TAPE 151 - By Ella Rose Mast
ANCIENT CITIES REVEAL ANCIENT CIVILIZATIONS
The science of Archaeology has pointed out the ancient civilizations of the past and the mysteries which they contained. The Pioneer of British Archaeology in the ancient land of Mesopotamia was young Henry Austen Layard. He and a young friend traveled thru Albania, Roumelia (Romania), and Bulgaria and on into Constantinople and into Asia Minor back in the year 1839. They were struck with the beauty of the country at that time. But this young Englishman was also looking for ancient ruins. This was his dream--to dig in one of these ancient sites. Finally leaving his partner in this adventure, he traveled on into Mesopotamia to the city of Mosul (meaning Junction). This city was on the bank of the Tigris River.
A little further down along the opposite bank of this Tigris river was the massive ruin's called Kuyunjik now known as Nineveh and close across the river was the remains of that ancient city called Nimrud. Our author thought that this ruin was also a part of the ancient city Nineveh. Young Henry Austen Layard wrote his history of the findings in this excavations of those cities in his book..."Nineveh and it's remains."
When this young Englishman first set eyes on these ancient ruin's back in the year of 1840 then very little was known beyond the biblical records and occasional references by Classical authors about this ancient civilization which existed in biblical times. The Russians and the English forces were trying to regain their land, thus any work there was dangerous. Our author returned to England hoping his travels would secure for him a job preferably in the Foreign Service. This was not to be since his interest laid in this science of Archaeology which was very popular at that time.
Our young author then returned to the east, to the ruins called Nimrud in 1844., and immediately hired a crew and they began to dig. Almost immediately he discovered a large room and then there buried in debris was 2 Winged Bull's of a large size. These stood 14 feet high and weighed approximately 20 tons a piece. Knowing a bit of English Identity from the English Museum no doubt helped him to realize he had made a marvelous find, but here in this old land now the Muslim's were now in control and hard to deal with. Even tho he had a permit to dig in these ancient ruin's, for the British Museum was quick to back this 'dig', still this was in the land today that we know as Iraq, and it was a land fought over thru the years. He knew it would be hard to remove these two Winged Bull's and it would take a long time since you could only work in the fall and winter for the heat was intense in the summer. He had no choice but to cover the Bull's once more so as to protect them.
Now; having some spare time our author then would do a bit of traveling in that land of Asia Minor to visit the spots which religion had made Holy. He had a deep desire altho never fulfilled to penetrate to the regions beyond the Euphrates to which History and Tradition point as the birthplace of "THE WISDOM OF THE WEST." We saw how Alexander the Great also had this longing and he in fact went further with this dream than our author would now be able to do. A great mystery has always hung over Assyria, Babylonia, and Chaldea, for these names are linked with the names of great nations and great cities dimly shadowed forth in history.
However our author had always wanted to find the ancient city of Nineveh, that city to which YAHWEH sent to the prophet Jonah. Here at that dig on the other side of the river he had found the tomb of that ancient Prophet of the scripture, as well as ancient ruin's on that side of the river.
Our young author received help from a Mr. Christian Russian, a native Christian of the Assyrian (Nestorian) sect. His wife was the sister of the missionary George Percy Badger. These people became close friends of our author. Here once again we have run into these people who are called Nestorian Christian's over in that old land where once Nimrod the Great Hunter lived, and where Yahweh sent Jonah to prevent the Aryan's of Nineveh from falling prey to the darkness until his purposes were played out in that old land. Of all the people who our author would meet in that old areas then the Nestorian Christians had a much better life style. This pointed out the fact that these were the people who still worshiped the True God.
Because of constant trouble with wandering tribes of that area our author had trouble doing any work at the 'dig' and of course getting his findings safely out of the country. Artifacts had to be send down river to Baghdad, and there a crew would take charge and pick them up for passage to England.
On January 17, 1846., our author had returned to Nimrud ruins and at this time a part of Nestorian Christians were there to protect him and what he was to find. He had of course already found the 'Winged Bull's' these symbols from Aryan's...Adamites in the Star Bible...where Taurus was represented as a symbol. Now; they soon fund statutes of humans with Eagle or vulture head dresses and these were Winged Men, the wings as tho symbols of where they came from.
