The mighty empire of the Assyrians, which constitutes one of the first links in the chain of positive history, has hitherto been best known by the great catastrophes which finally closed its existence. The Hebrew Scriptures testify to the wealth, the luxury, and the military power of the Assyrians; but neither these nor the fragments in other ancient historical writers, dispel the obscurity enveloping the interior organism of that great antique people. Neither do the outlines of Babylonian history given by Herodotus afford much insight into the details of her social structure.

In that fore-world which history has not yet penetrated, the region between the Mediterranean sea and the head-waters and affluents of the Euphrates and the Tigris, formed the theatre of a tumultuous confusion of races, nations and civilizations, which has no parallel in the known history of mankind. Social and ethnic structures of the most heterogeneous kind covered those regions, with their various creeds, theocracies, municipalities monarchies and despotisms of every degree.

[Pg 70]

When, about fifteen centuries B.C., history unveils the empire of the Assyrians or Ninevites, 전주오피 their dominion extended in a direct line from the head-waters of the Euphrates and Tigris to the mouths of those rivers; on the north-east, also, they ruled over Media (thus touching the Caspian), and from thence their dominion stretched across Armenia, southern Caucasus and Georgia, westward to the mouth of the river Halys (the modern Kizil-Ermak), in the Black Sea, and embraced also Palestine, Phœnicia and Kilikia. As the dynasty of Ninus once ruled over Lydia, it is probable that the Ninevite empire at one time extended over at least a part of Asia Minor, as far as the Egean Sea.