the same month without counting days or periods of office between two dates At the city of Mari in about 1800 BC the allocations were already reckoned on the basis of 29 and 30 day lunar months In the 18th century BC the Babylonian Empire standardized the year by adopting the lunar calendar of the Sumerian sacred city of Nippur The power and the cultural prestige of Babylon assured the success of the lunar year which began on Nisanu 1 in the spring When in the 17th century BC the dating by regnal years became usual the period between the accession day and the next Nisanu 1 was described as the beginning of the kingship of PN and the regnal years were counted from this Nisanu 1 It was necessary for the lunar year of about 354 days to be brought into line with the solar agricultural year of approximately 365 days This was accomplished by the use of an intercalated month Thus in the 21st century BC a special name for the intercalated month iti dirig appears in the sources The intercalation was operated haphazardly according to real or imagined needs and each Sumerian city inserted months at will e g 11 months in 18 years or two months in the same year Later the empires centralized the intercalation and as late as 541 BC it was proclaimed by royal fiat Improvements in astronomical knowledge eventually made possible the regularization of intercalation and under the Persian kings c 380 BC Babylonian calendar calculators succeeded in computing an almost perfect equivalence in a lunisolar cycle of 19 years and 235 months with intercalations in the years 3 6 8 11 14 17 and 19 of the cycle The new year s day Nisanu 1 now oscillated around the spring equinox within a period of 27 days The Babylonian month names were Nisanu Ayaru Simanu Du uzu Abu Ululu Tashritu Arakhsamna Kislimu Tebetu Shabatu and Adaru The month Adaru II was intercalated six times within the 19 year cycle but never in the year that was 17th of the cycle when Ululu II was inserted Thus the Babylonian calendar until the end preserved a vestige of the original bipartition of the natural year into two seasons just as the Babylonian months to the end remained truly lunar and began when the

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  • Sumeria: Cosmogony and Cosmology
    tradition is known in a more complete form from an ancient list of gods called An Anum There after a different beginning Lahmu and Lahamu give rise to Duri and Dari the time cycle and these in turn give rise to Enshar and Ninshar Lord and Lady Circle Enshar and Ninshar engender the concrete circle of the horizon Anshar and Kishar probably conceived as silt deposited along the edge of the universe Next was the horizon of the greater heaven and earth and then omitting an intrusive line heaven and earth probably conceived as two juxtaposed flat disks formed from silt deposited inward from the horizons Enuma elish truncates these materials and violates their inner logic considerably Though they are clearly cosmogonic and assume that the cosmic elements and the powers informing them come into being together Enuma elish seeks to utilize them for a pure theogony account of the origin of the gods The creation of the actual cosmos is dealt with much later Also the introduction of Mummu the personified original form which in the circumstances can only be that of water may have led to the omission of Ki Earth who as nonwatery did not fit in The gods who in Enuma elish come into being within Apsu and Tiamat are viewed as dynamic creatures who contrast strikingly with the older generation Apsu and Tiamat stand for inertia and rest This contrast leads to a series of conflicts in which first Apsu is killed by Ea then Tiamat who was roused later to attack the gods is killed by Ea s son Marduk It is Marduk the hero of the story who creates the extant universe out of the body of Tiamat He cuts her like a dried fish in two making one half of her into heaven appointing there Sun Moon and stars to execute their prescribed motions and the other half into the Earth He pierces her eyes to let the Tigris and Euphrates flow forth and then heaping mountains on her body in the east he makes the various tributaries of the Tigris flow out from her breasts The remainder of the story deals with Marduk s organization of the cosmos his creation of man and his assigning to the gods their various cosmic offices and tasks The cosmos is viewed as structured as and functioning as a benevolent absolute monarchy Man his origin nature and destiny Two different notions about man s origin seem to have been current in ancient Mesopotamian religions Brief mentions in Sumerian texts indicate that the first men grew from the earth in the manner of grass and herbs One of these texts the Myth of the Creation of the Hoe adds a few details Enlil removed heaven from earth in order to make room for seeds to come up and after he had created the hoe he used it to break the hard crust of earth in Uzumua the flesh grower a place in the Temple of Inanna

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