In these ruin's they next came across a giant head. The Arab's who were now working at the dig were scared but the Aryan's were able to show them as they dug out this 'find' that this was only a great stone statute....this one was simply a giant Winged Lion with a human head. They found others smaller. Some of these winged figures had the human shape continued to the waist and finished with arms. They were about 12 feet in height and 12 feet long. Their expanded wings sprang from the shoulders and spread over the back. Thus here the Lion symbolic of 'The Lion of Judah' who was to come as... the Christ...the Redeemer. Did not these ancient people expect this to happen as they carved their great statutes and left them to be found by their people much later?
As our author traveled back and forth to the 'dig' because of weather and other factors he came in contact with people called Kurds. Some of these people were fairly wealthy people, healthy and good looking, seemingly an Aryan people. Other tribes of Kurds were a mixed people, poor, and living only a tribal life. But all were interested in the 'dig' as tho they remembered something from somewhere in the past. The main course in their meals of these poorer class people was boiled mutton swimming in melted butter, and sour milk. Needless to say this did not appeal to our author altho at the time he had to pretend.
Coming back to the 'dig' to see how the work was progressing under the man he had left in charge, our author found that not too much had been accomplished but they had uncovered other items and small tablet's with cuneiform characters upon them. Since so many loved to see what had been uncovered, our author then invited the Arab Sheiks around the area as well as the Kurds and of course the Nestorian Christian's to a party, and it was held and a viewing of the artifacts took place. Since the Arab's loved such things the party lasted for 3 days and 3 nights and by this time the author had gained more trust among the natives so that his work could progress with less trouble.
After the chamber with the human headed lions was uncovered, they here found sculptured walls showing a king and his attendants, with the figures being about 8 feet tall. In this chamber also was a winged human headed bull of yellow limestone. Under the bull of yellow limestone when it was lifted was 16 copper lions; they formed a series in size from the largest to the smallest, from 1 foot in length to the last one only 1 inch long.
Our author was anxious to open the mounds of Konyunjik which he believed was that of Ancient Nineveh if this one at Nimroud was not. It was on the other side of the river and not too far away, just a little closer to the town of Mosul. He had been waiting for permission for that 'dig' for some time.
In the meantime he returned to the excavations at Nimroud and there uncovered the north wall of an eastern entrance to this great building. He found on a slab the carvings of a king seated on a throne of a most elegant design. His feet were placed upon a footstool supported by Lion's paws. In His elevated right hand he held a cup, and his left hand rested upon his knee. Upon his head a border with fringes attached and engraved upon this a variety of religious emblems and figures like those found upon cylinders and seals of Assyria and Babylon. In front of the king stood an Eunuch holding in his hand a cup, with a fly flapper in the other. At the back of the king stood two more Eunuch's holding the arms of the king, and further back another winged human figure. These sculptures were packed for sending back to England. The Arab Chieftains and their followers stared in amazement, and then argued as to whether they were good or bad idols. The huge human headed lion's terrified as well as amazed them.
As the heat of summer came our Aryan author always had to leave, but he would return in September. One summer he decided to visit the Tujare Mountains inhabited by the Chaldean Christian's. On the way he would visit the French excavations at Khorsabad. Permission was granted and there he found the Winged Bull's with a somewhat different headdress. Here the weather was still very hot so they pushed on for the Kurdish Hills. After a ride thru a pleasant valley, watered by mountain torrents, they reached a well wooded basin in the center of which rose the white spire of this tomb of the great Yisidi Saint. (We will talk about this a little later, for who were the Yisidi people and who was this Saint?)
Leaving this area our author and his party pushed on into the mountains inhabited by the large Kurdish tribe of Missour. In four hours they reached the village of Kaloni built among vineyards. The houses were built of stone but now were empty as the people were in their summer homes along the stream. Here the people were very friendly, the women wore no veils, as did the Arab ladies and they soon served a meal of boiled rice, slices of honeycomb, and baskets of newly gathered fruit, and large bowls of milk and cream.
This valley was shut in by lofty rocks well wooded with fruit trees, and plots of Indian corn, sesame, and cotton were also seen. There was a cleanliness seen here, and even richness in the dresses of the women and the clothing of the men, an appearance of comfort and industry, so strikingly different than the miserable state of the people of the plains. Our author then rode on up to the small Chaldean village of Bebogi on the summit of a high mountain. Here was found only 10 homes built on the edge of a cliff. The inhabitants were poor, but recently they had built a small church. There were some pictures found here, miracles of Saint's pictured as well as the blessed Virgin, and a babe in swaddling clothes. When asked if the people understood the pictures they answer...no. But the pictures had been put there by their Priest. The author was told that when their Nestorian Priest had died then the Catholic Priest came to them and brought the pictures. On the altar was a few books, forms of prayer rituals, and the scriptures used by the Chaldeans. These had not been changed only the name 'Nestorius' had been blotted out with a pen.
From there our author went further into the mountains, and into the territories of the Kurdish Chief's. Here the people, altho Nestorian Christian's, were governed by Mohammadans and these Governors were very cruel. In Kurdistan the houses were... the lower part of stone and very simple. The animals were brought inside in cold weather. Light came in the door, and by small holes in the walls, but there were no windows, no glass. In summer the people lived in the upper part of the houses which were open to the south. The living conditions were very primitive until you had now pushed higher into the mountains where you found the Christian Kurds, and they had a priest and a church, the gardens which were very extensive and were well irrigated, and the houses were nice and almost concealed in a forest of fruit trees. Such a difference was so noticeable than further down and on the old plains now along this most famous old river called the Tigris.
Our author visited the rock sculptures near Malthaiyah where 4 tablets had been cut into the rock. On each tablet are 9 figures. Two are of kings...the first and the last, the remainders are those of Divinities, standing upon animals, the figures resembling those of Khorsabad. Here in these mountains were also Catholic Chaldeans with their conversion not dating back many years.
Our author learned that in the first century of the Christian era the doctrines of Christianity had penetrated into the Assyrian provinces; by the 5th., century the Nestorian church was established in the east and remained strong until the establishment of the Arab supremacy in the provinces east of the Tigris, and then the Chaldeans were both protected and persecuted depending upon the strength of the Persian and Byzantine Empires. From there according to the earliest annals of the Chaldean church...missionaries were sent by the Patriarchs of the east into the areas of Tatary and China, and notices of their success and their Faith is also recorded. At the time of the Arab invasion, the learning of the East was still chiefly found among the Chaldeans. We are indebted to the ancestors of the Chaldeans for records of Astronomy, and the elements of Eastern Astrology and science. In the celebrated schools of Edessa, Nisible and Selencia the early language of the country was publicly taught. They were masters of Science, of Grammar, Rhetoric, Poetry, Dialectics, Arithmetic, Geometry, Music, Astronomy, and Medicine, and these were preserved in the public libraries. The Nestorian Christian's translated all into the Arabic language
After the fall of the Caliphs' (true Arabs) the power of the Chaldean Patriarchs declined. Catholic missionaries began to spread out over the land, and then came the reign of Tamerlane (Genghis Khan) who destroyed their churches, and put to the sword all people who got in the way of these hoards. They penetrated unto the almost inaccessible mountains. Those who sought the height and fastness of Kurdistan were the descendants of ancient Assyrian's (Aryans) and the remnant of one of the earliest Christian sects. (Possibly founded by Prestor John?)
From the year 1413 A.D., the Chaldean records contained scarcely any mention of the Nestorian Church beyond the confines of Kurdistan. The language of the Chaldeans is a Shemitic dialect allied to the Hebrew-Arabic and Syriac, and still bears the name of Chaldee.
The Protestants of America have for some time past taken a deep interest in the Chaldeans. Their missionaries opened schools and even a printing press was established. The scriptures were printed in the native language. They are still a long persecuted people caught in an old land gone into darkness. In 1933., a great massacre of these people finally occurred and then their number was greatly reduced.
Now; in the center of the Mesopotamian Desert was a solitary mountain located just to the west of the town of Mosul. Here we find a trace of a different people. The last independent chief of the YEZIDI'S OF SHEIKHAN,....was a man very beloved by his tribe and sufficiently brave to defend his people for many years against the attacks of the Kurds and the Mussulman's of the plains. This was a hated sect...why our author did not find the answer (I will try to find out in the next report altho I have an idea). Anyway this tribe was finally all murdered except a handful who had escaped to the mountains such as this young man Hussein Bey whose mother had carried him into the mountains, and now this young man worked for our author. He was not thought of as the Chief of the YEZIDI'S who had again developed into a tribe.
The Mohammadans were said to make a distinction between believers in the sacred books, the first category goes to the Christian's of all denominations as receiving the two testaments. The YEZIDI'S were not looked upon as..."Masters of a book". the Mussulman's of the plains were Muslims, Arab in their background, but split in religion. The YEZIDI'S gathered each year at the tomb of their famous fallen leader, which was near to the diggings of our author, and he was thus able to attend this gathering. On horseback they rode up that famous mountain and looked down into a wooded valley where this white tomb appeared in the trees. This tomb of sheik Adi is in a narrow valley, rocks on all sides except where a small stream forces its way into a larger valley beyond. The tomb stands in a court yard and is surrounded by a few buildings, inhabited by guardians and servants of this sanctuary. The building consists of 3 principal rooms divided by a large hall. A reservoir filled by a spring at the upper end furnished the water for the tomb area. this is considered as Holy water and used to baptize children.
The Tomb of Sheikh Adi is covered, as is the custom in Mussulman sanctuaries by a large square box made of clay and plastered with a substance, and has a green cloth thrown over it. The Tomb itself is in the Inner room dimly lit by a small lamp. On it is the chapter of the Koran called the "Ayar el Courci." Translated this states... "God, there is no God but He the Living, the self subsisting. Slumber takes Him not, nor sleep. His is what is in heaven and what is in earth. His throne extends over the heavens and the earth and it tires Him not to guard them both, for He is High and Grand."
Now; this was a gathering place for this tribe, and now a feast day for these scattered people and our author was with them. that evening lights were carried thru the trees as about 5,000 people from wealthy to very poor who had come to honor their fallen Chief. What may we ask had rendered the name of YEZIDI AN ABOMINATION IN THE EAST? For three days this ceremony went on in the valley where the tomb was located, and each night the Ceremony would be the same. No Mohammadans nor Christians were present except those who were with our author. One of the melodies he records lasted for nearly an hour, a part of it called "Makam Azerat Esah"..or "The song of the LORD Jesus." The words are in Arabic...a language most of these people could not speak so the words were not understandable to anyone but the singers. Wild stories over the years as to what went on at these ceremonies were told but our author saw nothing of this sort, in fact the opposite seemed to be true.
As far as our author could learn the Yezidi's recognized ONE Supreme being, but did not seem to offer up and direct prayers or sacrifice to him. The name of the Evil spirit is never mentioned, and they were very careful to avoid any expression which may resemble in sound, the name of Satan, or the Arabic word for accursed. When they speak of the Devil they do so with reverence as Melek T aous or King Peacock...or Melek-el-Kout, the Mighty Angel. The leader of this group admits to the possession of a Copper figure of a bird, which is only looked upon as a symbol, not an idol. It always remains with the Sheikh and travels with him.
Now; these people believe in Reverence, and in the cosmology of Genesis, in the Deluge, and other events recorded in the Bible. They do not reject the New Testament, or the Koran, but consider them to be less entitled to their veneration. Still they always select passages from the latter for their tombs and Holy places. they look upon Mohammed as a prophet and Abraham as well as the Patriarch's as important people, and they expect the second coming of Christ. As to their Great Saint...Sheikh Adi...all they would say was that he lived before Mohammed.
These people baptize as do the Christian's, if possible within 7 days of birth, and they circumcise. Finally our author was able to learn that these people believe Satan to be the Chief of the Angelic Host's, now suffering punishment for his rebellion against the Divine Will, but still all powerful, and to be restored to his high estate in the Celestial hierarchy. He must be conciliated and reverenced they say; for as he now has the means of doing evil to mankind, so he will hereafter have the power of rewarding them. Next to Satan they say, but inferior to him in might and wisdom, are 7 Archangel's, who exercise great influence over the world. Christ according to them was also a great Angel who had to take the form of a man, and he did not die on the cross, but ascended into the heavens.
These people circumcise at the same time and reverence the sun, and they have many customs as the Sabaeans. They have more in common with the Sabaeans than any other sect. They often kiss the object which the first beams of sun fall on. They have nearly the same reverence for fire. The color Blue is an abomination to them, and is never used. Their Kubleh, or the place to which they look as they are performing their Holy ceremonies is that part of the heavens in which the sun rises. They have a fondness for white linen and their cleanliness resembles the Sabaens. They do not eat pork, or lettuce or other such vegetables, and they drink wine, and do not object to partaking of Christian's food.
They follow the beginning of the year that the eastern Christian's follow. There is no religious services for marriage. They obtain the mutual consent and then go to the Sheikh, and a ring is given to the bride. They do not observe the Mohammadan Ramazan. Wednesday is their holiday, and they do not abstain from work on their Fast day as the Christian's do on their Sabbath. The name of George seems to be objectionable and never given to a Yezidi.
These people have 4 orders of the Priesthood, and what is remarkable is that these offices are heredity but they descend thru the female. Their hymns are written in Arabic, and they keep a Holy Fire at the tomb of Sheikh Adi. They have Caivals..or Preachers who go from village to village to teach of the doctrines of the sect. They are skillful musicians and their robes are white, their turbans are like those of the Sheikh's, black as also are their skull caps.
The Fakirs are the lowest in the Priesthood, they dress in dark brown or black. They perform all menial offices connected with the tomb. They light and trim the lamps and keep clean the sacred buildings. Their language is generally a Kurdist dialect for they are not too well acquainted with Arabic. It is also considered to be unlawful to know how to write and read. Only one or two of the sect can do either. Thus they know how to read only that which has been taught to them. The Yezidi's were considered infidels by the Musslemen of the plains.
Our author then returned to the 'dig'. He has received funds from England and hires his crew for the winter work, and they come with their wives and children and camp around the area thus protecting the 'dig' from wandering tribes. Nestorian workmen and their families were closest to the 'dig' and the Arab's were further out. He established an overseer and the work began. The earth was removed from one room, all the inscriptions would be read and copied and the small items packed and prepared for shipment to England. The dirt from the next room would then be put in the empty room thus when they were finished all would again be covered for protection.
The Bas-relief's showed the wars of kings, the conquest of foreign nations. Above the king is his presiding deity represented by a Winged figure within a circle, and wearing a horned cap resembling that of the human headed Lions and Bulls. The Bas-relief also shows the river and probably the daily life along it. Thus even tho broken when falling over, still the slabs were being carefully prepared for the shipping back to England where they would be restored. After finding small items some in perfect repair, in the middle of this room was found a brick and on that brick was a genealogy. Then a slab was found lying on a brick pavement and it had a gigantic Winged figure sculptured in relief upon it. Beyond was a similar figure but larger, in fact 14 feet in height, but this one was in poor condition and not easily deciphered. Then a black marble Obelisk came into review. It was sculptured on all four sides, scarcely a character of the inscription was wanting. This was carefully prepared and sent on to Baghdad for the trip to England.
Next they discovered a pair of Winged Lion's but the head was destroyed, but in their carving in front and above the wings were two human figures, one with the head of a lion, and they differed from all other Assyrian sculptures before discovered. Then two lions were discovered...winged, and forming an entrance to somewhere, and between the lions a pair of crumbling Sphinx's. One of the lions had a human head and was beardless. Their wings were as tho they supported a sort of platform.
In the southeast corner of the building they came upon a Sarcophagus, and in that Sarcophagus, was a body, but when the lid was opened it disintegrated. Two bottles or jars were in there, Alabaster bottles and they resembled those you discovered in Egyptian tombs. There was no other clue or date as to the origin of the Sepulcher.
In chamber 5., were a number of Ivory ornaments. One figure held a Cartouche containing a name or words in Hieroglyphics and surmounted by a feather or plume such is found in monuments of the 18th., and subsequent Dynasties of Egypt. The walls in this chamber were all covered with paintings, and two vases of highly glazed pottery were found, green in color, elegant in shape and in perfect preservation. Copper ornaments were found....all Egyptian in forms, all were packed to also be sent to England.
Because of the lack of money very little actually of the mound of Nimroud had been explored. But our author had always wanted to excavate in the mounds of Kalah Sherghat. Finally the time seemed right, the roving tribes, because of the drought, had moved down river and a powerful tribe was now available for protection. They crossed the river on a raft the following day to the Bitumen pits. This material bubbles up from springs in the crevices. This is used for building purposes. These rivers of Bitumen were found near Kalah Sherghat. A crew had been sent ahead, well guarded and as the author approached the ruin's of Kalah Sherghat there was much excitement, for they had uncovered a seated figure, seated on a block of stone which was covered with inscriptions. Here our author would find the names of the builders of Nimroud and of his Grandfather, and in another brick he found the dates of every edifice and rock tablet which he had been acquainted with. Think of the vast store of knowledge to be found in the British Museum of today.
The principal ruin at Kalah Sherghat like those of Nimroud, Korsabad and other Ancient Assyrian sites are much alike. Khorsabad is a large square mound, surrounded by a Cone or Pyramid-like rising in the center of the north side of a great platform. Immediately below the cone, and forming a facing to the great mound is a wall of well hewn stones or slabs, carefully fitted together and beveled at the edges. It is probably an Assyrian work, and the Battlements of Castles and Towers represented the Nimroud sculptures. At one time this city must have been an important stop on a trade route. When our author was there wild tribes encamped and enormous blackmail to Arab Sheikh's would be the rule to let anyone pass.
After this our author was to admit that he could not with any certainty establish just which mound of antiquity was the old city of Nineveh, although he himself was reasonably satisfied. He now worked to remove the Winged Bull and take it to the river for shipment to England. In the course of this work an Arab Sheikh who had been watching, had his men helping and he said:..."Wonderful, wonderful ..... There is surely no God but the Great God and Mohammed is his prophet." Then he asked the author:... "What are you going to do with these great stone figures, can it be that your people learn Wisdom from them, or do they as some say,...they go to a land of your Queen and are worshiped, or is it that it is the making of these things that the English learn their Wisdom?" Here are these stones which have been buried ever since the time of the Holy Noah, perhaps underground even before the Deluge...I (the Arab Sheikh speaking) have lived in these lands for years, my father and the father of my father before me and they never heard of these figures. For 1200 years these true believers have settled in this country and they never heard of a Palace under ground. Neither did they who went before them. Then here you come and walk up to the mound and make a line here and a line there saying this was the Palace and then show us what has been beneath our feet without our knowing anything about it. Wonderful, Wonderful....is it by books, is it by Magic, is it by prophets, that you have learned these things? Speak, O Bey; tell me the secret of Wisdom?"
Our author could only say that much of the civilization and knowledge came from the East where it has been buried for more than 20 Centuries.
The Winged Bull was finally loaded on the river raft and then the Winged Lion sculpture next. These were floated down the river to Baghdad where another group of workers had been placing the artifacts on boats to take them to the lower part of the Tigris River. These two sculptures...the bull and the lion, were too heavy for the raft which carried the other artifacts, and a heavier raft was made and raftsmen then guided this rude vessel with long straight poles. They would avoid the rapids and did no work after dark because of the rocks and shoals.
As our author watched this loaded raft disappear down the Ancient river he could not help but wonder at this strange destiny of their burdens; which after adorning the Palace of these Ancient kings had then been buried unknown for centuries beneath a soil trodden by Persians under Cyprus, by Greek's under Alexander, and by Arab's under the feet of the successors of their prophets. They were now to visit India, and then to cross the most distant sea of the southern Hemisphere, and to be finally placed in a British Museum. Who can venture to foretell how their strange career will end.
The chambers of the Palace at the mound of Nimroud were once more filled with dirt before our author left this area, thus preserving anything left behind from injury. Perhaps some would again dig in these ancient ruin's and find more of the past.
As our author left for the city of Mosul, he then passed half way between 'the dig' and the city of Mosul and from the crest of a hill he looked back at the ruin's where once an ancient Capital stood, and where long dark mounds spoke of a capital city of the past. Great must have been this civilization which showed that it stretched for miles on either side of this ancient river.
As he passed Knyunjik, not much had been excavated here but signs would establish this also as a great city of an ancient past. Our author thus ends his report of his work there in that ancient land and leaves us to reflect on the past and add a bit more to our knowledge of our beginnings.
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